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Falling Free by Shannan Martin

Falling Free by Shannan Martin

Favourite Quotes:

“Our culture bombards us with the message that we should aspire to have more and do less…God offers a better way: have less and do more.”

“There’s a difference between being too scared to do hard things and doing hard things scared. Communing with the God of the universe will inspire all kinds of unscripted movement and giant leaps past “normal.” It’ll make surrendering seem like the safest way.”

Great Questions she asks:

“In a world where we possess the power to distract or buy our way out of most discomfort, can we ever really mean it when we say God is all we need?”

“Can I really trust enough to believe my plans are meaningless apart from him?”

I actually chose to review this book for my wife to read. Instead I ended up reading the first chapter and was unable to put it down and so, decided to read it for myself. This is a story about Shannan Martin and her family and how she ended up being rescued from the life she always wanted. It makes you question whether that perfect dream life you imagine for yourself is really the life you should aim for. Perhaps, when we are fully in God’s will there is an even better dream life that we couldn’t even imagine.

Falling Free is a story that will challenge you emotionally and spiritually as you learn story after story of their surrender and sacrifice. It is written like you are having a coffee table conversation about life, full of raw honesty, humour and questioning whether the choices she makes are the right ones. Her story really helped add a new perspective to what it means to surrender to what God wants to do with our life.” As an example, they go from living their dream life to living in what most would call the ghetto as she feels led by the Holy Spirit. They give up their life savings and their dream farm house, then deal with her quitting her job and her husband then losing his. They adopt one child, to then adopt another, to then adopter another(!!), then let a 19 year live with them. Enough surrendering and sacrifice than most of us would typically like to admit we would want to handle. If you want a story to challenge you to do more, be more grateful for what you have and push yourself closer to surrendering your whole life to God, then read this.

This book was given to me to review by booklook bloggers and has no impact on how I review. If you are an avid reader and would like to receive free books to review, I highly recommend you checking out www.booklookbloggers.com

 

 

It’s Not What You Think by Jefferson Bethke

by Ben Silk 0 Comments

Since Jefferson Bethke’s viral youtube video I have come to love his perspective and his ability to make the Bible relatable, especially with the millennials. He opens It’s Not What You Think by asking a question that I haven’t really thought of asking myself before, “what if we aren’t seeing Jesus properly? What implication does that have for our lives? What if Jesus isn’t who we think?” A great question considering how often we try and make Jesus fit into our lives instead of trying to fit in to how he lived his life. As Jefferson states later on in the book, “our dream version of following Jesus is to have all the facts. Jesus’ dream of us following him is to sit with us.” Isn’t that so true? There has been so many times personally where I wished I knew why this or that happened and instead Jesus is asking for us to be content with just being able to sit and rest in his presence. When we are able to do that we can be at peace knowing that our God is perfect, loving and always looking out for us and whatever those answers we so desperately needed, they seem to fade in comparison. His first chapter covers how our story is not what we think, that love defined us before anything else did. He reminds us of one of God’s very first questions to us, “who told you were naked?” That question always helps remind me of who the enemy is.

 

I love how he talks about how people can view the Bible, whether that be a moral compass, a sword or a collection of stories. So how do you view the Bible? “Your answer to that question ultimately gives you a very specific view of God and your role as someone under him” He goes on to say…”the best way to view Scripture as a whole is as a story —a long story that is full of the bumps and bruises, twists and turns, plotlines, character development, climaxes, and conclusions every story should have.” Ultimately the Bible is about how God became the King of the world and “when we view the Scriptures as a story—more important, this specific story—we see our own roles in the story.” Bethke challenges us as he looks at different areas of the Bible and says “it’s not what you think.” This book is easy to read and great for anyone no matter where they are in their walk with Jesus.

 

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

by Ben Silk 0 Comments

Whether you are just married, or have been married 30 years I feel there is something in this book for you. In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas questions our perspective of marriage in our lives, asking “What if God didn’t design marriage to be “easier”? What if God had an end in mind that went beyond our happiness, our comfort, and our desire to be infatuated and happy, as if the world were a perfect place? What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”

 

Sacred Marriage covers many topics, ranging from: our motives for marriage, how to have a God-centered marriage, how to deal with contempt and the sin in our lives, to honoring and respecting your spouse and much more. The experience and wisdom he shares in this book is an amazing tool to have and has provided me with a renewed perspective on how to better handle difficult situations that can occur in a growing marriage.

