Precious in His Sight

Precious In His Sight

If you haven’t read the many Christian novels on the market because you find them too sweet, too plain-vanilla, not real enough to hold your attention, or obviously predictable, then Karen Pashley, the author of Precious in His Sight will certainly surprise you.

There is no sugar-coating this real life story that ping-pongs between South Carolina and New York. The first line of the story jumps right into the middle of a family dealing with some shocking issues. The kind of developments that no one wants to talk about in Christian circles. The kind that have serious consequences.

It’s easy to see Pashley searched the depth of her soul to locate just the right characters to connect with each reader. Men and women whom we assume to be what they appear to be on Sunday mornings. People we look up to; people we look down upon–champions, enemies, and everything in between. It makes us wonder how a non-Christian views our world. How do we make a lasting difference in our neighbor’s life?   

She didn’t know much about his life…He was a religious man–she heard him talking about serving on his church’s building committee. She wasn’t sure what that meant–were they trying to build up their membership? Build morale? Or build an actual building?

The story brings us into busy, hectic lives that are filled with doubts, misconceptions, betrayal and questions, lots of questions. It holds our attention because it is never predictable. It just isn’t what we thought would happen and the author does a suburb job of allowing the reader to think seriously about what in the world would I do in that situation? instead of telling us how to think. That’s the best part of Precious in His Sight. Pashley guides us and gently moves us into finding out how God could possibly use something bad for something good as part of His plan for our own hyperactive lives.

For the first time in my life I feel I am wearing a mask. I could never understand how Christian people could be so good at hiding what was going on in their lives. Now I get it. And I hate myself for it.

The subject matter is ticklish. The characters are deep. The solution is surprising. For a first time novel, Pashley truly deserves to win the James Jones First Novel Fellowship prize or something similar. And then, we can hold our breath until her second novel appears soon!

But for now, pick this book up at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

 

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Throwback Thursday

Help Me Be Good Series

The Help Me Be Good Series of children’s books by Joy Berry will teach your five-to-seven year old when certain behaviors are appropriate and when they are not–all done in an animated style that children enjoy and find fun to read.

The normal egocentricity of young children often leads to misbehavior that evokes unwanted responses from others. These unwanted responses can lead to a destructive cycle of negative action and reaction.

The purpose of the HMBG books is to help break the cycle of negative action and reaction. This is accomplished by each book defining a misbehavior; explaining the cause of the misbehavior; discussing the negative effects of the misbehavior; and offering suggestions for replacing the misbehavior with acceptable behavior.

One of the books in the series, “Complaining,” finds Tami trying to negotiate a sleep-over with her complaining friend, Amy. Enter T.J., Tami’s brother who constantly enjoys antagonizing her.

In another one of these books, “Fighting,” T.J. and Tami deal with each other in some hurtful and destructive ways, but quickly learn how to solve problems without fighting.

Tami: “These pens aren’t just yours. Grandma gave them to both of us.”

T.J.: “She’s right. I forgot about that.”

Family pet (thinking): “There are two sides to every story.”

Joy Berry is an experienced teacher and school administrator which prompted her to determine that materials on basic “living skills” were absent.

Joy Berry’s realistic understanding of kids and her pragmatic approach to educating and empowering them began with a childhood vow to one day “…figure out a way to give kids more control over their lives.” Her commitment was spawned by a childhood in which her parents defined successful parenting as getting children to embrace parental standards and goals.

Find these fun books in the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ.

Throwback Thursday

Steal Away

STEAL AWAY

If you enjoy mysteries, thrillers, or romantic suspense and have never read novels by Linda Hall, you won’t be disappointed to add this award-winning author to your favorite collections. She is the author of at least 19 captivating novels including Steal Away.   

Hall asks, “When have you felt you wanted to ‘steal away,’ to leave your present life and run away?”

What took Ellen away from her famous husband yearly, to the cold, windy coast of Maine? Piecing together the life of an unhappy minister’s wife, private investigator Teri Blake-Addison trails the wreckage to a remote Canadian island. When murder rocks the community, she realizes the puzzle may not be as simple as it has seemed. This book is about choices. Ellen made a wrong choice and lived a lie for more than twenty years.

