ACRBA Tour All In 2 Night by Lynne Burgess

15 – 19 July
is Introducing
(Even Before Publishing  March 2013)
Lynne Burgess
About the Author
Lynne and Chris have raised five children who are now adults. Lynne’s practical experience comes from the quality time spent with her own children. She successfully implemented her All-In Night for over 16 years using simple yet productive activities that included the whole family. She now shares these ideas at speaking events and through her book.

About the book

All-In Night is a family routine. For one night of the week everyone stays home. By spending ten to twenty minutes together, you can learn and talk about the things that matter. Following on from Lynne’s original book this set of new activities is designed especially with Christian families in mind. An activity or discussion point each week. The book includes 40 weeks of activities, designed as 1 per week of the school year.Activities include love languages, listening for God, self-esteem, the fruits of the spirit and many more. These fun and simple family activities provide an opportunity to grow values, goals, hopes, feelings and the foundation for a Christ led life. All-in Night works with two kids or ten. Let it become the heart of your family’s life.

Narelle: All In 2 Night is full of great ideas to help families connect in a meaningful way. The basic premise is that one night each week is prioritised as a family night. The television and technology is switched off to allow the family to communicate and work together through a series of group and individual activities. Many of us live in a fast paced world where it can be hard to find quality family time, and this book provides a framework for families to adopt.

The book contains forty activities that are designed to fit in with the Australian school term timetable. There are regular ice cream or other dessert rewards to provide children with participation incentives. The kids each have a work book they can use throughout the year to record their individual activities and responses. Each night has a theme. Different values, emotions and social situations are explored from a Christian perspective.

The activities are educational and provide children with important life skills as they navigate the ups and downs of life. The author and her family have included personal reflections in the book to show how the All-In Nights have benefited their family. The All-In Night structure outlined in the book may not be suitable for all families, but the activities and life lessons are useful and can be adapted to suit your family’s unique situation. I recommend this book to parents looking for ideas and ways to communicate more effectively with their children.

Many thanks to Even Before Publishing for providing a review copy.

ACRBA Tour Strength Renewed by Shirley Corder

15 – 19 April
is introducing
(Revell/Baker Publishing Group, October 2012)
Shirley Corder

About the Author
Shirley in Summary: I am an author, registered nurse and cancer survivor (1997). I am also a pastor’s wife. I live in the beautiful Eastern Cape of South Africa with Rob, my husband of well over 40 years, a liely Jack Russell terrior who answers to the name of Zoё, and a hyperactive budgie named Sparkie. 
About the Book:
Comfort and hope to sustain you through the months ahead. Nothing saps your strength quite like a cancer diagnosis—unless it is the energy-stealing chemotherapy and surgeries you face in your fight against cancer. But you can find hope and strength in the pages of Scripture, and in the experience of someone who has been there. In Strength Renewed, breast cancer survivor and registered nurse Shirley Corder combines her encouraging personal stories with powerful passages from Scripture to help you along the road to recovery. These devotions can be read in sequential order to move you through a typical cancer journey from diagnosis through treatment. But each meditation also stands on its own, so you can go directly to the entry that speaks to your need—right now. You have a partner and a cheerleader in Shirley—and in God—on the rough road ahead. Let Strength Renewed lift you up as you travel.

South African Giveaway:

If you are from South Africa, Shirley has a copy of her book to give away to one reader. Just leave a message on any of the blogs that feature Shirley this week and you will go into the draw. Please mention you have a South African mailing address. 

Narelle: Please check out my Book Recommendation for Strength Renewed, posted November 8, 2012.

Book Recommendation – Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan

Back cover blurb:

God is love. Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love. Have you ever wondered if we’re missing it? It’s crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe–the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor–loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss. Whether you’ve verbalized it yet or not…we all know somethings wrong. Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts–it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis Chan describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.

Narelle: Crazy Love is a challenging read for all Christians. Francis explores what it really means to be a lukewarm Christian and how easy it can be to fall into a lukewarm relationship with God. He provides Biblical references to show why a lukewarm relationship with God is not the type of relationship God desires for us. The book defines what it really means to be passionately in love with God and how this powerful love relationship and intimacy with God will impact all areas of our lives.

Francis provides examples of people who have a passionate and all consuming love for God. The book challenges us to take an honest look at our heart and our priorities, including how we spend our time and money. Do we give God our best or do we give Him the leftovers? I highly recommend this book to those looking to deepen their relationship with God and learn how their lives can be transformed by falling passionately in love with God.

