Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Think, Act, Be Like Jesus (Book Review)


Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions stated here are my own.

A few months ago I reviewed Believe:  Living the Story of the Bible to Become More Like Jesus from General Editor Randy Frazee and Zondervan.  I liked that book enough to recommend it to a friend and my pastor.  So I was eager to read the companion book:  Think, Act, Be Like Jesus.

The back cover text begins with this challenge:
Are you living the story?  The Bible is the most amazing story ever told, but it is a story that demands a response.  It teaches us that the goal of the Christian life is to become like Jesus--for our own personal growth and for the sake of others.  Each believer needs to ask three big questions:  What do I believe?  What should I do?  Who am I becoming?
 It goes on to describe the book this way:
In Think, Act, Be Like Jesus, bestselling author & pastor Randy Frazee helps you grasp the vision of the Christian life & get started on the journey of discipleship. 
In thirty short chapters, Frazee unpacks the ten key beliefs, ten key practices, and ten key virtues that help disciples to think, act, and be more like Jesus Christ.  As he unfolds the revolutionary dream of Jesus, he shows how our lives fit into the big picture of what God is doing in the world.
Think, Act, Be Like Jesus is organized in the same way as Believe.  It has three major sections:
  • Think Like Jesus:  What do I believe?
  • Act Like Jesus:  What should I do?
  • Be Like Jesus:  Who am I becoming?
Again like Believe, each of these sections is divided into ten short chapters. Think Like Jesus explains basic tenets of the Christian faith, such as what we believe about God, salvation, the Bible, and eternity.  Act Like Jesus describes our practices:  worship, prayer, total surrender, spiritual gifts, and more.  Finally, Be Like Jesus covers traits such as love, joy, peace, and humility.

The difference between the titles is that Think, Act, Be Like Jesus has more focus on application of each point, rather than including as many passages of scripture to support each belief, action, or trait.

When I started reading Think, Act, Be Like Jesus, I didn't care for it.  I couldn't pinpoint why, but I kept setting the book aside.  However, when I picked up a copy of Believe and read the chapters in parallel, the combination was great.

I read a chapter in Believe--say, the chapter on compassion--then the corresponding chapter in Think, Act, Be Like Jesus.  In this way I read about what we believe and why, then what we should do and who we are becoming.  I think this is far better than reading one all the way through, then the other.

So, while I like Think, Act, Be Like Jesus, I strongly recommend it for use in conjunction with Believe.

Links for more information:
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When Calls the Heart: Trials of the Heart (DVD Review)

Another movie in the "When Calls the Heart" series, which is inspired by the Janette Oke novel of the same title!  I received a copy of this DVD, at no cost to me, for review purposes.

From the back cover:
From celebrated author Janette Oke (The Love Comes Softly series) comes a rigorous and romantic adventure as epic as the wide frontier. Erin Krakow (Army Wives), Daniel Lissing (Eye Candy) and Lori Laughlin (Full House, 90210) star in When Calls The Heart, "a beautiful story with roots in relationships, self-empowerment, and the enduring power of love" (Common Sense Media). 
Elizabeth Thatcher (Krakow) is an independent, strong-willed teacher who has foregone the life of the big city and found a job, a home – and romance with a handsome Mountie named Jack – in the small frontier town of Coal Valley. But when she learns that her mother has taken ill, she returns to Hamilton, her hometown, with Jack as her escort. 
Once in the comparably opulent Hamilton, Elizabeth and Jack are confounded by Jack's ne'er-do-well brother and Elizabeth's former suitor, Charles Kensington. But it is Elizabeth's father, William, who drives a wedge between them when he suggests to Jack that Charles would be a better match for his well-bred daughter.
Last summer I reviewed "When Calls the Heart:  Lost & Found."  I enjoyed that movie, and I enjoyed this new one as well.

In "Lost & Found," Elizabeth left her wealthy family to become a teacher in a small frontier town.  She became part of the community and met a Mountie named Jack.  "Trials of the Heart" picks up with Elizabeth receiving word that her mother is ill.  She wants to return to her hometown, and Jack insists on accompanying her.  This spurs a sequence of dramatic events as they interact with their family members, friends, and acquaintances.

Meanwhile, remember the coal mine explosion ("Lost & Found") that killed many of the men in town?  The widows are suing the company for neglecting safety issues, which they say resulted in the deaths of their husbands.  Another sequence of dramatic events centers on the trial and its outcome.

Like the previous film, "Trials of the Heart" features strong female characters, which I like.  The strongest theme is perseverance even when circumstances look grim.  Interspersed with the drama are moments of romance and lighthearted fun, so it's not a heavy drama.  It's very sweet and family-friendly.

