Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to do

I heard Christine Caine speak at a conference and bought Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to do. Chris has an amazing life story of learning as an adult that she had been adopted and of surviving years of abuse. In Undaunted she shares how the man who became her husband helped her overcome the protective shell she had built around herself and provides valuable scriptural tools for others who need the reminders she offers in these sections of the book: God Knows My Name, God Knows My Pain, God Knows My Fear, God Knows My Destiny.

Chris has founded The A21 Campaign to stop human trafficking. As she faced the challenge, she realized that the problem is huge (2.5 million people are trapped in human trafficking) and her impact might be small. But just as Jesus used a boy’s lunch to feed 5000 people, Chris does what she can—and challenges us to do the same, in whatever area God calls us to move.

Undaunted will motivate and challenge you to rise up and respond to God’s nudges. Chris offers specific guidelines on how to discover God’s direction when your heart yearns to "do something." A study guide and DVD is available, so this would be a great choice for your next Bible study.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: Made to Stick

A publisher’s rep at a writer/speaker conference recommended this book as the best he has seen on the subject. So if you’re writing a book, giving a speech, selling something or just want to be more effective at communicating in your home or at work, I highly recommend this book.

Brothers and authors Chip and Dan Heath walk you through the SUCCESs formula--Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories—as a way to make your presentations, either written or spoken, more memorable. And it’s an enjoyable read. They offer tons of stories, which, by the way, is one of their recommended ways to create meaningful communication. You’ll read about how a Nordstrom employee ironed a new shirt for a customer who needed it that afternoon. You’ll learn how Subway management turned thumbs down on the suggestion to use the story of Jared’s diet in advertising

Chapters include “Idea Clinics” where you can evaluate for yourself the better approach. Back matter includes an “Easy Reference Guide” to help you remember what you read. (Don’t we all need that?!) Plus there are notes and an index. I actually took eight large pages full of notes as I read.

If you’re a writer or a speaker, you’ll wonder how you ever survived in your profession before reading this book. Now I must get back to working on the theme of my next book—applying all the things I’ve learned in Made to Stick.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Great Things Grow From Small Beginnings

Some precious small beginnings in my life--grandchildren Elizabeth (hiding behind the zinnias), Grace and Scott

            Just look at those flowers! My husband grew the red zinnias from seed. He bought the whole kit and caboodle—the seeds, the “biodome,” the heating pad to put under it, the light to put over it. He painstakingly planted a seed per cup and watched and waited. He almost gave up. After a week or two, spindly little seedlings unfurled just a couple leaves at the tops. Bill vowed he would never again grow flowers from seed. Too much work; too few results. But he planted the leggy green things outside, and guess what?! God sends the sunshine and the rain on the spindly as well as the robust. Just look at those zinnias!
            So much of life is like that. We’re tempted to give up on anything good coming out of small beginnings. We get overwhelmed by wrecked dreams, difficult relationships and challenging circumstances. But then we take a small step forward and as time moves on we find hidden blessings. We come to appreciate life more. We deepen relationships as we work through problems. That’s so like God. Turning small beginnings into something beautiful.
            “God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” 1 Corinthians 1:28
            We may not be able to save the world, but we may be able to save one soul. We may not be able to influence large crowds, but we may be able to influence a child or grandchild. We may not be able to earn a huge paycheck, but we may be able to earn enough to meet our own needs and some of the needs of others as well.
            Too often we don’t try because the task seems overwhelming, the problem, daunting. But just as Bill’s little seedlings flourished into a beautiful bouquet, so your feeble attempts may surprise you. Make a phone call to restore a relationship. Try that exercise the doctor recommended. Have a little talk with that little one. Start that cleaning project. Sort those mementos. Take one bag of clothing to Good Will. Never underestimate what you can do when you do what you can . . . and let God do the rest.
            Leave a comment to share how you’ve seen something good grow from small beginnings, and feel free to pass on this blog if it might bless or motivate someone. 


Upcoming events:
August 6, 11 a.m. - Friends of the Heart at the Millersburg Senior Center, "Mary, Martha and Their Psychologist."
August 23, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - Friends of the Heart at Chapman Community Chapel, Port Trevorton, "What Every Girl Needs: Refuge, Redemption, Restoration and a Few Good Recipes."