Pastor's picks

Keeping in Step with the God of Peace (book by Arden Thiessen)

Non-violence?!? Pacifism?!? Give me a break. Don’t tell me we should not fight or there is no room for violence, when there is so much of it in the Bible. What about all those wars? Didn’t God even direct people to kill others? So how in the world is it possible today to hold to a view Christians should live a life of peace?

If any of these questions are on your mind – or you have others like them, you need to read this book. Look, you do not have to agree with everything you read, but that should not stop you from checking this out – the timing could not be more poignant.

Life of Peace is one of the distinct beliefs we have here at SEMC. But, it is a difficult one for many to grasp, especially when a person reads the Bible from cover to cover. Dr. Arden Thiessen enters into this discussion and seeks to openly and honestly look at the difficult issues associated with this particular statement of faith. He writes in conversational language – making this discussion accessible to everyone.

I encourage you to pick up a copy at the Connect Center today. And, when you have read it, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Pastor G.

Fireproof (movie)

In the movie Fireproof, Captain Caleb Holt lives by the old firefighter's adage: Never leave your partner behind. Inside the burning buildings, it's his natural instinct. In the cooling embers of his marriage, it's another story. Yet, as he and his wife Catherine prepare to enter divorce proceedings, Caleb's dad asks his son to try an experiment: The Love Dare. But can Caleb attempt to love his wife while avoiding God's love for him?

You'll relate and be inspired as Caleb and Catherine work through all-too-common struggles on their way to a marriage that can last a lifetime!

Review by Pastor Rick.

Messy Spirituality (book by Michael Yaconelli)

Jesus has always enjoyed the company of lepers and sinners. This book is specifically written to those Christians with problems, who struggle and sometimes do things they regret. Messy Spirituality is a book about God's grace, His forgiveness, and accepting God's forgiveness.

One time while Jesus was having dinner with a bunch of tax collectors some Pharisees asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'? When Jesus heard this he said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick… For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matthew 9:10-13).

In his book, Yaconelli talks about how Jesus is looking for imperfect people who long to let God turn their messes into masterpieces. God does not shun your "messes." They are opportunities where God meets you, opens your eyes to His love and transforms you with His grace.

Review by Pastor Jason.

The Blessing (book by Gary Smalley & John Trent)

I was introduced to 'The Blessing' in my first year of Seminary back in '87 - the book was required reading for a counseling course that I was taking. You would be correct in assuming that most required reading in Seminary was not usually 'easy' or always 'enjoyable' but here was a book that was both easy and enjoyable to read!

I have used the book and study guide as a Small Group study on several occasions – with very positive results! Over the years, I have also recommended 'The Blessing' to individuals in need of Biblical peace and healing in their hearts – in fact I have borrowed out my copy so many times that I have lost track of who now has it! Needless to say, I was very pleased to find a well-used edition in the SEMC library and would encourage those of you who have not yet read 'The Blessing' to avail yourself of the opportunity to do so!

Smalley & Trent outline a "simple, logical process, one that touches both the inner spirit and the physical body, one that teaches in a step-by-step manner how to be a blessing and how to pass that life changing blessing on to your parents, spouse, children and friends". I believe that the Biblical principles found in 'The Blessing' offers every believer the opportunity to develop a simple set of skills that can be easily mastered and effectively used by the Holy Spirit to profoundly impact hurting people! So, whether you have read the book years ago, or never before – take time to read it again, or read it for the first time, and discover how the Lord can bless you to be a rich blessing!

Review by Pastor Rick.