Monday, June 6, 2011

Fully Engaged: How to Do Less and Be More

Fully Engaged
John Busacker


In a world where a 'normal' week is a whirlwind, this book is a breath of fresh air.

First, it is a short, easy to read book, so you don't have to worry about finding time to fit it into your busy schedule! John Busacker has created short chapters filled with large print and lots of white space and he's carefully chosen his words and examples for maximum impact. The book is designed to read one chapter at a time so you can work on each concept and really let it sink in before moving on. There's even a nice ribbon attached so you don't have to worry about losing your place.

Second, the book is action oriented. Each chapter ends with a challenge to immediately apply the concept you've just learned by thinking it through and writing down how it applies to your life. Some chapters require more contemplation than others, such as defining life dreams, and the action of actually writing these down helps to get you motivated to move forward and take action.

Third, the text itself is
motivating and action oriented. Busacker helps you to define priorities and focus on what is really important, which allows some of t he busy-ness to fall away (if you let it).

Like any self help book, this one only works if you don't
leave it on the shelf. It's easy to read and put away, going back to life as you know it. But if I pulled only one important concept from the book (and there are MANY), it is to truly be involved in whatever I'm doing -- don't just mindlessly multitask and go through my day. Sounds simple and even simplistic, but it has made a big difference in my life so far.


Ever been lost in a car on the way to an important event? If so, then you know that people are the only animals that speed up when they’re lost or confused. It’s only as a last resort that we’ll finally hit the brakes, put the car in park, and set about the humbling task of asking for directions. The sad truth is that many of us live our lives the same way: lost, directionless, and never slowing down enough to find the real answers we need. Unfortunately, slowing down and doing less are foreign solutions for today’s problems. Envision a student notifying her parents that her goal is to slow down because she’s stressed out in school. Picture a husband suggesting that he wants to do less in his marriage. The very concept of doing less seems like sheer laziness, but it can actually be a very productive strategy for living.

For readers who are finally ready to stop speeding along and start slowing down enough to find some answers, John Busacker’s new book, Fully Engaged: How to Do Less and Be More, offers practical advice on how to do just that. In a world full of countless options and disorienting decisions, we have to allow our internal GPS to stop and recalculate the direction of our life. As we do so, we’ll find greater abundance, contentment, and peace of mind. Fully Engaged encourages and equips us to move beyond what Busacker calls an “air guitar life”—a life of furious motion and considerable energy, but in the end one with no sound and little lasting impact. In a culture of random noise and fury, Busacker offers a measured and wise strategy for living that is marked by three key components: 1) Awareness, 2) Alignment, and 3) Action.

· Living with Awareness means that, instead of piecing together random moments, you begin to live intentionally. By doing so, you no longer measure your life worth by your pay check, but by effectively blending all aspects of your life. It is understanding that the moments that make up your life contribute to the overarching story of your existence, and in order for that story to stay fresh, you must add to it regularly. A life of awareness is a life defined by the values that you hold dear rather than by the habits and routines that only lead to more monotony. In the end, awareness means that you stop sleepwalking through life and become fully engaged with the world around you.

· Living with Alignment ensures that what you have and what you do match what you really want out of life. It means that your job is not simply a means to make money, but a calling to be pursued with vigor. It is the realization that your dreams are meant to be lived out, and that your life is more than just showing up. When your life is marked by alignment, you don’t live one life at work, another life at church, and yet another life at home. Alignment patterns all aspects of your life around what you really want so that everything you value and do is interconnected with your dreams.

· Living with Action compels you to move in directions that propel you toward an exhilarating future. This means that you’re not afraid to fail and that setbacks are to be celebrated as progressive steps on the journey of success. It’s the understanding that you must pursue connection with others because community is a necessary component of fulfilled living. A life of action is a life of generosity, because giving back is the natural response to engagement. It is impossible to be fully engaged and be passive.

“You have gifts to give, family to love, and dreams to live,” writes Busacker. “You were created to learn and grow, not to replicate and repeat. What if you could not only live each day, but really live it—and love it?” Everyone desires to be this engaged—to feel connected, joyful, and alive. You’ll begin to thrive instead of survive, to act instead of react. If you’re burned out or rusted out, Fully Engaged can help you find a whole new layout for living!

About the Author:

John Busacker is president of The Inventure Group, a global leadership-consulting firm, and founder of Life-Worth, LLC, a life planning creative resource. He is a member of the Duke Corporate Education Global Learning Resource Network and is on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Carlson School’s Executive Development Center.

In 2009, Busacker released his first book, 8 Questions God Can’t Answer, which unlocks the profound power of Jesus’ timeless questions. He annually teaches in a variety of emerging faith communities and supports the development needs of leaders in Africa through PLI-International.

John is an avid explorer, occasional marathoner, and novice cyclist. He and his wife, Carol, live in Minneapolis and have two adult sons, Brett and Joshua.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon HERE

Thanks to B&B Media Group for providing a copy of this book for review.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Handle With Prayer

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Handle with Prayer

David C. Cook; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)

***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Dr. Charles F. Stanley, senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries, demonstrates a keen awareness of people’s needs by providing practical Biblical truths for everyday life. His In Touch teaching program is broadcast worldwide in more than 50 languages. Dr. Stanley is also a New York Times best-selling author who has written more than 35 books, including: In Step with God, Landmines in the Path of the Believer, Living the Extraordinary Life, A Man’s Touch, Handle With Prayer, How to Listen to God, Eternal Security: Can You Be Sure?, The Gift of Forgiveness, How to Keep Your Kids on Your Team, The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life, The Source of My Strength, How to Handle Adversity, The Blessing of Brokenness, Success God’s Way, The Handbook for Christian Living, Into His Presence, and When Tragedy Strikes.

