Archive for January, 2011

Be Available by Dr. Wiersbe

January 31, 2011

Are you looking for a new bible study?  I was on the hunt for a new study, when I received the invite to review one of the “Be” series by Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe.

Dr, Wiersbe’s name wasn’t familiar to me – so I looked him up.  Dr. Wiersbe was pastor of Moody Church.  He has had a very long and distinguished career.

This book came at a time when I really wanted to learn and dig again into an Old Testament book.  Be Available hit the spot.  A refresher and review over the book of Judges, I also found tidbits of information that were new to me.

The one drawback of this book is that I could tell it was written by someone at least a generation older than myself, male, and probably in the midwest (no lie, that was my guess).  Tonight, when I reviewed Dr. Wiersbe’s bio, I was only surprised that he is over 80 and he has written about 150 books.  The rest, I was spot on.  He does write with a slant for his generation and place in life, but then, we all see through a lens, so our writing is bound to detect it.

Over all, I gave the first 2-3 chapters a 4, and the rest of the book a 3.  Good read, lots of great information, and really good questions for conversation.

Looking for a deeper look at the Judges who followed God when it was impossible?  You can pick up Be Available at Amazon.com. You can also read a more detailed review that I wrote there.

“God won’t give you more than you can handle”

January 28, 2011

Someone said these words to me this week:  “Well you know, God won’t give us more than we can handle.”

I think she is wrong.  If we believe those words, we have missed the point entirely.  God wants us to have more than we can handle – because He wants us to let Him work through us.

Every time I begin to identify a theological principle, I ask myself:  would a mom in the war-ravaged nations in Africa believe this – would this be true for her?  Would a man in the frozen tundra of Russia find that these words are true?

One thing that I am certain of – my theology is just thought exercise unless it is striving to know God as He is – and He is the same here, in Africa, South America, Antarctica, and Denmark.  He is the same in the palace and the garbage dump-village slums.

We will have more than we can handle from time to time, but God will always be there to give us the strength, wisdom and focus to overcome.  God calls us to relax in His hand and let Him work through us.  He is very interested in letting us be pushed to the point where we cry “God, help!” Because we only truly begin to live when we live in relationship with and dependence on Him.

Where did this thought (God won’t give me more than I can handle) come from?  My guess is that it is a perversion of

1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

God will never let you be backed in a corner where you have no way out but to break relationship with Him and sin.  He will always provide a way out.  He will always be with you, teaching, guiding and correcting you.
However, when life has you up to your eyeballs, remember that the One who made you is much more capable than you are at making your life turn out right.  You can rely on Him to write the next chapter and give you ingenuity beyond what you imagined.

The Power of a Whisper by Bill Hybels

January 18, 2011

Bill Hybels is definitely improving with age.  Not only is this book deep and encouraging, but it is one of the most open books Hybels has written.

Years ago, in order to get the whole story, I would read one book by Hybels and another by both Lynne and Bill simultaneously.   Fast forward to 2010-11 – The Power of a Whisper is really good.  Hybels is transparent.

I felt like I was sitting in the office of a mentor, listening to him tell me about how God speaks – in his and others’ lives.

Better than that, as I made my way through the book, God had me on a mini-journey – speaking to me in small ways, reminding me of His workings in my life, and teaching me again to heed His voice.

Not only do I recommend this book, but I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to read it.  This was so fun, I have a hard copy, and put a copy on my kindle for android.  I read it everywhere – home, bus… and all the while, God was whispering.

You can enjoy the mentoring and renewal if you get the book.  Here’s the link.

Even When I’m Old

January 12, 2011

Even when I’m old, I want to have purpose.  God put us each here on earth, and made us for a purpose.  Every day we live, God has a reason for us being here.  However, it is easy to lose that sense of purpose along the way.  Missy Buchanan has a ministry helping people who are in that new stage of life continue finding purpose and joy.  Here is a quick Q&A to discover Missy’s ministry:

Even when age creeps up on the body and mind, and life changes from what it once was, is it still possible to have a purpose in life? When it is no longer possible to venture out and do the things you once loved, can you still find a reason to look forward to each day?  Missy Buchanan, a leading expert and advocate for senior adults, believes that you can.  Buchanan wants to encourage older adults to find their purpose, share their stories, and make an impact on those around them.

Q: What made you decide to start ministering to and writing books for older adults?

Well, as a middle-aged adult, I never had any intention of becoming an author of books for older adults.  But because of the journey that my own aging parents were on, I realized how they had become disconnected from their church as their lives changed.  They started off as active older adults and then that circle got smaller as they had more needs and physical limitations.  As I would visit them at their retirement community, I would also see so many others that were just like them.  They needed spiritual encouragement.  And so that’s why I got started.  The first book began as a project just for my own parents.  I wrote devotions and kept them in a loose-leaf notebook.   But others started asking for them and things just spiraled from there.

Q: What do you think children need to know about their aging parents?