The story is fast-moving, the dialogue down to earth, much like speaking with one of your friends.  However, this novel will be hard to put down, so nevermind the dishes–just save a block of time for all the fascinating events that take place. Someone even called it a “mystery within a mystery.”   

Like the police and that private investigator, Brent had his own information about the accident. He’d kept things. A few news clippings and photos. He’d even saved some cards. Other things too. Plus, he had those scrapbooks. Wouldn’t that PI love to get her hands on those!

Even though Steal Away was written a few years ago, there is a sequel out called Chat Room, so we know that Hall has many more stories to keep us interested in the Teri Blake-Addision Mystery Series! Pick up the first book at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

 

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

bonnie

With plenty of emotion and a special way to draw the reader in, as a writer might craft a story of fiction, Bonnie Gray has written a nonfiction piece of magic in Finding Spiritual Whitespace. She describes it in the subtitle as “awakening your soul to rest.”   

How many of us find ourselves running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God? . . . With heartbreaking honesty, Bonnie guides you to discover a better story for yourself, one that feeds your soul and makes room for rest. Infused with biblical encouragement and thought-provoking prompts, this book shows us how to create space in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faith–right in the midst of our stress-frayed lives.

Nowhere in Scripture does it say we must fill every waking moment with busyness. Yet, we do just that all the time. Gray uses stories from her life to grab the reader and startle us by her intense honesty. The truth that God insists we rest. The chapters are very refreshing and give us permission to take a breath and simply rest.

“This journey of rest doesn’t happen overnight. I have to begin this soul adventure each and every day. Many times in the course of a day. Especially at night.” In the chapter, “Lost and Found,” she writes this poem:

Jesus. . .Jesus. . .

All my life, I’ve been waiting for someone to love me.

Now I know why.

It’s true.

No one loved me.

But you chose me. When I was four in the basement, seven in the driveway, and seventeen in the hallway. And you choose me now at forty-two, sunken in trauma and anxiety.

You chose me in all those moments. And you choose me now.     

If you think you are too busy to read this book, you are the one who needs it the most. Pick it up in the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ.

  

Perfect

perfect

The author of Perfect, a novel by Harry Kraus, M.D., is definitely “cutting edge” which is also used as a description of his website. He enjoys using his medical training as authentic substance for his books. Perfect is about that special kind of woman we all know that appears, at least on the outside, to be exactly what everyone dreams they want to be.  

But was her life really that perfect? Wendi Stratford, a good Christian woman and wife of a successful doctor, wanted to “break free of the lie she’s been living.” The question was how to do that exact thing without ruining her personal reputation and her professional life as an accident reconstructionist.

I’d spent my professional life reading subtle clues, the whys and hows of motor vehicle accidents. Skid marks, velocities, folded fenders. These were the things that whispered their secrets to me. It linked me to Henry in a weird sort of way. I figured out what happened at crash scenes. He took over from there and did the neat life-saving stuff. That was Henry.

Kraus uses a comfortable style of writing that makes one want to keep on reading and not put the book down until the end. Wendi becomes your friend. You feel both envy and sorrow for her at the same time. It tears your heart out for someone to go through so many dilemmas.

Someone is leaving Wendi clues at accident scenes, clues that could lead her straight into a killer’s hands. With her life on the line, Wendi must find the strength in a faith that until now had been merely an accessory to her storybook life.

The characters are believable and drag the reader into the mystery and suspense of an intricate plot. It is nail-biting at its best. Nothing makes for better reading than a story about something we know nothing about, such as accident reconstruction or putting lives back together on an operating table.

Another thought troubled me. Was this the evidence that convinced the police that something was amiss? No, I thought, Chris wouldn’t have tried to mislead me by telling me there were brake marks present. There must be some other evidence that makes them think Cindy’s death was no accident.

If you are all in for a great mystery, this is the one.

