Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Review: Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook, Volume 3

Nelson's Annual Preacher's Sourcebook, Volume 3
Dr. O.S. Hawkins
Thomas Nelson, 2013
English, 592 pgs, DVD included

Preach great sermons and plan innovative worship services with the newest edition of Nelson’s Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook. This volume is the same sermon planner you have come to depend on for more than ten years. Outstanding pastors provide an entire year’s worth of preaching and worship resources for every week. Look for a new volume every fall.
Features include:
  • Sermons, creative outlines, illustrations, and quotes for every week of the year
  • Worship helps, including hymns, prayers, and Scripture texts
  • Inspirational thoughts and preaching techniques
  • Sermons for special occasions and holidays

The third volume of Nelson’s excellent “Annual Preacher’s Sourcebook” continues the work of the previous editions, giving pastors a well-written tool for ministry. The volume contains a year’s worth of  “sermons, creative outlines, illustrations, and quotes…worship helps, hymns, prayers, and Scripture texts.” This volume also features preaching and ministry techniques used by several of today’s noted preachers, including Jim Henry’s (Pastor Emeritus at First Baptist Church, Orlando, FL) excellent discussion on the pastor and the wedding, Russell D. Moore (President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) and Phillip R. Bethancourt’s (Executive Vice President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) timely discourse on preaching through moral and ethical issues, and Steven Smith’s (Dean, Professor of Communication, The College At Southwestern) teaching on text-based preaching through the Gospels. These essays alone are worth the purchase of the book.
This volume also includes a DVD of files associated with each of the sermons and events presented in Rich Text Format. This is of particular use with registries, as it allows the user to import the unformatted files into Microsoft Word or other word processors and easily reformat the files to their needs and aesthetic desires.
There are some who might balk at the idea of this sourcebook, as if it were somehow intellectually or spiritually dishonest for a preacher to use sermons written by someone else. As the wife of a busy pastor in a mid-sized church, I can see the utility of such a volume as this. As my husband said, “A book like this provides sound, Biblically-grounded material from which to start.” The provision of the entire sermon allows pastors to read and understand how others construct and deliver sermons, much like musicians watching, learning and even performing parts of other musicians’ work. As editor (and noted Southern Baptist pastor) O.S. Hawkins states in the introduction, “It is not designed to provide an ‘easy fix’ for late Saturday sermon preparation.” 

There is opportunity for growth and development of new inspirational tools in the pastor’s toolbox. But just like any other tool, it depends on how it is used. If used correctly, as a help and inspiration, this sourcebook can be an invaluable tool for pastors. If used merely as a source for copying, the arguments against such a tool can quickly become valid.

 I received a copy of the book from BookSneeze for the purpose of this review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Book Review: Love and Respect in the Family

Love and Respect in the Family
By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Thomas Nelson, 2013
English, 288 pgs

Children need love. Parents need respect.

It is as simple and complex as that!

When frustrated with an unresponsive child, a parent doesn’t declare, “You don’t love me.” Instead the parent asserts, “You are being disrespectful right now.” A parent needs to feel respected, especially during conflicts. When upset a child does not whine, “You don’t respect me.” Instead, a child pouts, “You don’t love me.” A child needs to feel loved, especially during disputes.

But here’s the rub: An unloved child (or teen) negatively reacts in a way that feels disrespectful to a parent. A disrespected parent negatively reacts in a way that feels unloving to the child. This dynamic gives birth to the FAMILY CRAZY CYCLE.

So how is one to break out of this cycle? Best-selling author Emerson Eggerichs has studied the family dynamic for more than 30 years, having his Ph.D. in Child and Family Ecology. As a senior pastor for nearly two decades, Eggerichs builds on a foundation of strong biblical principles, walking the reader through an entirely new way to approach the family dynamic. For instance, God reveals ways to defuse the craziness with our children from preschooler to teen, plus how to motivate them to obey and how to deal with them when they don’t. In the Bible, God has spoken specifically to parents on how to parent. This book is about that revelation.

My Review:
I have read book after book on parenting and discipline trying to figure out how to better relate to and teach my boys. I think this is the book I've been looking for all along!

I had read Love and Respect for marriage and it has never occurred to me to apply the same principles to my sons. I've changed the way I relate to them and speak to them and I'm seeing boys open up and talk, hug more and even chase me down to give me a kiss "just because".

The biggest thing that has changed is me. I've learned that my worth isn't dependent on my children's behavior. My response is my responsibility. My value and place in the world isn't up to them to decide. I cannot force my children to do anything. They make their choices and they decide for themselves whether or not to obey. It has nothing to do with how I parent them. I am accountable to God for how I raise these boys, they are accountable to God with how they act and react.

