Archive for September, 2009

Illustrated Guide to Religions – Great for Families

September 30, 2009

blog1I have two teens and two pre-teens in my home. Do you have any idea how many different religions we interact with on a weekly basis?

We live in respect for those we walk with, and expect that God will do His work, sometimes even through us.

This means that we do our homework:

* to show respect for other people
* to understand why other people have the world views they have
* to answer questions in ways others will understand
* to know how to pray
* because I expect that every one of my kids will have a faith crisis, and I want them to know God personally, not just as an idea.

When this book came across my desk last Spring, I was very excited. Now, I’m not the only one explaining other people’s points of view to my children.

* Why do some people wear head scarves?
* What is Ramadan?
* Why won’t my Muslim friend eat meat?
* Why do some people go to church on Sunday?
* What is Kosher?
* What is Baha’i?

The Illustrated Guide to Religions
is an awesome resource.  It is from a Christian world-view, but not ultra-conservative. I have found it to be a reputable source.

Beverley addresses the history of each religion, common Christian whiplash responses, and questions that people might have.

My favorite feature (being rather ADD and very busy) is the sidebars that highlight details necessary to understanding the religion.

If you walk with people who don’t know Jesus (and I hope you do), I think this book will be an great help and save you a lot of time.

Since this book is written from such a Christian worldview, I’m not sure how it will be heard by those who don’t know Jesus. I’d like to see what someone from another faith thinks about it.

You can buy it at Amazon.com.

Staying Course in the Emotional Storms of Life

September 29, 2009

In the middle of transition – no matter the cause –  you feel like you are in a boat, at sea, in a fog, with no instruments.

Suddenly, when other people talk, it feels like they are targeting you.

Days are endless, and the emotional pain can be so intense it is almost physical.

In the midst of this chaos, you need to maintain your primary relationships.  Yet these relationships are usually also affected by your crisis.  Their pain is also deep, and they are also floating at sea in a fog.  Their pain is also intense and hurting people hurt people.

Here are some tips:

1. If it’s everybody else, it probably is you.  We never want to believe it, but when even the guy at 7-11 seems to be again you, you need a break.  Everybody might not be against you this week – you might just be defensive.  Consider taking a mental break.

2.  Laugh often, laugh together.

3. Take care of the details – don’t let the details in life overwhelm you – just do them.

4.  Take time to just be with the ones you love.

5.  Let others know where you are at.  Prayer makes a different.  You need people who can lift you up.

6.  One day at a time.  Every valley has a beginning and an end.  This one does too.  Keep walking.

Here are some verses to hold onto:

Isaiah 43:1-3

1 But now, this is what the LORD says …
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me.

Psalm 27

Mini European Vacation a la Taproot

September 29, 2009

Two yeataproot4rs ago, I went to Europe for two weeks.

Last Friday night, I went to Taproot Theatre in Greenwood to watch Enchanted April.

Taproot has created a mini-European vacation for the simple price of admission.

Enchanted April is based on the 1922 book by Elizabeth von Arnim.  It is the story of two women (and their two traveling companions) who escape their war-torn, rain-soaked dreary English lives for a month of sunshine in Italy.  As the four women begin to blossom under the warm Mediterranean sun, their souls, too, begin to flourish.taproot1

This is truly an incredible cast.  No cast member outshines the others (or lags behind) – they are all simply fantastic.  Transporting us to the early 1920’s, they let us see the inner lives of people devastated by war and loss.  As they enjoy the sunshine of Southern Italy, a freedom of expression comes over the group, and each person discoverstaproot2 a new focus and zest for life.  The audience roars with laughter throughout the play, and we are each left a little richer, perhaps refocused, having had a mini-vacation from the struggles we are living in today.

One thing that is particularly impressive about this play is the set design – it is a step above Taproot’s usual sparse design, with a complete revision at intermission.

Pay-what-you-can night is September 30. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 206-781-9707 or at the theatre’s website.

Mission Possible – Believing for your Husband’s Salvation

September 29, 2009

missionpossibleA year ago or so, a woman came up to me and told me a story.  She was beaming and could hardly wait to let me know what God had done.

“I prayed for 27 years, and last spring, my husband finally accepted Christ.  Now we worship together.  He is changed and we are so good!”  It was so fun to just let her joy splash over on me for a moment.

