Monday, February 27, 2017

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

Rescue Me
by Susan May Warren
Montana Rescue #2

Deputy Sam Brooks is committed to keeping the town of Mercy Falls safe. But when a deadly storm strikes, Sam must abandon all his safety rules to rescue the woman he's falling in love with.

Here's my review of this wonderful read:
First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Susan May Warren and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Rescue Me" 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.
“Rescue Me” by Susan May Warren is the exciting second offering in the Montana Rescue Series.  This novel follows the rescue efforts of Deputy Sam Brooks and his tumultuous romantic entanglements. He is crazy about Sierra while Sierra’s sister, Willow, is in love with Sam.  When a youth group trip leads Willow and Sam into a fight for their lives, other aspects of their relationship change as well.
Susan May Warren has a gift for weaving a dramatic, engaging and suspenseful romance that begins like a racing train the reader can easily jump on and cling to until the final page is turned.  The poignant moments of the novel bring tears to my eyes.  This is a heart-pumping, suspenseful, sigh-inducing, romantic read that I recommend highly for a long weekend.  You won’t want to put this one down.
I can’t wait to read Gage Watson’s story in book three, “A Matter of Trust,” when it hits the shelves in July!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Homiletics: John 13:1-30

Changing up the template as I've seen other people's homiletics and adopted some of their styles:

Content (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

1. Just b4 PO Fstvl, J knew hr cm to lv wrld go Fr, hvng Yd His own in wrld He Yd them to end (1)

2. Eve ml, dvl prmptd Judas btray J; J knew Fr put all thngs undr His pwr, He cm frm G/was retg 2 G (2-3)

3. He got up frm ml, tk off outr clothg, towl arnd waist; pourd h2o bgan wash Disc ft, drying w/towl (4-5)

4. He cm 2 SP: L u going wsh my ft? J: u realize what I doing, but l8r u undstd (6-7)

5. P: No, u nvr wash my ft, J: unless I wash, u hv no part w/me; P: L not jst ft but hands/head as well (8-9)

6. J: those who had bath need only wash ft, whole bdy cln, u cln tho evry1; He knew who btray (10-11)


7. Whn fin washg, put on clothes, ret’d to place: Do u undstd what I done 4u? (12)

8. U call me L&Tchr, rghtly so, that wht I am; Now tht I, L&Tchr wshd ur ft u shld wsh 1 anothrs ft (13-14)

9. I set ex u shld do; VTITY no srvt>mastr nor msgr>1who sent him; now u know u blesd if u do (15-17)

10. I referrg 2 all u, I know those I chosn, this 2 fulfil Scr: He who shard bread turnd against me (18)

11. I tell u so when happn u bel I am who I am (19)

12. VTITY whovr acc NE1 I send acc me, whovr acc me acc who sent me (20)


13. After He said this, J troubled in spirit and testified: VTITY 1 of u going 2 btray me (21)

14. Disc stared @ 1 anothr @ loss 2 know which He meant; 1 of em, Disc J Yd, recline nxt 2 Him (22-23)

15. SP 2 this Disc: ask which 1 He means; leaning bk against J: L who is it? (24-25)

16. J: the 1 I give this bread when dipped, then dipping bread, He gave 2 Judas son of Simon Iscariot (26)

17. As soon as Judas took bread, Satan enterd him, J: what u about 2 do, do quickly (27)

18. No1 @ ml understood why J said this (28)

19. Since Judas had chrg of $, some thot J telling him buy for festvl or gv 2 poor (29)

20. As soon as Judas tk bread, he went out, it was night (30)


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

1. Jesus washes the disciples’ feet

Principle: Jesus’ work cleanses His people.

2. Jesus set an example for His disciples and revealed Scripture to be fulfilled

Principle: Jesus’ disciples follow His example and study the Scriptures.

3. Jesus testifies about betrayal and Judas goes into the night

Principle: Jesus’ betrayal by Judas was part of God’s plan to give salvation to the world.


Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing where you are in Scripture):

After washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus sends Judas to betray.


Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, etc.):

TCMATK Jesus came to earth to cleanse people from their sins and set an example of service for His disciples to follow.


Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about life change):

1. How has Jesus’ work on the cross cleansed you?

2. In what way have you followed Jesus’ example as revealed in Scripture?

3. When have you experienced an unpleasant circumstance that proved to be part of God’s perfect plan for your life and how has this circumstance changed how you look for God’s activity around you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Control Girl by Shannon Popkin

Control Girl

by Shannon Popkin   
Christian Living

"I control because I care."

"I just want to be sure of a happy ending."

"I worry that everything is spinning out of control."

Many women can identify with statements like these. They have a compulsion to make everything turn out just right and are willing to do anything to make it happen. But this unbalanced pursuit of control makes those around them anxious and defensive. And when they realize control is slipping from their grasp, they lose control of themselves and react in anger or fear.
Shannon Popkin knows this struggle inside and out. Keeping her inner Control Girl hidden is a full-time job. Thankfully, she also knows another very important truth: no woman has to be a Control Girl.
In this encouraging book, Shannon invites seven Control Girls from the Bible into the conversation. She examines each story for the moments in which grasping for control circumvented God's plans for good, whether it was Eve's desire to know instead of to trust, Sarah's inability to wait for God to move, or Rebekah's controlling hand on her family's future. Finally, Shannon finds God's perspective on each of the problems and then reveals how readers can have their own happy endings in similar situations.
The author shares from her own struggles and follows each Bible study with questions for personal reflection. In the end, controlling women will find insight into their own experience, peace in the knowledge that God is in control, and relief that they are free.

 Meet the Author

Shannon Popkin is a wife and mom, a speaker and teacher, and a leader of small group studies. She's been published by Family Fun, MOMsense, Focus on the Family Magazine, and other outlets. She is a contributing blogger for True and has blogged for several years at This is her first book.

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Here is my review of this MUST READ Self Help Book:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Shannon Popkin and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Control Girl" 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.

“Control Girl” by Shannon Popkin seemed like a thought-provoking self-help read that would enable me to counsel others who have issues with control.  I never dreamed that I would be the one who needed to read this book and receive God’s help with my own control issues!

This convicting but not preachy read takes you through the Biblical stories of Eve, Sarah, Hagar, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel and Miriam to help the modern day “Control Girl” become a “Jesus Girl” who is wholly submissive to God.  I highly recommend this book to help yourself and others!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Homiletics: John 12

Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

6d b4 Pass J2Beth dinr Marth servd, Laz@tbl; Mary $$$$ perf J ft, wipe w/hair, hs filld frag
Judas, l8r betray obj: why wasn’t perf sold, wrth 1y wages, didn’t care abt poor, thief
Lv alone, she sv perf 4my burial, u alwys hv poor; MW lg crwd came bec of J & 2C Laz
CP md plans kill Laz-on acct o hm mny bel; Nxt dy grt crwd: Hos! Blest=He cm in nom o L
J fnd dnky, sat, as writn: Dtr Zion, c ur king cming seatd on dnky colt; @ 1st Disc undrstd
crwd w/Him whn Laz raisd spread wd; Mny went 2 Him; Phar: lk how wrld gone aftr Him
Som Gks to Phil: we like 2CJ; Phil 2 Andrw, Phil&Andrw told J: hr cm 4 SoM be glrfd
VTITY unless kernl wht dies, remains sngl seed; if dies, prod mny seeds
NE1Ylife, lose; any1 h8 life n wrld keep 4 EL;who srv me fllw me, whr I am srvt be, Fr hon
My soul trbld,I say-Fr save me? N, 4 this hr I cm;Fr glrfy ur nom,Voce fr Hvn: I hv & will agn
Crwd hrd/said thndrd othr said angel spkn Hm;J:voce 4 ur benft now time 4 jdgmt on wrld
Prince o wrld drivn out; I draw all ppl 2 myself; He said 2 show death He die
crwd:we hrd Mess remain 4evr how u say SoM lifted? Who is SoM?
U hv lt lil longr, wlk while u hv lt b4 dknss ovrtk u, bel in lt while u hv so u becm chldrn of lt
After J perf mny sgns, they bel to fulfill Isa:L who bel msgs?2 whom arm of L revealed?
He blindd eyes, hdnd Ys so neithr see/undstd/turn &I heal; Isa saw J glry, spok abt Hm
Mny ldrs bel, bec o Phar,openly ackn faith-fear put out syngg, lv hum prs mo thn prs frm G
J cried: whovr bel in me bel in 1 who sent me, 1 who lk @ me seeing 1 who sent me
I cm to wrld as lt so no1 stay dknss; any1 hears my wds but kp I jdge, I cm 2jdge but 2 save
Thr is jdge 4 1 who rejects me, my wds condmn last dy, Fr cmd all I spkn; His cmd lead 2 EL