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Book Recommendation: The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

Back cover blurb:

In THE PRODIGAL GOD, New York pastor Timothy Keller uses the story of the prodigal son to shine a light on the central, beautiful message of Jesus: the gospel of grace, hope and salvation.

Keller argues that the parable of the prodigal son, while Jesus’ best-known parable, is also his least understood. He introduces the reader to all the characters in this timeless story, showing that it concerns not just a wayward son, but also a judgemental older brother and, most importantly, a loving father.

This short but powerful book is a reminder to the faithful, an explanation to the seeker, and finally an invitation to all – both older and younger brothers – to enter in to the ‘unique, radical nature of the gospel’: the reckless, spendthrift love of God.

Narelle: I enjoyed reading this book. The author defines sin in a way we can easily relate to and apply to our own life situations. He explains why both the younger brother and older brother in the Prodigal Son parable are lost and following the wrong paths. He highlights the attitude problem people can encounter when aspiring to live moral lives. Chapter One also addresses the question of why people like Jesus but not the church.

The book is short, approximately 130 pages, and very easy to read. I recommend this book to those looking for a challenging and thought-provoking read based on Biblical truths.

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Book Recommendation – Strength Renewed: Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer by Shirley Corder

Back cover blurb:

Nothing can sap a person’s strength and hope quite like a cancer diagnosis–unless it is the energy-stealing chemotherapy and surgeries faced in the fight against cancer. But one can find hope and strength in the pages of Scripture and in the experience of someone who has been there. Strength Renewed is an encouraging devotional for those living in the valley of cancer. Meditations combine Scripture and stories from the author’s own experience and can be read in sequential order to move the reader through a typical cancer journey from diagnosis through treatment. Each devotion also stands on its own, so readers can go directly to the entry that speaks to their need. Each devotional includes a short prayer and a Scripture verse for encouragement.

Narelle: It seems like cancer is becoming more prevalent and, like most people, my life has been touched by the cancer diagnosis of friends and family members. I found this devotional book very inspiring and helpful in understanding the life changing journey for both the patient and their loved ones. The whole idea of receiving a cancer diagnosis is very scary, and Shirley provides honest and thought provoking insights gained from her experiences fifteen years ago.

Shirley drew strength from the Lord and held onto Biblical truths as she struggled through the good days and the bad days. The book contains ninety devotions that are easy to read and provide wisdom and encouragement from her real life experiences. She speaks with compassion as she shares her mistakes as well as her triumphs through the various stages of her journey to becoming a cancer survivor. I highly recommend this book to those who have received a cancer diagnosis or are looking to gain new insights into how they can support friends and family undergoing cancer treatment.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

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Book Recommendation: My Emily by Matt Patterson

Back cover blurb:

This book tells the story of a hurting family, an amazing little girl and a mysteriously faithful God. Emily wasn’t born perfect – so one might think. She was born with Down Syndrome and many would jump to the conclusion that she would have very little hope for a life with any significance. Two years later came the diagnosis of leukemia. What little hope remaining turned to no hope whatsoever – or so one might think.

The life of this little girl, with all its perceived imperfections, had great meaning. Her loving nature and courage touched the hearts of everyone she met. She also taught them how to value their own lives – even with their many “imperfections.”

Note: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help families with special needs children, those who are battling pediatric cancers, as well as parents grieving the loss of a little one.

Narelle: One evening I started reading this true story on my Kindle, intent on reading only a couple of pages because my alarm was set for 5.30am. Instead, I read My Emily in one sitting, transfixed by the narrative story of Emily’s short life brought to us from her father’s perspective.

We walk in Matt’s shoes as he faces Emily’s Down Syndrome diagnosis when she’s a newborn and her leukemia diagnosis only a few short years later. This beautiful little girl suffered so much. We experience the gamut of her father’s emotions as he tries to make sense of what is happening to his precious Emily. He questions why God allowed this to happen to his daughter. We gain an understanding of the anguish and grief mixed in with love and blessings as a  brave little girl touches the lives of many people.

This story provided me with an insight into the grief and heartache experienced by parents who lose a child. My mother’s younger sister passed away at a similar age to Emily from a sudden illness. After reading My Emily, I have a greater understanding of how this devastating loss impacted the lives of my grandparents and the whole family.

I highly recommend this book, especially to those looking to support a grieving friend or loved one.

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