30 November 2017

Herald Press Blog Tour God's Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church by Brad Roth

 
God's Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church 
by Brad Roth. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Rural places are often seen as insular and declining, all pickup trucks and gas stations with no gas. Another popular vision of rural life is more nostalgic: amber waves of grain, quaint streets, and the idyllic family farm.

Neither story meets rural communities and congregations on their own terms, writes Brad Roth in his new book, God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church (Herald Press, September 2017). In an era in which many are prescribing solutions to rural dilemmas, Roth writes, “We need a new approach, one that sees rural communities not as places to pity or lionize but simply as places, places open to God’s goodness and in need of God’s grace.”

Addressing issues such as population shifts, economics, and value systems, Roth takes a comprehensive look at issues facing the rural church today. He then offers a theological and practical alternative to church growth strategies, which are frequently imported from suburban and urban congregations and which rely on success stories and flashy metrics.

Calling leaders, pastors, and outsiders to “love the church as we discover it while still dreaming of where God is leading us,” Roth outlines a vision for vibrant rural churches that includes disciplines such as praising, abiding, watching, praying, growing, and befriending. “The rural church represents Christ’s commitment to be among all people everywhere, regardless of the value attributed to them by global centers of power,” he writes.

“This is a book I will assign to divinity students and to a prominent position on my shelf,” says Leonard Sweet in the book’s foreword. “Brad Roth tells stories that will linger in my mind and imagination and shape how I think about the future of all churches.”

 
 
 
 
ABOUT BRAD ROTH

Bradley Roth serves as pastor at West Zion Mennonite Church in Moundridge, Kansas. He grew up baling hay, tending sheep, and shearing Christmas trees on a farm in Illinois. He is a graduate of Augustana College, Harvard Divinity School, and Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Brad has a heart for serving God and God’s people in rural communities. He’s passionate about sharing faith in word and deed and living out God’s love in the community. He and his wife, Lici, enjoy bicycling, tending a garden, keeping chickens, and playing with their two sons.

$16.99 USD
5.5 x 8.5 in. paperback
ISBN 978-1-5138-0161-2
eBook  $13.99 │ 978-1-5138-0240-4

Release date: September 19, 2017 

Available from Herald PressAmazon, and your favorite bookseller.

29 November 2017

RABT Book Tour Hayden The Perfect Hedgehog by Arla Jayne





Children's Book
Date Published: 6/5/17
Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Hayden has always lived in Tiny Yard with his mom. He has never met anyone different. Come along with Hayden the Perfect Hedgehog on this first adventure away from home and witness how differences should be handled.



About the Author


Arla worked in corporate America for over 30 years. Her favorite responsibility was diversity training. This experience, combined with her love of children drove her to create this series with the intent to bring diversity and acceptance understanding to the youngest readers. Arla is married to her wonderful husband, Ron. She had one sonwhich this book honors. Marriage have her 4 beautiful young ladies. Being a mom to these wonderful people is her favorite job!

Contact Links


Purchase Link




Reading Addiction Blog Tours


My Review:
This is a sweet book about a Hedgehog on his first trip outside his yard and he encounters another animal and makes fun of him. His mother sings a song he doesn't understand about being yourself. She explains that by making fun of others it is mean and she is disappointed with what he said. She explains how we are all different but that makes us all special. This is a book that shows children that everyone is different and that we should embrace them. I loved the book. 

27 November 2017

The Beloved Christmas Quilt by Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter


Description

20 November 2017

The 25 Days of Christmas Devotional by Sonya Davis and Ruth O'Neal Blog Tour



Description
Many of us get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. One way to prevent that is to focus on the reason for the season. Taking a few minutes each day with this different kind of devotional book will help your family think of others. Each day focuses on one word and includes a story from Daniel and Holly's family, a Scripture reading with the devotional, the YouTube link to a Christmas Carol, and an activity that the entire family can be involved in.
Reviews
"We love it! You posted it just the right time. God's providence!"
"My kids love it! Especially the song and the activity."
"The kids like to read the verses during the devotional part. It has been a good way to get the whole family involved."


Bio
Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for 20-plus years. She sees everything as a writing opportunity in disguise, whether it is an interesting character, setting, or situation. You can find her book series “What a Difference a Year Makes” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or her website (http://ruthoneil.weebly.com/). You can also visit her on her blog at http://ruths-real-life.blogspot.com/. When she’s not writing or homeschooling her kids, Ruth spends her time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping and hiking with her family.

