A Relevant Work, Timeless Issues, Biblical Models

Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today

Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today

In her latest book, Mothers of the Bible Speak to Mothers of Today, award winning author Kathi Macias demonstrates her depth as author, speaker and bible teacher. Kathi selects 15 women from the Bible, from Old and New testaments, obscure and renowned, and makes their stories come alive through practical application. The reader will find that Kathi has the special talent that makes the lives and emotions of ancient moms relevant to post-modern American culture.

Each of the 15 women who are selected as role models are made real through in-depth, inductive Bible study as well as the author’s feminine insight. Like Kathi’s other books, this work is refreshingly personal. Still Kathi finds a way to press deeper by cross referencing scripture, explaining cultural influences, and spotlighting the text’s linguistic background. She fleshes out the personal side of God’s redemptive work as illustrated through her subjects.

For example, in the first chapter, Kathi examines the maternal side of Eve, whose name means: Life Giver. According to the author, Eve must have wrestled deeply with being the “first” at many things. Without role model or mentor, she was the first to have a husband, endure and fall in temptation, lose a son to violent crime and then lose a second to the consequences of his crime. Yet, through it all, God proved faithful to her name, and promise He had given her. Eve bore another son, Seth, through whom Jesus would eventually become the redemption of all mankind, the Eternal Life Giver.

Kathi brings her readers face to face with timeless issues which impose themselves upon today’s moms. Have you ever watched a mother play favorites with her children, and the ensuing chaos within a family. Have you experienced a mom’s deep struggle with isolation, competing with others due to personal insecurity, or laying down personal desires for your children as they forge their own way in the world? Each chapter concludes with review and application questions. Information without application aborts the disciple-building process, and Kathi makes room for both in this wonderful work.

I’ve interviewed Kathi a few times, and each time I’ve come to appreciate her deep commitment to God’s word, and desire to live biblical faith in a practical way. As Christ followers, we can mistakenly assume we can have one part of this equation, the practical faith, without a commitment to real discipleship built on a foundation of God’s Word. Kathi is an example that these two elements are conjoined twins. The only way to have one is to engage the other.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5, and recommend it highly. This latest work is insightful, balanced, scripturally grounded, well researched and highly relevant.

Advertisements

Book Giveaway – the Latest from Andy Stanley

Check out Vessel Project Book Giveaway for a copy of Andy Stanley’s book The Principle of the Path.

Tyndale’s Every Man’s Bible: a Publication Fit for the Man-cave.

Tyndale's Every Man's BibleLet’s face it. As men, a person wanting our attention is better served talking in short sentences, bullet points, and even showing us pictures of a sporting event that illustrates a message rather than initiating a 10 minute discussion. It’s not that we’re dull, but God has wired men differently than women. We just think differently. With this caricature in mind, I’m giving five stars to Tyndale’s recently published Every Man’s Bible. Here’s why.

The Every Man’s Bible contains helps which meet the average man in the way we like to learn. Each chapter begins with an in depth outline, including headings like “The Breakdown” “Key Concepts” and “Verses Worth Memorizing.” As a guy, these headlines focus my attention, and help me dig deeper into the text that I may have read many times before. Each book’s first page contains a time line I can use to put the book in historical context. Another call-out box announces a simple declaration: “What is the Point of this Book?”

I don’t want to give the impression that Every Man’s Bible is less than scholarly. The book’s New Living Translation contains extensive footnotes, cross references, and in depth biographies of persons who are prominent and others who are, well, not so much. Each of these persons highlighted contain important lessons which apply to a man’s life. The “Persons You Should Know” segment help the reader dig deeper into the text, unearthing pearls of great price.

I could continue, describing contributions from teachers, preachers and authors from around the country, over 40 pages of topical study aides, complete indexing, and more. Rather, let me simply recommend this version of the bible for any man interested in personally moving deeper into God’s Word. The tools are excellent, and slanted to connect with men thus catalyzing His transformational process.

How Can I Run a Tight Ship Book Review

tight shipReleased early 2009 by New Hope Publishers, Kathi Macias’ How Can I Run a Tight Ship when I am Surrounded by Loose Cannons? is a light hearted look at discipleship from an experienced Christian writer. During our interview, Kathi described the book as “discipleship with a grin.” As I easily consumed the book’s message, I would have to agree. Like Mary Poppins’ spoonful of sugar, the sometimes thick discipleship message is a joyful read in this book.

Kathi said her inspiration for the book was a conversation with a trusted friend. “How can I run a tight ship when I am surrounded by all these loose cannons?” quipped Kathi. She told me she immediately paused. “That’s too good of title to not have a book attached to it,” and the merry title gave birth to an equally playful book.

Kathi builds the book on a metaphor which follows a person’s growth. First we crawl, then walk, and run. Hopefully as a Christian eventually we learn to fly as with wings of eagles (Isaiah 40.31). After these experiences we often learn that the most important place for a Christians is on our knees, back on our knees, in the same position we began our journey.

The book is woven with stories of women who influenced Kathi’s life from that of a young Christian to a mature believer. After coming full circle, Kathi realized that quite often she was the loose cannon. She needed to trust her Father more. By following the example of other, equally loose cannons around her, she found balance. These women helped here see that having the details of life lashed to the deck isn’t always God’s plan. He works through imperfect people who have learned to rely on Him in their weakness. A hard lesson for a person with a High D, Type A, Choleric personality like Kathi.

Overall, I recommend this book highly. We need to laugh at ourselves as we apply the lessons of discipleship. Kathi has woven together anecdotes and vignettes from her life which lead to laughter with a purpose. As proverbs says, a merry heart does good, like a medicine. (Prov 17.22)

Forged in the Fire – Shaped by the Master book review

forged031Often people do things haphazardly then justify their actions with these words – God knows my heart. The truth of the matter is – He really does.

