Books

5 Books for Christians

5 books for Christian readers {praylivecreate.com}

Psst, as always, none of the links below are affiliate links.

1. The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

I picked up this book years ago after hearing Lee Strobel speak at my church. Two words: page.turner. This book is the follow up to his best-seller The Case for Christ and is intended to investigate objections to Christianity for those struggling with faith. But seriously guys, this book is a great read even if you aren’t struggling with your faith. I’m a sucker for all things “investigative” (there’s not a crime drama I won’t watch) and I LOVED this book. I’d categorize this as a “must read”.

2. The Blessed Life by Robert Morris

Six years ago this book changed my life. Don’t let the book’s premise, “the simple secret to achieving guaranteed financial results,” fool you. This book is all about gratitude and generosity as we seek to be good stewards.

3. Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer

Okay, I know Joyce Meyer can be controversial. If you read nothing else by her, read Battlefield of the Mind. It’s her best-selling book and with good reason: its message on  “taking every thought captive to Christ”  is not only Biblical but essential (2 Corinthians 10:5). I’d still recommend this one.

4. Essentials by Greg Laurie

I’ve talked about this one before. It’s a great read by one of my favorite pastors about foundational topics for Christians in a modern world. Things like who God is, Heaven, Hell, and End Times. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we’re never too mature to go back and focus on the basics, and this book is a great straightforward examination of just that.

5. The Invisible War by Chip Ingram

We’ve talked about this one before, too, and I’ll reiterate what I said then. The Invisible War is hands down one of the most compelling books I’ve ever read. Pastor Chip Ingram’s eight part teaching series about spiritual warfare jumps off with Ephesians 6:10-12 and walks us through what the Bible teaches us about the reality of spiritual warfare and how we, as believers, should arm ourselves to fight from victory (because victory is already ours through Christ). I highly recommend both the book and the DVD series.

What books would you recommend? I’m on the search for great summer reading. Share them with me!

Stephanie from praylivecreate.com

Yes in My Mess

A couple weeks ago, Kristen Welch of We Are THAT Family asked if I wanted a copy of her new book Rhinestone Jesus. And since Kristen is amazing, my answer was YES! (And also maybe a bit of jumping up and down in excitement, because seriously … Total awesome way to start the day?) Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch - Kristen tells the story of how she was prompted to say yes to God even in the midst of her everyday messy life. I can't WAIT to read this book! Yes is what the book is all about. Kristen said yes to God when He prompted her and her husband to start Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya. And Rhinestone Jesus is about saying yes to God when sparkly, safe faith is no longer enough. I cannot WAIT to read this book and get the inside scoop on how Kristen said yes and what that looked like for her family and how we can say yes in the middle of our mess. Which might be my fave part of the book so far – it’s not about having it all together. I’ll share more as I read, but if you’re interested, Rhinestone Jesus comes out May 1st from Tyndale and you can find out about it here and pre-order before May 1 to receive some free gifts! Kim from praylivecreate.com

What I Learned and Loved in November

KimHeshPups
We’re officially through our first week of December, so what better time to look back at what I learned and loved in November? Not all if it’s new, but it all made an impact on me.

First, probably the most important thing I re-learned is that accepting Jesus and experiencing His transforming power in our lives is just the beginning. We must also allow Him to make us more like Him and learn to stand firm in our faith. This wasn’t necessarily new info, but it had a lot of practical day to day implications in my life last month.

The easiest way to get up earlier is to adjust my alarm clock by five minutes a day. The same goes for going to bed earlier, too. And the easiest way to make both of those things happen is to have a fridge and freezer full of breakfast, lunch, and dinner already made for the week ahead. This was one of my favorite recipes with chicken sausage chopped up and added to the pot.

This chewable vitamin is my new favorite multivitamin. Did I mention it’s chewable? And delicious? And requires no swallowing?

Christianity Today + Life Beautiful. One part intelligent words, one part pretty pictures. I couldn’t pick between them, so I bought both of them during our trip to South Florida, and loved them both.

There is a movie coming out about Noah in March, and I want to see it like woah. It may not be 100% accurate, but overall it looks like an epic retelling of one of the biggest events in history and one of the most obedient men who’s ever lived. God said build a giant ark, and he got to building. His story never fails to inspire me.

And lastly, Beth Moore’s Get Out of That Pit has been in my purse and my hands for the last two months now. I can’t get enough of it. Every page = serious truth!

Your turn… What did you learn and love in November?

Books For Getting to the Heart of the Matter

books about living a grace-led life

Have you ever noticed how we can make grace so much more complicated than it is? Or add all sorts of rules to being Christian when the gospel is one of the most simple messages of all time?