 

He reminds us that even though your “spouse might be difficult to love at times,…that’s what marriage is for — to teach us how to love.” I think this is a great reminder, because honestly if we are unwilling to be sacrificial for our spouses and learn to love them through the difficult times, how are we going to respond to those we may love that are not our spouse? This brings us to how do we “view God – as a master or a husband?” I believe he is trying to teach us that by viewing our relationship with God as our husband, by treating our spouse with that same selfless, God-centered love, our marriage will honour and please God.

 

Here are a couple of my favourites quotes from the book:

 

“If my marriage contradicts my message, I have sabotaged the goal of my life, which is to be pleasing to Christ and to faithfully fulfill the ministry of reconciliation, proclaiming to the world the good news that we can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.”

 

If a young man pledged to give me 10 percent of his income, weekly praise, and even wrote songs about me but the rest of the time I knew he was making one of my daughters miserable through abuse or neglect, I’d have nothing to say to him except, “Hey, start treating my daughter better, and then we can talk. If you truly respect me, you’ll start treating her much better.”

The Complete 101 Collection by John C Maxwell

There are a few certain books that I would consider essential for anyone who considers themselves a leader, or wants to learn and grow and become one. This would be one of them. Why? Because it contains some of John C Maxwell’s greatest points on so many topics, all in one book!

This book is an encyclopedia of success knowledge. It covers attitude, self-improvement, leadership, relationships, success, teamwork, equipping and mentoring. Every section covers the basics and is broken into two to three parts to help break it down even further. This is a book that I have wanted for a while and super excited to have added to my collection. Unlike most books where you would read it from cover to cover, this 101 collection that Maxwell has amassed can be read for whatever specific challenge you want to overcome. This collection is full of  principles, stories and thoughts to help guide you and help you grow as leader. Just as it states on the cover, it is exactly what every leader needs to know. If you are serious about getting better, I encourage you to pick up this book. It’s available in hardcover and is very reasonably priced, especially considering it could really be 8 separate books!

 

Questions to ask during a learning session.

Taken from John C Maxwell’s book Good Leaders ask Great Questions.

These are questions he asks to learn from others, to find out what they can teach him.

1. What is the greatest lesson you have learned? By asking this question you can seek their wisdom.

2. What are you learning now? This allows you to benefit from their passion.

3. How has failure shaped your life? This gives you insight into their attitude.

4. Who do you know whom I should know? This allows you to engage with their network.

5. What have you read that I should read? This allows you to direct your personal growth.

6. What have you done that I should do? This helps you seek new experiences.

7. How can I add value to you? This shows your gratitude and desire to add value to them.

Life Is ___ by Judah Smith

Even though I feel he has a secret mission to make us all Seattle Seahawks fans, I love this guy. I love his writing style and his sense of humour, he makes reading fun. Judah Smith has a way of making stories of the Bible relevant as he paraphrases them into the lingo of the day. Before I read Life Is, I borrowed Jesus Is from a friend and couldn’t put it down, so I knew coming into the book I would have the same problem. I love that he is raw about where and who he is and how he makes Jesus and the Bible relatable.

The book is centered around the question; what is life about? He completes it by saying Life is; to be loved and to love, to trust God in every moment, to be at peace with God and yourself and to enjoy God. His stories are simple yet profound and have helped to give me a greater understanding of different stories in the Bible and what it means to be a follower of Christ.

One of the habits I have gained when reading is to highlight key sentences or passages that stick out to me and I found myself doing this quite a bit in this book. I encourage you to read this book and then share it with a friend. I am always looking for a book I can give to a friend that may not yet be a Christian and this is one of them that I would definitely with confident and comfortable passing on.

 

Here are some of my favourite quotes:

 

“Selfishness is the essence of Sin.”

“God doesn’t give us what we think we deserve. He gives us what he wants to give us, and he asks us to trust him that it is right.”

“When I die, I want to be known as a man who knew Jesus, enjoyed Jesus, was loved by Jesus, and focused on Jesus.”

“It comes down to this: Do we trust God? Do we trust that whatever he deems right will be enough? Do we trust that he is just, that he is right, that he is good, and that he is merciful?”

“The key to handling the distractions of life is to focus on Jesus, the source of peace.”