I know that things are not going to be perfect, but they're getting better thanks to the GUIDES principles in the book and being able to identify the Family Crazy Cycle and how to get off of it when it starts.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Book Tour and Review: Promise Me Texas

Jodi Thomas, NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

Promise Me Texas (Whispering Mountain Book #7)

Berkley, 2013
English, 320 pages

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Jodi Thomas returns to Texas with her seventh Whispering Mountain historical about an unpredictable adventure in romance that sets two unlikely hearts on fire…

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Bestseller Thomas strikes gold again with her seventh Whispering Mountain historical (after Wild Texas Rose), set in 1879 Texas. When 24-year-old Beth McMurray sneaks onto a train to surprise her fiancé, former Senator Lamont LaCroix, she's shocked to overhear him bragging about his plans for her and her money. Then robbers board the train and it goes off the rails. Just before the crash, one of the robbers grabs Beth and jumps off the train, taking the fall to protect her. He's hurt, but she stays with him, claiming that he's her husband. The sheriff and the doctor believe that Beth is now Mrs. Andrew McLaughlin, but LaCroix does not. Meanwhile, widower Andrew reveals his hidden depths: when he's not robbing trains, he longs to be an author. By the time Beth drives a wagon out of town, she has collected a pretend husband, two little boys, an ill teen cowboy, and a pregnant young woman, and the adventure has just begun. Complex plotting, superb character development, and touching romantic scenes make this a winner.

“One of my favorites.” —Debbie Macomber, #1 New York TImes Bestselling author

“PROMISE ME TEXAS is one of the best western historical tales of this year!”—

Description: On a midnight train, four hours away from her wedding, Beth McMurray discovers the devastating truth about the powerful senator she's about to marry. Convinced nothing could make this stormy night worse, the train wrecks, and she tumbles straight into the arms of an outlaw.

Andrew McLaughlin doesn't believe in loving except between the pages of his writings. He loved deeply once and thinks he'll never survive another loss. To save a friend, he climbs aboard a train heading toward Dallas. In the moment before the train crashes, he saves a beautiful woman and is injured in the fall. He wakes up to find she’s claimed him as her fiancĂ©—and now they’re both on the run, and destined to do everything it takes to make an unexpected promise of love come true.

A Word from the Author:
Over the years of writing I’ve included a writer as one of the characters in a book many times.  Maybe it’s because I understand them so well.  In my new historical romance, PROMISE ME TEXAS, I wrote about Beth McMurray and Andrew McLaughlin. 
Beth is the spoiled, loving, very proper, youngest child of Teagan McMurray from Whispering Mountain. Andrew is drifting through life with no direction.  Like most writers, he’s interested in people of all kinds.  When he comes across a gang of outlaws, he can’t resist tagging along to hear the stories they tell.  Once he realizes they are about to rob a train, he can’t step away without putting his friend in danger.
These two very different people find a most unusual love amid all the friends and family who are trying to ‘save them’ from themselves.  Their make-believe marriage begins to feel very real as Beth lies to her father, the great Teagan McMurray. PROMISE ME TEXAS is the story of a strong loving family who founded Whispering Mountain Ranch and how their big hearts open up to let others in.
Readers often ask me where my characters come from.  That is a hard question to answer.  For the most part I just open my mind and let them walk in. 
That’s what happened when I began this story.  Beth had been a baby in another book.  Andrew was lost, trying to find his reason for life.  He was one of those men she wouldn’t have given a second glance to if fate hadn’t stepped in and tossed them together.  Once she saw him, really saw him, she wouldn’t let go.  

I think the hardest thing in life is finding what direction to head.  Real people as well as those in my head sometimes have trouble finding the road to take.  Maybe the important thing is to simply keep walking.
I hope everyone enjoys PROMISE ME TEXAS.  I promise I’ll take you on a great adventure that will make you smile and maybe just laugh out loud.  If might even remind you of the day you took the path less traveled and ended up in a most delightful place.
Enjoy the adventure,
Jodi Thomas

My Review:
This is my favorite Whispering Mountain book so far! At first, it seems really far fetched that Bethie would do what she does...but then again the McMurray girls have been so entertaining that you never know what they're going to do!

The side characters, the twins, Colby and Madeline, are so great too! I love the resolution to all the stories. It feels like everything was settled at the end.

I'm just wondering what's next for Whispering Mountain? With Beth being the youngest and married off, I can't think of another character to keep the story line going!

I love that there are hints and mentions of characters from other books, especially Duncan, who was one of my favorite characters in the previous books.

I think my favorite thing about the books though is that they're familiar. They're set in Texas, some in Fort Worth, and it's like reading about your friend's family or something. The characters are fun, complex and very entertaining.

All I know is, as much as I am glad I live in this day and age, it would be fun to inhabit the world of the McMurrays.

I received an advance copy of the book from Ms. Thomas in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a  positive review and no additional compensation has been received. All opinions about the context of the book are my own, unless specifically attributed to another reviewer.