Galations 5:1 printable memory verse card
One of my favorite ways to study the Bible is to read books about Jesus. I learn stuff from the authors and read verses in a new light. These are a few of the best books I’ve ever read about letting go of the unimportant stuff in life (busyness, crazy to do lists, unrealistic expectations, Christian culture versus real faith) and focusing on what really matters.

If we live in America, I think we can say amen.

Jesus Is __. by Judah Smith
Jesus Is _________. by Judah Smith

I just finished this book a month ago, and let me tell you… I loved every page. Judah walks through who Jesus is to us and what that means for our daily lives, and he does it in such a funny and easy to read way that I couldn’t put it down. I loved his character studies of the disciples and the people Jesus crossed paths with, his notes as to why each of these interactions was significant for our own lives today, his funny stories about his family, the pop culture references in every chapter, and how he brings it all back to the real message of the gospel.

“God invented happiness. He came up with the concept of humor. He created our ability to have fun. He built a beautiful world and gave us five senses to enjoy it. Our pleasure gives Him pleasure. If we love to be happy, and if we were created in His image, then how much more does God radiate joy?” – Judah Smith

“God is counterculture. God brings good news.” – Judah Smith

Simple Faith by Charles R. Swindoll
Simple Faith by Charles R. Swindoll

Simple Faith isn’t a classic for nothing. Charles Swindoll starts by defining simple faith, then he talks about what that looks like in different areas of our lives. He gives one of the best explanations of “salt and light” that I’ve ever read and hits on topics like simple faith versus the world system, simple faith in our relationships and sharing the gospel, simple faith in conflict, and more. Simple? Simple.

“shake and shine…” – Charles R. Swindoll [Steph, can I seriously get a gold shimmery printable of this to hang in my entryway?]

“By living lives of such simple faith beneath our Father’s sovereign, gracious care, we truly enter into what kingdom living is all about.” – Charles R. Swindoll

I Quit! by Geri Scazzero with Peter Scazzero
I Quit by Geri Scazzero

Back in the day, I helped start a new church campus in New York City. It was an incredible experience, and I look back on those years the way some people look back on their college alma maters with all sorts of nostalgia. But can I be honest with you? As great as that experience was, there came a time when it was just plain exhausting. Because like a lot of well intentioned, passionate people, my relationship with Jesus started to revolve around a whole lot of work.

This is a book I love to recommend to people who find themselves in that same boat. Geri talks about letting go of all of the “shoulds” she felt as a Christian, and embracing a better understanding of God’s love for her and her love for herself. The result? A big ol’ feeling of liberation, a genuine sense of love for the people in her life, and service that flowed more naturally out of those things.

“Jesus invited me into the Christian life to enjoy a rich banquet at His table. Instead, it often felt like I was a galley slave, laboring to serve everyone at the feast instead of enjoying it myself… A renewed understanding of my own dignity and human limits enabled me to place loving boundaries around myself. I soon realized this was central to offering a sincere and genuine gift of love to others. Like God’s love to us, it must be free.” – Geri Scazzero

John 1:16 printable memory verse card(memory verse card alert! right click to save and print)

Quick answer… what do you think of when you hear the words “simple faith” or think of saying “I quit”?

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom | wearegospelgirls.com

The last weeks have been crazy. First the hubster and I traveled to Canada for our friends’ wedding. Then we followed it with an impromptu trip to the Hudson River Valley to live out my dreams of living off the land.

By the time we got home from all of that traveling I was dying to just sit on the couch and read a book. Normally I have a stack of them ready to go, but ever since I finished Jesus Is _____. by Judah Smith I’d been trying to figure out what to read next.

I wanted something that read more like a novel than a non-fiction book, but I also have a serious thing for true stories over fiction. Then I remembered The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Somehow this book is literally the only thing to follow me from childhood to adulthood, and since I couldn’t remember a thing about it something told me this was a good time to re-read it.

It’s a pretty well known book, but for those who haven’t read it (or have bad memories like me) The Hiding Place is the true story of the Ten Boom family before, during, and after World War II. Their faith compelled them to hide Jewish people from the Nazi soldiers occupying Holland, and ultimately the family was arrested and sent to a concentration camp for their crimes.

I can’t even put into words the horrific events that Corrie describes, and I won’t cheapen the magnitude of the story by trying to. But let me just tell you, in spite of all the waterworks that came along with reading it, I can confidently say it’s one of my favorite books of all time. I have been gushing about it non-stop since the day I picked it up.

The Ten Boom family went through things I never want to, even before the war began, and through it all their faith was strengthened. When the Germans occupied Holland at the start of the war, they found themselves wrestling with how to live out faith and love in a world taken over by evil.

And the rest of their story models that in a way that has changed my entire outlook on life in just one week’s time.