Deb McCarragher has written a bible study for women who are praying for their husbands to come to know Jesus.  This bible study does a good job of discussing the challenges and temptations of living in this situation.  She also gives admonitions to hold onto hope.  I think she addresses the temptations very well, and gives an honesty that only comes from being a fellow journeyer.

McCarragher does talk about speaking words of prophecy over your husband, which I think needs better teaching than she provides.  Grabbing words of scripture and speaking them isn’t what God calls us to.  He calls us to speak the words that He gives us for our situations.  She talks about the scripture she has for her husband, but doesn’t explain how God will give you the scriptures for your situation, and you need to wait on Him, not just grab ones that sound good.  A misunderstanding of this teaching could lead to the health and wealth gospel.

My favorite chapter talks about the temptation of misapplying the story of Abigail from 1 Samuel 25.  I’ll leave the teaching for you to read.  In all, I think this is a good bible study, and will be a help to anyone who is waiting for their husband to know Jesus.  If you are looking for a small group study, this is a seven week study.  There are 3-6 study questions and 3 application questions each week, so it is very easy.

God is not willing that any should perish, but wants everyone to come to know Him. (2 Peter 3:9, Kim’s paraphrase)

To this end, I have a free copy to give away to the first person who asks.

Visit the author’s website for more information.

Or, you can buy the book on Amazon.com.

People aren’t Looking for Hope

September 24, 2009

Do you know what people think about?  I’ve been listening, and this is what I’ve heard this week:

They think about:

  • how to keep the silence away, so they turn the radio on.
  • how to keep their kids out of trouble.
  • how to make life just a bit nicer.
  • how to keep the emotional pain at bay.
  • how to be a responsible parent.
  • how to take the next step.

The closest thing I heard to hope in the last month was someone who is changing careers and hopes that the new career path will be a better suit.

Years ago, I was on a backpacking trip, and we hiked for a long time one day.  I have no idea how far we went, but I know that we went for about an hour straight up hill about two hours into the trip.  (Mind you, times might be relative) There comes a point where your body is crying so hard for relief that all you can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.  I remember praying for one step downward just for a moment of relief.

When you are at the point of daily exhaustion, hope is a luxury.  Relief is a dream.  Existence is mandatory and must be tolerated.

When you want to share hope, you are sharing something that is a foreign language – something that is similar to trying to convince one of the women living in Tiajuana’s garage dumps that she needs to buy crystal and diamonds to make herself feel better.

Sharing hope doesn’t sound like Hope these days.  It sounds like someone else’s agenda.  It sounds like one more thing for the task list, one more hill to climb.  There really is no substitute for becoming part of someone’s world and being their friend.

How else can we explain that in God’s economy, adding one more thing to your life means making things less.

Matthew 11:29-30 (New International Version)

29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

If God is Good – Randy Alcorn

September 24, 2009

blog1Randy Alcorn is my favorite Christian fiction author.

He is quickly becoming a world-class theologian as well.  

You know those questions that niggle in the back of your head, and you hope nobody asks you?

  • Why is there evil in the world?
  • Why does God allow suffering?
  • What’s with a good God sending people to Hell? 
  • What about senseless evil?  If God is all powerful, why doesn’t He stop it?
  • How can life make sense in light of all this guck in my life?

Randy Alcorn has written If God is Good to answer all these questions and many more in language that average people like you and I can understand. 

I was talking to someone recently who is having a real and honest faith crisis – one of those that is good for young people to have.  Many of her arguments came out of the mouths of her atheists friends.  Interestingly, the arguments weren’t  any different than when I had similar faith crises, but they now have a chorus.  Randy addresses all of these cries of the heart with a compassion and love that makes this book a true treasure.

I am seriously not good at reading theological tomes.  If God is Good is just about the deepest theological book I’ve read in years, but it isn’t heavy – Randy will delve into a theological topic by starting with a representative story, explain the topic, and give good reader relief with appropriate supportive real-life and/or biblical examples.

If you want to get If God is Good, you can find it at the publisher.  In addition, if you want to learn more about Randy Alcorn, check out his website.

Kiss Me Again – Restoring Lost Intimacy in Marriage

September 16, 2009

image001On Monday night, I was at a Christian writer’s group.  Someone mentioned sex.  I teasingly leaned over to the person sitting next to me (who really didn’t like sitting next to a chatty person, btw) and asked “so we admit we have sex now?”

“Not in print,” she said.