Pick it up at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott, AZ

The Parables

parables

How many times have we read the parables of Jesus? Probably many times over. How many of those have we actually understood completely? Maybe not many. The Parables by Gary Inrig is written for this purpose. To give us greater understanding about what Jesus meant by them. To make us feel as if we are sitting right there with Him as He is speaking.

The book covers twelve parables in depth, all with user-friendly language. Inrig invites us to sit and listen and to try and understand more deeply the stories presented here, but even more importantly, to get to know our Lord more deeply. “Our world threatens to drown us in information; meanwhile our souls thirst for wisdom,” Inrig says.

The author shows us the Parables make complete sense even in our modern world as in the “Rich Fool” from Luke 12:13-21:

Babyboomers did not invent the pursuit of possessions, although they certainly have refined the art. . . We have been nurtured in a society that seduces with the promise of affluence and measures worth on the basis of possessions and positions. There is nothing inherently wrong with professional success, financial security, or personal prosperity. But at some point, a follower of Jesus Christ crosses the line into enemy territory. As the Lord has told us, we cannot be His disciples unless we say good-bye to all our possessions.

Inrig doesn’t hold back in saying exactly what Jesus meant. And that’s a good thing for us. Because each parable explanation in this book will make you think about not only what it means to you personally, but what it meant to and by Jesus Himself. Inrig points out that these stories almost always answer a question we have and therefore the context must be studied alongside the Parable.

Sit now at the feet of Jesus and listen to His amazing teaching ability. Be sure to bring your Bible.

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott, AZ

Cherokee Rose

cherokee-roase

Imagine your ancestors living peacefully for 500 years in one place. Then one day you and your family are told by the government that you are being moved to a new location with boundaries you must stay within for the rest of your days! No choice in the matter. You are going. This actually happened in America where people are considered “free” to live their lives.

Cherokee Rose by Al and Joanna Lacy is a work of fiction, but it is the true story of real people. Peaceful people. People who grew up farming in North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. Spanish explorers visited them in 1540 and in 1820 they formed a republican government. In 1832 when gold was discovered on their land, everything changed.

Cherokee Rose has endured more than any eighteen-year old girl should. Though accepted by her tribe, being both mixed blood and a Christian set her apart. Then fifteen thousand Cherokee Indians are evicted from their homes in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Broken and angry, Cherokee Rose joins her people on the thousand-mile trek westward to Indian Territory.

In this 21st Century, we have had presidents many do not like or agree with at all. In the 1800s, it appears to have been worse. Presidents Jackson, Van Buren, Cleveland, and Harrison all had a cruel hand in destroying an entire “nation” of peaceful inhabitants. All in the name of greed.

There was much mourning among the Cherokees as two graves were dug at the side of the trail. The newborn baby boy was buried with his mother. A cold, wind-driven rain began to fall as Cassdi, one of the young preachers trained by Layne Ward, conducted the graveside service. As the rain slanted down on the crowd gathered around graves, it seemed to some as though the heavens themselves were mourning the loss of the two women and the baby boy.

This is a rich story taken from the pages of our history. The writing is easy, the happenings were not. The historical assumptions were wrong, the lives were right. The decisions were sinful, the beliefs were ignored. The real Chief Sequoyah “had a great interest in the Bible [introduced by missionaries]. By 1823, he had translated the entire Bible into the Cherokee language, and thousands of copies were printed.”

Be sure to pick up this fascinating account that not many people at all even know about.

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott, AZ

Shattered Dreams

shattered-dreams

Many of us have enjoyed the Book of Ruth and how she and Naomi related to each other. Author Larry Crabb has used this Biblical account as a backdrop to his book, Shattered Dreams. He asks us to think about what we can learn from tragedies and blessings in our own lives.

When we first met Naomi, she was living the pleasant life of the immature, the good life of the untested. Then her world fell apart. Huge dreams were shattered. We met her then as an honest woman, not a visibly good woman, but an emotional realist. She was heartbroken with life and bitter toward God.

Do we have dreams that never worked out how we expected? How did that make us feel? Did it drive us to God or away from God? What do we do with the loss we experience? Larry Crabb covers so many topics in one book, it’s eye-opening for us. His use of Biblical stories in addition to Ruth, Naomi and Boaz brings us to a desire for more. More insight. More truth. More hope.