Visit the author's website.


Originally released in 2000, this book has already sold over 250,000 copies and now it features new artwork, an enhanced study guide, and updated content to connect with today’s readers. Using stories from his own life, Dr. Stanley engages readers with his insight and truthfulness. According to Dr. Stanley, “Jesus encourages us to pray. He tells us to ask, seek, and knock. We ask for things, we seek understanding, and we knock on doors of opportunity that lie before us. The Lord is saying that in every area of life we can find what we are looking for by talking to the heavenly Father.”

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0781404460
ISBN-13: 978-0781404464


Unveiling the Hidden

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. —Jeremiah 33:1–3

As I was praying one afternoon in 1967, I began feeling as if God had something very specific to say to me. The more I prayed, the more the burden increased. I decided to take an early vacation and spend the time seeking God’s guidance. I went to the mountains of North Carolina for two weeks, intent on finding out what God was saying to me.

I spent the majority of the time fasting and praying. I waited, expecting God to follow up the burden with an answer. To my surprise, He pointed out areas in my life that needed correcting. The entire two weeks was a period of personal cleansing and preparation for what was to come.

I returned home excited, but still unsure. It was as if there were a veil that kept me from knowing the unknown. I felt that the answer was close, but it was still out of my grasp. Then one

afternoon soon afterward, I was on my face before the Lord, and the veil lifted. God wanted me to start a school. I hesitated to commit myself to such a task, but God made it clear to me that His instructions were to be obeyed, not just considered. He unveiled the hidden to me when I called on Him to do so, and He showed me the things I did not know. God was faithful—even to the point of preparing my heart for what He had to say.

God desires to make known the unknown to His children. He desires to unveil the hidden. Yet many times we are satisfied not knowing. Either we aren’t willing to take the time to wait, or

we aren’t sure God even wants us to know. But this command to Jeremiah speaks specifically to both of these problems. We are to call, we are to expect an answer, and we are to know the unknown. Let’s look at the background of this Scripture in Jeremiah (33:1–3).

The Babylonians are coming toward Jerusalem from the feast. They have already defeated the Assyrians, so the people off Jerusalem know they don’t stand much of a chance against their superior military strength. The leaders of Jerusalem believed they should align themselves with the Egyptians, which was the logical thing to do. But Jeremiah tells them, “God says you are going into captivity. What you really ought to do is go out there and surrender.” Well, this wasn’t at all what the leaders had in mind. They threw Jeremiah in prison and refused to listen to him.

Their reaction should not surprise us. What do you think the people in my congregation would do if I stood up next Sunday and said, “God says the Canadians are going to overthrow this nation. We might as well surrender now and save ourselves some trouble”? They would run me out of town! But this was exactly the situation Jeremiah found himself in. From his experience, he gives us a passage (33:1–3) that helps us understand how to talk with God.

Encouraged to Pray

We can obtain three prayer principles from Jeremiah 33:3 by listening to what God told Jeremiah. The first is that God encourages us to pray: “Call unto me.” Since Jeremiah was in prison, he had a long time to catch up on his prayer life. We may never be put behind bars, but God will put us in circumstances and situations in order to teach us how to talk with Him.

Most of the time we pray, “Get me out of here!” We want to avoid suffering and difficulty. When we do run into a trial or difficulty, we ask God to change our circumstances so we can serve Him better and love Him more.

But we cannot fool God or bribe Him with our promises. Jeremiah didn’t even ask God to get him out of prison. Rather, he waited to see what God would say to him. And what was God’s

reply? “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jer. 33:3). What God did for Jeremiah had a far greater impact than simply getting him out of prison.

But most of us aren’t that patient. We’re more intent on getting out of our circumstances than we are on finding out what great things God wants to show us. But the Father never allows

difficulty just for the sake of difficulty—there is always a higher purpose involved. The problem is we cannot always identify God’s higher purpose in the midst of our trials. That’s when we must exercise our faith by waiting on His word to us.

A good friend of mine who was a real estate broker experienced a seven-year period of financial failure. The loss of his security devastated him. It became the constant focus of his thoughts and prayers. “Why doesn’t God do something?” he would ask me. For a while, we were both puzzled.

But after some intense soul searching, he realized that he had substituted financial security for God in his life. The Father wanted to be recognized as the Source of all things in my friend’s life. As he began renewing his mind spiritually and yielding his rights to the Lord, my friend gained a new freedom in his attitude toward finances. He started a new career and found greater financial blessing than ever before.

God had a great and mighty lesson to teach my friend—a lesson more important than keeping him comfortable. And God kept him uncomfortable until he took his eyes off his circumstances and sought God’s mind in the matter.

Waiting is not easy. We often turn away from seeking God’s counsel and seek guidance from friends and loved ones. We read books, attend seminars, and talk with others, trying to find out what God has to say to us. Usually, after we’ve exhausted all other possibilities, we turn back to the Lord and wait on Him. By doing this, it’s as if we are saying to God, “Now that I’ve tried everything else and failed, I’ve decided I need You after all.”

