befriend ~ create belonging in an age of judgement, isolation, and fear – Book Review

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befriend ~ create belonging in an age of judgement, isolation, and fear by Scott Sauls was a joy to read.

Befriend is a beautiful collection of essays that attempt to explore a unique picture of real friendship.  The names and places are changed, but every story is true!  I love that part.  Who doesn’t love a true story that can inspire, lift the spirits, challenge us, better yet, change our lives.

C.S. Lewis said “To love at all is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis was right.  Real love, real friendship, is vulnerable, risky, costly, and discomforting.  But in this book Sauls reminds us what the Bible says about love.  It is patient and kind.  It does not envy or boast.  It is not arrogant or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable or resentful.  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.  It never fails.

Befriend will point you towards diverse friendships that can enrich your life as well as those around you.  We’re talking about real friendships, not your Facebook feed, Twitter followers, Instagram groupies.  I’m talking face to face honest, sincere, caring, loving friendships.

I liked that at the end of each chapter there is a Summary, Scripture and To Consider.  An example is chapter 7 Befriend True Friends and Significant Others;

SUMMARY: God puts us in close, covenant relationships as part of our growth.  He promises to finish the good work he has begun in us and to use marriage and close friendship on the process.  This is why we stay committed and don’t give up on each other.

SCRIPTURE: Genesis 2:22-25; Philippians 1:6 Man looks on the outward appearance; but the Lord looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)

TO CONSIDER: When it comes to choosing a close friend or significant other, what criteria do we use?  Which matters most – physical appearance and pedigree, or a humble heart and a well-worn Bible?  Why is it important that the closest people to us also be given permission to challenge us where our character and Christlikeness is lacking?

I encourage you to pick up a copy of Befriend and start on the path to engaging with those who can challenge and enhance our limited perspectives.

I loved the book! I rate it

Five star rating - shiny golden stars

I received a complimentary sample of this book from BuzzPlant for my own honest opinion.

God Bless, Jay

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2 Chairs ~ The Secret That Changes Everything – Book Review

featured_image_6d857fe1f63ea6698377e80a4c9f3b032 Chairs – The secret That Changes Everything by Bob Beaudine shows us the importance of engaging God in daily conversations before we do anything else in the morning.

Just before graduating college Beaudine’s mother shared with him “2 Chairs” .  The concept is simple, yet has the power to change your life and your relationship with God.  Beaudine encourages us to find a quiet place and set up 2 chairs.  This could be the kitchen table, family room, den, the porch, even the beach. One chair for you and one chair for God.

She once asked me, “Bob, if there was a one percent chance that God would meet you, would you set up the 2 Chairs?”

There are 3 vital questions that 2 Chairs ask:

  1. Does God know your situation?
  2. Is it too hard for Him to handle?
  3. Does He have a good plan for you?

After addressing these questions Beaudine explains 7 practical steps to help you start your daily encounter with God at your 2 Chairs.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book, and next time your dealing with issues in your life, no matter how big or small, pull up a chair and ask God to join you.

I give this book 412stars  I would have given 5 stars except I thought there was a little too much self promoting of the book at the beginning.

I received a complimentary sample of this book from BuzzPlant for my honest opinion.

God Bless, Jay

Closer Than Close – Book Review

Closer Than978-1-63146-408-9 Close – Awakening to the Freedom of Your Union with Christ By Dave Hickman really hit me at my core.  If you are anything like me, at one time or another you have found yourself struggling to be closer to God, trying to earn intimacy with God.  God knows that has been me more times than I want to admit.  Hickman shows us that we have it all wrong, I have it all wrong.  We need to stop looking for a relationship between two individuals (God and I), because what God is inviting us into is much more intimate, a union with Christ.

We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God.  What’s absent is awareness.

“Union with Christ” – Those three little words, without complete understanding of what they mean, can be quite scary for most Christians.  But it is what God wants.  John 14:18,20 says “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. …In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”  That’s not a relationship, it’s a union, “in” that’s closer than close.

I loved how Hickman wrote this book.  I felt like I was on the back porch having a talk with a friend.  Simple terms and from the heart.  I also liked that at the end of each chapter there are discussion questions which makes this book great for a small group study.

I highly recommend Closer Than Close5 out of 5 stars.

You can read an excerpt HERE

Closer than Close is available on Amazon.

I am blessed to have received a copy of this book for free from Tyndale Publishers for review purposes.  I received no other compensation and the review is my own honest opinion of the book.

Have a blessed day, Jay

Next Door As It Is In Heaven – Book Review

NextDoorHeaven_3DNext Door As It Is In HeavenLiving Out God’s Kingdom In Your Neighborhood by Lance Ford and Brad Brisco, was a complete joy to read.

There was a time when neighborhoods were places of community, where you not only knew your neighbors names, but you knew their joys, and their sorrows, and more importantly you helped and loved your neighbor.  I grew up in that kind of neighborhood, and I’m a better person for it.  But the neighborhood “where everybody knows your name”, has become the neighborhood “where nobody knows your name.” Ford and Brisco shows us the way back to community and love for each other with basic principles and best practices.

Ford and Brisco remind us that Jesus has two primary commands for us, His followers, “Love God”, and “love your neighbor as yourself.”

Throughout the book Ford and Brisco give several ways that we can change our actions and our mindset.  One of my favorites is Hangouts – The Importance Of Third Places.

Third Places are settings that are common ground, or “hangout.”  Coffee Shops, Cafes, Community Centers, Beauty Parlors, Barbershops, General Stores, and Bookstores.  In the most basic sense, a third place is a public setting that hosts regular, voluntary, and informal gatherings of people.  There are eight characteristics that are essential in the makeup of a typical third place.

  1. Neutral ground – people are free to come and go as they please.
  2. Acts as a leveler – a third place is an inclusive place. People from all walks of life gather.
  3. Conversation is the main activity – the talk is lively.
  4. Accessible and accommodating – can go there almost anytime and someone will be there and conveniently located.
  5. There are regulars – regulars set the tone of hospitality and regulars are attracted there because of the other customers.
  6. Low profile – as a physical structure, they are usually plain and unimpressive in appearances, but this adds to the essential need to linger.
  7. Mood is playful – the mood encourages people to stay longer and come back repeatedly.
  8. A home away from home – at their core, third places are where people feel at home.

He values his call as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, which requires him to live his life as a faithful neighbor on earth.

At the end of each chapter they have a little “Reflection and Preparation” section which helps the reader fully absorb and help put into action what they have just read.

This is by far one of the best books I have ever read, and I believe, has the power to transform our world one neighborhood at a time.

hospitality-is-an-adventureHere is a “Declaration of Interdependence” that your neighborhood can use.  declarationcertificate_nocrops_x1a

I highly recommend Next Door As It Is In Heaven5 out of 5 stars.

You can read an excerpt HERE

Next Door As It Is In Heaven is available on Amazon.

 

I am blessed to have received a copy of this book for free from Tyndale Publishers for review purposes.  I received no other compensation and the review is my own honest opinion of the book.

Have a blessed day, Jay