Reimagine Retirement, by C.J. Cagle is a great read. For those who are retired and those planning to retire, don’t miss this encouraging, yet informative resource.
Cagle focuses on the stewardship principle, but has the Gospel at the center. God created work and rest, not going on vacation all of the time, during retirement.
Work and Rest
Cagle includes helpful diagrams, such as the Work-Rest Cycle, to help illustrate his points. He even recommends other helpful resources by other authors, to help the reader further research this topic.
The book flows well, has good information, and is well-organized. Is a comfortable read, as Cagle says things in comforting ways.
About the Author
C. J. (CHRIS) CAGLE is a retired IT professional, having worked as a manager and architect/strategist for several large financial institutions for almost thirty years.
He holds a Master of Business Administration from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Chris serves as a deacon and leads the stewardship ministry at Crossway Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
When he’s not writing about stewardship or retirement or working in his church, he enjoys hiking and fishing.
Chris and his wife also enjoy hanging out with their two grown children and six grandchildren.
The Complicated Heart, by Sarah Mae, is a raw, well-written autobiography, describing her journey to forgiving her alcoholic mother.
In the prologue, the author does warn about the graphic content in the book and is not for children.
She recommends to self-examine yourself and your emotional health, to handle the triggers and weight of her testimony.
However, Mae’s book is well written, combining personal anecdote with her mother’s own writings, as well as Scripture and personal reflection.
Including her mother’s letters gives realism and personality to her mom, creating greater understanding of the relationship dynamic.
I liked how the author integrated her personal journey to salvation in Christ Jesus and God’s work in her life, along the way. Mae has a poetic way of description and is melodious to read. I recommend this raw, yet easy, intriguing read.
About the Author
Sarah Mae is in the ministry of spilling your guts. Through the “spilling” of her own honest and vulnerable stories, she’s learned that no story is too unsafe, no past is too awful, no heartache is too great that God’s grace can’t cover, recover, and heal.
She has a real tender spot for the brokenhearted, especially those with mother wounds, and her writing and speaking is always in service to those who need to know that dysfunction is not their legacy or identity, and healing, redemption, and joy is always on the table.
Sarah is the coauthor of the bestselling book, Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe, the founder of several events including the first national Christian women’s blogging conference, Allume (which was retired in 2015) and A Night to Breathe, an event for exhausted but vision-focused moms of little ones.
She has been featured on Focus on the Family radio, The Life Today Show with James Robison, and in Life Beautiful Magazine as one of 50 most inspiring Christian women of 2016.
Sarah makes her home in Lancaster county Pennsylvania with her woodworker husband and three spunky kiddos. Learn more and be encouraged in the tough stuff of life at sarahmae.com.
Epic Devotions by Aaron Armstrong, is a great kids devotional, in connection with The Gospel Project for Kids curriculum.
Each devotion includes a Bible passage to read, encouraging kids to read the Bible. Also included, are a quoted verse, the event description to establish context, foreshadowing to Christ’s coming and the Gospel, and a life application section.
I like that there’re several options for application: an explanation of relevance to the passage and reader, a step of action, a question to challenge the reader to share the gospel, and a memory verse.
The memory verse is most often from a different part of the Bible, encouraging cross-referencing and knowing God’s Word in its fullness.
“The Gospel Project”
This kids’ devotional has great illustrations, in connection with “The Gospel Project for Kids.” This way, kids can grow into the devotional, if they are already familiar with the curriculum and illustrations.
Each devotion is lively and biblically authentic, and includes more scriptural accounts than most devotionals for kids.
This book is the real deal!
About the Author
Aaron Armstrong is an author, blogger, and Brand Manager for The Gospel Project, based outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
He has written several books, including Epic: The Story that Changed the World as well as the screenplays for the documentaries Through The Eyes of Spurgeon, and LUTHER: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer.
He writes daily at BloggingTheologically.com, and his writing has appeared on numerous websites including The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, Crosswalk.com, and ChurchLeaders.com.
The Long Walk Home: Discovering the Fullness of Life in the love of the Father, by Matt Carter, was a refreshing new perspective of the biblical account, the prodigal son.
This analysis includes a good balance of biblical exegesis, anecdote, historical and cultural examples and weaves them together smoothly.
In addition to Carter’s touching personal testimony, woven with strong biblical teaching and application, the author mentions other well-known pastors and speakers, such as Dr. John Piper and Louie Giglio.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is struggling with their past, but desire a renewed future in Christ.
About the Author
Matt Carter serves as the Pastor of Preaching and Vision at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, which has grown from a core team of fifteen to more than eight-thousand attending each Sunday since he planted it in 2002.
Matt has co-authored multiple books including a commentary on the Gospel of John in The Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series and two group studies, Creation Unraveled and Creation Restored, which traced the gospel message through the book of Genesis.
He holds an M.Div. from Southwestern Seminary and a Doctorate in Expositional Preaching from Southeastern Seminary. He and his wife Jennifer have been married for more than twenty years, and they have three children, John Daniel, Annie, and Samuel.
The Society of Extraordinary Raccoon Society on Boasting, by Randall Goodgame, comes from one of my new favorite Christian, children’s books series!
The title may seem quite strange, but the more I read these books, the more I fall in love with the characters and the messages.
The illustrations are colorful, eye-catching, and detailed. The story is rhyme-based, making the words have a song-like rhythm.