But God wants us to come to Him first. He wants us to stand in His counsel and wait for His word. He longs for us to come to Him as a son would to his father. But instead, we go to Him last, as if we don’t trust Him or consider His word of much value. Yet He is the only trustworthy Source of counsel we have. He is our most available and accessible Friend. He will never give us a busy signal—even if He frequently gets busy signals when He tries talking to us.

God entreats us to pray because He knows we are often caught in prisons of our own making; not prisons with bars and locks, but intellectual prisons, emotional prisons, and relational prisons. We must remember that the shortest distance between our problems and their solutions is the distance between our knees and the floor.

Answer Promised

Second, God told Jeremiah, “I will answer thee.” Sometimes we make commitments that we cannot keep. Though we may do this unintentionally, there are times when we disappoint those who are counting on us. But God never disappoints—when He says He will do something, it will be done.

God promises He will not only hear our prayers, but He will answer them. This brings up two interesting questions: Does God always answer our prayers? Or does He respond to certain kinds of prayer? Think about the requests you have made of God recently. Are they being answered? Do you really believe they will be? You see, the question is not Does God answer prayer? The real question is How does God answer prayer? Sometimes He answers yes. This is usually the only answer we hear. If God says, “Yes,” then we believe He answered. If He says, “No,” we think He ignored our request.

God’s Answers

When God answers our prayers, He either answers with yes, no, or wait. When He answers yes, we are prone to shout, “Praise the Lord!” We tell everyone what a great thing God has done for us.

But when God says no, we have a hard time finding reasons to praise Him. We look for the sin in our lives that kept Him from granting our requests, because surely if we had been living right He would have given us what we asked. But not one shred of scriptural evidence shows that God will say yes to all of our prayers just because we’re living right. God is sovereign. He has the right to say no according to His infinite wisdom, regardless of our goodness.

We try to manipulate God by our humanistic “if then” philosophy. If we live good, clean lives, then God must (we believe) grant our hearts’ desires. But such attempts to manipulate God defeat the whole purpose of Christianity, which is to glorify Him through our submissive obedience to His desires. Besides, if our goodness was the only factor God considered, where would His grace fit in? Many times His grace is what motivates Him to say no.

God only says no and wait when it is best for us (Rom. 8:28). He does it many times for our protection. Sometimes God wants to answer our prayers, but the timing is not right. For example, in the past, many couples wanting to marry came to me for counseling. Sometimes I would advise them to wait. Some would heed my advice, while others sought counsel from those who told them what they wanted to hear. You and I have the same choice over and over again. Will we wait on God for His perfect timing, or will we rush ahead?

We don’t like waiting around. Especially when it looks like a unique opportunity might slip away. We don’t like to hear God say, “No,” especially when everything in us says, “Yes, yes, yes!” We often try to find a Scripture verse and claim it while we continue our prayer, hoping somehow to change God’s mind. What we’re really saying is, “God, I didn’t like that answer. How about reconsidering my point of view?”

But deep in our hearts we really want God’s perfect will for our lives. And we must remember that God’s answer is always His ultimate best for us. Claiming Scripture will not change God’s mind because His Word cannot contradict His will. If He says no, then the answer is no. If He says wait, then we should wait. God is more interested in our character, our future, and our sanctification than He is in our momentary satisfaction. His answers are always an act of grace, motivated by His love.

Our Response

Our response to God’s answers reveals one of two things about us. It will reveal either a rebellious spirit or a submissive spirit. By accepting God’s answer, despite the fact that we may not understand, we express a submissive spirit. But by refusing His first answer and trying to get our way by manipulation, we express a rebellious spirit.

If we refuse God’s answers when they don’t fit in with our plans, then we are trying to use God for our purposes. But if we graciously accept His answers—no matter what they are—He will use us for His glory.

The Hidden Revealed

The third principle we can obtain from this verse comes from “I will … show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” All of us face decisions that leave us baffled. We are constantly bombarded with relational decisions, business decisions, household decisions, and financial decisions—and these all need immediate attention. In this verse, God promises to reveal the answer to all of life’s decisions. Yet many of God’s people spend their entire lives making decisions based on their knowledge, their understanding, and their experience—not realizing that some decisions must be based on divine wisdom and illumination from God.

Almost any preacher can prepare a sermon. He can write an outline, gather a few stories, and away he goes. But a preacher cannot get God’s message for a people until he waits in the Lord’s counsel, until he seeks God’s face, and until God gives him a word from heaven (Jer. 23:21–22).

This same principle applies to every Christian. We can pay the price required to find God’s mind on an issue, or we can make a decision based on what we think is right. Either way, a decision will eventually be made. But while one decision may have the approval of man, the other will have the eternal approval of God.

Sometimes we flip a coin (spiritually speaking) and say, “Lord, this is what I’m going to do. If it is of You, then bless it. If I’m wrong, then better luck next time.” Instead of waiting, we jump ahead and hope we have done the right thing. The point is this: As Christians, we never have to guess—we can know for sure what to do. God wants us to know His will about things, even more than we want to know it. But He cannot—and will not—bless anything we do that is not of Him.

