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Amy VG (BC)
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Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives
Real Kids, Real Faith: Practices for Nurturing Children's Spiritual Lives
by Karen Marie Yust
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.66
33 used & new from CDN$ 11.02

4.0 out of 5 stars good, practical advice, April 14 2016
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I liked reading this book. I enjoyed Karen Marie Yust's thoughts and ideas on practicing your faith with your family. I could sense her deep commitment and love for this topic. And she provides a bunch of helpful practices. She starts off with some great advice: as parents we must provide our faith in every fabric of our families lives. So providing Christian books alongside popular books, prayer time alongside fun time, Christian movies alongside popular movies, etc. Also, always talking and reading about Christian Bible stories, again and again and again. One thing I found fascinating (I will try to paraphrase and I hope I don't mess it up) is she writes that what we grow up with imprints on us so much that we live to relive those experiences as adults. As an example she provided: when her husband and her got married and their first Christmas together, one's tradition was a star on the Christmas tree, the other an angel. And for a few years, they compromised, and both felt the tree was missing something, because their family tradition changed. This really inspires me to continue to work hard to provide my children with meaningful and lasting memories of our beautiful Christian traditions and faith. The two chapters I enjoyed especially were on story telling and praying with children. It's a good read, however if you have read a bunch of parenting books already, you will be rereading the same material. But it's always inspiring to read another good parenting book :)

Paul'S Idea Of Community
Paul'S Idea Of Community
by Robert Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.79
20 used & new from CDN$ 13.27

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, April 12 2016
If I could rate this book higher than 5 stars I would. This book, along with a few of Dallas Willard's books, have been of huge importance for me as a growing and maturing Christian in this mass confusion of denominations in our current age.
The author, Robert J Banks, has studied Paul's letters against the backdrop of the time period and then frames Paul's ideas and instructions to the early Christian communities. It blew my mind, put simply. I have read Paul's letters numerous times, but often not quite understanding Paul's meaning and his big idea on the communities he founded. What I enjoyed about Banks' book, was that he provided every Scripture verse he implies, so I would often look up the verse in my Bible to delve deeper.
Paul wanted Christ to lead, not any one person. All Christian's are given gifts which we are meant to use to build up each other in our Christian communities. But not one person is "better" or more important than the other. There is no coercion or firm rules, but bold statements of sticking to the Gospel and Christ's teachings. Authority exercised through the service of others, not in domination. Living by the Spirit is upmost importance.
Ahh, if in our present Christian communities we could follow Paul's led in how to follow Christ and how to practice our faith within our communities, I think more people would be Christian and those believers would be more passionate and led wholeheartedly by the Spirit, not led by our man-made ideas. I know there are many church communities that do practice this way, the issue for people is trying to find them. I highly recommend this book!

The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love
The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love
by James Bryan Smith
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.14
32 used & new from CDN$ 16.21

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent!, April 2 2016
I definitely enjoyed reading this series. I found this third instalment in James Bryan Smith's Apprentice Series just as relevant and helpful as his two previous books.
And truthfully, I found this book more enlightening for me because I have always struggled with this aspect of Christian life: church community, and really the entire community around me, my "neighbours". Smith provides a lot of insight to how to view one's community, what Jesus taught about it, and how to follow Christ while interacting with one's community. Made me realize just how important my Christian community is, and how I grow as a Christian is tied with how I interact and react with my community.
I highly recommend this entire Apprentice Series, and I am very grateful to Smith for writing it. These three books are an easy-to-understand read, and yet have important, profound insights and practical application for all Christians who are sincere in following Christ's teachings.

Revolution: The Story of the Early Church
Revolution: The Story of the Early Church
by Gene Edwards
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.41
26 used & new from CDN$ 4.77

3.0 out of 5 stars mixed feelings but an enjoyable read, April 1 2016
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I am torn: 3 stars or 4 stars?

I am giving Revolution by Gene Edwards 3 stars, because though I enjoyed Edwards wise insights, I found he took major liberties on Scripture.