What I realized personally was that I had been so caught up in my parents’ physical needs that I had neglected their spiritual needs.  They were no longer connected to their church, at least in regular worship attendance, and that had been such a huge part of their lives.  I almost made that mistake of just totally missing that, and that was the point where I began to write.  I looked and there were other books written about older adults but not very many that were written to them and for them.  So the first thing I would tell their children is to pay attention not only to their physical needs but also to their spiritual needs.

Q: What is your opinion about role reversal with children and their aging parents?

I hear the whole idea of role reversal where the older parent becomes a child and the grown children become the parent, and I understand what they are talking about because my own parents became more dependent on me.  But I think that when we refer to it as a role reversal, and we begin to think of our aging parents as children, we strip away their dignity.  We rob them of respect and we overlook the fact that they are not children.  They have had a lifetime of experiences that a child has not had.  And I think that is an important difference that grown children need to think about and pay attention to.  It’s more of a role shift in responsibilities and not a role reversal.  I know how much it hurts an aging parent to feel like they are being treated like a baby or like a child.

Q: Other than aging adults, who else has benefited from your writing?

A friend of mine in an assisted living facility asked me to bring some books for one of her tablemates.  Her tablemate explained that these books were for her adult children.  “They don’t understand what it feels like to grow old, and I can’t seem to make them understand, but your books say it better than I ever could.”  My books are all written in the first person as if an older adult is speaking directly to God.  There are a lot of adult children that are buying them for themselves and older adults buying them for their grown children.

And I’ve heard of different youth groups that have been reading my books in order to better understand what it’s like to grow old.  Instead of just mocking their older peers, they are learning that they share a lot of the same feelings—feelings of insecurity, feelings of fear.  As a result of reading the books, one youth group in Tennessee has even adopted the residents of the senior living center across from their church.

Q: How can faith change our idea of growing older?

So many see aging as a punishment, and they dread it so much.  But even though it is difficult to be limited by an aging body, they need to look at it as a gift that God has given them.  They still have so much to give.  They have great wisdom to share and stories to share.  I always tell my older friends that their story is not yet over.

Missy Buchanan is the author of Talking with God in Old Age: Meditations and Psalms and Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room Books).

Click here to watch Missy Buchanan’s recent interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Roberts’ 86-year-old mother.

Visit Missy Buchanan’s website, www.missybuchanan.com, and blog, http://missybu.wordpress.com/.

Become a friend on Facebook (Aging and Faith) and follow on Twitter (MissyBuchanan).

True Religion by Palmer Chinchen

January 4, 2011

Are you tired?  Tired of every day looking the same? Tired of not making a difference?

This is the time of year that we all look for a way to change our lives – actually people under the age of 25 seem to look for a way to change their lives between September and October.  The rest of us have decided that January 1 is the change date.  Everything can change – we can weigh less, act better, be more of what we were meant to be.

Interestingly, I usually find my ‘book of the year’ between December 15 and January 30.  This year, I might have two, but I have found the first:  True Religion. I picked up this book because I saw that Palmer Chinchen was looking to add staff to his church.  I wanted to know what he was about.

This I can tell you:  You can’t be part of Palmer’s church and not find a way to impact the world. 250 people went forward on one Sunday to commit themselves to leaving the US to make a difference overseas.  Palmer was raised a Missionary Kid, and he flows with passion for the lost and hurting.  He appears to really believe that we are Christ’s representatives and our lives should impact this world and make it better – Christ living in and through us to impact the world.

Consider this quote:

“I’ve boiled life down to two ways you can live.  One, you can live optimistically and full of passion; or, two, you can live pessimistically and full of apathy.  I’m convinced that if God has your heart, you will live with a passionate desire to give Him, this world, this life everything you’ve got.”

How can you not be inspired?

“Realize this:  God created you with a beautiful, perfect purpose in mind.  He intends for you to live a life of significance, a life that impacts people and changes lives, cities, and nations.”

These last three years have been significant in our family – but they have been hard.  I have discovered that stress, sorrow, more stress, and uncertainty can cause us to pull into ourselves.  We become what we never wanted to be – a person who is existing.

I know that these have not been easy times for many of you.  With recession comes job loss, job changes, and people seem to be devalued.  Life is no longer about thriving, it is about surviving.  Yet, Stephen (the follower of Jesus in Acts that was stoned for his faith) is a good model for us – even under intense pressure and rocky times (pun intended), he managed to impact people for Jesus.

If you want your life to count, I strongly recommend that you start with “True Religion”.  Palmer doesn’t just write this, he lives it.  The book is full of inspiring stories, and glimpses into a world where You are  needed to make a difference.  I don’t know what God has called you to, but I know that He has called you to make a difference.

If you feel pretty hopeless at that thought (and I know that when you are caught on the hamster wheel, words of inspiration feel like electric shock therapy), you need to develop new brain pathways toward a life that makes a difference.  Along with your daily devotions, read Palmer’s book and see what God does in your heart and mind.

You can buy True Religion on Amazon.com.


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