God Gave Me Grandma by Pamela Kennedy — Book Review

This cute board book is bright and sturdy.  If you are a grandparent, or you’ve had a grandparent, you’ll surely remember doing some of these fun activities together:  planting flowers, playing, cooking, reading, going to church and more.  Grandmothers offer comfort, love and always seem to have just what you need at the right time!

God Gave Me Grandma by [Kennedy, Pamela, B&H Kids Editorial Staff]

Young children will enjoy the colorful  animal illustrations throughout the book.  It reminds grandparents that they can pass their faith on to grandchildren through daily activities.  Children are taught to see their grandma as a gift from God.

The rhymes are predictable and uninspired, but the message is sound.  Grandmothers will surely enjoy reading this book with their grandchildren.  I may have to give my copy to Baby Hailey!

VERDICT:  4 stars

Want to purchase this book?  Go to the link below:

God Gave Me Grandma

I have a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

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What Am I Feeling? by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub–Book Review

Parents and teachers will love this colorfully illustrated book about feelings and how to handle them.  Sam’s father tells him:

“…. what you feel matters, but it doesn’t have to control you.  Giving each feeling a name helps you know what to do with it.”

He then adds this piece of good advice:

“a feeling is just a feeling.  It’s not in charge of you.  If you feel afraid, take a deep breath, name your feeling, and ask God to help you with it.”

What Am I Feeling?

Many children (and let’s be honest, adults), struggle with controlling their feelings. Emotions can manifest themselves in physical ways (an upset stomach) and can lead us to say and do things that are destructive.  Sam and his classmates learn to recognize and label difficult emotions like jealousy, anger, fear and sadness as well as good feelings of happiness and bravery.  This is a first step in self-awareness and empathizing with others.

A great teaching tool, the book contains a pull-out  feeling chart that will be great for use at home in a classroom.

VERDICT:  5 stars

Want to purchase this book?  Follow the link below:

What Am I Feeling?

 

I have a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

 

The Heart of Evangelism by Jerram Barrs–Book Review

This book review was written for our Fanning the Flame team by one of our members, Barbara G.  I have edited it a bit to make it shorter for the blog.

The author of this book truly loves the Lord and is trying to convey to the reader what we, as people who love Jesus, should do with our lives.

This book is divided into sections.  The first stresses the mission of the world.  That mission is Christ’s Great Commission that he gave to his disciples before his ascension.  The Great Commission is for the whole church of Christ and not just the apostles.  Jesus said there were four horizons for the apostles to spread God’s word.  The first was Jerusalem.  The Jerusalem for the church should be the town in which we live, work and raise our families.  What are you and your church doing to draw people to Jesus in your Jerusalem?  The second horizon is Judea.  This is our country.  We send our ministers to all parts of the U.S.A. to spread the word of God as Jesus commanded.  Is your church  doing their part in your Jerusalem?  The third horizon is Samaria.  These are people in our community who are different from us.  There is a lot of hostility in our country today and that is why we must preach the word of God to everyone in our community.  Is your church building bridges in your community to those who are red, yellow, black and white?  The fourth horizon is the Ends of the Earth.  Is your church sending missionaries to countries all around the world to reach those who know nothing about Jesus Christ?  Barr says the last horizon is the original, literal Jerusalem and Judea.  God is not forgetting the people of Israel.  They are God’s olive tree into which we are grafted, if we are Gentiles.

In the next section the kindness and perseverance of God are explained.  God doesn’t give up on us. Our personal history is part of God’s plan. Someday we will meet someone we can introduce to God, and then we will see clearer God’s plan for our own life.  In this section, he gave his testimony and explained the barriers we face when we decide that we want to evangelize to the world.

In the final section, he reveals how we must respect all those with whom we share God’s word, and explains how Jesus did it.  We must learn about the beliefs of other people so that we can see how and why they live the way they do.  We must use much kindness, love and understanding as we clarify God’s good news to those we try to reach.  Lastly he explains how Paul denounced the Greek’s confidence in rhetorical skills, rather than in truths.  Paul said, give God’s truth in your quest to win souls for Christ and God’s truth will be the words that convince their hearts.  Clever words are not necessary.

