Friday, July 31, 2015

Thriving in Babylon by Larry Osborne PLUS GIVEAWAY

Thriving in Babylon 
by Larry Osborne    
Religious
David C. Cook  


Meet a man forced to live in fast changing and godless society. He faced fears about the future, concern for his safety, and the discouragement about a world that seemed to be falling apart at warp speed. Yet he also lived with great faith and hope---and he changed an entire empire while he was at it. In Thriving in Babylon, Larry Osborne explores the story of the biblical character of Daniel to help us live godly lives in an increasingly godless culture. 
How do we respond when our culture grows increasingly godless? In Thriving in Babylon, Larry Osborne explores the stories of Daniel, Jesus, and others in Scripture to help us distinguish between appropriate fear and unnecessary fear. He shows how our relationship with God gives us the foundation for deep security and hope, even in a world that seems to be going downhill.
It's enough to make you lose sleep: the economy, health concerns, global politics, and spiritual  disintegration. But God offers a security and power that surpasses any of the dangers and challenges  we'll an increasingly godless society. Thriving in Babylon will give you renewed hope that it's possible to live a godly, confident life even when the world seems to be falling apart.
 

 Meet the Author
Dr. Larry Osborne has served as a senior pastor and teaching pastor at North Coast Church---one of the ten most influential churches in the country---since 1980. Dr. Osborne is the author of numerous books, including Accidental Pharisees. He and his wife live in Oceanside, California. They have three grown children.

Find Larry online: website, Facebook, Twitter  





Comment on this post to be entered in a giveaway for a copy of the book.  Due to shipping costs, this contest is limited to residents of the United States.


 
First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Larry Osborne and his publisher for sending me a copy of "Thriving in Babylon" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.
 
'Thriving in Babylon' by Larry Osborne is an inspiring read.  Twenty packed chapters will educate and encourage the reader to be influential in whatever environment we are planted.  Using the prophet Daniel and his time in captivity in Babylon as the setting to parallel our own pagan-ish culture, the Bible comes to life and begs to be applied to daily existence today.

Larry Osborne has filled these pages with humor and frank honesty about how Christians can influence a non-believing environment by blooming where we are planted.  Daniel’s God-given characteristics of hope, wisdom and humility enabled him to influence kings.  Those same qualities can be developed within us today and be persuasive in the name of Christ.  The reader will come to see trials and testing as beneficial happenings that mold and shape us and make us more usable for God’s kingdom.
Check out the devotional plan on youversion.com for a chance to win a copy of the book.  You can also leave a comment here including your email address, and I will enter you to win a copy by random drawing on 08/07/15.

Fairy Tale Romance Collection by Melanie Dickerson

Fairy Tale Romance Collection The Healer’s Apprentice, The Merchant’s Daughter, The Fairest Beauty, The Captive Maiden, The Princess Spy

By Melanie Dickerson
Published by Zondervan

Book Description

Five of bestselling author Melanie Dickerson's popular YA fairytale retelling novels now available as a bind-up.

Romance, intrigue, and danger abound in this bind-up of five of Melanie Dickerson's fairy-tale retellings presented in realistic historical settings. Includes The Healer's Apprentice, The Merchant's Daughter, The Fairest Beauty, The Captive Maiden, and The Princess Spy.

The Healer's Apprentice: Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, and when Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, Rose tends to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to fall in love, and wonders if he feels the same. But Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

The Merchant's Daughter: Annabel is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. She soon finds he is not beastly after all, and becomes involved in a situation that could place Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, in her hands.

The Fairest Beauty: Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, and receives her chance when Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and that he has come to rescue her. Though romance is impossible--she is his brother's future wife, and Gabe himself is betrothed to someone else--the pair flee to the Cottage of the Seven to find help. Before long both must not only protect each other from the dangers around them, they must also protect their hearts.

The Captive Maiden: When Gisela learns the duke's son, Valten--the boy she has daydreamed about for years--is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

The Princess Spy: Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha--one of the few who speaks his language--understands the wild story. It is up to her to save her father, Colin, and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.

About the Author
Melanie Dickerson is the author of The Healer's Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Reader's Choice Award for Best First Book. Melanie earned a bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Alabama and has been a teacher and a missionary. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Huntsville, Alabama.



Here is my review of this wonderful collection of stories:


The Fairy Tale Romance Collection by Melanie Dickerson is a fabulous collection of stories based on popular fairy tales.  All five stories are beautifully written and very engaging.  They don’t obviously resemble the stories on which they are based, but it’s been a while since I’ve read a book that made me think.  I highly recommend this collection for any age group!

