Archive for June, 2009

Live Deeply and Live Relationally by Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose

Both of these bible studies are fabulous!  I have done several weeks in the Live Deeply study and have really enjoyed it.  If you are looking for a new bible study I highly recommend this series!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card authors are:

and the books:

Live Deeply: A Study in the Parables of Jesus

David C. Cook; New edition edition (June 1, 2009)

AND

Live Relationally: Lessons from the Women of Genesis

David C. Cook; New edition edition (June 1, 2009)

ABOUT THE AUTHORs:

Lenya Heitzig is an award-winning author and popular Bible teacher. After beginning her ministry as a single women’s counselor with Youth With a Mission, Lenya married Skip and together they started Calvary of Albuquerque, one of the fast growing churches in the country. The author of Holy Moments and coauthor of the Gold Medallion-winning, Pathways to God’s Treasures, Lenya currently serves as Director of Women at Calvary, overseeing weekly Bible studies and yearly retreats. Lenya and Skip live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Visit the author’s website.

Penny Pierce Rose is the award-winning author/coauthor of several books and Bible studies, including the ECPA Gold Medallion winner, Pathways to God’s Treasures. She has served on the board of directors for the Southwest Women’s Festival and develops Bible study curriculum for the women’s programs at Calvary of Albuquerque. Penny, her husband, Kerry, and their three children, Erin, Kristian, and Ryan, live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

Live Deeply:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition edition (June 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434799867
ISBN-13: 978-1434799869

Live Relationally:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition edition (June 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434767485
ISBN-13: 978-1434767486

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTERs:

LESSON ONE

Root Determines Fruit

Matthew 13:1–23

Lenya adored Mrs. Johnson, her elementary school teacher, because she had the ability to bring Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to life. Lenya’s sister would anxiously wait for her to arrive home to retell the story in every detail. Penny loved nothing more than spooky bedtime tales from her granddaddy. She’d lie awake at night, jumping at every sound, wondering whether the boogeyman was real. All our kids loved trips to the library for story hour.

Since ancient times, storytellers have enthralled audiences with tales both entertaining and instructive. In 300 BC, Aesop, the Greek storyteller, featured animals like the tortoise and the hare in his fables vividly illustrating how to solve problems. The Brothers Grimm gathered fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel in nineteenth-century Germany to teach children valuable moral lessons. Baby boomers were mesmerized when Walt Disney animated their favorite stories in amazing Technicolor.

However, throughout history no one has compared to Jesus Christ as a storyteller. Rather than telling fables or fairy tales, He told parables. A parable is a short, simple story designed to communicate a spiritual truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. It is a figure of speech in which truth is illustrated by a comparison or example drawn from everyday experiences. Warren Wiersbe simply says, “A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.”1 Throughout this study we’ll learn from the stories Jesus told, comparing them to our lives and putting His eternal truths into practice.

Day 1: Matthew 13:1–3 Floating Pulpit Day 2: Matthew 13:3–9 Fertile Parable Day 3: Matthew 13:10–13 Few Perceive Day 4: Matthew 13:14–17 Fulfilled Prophecy Day 5: Matthew 13:18–23 Four Possibilities

DAY 1

Floating Pulpit

Lift up…

Lord, I love to gather with Your people and listen to Your Word. Help me to be a faithful hearer, not only listening to what You say but obeying Your commands. Thank You for being in our midst. Amen.

Look at…

Jesus proved Himself to be the promised King—the Messiah of Israel—through His impeccable birthright, powerful words, and supernatural deeds. Despite His amazing miracles and the many ways He fulfilled prophecy, the religious leaders rejected His lordship. Knowing the religious leaders had turned on Him, Jesus directed His attention to the common people. Matthew 13 tells how Jesus stepped onto a floating pulpit on the Sea of Galilee and spoke in parables to explain how the gospel—the good news of salvation—would inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth.

The parable of the Sower is one of seven parables Jesus taught to describe what His kingdom would look like as a result of the religious establishment rejecting Him. This parable was a precursor to the Great Commission that Jesus would give His disciples after His death, burial, and resurrection: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). There is no evidence that the religious leaders stayed to listen to Jesus’ simple stories. Yet after this teaching session, the resentment of the religious leaders only deepened.

Read Matthew 13:1–3.

On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. Matthew 13:1

Explain what Jesus did on this day in His ministry.