I like how the author walks the reader through the process. For example, he walks the two raccoons through their struggle with boasting, to what they learn and how they apply it.
I would recommend this book to any family wanting to teach their kids key lessons like this one. I say Randall Goodgame is the new Christian Dr. Seuss.
About the Author
Randall Goodgame is a singer/songwriter and the creative force behind the family music brand Slugs & Bugs. He has recorded eight solo albums and contributed to numerous others. He has written songs for VeggieTales, Caedmon’s Call, Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, Jill Phillips, and Eric Peters. Randall and his family call Nashville home, but he also began touring in 2010 to bring Slugs & Bugs to families nationwide.
New Every Morning, by Phil Barfoot, is a 365 day devotional, specifically focused on the aspect of worship.
Each devotion is written by a different worship pastor, from across the country.
While the devotionals are insightful and very interesting to read, the font was so small, it hurt my eyes, and I had to stop reading it.
My recommendation to the publisher is to increase the font size, so people can enjoy this well written devotional.
About the Author
Dr. Phil Barfoot is an internationally known composer, author, and music ministry professional. He has written and created more than 40 major choral collections and musicals, including High Praises, which won a Dove Award for choral collection of the year.
He is also the author of The Ultimate Idea Book for Music Ministry, used by more than 7,000 churches and universities in the U. S. and Canada.
Phil has created and composed some of the best-selling choral music in Christian music.
He is currently the CEO and President of Celebration Concert Tours International, a Franklin, TN based choir company. He is also the CEO and President of CCT Music, a Christian Music Publishing Company. He and his wife, Sheri, have three grown children, Amy, Aaron and Adam. They reside in Franklin, TN.
The Insanity of Sacrifice, by Nik Ripken, was both challenging and inspiring.
This 90-day devotional is uniquely written by experienced missionaries with persecution and sacrificial experience.
I like how the author shares their journey to learn lessons of sacrifice and challenging the reader to consider the same principles.
The devotions are just the right length, begin with a scripture, and end with a prayer.
I would recommend this book to anyone desiring to grow in their walk with Christ seriously and earnestly.
About the Author
Nik Ripken is the world’s leading expert on the persecuted church in Muslim contexts. He is a missions veteran of 30 years, having served primarily in North Africa and the Middle East.
He is the author of The Insanity of God and the new book The Insanity of Obedience. He and his wife have done extensive research on the persecuted church, and on Muslim background believers, in approximately 72 countries.
Hooray! My first ever book release party is in the books!
First, I want to give a special thank you and shout out to Eric and Kristen Meeter, owners of Pressed Studio + Store in downtown Spencer. You both were an amazing couple to work with, and am so thankful for your wisdom, guidance, and hospitality.
Second, I want to thank Bri Schubert, owner of Bri Lifestyle Photography, for capturing the evening on film. Those pictures to come later, but so thankful for her willingness to be a part of the night.
Last but not least, I want to thank my friends and family, as well as everyone else who was in attendance. As the author, I was so blessed to see the faces of those who the book will be impacting and I pray it is a blessing to each and everyone who reads it.
As I reflect on the events of last night’s book release party, I find myself both joyous and thankful, as well as resistant and distant to God. Let me explain why.
The Due Date
As some of you know, yesterday was not only the book release party, but it was also my son’s due date, three years ago. Some asked if I did this on purpose, but I myself didn’t realize it until after the event had been scheduled.
When I realized the common date, I felt this sense of awe and deep sadness. What a better way to honor his memory, on his due date anniversary, than to share his story, our story, to those who need it most.
As a grieving mom, I am so thankful for the growth and healing that has taken place since then.
Vulnerable to Resentment
Yet, there is still part of me that is vulnerable, angry, and resentful. Just because I published a book about my experience, does not mean I stopped struggling with these feelings.
No matter how much I’ve already written about our miscarriage, it still stings. No matter how many times I’ve poured my heart and soul out, sharing with someone, there is still a somberness that remains. Can anybody relate?
Have in Common
As I was talking to several women and couples at the signing, I began to see a pattern among their experiences.
Not so Comforting Words
First, words from others can be more hurtful than helpful. If you haven’t been through it, don’t pretend to understand. Don’t try to fix it – because let’s face it, you’re not God – and you can’t.
Never assume it’s anyone’s fault but Satan, the deviser of evil, destruction, death, and despair. Who are you to know the true reason a baby dies? Who are you to yoke someone in despair, with an impossibly heavy burden?
From many women I’ve talked to, several have made comments about their husbands or significant other’s reaction to the miscarriage.
Sadly, many say their husband dismisses it and disregards the wife’s feelings about the loss of their child.
After talking to my husband on several occasions, I have some compassion for these dads. My husband explained he didn’t get a chance to bond with our son. As such, his grieving looked much different than mine, and lasted much less time.
However, I urge husbands to have compassion on your wives. Don’t push her away because you are afraid to be vulnerable with her, or to seem weak. She needs to see you are hurting, so she knows she isn’t alone. You are the father, you are the only one she can truly share this baby with, and the loss of them.
To be honest, I have struggled for weeks with anxiety and worrying about this release party. Not because of anything circumstantial, but simply because of my inner struggle.
Yesterday, I was finally about to put that to rest. Those who attending the party blessed me with their stories and support. I am truly thankful for the treasure God produced out of our tragedy.
*I dedicate the party and this post to our son. We love you Sweetheart!*