****Story #1, The Healer’s Apprentice, is a very different take on the tale of Sleeping Beauty.  In fact, it took more than half the book for me to recognize echoes of the fairy tale.  Rose is the apprentice of a healing woman who is in love with the future Duke.  Lord Hamlin is also in love with Rose, but with his title comes a pre-arranged marriage.  This beautifully written story will keep the reader captive until the final page!

****Story #2, The Merchant’s Daughter, is Dickerson’s more obvious but just as creative version of Beauty and the Beast.  Annabel has volunteered herself as an indentured servant to Lord Ranulf le Wyse to pay a debt her family owes and escape an unwanted marriage.  In the midst of the challenges of life as a servant, Annabel’s heart’s desire is realized as she is able to read the Word of God for herself as she reads it to the lord of the manor.

****Story #3, The Fairest Beauty, is an enjoyable twist on the story of Snow White.  Sophie is the mistreated scullery maid thought to be the betrothed of Valten, Duke Wilhelm’s eldest son.  When Valten’s brother, Gabe, learns that Sophie is in danger, he takes it upon himself to rescue the maid for his brother.

****Story #4, The Captive Maiden, is Dickerson’s clever retelling of the Cinderella story.  Gisela is the beloved daughter whose father dies, leaving her in the “care” of her stepmother.  Valten plays the rescuing hero in this inspiring tale

****Story #5, The Princess Spy, an engaging and inspiring version of The Frog Princess, is the story of Valten’s and Gabe’s sister, Margaretha.  There are lots of surprises in this enjoyable story of finding love in the oddest of places.

These beautiful, Christian based stories convey the spirit of the fairy tales woven with a thick, godly undercurrent.  These short books are terrific weekend reads.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Homiletics Matthew 9:1-34

written 12 November 2013


Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture):  Where?                His own city       Who? Jesus, disciples, etc.

1
9:1-3
He entered ship, came to own city, they brought man sick of palsy, Jesus seeing faith said: thy sins forgiven, scribes said: blasphemeth.
2
9:4-6
Jesus knowing thoughts said: wherefore think evil in your hearts, easier to say forgiven or arise and walk, that ye know Son of man hath power to forgive: Arise, take bed, go thine house.
3
9:7-8
He arose/departed, multitudes saw/marveled/glorified God.
4
9:9-10
J saw Matthew at custom: follow me; he arose/followed; J at meat in house, publicans/sinners sat w/him & disciples.
5
9:11-13
Pharisees said unto disciples: why eateth Master with publicans/sinners; J heard/said: whole need not physician, but sick; not come to call righteous but sinners to repentance.
6
9:14-15
Disciples of John: why we/Pharisees fast, thy disciples fast not; J said: can children mourn while bridegroom with them, days will come when bridegroom taken and they fast.
7
9:16-17
No new cloth unto old garment – rent made worse; no new wine in old bottles – bottles break/wine runneth out/bottled perish; new wine-new bottles, both preserved.
8
9:18-21
Certain ruler worshipped, saying: Daughter dead-you lay thy hand on her, she live; J arose/followed, so did disciples; woman, issue of blood, 12 yrs, touched garment: if I touch, I be whole.
9
9:22-26
J turned/saw: thy faith made thee whole; came into ruler’s house: maid not dead, sleepeth; went in, took hand, maid rose; fame went into all land.
10
9:27-31
J departed; 2 blind men followed, saying: Son of David, mercy; J: believe ye I am able, they said: yea, Lord; touched eyes: according to faith be it unto you, eyes opened; J: see no man know; but they spread fame.
11
9:32-34
They brought dumb man possessed w/devil, devil cast out, dumb spake, multitudes marveled, Pharisees said: He casteth out devils through prince of devils.

 


Divisions (run-on sentence OK, direct verbiage from Scripture):

1
9:1-8
Jesus brought man sick of palsy, seeing faith said: thy sins forgiven, scribes said: blasphemeth; knowing thoughts: easier to say forgiven or arise and walk, that ye know Son of man hath power to forgive: Arise, take bed, go thine house; He departed, multitudes saw/marveled/glorified God.
Principle:
Jesus responds to our faith, knows our thoughts and has the power to forgive sins.
2
9:9-17
Jesus saw Matthew: follow me, at meat, publicans/sinners sat with Jesus and disciples, Pharisees said unto disciples: why eateth Master with publicans/sinners; Jesus heard/said: not come to call righteous but sinners to repentance; Disciples of John: why we/Pharisees fast, thy disciples not; Jesus said: days will come when bridegroom taken and they fast; No new cloth unto old garment – rent made worse; no new wine in old bottles – bottles break/wine runneth out; new wine-new bottles, both preserved.
Principle:
Jesus calls unlikely people to follow Him and calls sinners to repent: this is the new way.
3
9:18-34
Ruler worshipped, Daughter dead-you lay hand on her, she live, Jesus followed, woman, issue of blood, 12 yrs, touched garment: if I touch, I be whole: thy faith made thee whole; ruler’s house: maid not dead, sleepeth; went in, took hand, maid rose; fame went into all land; 2 blind men followed, saying: Son of David, mercy; Jesus touched eyes: according to faith be it unto you, eyes opened, they spread fame; dumb man possessed w/devil, devil cast out, dumb spake, multitudes marveled, Pharisees said: He casteth out devils through prince of devils.
Principle:
Jesus isn’t irritated by interruptions.
Our faith makes us whole.
Jesus has the power to heal disease, raise the dead, restore sight to the blind and cast out dumb demons.