Matthew 13:1 is the continuation of a critical day in Jesus’ ministry. Briefly scan Matthew 12; then answer the following questions to learn more about this “same day.”
What day of the week is referred to here?
What miracles did Jesus perform on this day?
Describe Jesus’ encounters with the religious leaders.
What did He teach about becoming a member of His family?

According to Mark 3:6, what did the Pharisees begin to do on this fateful day?

And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.” Matthew 13:2–3

Explain why Jesus got into the boat.
How many people stayed to hear Jesus’ message?
What method of teaching did Jesus use in speaking to the
multitudes?
What types of things did He teach in parables?
Galilee was an important region to Jesus. Fill in the following table to learn more.

Scripture Galilee’s Significance

Matthew 4:18–21
Matthew 17:22–23
Matthew 26:31–32
Luke 1:26–28
Luke 2:39–40
Acts 10:36–38

We’ve learned that many people came to know Jesus in Galilee. Journal about the place where you encountered Jesus and how meeting Him affected your feelings about that location.

Jesus was “moved with compassion” for the multitudes that followed Him. Circle below to indicate how you respond to the many people who are lost and looking for a shepherd.

Eager to share the gospel

Impatient with their ignorance

Anxious to get away

Concerned for their eternity

Frightened by their unruliness

Other __________________

Journal a prayer asking God to supernaturally fill you with compassion for the multitudes that don’t know Him.

The multitudes crowded around Jesus, so He turned a boat on the Sea of Galilee into a floating pulpit. In his book Fully Human, Fully Alive, John Powell tells about a friend vacationing in the Bahamas who was drawn to a noisy crowd gathered toward the end of a pier:

Upon investigation he discovered that the object of all the attention was a young man making the last-minute preparations for a solo journey around the world in a homemade boat. Without exception everyone on the pier was vocally pessimistic. All were actively volunteering to tell the ambitious sailor all the things that could possibly go wrong. “The sun will broil you! … You won’t have enough food! … That boat of yours won’t withstand the waves in a storm! … You’ll never make it!”

When my friend heard all these discouraging warnings to the adventurous young man, he felt an irresistible desire to offer some optimism and encouragement. As the little craft began drifting away from the pier towards the horizon, my friend went to the end of the pier, waving both arms wildly like semaphores spelling confidence. He kept shouting: “Bon Voyage! You’re really something! We’re with you! We’re proud of you!”2

If you had been there as the boat was leaving, which group on the pier would you have been among: the optimists or the pessimists? More importantly, if you had been in the crowds along the Sea of Galilee, would you have joined the Pharisees seeking to harm Jesus or the crowd eagerly listening to the stories Jesus told?

Listen to …

The best leaders … almost without exception and at every level, are master users of stories and symbols.

—Tom Peters

LESSON ONE

Eve–Trouble in Paradise

Genesis 2:18-3:24

The first trouble in paradise was man’s aloneness. For six consecutive days–as God created light, the cosmos, the land and sea, the stars and planets, the creatures in the sea and sky, and every living thing that moves, including the ultimate creation of man–God declared, “It is good.” But there was one thing that wasn’t good: Man did not have a companion. So God created the perfect mate for Adam. She would be the counterpart for him physically, spiritually, intellectually, and socially. She was intended to complete him. She was more than a mate–she was a soul mate.

We know this woman as Eve. Although the Bible does not describe her, there is no doubt that she was the most beautiful woman who ever lived. Why? She was God’s masterpiece. The Divine dipped His paintbrush into the palette of dust and clay and breathed life from His wellspring of inspiration to form a portrait of perfection. Just imagine a woman with a face more beautiful than Helen of Troy, a body more statuesque than the Venus de Milo, a personality more captivating than Cleopatra, and a smile more mysterious than the Mona Lisa. She ate a perfect diet, so her figure was probably flawless. Because of an untainted gene pool, she was undoubtedly without physical defect. Due to the antediluvian atmosphere, her complexion was age-defying perfection. She was never a child, daughter, or sister. She was the first wife, the first mother, and the first woman to encounter evil incarnate. That’s when real trouble in paradise began.

Day 1: Genesis 2:18-25 Paradise Found

Day 2: Genesis 3:1-6 Innocence Lost

Day 3: Genesis 3:7-13 Hiding Out

Day 4: Genesis 3:14-19 Judgment Pronounced

Day 5: Genesis 3:20-24 East of Eden

DAY 1

Paradise Found

Lift up …

Thank You, Lord, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You have created me in Your image to glorify Your name. May I fulfill Your will in my heart and home. Amen.

