“Finding Him”…One More Thing

One more thing about Rebekah Colley’s new book “Finding Him”. It’s truly great preparation for baptism for your 11-13 year olds. I’m not presumptuous enough to assume that you do not know when your girls are mature enough for that step that takes them from the world and into the kingdom of Christ. But, as someone who lived through that precarious time in my kids’ lives, I know we are thankful for every tool that helps us and, most of all, helps our children to know when obedience to the gospel is truly obedience, rather than the fulfillment of a parental expectation, a conformity to a group of peers or an emotional response that’s largely void of understanding.

This book is about the foundational appreciation for the sacrifice of our God and the building of a real relationship with Him that is the construct of true devotion that lasts a lifetime. It’s not too lofty for your 11-year-old, though.

Maybe best of all is the availability of a chatroom where girls can discuss any questions and concerns with the author. She is studied and, best of all, has the eternal interests of your daughters in her soul. She is unassuming and humble. She just wants girls to know, in her words, “what she wishes she had fully appreciated, at their ages.” Her degree is in Bible, but, more importantly, her heart is in that great Book and in its exposure to as many as will listen in her lifetime. I’m glad she is ours, but even if she wasn’t, I’d recommend this material. It can make a difference for good that the devil just cannot unravel.  I hope she’ll write the sequel soon. I think that’s the plan.

I hope there will be a small legion (at least) of girls who get the whole series in their teen years (as well as “GIFTS” and “Pure on Purpose” and “Seeking Spiritual Beauty” and “Everyday Princess”.) I think their families and congregations in the year 2030 will be stronger and better for it. It’s just a little part of a parental insurance plan for a future that doesn’t end. I know that’s forward thinking, but moms have to be about that!

I’m finding that the market is not saturated with truly good materials for teen girls and even less saturated with those materials for boys, though The Colley House is trying to remedy that.  I’m happy to see new and sound books for those who still have the important decisions, for the most part, in front of them. Let’s help them “find HIM”  before they go about finding that other “him”. 

This! Destined to be Dog-eared…

unnamed-7Allen Webster says More than 20 years in the making, (this book) seems destined for a rare shelf-life of a generation or more in church libraries across the brotherhood. More importantly, I foresee worn and marked copies on elders’ nightstands and in preachers’ studies. 

Each year at Polishing the Pulpit Glenn Colley’s real-life scenarios are the most popular elders’ classes. These give shepherds the opportunity to discuss difficult situations using “rubber bullets” instead of the “live rounds” they must use in making decisions back home.

This book gives God’s men the opportunity to prepare ahead of time for challenges and to find solutions when the heat is on. Churches across the land will find their elders making better decisions. I highly recommend Awake at Night.” 

Alan Highers says “This is a practical book. It has grown out of actual sessions with elders who share their problems and difficulties. There are suggested solutions and recommended procedures for dealing with a wide variety of real situations that elders encounter. This is a virtual ‘handbook’ for an eldership. I know of no other book like it. There are many worthwhile books discussing the qualifications and duties of elders, but there is little in print to help elders in handling sensitive issues that arise within a congregation. This book fulfills that need.”

But I say—“Just get it!” For many years I’ve been languishing about leadership; the famine we’re in for lack of elders who are willing to do the hard things that are required for leading the church through an era of cultural relativism and ignorance of the scriptures in the body, itself. I’ve been encouraging mothers to do all we can to bring up our boys to be elders; to put backbones in them for the battles that are inevitably facing our congregations in the twenty-first century church. We need to be raising our girls to be the helpers, encouragers and comforters of these up-and-coming men of God. We simply have to make it our aim…our project, if you will…to put the qualities in our children that will make them ready for some difficult engagements with the devil’s forces in the next generation, should our God choose to let our world continue.

This book is the most “real” thing I’ve seen for preparing church leaders. Over the years, my husband has collected real, but anonymous problems elders have faced in recent times, for the purpose of an elders’ workshop session he conducts annually at Polishing the Pulpit (http://polishingthepulpit.com). The scenarios chosen for the book are designed to prepare and challenge today’s Christian men to lead God’s people with wisdom and courage. They include situations involving divorce and remarriage, other moral issues, doctrinal questions and sin in the lives of elders, themselves. While this is not necessarily a “happy” book, it’s a book filled with hope. It’s a bold attempt to transform the problems elders face today into teaching tools for tomorrow’s leaders. The “solutions” given in the book are both scriptural and practical.

I know the editor of this volume is my husband, but I’m really not promoting him. I want this book to fall into the hands of current elders who need resolve to stand against sin and division. I hope it falls into the hands of others who are already determined. They’re praying and working and loving and leading their flocks and are worthy of double honor and our encouragement. I hope it falls into the hands of young fathers who are already planning and preparing to take the reins of leadership when their turns come, because great leaders don’t just “happen” when old leaders die. I hope it falls into the hands of your sons and mine as we work to develop leadership skills in them—skills that will bless the kingdom. 

