A Home for the Redeeed by Sue Behnke – BOOK REVIEW

31164677-_sy180_Title: A Home for the Redeemed
Author: Sue Behnke
Publication Date & Publisher: July 13, 2016, WestBow Press
Genre(s): Christian Fiction
Length: 206 pages
ISBN: 13: 9781512748406
My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

“He remembered with bitterness how much he had aspired to become a pastor. He had assumed that somehow it would change him. It would make him a different person, a better man. When he earned the title pastor, it seemed everyone else also assumed he was some super being, above the rest, with keys and answers to all life’s problems-the voice of God no less.

He had to admit he believed his own publicity for the longest time.”

Carl is a disillusioned pastor, toying with despair, watching his marriage fall apart. Leading the flock, he still has to counsel those who knock at his door, deal with an attack of the media, and still find a way to love a church that is no longer confident in his leadership. Benjamin is an atheist. His life is shaken by encounters with angels and supernatural happenings. He believes he has a divine message for Pastor Carl. Brendan, a member of the church, used to be a street urchin and an addict. He is a babe in Christ. His transformation is still rocky, and his relapse threatens to shatter those who love him. Can an imperfect pastor shepherd a church? Can the grace of God prevail in brokenness?

My review:

This story is CRAZY!!! It follows a number of people who either attend or are led to a  church led by Pastor Carl, who seems to have been in a funk for quite some time now. His dedication to his faith, his church, his marriage, and even himself is put to the test.

Brendan is a member of the church who used to be a homeless drug addict. After getting saved, he married his ex and now raises their child together. Brendan’s faith seems strong, until he’s really tested…

Benjamin is an atheist married to a woman who prays privately, multiple times a day, in her prayer room. She hasn’t been to church since being driven away after her previous marriage fell apart. Her faith is strong, but she’s been trying to do it all on her own and her new husband doesn’t even talk to her about her beliefs… until they’re both tested to the point of worrying Benjamin may be crazy…

There are many stories and lives woven together in A Home for the Redeemed. Real issues are dealt with and just when it seems everything is going to e okay… BAM! The church and all it’s members are suddenly thrown back into chaos.

I really enjoyed this story, but I got a little confused at the beginning. There are so many characters thrown at you and Brendan and Benjamin’s names are a little too similar for me… I got them mixed up more than once!

Definitely recommend picking this one up!

I received a free review copy of this book through Harper Collins Christian Publishing’s BookLook Bloggers Program. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of A Home for the Redeemed? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

Are you planning on purchasing A Home for the Redeemed by Sue Behnke Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository

Advertisements

Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference by CJ Casciotta – BOOK REVIEW

40947713Title: Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference

Author: CJ Casciotta

Publication Date & Publisher: September 11, 2018, Faith Words

Genre(s): Christian Living/Practical Life/Personal Growth

Length: 217 pages

ISBN: 978-1-5460-3191-8

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

 

Description (from Goodreads):

Most of us grow up believing it’s more important to fit in than to stand out. But there’s something different about you…and it matters.

What if your weirdness was the key to changing everything? What if the outrageous, imaginative, crazy ideas that live inside your wildest dreams are actually there on purpose, divinely preinstalled to help others?

Knowing what makes you weird is the best thing you can offer your art, your business, your friends, your family, and yourself. It’s the essence of creativity, the stuff of movements, and the hope for humanity. It’s time to quit painting by numbers, conforming to patterns, and checking off boxes. It’s time to GET WEIRD.

My review:

I enjoyed reading Get Weird, and CJ Casciotta definitely knows how to inspire people to be their truest, weirdest selves!

While the book is a Christian Living title, it doesn’t read as such. Casciotta includes references to scripture and Christian beliefs, but also includes plenty of other references. To be honest, about halfway through the book I had to go back and double check that what I was reading was actually something I’d consider a “Christian Living” title. The flow of Casciotta’s writing and the way he weaves words just isn’t what you’d expect from a book like this… you aren’t going to find scripture on every page or a how-to explanation on how to increase your faith.

What you will find in this book is a lot of inspiration to be the weirdly wonderful you you were made to be! As a person that’s always had a hard time fitting in, this was a really great read for me. I definitely felt a little more comfortable with my “weirdness” after reading Get Weird. I recommend it to anyone else that struggles to accept their uniqueness in a world constantly encouraging them to embrace sameness.

Thank you to FaithWords for providing me with a free review copy of this book. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of my review of Get Weird? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

Are you planning on purchasing Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference? Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository

 

Born to Wander by Michelle Van Loon – BOOK REVIEW

38141069Title: Born to Wander: Recovering the Value of Our Pilgrim Identity
Author: Michelle Van Loon
Publication Date & Publisher: July 3, 2018, Moody Publishers
Genre(s): Christian Living/Practical Life/Personal Growth
Length: 192 pages
ISBN: 13:978-0-80241812-8
My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

Why are we so restless?