Corrie shares how God used her past to prepare her for what she would experience, how He equipped her to do things that were beyond her power, how He provided for her every step of the way, and how He taught her to love even as she hated the places she was imprisoned and the things going on around her.

People have said that The Hiding Place is a story that’s relevant to our present, too, and I couldn’t agree more. When I saw several copies on the shelf at Barnes and Noble for only $7.99 I grabbed them to give to friends. This book is a seriously powerful story that shares what life looks like in the Kingdom of God versus this world, and I’m so thankful she shared it with us.

p.s. more good stuff…

This audio recording of Corrie Ten Boom’s testimony is so good. Listen here.

Books I Really Want to Read

You guys, this month something like a half dozen books were released that I feel I need badly in my life. OK, that might be an overstatement. But what I do mean to say is that I’m really excited for a good handful of books that just came out in the last two weeks. Almost all of them, probably not coincidentally, are by women who share their lives online in some pretty awesome blogs. I don’t really have an order of how badly I want to read them… let’s just say I think all of these look good, and maybe you’ll like them too.

White Jacket Required: A Culinary Coming of Age Story by Jenna Weber

I want this. Jenna writes Eat, Live, Run, and about once a week or so when I get to read her blog I comb through all of her posts and bookmark pretty much every recipe to try to make for the husband. Sadly, I can’t eat the sugar and gluten she uses in her sweets and some of her other dishes, but I can dream about someday mastering the art of altering a recipe enough to get it right. And I still think her blog is the funnest (yes, funnest) foodie read on the internet. And she introduced me to She Reads Truth, which I’m not always great at keeping up with, but which I love, love, love all the same.

Perfectly Unique: Praising God From Head to Foot by Annie Downs

I feel kind of weird talking about bloggers I’ve never met except for on the internet, all like “hey, they seem cool.” But seriously, I love Annie Downs. Her blog, Annie Blogs, cracks me up and inspires me, and causes me to confront the dreams Jesus has whispered into my heart that seem all impossible, and makes me want to visit Nashville again reaaaaaal bad. I haven’t gotten my hands on this book yet, but the internet tells me it’s about learning to love our bodies as God designed them. And while it may be geared toward young women, as someone who knows what it’s like to feel like you’re trapped in a body you don’t want (like when you’re going through years of illness, in my case) I know what a huge and divine blessing it is to finally see God’s beautiful design in our bodies and love ourselves as He intended. I want to buy it to support Annie Downs (even though I don’t know her) and also because as I type that I think everyone should have a book like this.

Graceful: Letting Go Of Your Try-Hard Life by Emily Freeman

This is another book geared toward young women (didn’t I just share that I turned 30 this month?), but it’s the follow up to Emily Freeman’s first book, Grace for the Good Girl, and really I need at least one of these books in my life. Emily Freeman has one of the most beautiful blogs I’ve ever laid my eyes on at Chatting at the Sky. And she helped me understand the importance of creativity when I was still in my “I don’t have time / money / energy for luxuries” phase after I was healed of illness. Let me tell you something – creativity does a soul good, and so does real live grace. It took me years to understand grace. I’m still trying to understand it. And I’ve spent a lot of time in a try-hard lifestyle. So honestly, I need Emily’s book. Can we call it a need instead of a want?

Right now I’m reading a book that I got for free years ago from Gospel for Asia called Revolution in World Missions. I know, free book… how great can it be? Changing. My. Life. I’m loving it, and it’s reigniting all sorts of dreams I’ve had for helping others get to know Jesus better. People sell it on Amazon, but Gospel for Asia is still giving the book away for free and if you want to feel all sorts of wowed, get it. (Not an advertisement, not a PSA, just my opinion on a book I can’t wait to pick up every morning on the train.)

You guys, what books are you reading? What do you recommend? I have a few more books on my shelf right now that I still need to get to, but I love making lists of books to read next.

I hope you’re all having a great day!

Battlefield of the Mind

This summer I’ve been reading Battlefield of the Mind with my small group. Let me start by saying I see why this book is so popular. It’s definitely one of my favorites so far, and I always have a hard time putting it down.

Joyce begins by showing why the mind is our greatest battlefield and then goes over abnormal conditions of the mind, which include:

  • a wandering or wondering mind
  • a confused mind
  • a doubtful and unbelieving mind
  • an anxious and worried mind
  • a judgmental, critical, and suspicious mind
  • a passive mind

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve pretty much experienced every one of these.

The good news is she also shows how the Bible gives us more than enough ammo to think about what we’re thinking about and then swap out false thoughts that tear us down or keep us from experiencing God’s best with truth that builds us up and sets us free.

I have seriously gained so much from this book.

I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite quotes and verses over the next couple days (weeks? months?). I really loved all the chats you guys had with me on email and Facebook about Plan B, so I’m hoping we can all share with this one, too.