Review by Rayna: No Easy Jesus

No Easy Jesus:  How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life

No Easy Jesus is an honest look at the Jesus we have made Him out to be.  Many of us got to know Jesus and were excited about our relationship with Him years ago.  Things were great but then life happened and things did not go the way we expected so we began to feel a deep disappointment.

Eventually we reach a place where we began to feel that there must be more than this to the Christian life. 

Jason lays it out in what a life of a true follower of Christ looks like.  The true Jesus follower doesn’t do the easy stuff but rather the tough stuff that makes the best life possible.  Jesus held out the promise of a rich and satisfying life.

Discouragement, frustration and boredom are common among those who are serving the easy Jesus.  You do not have to be spiritually elite to experience a different life.

No Easy Jesus challenges you to take your faith to the next level.

Chapter 10 was my favorite.  Jason talks about how difficult it is to love others.  He sheds light on how our love often turns into demands.  He reminds us that love does not demand things of others.  When love has demands then resentment often follows.  Love can only exist in freedom.  Challenging words and something I’m still processing to be honest.

I recommend this somewhat quick read.  It will challenge you and help you better understand why you might be experiencing boredom or disappointment in your relationship with Jesus.

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How to Navigate Life with a Personal Manifesto

      During life transitions just making simple decisions can cause you to become completely overwhelmed.  We often try to function on autopilot, unfortunately instead we just get pulled in whatever direction the crisis is that is right in front of us wants us to go.

Wandering aimlessly then causes more frustration because the things that are most important to us get neglected.  The overwhelm gets worse and worse.

Writing your personal manifesto can make all the difference in seasons of transition.  There are lots of different ideas about what a personal manifesto is and how to create your own.

In general, it is a written statement which includes your core values.  The great thing about this statements is it might not be true today but you desire for them to be true of you in the end.

A personal manifest functions as “your own personal code of conduct that is not decided in the moment but predetermined before you are in crisis.” states Kathi Lipp in Overwhelmed.

To write your personal manifesto you will want to take some time to think about what is most important to you.

 

When you think of your most treasured values you think of things you want to always be true.  Identify 5 to 8 core values and turn them into statements that will provide guidance to how you will live them out.

Everyone says they love God first then family and then their job.  But do most of us don’t live that way?  Writing manifesto statements help you to think through what it looks like when you do live out your values.

I also found it helpful to put myself in the future and think about what I want people to be saying about me when I am no longer here.  I want to be true to who God made me to be and the mission He has put on my heart to live out.

 Here is my Manifesto:

(Note: I decided to put my manifesto on this picture of me because I love this picture.  It reminds me that these words are about the REAL me.  I have printed it and hung it on the wall of my office so that I will not lose sight of these important values.)

Some of these statements I am living out pretty well today but might become more of a challenge tomorrow.  I think that developing your personal manifesto will also help you live out your life with intention.

 

When you face decisions, whether they be, can you add this commitment to your calendar? or are you going to do business with a specific person?   Your personal manifesto can help you make that decision quicker and easier than before.  It is almost like making decisions before they are even presented.

 

Can I help teach Sunday School at church?  Well, it is helping others to learn of my Daddy the king, and it is offering encouragement to others BUT will it interfere with being the best wife to my farmer or daughter to my daddy?  At this stage in my lifetime is very valuable.  I already have a lot on my plate so though it is a good activity I must say no for now.

 

Using my personal manifesto to govern my calendar and life will be a tool I look forward to using for many years to come.  It represents the me I want to be every day.

 

I hope you see the value of developing your personal manifesto. 

 

 

I would be happy to talk with you more about how to identify your core values and develop statements that best incorporate those things which you are most important to you.  As a coach this is one of the first steps to helping a person move forward toward the life they want and a lot of fun!

 

 

I would love to see your Personal Manifesto!  Please share them with me at TakeHeartTransitions Facebook page.

 

Review by Rayna: Looking for Lovely

Looking for Lovely:Collecting the Moments that Matter

Annie F.  Downs is another of those authors who shares the true nitty gritty of her life.

She lays it all out in this latest book.  Though a popular author she found herself in a place she calls her broken crazy.  Her honest sharing of the journey to finding herself in a place that she can love and embrace herself and her life through finding the lovely in the middle of the hard.  At the end of each chapter she challenged the reader to look for lovely in their everyday life as well.