"Trials of the Heart" ends with a cliffhanger, and I'm already looking forward to what happens in the next one!

As with the previous DVD, I recommend this movie for women and girls.  My husband and son weren't interested in it, because it's more about relationships than adventure.  I get that, so I didn't try to persuade them.

For more information, visit the official website for "When Calls the Heart" (includes the movie trailer)

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Power of Fear (Five Minute Friday)

Fear.

My, that word is powerful, isn't it?

I'm sure you remember the horror we all felt on 9/11/01.  My family and I had been at Newark Airport two or three days before that, just watching planes take off and land.  My son was almost four at the time, and he'd never seen an airport or a plane close up.

Since we live in New Jersey, as we watched the story unfold, we were acutely aware that it wasn't far from home.  We could see the smoke from our yard.  We knew people who worked, or had worked, at the World Trade Center.  People were abuzz about attacks in other places, including Disney World, where we were scheduled to travel soon.  I was afraid and wondering whether we should go at all.

Fast forward a week or so.  Remember the anthrax attacks through the mail?  That, too, originated right here in New Jersey.  Too close to home.

Around that time people, especially the media, were also talking about bioterrorism.  Scary stuff.

I remember losing a lot of sleep, fearful about everything, but especially about the bioterrorism threat.  I remember reading that the vaccine for one particular virus was dangerous for those with eczema.  Two of the three of us are prone to eczema and therefore couldn't get the shot.  What would that mean??

My five minutes is up.  I would add that it was around this time that I came to Christ.  I think He had been working on me and making inroads, but I didn't fully accept Him until this time.  Being able to trust the Lord with my worries and fears made ... makes! ... all the difference in my life.  I'm not in control, but I know the One who is.

Usually 1 Peter 5:7 is cited when we talk about giving our anxiety to God, but I like Psalm 55:22, as well:
Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.

Five Minute Friday


photo credit: MotoGP 2012- Barry Sheene Dinner via photopin (license)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Community Coffee: Military Match Program & Review @CommunityCoffee

Disclosure:  I received samples of this product for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions contained here are my own.

Do you know Community Coffee?  I heard of the company several years ago, and I've been purchasing my coffee from them since then.  I have the coffee scoop and the tumbler, and I've sent a gift pack or two to a friend.

I seem to go through phases with coffee:  sometimes I'll drink it almost every day, and other times it'll be only once a week or so.  Right now I'm on an iced coffee kick.  Luckily for me, Community Coffee is good whether it's hot or cold.

This morning I brewed some 100% Colombia Altura coffee, and it was exactly what I needed for a sleepy Monday morning.  I also brewed some extra to use for iced coffee later.  (Extra coffee?  Is that like "leftover chocolate"?  I'm not sure that such a thing exists.)

I've tried quite a few of the Community Coffee varieties.  In addition to the one I just mentioned, I like Cafe Special and 5 Star Hotel Blend.  According to the company website, both are full-bodied and medium roast.  I'm not a fan of flavored coffees, so I haven't tried those.

We also use the Family Size Tea Bags to make iced tea all summer.  I think it's the cleanest, brightest-tasting iced tea I've had.  Sometimes we add a raspberry herbal tea bag while it steeps.  We don't add any sweetener, but you could.

The real reason I'm writing about this today is to tell you about a really cool program called Military Match.  You can learn more at the company website, but this is how it works.  Buy one of the Military Match sets (four 12-ounce bags, four 16-ounce bags, or four packs of 18-count single-serve cups).  Community Coffee will match your four packages and add a special Military Match mug (the mug might be a limited-time promotion), then send the whole order to the APO/FPO or military base address you supply.  What an easy way to support our military by sharing some special coffee with our servicemen and -women!

The Community Coffee website says it this way (italics added):
More than 2.2 million men and women serve in the U.S. military and approximately 400,000 are stationed abroad in one of the 150 countries U.S. military bases are maintained. That’s 2.2 million reasons Community Coffee Company supports U.S. military personnel by doubling orders to ensure servicemen and servicewomen get a cup of home. 
“The Military Match program gives us an opportunity to boost the morale of those who give the most to our country – the men and women of the U.S. military. While they’re serving, away from their family and friends, we can now offer them a taste of home every day.”
 – Matt Saurage, 4th Generation Owner
Community Coffee Company has been family-owned and -operated since its founding in 1919; in fact, it's the largest family-owned and -operated coffee company in the United States.  The company is based on values like integrity, respect, and uncompromising commitment to quality.  In addition to the Military Match program, CCC also supports coffee farmers and local schools.

And ... until the end of June, CCC is running the Summer Giveaway Sweepstakes, in which you have a chance to win a one-year supply of K-Cup coffee pods or a trip for two to New Orleans!

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