Look at …

We begin our study when God made man and woman. Though God created both humans and animals, this does not mean that they are on equal footing. People are made in God’s image, setting us apart from animals in a profound way. We possess a soul. The soul refers to a person’s inner life. It is the center of our emotions and personality. The word soul is first used in Genesis: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being [soul]” (Gen. 2:7). In other words, humans possess intellect, emotion, and will.

For instance, dogs aren’t bright enough to realize they’ll never catch their own tails; cows don’t weep over the beauty of a sunset; and a female praying mantis can’t keep herself from chewing her spouse’s head off. People, on the other hand, have the ability to acquire knowledge and experience deep feelings. They also have the capacity for self-control. While animals act instinctively, we as humans should behave transcendently. We are God’s special creation endowed with the gift of “soul-power.”

Read Genesis 2:18-25.

And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:18-25

Explain the problem and solution God first spoke about in this passage.

Describe in detail the task God assigned to Adam.

Compare and contrast Adam to the rest of the living beings.

In your own words describe how God created woman.

a. When Adam met his mate he made a proclamation. What do you think “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” signified for Adam?

b. What did he call his mate and why?

Here we find the first mention of marriage in Scripture. Explain God’s intent for marriage.

a. What else do you learn about the man and wife in this passage?

b. Why do you think this is relevant?

Live out …

a. God declared that man needs companionship. Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and explain some of the reasons why it is better to have a mate to come alongside you.

Read the sidebar concerning “Threefold Strength” and talk about how you have experienced God’s supernatural strength in your life and/or marriage.

Many women today struggle with the way they look, think, and feel. But when God made Eve from Adam’s rib, this was not His intent. When He made you, He made you to be the person you are too. With this in mind, journal Psalm 139:13-14 into a personal psalm praising God for making you just as you are.

For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works. Ps. 139:13-14

Before the fall, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. It’s probably difficult to imagine being unashamed about our looks, actions, or thoughts. But Jesus came to free us from condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Read the following Scriptures and talk about how we can either stand ashamed or unashamed before God.

Psalm 119:5-6

Isaiah 41:11

Isaiah 49:23

Jeremiah 8:9

It’s safe to say that none of us is perfectly content with our frame. We all wish we were better, thinner, richer, healthier, smarter, or younger. We may think that if we were different in some way people would accept us, respect us, or love us more. Maybe we’d even love and respect ourselves more. Like Eve, we would walk in this world unashamed.

A recent University of Waterloo study determined that people’s self-esteem is linked to such traits as physical appearance, social skills, and popularity. Research associate Danu Anthony noted that acceptance from others is strongly tied to appearances. Furthermore, the study found that self-esteem is connected to traits that earn acceptance from other people. “People state emphatically that it is ‘what’s inside’ that counts and encourage their children not to judge others based on appearances, yet they revere attractive people to an astonishing degree,” Anthony says. “They say they value communal qualities such as kindness and understanding more than any other traits, but seem to be exceptionally interested in achieving good looks and popularity.” The bottom line is that people’s looks and behavior are intimately linked to being accepted by others.3

As women of faith, we know that acceptance from others is not nearly as important as our acceptance of One Man–the God/Man Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Only by accepting Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death will you be made whole: “You are complete in Him” (Col. 2:10).

Listen to…

The woman was formed out of man–not out of his head to rule over him; not out of his feet to be trampled upon by him; but out of his side to be his equal, from beneath his arm to be protected, and from near his heart to be loved.

–Matthew Henry

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Faith ‘n Fiction Saturday :: Dad Edition

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Today’s Topic
Well since tomorrow is Father’s Day and it’s likely that a few of you may still need to purchase a Father’s Day gift why not books?

Do you have a book you’d recommend as a Father’s Day gift? I’m particularly interested in any Christian fiction books you’d recommend for dads, since I’m always reading that men read less fiction than women!

Neither my dad nor my brother are book readers, oh how I wish they were :o)  I do have a cousin who love books so we often get him the latest Political Thriller, and some Christian books have fit that area.

I think if I were to buy my brother a book it would be one about fatherhood, he and my sister-law and trying to get pregnant and I think he would really appreciate the views of a Godly man who is a father.

