Category Archives: Baker Publishing Group

The Grace of God

From the back cover:

“Grace. It’s what we crave most when our guilt is exposed. It’s the very thing we are hesitant to extend when we are confronted with the guilt of others-especially when their guilt has robbed us of something we consider valuable.

 
Therein is the struggle, the struggle for grace. It’s the struggle that makes grace more story than doctrine. It’s the struggle that reminds us that grace is bigger than compassion or forgiveness. That struggle is the context for both. When we are on the receiving end, grace is refreshing. When it is required of us, it is often disturbing. But when correctly applied, it seems to solve just about everything. This struggle is not new; it has been going on since the beginning.”

The Grace Of God is a book for every person who sits in a pew today. I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Andy Stanley. Grace is examined through the lens of Scripture, told in story form with familiar biblical stories. It is relevant, refreshing and authentically written in the Andy Stanley manner. Although Stanley and others state that it is not a deep or complicated book we forget that grace is not deep or complicated. Our struggle is in the application of grace – receiving it and giving it away. Stanley does unveil some applications of Scripture and reveals grace as I have never heard it before. I am more convinced that our Christian culture has robbed us some of our understanding of this critical element of God’s love; indeed, our understanding of the very Personhood of God. Since reading this book, many times I have stopped myself short and re-examined a current situation and saw God’s grace in it or saw where grace was required of me.  His conclusions are what we need to hear today.  This is a book for our times!
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 “Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group“. 
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Filed under Andy Stanley, Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House Books, Graf-Martin Communications Inc.

The Thorn by Beverly Lewis

“Two Amish sisters divided by one sister’s impulsive marriage to an outsider.

Hen longs for the Old Ways she left behind….

Rose unsure of her own heart – devoted to the bishop’s rebellious foster son, yet courted by another.”

The Thorn by Beverly Lewis is the first in the Rose Trilogy.  The story is a heartwarming romance as well as a heart-wrenching drama. It largely revolves around two sisters Rose and Hen, their family and one decision that has impacted their families and their community.

I loved this book. It has been a long time since I have read a  fictional book that I enjoyed this much. The characters are very well-developed as is the story line. In fact, it felt like sitting in the room as the conversations took place and the tension rose and fell. Like many of the other readers of Beverly Lewis’ books I too became very curious about the taboos and the values of the Amish culture. Although they lived in a Plain culture their emotions,values and even decisions were very similar to those of us who have not chosen their way of life.

The story has a very unexpected yet satisfying ending . As I laid down my book and closed it I was pleased that Beverly has made it the first of the trilogy.

I was left with the desire to read more.

Beverly Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of which have appeared on bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times.  Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group“.

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Have a New You by Friday by Dr. Kevin Leman

In spite of a title that sounds like yet another “quick fix to happiness” I really liked this book.

 There is something about gaining insight into yourself that empowers you to make needed (and wanted) changes. That’s how I felt at the end of the book- empowered.

I should say empowered…and wildly entertained! Dr. Leman has an incredible sense of humor that shines in every page. There is nothing boring or clinical about the personality descriptions. His real-life stories and the creative analogies brought each insight to life.

There was also nothing complicated about the five areas (one for each weekday) that Leman addresses, nor in the guidance on how to make changes. Far from being overwhelmed by a series of complicated tasks or assignments I found the application sections very natural and fun.

 As I saw myself- how I typically act or respond in various life and relationship situations- I could see just as clearly how to change and what to change. I also felt a deeper acceptance of myself in areas I might otherwise be very self-critical. Personality traits are neither right nor wrong, good or bad, they just are.  With acceptance came self-confidence, and with it the ability to make even more changes.

 So I am glad I didn’t follow my first response of cynicism based on the title of the book. Leman isn’t promising a “quick fix” but rather true insights into what makes us tick. With these insights I was empowered to discard personal baggage that was hampering me and to connect more effectively with people around me.

 New me by Friday? Absolutely!

Dr. Kevin Leman, an internationally renowned psychologist and New York Times Bestselling Author of more than 30 books, provides easy techniques, helpful tips and clear insight that will change the way you look at and resolve the parenting, marriage and relationship issues in your life.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group“.  

 

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Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker

“My 6 year old son once said: ‘When I grow up, I want to be a missionary and tell people about God, even though my mom told me all missionaries get murdered….’

…..Insert the sound of me babbling like an idiot….while simultaneously throwing him under a bus for butchering”

Reading Jen Hatmaker’s intro, I already knew I’d enjoy her latest book; ‘Out of the spin cycle’. After reading her story about causing a scene in the front pew of her hometown church, I wanted to drive to Texas and make her my new BFF.

 I admit, I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this devotional so much. Partially due to the term ‘devotional’- I guess there’s just something about that word that evokes memories of nodding off during Weds night study group. It’s not the kind of book I’d naturally pick up, but if I hadn’t I would’ve missed out.