Links


Amazon -             https://www.amazon.com/Ruth-ONeil/e/B00AJ5S3YQ


Excerpt
Advent
Story
"I have a surprise for you kids," Mom said as soon as Daniel and Holly walked in the door after school.
"What?" They both wanted to know.
"Follow me," Mom requested as she walked toward the family room.
Two-year-old Evie followed along behind, clapping her hands and giggling.
"She must know what the secret is," Daniel commented to Holly.
Holly laughed when Evie shouted, "Sec-et! Sec-et!"
Mom smiled as well. "That's her new word for the day."
Then Mom held up a box that had a bunch of what looked like little doors. Twenty-five of them to be exact. They each had a number.
"What's that?" Daniel asked.
"It's an Advent calendar. Each day we'll open one. Behind each door is a treat for each of you and a word we can talk about to help us prepare for Christmas."
"Can we open one now?" Holly wanted to know.
"You may." Mom pointed to the first door.
"Advent," Holy read after she took out three small candies and handed one to Daniel and Evie.
"Advent is all about the days leading up to Christmas. We can talk about what Christmas really means and prepare our hearts to worship Christ."
"Why did Jesus have to come to earth as a baby? Why couldn't He come as a grown-up?" Daniel wondered as he picked up the baby Jesus from the Nativity set.
"Well, Jesus needed time to prepare, too. He needed to experience all the things we experience. He experienced what it was like to grow up, have a family and friends, and be tempted by sin just like the rest of us. No matter what problems we face in life, Jesus truly understands."
"But I thought Jesus was perfect and never sinned?" Holly questioned.
Mom nodded her head. "He was perfect. He didn't ever sin, but He still went through a lot of the same things we do. Because He lived a perfect and sinless life, that's what made Him a suitable sacrifice for our sins. Only a perfect Man could pay the price for us."
Daniel and Holly didn't say anything. For a few moments, the only sound heard was Evie slurping her candy and quietly repeating, "Sec-et."
Mom continued. "God had to prepare the world for Salvation to come in the form of His Son, Jesus. It wouldn't happen overnight. It would take Jesus' entire life time here on earth."
Daniel, always the one who wanted to learn more, said, "I think this will be interesting."
"I think this will be fun," Holly gave her opinion.
"I think it will help prepare us all and help us to understand Christmas just a little bit better."

Devotion
Read Matthew 25:1-13
This man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Luke 2:25b-26
Advent is a time of preparation. The Christmas Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas. Many families, especially those with young children, have Advent calendars. Each day the children get to open a door, receive a little gift, or remove an object in the countdown for and in anticipation of Christmas.
Children, for the most part, look forward to Christmas because of the gifts they will receive. That’s not a bad thing, but we as adults, should have a much deeper anticipation of Christmas. We take the time to buy and wrap gifts, prepare food, clean the house for guests, buy new outfits, attend parties, etc. But how much time do we put into meditating on the actual birth of Christ and worshipping Him?
Many years, at least in our household, we spend time putting up the tree and decorating it, only to ignore it. We more often than not, sit in the room with the TV. Unfortunately, that’s often the way we are with God as well. We accept Him as Savior. We attend church on Sundays. Other than that, we pretty much ignore Him, too.
This Christmas, in anticipation of the celebration of His birth, let’s focus on Him a little more throughout the month. Let’s prepare our hearts by reflecting on why He came to earth.
Christmas will be that much more special when we focus on the true Reason for the Season.

Activity
This activity will take some extra planning. Get together as a family; you can even invite your extended family members to take part in this one as well. Choose a family that is in need; try to find a specific need if possible. Gather together money to give to that family for the specific need that they have. If possible, try not to let them know where their Christmas gift is coming from. That makes it all the more exciting for both them and you.

Song - The Twelve Days of Christmas (How I Want to Sing)


My Review
This is a really good family book for the Christmas season. There are 25 devotions each with a story, devotion, activity and song. I have been enjoying the story of the family which follows through the whole book followed by a devotion which is associated with the story. The activity is something that the whole family can be involved in and then some lovely songs I haven't heard before but I am really loving. I have to mention the stories are based in America so snow is mentioned but many of the activities can still be done in Australia. (We may not go sledding but we do go to a pool and can still look up at the stars). If you are looking for a family devotional advent book I would highly recommend this book.

