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Book Review: Real Church in a Social Network World

In his book, Real Church in a Social Network World: From Facebook to Face-to-Face Faith, Leonard Sweet has zoned in on the situation the church faces today. He has studied the current trends of social media, especially as it relates to young adults, and has discovered that the “social media generation” has a desire for connection, “knowing others and being known,” and this group of 18-30 years-old wants to belong to a community. They are “more geared to direct experience and the relational aspects of life.” This, Sweet says, is not unlike the church, whose members have an “untiring pursuit of belonging and relationship.”

    Sweet has several chapters, such as “Faith vs. Belief,” “Following Jesus,” and “A Longing for Love,” that lead up to what I believe is the crux of the book: “The Right Relationship.” He states in this chapter that the soul of the world is relationships and the soul is sick. To save the world, “we need less to be true to our principles” and much more true to our relationships. He further states that “our problem in reaching the world is that we’ve made rules more important that relationships.”

    Leonard Sweet ends the book with a chapter titled “Telling a Better Story.” In any class on writing, students are taught to “show, don’t tell.” In other words, show the action through the lives and dialogue of the characters—don’t tell the readers what happened. It is the same principle: Christians shouldn’t tell the story of Jesus as much as they should live (show) it. The challenge lies before Christians. We must “live Jesus” in ways that everyone, including social media “friends,” sees Him.


http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=41973

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the sole purpose of writing a book review. 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Review: “The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” by John Maxwell

    I have been in the business world more years that I care to admit. I have followed John Maxwell since the beginning of my career. I’ve read many of his books, including books one and two of the Laws series: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork. I have just finished reading the third book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. As in the first two books of the series, the third book is full of wisdom, motivational sayings and true illustrations.

Each chapter discusses one of the fifteen laws, such as: “The Law of Awareness: You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself;” “The Law of Reflection: Learning to Pause Allows Growth to Catch Up with You;” and “The Law of Trade-offs: You Have to Give Up to Grow Up.” At the end of each chapter, Maxwell has included questions designed to help the readers realize how the law discussed in that chapter can be applied to their lives resulting in personal growth.

    Another benefit of this book is the sidebar quotes found on almost every page. Inspirational statements such as Phillip Yancey’s “Faith is trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse;” “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone;” (Neale Donald Walsh) and “”If you want to keep giving, you have to keep growing,” will be added to my collection of motivational statements.

     In The Fifteen Invaluable Laws of Growth, as in all the Maxwell books I’ve read, every sentence, paragraph and chapter is written to make the readers think, and the motivational statements to spur them into action.

    Last, but definitely not least, Maxwell’s sincere desire to help people be all that God created them to be is evident throughout the book. He relates in the book one particular incident where he needed to make an immediate connection with the group, while at the same time proving to them that he cared. When he walked out on the stage he said, “Hello, my name is John. And I’m your friend.” He still says that today.

    I strongly encourage you to purchase this book. The first read-through will give you a great head start on developing your personal growth plan. Subsequent reads will reveal much information you missed and reinforce what you learned the first time. It is a book you will keep and refer back to many times.

 

 

 


 

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Book Review: “Greater” by Steven Furtick

 

 

“Are you ready to open your imagination to the possibility that God has a vision for your life that is Greater? . . .If you sense that you were meant for more but feel stuck where you are, Greater will give you the confidence to know that nothing is impossible with God, the clarity to see the next step He’s calling you to take, and the courage to do anything He tells you to do.”

Steven Furtick has written another inspiring, life-changing book. Greater is based on John 14:12 “Very truly I say unto you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”  In the book Furtick defines the following:

Good enough = Baseline living that is marked by mediocrity, stuck in spiritual survival mode and controlled by complacency.

Greatness = Vague, unrealistic aspirations of doing better that don’t work in real life and lead to endless frustration.

Furtick then explains the definition of Greater as: “the life-altering understanding that God is ready to accomplish a greatness in your life that is entirely out of human reach. It’s beyond anything you see in yourself on your best day, but exactly what God has seen in you all along.”

With chapter titles such as “A Little Oil,” and “Strike the Water” and motivational comments including “What matters most is not what you think you are or are not. What matters most is what your Father sees in you and what He says about you” this book has the potential to change the life of every reader.

As Steven says, “For everybody who is sick of playing it safe, for every dreamer who has been disillusioned, your moment is now. The mantle is yours.”

 

I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for the sole purpose of writing a review. My review is my sole opinion, I was not influenced by the author, editor or publisher, nor did I receive any compensation for the review.

 

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Prayer Request

I had an email this morning from a writing friend, Mary deMuth. Mary returned from a one-week trip to Haiti and before she left the airport terminal received a text message from her husband. Their daughter, Julia, had gotten dizzy at school that morning and by the time he arrived to pick her up, she was very lethargic. She couldn’t focus her eyes and her legs would not support her. He took Julia to the local hospital ER and they recommended she be carried to Children’s Hospital where Mary met them. Numerous tests and blood work have already been done and so far, all tests have been negative. No brain tumor, no cancer, nothing so far. Yet, her symptoms remain and grow gradually worse.

Please pray for wisdom for the doctors and total and complete healing for Julia. Pray for Mary to rest – she’s been without sleep now for five days. And pray for strength, comfort and peace for Mary and her family.

Thank you for your prayers of intercession!

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My Sanctuary

Finally. Cooler weather. My 24/7 hot flashes are down to about 18/7. I was actually cold enough this morning to put on sweats. My husband thought I was sick and wanted to take my temperature. How I do love autumn in the South.

This past Sunday, it was cool enough for me to sit on my back porch, which is the politically correct term in the South for patio, lanai, outdoor living room and any other term used by those not privileged to live in the South. Here it’s a porch, but it’s also my escape, my quiet place.

Sunday was no exception to the peacefulness and quietness. Except for the twittering of small birds, the squawking of larger birds and the snickering of squirrels. But those were pleasant sounds – sounds of God’s creatures scavenging and storing food for the cold winter months.

The wind flowed softly through the trees. My back yard and the property next to my house are full of mature, very tall trees. Oaks, maples, pine and one glorious magnolia tree that reigns over the back yard is if it was the queen. The deep emerald green magnolia leaves have graced many fall tables and Christmas decorations in my home.

Some of the leaves have started to change color. From the palest to the deepest green, leaves are now appearing in pale yellows, vibrant golds, flashing oranges and fiery reds.

Pale sunlight filters through the tree limbs and reflects off my butterfly wind chime, which twirls slowly in the breeze.

It is here—my back porch, my sanctuary—that I retreat to restore quiet to my soul.

Where do you go?