Bear One Another’s Burdens by Martin Luther

“To love is not to wish one another well, but to carry one another’s burdens–that is, things that are grievous to us, and that we would not willingly bear.  Therefore Christians must have strong shoulders and mighty bones …..

Martin Luther

Admonition

The origin of admonition is from the Latin word admonitio, which means (cautionary) reminder. Further the word Admonish means: to warn or reprimand someone firmly.
Why do I bring this up? Because a couple of the many ‘one another’ verses tells us to do just that. Admonish one another. Romans 15:14 and Colossians 3:16.
Still this word seems harsh to our modern ears. No one likes to be reprimanded, it feels like an insult to our ‘be true to yourself’ culture. We want the freedom to indulge in our vices and pleasures of this world. Much like a brooding teenager, we bristle at anyone who might dare tell us a thing is not good to do. And often an attempt to warn someone else (these days) will end in an argument or a one sided verbal lashing.
Why then do we read in Romans 15:14
“And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
How can we be ‘full of goodness’ and reprimand someone? Isn’t that just people wielding whatever power they might have over someone else? Like a boss or parent wagging their finger at us?  But why shouldn’t we want and welcome constructive criticism? Don’t we need to know our weakness if we are to improve, learn and grow? It appears we can’t have it both ways. If one doesn’t want to be admonished then they have that right; but they will then find themselves in a rut. No longer seeing what it is that may be keeping them from personal growth. Similarly if you accept admonition, you must also accept that a change in habit (or complete halt in activity) must take place.
As is said in Proverbs 9:8 “Don’t rebuke a mocker, or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.”
Why? Because a wise man knows rebuke equals improvement. They also know that improvement makes us feel better. There is a huge difference between pleasure, and happiness. Everyone is capable of indulging  in some sort of pleasure, but pure, content, happiness eludes many.

Talk To Me by Dean Nelson — Book Review

The subtitle of this book is:  How to ask better questions, Get better answers and Interview anyone lie a pro.  At this point you may be wondering, “why is Joan reviewing this book for the blog?”  Stay tuned while I explain, as there are several reasons.

My job on our Fanning the Flame team is Spiritual Gifts Coordinator.  That means I “interview” our members about their spiritual gifts, passions and hobbies.  All of this information is then recorded in a database for use by the Pastor, church leaders and committees so that people are able to use their abilities in ministry.  I actually wish I had come across this book earlier in the process.  Although Dean Nelson is a journalist, and that is his focus, it is chock full of useful information including:

  • How to get people to talk to you in the first place
  • How to make people comfortable during the interview
  • How to prepare for an interview
  • How to take notes
  • How to interview people you like and people you don’t like

Above all, he encourages interviews to know and remember the why of a particular interview, and to stay focused.  Here’s an important quote:

“Keep in mind that you’re interviewing the person to reveal what the person is about and to get information about a particular topic.  You want their perspective, their insight, their unique point of view, their anecdotes,  their expertise their wisdom, their personality, their ability to point you to a greater understanding.  So get out of the way, and let the person talk to you.”

He makes the point, and it’s a good one, that we all interview others every day.

One of the things I’ve learned from the Fanning the Flame process is to take advantage of secular wisdom when it’s appropriate, and this is a good example.  It’s also Biblical.  Remember the parable of the shrewd manager?

“For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.  I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

The shrewd manager was commended for his diligence and cleverness in dealing with a problem.  As Christians, we can also use worldly knowledge for heavenly purposes, when it’s appropriate.  Our Fanning the Flame coach has recommended other secular books, and maybe he’ll add this one to the list.

I can even make a case for fitting Talk to Me into our monthly theme, since we are instructed to “speak with one another.”  That speaking should be without letting our ego get in the way (as Dean Nelson recommends) and with an earnest desire to know and to understand a brother or sister in Christ.

VERDICT:  I give this book five stars.  If you are involved in interviewing others in any way, you’ll find it quite readable and a good resource!

Admonish One Another — A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer,  Life Together