Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | May 25, 2017

Navigating the challenges of leadership

stayBobbie Houston is the founder, together with her husband, Brian, and global senior pastor of Hillsong Church and the founder of the Colour Sisterhood, a worldwide movement of women to make the world a better place.  From her experience, she has written about the challenges of leadership and the importance of staying rooted in a relationship with Christ in her book “Stay the Path”.

One of her biggest challenges is the criticism she and her ministry has received.  Her testimony of faith through the trials of starting and maintaining a ministry has kept her on the path that God has laid out for her.  In “Stay the Path”, Houston shares her wisdom in leadership and how to pray through our leadership struggles.

I have read about the criticism Hillsong has received through the years.  It is amazing that the Houstons can maintain their composure and faith through it all, but they have.  Through prayer and perseverance that can come only from God, they have demonstrated a love for God that has transformed them.

The wisdom Houston shares in her book can lead us all through the struggle of leadership in ministry.  It is impossible to wade through the deep waters of ministry without enduring criticism as we can easily see through social media.   “Stay the Path” offers wisdom from someone who’s endured–not by always doing it right but by handling it all with grace.

If you have any type of leadership role in church or other ministry, you can find encouragement and wisdom in this quick read.  Don’t give up. Stay the path.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hatchette Book Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | May 23, 2017

Great fiction, questionable theory

chamberlainAt first, “The Chamberlain Key” reads like fiction, telling a story about a young, ambitious appraiser of artifacts and antiquities whose service is in demand by many powerful individuals in Washington, D.C.  A troubling dream leads the author, Timothy P. Smith, on a ridiculous journey to a remote spot in British Columbia which leads to his discovery  of the Chamberlain Key in the oldest Hebrew text of the Bible.

Modern technology deciphers this key that explains dramatic world events as well as influences the lives of every person alive today.  This story, claims Smith and his co-author Bob Hostetler, is true.  Smith discovers truths about his own family and finds clues to 9-11 and other world events.  Much like an earlier claim in “The Bible Code”, Smith outlines his discovery.

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Although parts of the book are interesting, I found his presentation both too vague and technical to either understand or to be believable.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Blogging for Books, as part of Waterbrook Multnomah’s Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | May 23, 2017

Life is loud–rest is a whisper

whispersHas your life gotten so busy and your world so noisy that the struggle for peace is elusive?  Have you forgotten how to rest your soul so you can be refreshed?

Bonnie Gray’s “Whispers of Rest” is a 40-day devotional detox for your soul and leads you on a spiritual journey guiding you to greater peace.  Each day of the 40 day journey offers Scripture, prayers, activities to guide you into rest and a time of refreshment, reflection and practices and challenges.

The simplicity of Gray’s book and the helpful suggestions and activities are amazing.  If you feel stressed and need to catch your breath, your soul is yearning for this journey.  It is time to nurture yourself and soak yourself in God’s love.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Hatchette Book Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | May 18, 2017

A homicide detective makes the case for faith

forensicJ. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective and former atheist who believes that most of us are not well prepared to make the case for what we believe.

In “Forensic Faith”, Wallace teaches us the principles investigators use so we can develop a clear, evidence-based faith.  Wallace walks us through devising strategies to master the evidence for Christianity, employing the techniques of a detective and becoming a better communicator.

The stand-out principle is that we must be able to defend our faith without using verses from the Bible or this must not be our only go-to.  Non-believers are skeptical and the Bible will not necessarily convince them.  We must be able to back up our belief with outside sources.  This will involve a little research and some work, but the rewards will be worth it.

Wallace pin1

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | May 8, 2017

Becoming a Young Woman of God

devotedFor the most part, Marjorie Jackson’s target audience in “Devoted” is young women.  Her desire is to teach the young woman of God how to dive into God’s Word and discover how to be the woman God has created her to be.

Each inspiring devotional (31 in all) offers a scripture verse, a short commentary, personal/group questions, a challenge for the day and a unique hand-lettered art page for coloring.

Young women have a lot of distractions and our culture is always changing.  It is important for godly women to know how to navigate the world in the truth of God’s Word.  The questions will make you think and the challenges will help you apply what you’ve learned and put it into practice.

Although intended for young women, any age group can appreciate and learn from the truths presented in Jackson’s book.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing, Inc. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | April 30, 2017

Does your self-examination turn into cross-examination?

think againJared Mellinger asks, “do you overdose on introspection” in his book, “Think Again”.  Are we focusing too much on how we see ourselves than how God sees us?