17 November 2017

ACRBA Tour Birds and Bees by the Book by Patricia Weerakoon



13 - 17 November 2017

Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance 

Is Introducing 



Publisher CEP, July 19, 2017


Book Description

People have been talking about the birds and the bees since Adam and Eve walked the earth. Yet the conversation hasn’t become easier! With so many messages about sexuality, gender and identity around them, our children need a safe space to learn about these topics now more than ever.

Designed for parents and carers to read with children aged 7 to 10, Birds and Bees by the Book has been created to help you to have these conversations at your own pace.

Written by renowned sex educator Patricia Weerakoon, the six books in this set are designed to be read in whichever order suits you and your child. They cover three foundational topics that help children to understand the family structures in the world around them, and how their body and brain are developing as they grow. There are also three extension topics that teach children what is involved in sexual activity, what it means to be a boy or a girl, and how to protect themselves against pornography if they stumble across it.

All of these topics are framed within the Bible’s message that children are unique creations of God, and that sex is a precious gift to be used carefully and wisely in the context of marriage.



Author

Patricia Weerakoon is a Sexologist and Writer. She trained in medicine in the University of Sri Lanka.
She is an evangelical Christian. She is married to Vasantha. Her son Kamal is a Presbyterian minister.
As a Sexologist she has translated her passion to bring good holistic sexual health to all people into practical sex education, sex research and sex therapy.
Her writing and speaking brings together her enthusiasm for sex and her love for the glory of God.
The Christian framework of sex therapy she offers has enriched and empowered the sex life of couples and singles.
She has a recognised media presence and is a highly regarded public speaker and social commentator in sexuality and sexual health.

Patricia retired in 2011 after a twenty three year career as an academic with the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Sydney. The last eight years of which she was the director of an internationally acclaimed graduate program in Sexual Health.

My Review:
This set of 6 books are well written and aimed at children to explain the different issues. Parents can feel comfortable reading the books with there children unlike when I was a child and given a book to read with no other talking. These books open up a conversation. They also go into cyber bullying, pornography, self image etc. They are well illustrated as well. Well written and very helpful. I would recommend these books to any family looking for a way to discuss the birds and bees with children 7 - 10. 

8 November 2017

Dr. Michael T. Solomon - Maria is My Pal - PROMO BLITZ HTML



Children’s Book
Date Published: April 2017

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Having a pet isn’t just fun, it’s super important for childhood development. Pets and children go together like the beach and summertime. “Maria Is My Pal” is a whimsical look at children owning their first pet, and the responsibilities that come with ownership, the joys of having a pet, and how they form a commitment to each other while training to live their lives together.

Although a newcomer to this genre, readers would not know it from the way the author’s warm-hearted tale evokes laughter, smiles, joyful emotions, and reflections on his writing. His inspiration comes from watching his daughters grow and mature and become inspirations to many in their own right. His first book captures key moments in their childhood that intersect so many family stories— the first pet.


 photo Maria Is My Pal 3d_zpsz0drgioh.jpg
Excerpt

In the petting area, there was a turtle named Slow Boy, two fish called Lisa and Lori, and two parrots named Annie and Fannie. Fannie had yellow markings, and Annie had green on her wings. There was also a hamster named Fred and a cute little rabbit called Maria. She was white with a funny black pattern on her tail that seemed to move from side to side whenever her perky ears heard her name.
Of all the animals, Willow thought Maria was special. Whenever Mrs. Walls’ class visited the pets, Willow spent most of her time petting and holding Maria. Maria was very friendly and popular with all the students in the class. Somehow, Maria seemed happiest when Willow was near.
As the pets were placed back into their areas, James accidently knocked over a chair. It made a loud noise. The noise frightened Maria, and before anyone could move, Maria jumped onto a chair, hopped to the floor, and then ran out of an open door. Willow’s special pal and the children’s favorite pet was gone before anyone could catch her!
Willow, Mrs. Walls, and the other children tried to catch Maria, but she was too fast. Maria hopped and jumped until she was out of sight. Everyone looked and looked, but she could not be found. Maria was gone!
Willow and the other kids were very sad. Mrs. Walls tried her best to help the children understand that Maria would be okay and not to worry.


About the Author


Dr. Michael T. Solomon is an accomplished professional who holds a doctorate in social science and a master’s in education. The author is a devoted husband, a proud father of two young professional career women, and an even prouder grandfather of two beautiful, caring sisters who are smart and gifted and funny!