One lady left Huntsville last weekend with enough copies on hand so that each of her elders could have one. Do you know elders who are struggling, young men who can be tomorrow’s leaders, men who could present this material to the men of your congregation? The governance of the church has been perfectly designed by God. It’s up to us, though—mere humans— to develop qualified men who are up to the challenge of this greatest office to which mortals attain. I believe when we give this book to our elders, fathers, preachers and sons, we give strength to our congregations.

You can order here: http://thecolleyhouse.org

Today! Women of Scandal

Cindy-Book-Mockup-Women-of-Scandal-Now-1040x400-1

Women of Scandal pre-release happens today. I don’t think it will be in the bookstores for a couple of days, but it is available today here: http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Women-of-Scandal/p/65464960/category=3290197

I never thought I’d write a book with the word “scandal” in the title. That seems rather…well, scandalous. But this is the fourth book in the Crown of Creation series. It’s a quartet (for now) of study books that finds practical applications for women of God today in the lives of Old Testament women. The series began with Eve and is chronologically working its way through the Word. But these women of First Samuel and Second Samuel took this writer by surprise. The first chapter of this new book is about a woman who went into labor and died in childbirth upon hearing that her blasphemous husband had been slain in battle. The next chapter is about a woman whose husband tried to kill their son. Next came a group of singing woman, whose lyrics were so incendiary that they incited jealousy in the palace, which ultimately led to attempted murder. Chapter four was about a father who offered the hand of his daughter in marriage as  part of a twisted plot to have a rival killed. This was followed by a woman who sneaked her husband out the window to save his life and then placed an image under the covers in her bed. In the same chapter, you’ll find a man walking and weeping for forty-five miles in pursuit of his wife who is leaving him for her first and long-lost love. Women of Scandal was a title that just floated to the top in some extremely polluted literary waters. 

It’s one of the great blessings of my life to get to write about the Bible. It helps me sharpen my focus on heaven. But I cannot ever really take myself very seriously as a writer. After all, I’m just making some simple comments about the Book of Books—the one written by the finger of God. The very subject matter of my books (not to mention my own inadequacies) makes those books pale in comparison. My prayer is that Scandal will be something from which women of God today can read and learn; not something in which we will be involved. Scandal, after all, is the opposite of His peace that surpasses our understanding (Philippians 4:7).  

The first three copies will be complimentary and will go to Scarlet Mobley, to the library of the Maple Hill Church, and to Susan Brehm. All of these ladies participated in the Digging Deep podcast earlier this week. So if the three of you will email me at byhcontest@gmail.com with your street addresses, your copies will be on their way!

May Women of Scandal be a small tool for His glory. May His people be tethered to His Will and scandal-free till He comes to claim His own. Blessings on your Bible study. It’s the most important reading of this lifetime!

 

Sister to Sister: Book Review

LYH-Book CoverLoving Your Husband, by Patsy Loden, Publishing Designs

I began this review about three years ago when my friend Patsy Loden honored me with a treasured gift: the very first gift copy of her then new “Loving Your Husband.” So why did it take me so long? Several reasons.

First, I wanted this book to make my great marriage even better, so I plunged in, not just as a reader, but as a note-taker, homework doer. That takes time and reflection. The book is full of practical lessons best extracted from completing the introspective lists and letters that Patsy assigns.

But still…three years? I must admit that I had to prepare several hundred combined blogs, classes, lessons, and books in that time period and I would often have to just lay the book aside for weeks or even months at the time. But that’s another thing I liked about “Loving Your Husband”. I could read and benefit from applying even a short portion of the book and then, upon picking it up again, just dig right in wherever I had taken leave, seamlessly continuing the read and the rewards.

I think I can assure your enjoyment of the book, but, if you’re like me, there are times when you will hate it. If you are shortchanging your marriage, seeking self rather than service, Patsy will make you hurt for time wasted and hurry to time redeemed. Sometimes the prodding will be uncomfortable, but she will give you confidence in your ability to make your husband better and better to you. In fact, if you complete the book’s challenges, you will be well on the way to a more fulfilling relationship before you even turn the last page.

There are also unexpected bonus sections about parenting and widowhood. Knowing the Lodens as I have and finding myself fearful of one day losing Glenn and facing uncertain days alone, I found great comfort in the closing chapter written after Brother Woody’s death. Patsy writes:

My dear Loden had been telling me for a year, “It won’t be long before I take my flight home.” We chose to live each day to the fullest, loving one another and taking our pleasure in being together, experiencing life, and dwelling on the positives. Loden prepared for his death. What a great help to know he left our business and his life in order! He had showed Woody and Mark how to locate important papers. Woody helped me get started with the paperwork of closing his life. I truly dislike having to deal with all those matters, but I’m determined to master them; the Father will give me strength for the day. Because Jesus is with me, I am not afraid, and I joyfully look forward to what He has in store for me.”

I hope, if I am the one left one day, I can face the days ahead with such confidence. Patsy is still facing days with the grace that has characterized her life.