 

Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure):

Jesus responds to faith and thoughts, bringing healing and restoration.

 

Aim (Christian and Non-Christian):

TCMATK the power of Christ to know every thought, heal any disease, forgive every sin, call sinners to repentance, raise the dead, restore sight and cast out demons without becoming irritated at being interrupted.

 

Application:

1
How has Jesus responded to your demonstrations of faith toward Him?
2
Describe your encounter with Jesus where He invited you to follow Him.
How does Christ’s references to new cloth and old garment and new wine and old bottles relate to the ministry He was engaged in?
3
How has your faith made you whole?
In what way has Jesus touched your life and healed it?

 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Not Your Average Reading Challenge




This is not your average reading challenge.  You don’t have to read 50 books by the end of the year.  You don’t have to read a book by an author with the same initials as yours.  You don’t have to read a thriller or a classic or a book translated from in a foreign language.  I don’t belittle those types of challenges.  In fact, I completed two such lists this year.  But I’d like to issue a challenge of another sort.

Below, you will find a list of names.  Each is the moniker of a human being who openly lived for Christ and because of that, changed the world in Christ’s Name.  Read something by or about one or more of these individuals, not to glorify the individual but rather to see the work of God in others’ lives so we may better notice His work in ours.  This list is certainly not exhaustive.  If you’d like to add a name, please leave it as a comment on this post.  I pray this activity blesses you and inspires you to live out loud for Christ!

A.W. Tozer
Adoniram Judson
Amy Carmichael
Andrew Murray
Benjamin Broomhall
Bethany Hamilton
Betty Greene
Betty Olsen
Billy Graham
Billy Sunday
Brother Andrew
Brother Lawrence
Cameron Townsend
Captain John Birch
Charles Grandison Finney
Charles Judd
Charles Spurgeon
Clarence Jones
Corrie Ten Boom
Count Zinzendorf
C.S. Lewis
C.T. Studd
David Brainerd
David Bussau
David Livingstone
Dawson Trotman
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dixon Edward Hoste
D.L. Moody
Elisabeth Elliot
Eric Liddell
Eric Ludy
Fannie Crosby
Father Damien
Florence Young
Frances Ridley Havergal
Francis Asbury
Francis (and Edith) Schaeffer
Frank Laubach
Franklin Graham
G.K. Chesterton
George Muller
George Whitefield
Gladys Aylward
Harriet Tubman
Henry Martyn
Horatio Spafford
Hudson Taylor
Ida Scudder
Ignatius of Antioch
Irenaeus of Lyons
Isobel Kuhn
Jacob DeShazer
James W.C. Pennington
Jeanne Guyon
Jim Elliot
John Bunyan
John Calvin
John Eliot
John Lennox
John Newton
John Gibson Paton
John Stephen Piper
John Pollock
John Stott
John Wesley
John Williams
John Wycliffe
Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Goforth
Ken Boa
Ken Taylor
Klaus-Dieter John
Lee Stroebel
Leonard Ravenhill
Lillian Trasher
Loren Cunninghan
Lottie Moon
Louis Zamperini
Luis Palau
Martin Luther
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mary Slessor
Mary Jo Sharp
Mike Benge (Betty Olsen’s co-captor)
Montagu Beauchamp
Mordecai Ham
Mother Teresa
Nate Saint
Norman Grubb
Paul Brand
Philip P. Bliss
R.C. Sproul
Rachel Saint
Ravi Zacharias
Richard Wurmbrand
Robert Moffat
Robert Murray McCheyne
Rowland Bingham
Saint Augustine
Samuel Morris
Samuel Zwemer
Sundar Singh
Thomas a Kempis
Watchman Nee
Wilfred Grenfell
William (and Catherine) Booth
William Carey
William Cowper
William David Rudland
William Tyndale
William Wilberforce
Xi Shengmo