Well, not only do we admit we have sex, but Barbara Wilson admits that sometimes, we have issues with it.

Previous relationships; promiscuity; abuse; the things that happened in our sex lives before our married lives can seriously mess up our intimacy with our mates.

Barbara explains why our past can keep us from sexually fulfilled marriages, and then gives a great plan for restoration and repair.  In fact, she uses the same basic pattern for repair and restoration that I have used successfully with many people who come from difficult backgrounds.

Sometimes things are so deep you feel like you can’t even talk to your girlfriends.  Barbara has been there and shares from her own experience, both the pain and the victory.  This is a book that will give you hope as well as practical tools to take your marriage to the next level of intimacy.

I have two of these books to give away.  If you are one of the first two people to email me:  kimkmartinez.7@gmail.com, the book is yours.

If you miss it, or want to get an extra for a friend, you can buy the book at Amazon.com.

You Were Born for This

September 14, 2009

image001This book surprised me in two ways.

First, when I started reading this book, I was frustrated.  I asked a friend “why would somebody write a book about this?  Doesn’t everybody know this stuff?”

She laughed!

Apparently, if you have been listening to me at all for the last six-10 years, and you know Jesus, you should know the basics of this book.

Every day, God has jobs for you to be doing and people for you to be impacting.

Bruce calls these Everyday Miracles.

Second, I have always believed that if you read the first three chapters of a book, you basically had the whole book.  This book was the opposite for me.  The second half of the book gave me some excellent new tools for my ‘toolbox’, and I will be rereading two or three of the chapters to solidify the information in my mind.

In this book, you will discover the keys to being a lid lifter for other people.  The best part of this book is the last 75 pages that give “special deliver keys” showing you how to help people who need miracles of financial provision, life purpose or forgiveness.

  • Have you ever wondered if you were meant to help someone with financial need or just pray for them?  Bruce gives you insight and discernment.
  • Have you ever wondered how to help someone who seems ‘stuck’?  Bruce shows you how.

I started reading this book thinking it was light weight.  I finished reading it and have found it a very valuable resource.

I have one free copy to give away.  Be the first to ask for it and it is yours.

If you miss that opportunity, you can buy it at RandomHouse books.

Baffled?

September 10, 2009

I read the news this morning.

People seem to be in limbo.  The boomers were going to begin retiring, but then their retirement went up in smoke.  So now, they are continuing to work for a while.

The workplace is trying to prepare for a mass exodus of workers, so there aren’t as many jobs anymore.  The post office is laying off – the Post Office – the one place you could never get fired from.

Because the world is changing – and changing rapidly.

The steps to transition are:

  • know what you are losing and say goodbye to it.
  • a place of confusion and unrest where you have no direction, but it is here that you redefine who you are without what you lost.
  • find a new direction.

No matter where you are in the process, there is a solution.  God knows where you are, and He has a solution – He wants to help define you for the next stage of your journey, and He wants to be the director of what you are doing.

Nature is full of examples:  A catapillar going through metamorphasis to become a butterfly; a dandillion becoming a whole new flower and blowing away as seed; the flowers on a fruit tree turning into fruit.

Each season of life feels like an end, but needs its own form of patience to bring new beginnings.  God has a purpose for your tomorrows.

Today, He has people for you to love and deliver His care to.  Start by asking Him to help you hear His voice and have patience to wait for His answer, His perspective.

Isaiah 30:20-22 (message)

Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he’ll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he’ll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: “This is the right road. Walk down this road.” You’ll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You’ll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, “Good riddance!”

Among the Living

September 9, 2009

dandilion2There are some seasons of life where it is a lot harder to mentally stay among the living purposefully face forward and live in joy.

Today I want to spend a moment and remember my dear friend, confidant, and mentor, Joyce Peretti.

Joyce showed me what the Joy of the Lord is.  She loved God and loved people.  She showed me that not everyone over a certain age was stoggy,  and gave me hope that a backwards person such as myself might be okay afterall.

After reading Frank’s book on bullying, I had an inkling that things were as wild in her house at one time as they were in mine, so I went to her for parenting advise.  She looked so shocked that I would ask!  “I was just the parent each one needed when they needed it, I guess,” she said, after thinking about it for a few moments.

Joyce went to be with Jesus on Monday.  I am so sad for me, and all who relied on her wisdom.  There are some holes that just can’t be filled.  I’ll be happy for her in a day or so – I know she is singing His praises now.