Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Spring and Summer Reads

Y'all,  2016 got away from me.  It was long and crazy but somehow I still found time to read!  I lacked in getting my reviews out in a timely fashion but I am using the next few days to catch up on a Spring/Summer post and a Fall/Winter post.  I hope these will help you with some reading choices in 2017!  I have contemplated changing the format of keeping the reviews more up to date and more often, but I am not sure what that looks like for 2017.  I was sure I was just going to stop posting them anymore, but I have had so many people ask for book recommendations over that last few months so  I decided to catch up on the year. I sure hope these reviews help y'all spend your Christmas money wisely! Here goes some catching up!
(if you want to read about why I started writing these reviews click here)

The In-Between by Jeff Goins

 Waiting is something that most people avoid these days. Jeff Goins makes the case in this book that being present in the moment and surrendering to the waiting is where we grow into more mature humans. As Goins shares his journey of waiting, the reader is compelled to embrace the wait, look around at their present and learn from the moments. I highly recommend it for anyone in "The In-Between."

Carol Dweck's perspective and research on human attitudes has changed so much about the way we parent, teach, train and encourage.  It has deeply impacted how I personally relate with myself and in turn how I relate with others. In her book Mindset, she documents her research on those with a "Fixed Mindset" verses those with a "Growth Mindset," revealing that those with the "Growth Mindset" become versatile, well-rounded, confident, hard working, emotionally healthy adults.  I recommend this book to anyone who works with young people at any level. This book is also great for self evaluation to see what areas of your life you may have the "Fixed Mindset."

Fervent quickly made itself onto a VERY short list of "books I want to re-read every year."  This book is a fantastic jump start for those looking for hands on tools to a deep, healthy, vibrant prayer life.  Mrs. Shirer does a wonderful job of laying out effective prayers for specific areas of your life, giving you Scripture to pray and memorize as you seek God's heart on giving situations. She reminds us throughout how wise it is to pray specifically and strategically, not to "get what you want from God," but to open your heart to His nearness. This is a book I plan on keeping by my bedside and referring to it each morning, reminding my heart to stay serious, specific and strategic in prayer. Believer, grab it, read it and re-read it.  No matter where you are in your relationship with Christ, you will be challenged and encouraged!

Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessy

Out of Sorts captivates you with it's refreshing honesty.  In this book, Sarah Bessy covers topics that most Christian authors/leaders are unwilling to address.  Similar to her book, Jesus Feminist, Sarah writes openly about her struggle with church as an institution, her fight for community and remaining in community despite disagreeing.  She encourages the reader to embrace differences rather than forming a circle in which everyone thinks and looks the same. Bessy pushes the reader to a place where they can find comfort, as she did, in the places of uncertainty. This is a great read for those who are searching for a place to land or feeling shaken by uncertainty.

The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner

We read this book as a leadership team of HVG.  This book is deeply encouraging and spiritually challenging when you read it alone, but adding the element of group discussion brought so much depth to the experience of reading this!  The Gift of Being Yourself is the second of three books written together to focus on loving God, loving yourself and loving others.  This is the second in that trilogy.  In this read, Benner focuses you on how you personally were made in the image of God and how you were created differently than others on purpose.  Benner reminds you through out that God enjoys you, and that God created you and wants to spend time with you.  This book is full of self assessment and is worth all the time and effort you have to give.

None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

Jen Wilkin is a fantastic Bible teacher and as you turn the pages of this book you can see why many eagerly awaited her latest book, None Like Him. Each page points you towards God and teaches you about His character. This book is about 10 ways God is different than us as humans and why that is good thing.  This book is well laid out and easy to read as a devotional, for a book club or community group.  Each chapter is dedicated to one of the ten ways God is different, making it easy to read, think and discuss.  She kindly gives questions to reflect at each chapter personally and also questions for a group discussion.  Such a great book!

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