So what does He mean when He says, “I will … show thee great and mighty things”? Every time we pray to God, seeking His will, there are two things He wants to show us: He wants to show us Himself (Phil. 3:7–8), and He wants to show us what He is able to do (John 15:16). Is there anything greater than seeking God and knowing His power?

We Are to Seek His Face

Because God wants to reveal Himself to us, and because our goal as Christians is to know Him, we should begin our time in prayer saying, “Lord, thank You that You are omnipotent. Thank You that You are omniscient and know everything I am about to tell You. Thank You that You are omnipresent, and You are not separated from me. As I come into Your presence, I humble myself before Your throne to thank You for Your holiness, Your forgiveness, and Your mercy. I acknowledge You as the great Creator, Sustainer, and Lover of mankind. Father, I am coming to You, recognizing Your greatness and Your holiness. I bow before You as Your child, knowing that You are more than sufficient to meet my needs.”

This is the spirit in which we should come into God’s presence. But instead, we come first with our needs and usually don’t have enough time for anything else. We never stop long enough to recognize that God wants to show us Himself when we pray.

He Shows Us His Power

God also wants to show us what He is able and willing to do for us. He does this through His Word. He reminds us of what He has done in the past. He gives us example after example in Scripture of how He met people’s needs and how He protected them. And the Father is willing to do the same thing for us, if we will only ask.

The word mighty in this passage means hidden things, things that are fenced in. This word is used when referring to fortified cities. God is showing us that as we pray, He will unveil insights for us that have previously been a mystery.

This also implies that some answers will be found only in prayer, not from other sources—not from books, friends, or counselors. Some things must come straight from God, who is the

Source of all wisdom. How many families would still be together today if they had sought God’s answers to their problems at home? How many sons and daughters would still be at home if their parents had taken their situation to the Lord? Too often we refuse to wait on God’s answers. We want quick solutions to our problems.

But God wants to do much more than just meet our needs and answer our questions. He wants our love. He wants our spirits— He wants our lives. Yes, He encourages us to bring our trials and our heartaches to Him in prayer, but only after we recognize who He is and what He can do. Only then do we believe He will answer our prayers. Only then are we seeking His face and not merely His hand.

As a pastor, many times I go to God for answers that can be found only in Him. Sometimes He shows me something for today, and sometimes He shows me something that will happen in the next week or month. But I’ve never been to God about anything that He did not willingly answer. He does not always answer my prayers according to my time schedule, but He always answers on time.

Back in 1969 when I was preaching a weeklong revival meeting in Virginia, I once again felt that God had something specific to say to me. Each night after the service I retired to my room early to pray. One evening, I pulled out a pad and drew a circle with five lines leading from it. At the end of each line, I wrote several things I thought God might desire to reveal to me. On the last line I drew a question mark, thinking maybe it was something I had not thought of.

The following night I came back to my room with the same burden. As I prayed and looked over the possibilities, God made it clear that He was going to move me. I asked Him when, and the month of September flashed into my mind. This happened in May of 1969, but I thought He meant September of 1970. A few months later, however, a pulpit committee from the First Baptist Church of Atlanta came to see me. On September 30, 1969, my family and I moved to Atlanta. God revealed this to me ahead of time in order to prepare my heart. He unveiled what was hidden when I called on Him to do so.

Regardless of what circumstances you are up against, there is no knowledge you will ever need that is not accessible before the throne of our living, loving, holy, righteous God. He has promised to show you the great, the hidden, and the unknown things that you will never be able to understand any other way. There are some things you will never be able to know (Deut. 29:29), but all the knowledge you will ever need is available to you if you ask God.

He desires to illuminate your mind and heart until you are conscious of Christ’s mind within you. He wants you to say no to the world on the basis of your faith in Him. It is then that you feel an extra sense of power when you share with others. You no longer depend entirely on circumstances for God to teach you lessons. Instead, you learn straight from Him through His Word. You have a new excitement in your relationship with God because you have learned to listen as He speaks to you.

Submission Required

You must be submissive to God to the point of absolute obedience— regardless of what He asks of you. Why? Because if our heavenly Father continues to answer our prayers, and we have certain conditions on which we obey, then He is nothing more than a giant Santa Claus. If He were to continue to bless us regardless of our rebellion, we would be using Him for our ends, not His. Submission is essential.

If you have been seeking God’s will for a long time and you seem to be getting nowhere, examine your heart. See if there is any area of your life that is not totally surrendered to Him. By settling this issue, you will put yourself in a position that will allow the Father to bless you. The quicker you move from your will to His will, the quicker God will show you what you need to know. Since God gives us His Word for obedience, not just consideration, He must be assured that you have submitted yourself completely before He will let you in on His secrets.

Are you facing a decision in your life that is too big for you to handle? Are you going through some difficulty that has left you confused and disheartened? God said, “Call unto me, and I will

answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” As you seek God’s face, understanding who He is and what He is willing and able to do, He will clear away all the mist that surrounds your circumstances. He will show you what to do. Are you willing to say yes to whatever He requires? If so, you have taken the first step in learning to talk with God.

Session 1

Unveiling the Hidden

Chapter 1

Session Goals

1. To assess our individual prayer lives to see if we really expect God to answer our prayers.

2. To take a long look at our ideas of what God is like, how He feels about people, and what He is willing to do for them.

