Unexpected Harvest by Scott Stroud–Book Review

This book was given out free at the AFLC Conference. My husband and I took a copy, and he has written this review.

In Matthew 25 Jesus speaks of the last judgment when all people will be divided into 

sheep (those being saved) and the goats (those who are not saved).  In that discussion 

the Lord lists things which were done to Him, He was fed and clothed and visited by 

those He calls sheep.  They respond they don’t remember doing things to Him, but He 

says whenever you do it to the least of these, you do it to me.  The goats are told their 

failure to do these things was their downfall.  One of the things Jesus mentions is 

visiting “Him” in prison.   

It safe to say that not many people feel called to minister to those who are incarcerated 

for their crimes.  And that’s alright, not everyone is called to do everything.  But if 

you have felt a tug toward ministry to prisoners, or if you’d like to learn something about 

what it entails, I recommend you read a book called Unexpected Harvest by AFLC 

pastor Scott Stroud.  If God is calling you to this ministry, he gives valuable advice on 

how to navigate all of the streams involved from relationships with guards, to rules set 

by prisons, to dealing with the special need of prisoners for a relationship with Jesus.  If 

you simply want to know more about it, Stroud gives information that might open your 

eyes to a ministry seldom viewed or discussed by most Christians. 

An engaging writer, Stroud using farming as an analogical tool for understanding prison 

and jail ministry.  It’s interesting, even if you know little to nothing about farming.  The 

author also uses Scripture frequently and appropriately to show how this evangelistic 

ministry should be formed and guided by the Word of God.  It would be a good 

candidate for a small group study or for a men’s group.  Who knows how God might use 

it to open up a ministry prepared beforehand for someone to walk in. (Eph.2:10) 

This book is available through Amazon both for the Kindle or as a paperback.  You can 

also order it through the Evangelism and Discipleship Dept. of the AFLC at 3110 East 

Medicine Lake Blvd., Plymouth, MN. 55441. 

For more book reviews see these posts:

Faith In God by Kevin McFadden –Book Review

The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt–Book Review

Christ-Centered Conflict Resolution by Tony Merida–Book Review

The Power of Daily Practice by Eric Maisel–Book Review

You will probably disagree with the world view of this author (he espouses a contemporary philosophy called kirism).  However, in my opinion, there are still a couple of good reasons to read his book.

First of all, as Christians, most of us have, or hope to have a daily practice.  This could be prayer, meditation, reading the Bible, or journaling.  The general information given by Dr. Maisel about starting and maintaining a regular practice is quite helpful.  He begins with elements of practice;  things such as initiation, regularity, discipline, honesty, intensity, innovation, self-trust and completion.  The second section lists different types of daily practices;  creativity, recovery, performance, health and so on.  Some may not be of interest, but others will.  Finally, he enumerates the challenges we may face in sticking with a daily practice:  restlessness, conflict, lack of progress, personality, circumstances and more.  After each listing there are some questions to ponder.

The second reason to read this book is to get a taste of kirism, because it is exactly the kind of philosophy described in another book I reviewed recently (The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self by Carl Trueman–Book Review).  Here are some examples of what Dr. Maisel believes:

“… there is no single or singular purpose to life…”


“Meaning, rather than being something to search for … is in fact a sort of subjective psychological experience….”


“It is possible … to upgrade our personality and become our desired self.”

What a perfect description of “psychological man” and the type of “logic” that is now rife in our society.  It’s all about you.  You create your own meaning, and you can even create your perfect self.   It was fascinating to see this very clear illustration of Trueman’s analysis.

VERDICT:  3 Stars.  The information provided may help you develop and maintain a daily practice;  ignore the philosophy.


Letters to an American Christian – Book Review

If you’ve ever wondered how Christians should navigate and react to political situations this is the book for you.  Bruce Riley Ashford, who is a Dean of Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will help you through all the confusing rhetoric that is being spewed by politicians in Washington D.C.

The book is separated into three parts: A Christian View of Politics and Public Life, A Christian View on Hot-Button Issues and A Christian Hope for American Politics.  Each section has many chapters that are actually written like a letter to a political science undergraduate named Christian.  By writing in this format, Bruce Riley Ashford has kept the tone of the subject matter light and easy to read.   He covers many topics that are in the news today like abortion, gay rights and same sex marriage, free speech, religious liberty and Second Amendment rights, only to mention a few.

The first section, A Christian View of Politics and Public Life, explores the relationship between Christians and government and he also explains the separation of Church and State.  The second section goes over the top hot-button topics of the day that I listed above.  This section really helped me form and solidify my opinions on these topics.  Section three is about being a Christian Witness in the world and how to effect the culture around us.

I took a long time reading this book because I really wanted to soak in what the author was saying.  I can get very confused with all of the political rhetoric out there.  I’m interested in what happens in the “public square”, but back away when the yelling starts.  This book really helped me sort out the issues and learn how to, perhaps, join my voice with others.

I’m giving this book five stars.  If you are interested in the public forum, but can’t make sense of it all, and not sure where a christian should stand, this is the book for you.


Letters to an American Christian

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

What About Kids Ministry – Book Review

Along with 18 other contributors, Bill Emeott has compiled and edited a comprehensive book about kids’ ministry.


This book outlines step by step instructions and guidelines for the formation of a successful and biblically based ministry centered on youth. I feel the book is planned and laid out in a sensible and easy to read format.