“Forged In The Fire – Shaped By The Master” speaks to the issue of heart matters by bringing readers face to face with reality – we are ordinary people who can be used by God. How and to what degree depends upon the condition of the heart.

Author, Tim Burns has presented a study that invites its participants to the table of choice and self examination. Throughout this twelve week course the lives of four men chosen by God to lead Israel are examined. It is the presentation of the lives of King David, Joseph, King Saul and King Hezekiah that we come to see a little, (if not a lot) of ourselves.

Many today are hard pressed to see how biblical circumstances can be applied to their stressful conditions. “Forged In The Fire – Shaped By The Master”, through practical application, skillfully speaks to those concerns.

As with the aforementioned rulers, we too have choices. Examining circumstances and choices made by the biblical leaders shows the consistency of human nature and the faithfulness of God. David and Joseph sought to serve God with pure hearts. Saul and Hezekiah deviated from righteousness causing other to suffer the consequence of their choices. God’s response to each upheld the righteousness of His eternal word. As it was then, it is now.

Regardless of your station in life and level in your spiritual walk, “Forged In The Fire – Shaped By The Master” clearly shows that God has chosen you and wants you to chose a right relationship with Him.

-Dr. Linda F. Beed, D.R.E., author of “Business Unusual”
Flavah Reviewer

A New Year – A Renewed Focus

I grew up spiritually in a coffeehouse. We didn’t have the recourses of the typical local church, nor were we focused on duplicating what hundreds of other churches in our city did on a daily basis. We lived close to the inner city neighborhood in which we opened our doors, and as a result our ministry was directly shaped by the needs of those who wandered in the door on any given weekend.

When I left for college, I found another coffee house drop in ministry, and made it my part time home. Spending time in the Para church organization didn’t replace my home church membership. Each Sunday and many Wednesday’s I attended traditional service and bible study. But again, spending time in the evangelism-focused outlet of a coffee house ministry shaped my personal born again views. AT the heart of my new life in Christ, I was called to find unique gifts Christ had put in my heart and use them to build the Kingdom in what ever way God brought before me.

Last year, I did a series of articles on Trinity Church in Lansing, Mi. If you check their website (www.trinitywired.com) you will find this perspective distilled into 3 words. Discover – Develop – Deploy.

I love the graphics Trinity has used to illustrate this kingdom principle. A seek planted in the ground discovers its purpose as it spouts roots and pushes a tender leaf into the sky. As the plant develops, it finds both strength and resources to become that for which God created it. Finally, the plant drops its own seed, fruit, or flower as it deploys that which it has collected, duplicating itself for the blessing of others.

These three words capture the heart of this blog. We are new creatures in Christ, and in that new creation we have a new purpose to discover.

God calls each member of the body to contribute from the gifts God has given them, and in doing so we mature from spiritual seedlings into a vineyard from which God expects a harvest.

God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, to carry his redemptive message and revolutionary lifestyle to a dying world.

In this simple description are these quiet questions –

Have you discovered God’s new life?

What are you proactively, intentionally pursuing to develop his life and gifts within yourself?

Where are you called to deploy? Are you following, and obeying his call on your life?

Jesus said in John 17.3: Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

This is our gift as we receive new life in Christ Jesus. This is our call to bring the knowledge of Christ to the world.

A Personal Mega-Church

By the numbers, Trinity Church in Lansing, Mi would be considered a ‘Mega-church.’ With 3 services each weekend, an average 2700 adults attend pulling behind them 500 to 700 children.  However, if you were standing on the balcony between services, you would experience a unique culture within the congregation.  A large atrium stretches across the back of the auditorium, with light flooding in from a three story window wall. Before, after and between services, Trinity member and guests pause over coffee to genuinely partake of each other’s lives.  The attendance numbers haven’t pushed aside real relationships, genuine caring, and time taken to build lasting friendships.

Trinity started in 1952 as a home fellowship.  Students and adults associated with Michigan State University wanted a personal, relationally connected church fellowship. The congregation is still strongly composed of professionals from the East Lansing university and business community. However, since moving to Lansing’s south side, the congregation has grown in numbers, and diversity.

For the next couple weeks I will be highlighting Lansing Trinity for this reason: although the numbers are large, the relationships are intimate and those at the church’s core continually reach outward.  While a member there, I couldn’t walk through the atrium without a number of genuine friends finding me, and asking meaningful questions.  So often I hear/read complaints about how larger churches loose the personal touch.  Trinity is an exception.  As such, those of us in ministry can learn from their spiritual, relational, and community successes.

I spoke with the Director of Connection ministries, Jeff Schneider, and asked about this personal and genuine organizational culture that is at Trinity’s core.  As we discussed what the church practiced in the way of supporting practices, Jeff told me that 70% – 75% of the congregation is regularly involved in small group communities.  Most meet in homes during the week, and gather multiple times a month, with a few meeting in the church building

I asked Jeff to what he attributed this high percentage of small groups.  He replied these three points:

1.    The church leadership models small groups.  The church leadership, from the head pastor to children’s church teachers are committed to “doing life together.”
2.    Small group ministry as a model for Christian growth is supported from the pulpit.  Christian growth and disciple building is understood and taught as necessary fruit in a Christian’s life. Small groups are a consistent vehicle to bring about that deep, abiding growth.
3.   Each year, the church holds 2 connection events. In the worship program each week is an opportunity to indicate interest in small groups for the outgoing. What Trinity has found more effective is biannual connection events. Jeff related that face to face events, where those who are not involved in small groups can meet leaders and build relational bridges, are the most effective means to get a new person to take the risk of engaging deliberate Christian community.

Read more about Trinity Church, Lansing Michigan here.