Tag Archives: book review

Scrabble : triple word score

It’s easy to give up. It’s even easier to mope – especially when a seemingly debilitating and career-ending injury makes it look like you’ve reached the end of your dream.

Drew Brees didn’t give up or mope for too long. I’m taking notes from him.

This NFL player incurred a shoulder injury that almost ended his career. He had to re-learn how to throw a football. In his book, “Coming Back Stronger,” Brees shares about his injury and how he came back from it.

The book is also about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The book chronicles the NFL and city’s comeback from devastating circumstances.

It’s a good lesson in perspective for me.

Sometimes it’s easy as a writer to take one defeat – a poorly written story, or multiple poorly-written stories – as signifying the end of a career.

This story is a great reminder to continue in what you’re called to do. Where it gets tricky is allowing God control and not taking control for yourself. When you work with words, it’s hard let the Lord lead you and not keep typing your own words.

It’s like playing Scrabble. Sure, you can put together words, but are they going to be a triple-word score or a five-point concession?

If I let Him guide me in Scrabble, I’ll be dancing in triple-word scores.

It’s the difference in one letter sometimes – coping and moping. Coping means accepting the tiles you’ve drawn and making something of it, moping means pouting and resigning yourself to your fate. The difference is between the “c” and the “m.”

I don’t have to know the next play in the Scrabble game either. You see what letters you have to work with after you commit to a play and are able to draw two new letters. In life, committing to a “word” or “play” that the Lord has revealed will lead to the next wordplay.

Sometimes there will be low-scoring word plays. Not every one will be a whopper. But, we’re promised peace that passes all understanding and direction better than we could supply.

So, like Drew Brees, don’t let the shoulder injury keep you from pursuing God’s calling on your life.

Tyndale Media Center provided me with a copy of “Coming Back Stronger.” My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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If we are the body

“A church is just a building if there’s no one in it.”

I think, many times, in the West we associate church with the building and not the people.

The church is the body of Christ- not the building they meet in. The church is the men, women and children sitting crossed-legged on cold tile in a living room, singing worship songs loudly and with total abandon.

Mike Yankoski’s book, “Under the Overpass,” is a wonderful reminder of who the body of Christ is.

Yankoski spent several months as a homeless man on the streets of six different cities. Why? He felt God leading him to walk into the shoes of the homeless.

I have great respect for what Yankoski did. I’ve seen the homeless in Asia and it breaks my heart every time. I loved that Yankoski took the time to do as Jesus did, walk in the people’s shoes.

It reminds me of the Casting Crowns song, “If We Are the Body.” If we are the body, why aren’t our arms moving and reaching the homeless?

The book confirmed in me the desire to help the homeless here in Asia, through buying them food or stopping to acknowledge them.

I’d encourage you to do the same.

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Life of Luther

“Blood alone moves the wheels of history,” Martin Luther said.

It’s true, too.

In the Old Testament, blood was required for the remission of sins. Jesus had to spill His blood to atone for our sins once and for all.

Barnas Sears, D.D.’s book, “Life of Luther,” is a biography of Martin Luther, the influential leader of the Protestant Reformation.

I was excited about the book, because I’m a little bit of a history nerd. I’ve got to be honest, I found it a little difficult to get through the book.

Sears knows his stuff. He is an expert in his field and he gives a very detailed account of Luther’s life. He meticulously lays out the backdrop and history and includes many details. His book is great for reference, but perhaps not for pleasure reading.

I’d encourage you to read up on Luther, he is solid and grounded in the Lord.

“Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times,” Luther said.

New Leaf Publishing Group provided me with a copy of this book. My thoughts are my own.

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Mornings and Evenings

I don’t know how you spend your mornings and evenings, but I’m adding Charles Spurgeon to my daily Bible reading and Oswald Chambers morsel.

David Platt’s book, “Radical,” gives several challenges at the end. One of those challenges is to read the Bible through in the coming year. While I have read the Bible through several times, I loved the idea of reading it through this year with the expectancy that God will reveal new things.

I recently received Charles Spurgeon’s devotional book, “Mornings and Evenings with Spurgeon.” The book has daily Bible readings that correspond to the daily devotional. When I decided to read through the Bible this year I hadn’t decided what method to use. I’ve decided to use Spurgeon’s daily Bible readings.

Today’s devotional and Scripture reading reminded me of the importance of being a cheerful giver.

I’m looking forward to the divine adventure in the upcoming year.

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Radical

I’m an adventure seeker by nature. Some may say it’s because I grew up overseas. Some may attribute it to personality. Some may say it depends on the company you keep.

I’d agree with all of the above, but more importantly, I think my sense of adventure stems from Christ.

In David Platt’s book, “Radical,” Platt challenges the church to live a life of adventure, a radical life, in Christ. He argues that Christianity isn’t the safe, American dream that it’s become. Christianity is not the safe road by a long shot.