Mr. Emeott has broken kids’ ministry down into 10 chapters. He starts with where to start in Chapter 1 and how important it is to craft a plan based on your ministry philosophy. The book then goes into more valuable information in the next several chapters about details, help you may need and tools needed. There are several chapters devoted to understanding the children, their families and some difficult topics that may arise and how they can be handled.


There is a chapter about God’s plan for children and sharing the Gospel with them, conflict resolution within the group, families, and staff. The final chapter is about how to balance the life of a ministry leader. It reminds us not to neglect our own spiritual, emotional, familial, physical, etc. health so that you can be the best example for the youth that is possible.


I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The step by step instructional layout is great for someone like me, a layperson, to develop a healthy, spiritually balanced youth ministry and does not requires years of schooling to accomplish the goal.


Purchase at the following link:  https://www.lifeway.com/en/product/what-about-kids-ministry-P005807609

Sacred Holidays – Book Review

The author, Becky Kiser, takes you on a journey through the calendar in this helpful book on making the holidays more Jesus, less chaos.


The first thing I recommend is to read the foreword “How to Use This Book”.  I will admit that I usually skim over them, but the foreword in this book gives detailed information on how the book is meant to be used and is necessary to understand the format.


The contents page will provide a great reference in explaining when to take advantage of her helpful insights by “holiday”.


Part 1, she tells us to READ NOW, it forms the basis of getting your mind into the upcoming implementation of steps, which is broken down by the holiday in Part 2.  Each holiday has its own section which you are told to read 30 to 60 days in advance of the actual day.


The author is keenly aware of the obstacles and struggles that can occur and has included Part 3 to give you some additional advice on how to handle situations that may come up.


I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  People who enjoy entertaining and setting up for the holidays will find a lot of good ideas to assist them.  I, myself, am not really into the holiday entertaining, but I found myself realizing that maybe because of the chaos and stress that can occur I chose to just not do it.


Read, Enjoy, Implement the strategies in this book and you will find your holidays with


More Jesus, less chaos




All The Colors That I See – Book Review

This is a children’s board book that offers the interaction of touching, patting and other actions for toddlers to identify colors.  This book shows how God made all the colors and that they are all beautiful.

This book comes with bonus online content at bhkids.com for parents and teachers.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.  The bright colors and fun pictures make it interesting for young readers.


The Marriage Challenge – A Book Review

The first thing I must say about this book is – It should be mandatory reading prior to getting married.  That is right, I felt this book would be a great tool in marriage – even those of us already married can ascertain valuable insights and help from this book.


Art Ranier has broken down a financially successful marriage into 12 chapters, with an additional 4 chapters to highlight issues, as he calls them marriage dividers, that can hinder your success as a couple.

Don’t get me wrong this book is NOT a God wants you to be rich heresy, but rather a step by step plan to live biblically with your finances.


One of my favorite parts of the book are the challenges at the end of each chapter for couples to do together.


I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.  A must read



The CSB Worldview Study Bible

The Worldview CSB Study Bible is a newer translation called the Christian Standard Bible.  This translation is said to be more reader-friendly.  I did not really have a problem with the verses I checked against my ESV and will continue to utilize it in my studies since I like to use several translations.  There are approximately 100 essays located throughout the Bible written by different professors, theologians, Pastors, etc. that range in topics from how to use the study Bible to different religions and modern issues we as Christians are dealing with.  I did not really care for them to be scattered throughout the Bible I would have preferred to have them in the back as an appendix.  The study notes are located at the bottom of the text and any additional reference verses are located in the middle column.  In the New Testament, all Old Testament references in the text are in bold, and I find that I like that and wish all Bibles would do it.  Before I review the actual physical characteristics I want to put in a word of caution.  If ANY of the study notes raise a question, talk to your Pastor, Priest Spiritual Head or whatever they are referred to as; do not accept information that is contrary to your beliefs in any way.  That being said the notes that I review were on target with my theology, but of course, I did not read every study note.  There is a very nicely detailed concordance in the back along with colorful maps.

Physical Characteristics – It is a blue Leather touch with silver gilding on the page edges.  It comes in a sturdy box that if giving as a gift and mailing should do well.  There is a presentation page with the verse Revelations 22:6A Then He said to me, “These words are faithful and true” I liked that and felt it gave it a great touch.  There are 2 ribbon markers one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament.

I give this Study Bible 4 out of 5 stars based on the information I read and would recommend it for purchase.

I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

God’s Book of Proverbs – Book Review

I just received our latest book in the mail and am already excited about reading it.  Lifeway Publishing has taken the books and verses in Proverbs and arranged them by topic.  What a great idea.  It makes it easy ti find a particular reference when you need it.  All of the many categories are arranged alphabetically and are easy to locate in either the index or by thumbing through the pages.

The quotes are from the CSB version of the Bible and there is an introduction by Trevin Wax, a biblical and reference publisher.  It also has a page that you can use if you wish to give this book as a gift.

I give this book 5 stars, that is right, this is a necessity for all Christian libraries.


You can purchased the book at:


Becoming a Welcoming Church – A Book Review

This book has a church member taking what could be a difficult journey in realizing – Is church as welcoming as you think?

In the six chapters, the author walks the reader through their church with a fresh eye.  Everything is covered – from the physical appearance, website information and any and all facets of the church are reviewed.

I found several items that I thought were helpful and could implemented in any church without cost or a lot of members needed.

I feel that this book is a good and informative read and has a lot of helpful information for any church.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.