3. To determine to say yes to whatever God requires of us.


1. As you read Handle with Prayer, jot down the main kernels of truth in each chapter. Then study chapter 1.

2. Plan your session time carefully to include the Bible teaching about prayer, which should lead into the practicing of prayer in the session.

3. Assemble any teaching tools: whiteboard or chalkboard, markers or chalk.


1. Help people get acquainted by asking each member to turn to the person next to him or her and to sum up his or her prayer philosophy in ten words or less. End with the question: “Do

you agree?” Partners respond with his or her own thinking on prayer. Don’t ask group members to aim for theological definitions, just responses from their personal experiences. Expect

negative as well as positive philosophies, since these sessions are expected to clear up misconceptions about prayer as well as give positive insights—all from the Word.

After this short exercise, point out that no matter what our present philosophies of prayer are, we all want to learn to pray effectively. But we won’t learn how unless we obey God’s instructions (as opposed to our own reactions, ideas, experiential knowledge) and respond to Him according to His will.

2. Ask the group to turn to Jeremiah 33:1–3. Explain: “The Babylonians were coming toward Jerusalem from the east. They had already defeated the Assyrians, so the people of Jerusalem

knew they didn’t stand much of a chance against such a superior military power. The leaders of Jerusalem believed they should align with the Egyptians. But Jeremiah told them, ‘God says you are going into captivity. What you really ought to do is believe God, go out, and surrender to the Babylonians.’”

The outraged leaders, thinking Jeremiah was a traitor, threw him in prison and refused to listen to his warning. Jeremiah probably wasn’t too surprised at the leaders’ reaction. But what would God say to him now? He had obeyed the Lord, and he

was in prison because of it—what next?

Why do you think God reaffirmed His identity to Jeremiah (v. 2)? What three prayer principles did He give Jeremiah (v. 3)?Discuss.

3. Explain that Jeremiah was in a real prison. We may be in figurative ones constructed out of circumstances or predicaments, but the bars are just as strong and the walls just as high.

When we are in our prisons, how do we usually pray? Discuss.

According to Scripture, Jeremiah didn’t ask God for anything. Rather, he waited to see what God had to say to him.

If we’re in our prisons because God needs to get our attention to teach us lessons, what is the quickest way to get out? Discuss.

Deliverance comes as we examine our hearts to find what God wants to teach us. When we learn our lessons, He will free us. Nothing is too hard for Him.

What should we do if we cannot identify God’s purpose in a particular trial? Why is waiting on God so difficult? Discuss.

4. Does God always answer our prayers? Discuss the three ways God answers: yes, no, or wait. Do you agree: “God will always answer yes, if we are living right”? God is sovereign. He answers depending on what He knows is best for us.

How do we sometimes try to manipulate Him into saying yes? Sometimes we think: If I do this, then God will do that. Or we plead a verse of Scripture that seems on target for our case and hope God will change His mind.

Why does God sometimes say no? Remind the group that the whole purpose of Christianity is to glorify God through our submissive obedience to His desires. He says no when it’s for

our best interest (Rom. 8:28). God is more interested in our character, future, and sanctification than in our momentary gratification.

When God says wait, what choice does He give us? What do our responses to God’s answers reveal about us?

5. What two things does God always want to show us when we seek to know His will? Refer to Philippians 3:7–8 and John 15:16. How does God show us what He is able and willing to

do? Answers might come through His Word, through our own experiences, and through the experiences of others.

What is the one condition God’s unveiling rests on? Why is submission necessary?

6. Explain: “If we hear these truths and don’t practice them, we become like the person who wants to learn to drive a car without ever sitting in the driver’s seat. The person reads the

training manual, learns all the rules of the road, but never actually sits behind the wheel.”

We want to move prayer into the reality of our present circumstances. During our times together, we will be using different prayer methods: silent prayers, group prayers, volunteer

prayers, written prayers, etc. Today because of the nature of the subject, we will use silent individual prayers.

7. If God has seemed silent to you about something you have prayed for a long time, examine your heart. Are you harboring unconfessed sin? If you will submit now, you will move quickly into the attitude in which God will unfold for you some of the things you need to know.

Are you facing a decision that is too big for you to handle? Have you gone through some difficulty that has left you confused and disheartened? Read Jeremiah 33:3 again. Seek God’s face, understand who He is, and believe He will clear away all the mist that surrounds your circumstances.

Are you willing to say yes to whatever He requires of you?

8. Spend time in silent prayer as individuals open up their hearts to God. Close with an appropriate prayer of submissive victory.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's it Like to be Married to Me? GIVE AWAY!

What's it Like to be Married to Me?
Linda Dillow

Women can be habitual complainers, and this book brings to light that our complaints are most frequently about our husbands. That causes us to tear down our homes, not build them up as God calls us to do. Linda Dillow cuts through all of our excuses and gets to the heart of our marriages by having us ask questions of ourselves -- looking inward instead of placing blame.

Are we really placing our husbands above all other people on earth? Do our husbands feel loved and respected? How do we know? In addition to solid Biblical resources and research-based stories, the book includes a ten to twelve week Bible study that can be followed by a group or individually.

I highly recommend this book for women's Bible studies and for all women who want to enrich their marriages and be more Christ-like in their daily lives.

I have one copy of the book to give away! If you are interested, leave a comment below.