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

Before Passover, Mary pours perfume on Jesus’ feet and Judas objects
Jesus deserves our most costly offerings.
Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey saying the hour has come for the Son to be glorified
Jesus’ life is marked with perfect obedience to the Father’s will and timing.
Jesus performed many signs and people still don’t believe but will be judged at the last day
Jesus performed signs that people may believe and have life in His name.


Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Before Passover glorification, perfumed Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey.


Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, etc.):

TCMATK A believer’s response to encountering Jesus is following Him in costly obedience.


Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about life change):

What offerings are you presenting to Christ and what are those offerings costing you?
Where are you struggling in obedience to God’s will and timing and what will you do to come into alignment with Him?
How have you responded to the signs Jesus has performed?


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Making Marriage Beautiful by Dorothy Littell Greco

Making Marriage Beautiful
by Dorothy Littell Greco   
David C. Cook

What makes a marriage beautiful? Honesty? Compatibility? Physical and emotional intimacy? All of these are important, but there's one component that determines the quality and longevity of a marriage more than anything else: a willingness to grow.
Because a wedding joins together two imperfect people, all couples experience disappointment, conflict, and pain. How husbands and wives respond to these challenges determines the kind of people they will become and the kind of marriage they will have.
Making Marriage Beautiful reveals how the pursuit of Christ results in profound transformation for both the individual and the marriage. Rather than offering clich├ęs and formulas, Greco relies on candor, humor, and real life stories to bring encouragement and wisdom to all couples, regardless of whether they have been married four weeks or forty years.

 Meet the Author
Dorothy Littell Greco and her husband, Christopher, have spent their entire twenty-five-year marriage helping men and women create and sustain healthy marriages. They have served numerous churches in the Greater Boston area for thirty years. Dorothy's writing has been featured in Relevant Magazine, Christianity Today, Sojourners, and Her.meneutics. She is a regular contributor for Gifted for Leadership, Today's Christian Woman, and Start Marriage Right. The Grecos have three sons and live near Boston.

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First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Dorothy Littell Greco and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Making Marriage Beautiful" 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.

"Making Marriage Beautiful" by Dorothy Littell Greco is an enlightening and encouraging read.  Greco writes a transparent book that will make you laugh and think and pray and recognize the things in ourselves that need to change.  You will learn – or be reminded of – positive behaviors that enhance and strengthen relationships.

This book would make a great shower gift for the bride because it will help her plan and pray for and work toward the marriage she wants with deliberate action.  It is also a great gift for the single gal who would like to marry someday and the already married woman who is ready to take on some “home improvement” projects.  This book is not a cure for a bad marriage, but it will open your eyes to how your actions, words and decisions affect your marriage and your husband.  A potentially life-changing read.

The Dog Who Was There by Ron Marasco

The Dog Who was There
by Ron Marasco  
Biblical Fiction
Thomas Nelson

No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley's eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we've never experienced before.
Barley's story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver's home and through the dangerous roads of Roman occupied Judea.
On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.

 Meet the Author
Ron Marasco is a professor in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. His first book, Notes to an Actor, was named by the American Library Association an Outstanding Book of 2008. His second book, About Grief, has been translated into multiple languages, and he is currently completing a book on Shakespeare's sonnets. He has acted extensively on TV-from Lost to West Wing to Entourage to originating the role of Mr. Casper on Freaks and Geeks---and appeared opposite screen legend Kirk Douglas in the movie Illusion, for which he also wrote the screenplay.  Most recently, he has played the recurring role of Judge Grove on Major Crimes. He has a BA from Fordham at Lincoln Center and an MA and Ph. D. from UCLA.

Here's my review of this engaging novel:

First, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Ron Marasco and his publisher for sending me a copy of "The Dog Who Was There" 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.

“The Dog Who Was There” by Ron Marasco is a unique historical fiction novel about the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth from the perspective of a dog named Barley.  I was drawn to the story because of the unique perspective and because I am a dog lover.  It was definitely a different kind of story because of that.

