Tuesday, June 26, 2012

No Greater Love by Levi Benkert with Candy Chand

Have you ever been moved by a story or a ministry to the point where it crossed your mind to sell everything you own and move to a far-away land to help the poor, all in the name of Jesus? That is exactly what happened to Levi Benkert. When everything seemed to be falling apart in his life due to the real estate market collapse, God called him to something completely new. But this time he would not be building houses in American subdivisions, but building lives and families in the heart of Ethiopia.
A single phone call from a friend to help with a crisis involving a tribal custom of killing babies led to Levi, his wife Jessie and their children to sell all their possessions and move to Ethiopia to serve. In “No Greater Love: One Man’s Radical Journey Through the Heart of Ethiopia,” he recounts the countless ups and downs of adjusting to African life and the struggles with government and tribal customs and policies. Mixed into the heartache are the joys of God’s mercy and grace toward his people and His heart for orphans, widows and anyone who calls on His name for deliverance.
At certain points, this book was not an easy read because of its complete honesty in portraying mission work. This was the element I appreciated most because it didn't paint a rosy picture of life in Africa, a life that is hard in most every way. The book did, however, show that as lives are changed, the discomfort and inconvenience fade in importance. God is still good in the daily wrestling matches with Him.
No Greater Love will inspire you to consider more radical involvement in what God is doing to rescue orphans and to make His Name great among the nations.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in orphan care or simply wanting to be inspired by all God is doing in Africa.

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review by the Tyndale Blog Network.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Surfing for God by Michael John Cusick

I don't think anyone who has been breathing for the past 10 years would argue that the rampant presence of sexual imagery and sexual activity has grown to epidemic proportions.  Statistics show that internet pornography use is growing rapidly among men and women. Odds are that you are struggling with this ( or some other type of sexual temptation or sin) or somebody close to you has struggled, is struggling, or will struggle. Many of those currently struggling will never admit it to even the closest person to them because of the shame and stigma attached to it.

Individuals can recover from sexual addiction, regardless of how far the addiction has progressed.

Michael John Cusick, in his new book Surfing for God: Discovering the Divine Desire Beneath Sexual Struggle, believes recovery is possible as well. Drawing from 25 years of working with men struggling in this area, Cusick begins with the foundational truth that men struggling with sex addiction are not pursuing sex, but intimacy...intimacy that can only be found in God. He maps out the "Soul Snare Cycle" to help men identify their own cycle, he unveils shame ( the deadly fuel of sex addiction), explains how the brain is formed in addiction and how to change it back to a healthy place, and moves men to action in living in freedom as they travel down "The Soul Care Highway."

I have read several books on this topic as I have wrestled with my own struggles in this area. Surfing for God is by far been the most helpful for me in its practical approach and wisdom in communicating sometimes hard to understand ideas. I was pleased with the absence of a "Just Stop"philosophy that is often found in Christian circles. Cusick's words were full of grace and mercy in dealing with this, an approach that models the way I believe Jesus dealt with these issues. One aspect of this book that I think makes it exceptional in comparison to other books on sexual addiction is that the way in which he presents the truth can be applied to any habitual negative habit or sin (or sin in general). He focuses on heart transformation and all lasting change will start there.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants an understanding of sexual addiction, their own or someone else's. I also recommend anyone who has battled any sin for a long time and wants a new tool for the toolbox to read this (you will just have to substitute your sin wherever it is talking about sexual acting out or porn use). Whatever your sin, don't delay in dealing with it. I will end with a quote form the book:

"If we want to grow up and learn to live without the cancer that slowly devours our souls, we must go under the knife. The surgery in our souls can only be performed by the Great Physician. And like any reputable surgeon, Jesus will not operate without our consent."

Will you consent?

A copy of this book was provided to me free of charge  by the Booksneeze.com reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.