Posts in Lessons Read
Review of The Spiritual Lives of Young African Americans by Almeda M. Wright

God has taken suffering out of the world through the resurrection of Jesus. Because God loves humanity, God gives all people the opportunity to embrace the victory of the resurrection. The resurrection moves the oppressed past suffering to pain and struggle and from pain and struggle to new life and wholeness.

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Review of The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

The Next Right Thing includes wisdom of spiritual direction along with great insight of discerning one’s call or even a big decision your facing through Freeman’s gracious and practical insights, yet lacks much direct Biblical exegesis and leans more heavily on tradition. Freeman has crafted a beautiful read with memorable quotes and insights on the journey of soul searching and decision making including engaging practices and insightful prayers.

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Review of Learning to Speak God from Scratch by Jonathan Merritt

Learning to Speak God from Scratch offers a dialogue on linguistics, highlighting how uniqueness in our language shapes our very perception of concepts of faith and even our concept of God.  Merritt offers his own experience of somewhat deconstructing his understanding of God through a battle with his health.  He exhorts believers to remove their notion of God as one who meets our expectations and to rethink how we see God, ourselves, and the Church in light of what the language of Scripture actually says for itself.

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Review of Dear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri

A lover of all things girl power, this subtitle pulled me in.  I found Palmieri’s letter to the girls who will lead our future, especially in the political realm to be practical, insightful, and interesting.  Author served on the staffs both of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  She was the individual to share with Hilary that her “secret e-mails” were coming under scrutiny.

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Review of Growing Healthy Churches by Daniel R. Sánchez and Ebbie C. Smith

Statistics and examples of church growth described in Growing Healthy Churches are not solely centered on American church traditions, but offer a global perspective.  For example when describing challenges to church growth, Sánchez and Smith quote McGavren’s findings in Uruguay of the cultural tension between Roman Catholicism and Christianity.  In prescribing methods of church growth, the authors further benefit readers by providing and understanding of cultural competence.  The authors explain the great value in church health and growth of cultural awareness in practice, environment, and expectations.  The authors greatly describe practices that may take different forms in different cultures with great awareness and expertise.  They explain some missionaries might feel drawn to encourage individuals to stop swearing and dancing, or encourage the females to wear shirts but may need to come to understand the culture in order to avoid appropriation or offending for the sake of longevity. 

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Review of Nine Marks of a Health Church by Mark Dever

Dever sets out his metrics of healthy churches by naming elements integral to the Christian faith which should be present in a Christian church such as Expositional Preaching, Biblical Theology, and the Gospel.  Dever exhorts pastors to teach from Scripture rather than seeking Scripture that affirms the message they want to preach.  He posits that Scripture should serve a the authority in the church both in the life of believers and the pastor. 

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Review of Afraid of All the Things by Scarlet Hiltibidal

I read Afraid of All the Things in two short plane rides. Scarlet is an engaging author who invites you in through her honest, funny stories, and keeps you to bless you with some truth of how the gospel meets us in our deepest and craziest fears. As I sat on a small plane very close to the passenger next to me (who really smelled like beef jerky at 9am) I had to keep from laughing out loud at many of the stories she told.

Anxiety, though, is not the focal point of Afraid of All the Things, rather God is and His perfect love that casts out all fear. Scarlet honest in on the Truth of who God is and how he meets us in all of our fear and wondering with patience and faithfulness that is so radical and intimate.

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Review of "Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human" by John Mark Comer

Garden City narrows in on the line we often draw between the "sacred" and the "secular."  Placing one on a pedestal, demoting the other to menial.  Yet, John Mark Comer juxtaposes this predisposition with the life of Jesus who entered intimately into the secular and mundane in the fullness of the sacredness and glory of God.

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