Tuesday, June 30, 2015

7 Family Ministry Essentials by Michelle Anthony & Megan Marshman

"7 Family Ministry Essentials: A Strategy for Culture Change in Children's and Student Ministries" by Michelle Anthony & Megan Marshman is a must-read for anyone working in family ministry!

There are 7 main principals presented in this book.
1. Empowering families to take spiritual leadership in the home
2. Forming lifetime faith that transcends childhood beliefs
3. Teaching Scripture as the ultimate authority of truth
4. Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit's power to teach and transform
5. Engaging every generation in the gospel of God's redemptive story
6. Making God central in daily living and every biblical narrative
7. Working with the community to further God's will.

For some, these principals may seem natural, but they often get overlooked. Too many spiritual leaders have fallen by the wayside as morals and values get watered down. Michelle Anthony and Megan Marshman explain just how to keep the spark in your children and student ministries!

Chapters end with a Ministry Assessment which consists of ways to challenge and motivate your family ministry leaders.

I found this book to be a wonderfully beneficial book to anyone involved in student or children's ministry. It is quite a heavy read, which makes it difficult to put down and return to later, but I don't think that necessarily reflects on the quality of the book. Also, I felt that these two authors really did their research for this book.

I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion. I rate this book as 4 stars.

About the Authors:

Dr. Michelle Anthony is the vice president of learning resources at David C. Cook, a popular speaker, and the author of "Spiritual Parenting", "The Big God Story" and "Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family." Michelle has graduate degrees in Christian education and theology as well as over twenty-five years of family ministry experience. Michelle and her husband, Michael, are the parents of two adult children and live in Colorado.

Megan Fate Marshman is the director of student resources and production for David C. Cook and has led and challenged thousands of students in their faith at Hume Lake Christian Camps. With a master's degree in organizational leadership from Azusa Pacific University, Megan speaks nationally at churches, conferences, and university chapels. She and her husband, Randy, live in California.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Bread and Butter by Erin McKenna

Since I recently had a family member switch to a gluten-free diet because of an allergy, I thought this book would be perfect to review! "Bread and Butter: Gluten-free Vegan recipes to fill your bread basket" by Erin Mckenna is a beautifully illustrated hardcover cookbook filled with 160 pages of gluten-free goodness. It also includes a troubleshooting chapter and ingredient assistance.

The recipes include sandwich bread, English muffins, pizza dough, scones, tortillas, biscuits, crackers, puff pastry and so much more! It even includes other recipes such as vegan dressings, pizza sauce and hummus. Most of the recipes are simple and easy to understand, and each one tells you how much it makes. Each recipe includes full color photos and the pages have bright and cheery backgrounds.

When I look for a good cookbook, I want to know that the chef has extensive experience before I purchase their book. Gluten-free and vegan cooking is more than just a hobby to author, Erin Mckenna. It's her career. Erin Mckenna is the founder and head baker of BabyCakes NYC and Bakery Valentine NYC, bakeries that specialize in gluten-free vegan pastries and baked goods, with outposts in New York City, Los Angeles, and Disney Springs at Downtown Disney in Orlando, Florida. This is her third book, but the first to focus on savory breads.

I think "Bread and Butter" is a resourceful guide to baking gluten free. I loved flipping through the pages, peeking at the delicious recipes. I will definitely be trying a few of these out in the near future. I love that the author has put such love into these recipes so even the gluten-free folks can enjoy delicious breads!

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion. I rate this book as 5 stars.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Grace of God by Jep & Jessica Robertson

This week I was ecstatic to read "The Good, The Bad, and The Grace of God: What honesty and pain taught us about faith, family and forgiveness" by Jep & Jessica Robertson! Our family has always been big fans of Duck Dynasty, but I didn't really know all that much about Jep and Jessica. As they state in their book, they were slowly introduced onto the tv show, so they weren't really on there full time until about the fourth season. I was familiar with the Roberson's background, but I was unaware that Jep and Jessica had a rough start too.

In the darkest time of Jep's life, he dealt with a terrible drug addiction. He fell away from his relationship with God and it took some serious intervention from his parents and his brothers to get him back on track to get right with God. He ended up moving back in with Phil and Kay for awhile as an agreement with Phil so they could keep an eye on him and keep him accountable. It was right after this, that he met Jessica.

Jessica had a wonderful upbringing and was a happy well-rounded child. She spent most of her time outdoors and was just always on the go! She was a people pleaser at heart though which caused her some problems as she grew older. When her first marriage failed, she was constantly worried about what other people thought or if they would be upset with her. After she met Jep, they were just friends for awhile. Jep and his friend, Trey led a Bible study and it was there that Jessica fully gave her life to Jesus. She realized that she had immense worth and value, and that no one else's opinion of her mattered.

The chapters alternate between Jep and Jessica's point of view. I thought it was really nice how they each began at the beginning, when they were children and then brought the story to when they met, married and then everything after. There was so much that I didn't know about them as a couple. I didn't know the things they had personally struggled with and I felt that I could truly relate to a lot of what Jessica had to say because she is a lot like me! I also had a divorce at a very young age, and I was a true people pleaser at heart. So many people didn't understand, or were judgmental.

This book was a refreshing read to me. So many people think that Christians are just judgmental and hypocrites but the reality is that we all mess up! The difference is that we know our Savior and we know He will forgive us when we ask. I absolutely loved this book. I will keep it on my shelf and continue to read it over and over again. I love what the Robertson's have done with their tv show and if they lived around here, I think we could be friends! I rate this book as 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

"Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania" by Erik Larson is the historical account of the Lusitania and it's Captain William Thomas Turner.

The events of this book take place in the height of the World War I. Germany had just declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, On May 1, 1915, the Lusitania sailed out of the New York Harbor for the last time carrying  a record number of children and infants. Passengers were surprisingly calm on the voyage despite the recent war activity in Europe. Although at this point, America was not yet involved in the war against Germany.

The Lusitania was a gigantic ship. Remember this was around the same time that the Titanic was sailing, and the Lusitania was just as large. The British specifically had the Lusitania built to the specifications of a battle ship so that it could easily be converted from a passenger carrier to a battle ship in times of war. Which is the reason why there were 192 furnaces on board to keep the turbines running.

What I liked best about this book is that the author painted an extraordinary description of life in America and Europe at this point in history. President Woodrow Wilson had just suffered the death of his wife and was quite depressed with his personal life and the happenings going on in the world. The tale of the Lusitania is horrifying, but written very well. It's a page turner that will be sure to give you a new insight to an old story.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hutterite Diaries

"Hutterite Diaries" by Linda Maendel is an interesting read on a community unknown to many. Often mistaken for Amish, Hutterites share many similarities with the former but have Anabaptist roots and a large part of their teachings are actually in German. Their community is located in Western Canada and is known for their farming.

"Hutterite Diaries" is somewhat of a memoir, written by a woman who has lived in a Hutterite community for her entire life. She shares humorous stories as well as some heartbreaking ones. Readers also learn about how their community works as far as cooking and working, and how the members all share their money and are allotted an "allowance" for the things they would like to buy. Linda also explains how her school and church services work. Hutterite members also have modern homes and vehicles and use modern technology, which is one thing that distinguishes them from the Amish.

This book is a little different from what I expected. Each chapter is like a different diary entry and can stand alone without the previous chapters. As I said earlier, there are some humorous entries written, but Linda has somewhat of a dry old-fashioned humor so the jokes might not be humorous to all readers. It was hard to relate to way of living, but it was an interesting read none the less. I rate this book as 4 stars.

I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.