Pastor's picks

Social. Why our brains are wired to connect.


"Our sensitivity to social rejection is so central to our well-being that our brains treat it like a painful event, whether the instance of social rejection matters or not." p. 67

"... a variety of motifvational mechanisms predispose us to respond positively to signs that we are accepted by the group (connecting), and it also means that we are motivated to work hard for groups we identify with (harmonizing)." p. 259

I have had a particular interest in memory, psychology and social sciences for quite some time.  I was absolutely intrigued when I read this book title by Dr. Matthew Lieberman.  This book is very readable and insightful on many levels.  It is not written from a "Christian" perspective, however, the observations the author makes will more than resonate with what we learn and read in Scripture.  You can find this book in SEMC's library in the "Pastors Picks" section, or ask one of our helpful librarians.  Enjoy!

Matthew D. Lieberman was trained at Harvard University and is a professor in the Departments of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles.


the organic God

"Natural.  Pure.  Essential.

Imagine what it would look like to have an organic relationship with God - one that is stripped of all pollutants and additives of this world.  The Organic God removes the unhealthy fillers and purifies our relationship with the God of the Scriptures.

Through personal stories and biblical insights, Margaret Feinberg shares glimpses of God's character - bighearted, kind, beautiful, mysterious - that point you to an authentic and naturally spiritual relationship with Him, allowing you to truly discover God in a healthy, refreshing new way so that you can't help but fall in love all over again."

Over for the past few months, I've been part of a small group of moms trying to carve out even a tiny piece of time each week to read, explore the character of God together, and encourage one another.  We don't always have much time, we often have little ones playing at our feet while we talk, but this has been a fantastic book to study in exactly that setting. 

Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of God's personality, and is followed by a set of "Rainy-Day Reflection" questions for discussion, and scripture passages to guide you in digging even deeper.  We found the questions to be great starting points for conversation on who God really is, and how He is working in each of us on a daily basis.

The author even provides a very eclectic "soundtrack" of music - suggested songs that might fit with each chapter.  An eclectic playlist it is - a bit of Chris Tomlin, a bit of U2, a bit of James Taylor... something for everyone.

The Organic God reads like a letter from a friend, and is a great book to read and work through together with a friend or two, as you allow God to reveal Himself to you in a fresh, new way.

Shannon S.

The Ishbane Conspiracy

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

Jillian is picture-perfect on the outside, but terrified of getting hurt on the inside.  Brittany is a tough girl who trusts almost no one.  Ian is a successful athlete who dabbles in the occult.  And Rob is a former gang-member who struggles with guilt, pain, and a newfound faith in God.  These four college students will face the ultimate battle between good and evil in a single year.  As spiritual warfare rages around them, a dramatic demonic correspondence takes place.  Readers can eavesdrop on the enemy, and learn to stave off their own defeat, by reading The Ishbane Conspiracy.

This book reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape letters as each chapter concludes with correspondence between two demons as they attempt to do whatever they can to bring these four young people down.  This book provides an interesting “behind the scenes” insight at the subtle and overt ways the enemy is working against us.  Due to the mature themes that run through the book I would recommend this book to older teenagers as well as parents and young adults. 


Review by: Pastor Jason


We all have questions about what Heaven will be like, and after twenty-five years of extensive research, Dr. Randy Alcorn provides some answers.

In the most comprehensive and definitive book on Heaven to date, Randy invites you to picture Heaven the way Scripture describes it - a bright, vibrant and physical New Earth.  Free from sin, suffering and death and brimming with Christ's presence, wondrous natural beauty, and the richness of human culture as God intended it.

This is a book about real people with real bodies enjoying close relationships with God and each other, eating, drinking, working, playing, traveling, worshiping, and discovering on a New EarthEarth as God created it.  Earth as He intended it to be.

I recommend this book for all who have a desire to broaden their thinking about what Heaven is going to be like.  

Pastor Rick