Near the beginning of the book, Edwards states that the first 3000 believers didn't study the Bible and that they most likely were all illiterate. Granted, they did not study like studies today, but we know from the Bible that they delved into Scripture. (Two examples: 2 Tim 3:16-17 "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work" and Acts 17:11 "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so"). I am pretty sure Jewish men needed to memorize the Torah, and the first 3000 believers were all Jewish, so I am sure they talked about Scripture and the connection to Christ quite a lot. A quote from Edwards in Revolution: "the idea of teaching the Scripture never entered their minds!" (pg 47) and "the apostles did not teach the Scripture" (pg 46). Instead the author claims they "experienced" Christ. Which is absolutely great, but to "experience" Christ, you need to know Scripture. Luke 24:27 says that Jesus spoke to two disciples on the road to Emmaus and "then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures."
Another small example to illustrate: Edwards states that Ananias plan was to give only part of his salary, but that is not what the Bible says, Ananias sold his property and lied and only give half of what he sold it for to the Apostles. It's a little thing, but it's still false.

There are a bunch of little things like that through out the book, so I opened Acts in the Bible and follow along noting the differences.

Regardless of that, I did enjoy reading the book and I enjoyed reading Edwards insights to how church community should look like. He often stressed the importance of time: time with the Lord in prayer and time under a mentor to learn and grow as a mature Christian before spreading the Gospel. I also enjoyed how he explained how the Lord developed and called men to serve. The last chapter was brilliant on explaining that. So for those insights, I recommend the book.

Early Christians Speak Volume 1
Early Christians Speak Volume 1
by Everett Ferguson
Edition: Paperback
19 used & new from CDN$ 43.07

5.0 out of 5 stars excellent intro into the lives of the early Christians, March 9 2016
If you are curious about what the early Christians might have been like and how they practiced their faith, this book may be a good one to start with. The author, Everett Ferguson, provides small chunks of writing from early Christians dating 100-300AD. Each chapter represents a different theme: baptism, Christian assemblies, early services, love feast (potluck), early prayers (my fave), early hymns, Lord's Supper, women in the early church, organization of the early church, discipline, Christian living, acts of mercy. 18 topics in all. After the author provides a handful of early Christian quotes, he discusses what it might mean in those times. I really liked the author's discussions, definitely helped give me a clearer picture. Though the book is a bit academic, I was able to follow along just fine. The only place I got stuck is the chapter on the Lord's Supper. The quotes were clear enough, but the discussion confused me. I figure because the Lord's Supper is a beautiful mystery, it can confound us when we try to understand it rationally. At first I came away confused after reading the women in the early church chapter. Some early Christians wrote of men and women being equal spiritually, but then other writers were appalled to hear women baptizing new Christians. I found that so helpful to understand, that even today, we are presented with everyone's opinion on how to practice our Christian faith, and some of the people giving those opinions have cemented their opinions into very firm dogma. Not so with the Early Christians, they were more fluid. They had the Scriptures, Paul's letters, they practiced agape (love), they had their faith, they had the Holy Spirit, they had a handful of elders to help guide them, and that was it. No dogma. That came later, after 300AD. Very helpful book to get that understanding. You can purchase this book at Christian Book online for a reasonable price.

Going to Church in the First Century
Going to Church in the First Century
by Robert Banks
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.07
27 used & new from CDN$ 0.02

4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyed it!, March 8 2016
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I enjoyed this little book. It is a very short account of the early church's Sunday celebration of the Lord's Supper. I enjoyed Robert Bank's writing style, though like the other reviewers it seemed slightly awkward in parts, but really no big deal. I enjoyed reading about how the early Christians may have interacted and supported each other. Inspiring.