All of us have a little wanderlust—a desire for that next thing, that new place, but this competes with our longings for security, control, and safety. We don’t like how it feels to be unsettled and uprooted. Whether we’re navigating a season of transition, dealing with the fallout of broken relationships, or wrestling with a deep sense of restlessness, we are all experiencing some form of exile. And most of us do whatever we can to numb the feelings of unbelonging, powerlessness, and unsettledness that come with it. But the truth is that exile has a profound purpose if we can just learn to lean in.

Over and over again Scripture tells us that the people of God are exiles and wanderers. And this is good news because exile is what transforms us into pilgrims. In Christ, we are no longer directionless wanderers, but pilgrim followers who have a clear purpose and a secure identity. In Born to Wander, Michelle Van Loon weaves together personal stories and keen insights on the biblical themes of pilgrimage and exile. She will help you embrace your own pilgrim identity and reorient your heart toward the God who leads you home. Engaging and thoughtful, enhanced with practical suggestions, prayers, and questions, Born to Wander will teach how to trust God even when you don’t understand what’s happening around you and follow Him even when it hurts.

If you keep chasing security, you’ll never find it. Embrace the purpose behind the wandering and discover the freedom and safety of resting in God alone.

“Every one of us carries a restlessness that runs as deep as the marrow of our born-again bones. Our relationships shift like tectonic plates. We change jobs. We switch churches. And our culture tells us the cure for our restlessness is to buy a new mattress, a new car, or a new tube of toothpaste.”

My review:

I absolutely loved this book! I basically ended up reading each chapter at least twice because after finishing it the first time, I had to track down my husband so I could read it with him. And if my eldest child was home, then she got to hear it too. I just couldn’t keep it to myself!

I’m the the time of person that can’t seem to stay put for very long. I love road trips, I’ve had about a million different jobs, and although I’ve lived in the same city most of my life, I moved around a lot in my younger years. So, of course, a book titled “Born to Wander” was going to catch my attention!

There’s a major focus in this book on the fact that we aren’t called to be comfortable, to stand still, to settle… We’re called to live a pilgrim’s life. And there’s really only two paths we can take in life…are we wandering TO Jesus? Or AWAY from Him?

There was no fame-and-fortune bait on the hook when Jesus told Peter He’d make him a fisher of men. There was no promise of celebrity when God spoke to Abram and told him to leave the comfort of home and family. Both men’s lives – and the lives of most others highlighted in the Bible – became less comfortable and far more uncertain after God called them.

Lech lecha. Follow me. This is how we learn our true identity.

Every chapter in this book deals with a different topic regarding living in exile or pilgrimage. It caused me to take a step back and examine how whether I’m truly living for myself or if I’m following and living for Christ. As a person who takes pride in calling herself a disciple, the answers to the questions that came up in my reading of Born to Wander were truly important.

I loved the questions and prayers that followed each chapter and how, at times, I got to look at things from different perspective. I loved this excerpt on prayer:

Many of us think of prayer as something we do with heart and mind. We don’t always consider what it means to pray with our bodies, but discipleship always involves our physical selves as well as our inner lives.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone with a bit of Wanderlust… whether they consider themselves a Christian, or not. It’ll definitely cause you to take some time out and consider where your life is heading and where you want to be wandering to/for.

Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing me with a free review copy of this book. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of Born to Wander? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!

Are you planning on purchasing Born to Wander? Please consider using one of these affiliate links: Amazon, Book Depository

When God Made Light – a Review

36962355Title: When God Made Light
Author: Matthew Paul Turner
Publication Date & Publisher: February 13, 2018, Waterbrook
Genre(s): Children’s, Christian
Length: 48 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60142-920-9
My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

From the author and illustrator of the best-selling When God Made You comes a new illuminating message about God’s design affirming young readers.

‘Let there be light!’ that’s what God said. And light began shining and then started to spread.” Wild and creative illustrations from top children’s illustrator David Catrow pair with Matthew Paul Turner’s lyrical verse in this message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers. This light radiates, chasing away the shadows, providing the wonder and fun of stargazing or firefly chasing. Most important, this light appears in each child–an inner God-given spark that grows and will be used to change the world.

My review: 

Last year, I reviewed the amazing children’s book by Matthew Paul Turner, When God Made You. At that time, the only children in my home were well into their teen years so I didn’t have any young children to read my favorite children’s books to…

So imagine how excited I was when Turner’s newest children’s book, When God Made Light, was published earlier this year, and I had three young foster children to read it too!

