For the Love

forthelove

Jen Hatmaker is the author of Interrupted and Seven, and for those who follow her work, you’ll be excited to read her newest release For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. I do have a copy to giveaway too!

I’ve been so excited to be on her launch team for this release, and you will love it.JenHatmaker4

I really, really love her kitchen too.

You can read all about the book on the For the Love website and watch the book trailer.

 

For all who have ever felt like not enough…

Jen pours out grace and offers encouragement. For the Love is an invitation to let go of our complicated striving, and instead find meaning in loving well.

She encourages us to take ‘off the beam’ anything piled there out of guilt or unreasonable expectations. Freedom.

Her best advice is for her kids- but I love it.

SWINGS

Yes. I really think its that simple too.

“The breadth of God’s family is mercifully wide.”

So let’s be good to each other, and also good to ourselves.

 

You will laugh because she talks about turning forty, leggings as pants- (a no), her spicy family, difficult people, surviving school in a Pinterest age, her no drama forcefield. One of my favorite chapters is- Dear Christians, Please Stop Being Crappy. She’s funny that way.

A series of chapters sprinkled through the book are sarcastic thank-you notes on such topics as instagram filters, the school pick-up line, Target, sick husbands, skinny jeans, and Taco Bell. (Those should not have been referenced together- skinny jeans and Taco Bell.)

 

I love the beam analogy in the book.

What needs to come off your beam this season? (Me- thinking the food things I have to bring for events needs to be homemade. I’m a horrible cook/baker. I’m going to the store from now on. Off the beam- freedom.)

Comment here and be entered to win a copy of the book.

 

100 Under $100

100 Under $100

As a member of Mom Bloggers for Social good and the Global Team of 200, I had the opportunity to review an advanced copy of 100 Under $100. Betsy Teutsch compiles a wonderful guide to one hundred tools for empowering global women.

I absolutely loved reading about the cutting edge solutions happening around the world that contribute to alleviating poverty from maternal health to finance to global health. Within each tool she includes ways to deepen our education and ways we can contribute to the work of the organizations that bring these tools to life. I loved seeing them in action through the photographs as well.

After reading the guide, I felt great hope. People all around the globe are combining talent with compassion to make the world a better place.

That is hope. That is proximity.

 

The book releases March 6, in the meantime check out the 100 Under $100 websiteblog, Pinterest boards, twitter, and facebook page.

I made a twitter list with all the organizations featured in the book.

 

I can’t wait to continue sharing the work of these organizations and how we can help.

I mean keyhole gardens, kangaroo care, solar ear, eco-briquettes, bottle bricks, microloans, infant warmers, and school lunch. There is so much to be excited about.

Betsy dedicates the book to all who engage in Tikkun Olam- Repairing the World.

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That is all of you!

Thank you for your compassion and willingness to place yourself in proximity to need.

 

 

When More is Not Enough

amy cover

When More is Not Enough! This is Amy’s big day!

Have you ever dreamed of giving your gifts away. If I ever make enough money, I’d love to… well Amy didn’t wait. ALL proceeds of her book are going to Transformation Village, a housing ministry for women and children founded by Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries. That extravagant generosity is Amy, and you will love her book.

 

She empowers us all to be givers and to raise givers with her smart, compassionate and funny voice. She gives birth on the side of the road, converses with imaginary critics and struggles through her daughters first years on permanent oxygen. Her journey to generosity is transparent, honest and down-to-earth.

God wanted more. He expected it. God desired to take what we saw as ours and turn it into his.”

ReleasePic1Generosity (1)

Amy encourages us to leave behind the term youth entitlement. She offers practical ideas for our world, our community and in our home. I especially love the dinner table dialogue sections.

She also goes beyond the most often shared service ideas and challenges our hearts to serve through forgiveness, prayer and rest. What a beautiful invitation, that in order to serve we must rest. We must pray. And we must be ready to offer forgiveness. Providing rest, service and prayer for others is also an act of service.

 

This kind of heart shaping, deeply loving, extravagantly generous service shapes a beautiful life. We know this from the voice and life of Amy.

