Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Review: Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down

I have known many people who struggled with the balance between social justice and theological understanding for the Christian life. There are churches and Christians that only focus on good deeds toward those in need and still others whose main focus is gaining intellectual knowledge of the Bible.

Tony Merida answers this dilemma in his book Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down. By using gospel-centered, sound doctrine, Merida motivates his readers to pursue "mercy ministry" as a way of life for every believer.

Merida argues that loving our neighbors like the "Good Samaritan" is not just for the "Super-Christians," but should be a regular part of every Christian's life. "Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality." (p. 52)

With a right and deep understanding of the gospel - our salvation, our adoption, and our advocate, Jesus - we should be motivated to follow our Savior's example of mercy ministry to love, show hospitality, and care for the orphans, widows and vulnerable people around us.

Merida does a wonderful job of making the truth of Scripture on this subject very practical with many options of involvement. He doesn't call everyone to adopt an orphan or volunteer at a shelter, but he does challenge every reader to prayerfully consider these and many other options of being involved in gospel-ministry by serving those in need.

It is easy, after reading a book like this, to want to be involved in everything to change the word. But as Merida suggests to his readers, I will prayerfully consider which specific mercy ministry I can focus on to incorporate in my daily life to love others like Christ has loved me.

P.S. Lifeway currently has this book on sale for $5
Buy Me Now

*Special thanks to B&H Publishing through Cross Focused Reviews for providing this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

#20minute Challenge

I always have high hopes when a new year rolls around. I like to pick a theme for each year to grow and mature in my walk with Christ. I like to set goals and resolutions to improve my quality of life. I want to share these things with you, knowing only by the grace of God and hopefully with the accountability of others, will I resolve to actually do these things! So I hope you will encourage me to not give up and keep going on these things and share what your goals are so I can encourage you!

2015 Theme: Kindness to Others Leaves Little Room for Selfishness
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God?      Micah 6:8 (ESV)

2015 Personal Goals & Resolutions:
1. More Healthy Eating (I would say lose weight, exercise more, cut out sugar - which are also in the plans, but let's be honest, my eating habits are really the most important point here.  I plan to post menus again - healthier ones.)

2. Declutter!! (This is always an on-going project - somehow we keep getting more stuff - but I plan to be more intentional about it - more on that later.)

3. Write Daily (If I really want a presence in the blog world and to be a published author - I have to make my writing a higher priority and not just when I find time to do it.)

4. Make time for Hobbies (One of my favorites is scrapbooking/card making - I have a corner full of supplies begging me to come play. I plan to share how I use my hobbies to bless others.)

5.  More Reading (Some may say it goes under hobbies, but for me, reading is it's own category. My reading list is forever long and those books are also calling my name. Besides, several books currently on my reading list help me learn to accomplish these other it's a win, win.)

6. Play with my Kids (When you're a homeschool mom and you are with your kids all day, everyday, it's easy to get wrapped up in the business of being teacher-mom and forgetting to just spend time listening and playing and going at their speed - we all need more playtime.)

How to I plan to accomplish these goals? I'm calling it T Time's  #20minute Challenge.

I will spend 20 minutes every day on each of these 6 goals - that's only 2 hours of my day - focused, purposeful, intentional - on accomplishing the things that always end up at the bottom of the to-do list labeled "When I have time".

What goals or plans do you have for 2015? Will you pledge to spend 20 minutes a day working on it with me? Share with me what your #20minute Challenge is and we can encourage one another!