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Verse of the Day

Some of our favorites...

Monday
Apr152013

Call of a Coward

Book Review by Lisa Barber

Call of a Coward
 
The God of Moses and the Middle-Class Housewife 
By Marcia Moston

 


If you’ve ever felt the call to go on a mission trip, but were intimidated at the thought, this book is for you.  For most of my life I have been interested in missions, yet never experienced it personally.  This year I am accepting the call of a short term mission trip to Guatemala.  One of my team members recommended reading this book written by Marcia Moston who served for part of a year in the same area of Guatemala that I will be going to.  So it was with eager anticipation that I delved into Call of a Coward.

Marcia Moston’s life in the U.S. was one not unlike many of ours.  She was a suburban housewife and mother.  Until one day her husband came home and said he felt like God was calling them to leave everything behind for a year (or more) to go and live in Guatemala.  He had recently taken a short term mission trip and felt God calling him to something more.  The Mostons packed up their belongings along with their 10 year old daughter and headed south, driving from New Jersey to Mexico and then on to Guatemala. 

Marcia describes their trip, along with her feelings, about the people she meets and the places and encounters that they have along the way.  She tells you about the relationships that she builds even with her limited ability to speak Spanish.  The reader begins to realize that people who answer the call to missions are just like everyone else. 

God does not have special people set aside to do his work in foreign countries. He calls us right where we are, ordinary people living ordinary lives.  If we are obedient and answer the call, He then equips us to do the job He is calling us to do.

The story takes an unpredictable turn in the middle of the book and we learn how God uses all of our experiences for His glory if we are obedient and follow His leading.  We realize that at the moment we think we have “God’s plan” for our lives all figured out…….the road can turn and we can end up somewhere we never even dreamed possible, as was the case with the Mostons.   Anyone interested in how a short term mission trip can change your life will greatly enjoy and be challenged by this book.  It is a realistic reading adventure!

Friday
Jul132012

The Lamp Maker

 

The Lamp Maker by Cindy Starr Stewart
(A new release from Crossbooks, a division of Lifeway - July 2012)

The Lord takes our unique gifts, talents, interests and experiences and He uses them for His purposes and plans.  I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher, just like my mom and my grandma.  I loved math and science, but when I got to Physics class my junior year of high school, I was hooked.  Math with a purpose.  It seemed that for most people, Physics was awful, confusing, complicated and for the most part....miserable. But I loved it.  It was what I would choose to teach.

Years later I became a physics professor and had the opportunity to teach

Physics to future elementary teachers who were sure that they would hate it.  But my love and passion for Physics made them love the class. I would sing and dance if necessary, make up funny stories, use crazy analogies and metaphors to make the concepts make sense to them.  I loved it and I loved watching my students learn to love it too.

One of the fun things we did each semester was to figure out how a lamp worked.  And that was when the lightbulb came on for me. You see the Lord takes what we know and what we are passionate about and He uses it for His glory. The similarities between the lamp and salvation was so easy to see.  It just made sense to use that example when I was speaking or teaching about salvation with little kids and adults.  Over and over, I would use the lamp metaphor to help someone think about their salvation. Did they need a bulb?  Were they plugged into the power?  Had they switched over to self-centered mode thus switching off the light?  It just made sense to people.

Again. the Lord started to press me about writing the story down.  We argued for quite a while.  “I am a physicist not a writer.  I am a speaker, teacher, problem solver, but not an author.” I would remind the Lord, as if He didn’t already know that.   Finally one night in the fall of 2009 after the Fall Heart to Heart conference at GCAC, I knew it was time.  I sat down at my desk, and the story just flowed right out onto the screen. It was done.  Forty-five minutes of typing and it was finished.  What a precious gift.

I read it here and there and kept it in a file labeled, “Cindy’s Thoughts and Ideas.”   When I would read it, it made me smile.  It was a gift from the Lord and I loved it.  Then the Lord started to press me on getting it in print.  I didn’t know anything about how to do that, but step by step, He lead the way.  And now, three and a half years later, The Lamp Maker  is finished and it is just gorgeous. 