 

I’ll be giving away TWO copies of the book!

Just comment below to be entered. What is your biggest giving dream? What is your families best giving ideas?

Lets give Amy lots of proximity love! You can share her book, follow her journey on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and subscribe to her blog by email! We love you Amy and so beyond proud of you and difference your book will make!

AmySullivan

A book list from Australia!

diane

Our “bestie” from Australia Diane Harvey compiled her top ten reading list for us! She wrote me a hand-written book review once, that completely floored me. Not only is she intelligent, but spot-on in her generous faith. She will be traveling to Cambodia with her church group in the next month, and promised to write all about it for us upon her return.

1) The Bible. I use the NIV version the most. You could call it my heart language. Whenever I hear different versions I am comparing it to the version that I know in my heart. There is so much that I love about it. I love all the golden threads linking this with that, sharpening and developing our understanding of things. I love how even though it is made up of different books, it is an integrated whole telling of how God loves and rules the world. I love that people can be saved by God through Jesus, and that this is not earned. It is a gift. I love that God is restoring all things and we have a glorious future hope in him with nothing broken – everything fixed forever –  thanks to the work of Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection to life!

2) Seven by Jen Hatmaker. I love the way she calls out to us in the Decadent First World to get a grip of ourselves, reign in our over-consumption, and look out for people other than ourselves. I cheered heartily at her message.

3) Jesus and Muhammad by Mark A. Gabriel. This book was written by a man who was brought up a Muslim and trained in the Islamic faith. The beginning of the book is the first part of his biography, the end is the later part of his biography, and the middle is a side-by-side comparison between Jesus and Muhammad. It was fascinating and well worth a read.

4) Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. This is a fictitious tale inspired by the story of Hosea, which is itself an illustration of God’s loving-kindness despite the unfaithfulness of his people.

5) Hearing Her Voice: A Case for Women Giving Sermons by John Dickson.  Dickson is really clear and focused on his task to understand, “What does the word ‘teach’ refer to when it says in Timothy, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.” The topic is controversial, his conclusions are unpopular in his circle but his research is skilful and convincing. If you read any books by John Dickson I guarantee you will not be wasting your time.

6) Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just by Timothy Keller. The title says it all.

7) The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. This book has injustice as one of its main themes and follows the hero PK who encounters racial injustice as a child and who fights against it as he grows.

8) Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley. Who knew cleaning the kitchen sink was so important? Cilley tries to encourage you to get good habits to clean your house and I appreciate that about her. I am, however, still a work in progress!

9) The Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis. I know this is a series and I’m cheating but they were a childhood favourite and an encouragement to me still.

10) The No.1. Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Another series and I’m cheating again but, delightful!

Special mention and not on my official list because I haven’t read it yet but I keep meaning to:

A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and his Prayers by D.A. Carson.

dianepicWhich of Diane’s picks have you read? What are your favorites? We love suggestions! 

Overrated

BookCover-3D

 

I admit to being more in love with the idea of changing the world… than actually changing the world.

 

Eugene Cho’s debut book reads as a millennial gut check.

 

Eugene Cho is the pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, a prolific writer, an advocate of justice and the founder of One Day’s Wages (a grassroots movement to end extreme poverty.)

 

Do we love compassion and justice… until there’s a personal cost?

Eugene and his family understand personal cost. In finishing their commitment to donate ONE YEAR of wages to One’s Days Wages, his family rented their home out for 2 months, each family member taking one bag to live in a single room of a friends house.

And in wanting to change the world, I confess to neglecting a posture of humility in which I must be aware that I, too, must change.

 

He is refreshingly honest about his own personal story, including his love for cars like his ‘Blue Thunder.’ Leaders who are transparent, give their messages authenticity. Eugene came to America a part of an immigrant family, beginning work in the family grocery store at age six, and one point living in an upstairs room. When beginning Quest Church he spent a year as a janitor in a Barnes and Noble.

Perhaps, those moments of humility taught him the beautiful lessons he shares in the book. This sentence emerged for me:

In an age of excessive self-broacasting, the discipline of self examination and introspection are the keys to wisdom and balance.