My Uncle has always loved fiction so we usually get a book for him in the suspense genre and sometimes a giftbook or a really nice devotional.  As far as a specific Fiction book, probably the new Ted Dekker books….He has long been a Peretti fan and I think he would like Dekker’s books.  I also think  Charles Swindoll’s Great Lives from God’s Word series would be fabulous.  And 1776 and John Adams by David McCullough would be fascinating.

Hmmm.  I need some more fellows in my life that read to really answer this question properly…haha!  I do notice that my guy friends read a lot more Christian Living topical- especially about youth and the like… more than fiction…

Amy, this is a question I have always pondered as it seems most Christian fiction is marketed specifically toward women which makes me sad.  I know some guy friends who love to read….we need an Christian answer to a Tom Clancy  or David Baldacci and the likes :o)

So there you you have my opinion….and I cannot wait to read yours!

For more Faith ‘n Fiction Saturday visit Amy over at her blog My Friend Amy.

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge

I saw the cover and synopsis of Never The Bride many months ago and instantly added it to my must-read list.  I was not disappointed.  As soon as I started the book I felt like a kindred spirit to Jessie.  Her life seems to be one humorous mishap after the other.  At work, at home, and especially in love.  She has dreamed of her proposal and her wedding for so long that she has journal upon journal full of them.  There are times in fact she feels like she is going crazy.  You see it seems that the God of the Universe is now talking to her, and even more she is seeing and interacting with Him.

All the craziness leads to a fantastic story about letting go.  Letting go of dreams and plans and letting God write the perfect story for you.

As a single girl, Never The Bride, struck a strong chord within my heart.  So many of my dreams and longings were Jessie’s.  And as I read the book I started changing my perspective too…and I longed for more.  From Him.  This book made me think and it made me laugh and it made me cry.

So if you are a single girl I recommend this book wholeheartedly….and if you are a married girl I think you too will see yourself in Jessie and enjoy her story too!

Never the Bride COVER ART.jpgAbout the Book:
Eleven Bridesmaid Dresses Don’t Lie

Since she was just a little girl, Jessie Stone dreamed up hundreds of marriage proposals, doodled the romantic ideas in her journal with her treasured purple pen, and fantasized about wedding dresses and falling in love. She’s been a bridesmaid nearly a dozen times, waved numerous couples off to sunny honeymoons, and shopped in more department stores for half-price fondue pots than she cares to remember.

But shopping for one key component of these countless proposals hasn’t been quite as productive–a future husband. The man she thought she would marry cheated on her. The crush she has on her best friend Blake is at very best…well, crushing. And speed dating has only churned out memorable horror stories.

So when God shows up one day, in the flesh, and becomes a walking, talking part of her life, Jessie is skeptical. What will it take to convince her that the Almighty has a better plan than one she’s already cooked up in her journals? Can she turn over her pen and trust someone else to craft a love story beyond her wildest dreams?

Cheryl McKay is the screenwriter for the award-winning film The Ultimate Gift. She also wrote an episode of Gigi: God’s Little Princess, based on the book by Sheila Walsh, and Taylor’s Wall, a drama about high-school violence. She’s been writing since the tender age of five when she penned her first play. Cheryl is originally from Boston, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Rene Gutteridge is a critically acclaimed comedy writer and novelist. She is the author of fifteen novels including the Boo series, My Life as a Doormat, the Occupational Hazards series, and the novelization of the motion picture The Ultimate Gift. She lives in Oklahoma with her family.

****A Giveaway****

I have one copy of Never The Bride to giveaway!  So just leave a comment on this post and I will select a winner using random.org on Thursday June 18th! (open to US and Canadian residents only.  I will close the comments and draw a winner at 11:59 on the 18th and notify the winner by email!)


Faith ‘n Fiction Saturday :: June 13

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Amy has comes up with some interesting topics for this fun meme and today’s topic is no exception!

I am always interested in how Christians feel about speculative fiction. It seems to me that evangelical Christians generally (NOT ALWAYS) like to look things in very black and white terms and have everything grounded in reality. Speculative fiction by definition is not grounded in reality as we know it.

According to wikipedia, “speculative fiction is a fiction genre speculating about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways. In these contexts, it generally overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.”

How do you feel about speculative fiction in general and specifically how do you feel about Christian speculative fiction? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you see to Christian speculative fiction?