Women everywhere wonder if there is more to marriage than what they have. Best-Selling author Linda Dillow, helps women shape their marriage by design rather than letting circumstances shape it by default. What's It Like to Be Married to Me? And Other Dangerous Questions, is a book about knowing the difference between having a desire for a better marriage and setting the goal of having a better marriage—as women look in the mirror to see how they can change. Extremely intimate and honest, Dillow shares the best and worst things she has done in her nearly fifty years of marriage, guides women to make their own Marriage Purpose Statement, and leads them into God’s heart for what their marriage could be.


Linda Dillow is no stranger to publishing and adventure. She's the author of Creative Counterpart, Calm My Anxious Heart, The Blessings Book, Satisfy My Thirsty Soul, and co-author of the Best-Selling book Intimate Issues. Linda and her husband Jody lived in Europe and Asia for 17 years training Christian leaders in closed countries with Biblical Education by Extension, during this time, Linda traveled extensively in Romania, Russia, Hungary, Poland and Asia. She taught women and helped them launch women's ministries. She is a mother of four children, as well as a grandmother.

Check out these sites to purchase the book on-line:

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Me Project -- And a Prize Drawing!

The Me Project - 21 Days to Living the Life You’ve Always Wanted
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
ISBN-10: 0736929665, ISBN-13: 978-0736929660
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Paperback: 224 pages, Retail: $12.99

Book Summary
(San Jose, CA) Has that rush to make (and break) New Year’s resolutions already waned? According to Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, taking small steps every day will not only help you stay committed to your goal, but will also help you ultimately achieve that goal when obstacles come up. Author Kathi Lipp wants you and your friends to live out those dreams—and have some fun along the way.
As women, we forget the goals and dreams of our younger years. The busyness of everyday life gets in the way. To-do lists replace goals. The Me Project provides women with fun and creative ways to bring back the sense of purpose and vitality that comes with living out the plans and dreams God has planted in our hearts. Kathi Lipp’s warm tone and laugh-out-loud humor motivates women to take daily steps toward intentional goals. The end result? We get back our lives and enjoy living in the confidence of a purposeful life in spite of our chaotic schedules.

This handy guide coaches women to do one simple thing toward achieving our goals each day for three weeks. A woman experiencing the exhilaration of a rediscovered life offers more as a wife, mother, friend, volunteer, career woman.
Finding the balance between living day-to-day with purpose while pursuing the passions God has placed in our hearts is a delicate pursuit. In this refreshing, insightful book, Kathi lays out a doable plan that makes sense and helps make our God-given dreams a reality. Never stop dreaming, because women who dare to dream do make the world a better place.
—Jean Blackmer
author of MomSense: A Common Sense Guide to Confident Mothering
Publishing Manager, MOPS International

Author Bio
Kathi Lipp
Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker, currently speaking each year to thousands of women throughout the United States. She is the author of The Husband Project and The Marriage Project, serves as food writer for Nickelodeon, and has had articles published in several magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Discipleship Journal. Kathi and her husband, Roger, live in California and are the parents of four teenagers and young adults. For more information visit her website:

Check out this article to Kick Start Living Your Dream!

And guess what...there's a contest! You could win this amazing basket

Grand Prize Giveaway:
Deluxe Starbucks Coffee Gift Basket
  • Three 2.5-oz. bags of Starbucks coffee
    (Sumatra, House Blend, and French Roast)
  • Tazo black tea
  • Starbucks marshmallow cocoa
  • Almond roca
  • Almond roca buttercrunch toffee cookies
  • White chocolate and raspberry cookies
  • 2 Starbucks mugs
  • Keepsake black bamboo basket
$62 value

Just comment on this post and your name will be entered in the drawing!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Flight Plan



Lee Burns and Braxton Brady


I can only respond to this book as a mother of boys, not having been one, but I would HIGHLY recommend this book to the leader of any group of middle school or even high school boys. I plan to give my copy to the director of middle school activities at our church and I pray that he will develop a program for our boys to attend. If not, I will talk my husband into using the book to set up a small group for the neighborhood boys. This book is amazing.

The chapters cover all aspects of manhood and touch on every issue of concern to both teens and their parents in ways that are very boy-focused. Instead of just saying 'don't', the book goes into what godly men 'do', and how to avoid the common entrapments of youth. It is not preachy -- in fact it often tells why the pitfalls seem interesting to some. For instance, it tells why some kids get drawn into drinking and then takes boys beyond these initial enticements to explain the true reasons to avoid it. It also provides difficult role-play scenarios that offer an opportunity for boys to practice dealing with tough situations before they happen.

If you have the chance to lead a group of pre-teen or early teen boys, this book would be an excellent tool for helping them become the men God created them to be.


590 Brady COVERTeenage boys are faced with navigating the turbulent journey to manhood, often without an inkling of what that really means or any direction of how to get there. Flight Plan: Your Mission to Become a Man offers a vision of godly manhood and a complete and honest guide into the adventures ahead. Written by Lee Burns and Braxton Brady, Flight Plan is a natural evolution of their original program, Building Boys, Making Men, a curriculum created by the authors for the 630 boys who attend Presbyterian Day School (PDS) in Memphis, Tennessee.

Q&A with Braxton Brady Co-Author of Flight Plan

Q: What is Flight Plan, the book?

