Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review: How to Pick Up a Stripper

How to Pick Up a Stripper
By Todd and Erin Stevens
Thomas Nelson, 2014
English, 224 pgs

The starting and ending points for all outreach have to be love. The most effective way to reach people for Jesus is through servant evangelism—showing God’s love in practical ways. This type of outreach is what Jesus modeled, is culturally relevant, and values people. The goal should be to invite people to take the next step from where they are.

Friendship Community Church, led by Pastor Todd Stevens, has experienced tremendous growth through acts of kindness. The church’s most radical servant evangelism project is Nashville Strip Church, founded by Erin Stevens. Erin’s life changed when God told her to "go feed the strippers."

With home-cooked meals and gift bags, Erin shows dancers that God loves them. How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness includes the story of a dancer who has come to know Christ, left the strip club industry through Erin’s ministry, and is now serving with Erin to reach other strippers.

From feeding the homeless, to Easter egg hunts for special needs children, to ministering in a strip club, How to Pick Up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness provides exciting ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways.

Features include:
  • Stories from servant evangelism events, including Strip Church
  • Ideas for showing God’s love in practical ways
  • Inspiration to step out of your comfort zone to serve people 

This is an incredible book. I was hesitant about reading it simply because of the title and the picture on the cover. Silly reason, I know. I'm glad I picked it though. I read it in two days because the book is just that good!

The basis of everything we do in reaching someone is love. We have to love people enough to want to share the gift of God's grace. It makes me think of the Penn Gilette video where he asks "how much do you have to hate someone to not want to share your God with them?" 

There are a lot of practical things described that you can implement in your own life or church. Each chapter ends with questions for discussion so this could also be used as a Bible study guide. I'd love to see that church bulletin announcement!

 I like that they make a difference between servant evangelism and acts of kindness. They can be the same thing, but not in all cases. Buying someone's lunch isn't the same as mowing their lawn. They can both be from the same "heart place" but they're a different kind of action.

The author has a really excellent chapter about generosity. The only thing that confused me was that the chapter on prayer was last. That, to me, should have been the start.

I received a copy of the book from BookLook blogger program in exchange for a review on this site and a commercial bookseller site. No additional compensation has been, or will be, received. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Review: Simplify

Simplify: Ten Practices to Unclutter Your Soul
By Bill Hybels
Tyndale Momentum; August 19, 2014
English, 320 pgs

Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Overscheduled. Sound familiar? Today’s velocity of life can consume and control us . . . until our breakneck pace begins to feel normal and expected. That’s where the danger lies: When we spend our lives doing things that keep us busy but don’t really matter, we sacrifice the things that do.

What if your life could be different? What if you could be certain you were living the life God called you to live—and building a legacy for those you love? If you crave a simpler life anchored by the priorities that matter most, roll up your sleeves: Simplified living requires more than just cleaning out your closets or reorganizing your desk drawer. It requires uncluttering your soul. By eradicating the stuff that leaves your spirit drained, you can stop doing what doesn’t matter—and start doing what does.

In Simplify, bestselling author Bill Hybels identifies the core issues that lure us into frenetic living—and offers searingly practical steps for sweeping the clutter from our souls.

The concept of the book is, well, simple. Hybels gives 10 strategies that are aimed to help you slow down, be less busy and find time for what really matters in life.

There doesn't seem to be anything particularly new in the book though. He advocates putting God first, learning to say "no", exercise and proper nutrition, rest....all the things we've been told for years to do. 

If you haven't been reading books about simplifying your life, getting back on track, or any other catch phrasey topic, this is a good place to start. The chapters are fairly long, but very detailed and have explanations, steps and goals in them.

There are chapters on finances, scheduling, fears, forgiveness and being in the season of life you currently face. This is by no means a bad book. It's informative, well written and in depth. It's just not anything new to me. It could be to you though. It's worth a shot!

I received a copy of the book from Tyndale House for the purpose of a review on this site and on a commercial bookseller site. No additional compensation has been, or will be, received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: The Red Sea Rules

The Red Sea Rules
By Robert J. Morgan
Thomas Nelson, 2014
English, 160 pgs

Just as Moses and the Israelites found themselves caught between "the devil and the deep Red Sea," so are we sometimes overwhelmed by life's problems. But God delivered the Israelites, and He will deliver us too.

The Red Sea Rules reveals, even in the midst of seemingly impossible situations, God's promise to make a way for us. His loving guidance will protect us through danger, illness, marital strife, financial problems - whatever challenges Satan places in our path.

Using the Israelites' story as an example, Robert Morgan offers ten sound strategies for moving from fear to faith. Among them: Realize that God means for you to be where you are. Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord. Pray.

Life is hard. It is certain that we will face difficulties, and that God will allow them, as He allowed the Israelites to become trapped between Pharaoh's rushing armies and the uncrossable Red Sea. But just as certain is the fact that the same God who led us in will lead us out. As The Red Sea Rules makes clear, He is in control.

Updated edition with new study questions accompanying each chapter.

I requested this book to review because we have dear family friends who are facing a brain tumor in a young child. It's a seemingly hopeless situation, yet they're keeping their eyes on God and choosing to praise Him in the midst of the trial they're facing. We don't know why they're struggling with this but we do know that they're not alone.

The 10 rules are nothing that will magically make things better, but they do help you find perspective and give examples from the Bible that illustrate the truth they state. Each rule has a couple of days of devotional length sections. There are a total of 24 of these sections in the book, including the Preface. Each rule chapter has study questions at the end and it states that there is an additional study guide available to accompany your study.

This is good. It helps you to remember that even in the midst of what you may think is your darkest hour, keep your eyes on God, trust Him for the next step, pray and trust Him to be in control. His ways are not our ways and we may not always understand what He puts before us. Sometimes a test is just a test. Sometimes it's to strengthen our faith. It's all up to Him

I received a copy of the book from BookLook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been, or will be, received from the program. I was not required to write a positive review.