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Friday, October 17, 2008

Book Club

I’m working on plans for the Book Club! What do you think about alternating between fiction and non-fiction choices each month? We would meet once a month to discuss our readings, maybe on a Saturday morning at Keen Bean? I’m open to suggestions on days and times. You will have an entire month to purchase and read the selected book. If you like, I could purchase several of them at a time and you could reimburse me, whatever works best. The book club is not limited to Covenant and any friends or family you would like to invite are very welcome!

I’m thinking about starting off with “The Shack”, a controversial and discussion-provoking book by William P. Young. This book has been a #1 New York Times Bestseller and those who have already read it say it is a quick one! I purchased this book at CPO for $12.74. The back cover reads:

“Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question, “Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?” The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!”

I have chosen “Release the Power of Prayer” by George Muller as the first non-fiction selection. He is a fascinating man from the 1800’s with an incredible gift for prayer and trusting God. I purchased this book at CPO for $5.49 and it is pretty short at only 141 pages. The back cover reads:

“As a boy, George Muller was a thief and a liar, but after turning to Christ, he provided for over 10,000 orphans – without ever asking anyone but God to supply their needs. He testified that he knew of at least 50,000 specific answers to his prayers. From his amazing personal account, you will find out how to turn your faith loose, receive God’s promises, exchange unhappiness for joy, watch God turn impossibilities into reality, defeat Satan’s tool of discouragement, connect with God’s amazing power, and participate in miraculous events. Through the extraordinary example of George Muller’s life, you will discover how to trust God and seek His answers to your every problem. You can experience the same miraculous hand of God at work in your life today.”

I made the first two choices to get us started. After that, we will take suggestions from the group as to our next readings. This will be a group that you can come and go as fits your schedule or reading preferences. Let me know if you want to be involved! Also, be sure to give me some feedback as to what dates and times you prefer for our meetings.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Priorities and Expectations

I read this quote last week from “The Names of God” by Andrew Jukes and it pinned me to the wall:

“We would not pass a bag of money, if we might have it, because we could get some pleasure from it; but we can pass by God, morning, noon, and night, for we expect no good or pleasure from Him.”

Bible study and having a quiet time are a frequent practice in my life but sometimes I will go an entire day or two without opening God’s word. As a matter of fact, just last week I realized that I had read the complete Mt. Vernon newspaper but I had not “had time” to read the Bible. Who knows how many television shows I have watched on days when I just couldn’t “get to” my quiet time. Such pathetic excuses! The Holy Spirit used this quote by Andrew Jukes, written in 1882, to convict me deeply. I share it with you as a matter of my own confession but also to ask you to listen to the Holy Spirit on this subject. I bring no condemnation; that is not the way of our El Shaddai (Romans 8:1). It’s not about legalism, either. Think in terms of “quality”, not “quantity”. I simply request that you ask the Lord if He is pleased with the time you spend with Him and His word, and respond to what He shows you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My living room

When I went to Chicago to visit the Ervins, I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House and absolutely fell in love with their color scheme, so much so that I emailed the director and asked the names of the paint colors of the main floor living room. My previously very red living room is now the two tones of silver satin and fairview taupe (Benjamin Moore colors). For my birthday, my brother-in-law installed a chair rail and crown molding. No small task in this 150-year old home where absolutely nothing is square or plumb! The end result is wonderful. I need to decide my accent color (I'm leaning toward aqua) and do a little more decorating but it just looks terrific.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lord, I Want to Know You: El Shaddai Questions

El Shaddai (Almighty) is found in Job over 30 times. This week, spend some concentrated time in this book and consider why Job used that particular term to address God, this Almightly, All-Sufficient God who had allowed so much to be taken from him. What do you learn? How can you apply this to your life?