Healing Light
Healing Light
by Agnes Sanford
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.23
63 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars wise advice, Feb. 18 2016
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When I first began to read this little book, I was skeptical. I thought maybe it would be new-agey or it would offer a complicated way to prayer. In the end, I loved this book. Agnes provides a very simple, straightforward method for healing prayer. Words need to be simple and direct, laying on hands is best but she offers suggestions for intercessional prayer, and the main thing is that you have the believe. Your faith needs to be strong. The person who is praying has to believe in the healing power of God, and it helps if the person that needs healing also believes. This little book is packed with stories, suggestions, advice, and motivation. By the end of this book, I felt confident in Agnes and her suggestions, she definitely followed the healer path and she had much wisdom to share. If you would like a boost of motivation and plentiful wise advice on how to start praying for healing, this book is a great place to start.

Union with God: Including 22 of Madame Guyon's Poems
Union with God: Including 22 of Madame Guyon's Poems
by Jeanne Guyon
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 11.89
26 used & new from CDN$ 4.90

2.0 out of 5 stars I honestly don't think you need to go through Guyon's process, Feb. 11 2016
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I did not like this book. I am amazed at all the positive reviews. I obviously do not "get" it perhaps. Basically this book is a detailed account on the loss of "self" or ego. To me, it sounds like the Christian equivalent to Buddhist or Hindu "enlightment". Reading Union With God reminded me of all the Buddhist meditation books I have read.
But I don't know...while reading I was struck with the question as to why do I have to go through all that Jeanne Guyon describes to have "union" with God? For the past year I have been praying the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and it seems to be a healthier, more enriching way to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ than Jeanne Guyon's method.
Some concerns: chapter 3 really concerned me. She writes that the more you move to your centre, the more desolation you will feel, which is the end of self-nature. Also, she describes how the enemy attacks from all sides, and as you progress you find yourself unable to protect yourself, until finally you realize that the enemy is your "best friend and truest friend". I am wondering if she is saying that your self-nature perceives God as the enemy and then in the end you find out it's God, not your enemy. But, I am not sure, and it would be dangerous to find out it is the enemy. The reason I am not sure because she also says in Chapter 3 that every Christian virtue disappears, and as they depart you lose all joy within.
In Chapter 6, I was confused with Jeanne Guyon's description of how God apparently causes suffering of the older Christian mentor so that the younger Christian can grow in her union with Him. How does she know this?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Guyon's Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, though there were a few cautions I did have in that too. Especially the ending from SeedSowers, which explains the translation process and provided a sample of Guyon's actual text. The actual text was very complicated and confusing and I wondered then and do so now, that perhaps the translators could have made errors trying to understand and communicate in common English what Guyon wrote. I would caution readers on this book. I liked Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ and her autobiography, but Union With God doesn't sit right with me. As a practicing and devoted Christian, I honestly don't think you need to go through Guyon's process to have a deep and fulfilling relationship with Christ.

Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future th
Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future th
by John Burke
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.48
30 used & new from CDN$ 10.48

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So comforting, so inspiring, so relevant, Feb. 1 2016
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Very few books I have read have impacted me as much as this one. I think I have read almost every current NDE book out there. And what I love about this one is that the author wrote from a Christian perspective. He convincingly compares numerous NDE experiences with the Scripture. So comforting, so inspiring, so relevant for our lives as Christians. There were chapters that were more interesting to me then other chapters. I understand that the author needed to write thoroughly through all the facts, but some chapters were a bit dry and boring for me. I know those chapters were definitely needed to convey all the information. On a whole most chapters were full of inspirational stories and connections to our Almighty Lord and Saviour. Definitely recommend if you like to read NDEs.

In His Steps
In His Steps
Price: CDN$ 4.79

3.0 out of 5 stars not my fave, Feb. 1 2016
This review is from: In His Steps (Kindle Edition)
I don't know...I didn't really enjoy this novel. I liked the idea of an entire congregation deciding to live their life with the constant question: what would Jesus do? Problem is, we are not Jesus. And in today's world, we don't really know what Jesus would do in many circumstances. What we can do, and this is not emphasized in this book, is to pray for the Holy Spirit to help guide us with how Jesus would live our lives. And look to your Bible, for God's teachings on how to live. The Gospels and Paul's Letters especially.

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