 

I think coming from a posture of learning from others is not easy.

As Eugene outlines in his book, the world is not changed by our efforts, but by our willingness to change too.

 

We serve because we need change as much or more… hard to admit, yes.

Being selfless is really hard, we want to cling to our stuff and our time… hard admit, yes.

We sometimes don’t know our ‘helping’ hurts… hard admit, yes.

We are not hero’s. We’re actually doing exactly what we are called to do… harsh, yes.

 

Eugene shares his favorite One Day’s Wages story, a teenager who donated $73 dollars, a day of work at Subway.

I think it’s pretty much that simple. Hashtag #justdoit #getoveryourself #loveselflessly

tolstoy

And also LOVE. As a nineteen year old college student on a mission trip to New York City, I gave my McDonald’s cheeseburger to a homeless man. He looked up at me with a smile void of teeth and politely explained that he only ate tuna out of can, having no teeth and all. He patted my arm kindly and thanked me for caring.

We share grace as we learn. Then our making a difference is not overrated, but perfect.

 

I’ll be giving away a copy of the book later in September on the About Proximity Facebook Page. What are your thoughts on Eugene’s message? 

 

 

 

 

the sticky faith guide for your family

Sticky Faith

Dr. Kara E. Powell is the executive director of Fuller Youth Institute. Her research and work in the field of youth ministry has shaped culture and the church. Her newest book, The Sticky Faith Guide for your Family, addresses the problem of young adults leaving the church in their twenties.

Nearly half of all young people raised in Christian families walk away from faith when they graduate from high school

 

The study Sticky Faith was born out of seven years of research with 500 young people, 150 churches, and 50 families. What comes out of the study is over hundred practical ideas from parents to parents to help build a faith that sticks in our families. Watch the book trailer here. Hundreds of great articles by Kara are archived here. 

I love the practical nature of this book. It’s FULL of ideas. You know the books full of ideas you have heard before a hundred times, this book is FULL of great, fresh ideas. There are applicable ideas for every family.

My favorites take aways:

1. A great reminder to me was the chapter about the power of handling mistakes. It is powerful when parents admit their own mistakes, which are inevitable in the parenting journey. Being honest, helps our kids understand forgiveness, and that perfection is not attainable.

2. Doubt is most toxic when its not expressed. Talk, talk, talk. Encourage questions.

3. I think you have laugh sometimes read this quote:

One night at dinner, I decided to talk to my kids about unconditional love. I asked them, “Who in this family has expressed unconditional love to you?” All three answered in unison, “the dog.”

 

4. Their findings revealed young people want deep conversation and opportunities to serve. After years in youth ministry, I think this is absolutely true. Young people never failed to meet high expectations when walked alongside of in love.

 

So, hope. This book is hope, and a gentle wake-up call that what we are doing now matters, maybe more than we realize. I know I need to pray more often for a sticky faith for my kids.

(leave a comment and win a copy of the book!)

What do you think the key to sticky faith is? Have you experienced the longing to leave the church? 

(I have to admit, when fighting and meanness rears, I sometimes want to flee.)

 

 

Hope Rising

hoperising

Hope Rising by Scott C. Todd of Compassion International encourages readers that it is possible to end extreme poverty in this generation.

Todd draws from his experience as the Senior Vice President of Global Advocacy for Compassion International. He focuses on Isaiah 58 as a true example of fasting and a call to a personal commitment on behalf of the poor and oppressed. He also draws back to a young AIDS victim in Africa, a life lost that deeply touched him in his work.

When he gives us the capacity to discover, to innovate, and to create, He intended for us to use these gift for good

 

We can turn the tide with faith-based organizations, cause marketing (such as Toms one-for-one model), fair trade, and the generous giving of our resources.

In Hope Rising, we are encouraged to snap out of our self-satisfying world.

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With every Christian who responds to that call with each one who rises out of spiritual grogginess and to new expectations, God’s work gathers momentum.

 

I appreciate this book because of its honest call to not live by small expectations.