I love that.

As the title of my blog suggests, I like the path, that Robert Frost calls, “The Road Less Taken.” Following Christ, wholeheartedly and with all abandon, is taking the road less traveled by. Why is it less traveled by? Because staying in America, working on your 401k and building a family with 2.5 kids is easier. It’s easier to worship Jesus in a packed sanctuary where no one sees you come and go.

It’s harder when you are living in a different country and worshiping in a house church.

But, now, even though I live overseas, I tend to take the cushy road sometimes. It’s easy, for me, to do this because I grew up in Chiang Mai. It’s more familiar than America. Platt’s “Radical” challenged me to take a look at how I am living and see if I am manipulating the Gospel to fit my cultural preferences.

Are you? Is your version of Christianity the American dream? Platt goes into this more detail in his book and I’ll save the details for you to read.

Platt’s book challenged me to take a look and Christ’s message and take a look at my life and find the disconnect in where I am and where Christ is.

This adventure seeker (I’m talking about myself, in case there was any confusion) wants to stay on par with the radical life Christ has for believers. Now, does this mean it is always easy? Not at all. The road less traveled by is that way for a reason. It’s stinking hard sometimes.

Adventure isn’t always fun. Growing up, my parents trained my brother and I to see potentially frustrating circumstances as adventures instead of annoyances. In the same way, our view on how good our life is varies based on whether we choose to see life as an adventure or whether we choose to see it as a series of pitfalls.

Being at the center of God’s will is where we have the most freedom. As I was reminded in the sermon in church today, freedom comes through discipline. We have the freedom to play any song we want and play it well on an instrument because we’ve put in the time and effort into practicing. It’s the same with our faith. We find freedom in Christ when we are disciplined in reading his Word and going to Him in prayer. It’s then we experience the abundant life.

As Brian Regan said in his comedy routine about going to the optometrist, “Who doesn’t have time to see?” (That was a paraphrase) Who doesn’t have time to find abundant life?

Who doesn’t have time to live a radical life in Christ?

WaterBrook Multanomah’s Blogging For Books program provided me with a copy of David Platt’s “Radical.” My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Grace

Grace, she became my mother.

Jimmy Needham’s song, “Moving to Zion” has a line that resonates within me. “Grace, she became my mother.”

Grace is my mother. And my grandmother.

My mom’s name is Grace Lyn. My grandmother’s name is Grace. If I have a girl, I want Grace to be a part of her name.

Grace is my heritage–in my earthly family and my heavenly family.

If there’s a theme, a thread or trace of an element in my life, it’s grace. Through Grace and Rudolph, my mom came into the world. Through Grace Lyn and Jim, I came into the world. Through God’s grace, I am His child.

Reading Andy Stanley’s book, “The Grace of God,” and listening to Jimmy Needham’s song, I am reminded of how crucial grace is in all of our lives.

“Grace is bigger than compassion or forgiveness,” Stanley writes. “Grace is the offer of exactly of exactly what we do not deserve.”

Sometimes I forget this. I try to earn grace, but grace can’t be earned.

“It is the knowledge of what we do not deserve that allows us to receive grace for what it is. Unmerited. Unearned. Undeserved. For that reason, grace can only be experienced by those who acknowledge they are undeserving,” Stanley writes.

Stanley says grace is understood best when viewed within the context of relationships. I agree.

In his book, Stanley outlines grace throughout the Old and New Testament. It’s part of our heritage as God’s children.

Stanley’s book reminded of me the ways my parents showed me grace throughout my growing up years, mirroring what our Heavenly Father does.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

I love that grace is the undercurrent in my life.

How is grace playing out in your lives?

Thomas Nelsons’ Booksneeze program provided me with Stanley’s book. My opinions are my own.

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Subtle Ironies

I just read the book “Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half With America’s Cheapest Family.”

Oh, the ironies.

You are probably wondering why I chose to read a book about saving money on grocery bills with American families.

I live in Thailand, I eat out virtually every meal because it’s cheaper and I don’t have a family of my own.

While Steve and Annette Economides’ book may not be pertinent to my life at present, I trust it will be one day.

Their book shares their family’s secrets of how they saved money and fed their family of five on $350 a month. In the book, the Economides (yes, that is their real last name) give tips, strategies and ideas for how your family can save money on groceries.

In addition to their strategies on shopping, making meal lists and stocking up, they give tips for saving money when dining out. I took notice of this portion since most of my dining is out. Not everything applies to me, but the ideas are solid.

Their examples are personal and easy to follow. The Economides include charts, tables and lists to illustrate their points, making the chapters interactive and engaging.

I would recommend this book to families.

Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program provided me with a copy of this book. My opinions are my own

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