Noticing is not the end, however. Inviting God into your ordinary requires shedding the security of minding your own business. Ministry can’t happen if you maintain a safe distance from discomfort. Martin encourages readers to invite others into their lives, not with fanfare but with humility. Because the moments you expect to be monumental usually aren’t the ones with lasting significance. God speaks to us through whispers in our everyday lives.
In The Ministry of Ordinary Places, Martin shares snapshots of her life—the hilarious, the frightening, and the deeply touching. Her stories of close encounters with our suffering Christian neighbors are certainly a wake-up call. A Whopper Extra-Value Meal, gluten-free macaroni munched in an unfinished basement and zealous thrift shopping never seemed so beautiful before this book.
Your marriage isn’t about you, or even about your spouse, the couple has learned. Your marriage is about servin gGod and proclaiming Jesus’ power to a world in need of hope. It’s a covenant made promising unconditional love. If your hearts and marriage are in the right place, this covenant relationship brings both spouses closer to God.
So what are the secret ingredients to a lasting marriage?
The first is prioritization, say Ryan and Selena. Put God first, then your spouse, then your children. Everything else should come after these three most important members of your life. Be intentional about making time for each other and that investment will yield a closer marriage.
The second component is communication. Don’t just talk; listen to your spouse. Be aware of the signals he or she is sending out, not only through words but also through body language, tone, and timing. Seek the real issues hiding behind frustrations he or she maybe communicating. Be quick to hear, be slow to speak, and be slow to anger.
Perhaps the most striking element of this couple’s advice, their secret to keeping the “spark” in their marriage, is curiosity. Don’t lose curiosity about getting to know your spouse. Whether you’ve been together for one year or fifty, there is always more to learn about each other. Remember how excited you were to get to know one another on the first date? That flame of excitement can continue to burn as long as you desire to discover more about each other.
From finances to intimacy, this book covers the tough topics. And, with the help of God, couples can use this book as a way to facilitate conversation and strengthen their marriages.
Marr reminds her readers that God holds everyone’s dreams in His hands. No one has to carry the pressure on his or her shoulders, for when individuals delight in serving the Lord, He provides a worthwhile calling. God places dreams on a person’s heart so the individual may pursue goals for His glory. He places talents in men and women so they may glorify Him with them. Marr also gives advice for dealing with what may seem to be failure. She offers a reminder that attaining a dream will never be as fulfilling as attaining Christ, and everything goes according to His plan.
This book is cozy, personal, and applicable to any dreamer’s life. Each chapter ends with questions for the reader, along with space for journal responses. Dreaming with God was written with the ability to equip readers with the tools and encouragement needed to pursue dreams that are invested in Christ.
At the heart of this book, Shankle reminds readers that God uses “little” moments to make a big difference. Rarely does someone realize when she is making a monumental difference in another’s life. Even something as small as packing lunch for the family can be an immense service for God. Melanie Shankle teaches exactly how to find the treasures buried deep within the mundane.
Copyright © 2018 Megan Alms. All rights reserved.
In this 31-day devotional, Chaffin provides solutions to practical, everyday problems, ranging from managing time and money to being able to serve others while also personally growing spiritually. Her daily readings are split into manageable chunks to fit in any reader’s busy schedule. Each lesson is followed by several reflection tools, including recommended songs, fill-in answers, prayer prompts, meditations, challenges, and even some journaling space.
Simply Blessed tackles the everyday struggles faced by both new and seasoned Christians. Chaffin offers simple anecdotes from her own life to illustrate more complex concepts. The stories about Chaffin’s husband and children (and dogs) are relatable and convey deeper meanings applicable to anyone’s life. Through her stories, Chaffin teaches readers to rely on God, release anxiety and guilt, keep a steady course, and choose what it right
Malone’s conclusions are directly drawn from student interviews, resulting in a very accurate description of relationship culture within evangelical campuses. Her conclusions are backed by quotations from students expressing their observations of college dating. She references familiar campus lingo such as “MRS degree,” “freshman frenzy,” and “ring by spring” used by students in describing relationships. Her conclusions are conversational and make the student subjects three-dimensional to the reader, as if personally sitting in on the group discussions.
This study addresses the important, personal matters of relationships. Malone asked students what expectations they felt the need to conform to within relationships when under the watchful eyes of peers and campus faculty. She was sure to gain the perspectives of both men and women and learn the effects they felt from these expectations. The study also shows what happens beyond these expectations: what are students really thinking and doing?
This study boldly approaches a topic that many find too sensitive to discuss. Malone embraces real questions and gets to the heart of a culture that has yet to be heard from
This engaging story illustrates realities beyond our understanding in vibrant scenes. Joy’s imaginings of the Tribulation period and the ascension to heaven are vivid and moving. Readers are sure to experience both conviction and excitement when experiencing Maxine’s journey.
At times, the writing style seemed overly direct and obvious. I occasionally felt the story did not trust the reader to understand, and therefore the author went to extremes to explain something that did not need expansive detailing. Furthermore, this active speaking to the audience sometimes came across as preachy. There were several times in which the story could have been stronger if the reader had been allowed to draw his or her own conclusions.
Nevertheless, this is an engaging story. Elements from the beginning of the book are tied in throughout, making the story feel like a unified whole. There are several instances that feel like all of the “puzzle pieces” are finally joining. Moments like this brought the narrative together, working as an illustration of God’s overarching story for humanity. This book definitely warrants a second read-through to soak in Joy’s insightful artistry.
Each chapter of this book is a “letter” from the authors on various aspects of engagement: length of engagement, choosing a church, maintaining friendships, planning parties, managing conflict, etc. Scripture is frequently cited, and it is always applied in a practical context.
Each chapter also ends with discussion questions for couples. It guides the partnership through answering the difficult questions about marriage: How do we deal with unsolicited advice? Will we use contraceptives? How do we pursue a spiritual relationship?
Most of all, this book reinforces just how big of a commitment marriage is. It pleads the reader to be completely ready to devote to his or her spouse before meeting at the altar. This is a valuable tool for husbands- and wives-to-be to read individually and together when preparing for a wedding and the shared life to follow
Other events involved individuals Frick did not want to mention by name or describe too extensively. These gaps in information took away the power of the events. It often read like a personal journal rather than a book meant for a wider audience.
Nevertheless, Frick’s memoir observes that grief is experienced universally; no matter how much a loss “should” hurt, the pain of it is always immeasurable. Though everyone’s reaction to sorrow varies, no amount of mourning is “worse” than another. In this way, Frick is able to touch the heart of anyone who has reached despair.
Published by The Echo News
Friend looks into many difficult topics in a gentle but jarring way. She discusses ideas that cannot be approached easily, but explains them well. As an adult reader, I found this book lacking in depth at times, but I believe it would approach tween girls right where they are and give them an introduction to the concept of eating disorders. Isabella has a strong, witty tween voice that captures the reader’s attention and connection.
My biggest concern with this book was its lack of resolution. The story ends with Isabelle starting on her path to recovery in light of both her eating disorder and grief. But the story needed to include more of Isabelle’s steps toward health. Recovering from an eating disorder is not a fast or easy process, and this would have been a valuable aspect of her journey to read about. Perfect doesn’t exactly tell the reader what harm an eating disorder can cause, it only shows the actual illness. I worry that this approach gives readers ideas rather than solutions- shows them methods to try rather than inform them of the dangers these methods pose.
Overall, this was a quick read and worth the time investment. But if you give this book to a tween, I would recommend initiating a follow-up conversation to make sure the points came across correctly.