What kind of history do we long to write? I dream of one where Christians are the leaders in being extravagantly generous with what God has given us. I think this is a hope we can all gather around. This is the dream Hope Rising conveys and it is a meaningful message.

 

Comment to be entered to win a copy of the book! 

What do you find yourself having small expectations about? How can you allow God to let your hope for this to rise? What can you do to DECLARE that hope? 

(Opinions are my own, I was given a copy to give away and review through Book Look Bloggers.)

The Butterfly and the Violin

Butterfly

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron 

Kristy Cambron’s debut novel is stunning.

I have been captivated by the cover since I first saw it, especially because it is set during World War II.

The stories of contemporary Manhattan art dealer Sera James and World War II era Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron intertwine in this novel. Sera uncovers a painting of a mysterious young woman (Adele) and seeks to uncover her story.

Adele’s story, while heartbreaking, stands out among the fiction I have read. A talented violinist and daughter of a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele acts on what she knows to be right and true, to help smuggle a Jewish family out of Vienna. That act leads to her imprisonment in the dark camp of Auschwitz, as a member of the Women’s Orchestra. I had no idea their was truly an orchestra to entertain Nazi leadership, and to escort prisoners to their death.

 

I love the depth of faith in the story, Adele is a life changed by acting on her belief of justice. Here we are challenged to wonder if we would have such unwavering courage. Those in the concentration camps, in the midst of horror, still sought to create by writing, painting, and playing instruments. I find encouragement that in the face of adversity, our God-given gifts cannot be suppressed.

God was there, in the hearts of the lost, in the lives of the men and women and children who had lived for a new beginning.

 

And just like that there is hope, even when the world goes dark, there is always light.

 

Where have you seen hope in what seemed hopeless? What gifts has God given you to use?  

Comment and win a copy of this book! 

(Opinions are my own, I was given a copy of the book to review and giveaway through Litfuse Publicity.)

Barna Frames

sacred roots

Barna Frames is a hot off the press 2014 series from the Barna Group.

Check out all 10 of their topics here. 

 

#barnaframes was another popular vote contest I didn’t win. Being the nice Christian girl I am, I was angry and thought, no I will not review your book. *Just kidding. Well, I did think it. Then I realized how interesting every topic was. Don’t you hate that, taking the higher road?

 

I received Sacred Roots and loved it. I’m pretty sure all of them are equally wonderful. They would make a really great small group study, because the topics are so fresh. Why else did I like it?

1. They are SHORT. I’m talking a super fast read.

2. Barna offers these great infographics and statistics that explains everything simply in a picture.

3. The topic Why Church Still Matters.

 

There are Sunday morning when I sit in the pew, and know all the fighting and judgement that goes on and just really wonder though. Maybe you do to. Well, it still matters. A LOT.

It really is up to us to make it a place where people want to be again, because of our unconditional love.

Not because of our bigness, or perfectness, or wow programs.

 

Jon Tyson, “Look, look at how they love each other.”

The sacred roots of the early church; communal love, self-giving, and service.

 

Talk to me about church… why does it matter to you? Or why doesn’t it matter to you? What is your church doing right? How do we make the love stand out? Or check out the other titles what frame would you choose to read first? 

PS: I will draw from comments for someone to win the book!

 

 

 

I Like

IlikegivingI Like Giving offers practical ideas and inspiring stories for living a generous life.

This book is all about proximity. How you can make a difference and how making a difference can change you profoundly.

I very much love the stories shared in this book. Real people giving generously.

And often those generous moments, multiply beyond what we could know.

 

Every time we give, a story begins, and the rippling effects of one simple act are immeasurable.

 

A more generous world… that is hope. This book exemplifies that in every way.

 

Brad Formsma, author of the book, is also the creator of ilikegiving.com

You will also like the story that inspired it all “I like bike,” involving refugees and bicycles.

Check out their amazing films. Read more stories.

Get involved in generous workplace, non-profit, and classroom generosity.

 

Leave a comment and be entered to win the book!

What do you like? I like listening. It’s a gift I can give.