For a few minutes I could not think of any speculative fiction I had ever really read…and then I remembered some secular novels I had really enjoyed that had been speculative…as I tried to think of some Christian speculative fiction I had read I remembered the hugely popular Left Behind Series… I think as far as the Christian genre goes for me that was a good introduction to speculative fiction and people went wild over it.  I worked at a Christian bookstore for time when the series was coming out and it was insanity when a new book was released.  I did read the first half of the series but soon lost interest as I thought I would wait for the real thing.  :)

I think the problem with Christian speculative fiction is that it can only go so far and since a lot of true speculative fiction would be dealing with things Christian’s frown upon…

I agree with Amy’s assessment that most Christian fiction seems to deal with the spiritual warfare and I think this is why speculative fiction will always be at a disadvantage in the Christian market as some people are quite taken aback by the idea of fantasy and other forms of speculative fiction.  Because spiritual warfare is real It think a lot of people don’t want to deal with it in a fiction book…of course there are exceptions like Frank Peretti who has been wildly popular.  I have never read one of his books but have many friends who love his writings… and now there are several others making a dent in the speculative fiction market.

I distinctly remember working at the bookstore and a lady being very upset that we carried The Chronicles of Narnia series…according to her it had no place in a Christian bookstore.  I remember being heart broken because that series woke up my imagination when I was in 5th grade!  But because it was dealing with something that could not be explained and had to be imagined many Christian’s object to the idea of the series having to do anything with Christianity.

To be honest I think I am one of those people that enjoy speculative fiction in movie or television form the most.  I love LOTR and enjoy re-watching the movies and there are several fantasy television shows and movie I enjoy as well.  :o)

So there you have my thoughts on today’s F’nFS topic… for more thoughts on this topic visit Amy of My Friend Amy.

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions By James A. Beverley

I love learning about different Religions.  I am fascinated with the ideas of others.  So I jumped at the chance to review Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions by James A Beverley.

There are many Religions covered in this book, from Buddhism to New Age.  Each chapter is a look at a different Religion.  The tagline for the book is a Comprehensive introduction to the Religions of the World.  I believe that once sentence statement describes this book perfectly!

Mr Beverley delves into the Religions beginnings and often has a timeline as the the beginning of the Religion to current day. He gives you significant figures, dates, and beliefs of each Religion.  One of my favorite things was the charts he used at times to make things more clear and to help you make sense of many aspects.  He also gives what, as Christians, our response should be.  He also includes a chart at the end of each chapter full or resources if you would like to delve deeper. The Introduction to the book is fabulous as the author answers many questions we seem to have about those Religions different from our own.  One of my favorite thing he teaches us in this book is

Commitment to Jesus demands that the study of religion be carried out in love.

If you want to learn more about the different world religions I highly recommend this book!

About the Book:
_140_245_Book.29.cover.jpgA comprehensive introduction to the religions of the world analyzed from a Christian perspective

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions covers more than 200 religions, sects, and cults, most of them ones the reader might encounter on any given day. It is the most complete and up-to-date Christian guide to world religions. Perfect for the student as well as the layperson. Written by leading expert in religions, James A. Beverley. Benefits include: Easy-to-follow format and comprehensive content make this the perfect resource for both scholars and laypersons Reader’s knowledge of world religions is expanded, providing a new context for their own faith and world view.

Faith ‘n Fiction Saturday :: Awards Edition.

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I have not participated in Faith ‘n Fiction Saturday in a while but as part of building my book blog back up I thought I would jump back in.  I always enjoy Amy’s ideas and discussions and today is no exception.

Amy has the wonderful idea of some internet based Christian Fiction Awards. How fabulous is that!

Today she is looking for two things:
1) Categories you’d like to see
2) If you want to help with behind the scenes organizational stuff.

1. Categories- well we know the basics… favorite romance, comteporary, historical… what about favorite character…male and female. Or Fiction that made us ponder. Or Character we loved to hate. :)  Of course favorite author too!  Maybe friendliest author or author most likely to visit your blog or email you back?  Favorite author to follow on Twitter, etc….

Favorite writing style would be interesting…as well as Best Collaboration of authors. Book you would like to see made into a movie? Or Book that kept you up all night. Book you wish you were a character in?  And since book trailers are really popular now…what about best book trailer?

Wow this is fun…I could go on and on :)

Amy I LOVE this idea and would love to help in any way that I can!

If you have any ideas for awards or want to participate please go visit My Friend Amy.

Daughter’s of Boston Winner…

The winner of her choice of book from Julie’s Daughter’s of Boston series is…

KRISTEN!

Thanks to all those who entered…and I will be hosting some more fun book giveaway’s this summer…so keep reading :)


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