If you’re seeking God in the middle of shattered dreams, if you’ve become aware of your desire for Him but are having trouble finding Him, be encouraged that it bothers you. The more you’re bothered by not finding Him, the more aware you’re becoming of how badly you want Him.. . .When you realize that your desire for God is the most passionate yearning of your heart, you’re in the spiritual condition to recognize God’s hand when He makes it visible.

Haven’t we all tried building dreams on our own schedule and then wondered what happened when they didn’t work out? Pick up Shattered Dreams in the church library and find out how God wants to bless you now.  

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott AZ

Safely Home

safely-home

If you ever wanted to better understand the verse from Hebrews 13:3, Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering, the book Safely Home by Randy Alcorn will capture your attention.

This is a fictional story about real people [names have been changed] in the persecuted church. A subject most of us would admit to not knowing much about at all. Since the Bible commands us to remember those in prison, Safely Home is a “bracing wake-up call” according to a review by Chuck Colson.

American business executive Ben Fielding has no idea what his brilliant old college roommate is facing in China. But when they’re reunited in China after twenty years, the men are shocked at what they discover about each other.

Thrown together in an hour of encroaching darkness, watched by unseen eyes, both must make choices that will determine not only the destinies of two men, but two families, two nations. . .and two worlds.

If you’re looking for a story that will get your blood moving and your heart racing, you can’t go wrong with Safely Home. It begins in America and goes back and forth over the ocean to China and back.

Is this the day I die? . . .As a young man Quan had tried to disbelieve in God.. . .Quan had tried hard not to be a Christian. He had succeeded too, until he went to college in America. But one day his big American roommate, Ben Fielding, had invited him to a meeting of Christians on the Harvard campus. His questions and doubts and resentments fell in the face of truth. The faith that had been his mother’s and father’s became, for the first time, his own, far away in that foreign land where he had studied to become a college professor. Though they had long since lost touch with one another, Quan thought of Ben often and prayed for him daily.

This story shows us exactly how we can affect the lives of others by our actions. By the seeds we are called to plant, water, or harvest. Heaven is watching.

Be sure to pick up this book that was inspired by the Ron DiCianni painting, Safely Home.

Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, Prescott, AZ

Fire

a-fire

Fire by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ and Jack Cavanaugh, author of many historical sagas, including the award-winning The Puritans and The Patriots, is set in Connecticut in 1740. It is the uneasy story of a pastor with an “uncanny gift” during America’s controversial religious history.     

Seven years ago Josiah Rush fled the colony of Havenhill, Connecticut. Now he’s been asked to return. Is this his chance to make things right? To pay penance for the foolishness of his youth? To ask and receive forgiveness from those he has hurt so badly?

History is a fascinating way to find out how we got here at this time and place. When it is set into a fictional tale of the truest kind, as in Fire, it can be spell-binding. Thinking the town has endured a deadly disease, Josiah is more than willing to put his feelings aside and help. But he can’t seem to escape the foreboding upon him. Something is wrong.

Philip told Josiah confidentially that the deacons’ report had not placated everyone in the church. Although Philip didn’t identify Eunice Parkhurst directly, the inference was clear enough. One of the phrases that kept coming up was that the pastor should “abstain even from the appearance of evil.”

The authors state, “The Great Awakenings was an incredible era of national spiritual revival. . .” In Fire, the second book in a series of four, they explore these days that show “the personal and spiritual upheaval that occurs when the Holy Spirit stirs the waters of our souls.”

“What happened?” Josiah asked.

“God happened. That was the same time the Holy Spirit swept through this region, and people’s hearts were turned away from greed and self. However, not until many of them had mortgaged their lands to Bellamont. So a few godly businessmen stepped in and rescued those who were in debt to Bellamont and forced him out of the region.”

An uneasiness began to settle over Josiah.

This story may be set in 1740, but it is oddly reminiscent of what we may need today. Find out for yourself by picking up this series at the Solid Rock Christian Fellowship Library, Prescott AZ