As excited as I was, the bar was set pretty high. I had compared Turner’s writing in When God Made You to Dr. Seuss… and Dr. Seuss is one of the very few children’s book authors that I can not only read over and over again, but that I know, no matter which of their books I pick up, I’m going to love it. To be honest… I loved When God Made You so much that I wasn’t all that sure Turner would be able to pull it off again with his following books…

BUT HE DID!!!

My two-year-old foster daughter preferred When God Made You over every other children’s book we have…until we bought When God Made Light. Now, before nap time and bedtime the answer to “What story do you want mama to read?” is always “God Light.”

And after months of reading this story twice a day, everyday… I’m still not sick of it! I actually still enjoying reading it to her!

The story is uplifting and joyful to the point that I continue to find myself occasionally tearing up while reading it, thinking of just how precious the little people are that God has entrusted me to care for.

Now, when God made light,

God made all different kinds.

Some sparkles, some flares, but all light shines.

I love the way Turner points out in such a hopeful way that God made light for so many different things… the sun, the moon, the stars, the light inside of us – they all have a purpose and a use.

Shimmer and shine,

be a beacon so bright,

’cause when God made you, child, God made light.

The illustrator from When God Made You also did the pictures for When God Made Light and they are just as beautiful! They feature the same girl from When God Made You, along with some cute animals and a baby.

Basically, there isn’t anything negative for me to say about this book!

So what do you think? Leave me a comment below!

Affiliate Links to Purchase When God Made Light: AmazonBook Depository

BOOK REVIEW: Priceless by Jen Barrick

38749523Title & Author: Priceless, Jen Barrick
Publication Date & Publisher: October 2, 2018, Moody Publishers
Genre(s): Christian, Religion & Spirituality
My Rating: 3.5/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

What if your daughter’s propensity for “feeling all the feels” is actually a good thing?

Teens and tweens have a reputation for letting their emotions get the best of them, so much so that we often wonder if our families (and the world) wouldn’t be better off if these young women we love could feel just a little less. But as Linda Barrick discovered, these emotions play an important role in the spiritual lives of young women, and, when they learn to direct them rightly, their feelings can be a powerful force for good in their lives, homes, and schools.

That’s why Linda and her daughter Jen wrote this devotional for teen girls. After Linda’s daughter, Jen, was in a traumatic car accident, Jen was in many ways “frozen” at age fifteen and completely uninhibited. That means Jen still says what she’s thinking and feeling almost all the time. Because of this Jen’s mom, Linda, got a unique glimpse into the inner world of young women, and she realized that the emotions young teen girls feel are a beautiful gift. It gives them the ability, like Jen, to have an unhindered, best-friend relationship with their Heavenly Father.

In this 30-day devotional for young teen girls, author Linda Barrick combines her daughter Jen’s real-life prayers with passages from Psalms in order to speak directly to the heart of young women. It will teach these teens and tweens how to cultivate a deep, emotional relationship with the God who loves them. Each day will:

address a different feeling and examine it in light of God’s truth from a short passage of Psalms
affirm young women’s feelings as a gift of God
demonstrate how their emotions are meant to lead them closer to God
show them how to make their faith stronger when they use God’s Word to navigate their emotions

My review:

My hopes were set pretty high for this title. Overall, this was a good devotional for teen girls. I went through the first part with my 13 year old daughter and she really enjoyed it. It’s definitely written to a much younger audience than my 38 year old self and it does a good job at talking at their level.

However, I feel that I need to get my biggest concern with this title out of the way before I go on:

At the end of Day 1, Priceless has something very similar to the much recognized “sinner’s prayer.” I really think I would’ve enjoyed this book much more if this part wasn’t in there, since I personally don’t believe in the sinner’s prayer. It takes more than simply saying a prayer to be transformed in Christ and to live your life as His disciple. There’s a lot more I could say here, but it’s not appropriate in this review as it’s not about the book. (Please feel free to Contact Me to discuss further.)

I liked the layout of Priceless and how it addresses so much of what every teenage girl goes through and feels. It lets them know that those feelings are normal, but feelings aren’t necessarily true. And then it shows them the truth in God’s word and helps them to shift their thinking into more positivity.

I loved that it had so many activities to do! My daughter and I wrote prayers together, and it really opened up a lot of discussions about how she feels and the best ways to deal with those feelings. I definitely recommend going through this book with your daughter! It was pretty eye opening.

Overall, I would recommend this book with the one concern noted above. Let me know you’re thoughts in the comments section below!

Thanks to NetGalley and Moody Publishers for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

You can pre-order Priceless on Amazon: