Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Review - I Am Second by Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett

If you have followed my blog for any amount of time you will know I love the organization I Am Second.  The videos are inspiring and powerful.  Now you can get a taste of it in book form.

I Am Second: Real Stories, Changed Lives   -     
        By: Dave Sterrett
Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett have compiled stories from famous people and everyday, ordinary people who have all met God in a deep and difficult place in their life and chosen to place Him FIRST in their lives.  If God is FIRST then, by definition ... I Am Second.

Publisher's BlurbWe've all hit bottom at one time or another. The important thing is what you do afterward. For the people who share their stories in I Am Second, coming to the end of themselves brought them to the feet of Jesus. Whether famous or unfamiliar they've dealt with the dark and painful consequences of issues such as addiction, infidelity, violence, racism, and abortion, to name a few. You'll read the testimonies of Josh Hamilton, Michelle Aguilar, Bethany Hamilton, Brian Welch, Anne Rice, Tony Dungy, and many others. From pastors to beauty queens, pro baseball players to single moms, they all needed the gospel of Jesus Christ. In turn, they've discovered the life-changing power of putting God first, boldly proclaiming "I Am Second."

This book is an easy read but not a light read.  The words will dramatically change your views, your perspective and possibly your life. Each chapter is a different person and a different story all concluding to the same ending.  God is a powerful God and He longs to be intimately involved in our lives.  These folks are living proof of that.  Concluding each chapter are QR scanning codes and url links to similar stories.  It is a little like the "If you like this item, then you might like this..." links we find on many sites, like Amazon.

Reviewing this book has been a challenge because every person who reads it will get a different nugget from it.  However I think I can honestly say you will definitely get something out of it.  Even if you are familiar with the videos, the book seems to go deeper into the story, offering more insight and detail.  (Click here to see what the people in the book have to say about it.)  The book is a valuable purchase.  It would also make a great gift.  An excellent coffee table conversation starter.  And a powerful witness.

The story with the most impact for me was actually the foreword explaining the rival quarterbacks (Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford) and the impact their story had on the people of Dallas Texas. Check it out.  Another favourite one was Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs, a story of love lost and re-won through the power of a loving God who works in His timing and in His way, if we are obedient.
"Sometimes what gets lost in the whole debate is that God is a personal God and these are the stories of people who have personally interacted with Him and their lives have been radically altered because of that."  Doug Bender, co-author
If you want to get a feel for the book, check out this YouTube video promoting it.  I have posted several of the videos from the website on my blog, but you are best to go right to the source -  If I haven't convinced you yet, check out this video to tell you the story of where it all comes form.

GET THE BOOK!  Share the book with your friends, family or leave it behind at a coffee shop.

Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Stand firm

The other day my teen daughter and I went to the city to do some shopping.  We finished sooner than we expected so decided on the spur of the moment to go to a movie.  We like the cheap theatre that plays the older movies - especially since it is very rare to get to see any movies in the theatre.   We checked over the list and then chose The Lucky One - a rendition of the Nicholas Sparks novel.

Usually I do not go willy-nilly to the movies without doing some homework first.  No one (especially me) wants to be caught surprised in the theatre - with their child.  So typically a visit to is always my first stop.  However, this last minute decision lefts us enough time to drive to the theatre and purchase a ticket before the movie began.  So I used my mommy sense to make the best decision I could.

  • It was rated PG-13
  • My daughter told me the synopsis from the previews
  • We'd watched The Last Song, Dear John, A Walk to Remember together
  • Lastly, my daughter is almost 17
Based on those we went in.

If you've already seen this movie you might want to disagree with me or disregard my thoughts.  However, if you haven't yet let me be your WARNING.  This is NOT appropriate  - even for an almost 17 year old.

The story line itself is a beautiful and moving plot.  I probably would have enjoyed the book if I'd read it first.  My warning comes from the sexual content included in the film.  My daughter found it uncomfortable to watch and I found it completely inappropriate for her age.  Yet the movies claims to be alright for 13 year olds.

Now, I know my standards are significantly different than Hollywood's.  I am always a little prepared for that. Yet, this one I could not prepare myself (or my daughter) for.  I can only say my opinion and I found the sexual content more of a 'how-to' than a moving love scene.  I would recommend the scenes not appropriate for anyone not married and even those married who wish to keep a pure mindset.  Way too graphic for PG-13.

You could check out pluggedin's review on The Lucky One here.

So in light of this error in judgement I would like to offer a reminder to stand firm to parents who are trying hard to allow their kids to be in this world but not of it.  Here is a lyric video from Kutless for their song Stand.  I especially love the ending.  Try to last till the end to hear it ... it is beautiful.

Have you had to stand firm for your kids lately?  I would love to hear your stories to encourage me.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review - My Stubborn heart by Becky Wade

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure.  When her grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
        Yet, she discovers a different type of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house.  He’s attractive and clearly wounded -- hiding from people, from God, and from his past.  Kate can’t help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light... whether he likes it or not.

In one word, what did I love most about this story ... honesty. But that is not all.  I loved so many things - the characters, the drama, the love story, the redemption of the hero, the portrayal of God, the setting ... the list is endless. 

I felt the story world that Becky Wade created felt rich and real. The open meadow filled with the fall sunshine and memories of family traditions that lured both of the main characters in, lured me in as well.  The old house, the old church and the excitement of making all things new.  I am not an antique-r or even remotely interested in becoming one but I found the storyworld of the old house being brought back to life was so beautifully woven into this story of restoration.  The setting became a secondary character in my mind - so relevant and implicit to the plot.

Becky's characters, Matt and Kate were fantastically written and deeply entertaining.  I love the moody, damaged emotions of our professional hockey heartthrob.  His ups and downs were engaging.  I also love cheering for the underdog - Kate.  She works hard and gives all of her heart to whatever she is doing. Yet she lives under an umbrella that it isn't quite enough sometimes. She is a delightful and uplifting character to read.  Her heart for God was well written and authentic.  

Above all of that I loved the way the spiritual journey was portrayed.  I do not want to give anything away with spoilers, so suffice it to say the journey is bumpy, unpredictable and just like real life sometimes.  You'll have to read the book to see what I mean.

A definite recommendation!  Just do it!  Go read the book!  Now!

Thank you to Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing group for offering this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.  I am not required to give a positive review.

Have you read a novel that felt very authentic to you?  What was it and what's your favorite part?