A little self-examination is good, but if we obsess too much about our faults, our guilt, what we have done, what we haven’t done, then we become our own idol.

Mellinger explains how the gospel frees us from our own thoughts and opens us up to the truth about ourselves.  He reminds us to put our focus on Christ and find our purpose in Him, not ourselves.

Some of us have grown stagnant because we focus on the guilt Christ died to save us from.  Mellinger helps us define our false guilt.

This short book is filled with wisdom and sensitivity.  He doesn’t add more guilt to our already full plate, but with sensitivity, compassion and wisdom sits us down and confronts our misunderstanding of introspection and guide us to the truth that God yearns for us to know.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | April 28, 2017

Praying through the Bible–Devotional Commentary

prayingScripture is full of examples of prayers that can add variety to our prayers and enrich our prayer life.  Some people have never had anyone teach them how to pray and others desire to improve.  God is pleased that we talk to Him and is not looking for perfection or a certain type of prayer.  However, our prayers can become less focused on content and more focused on God when we have a prayer plan.

Studying the prayers we find in Scripture can help us in our prayer life.  Markus McDowell’s “Praying Through the Bible-Vol 1” focuses on the prayers in Genesis through Joshua, and each chapter contains the passage, a study of its background, an exploration of its meaning and an application.

McDowell’s book is a great devotional and a great benefit to your time with God.  I am looking forward to more volumes covering all of the prayers of the Bible.  These will be great resources for my prayer time.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these books free from Interviews and Reviews in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | April 28, 2017

The secret to lasting friendships

unfriendedWith the popularity of the Internet and social media, smart phones and texting, our society has forgotten how to develop true friendships.  Facebook allows us to friend and unfriend people at whim.  We do not have to interact with people the way we used to.  We text instead of call, stalk our “friends” on Facebook instead of visiting or calling.

Even though we know social media doesn’t tell the whole story, we don’t always check on our friends to see how they are really doing.

Lisa-Jo Baker teaches the value of lasting friendships in “Never Unfriended”.  She shows us how important it is to take risks in friendship and how to make friends “offline” and be a friend that lasts.

She explains that we have to accept that some friends are friends for a season while others last a lifetime with proper nourishment.  She uses examples from the life of Jesus and shares a step-by-step guide to creating friendships that women can trust.

This is a much-needed resource for women who desire to create lasting relationships with women.  We need to be reminded of the importance of being available offline and away from the perils of social media.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these books free from Icon Media Group in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | April 28, 2017

Choosing a life of steadfast love one day at a time

heart1 Corinthians 13 tells us that we can have any God-given gift, but if we don’t have love, we can do no good at all.  (my paraphrase).

But what if we could look at the world through the lens of the heart? If we could walk heart first into every situation, we might discover that the world can be a better place.

“The Heart-Shaped Life Daily Devotional” by Karen Moore fills 365 days with a message of love.  Every day is filled with a message of God’s love in the every day circumstances of life.  A Scripture, a short message and a prayer encourage you to show love for God, others and yourself.

Moore’s devotional will inspire you and encourage you. The messages are pertinent and relevant.  Your actions are worth nothing without love.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing, Inc. I was not required to write a review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted by: Jill Potts Jones | April 28, 2017

Jesus is not a life coach or a blessing dispenser

WrongWhat do you want from Jesus?

  • someone who gives wise life advice in the form of checklists that can be performed in order to reach a certain goal–like being a “successful” Christian or going to heaven?
  • someone who doles out blessings left and right when we do what we are “supposed” to do or even when we just ask?

Matt Johnson dispels all of the wrong ways we portray Jesus in “Getting Jesus Wrong”.  Depending on how we’ve been raise or what we’ve been told about Him, we have an idea of who we want Jesus to be. But Jesus is not as predictable as we would like Him to be.  He doesn’t dole out blessings based on our good behavior.  Sometimes we do what God wants us to do, but we don’t get what we want.

Whether you agree with Johnson or not, his book is thought-provoking and insightful.  Knowing Jesus shouldn’t leave you feeling guilt-ridden.  Neither should we perform for blessings.  When we come to know the real Jesus, we will experience the freedom in Christ we are promised in God’s Word.

Click here to purchase from Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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