Contact Links


Purchase Links


Reading Addiction Blog Tours

26 October 2017

Humble Thyself: 7 Steps to Resolve Conflict By Susan K. Stewart

A recent undercurrent of discontent infected our congregation. I’d developed a terrible attitude about the situation, and I sat trying to be attentive for the sermon titled: Resolution: The Mathew Solution. I missed it.

During the following week, God led me to James 4:7-10. My heart opened to the clear steps to resolving conflict.

  • Submit to God
No matter the circumstances, submit to God. Ask for his wisdom to see the truth, not the colored viewpoint of humans. Be willing to follow him … wherever it may lead.

  • Resist the devil
As we submit to God, we resist the devil. But the attacks will continue during the peacemaking process. Satan wants to convince us we aren’t at fault and that following God’s way is troublesome, a lot of work, and a hindrance to the outcome we want.

  • Draw near to God
The more we resist the devil, the closer we draw near to God. As we move closer to him, the better able we are to resist the devil, remove our own desires and submit to his.

  • Cleanse your hands
We’ve become ingrained with Mt. 18—go to the one who has sinned against you. Instead we should be looking at our own sin. “First take the log out of your own eye” (Mt. 7:5 NASB). We need to face our own sin before we confront anyone else’s.

  • Purify your heart
The goal of conflict resolution is reconciliation with God. To approach a solution to the friction, our own hearts need to be clean. This is done by seeking to please God, not other people. Not everyone will be happy, but God will be delighted.

  • Be miserable and mourn and weep
Sin is the root of strife and we should be saddened and repentant. As we submit to God’s authority and purify our hearts, we come to realize how destructive our own sin is in the conflict.

  • Humble yourself
Humility isn’t weakness; it’s the opposite of pride and admits we can do nothing on our own. When pride takes hold, we think we have the solution to any problem. But only God is the true peacemaker.

The next time conflict resolution is the topic, remember James’s steps to peacemaking. Resolve the strife in yourself, and then you’ll be prepared to help others.

Is there a conflict in your life? How will you follow James’s steps to resolve it?


ABOUT


When she’s not tending chickens and donkeys, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers and listeners with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. Contact Susan to speak to your group her website www.practicalinspirations.com.

24 October 2017

Caregiver Guilt: Confessions of a Walking Glue Stick By Dr. Linda Cobourn

Caregiver Guilt: Confessions of a Walking Glue Stick  
By Dr. Linda Cobourn

I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

My father-in-law blamed me. It was unreasonable, hurled out of frustration while we stood in the trauma unit, waiting to see if my husband would survive. I was thirty miles away in a graduate class when the driver of the pick-up truck broadsided Ron’s Taurus, but the reproach stayed with me for seventeen years.

I’m a walking glue stick.

Guilt is a common emotion for those who find themselves in the position of caregiver. The 2015 State of Caregiving Report noted that 81% of spousal caregivers feel guilty, making guilt the #1 emotional trap. We think we should do it all without complaint and we become frustrated with ourselves because we can’t. We self-punish for simply being human.  I beat myself up for an accident I did not cause, questioning every decision I made concerning my husband’s care. Yes, I agreed to the emergency surgery and it damaged his heart. My fault. Yes, I let him be put into the rehab unit where his slippers were misplaced and he caught pneumonia. My fault.   I even had occasional thoughts that it might have been better if Ron had not survived the accident.

That thought stuck on with Gorilla Glue.

But God is a solvent to even the strongest of adhesives. I began to search the Scriptures for a way to dislodge my self-reproach. One day, I was led to this verse in Joshua 5:9:
This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.

The Israelites had been so beaten down by 430 years of slavery they no longer believed God could love them. Before they entered the Promised Land, God told them that the shame they carried was rolled off them. They were not stuck with the reproach of Egypt. They could stop being walking glue sticks.

So could I. It took time, prayer, and counsel from friends to realize that the guilt I bore was irrational. I held myself responsible for things that were not my responsibility. God had forgiven my shortcomings; I needed to forgive myself. Time to learn to be more like rubber, repelling thoughtless remarks.

Just the other day, someone ventured to criticize a decision I’d made for my husband’s well-being. I let it bounce off me.

Because it really is better to be rubber.