A: Flight Plan offers boys and young men a definition and vision of manhood that can help them to make wise choices during their teenage years and beyond. It frankly and authentically discusses a number of issues they will face and teaches boys a definition of manhood (“A real man glorifies God by seeking an adventuresome life of purpose and passion as he protects and serves others.”) and seven virtues of manhood. It focuses on the question of what it means to be a man and includes in depth teaching on many of the changes, challenges, and temptations they will be facing as teenagers.

Q: Flight Plan is co-written by you and your colleague, Lee Burns. What inspired you both to write this book?

A: Lee is the headmaster at Presbyterian Day School, an independent school for boys in Memphis, Tennessee. I am the chaplain. Together, we work with more than 600 boys at the school, and I personally teach about 250 of them. Candidly, we felt that dads were dropping the ball, whether because their other demands didn’t afford them meaningful time with their children, or they just didn’t know how. So we created Building Boys, Making Men, a year long curriculum and class for boys at PDS. And the response has been great. Over the years, we’ve had requests from parents, churches, and youth pastors to expand the program beyond PDS. Flight Plan was our response to these requests and our way of sharing what PDS has learned about boys and men over the years.

Q: For whom was Flight Plan written?

A: The Building Boys, Making Men program at PDS was created by me and Lee for sixth grade boys. Drawing on a collective 60 years of research and experience with teaching boys, we felt that was the critical age when they start to be faced with many of the decisions that will go on to define the kind of men they become. At the time we were writing this, my son was twelve. As I was writing I kept him in mind, conscious of what he would relate to, how he would like to be communicated to, and what would resonate with him and also keep him engaged.

Q: Do you think pre-teen and teenage boys are facing different challenges than perhaps their parents faced?

A: Boys have many outside influences that we didn’t have growing up. Today, everything is a click away. They have easy access to everything. Parents think that they can protect their children and create a bubble around them. But when boys get to a certain age, that becomes impossible.

Q: Do parents face greater challenges today in bringing up boys than perhaps your parents faced?

A: One of the greatest challenges I think parents face today is that boys and girls don’t know how to have face-to-face conversations. They live in a virtual reality world. I read a statistic that teenagers send 100 text messages a day! It’s so critical to have a relationship with your children, for fathers to have relationships with their sons, to communicate, and to create quality face-to-face, in-person time together without the distraction of phone calls or texting.

Q: In your experience with teaching boys, what are some of the strongest influences that define who they become?

A: Certainly boys today are bombarded by messages from television, movies, video games, and music. But one of the strongest influences boys face is from their friends and peer pressure. Who they choose as their friends then becomes critical in defining the framework for the life they will create. How to choose good friends, how to identify positive influences is one of the key issues we address in Flight Plan. We also speak candidly and openly about the messages in media. For example, we deal honestly with sex and tell them that most everything they learn about sex from television and movies is not the way it really is.

Q: In Flight Plan you focus candidly on eight areas that boys will face. What are those areas where you think they will be challenged?

A: We deal openly with key areas or issues of decision making boys will face as they become teenagers and even in the pre-teen years: friendship and peer pressure, drugs, drinking, girls and sex, and relationships with school and family. We discuss these issues frankly so that they can anticipate what is coming, then make wise choices in their teenage years and even beyond.

Q: The book talks also about what is not a man, taking readers through six myths about what a man is not before laying out a vision for what true manhood is. What are some of those myths?

A: Yes, in chapter two we first tackle one-by-one some of the common myths largely learned through our culture about what manhood is. First, that men don’t show emotion and then that men should define themselves by their outward achievements and successes. Others include that men should only pursue certain cool hobbies and interests, men must give up great adventures, boys and girls/men and women are really no different from one another, and lastly that you have to do certain things to become a man.

Q: How do you go about casting a vision or plan for what manhood should be?

A: Flight Plan teaches the definition of manhood, that a real man glorifies God by seeking an adventuresome life of purpose and passion as he protects and serves others. This definition of manhood, along with seven biblically-based virtues, serve as the foundation for a vision of godly manhood. We take readers through each virtue: the true friend, the humble hero, the servant leader, the moral motivator, the bold adventurer, the noble knight, and finally, the heart patient.

Q: What do you hope will be the takeaway for boys who read Flight Plan?

A: We know that these boys are about to take the journey of a lifetime. There will be forks in the road and they will have to make choices. Often there will be many others going down one path, though it may not be the right path. Lee and I created Flight Plan to shine a light on what will lie ahead in the journey so that, when faced with those choices, boys will know which way to go. Flight Plan is a map, and much like a map, if you keep in mind where you are headed, you are far more likely to get there. Our prayer for each reader of Flight Plan is that in knowing what it means to be a man, they will be far more likely to get there and arrive safely in a way that is rewarding. And really the issues, the virtues laid out in Flight Plan, are for men well into adulthood too. If these boys can stay on the right path in their teenage years, it will carry them long into their lives as adults.

Braxton Brady and Lee Burns are available for speaking engagements. For more information, contact Ellen Lewis of The Barnabas Agency ( or 800-927-0517 x110).

Flight Plan: Your Mission to Become a Man by Lee Burns and Braxton Brady

PDS Publishing/November 2010/194 pages/ISBN 978-0-615-38061-2/$14.99 ~ Watch an interview with Braxton Brady at

Thank you to B & B Media Group for providing a copy of this book for review.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hero's Tribute

Hero's Tribute
Graham Garrison


This is one of the best books I have ever read.

