Life In The Moments

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Faith, hope, love, forgiveness, mercy, peace, compassion, encouragement, reconcilation just to name a few

Paint Outside Usual Lines

Visited with a sweet friend yesterday afternoon. Funny enough… she encouraged & challenged me in a way I’ve never been before. Don’t know what will become of it. But this morning, I woke up with thoughts I’ve never had. Inspiration can come in many forms & can catch us by surprise. And can make us smile deeply when we might not have ever given it a second thought before.

Where will your inspiration come from today?

What will you do with it when it comes?

Who can you encourage & challenge today to paint outside their usual lines?

As always, dear reader, you’ve been prayed for.

Much love,
Camey

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Book Review: the Christian Atheist by Craig Groeschel

Book Review: the Christian Atheist – by Craig Groeschel

Disclaimer: This is not a totally unbiased book review. I’ll leave it at that.

One day, my oldest son – Austin and I were in a LifeWay Store together. His ever-growing consumption for books has taken a rather lofty direction as of late. I couldn’t help but notice one particular book in his hand, the Christian Atheist. Austin is one who has friends who are atheists as do I. But over the last year or more, we have had this ongoing dialogue about how Christians can be just as much atheists as the so-called real ones! Needless to say, I knew I would read the book before he did. If you’ve read any of my book reviews before – you know this is not the first time I’ve reviewed a book of Craig’s. And in fact, you may be one I’ve personally given one of my own books of his to read.

One of the many things I greatly appreciate about Craig is his transparency. And in the book, the Christian Atheist, he continues that even though doing so at times causes the reader to see right through him. {Read: Pastors are supposed to be perfect, right? That would be no.} He talks and shares very openly about his own struggles with being a recovering Christian Atheist. Having been one myself, I can relate to many of the stories he candidly lays out as how one can believe in God but live as if He doesn’t exist. I believe, as I know Craig does too, that this is how far more Christians can be defined these days than not. For the record, I used a cotton swab as my book marker while reading this book. I suggest you have one – if not several ready. Why? Our ears are dirty and in need of cleaning. {Huh? What did you just say?}

The book speaks to where so many are at these days. Believing in God and yet not living as though He exist. Believing in the phony formula as Craig calls it (as do I) that “better possessions + peaceful circumstances + thrilling experiences + the right relationships + the perfect appearance = happiness.” That can be found on page 169. It is not found in real life.

I don’t want to go into great detail about the book because I’m planning on giving this book as a gift in the near future. Very few books do I finish reading and say that about. I knew that half-way through the book if not sooner. So, needless to say, if you’re a Christian – I highly recommend this book to you. If you’re an atheist – the same applies for you. And if you’re somewhere in-between, ditto. Why? You never know when you just might need to hear something inside a book a friend recommends.

To fellow Christians reading this… I encourage you to really pray before opening its pages. I know I did.

And if by chance you’ve never really given God your life’s moments – all of them… no time like the present. But you’ve got to start somewhere. Why not here and now?

As always dear reader, you’ve been prayed for.

Much love,
Camey

PS: Any time I review a book of Craig’s – I always receive super lovely letters condemning him and his church, notice – it didn’t stop me.

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Book Review: Josh Hunt’s “Make Your Group Grow: Simple Stuff That Really Works”

First, let me say that I am always thrilled at the opportunity to review a new book. Throw in that I received the book for free makes it even sweeter given that I was prepared to buy it. Thanks, Josh! As a disclaimer: I have met Josh in person. In fact, I played a role in him coming to give a seminar at our last church. We spent more than just a couple of moments talking with each other. We are also Facebook friends – so we’ve stayed connected through social media.

Part of the reason for my giving the disclaimer is this… Josh writes very much like he talks in person. And it’s because of that, this book is an easy read. There is nothing complicated about this book or the subject. Josh has a real passion for showing and sharing Jesus. And because of that – Josh has a fire in his belly for small groups. And the guy likes to party.

There are many areas of this book that I could mention & dissect why I liked or disliked them. I’ve picked out just a few to highlight in this review. I promised Josh no fluff. There won’t be any.

My favorite chapter is #7 – titled simply “You Gotta Have Faith.” Quoting Josh from page 101, “Groups that believe they will grow are nearly 12 times as likely to be growing, compared with those that don’t believe they’ll grow.” God’s Word – The Bible – teaches us time and time again that faith.. Genuine faith bears fruit. It cannot help but do so. That’s the way God designed it. On page 106, Josh says, “God said it. So let’s know it – and then do it.” Could not agree more with Josh on that.

Throughout the entire book, Josh shares real life stories from individuals whom have tried various methods over the years to get their groups to grow. He shares how sometimes they achieved success and other times, they fell flat. Having tried various methods myself over the years in different groups I’ve had the privilege of leading – I can totally relate with many of his findings and others experiences as well. One thing this book is full of is encouragement. Don’t give up if your group is not growing. Stop. Be willing to examine every part of it – including yourself – and then take inventory of what works and what doesn’t. Go from there. All while making sure you’re firmly planted in The Word and in prayer. For without these – what type of group are you really leading?

Why Chapters 7, 8 and 9 are the most valuable in this book to me are a part of my story. Does not necessarily mean I dislike the rest. Which ones will speak to you and your group(s) more will depend upon yours. I have had groups that have grown. I have also had groups that tanked. And all a long the way, God continues to use them to shape and grow me in to the leader He wants me to. And somehow, I have no doubt that God continues to work in the lives of those who were involved. We should be a student until we take our final breath. No matter how many times we might have been called teacher and/or leader.

The Appendix and End Notes are also worth the time in reading. That is not something that can be said for every book. Some I’d rather have a root canal than to read. Boring.. I also can tell a lot about the writer of a book of this type by the sources he/she uses as resources. I’ve now added to my list of things to read thanks to those Josh sites.

If you are a church leader of any type – I highly recommend this book. Warning: You may think I am not recommending this book to you. But you never know when God might just give you a fire in your belly for just this very type thing! And trust me when I say, “I wouldn’t say never or not me.” God will use whomever He pleases for His Kingdom. I am a real life story of that.

Thanks again, Josh, for the opportunity to review this book. Now get busy won’t you?!

For more information, check out the following websites:

http://www.joshhunt.com & http://www.group.com

As always, dear reader, you’ve been prayed for!

Much love,
Camey

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