ABOUT


Dr. Linda Cobourn is a Literacy Specialist who works with at-risk learners and non-traditional college students. She holds Instructional II certificates from Pennsylvania and Delaware in Elementary Education K-6 and Reading PK-12. Dr. Cobourn earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, focusing on the use of critical literacy in middle school. Currently, she teaches at Springfield College in Wilmington. She was recently cited by the Mayor of Philadelphia for her work constructing literacy programs for inner-city youth. She is the author of three published books and writes a blog at http://writingonthebrokenroad.blogspot.com/

19 October 2017

Charlotte’s Garden By Shirley Johnson

Charlotte loved to work in her garden in the morning. She could hear the morning birds greet the day with a song. The refreshing dewdrops found rest upon the garden. The flowers seemed to smile back at the sun.

Charlotte worked hard at maintaining the presentation and growth of the garden. She knew with the proper care it would not only look beautiful, but create a peaceful atmosphere for those viewing it. From childhood, she knew which of the elements and garden intruders can interfere with the presentation and growth of the garden and which are harmless.

The garden often ministered to Charlotte. She embraced the seasons of the garden. It often shared reflections of life and whispers of hope.

While working in the garden a ladybug crawled on her sleeve. There was a time many years ago if this happened she would have panicked. She smiled and laughed to herself. She thought back to when she was a very small child. She was with her mom visiting at their friend’s home. The porch provided a favorite play area. Somehow a ladybug crawled right where she sat. She cried out to her mom for help.

Charlotte’s mom came running in response to her cries. While Charlotte saw a big intruder, her mother saw a simple little ladybug. “Oh, Charlotte.” “It’s okay,” said her mom. Her mom had gardened a long time and knew the difference between a harmless bug and dangerous ones. “This is just an innocent little bug that somehow landed in the wrong place.” She calmly scooped up the ladybug with her gentle hands, opened the screen door, and let it go.

Life’s seasons have a way of presenting itself with different problems. There are times when we have real problems, big problems that we need to face, address and solve. Sometimes though, we have little irritations that invade our space. They land right where we sit in life. They have us talking, repeating, agonizing and spinning our wheels. They interfere and distract us from the purpose and plan in our lives. They “bug” us.

When those little irritations land in our space,
look at them and determine how big they are.
Perhaps there are times when we too must open the screen door and let them go.

ABOUT
Shirley Johnson shares inspiration and encouragement through her writing. She is a member of SCBWI and ACFW. She loves to read and has volunteered at her local Public Library as an Adult Literacy Tutor. She shares her writing on her blog. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
http://busylifepause.com/

https://www.facebook.com/shrlyjohnson

17 October 2017

So You Want to be a Sheep? By Maureen Hager

Sheep are mentioned in the Bible more than any other animal; symbolically they refer to God’s people. All the sheep that belong to the shepherd are of one flock.

God has many names; each one describes an attribute of His character. A favorite name is Yahweh-Rohi – The Lord, Our Shepherd. Here is the description of the relationship our God wants with us. The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

What a beautiful picture of the rest we have in Him. Are you stressed today? Find rest in the green pastures of His finished work. Find hope and restoration as He restores your soul.

The Lord tells us in Isaiah 53:6 that most sheep will go astray and follow their own way. Are you a stubborn sheep, straying on the wrong path and in need of guidance and correction?

A shepherd’s rod redirects and corrects the sheep. The staff is used to lift and restore the sheep.  Trust and hope in the Good Shepherd to lead you out of the pit of despair.

I once traveled on the wrong path. This misguided search led me into a painful journey of drug addiction and life in a motorcycle gang. I was that stubborn sheep that got caught up in a violent gang war and became a broken victim. Crippling bullets forever changed my life.

Eventually, I encountered the hope and healing of God’s transforming love. A victorious life in Him is meant to be lived on the paths of righteousness and not in the past.

So why would you want to be a sheep? Like sheep, we need only to trust the Lord and follow Him. We need Jesus, our Good Shepherd to lead and guide us, to care for us, and to protect us from the enemy. What contentment and sufficiency we can have in Him.

Yahweh-Rohi leads us home. He lovingly rubs the healing oil on our broken and wounded hearts. The Shepherd knows our needs. He will restore us when we are broken, pick us up when we fall, and strengthen us in our weakness. Now that is a love I can trust!

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.                     John 10:27-28 (NJKV)

ABOUT

Maureen Hager is an author, speaker, and blogger. Her passion lies in empowering women to receive hope and healing from their brokenness through the love of God. Her testimony of deliverance and restoration has impacted women of all ages. Her book, Love’s Bullet is available Fall, 2017. Website: www.MaureenHager.com  Blog: www.OutoftheBrokenness.com                        
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...