I must admit that Annie’s style of storytelling is very compelling but I the overall story seemed disjointed to me.  I did love the way she tied it all together at the end of the book.  One of the most important statements she made was, “When I found lovely in me and in the world, it changed everything.” This book was her journey to this realization.

 

Annie classified herself as a quitter.  Realizing that everyone does not view quitting the same way she did caused her to seek people who were not quitters and learn from them.  She found nonquitters define it differently.  Nonquitters don’t quit when it gets hard, they just take a pause and then go back to it again. They keep trying until they get it.  She could not relate but she did desire to understand perseverance and develop it.

Endings was one of the areas of Annie’s life which was hard.  They made her want to quit.  Quit developing new relationships, quit the hard work of caring for others.  By learning to persevere she learned to live with both the hard and the good.  She shared that what helped her learn to finish is to see God in the people you meet and in the moments, you have to let them leave.  Believe God, He is who holds things together, including those friendships, those memories and your heart.

Grace was a lesson Annie had focused earlier in her life so adding perseverance to grace led her to an even greater understanding of both.  All grace can make you lazy but all perseverance can cause you to be judgmental.  Grace with perseverance gives you permission to not be perfect but to strive toward excellence. They can even be partners to bring growth.

In the end, Annie calls us all to be the type of woman who is “Locking eyes with the one who has choose me.  We have looked for lovely and found it.  We have resolved to be the kind of women who do not quit, who do not give up, but women who strengthen our minds and our hearts to let the work God is doing in us come to completion.”

I highly recommend this book to young adults.  Her communication style and life experiences will be one many millennials will definitely relate to.

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The Challenge of Matthew’s Calling

Luke 5 32Over and over again Jesus drew attention to the fact that he was not accepted by the religious people of his time.

Luke 5 paints a very vivid picture of two different groups of people interaction with him.  Matthew was not the kind of guy you would expect to be called by Jesus but he didn’t hesitate to leave everything and follow him.  Matthew didn’t hide his new found faith rather he threw a party for his friends to meet Jesus.

The religious people were confused by Jesus’ choice of Matthew and why he would want to spend time with Matthew’s friends.  Jesus is quick to let the religious leaders know that he came to save anyone who was willing to admit their need for him.

I’m not sure about you but I don’t find myself associating with the outcasts like Matthew.  In fact, most would describe me as a religious rather than an outcast of society.  BUT I am not religious, I am a forgiven sinner. 

This story goes on to tell how Jesus was asked by the religious leaders, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5: 30-32.

Romans 3:23 tells us “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”  Even those religious leaders have fallen short.  The sad part is they were not willing to admit it in order to find the lifesaving repentance Jesus had to offer.

I am challenged by this recount of Matthew’s calling.  I am especially challenged to tell others about how I met my savior and offer them that same forgiveness.

How likely of a disciple are you?  Have you accepted the calling of Jesus to follow Him?  What do you do to share the truth of Jesus’ forgiveness with others?

 

Originally written for the “Come with Me” Book Chat & Facebook Community.

Review by Rayna~Believing Jesus

Believing Jesus:  Are you willing to risk it all?Believing Jesus Book

Believing Jesus is a fun, entertaining and challenging look at the book of Acts.

Lisa’s style is one of a story teller.  The journey through Acts takes us on a walk with the disciples after Jesus has ascended and they were left to learn to walk with the Holy Spirit even when they didn’t quite understand who the spirit was.

Lisa keeps the journey real in every way, from sharing personal experiences in same the style in which she shares the scriptures.

Though it is a fun read it does not lack the power of the word of God.  Lisa is both a gifted storyteller and theologian.  There is no doubt God has things for you to learn as you journey through Acts in a whole new way.

Each chapter is laid out with her personal journey into motherhood, moves into the scriptural account of Acts and then application.

Scriptures came to life in Lisa’s fun style.  She substitutes modern modes of transportation and takes a friendly approach with the apostles; for example calling Peter, Pete all the time.  Lisa makes the experience of reading Acts like living there.

I was especially touched by the chapters sharing about Pete’s conversion and very difficult road of walking in obedience.  It both made me love the Lord more because of seeing His hand in all of Pete’s experiences and respect Pete more due to the fact that he remains faithful.

Pete’s persecution was mind boggling in so many ways.  I am so thankful He was faithful and the Lord gave Him just what he needed to stay that way.

If you are looking for a light hearted read with a truly spiritually challenging message then pick up *Believing Jesus!

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