I’ve enjoyed books like “A Dog’s Purpose”, so I liked the point of view of the book.  I’ve studied the Biblical gospels for many years and was looking forward to a new angle to view these passages of Scripture from.  I suppose I enjoyed how Marasco built Barley’s character.  I just expected Jesus to show up much sooner in the story than He did.  I know the title indicates that the dog is the main character, so it’s my own fault that the book didn’t live up to my unrealistic expectations.

That said, this is a well written and engaging story.  It’s an enjoyable book with good lessons for our lives with the bonus of Jesus being one of the characters.  I definitely recommend this book.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Homiletics: John 11

Contents (not sentence, direct verbiage from Scripture, fit on one line):

Lz sick, Bethny, M&M (Mry pour perf/wipe ft w/hair): L,1uY=sick; J: end death, 4 G glry
JYMrth/sis/Lz; hrd sick,stayd 2 mor d; 2Dsc: Lets go Judea; Rab, Jws tried stn u & u go bk?
J: arn’t 12h daylt, any wlk daytm stmbl see by wrld lt; Whn pers wlk@nt stmbl, hv no lt
Lz falln asleep I go wk up;Dsc:L if sleep, gt bttr; J spkg o death disc thot mean natrl sleep
He: Lz=ded &I glad I thr so u bel, lets go 2 hm;Thos 2 disc: lets go tht we may die w/Hm
On arr J fnd Lz in tomb 4d; Bethny<2mi 2="" amp="" bro="" cm="" cmfrt="" font="" frm="" jerus="" jws="" loss="" m="" mny="" o="">
Mrtha hrd J cmng, went 2 Hm, Mry styd hm; L, if u here bro hv died; I no G gv whtevr u ask
J: ur bro rise agn;Mrth:he rise in resur@last d; J: I resur&lif 1who bel in me live evn tho die
whoevr live by bel in me nvr die, u bel? Y, I bel u Mess; she calld Mry:Tchr here/askg 4 u
Mry got up/wnt 2 Hm; J enter vill, Jws followd; Mry saw J/fell@ft:L if u here, bro hv died
J saw her/Jws weep, deeply mvd; Whr u laid hm, Cm & see; J wept; Jws: see how he Y hm
som:cdn’tve kpt frm dying; J, mvd, came 2 tomb- cave w/stn; Tk away stn; L,bd odor,  4d
J:didn’t I tell if u bel u see glry o G;took away stn,J: Fr TY tht U hrd me; U alwys hr
I sd 4 ppl here bel u snt me;J ld voce: Lz, cm out;Mn cm out, J: tk off grv cloth;mny Jws bel
som went Phar told what J done; CP&Phar call mtg Sanhdrn: ths mn perf mny sign
if we let go,mny bel & Rom tk tmpl/nat’n; Caiphas (HP):u no nthg;
u realize it bettr 1mn die 4ppl thn nat’n perish; He say on own, proph J die 4 Jew nat’n
also scatrd children of G 2 brng togthr, mk 1
Frm that d, plottd tk life, J no lngr mv publicly Judea, wd 2Ephraim w/Dsc
Whn almst Pass,mny 2 Jerus; kpt lookng 4 J;CP&Phar ordrs any1 found J rpt so they arrest


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

Jesus and the disciples hear their friend Lazarus is sick and go back to Judea
God is glorified in all circumstances including sickness and death.
Jesus speaks to Martha and Mary and calls Lazarus out of the tomb
Jesus is sovereign over death, having conquered it at the cross.
The Chief Priests and Pharisees plot to arrest Jesus
Those threatened by Jesus will attack Him and His people.


Subject Sentence (10-word sentence with proper structure showing exactly where you are in Scripture):

Jesus resurrects Lazarus leading the Pharisees to plot His arrest.


Aim (“To Cause My Audience To…” Know, See, etc.):

TCMATK Christ should be glorified in the lives of His people.


Application (not yes or no question.  Meant to bring about life change):

What have you done/will you do to glorify Christ in the face of sickness and death?
How will you share the power of Jesus’ resurrection to encourage others dealing with painful circumstances?
What will you do to prepare for and protect yourself or others from enemy attacks?