Graham has taken a fresh approach to eulogies -- having a reporter who knows only the 'buzz' around the town hero dig into the past to present the true picture of his life. Who is a person really? No one is who he or she seems. We are each a hero or villain to different people in our lives, but no one can see all aspects of us except God. What drives us to do what we do?

This book is easy to read, the characters are designed so the reader cares about them, and the story line is provocative. But if you let this book touch your heart, it will have you looking differently at the people you meet, and yourself, for the rest of your life.

You can buy a copy of the book on Amazon (but hurry -- as of today there are only two copies left!)


Michael Gavin was a local hero, admired for his skill as a quarterback, his service in the military, and his work in the community. Stricken with cancer and on his death bed, Michael takes a leap of faith and entrusts his legacy to Wes Watkins, a reporter he’d never met, by asking him to deliver his eulogy.

Wes accepts this unconventional offer, hoping to at least get a good story out of the situation. A good story will draw the attention of big-city newspapers and get him out of his small-town sports beat. But as Wes digs deeper into Michael’s background, everything changes. Secrets come to light, and soon Wes sees the hometown hero as he really is. As Wes tries to find the words to describe Michael, he is also forced to examine his own life and decide what will define him.


Graham Garrison is the author of two published books – “Hero’s Tribute” and “Groomed: From Proposal To Vows, Wedding Planning And An Engagement From A Groom’s Point of View.” He is currently the managing editor for three magazines published by a healthcare communications company and is also a writer/editor for two other publications. He’s written for almost a half dozen newspapers and two dozen magazines, including America’s Civil War, Boating World, Georgia Physician and Repertoire.

Graham has lived in almost a dozen towns, five states (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Washington) and one army base (Fort Bragg, N.C.). He’s grown roots in Johns Creek, Ga., with his wife Katie, sons Nicholas and Nolan, and Baxter the Beagle. He and his family worship at Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church. He is a Florida Gator by birth, but a Georgia Bulldog by the grace of God.


What was your favorite book as a child?

As a kid I didn’t read all that much – was into sports and toys and comics. But I do remember getting into Indian in the Cupboard – reading all of those books in a pretty short period of time.

What values from your favorite childhood book do you see played out in your life today?

Well if anything it highlighted just how active of an imagination I have, and more importantly, to think of that as a strength and not a weakness. Indian in the Cupboard really preached empathy and understanding for others, considering their story, and hey – maybe that snuck into Hero’s Tribute!

Many people want to write a book. What drove you to go beyond that 'Gee, I think I could' stage and got you to the point of being a published author?

I had some advantages working for me. I got my start in newspapers, writing every day, and my full-time job now is editing for magazines. So I’m constantly writing/editing/reworking articles. Plus, it’s almost a sort of release to get the ideas down on paper, so they weren’t bugging me in the back of my mind.

Were there any surprises for you in the book writing/publishing process? If so, what were they?

Writing a book felt like building a house – then when you want to sell it, you have no idea if anyone would be interested. From start to finish it was a four-year journey. Patience was important. And after the book is published, it’s a whole new world of learning that you need to try and connect with potential readers, get your idea out there.

This book causes us to look beyond our impressions of others, good or bad, and try to understand a theme behind their actions. If someone were to write a eulogy of your life, what theme would he or she uncover?

I would hope it would be the ability to forgive, and understand my need for forgiveness. But that was something I wanted to address with the “stranger gives eulogy” twist – we can’t control what others think of us, so what would they see?

Last question -- maybe the toughest! What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Double Fudge Chocolate Brownie. And if there was a triple fudge, I’d probably like that a little bit more.

You can read more about Graham at his website.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Finding the Light of Jesus

Finding the Light of Jesus
Cindy Tuttle


This book is written in two parts. The first half consists of specific chapters that compare the world's culture to the light and love of Jesus, helping the reader focus on the eternal truth instead of the temporary situation. Chapters begin with a prayer or devotion and end with a tangible action that truly moves the reader from a place of stagnation to taking steps closer to the the love of Christ.

The second half of the book is full of prayers, poems, and devotions designed to focus the reader on the big picture of God's love, reminding him that God is indeed in control despite the way it might feel in the midst of stress or crisis.

This book would be helpful for anyone who feels overwhelmed by life!


Whether we deal with daily mild irritations like spilled milk, traffic jams, or extreme problems like the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss, each of these events -- as well as those that fall in between these opposite ends of the scale -- cause anxiety, worry, and even ill physical health.

Finding the Light of Jesus provides reflections and revelations which allow us to step back from our problems, reflect on what is most important in the present moment, and rely on spiritual healing - the Light - to experience inner peace and calm in the midst of trouble.

You can purchase this book on Amazon and at Crosslink International.

For more than twenty-five years, Cindy Tuttle has worked with adults having severe mental illness. She has served on the Mental Health Advisory Board and has twice been named as Advocate of the year in Mental Health for Sacramento County, California. She will coon appear in an HBO cable television documentary on mental health.

Cindy is an accomplished writer. Her work has been published in Eternal Inc., Keys of Living, and Whatever is Pure, Leaves, the Gem, Word A Flame, Christian Journal, Christian devotionals, Halo Magazine, Cola Bears and Sharing. Cindy's book Finding the LIght of Jesus will be released in November 2010 by CrossLink Publishing.

You can find out more about Cindy and her other publications at her website.