The Lord paired me up an Illustrator named Dan Drewes.  He just brought all of my ideas to life.  It was a long and meticulous process, but it was worth it.  The Lamp Maker has a Dr. Seuss-like rhythm with a dash of Max Lucado that appeals to young readers, while its deep spiritual truths resonate with adults and children alike.  I especially love the letter to the Lamp Maker at the very end.  It helps the reader receive a light bulb (Jesus) and get plugged in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It has a place for their name and the date so that they can keep this precious book as a keepsake of their decision to shine with the light and love of Christ. 

If you would like a copy, you can order yours at cindystarrstewart.com This is also a great opportunity to help share the gospel with your loved ones, neighbors, and the children in your life.  Prayerfully consider how the Lord would have you partner in this opportunity to spread the good news.  Ok, now I wonder if you are thinking, “What gifts, talents and experiences do I have that the Lord is ready to use for His plans and purposes?”  Each one of us has a unique way that we are called to join HIm and we have the unique gifts. skills, and experience that is needed for the job.  Offer yourself to Him today, I know He will use you in a mighty way for your good and HIs glory.

Shine Light Girlfriends, Shine Light!

Cindy Stewart

Wednesday
May022012

Heaven

For most of my life, I didn’t look forward to Heaven.  Heaven seemed so distant, so unknown, so vague . . . that I didn’t really look forward to it at all.  I would hear people saying that they were looking forward to Heaven, and I just didn’t get it.  But it sounded so unspiritual to admit that you really weren’t looking forward to Heaven.  I mean, as a Christian, you are supposed to want to just stand at your Savior’s feet and sing worship songs all day and all night for an infinite number of days, right?!?  (Which is not an accurate picture of Heaven, by the way, but it’s what I thought it was going to be like!)

Well, several years ago, I read a book on Heaven that completely changed my life.  Second only to the Bible, this book has changed my life more than any other.  I can honestly say now that I look forward to Heaven.  When I get sick of all the pain and suffering on this earth, my heart cries out, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”  I admit that it is a big book.  There are shorter versions of it available as well, but I think the big book is worth it.  If you don’t have the money to buy it and you know me, come borrow it :).  The Bible has so much to say about Heaven and yet so many times we just don’t get it.  Randy does an excellent job of drawing out the Scripture and helping us to imagine what it might be like.  So now when I read this Scripture, my heart just overflows with joy and hope and longing for the day when it is fulfilled: 

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” –Revelation 21:1-5a
 
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

All glory to Him,
Stephanie

Friday
Mar232012

A Hole In Our Gospel

WHAT DOES GOD EXPECT OF US? 

Is our faith just about going to church, studying the Bible and avoiding the most serious sins-or does God expect more?

Have we embraced the whole gospel or a gospel with a hole in it?

Ten years ago, Rich Stearns came face-to-face with that question as he sat in a mud hut in Rakai, Uganda, listening to the heartbreaking story of an orphaned child. Stearns' journey there took much more than a long flight to Africa. It took answering God's call on his life, a call that tore him out of his corner office at one of America's most prestigious corporations-to walk with the poorest of the poor in our world.

The Hole in Our Gospel is the compelling true story of a corporate CEO who set aside worldly success for something far more significant, and discovered the full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change his own life. He uses his journey to demonstrate how the gospel-the whole gospel-was always meant  to be a world changing social revolution, a revolution that begins with us.

ECPA 2010 Christian Book of the Year Award Winner!

Friday
Mar232012

Forgotten God

A follow up to the profound message of Crazy Love, Pastor Francis Chan offers a compelling invitation to understand, embrace, and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction in our lives.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and … the Holy Spirit. We pray in the name of all three, but how often do we live with an awareness of only the first two? As Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit—the Helper—so that we could be true and living witnesses for Christ. Unfortunately, today’s church has admired the gift but neglected to open it.

Breakthrough author Francis Chan rips away paper and bows to get at the true source of the church’s power—the Holy Spirit. Chan contends that we’ve ignored the Spirit for far too long, and we are reaping the disastrous results. Thorough scriptural support and compelling narrative form Chan’s invitation to stop and remember the One we’ve forgotten, the Spirit of the living God.