Jen is the kind of funny, honest writer that makes you laugh and unclench at the same time. Somehow she manages to be real without becoming crude, telling stories about herself and her family that all moms can relate to. If that weren’t enough (and lets face it, sometimes it is), she also ties in a message about living out a life of Faith.

‘Out of the Spin Cycle’ was my first encounter with Hatmaker’s work, but it won’t be my last. I’d encourage mom’s of any age to grab a copy, and to whet your appetite, I’ll leave you with one last excerpt;

(My husband) Brandon: “What’s wrong?”

Me: I’m so depressed

Brandon: “Why? What happened?”

Me: “Gavin is going to college, and I’ll miss him so much, I can’t even stand it”

Brandon (long pause):“He’s eleven”

Me: “But he’s going some day!”

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, IncAvailable at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group“.

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Momology – A Mom’s Guide to Shaping Great Kids by Shelley Radic

“Mothering is a crash course in self discovery”

So true, as are many of Shelly Radic’s insights in ‘Momology; a mom’s guide to shaping great kids’. Which, if you check out her credentials, isn’t surprising. Shelly has an impressive bio, one that includes the title of chief of staff at MOPS International, and the mother to four children of her own. It’s clear that she is passionate about helping mothers become successful in both the raising of kids, and becoming the best people they can be. She even has her own online community of women, found at Mops.org.

Within ‘Momology’ are quotes from real women, and stories from Shelly’s own family life. She addresses the major problems we face within the role as wives and mommies, and offers straightforward advice and solutions. She describes mothering as ‘part art, part science, and always a work in progress’.

I believe that mom’s have real needs, and I appreciated Radic’s perspective, and creative solutions. For the busy young mother, the easy to read format would be perfect – the kind of book you can put down countless times, and never feel like you’ve lost the author’s train of thought. I would not recommend trying to curl up with it on a rainy afternoon; reading it straight through is a bit challenging, as not all of the concepts flow together in a logical order. That said, I feel Shelly has a lot to offer, and I enjoyed her latest contribution quite a bit.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, IncAvailable at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group“. 

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Flabbergasted by Ray Blacktson

This is one young’s man true story about dating written as  fiction. All of the characters were real people in Ray Blackston’s life. This book was written for young teens so I asked my one of my daughters to read and critique it.

“This story begins in Greenville, S.C. with a young man, Jay moving to town and joining a local church. He is on a mission to find a new girlfriend so wastes no time scoping out the good-looking girls at church. He meets the pastors daughter, Allie and falls in love. Their relationship develops but before long Allie’s plans to become a missionary becomes a reality and Jay must make a decision about his own future.

I like this book because of the description of each character. They were described in incredible detail and I felt that when I closed my eyes I could see them. It was a hard book to put down. Everytime I tried, I would come to another good part and just had to finish it.

I would recommend this book to any teen. Reading about teen boys was rather interesting!”

My daughter read this book without putting it down. A first for her.

mmm…. Who knew the life of a guy could be so riveting.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, IncAvailable at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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No More Christian Nice Girl- by Paul Coughlin and Jennifer D. Degler

Ever found yourself sacrificing or going that extra mile when you didn’t have any more  to give? Did you believe you were imitating Jesus? Did you feel so put out that  you justified bringing it up in a back-handed, catty sort of way? 

Have you ever considered that you were going at life wrong? You were getting through life by being extra nice. The person who gives and picks up the slack, who listens to every story and puts herself last. You were choosing a way to be liked and avoid rejection. Meanwhile underneath you were pretty angry and you felt very justified to gossip. 

Although we would see ourselves on the pages of this book none of us would have guessed our belief system was this faulty. Our anger would have kept most of us from seeing the truth. At least until now.

Paul Coughlin, author and founder of The Protectors and Jennifer Degler,  licensed psychologist and life coach examine how conditioning and belief systems have affected our actions to be Nice instead of Good. They challenge our thinking about what we believe to be the true character of Christ. Was He strong and courageous or someone who was nice (weak)?  Society has a way of quietly rejecting the woman who is bold and courageous, then as christians we help justify it  with our inaccurate picture of Jesus. The authors  tackle how our desire to be Nice and not Good will affect our relationships, our promotions at work  and our sex lives. With strategies, wisdom and Scripture to challenge our thinking they take women on the journey to leave being Nice to choosing Good as God intended.

 As a female leader, I thoroughly enjoyed this very readable book. I have often found myself frustrated inside  and outside the church. The duplicity is difficult to deal with and often women wear masks and are angry because their authentic selves are not accepted. I believe every woman who sits in church needs  to read this book. Being nice needs to be replaced with good to help the next geration of women live authentically.

Book has been provided courtesy of 

Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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Filed under Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House Books, Graf-Martin Communications Inc., Jennifer D. Degler, Leadership, Paul Coughlin, women