Book Review: Whisper by Mark Patterson
I've been thinking a bit about hearing from God. The idea was on various twitter and Facebook pages because of some negative remarks on the tv show The View about Vice President Pence perhaps being crazy because he "hears Jesus speak". Apologies were given and the VP didn't seem to mind. But it got me thinking people outside the faith community clearly have questions about what believers mean when they say they hear from God.
Frankly - people inside church have questions too. I've talked to confused kids and concerned adults who were worried their faith was suspect because they didn't have audible conversations with the Almighty. Conversations usually include talking about how God speaks when you read the Bible, when you pay attention to your conscience, when circumstances bend together in serendipitous ways. And sometimes there are miraculous stories where God did in fact make it clear through sound or situation what He was trying to communicate.
From now on, when I talk to someone who is wondering about listening for the action of God I'm going to encourage them to read Mark Batterson's new book Whisper. Batterson's book works through the seven ways God speaks and left me encouraged. One of Batterson's contentions is that our society is too busy, too loud, too distracted and this is why people can't seem to hear the voice of God. His advice to take a break, shut everything off and be quiet enough to listen is refreshing. Whisper contains practical steps to take to settle your soul and stories of people who have found God's voice to be the very thing which filled up the silence.
Bottom line? You want to hear God? Shut up long enough to let Him speak.
Francine Rivers has again written a book I couldn’t put down. My family was thrilled when I finished and emerged from my book coma. The Masterpiece is a deep story of brokenness and redemption, of joy and laughter and of the great glorious grace of Jesus. River’s characters display believable reactions to crisis and I cheered for their breakthroughs. If you are looking for a weekend read to encourage your faith pick up a copy.
Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review.
New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.
A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want—money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist—an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.
Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship—and both their lives—forever.
Click on the Amazon link to purchase the book. I've also included a link to an interview with the author.
Michele Phoenix has written a compelling, gentle and persuasive novel. The Space Between Words explores the beautiful glory of life against the confusing horror of terror. It asks the oft repeated question about how a good God can allow tragedy and evil. The setting in France, the believable nuanced characters and the apt dialogue blend with a history lesson in the French Huguenot martyrs to create a story I couldn't put down. If you have lingering questions about the redemptive power of healing and God's ability to work all things together for good this is the book to add to your library. I'd like to take the author out for coffee.
Most self improvement books preach a similar them "More More More". How to do more, earn more, pack more in. This book was a refreshing change. It's a practical book, full of tips to help you figure out what's most important in your life and how to thin out the excess. It made a difference in my life. Overwhelmed? Try this book and get more done. Just kidding. Less is more.
What makes you feel most overwhelmed? What helps?
Brilliant. Obviously, it won a Pulitzer. But its not high brow in the way you tilt your head and wonder why it won an award. This book is lovely. It's sit and ponder, soak into your soul, write the words on your heart kind of lovely.
"Love is holy because it is like grace 0 the worthiness of its object is never really what matters".
Have you read it? What's your favorite quotation?
Gah! Christmas can be a stressful, breathless, list driven and exhausting time. Or. You can purposefully slow down, reflect and embrace the joy.
Louise Richards’ book A Christmas Story A Day is a thoughtful tool to choose joy this season. This clever book provides a story a day to read through each day in December. It’s a fiction lovers advent!
I was drawn in to this treasure trove of believable characters and stories. Each story calls the reader to ponder the meaning of Christmas. Available on amazon for Kindle or print copy this is a fun way to slow down this Christmas season.
The best part is I have a copy to give away! And the winner is Reta H. You win!
One of my favorite parts of our whirlwind trip to Nashville was meeting so many talented authors. Jolina Petersheim was a lovely, kind and gentle soul. I was so impressed with her warm smile and matching spirit. Read below for our interview and pick up a of one of her books today.
I loved the concept you used to intersect two major genres; namely the Amish/Mennonite fiction with Dystopian literature. Do you plan on a sequel or more mashups?
Unless I see some writing in the sky, The Divide is the conclusion to The Alliance series. I know it doesn’t provide all the answers, and yet I wanted my main characters, Moses and Leora, to find peace even though their future remained uncertain. Peace despite uncertainty is something I’ve personally had to learn. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, all our lives remain uncertain. But trust in our Creator and loving each other deeply—perhaps at an even deeper level because of that uncertainty—is a beautiful way to pass our days.
As for more mashups: I’ve been toying around with a new idea for a couple of years, but it’s a little over my head, so I’m giving it time to ruminate. 😊
Your major character faced a crisis of faith. I don’t want to give away the ending – but has your personal faith been through anything similar?
God has a way of deepening our faith through trails. In December 2014, my husband had emergency brain surgery for a rare, benign brain tumor. We were living in Wisconsin at the time—on a grid-tie solar-powered farm with a woodstove as our main heat source. We had a two-and-a-half-year-old and a four-month-old. Looking back, I’m honestly kind of floored that we made it, but we had friends and family who helped lessen our burdens by babysitting, bringing loads of firewood and food. I was in the middle of editing The Alliance, and Tyndale (my publisher) gave me time to allow our family to heal. Going through that crisis made me really question God’s plan for our lives. So much of my security—my stability—was stripped away. My husband is such a dependable, larger-than-life individual, and I hadn’t realized how much I relied on his strength until I suddenly became the one he had to rely on. One night—the most pivotal of my spiritual walk thus far—I stared out at the snowy darkness after everyone else had gone to bed. I looked out the window, like I was staring into the face of God, and I said, “You must meet us here; You must meet us here.” It was both plea and command. He did. He met us there. Despite having sick babies, and a sick husband, we all slept through the night for the first time since the surgery, and it was what we needed to get back on our feet.
In July of this year, an MRI showed some residual tumor in my husband’s brain. And yet, because I’ve experienced God’s faithfulness, I continue clinging to Him—beseeching Him like I had that winter night in our farmhouse: “You must meet us here; You must meet us here.”
And the beauty lies in the fact that I know He will.
Where does grace fit in your fiction – and your real life?
My characters are such broken people—Rachel, Tobias; Beth, Rhoda; Leora, Moses—because I believe that we’re all broken in one way or another since we live in a world rife with the fallibility of man. I love to take my characters on a journey (or sometimes they take me), and the grace lies in the fact that they usually find healing for their brokenness by The End. God is faithful to take me on a journey along with my characters. Each story I write explores a certain facet of my own grace-filled, stumbling walk.
Another area I’ve found grace is in motherhood. I’ve only been a mother for six years, and yet I am fiercely in love with this calling, which I believe is one of the greatest of my life. Three precious souls that I get to lead closer to God as they witness my own walk! It’s an incredibly humbling and challenging experience.
John Piper is the sort of man equally comfortable in the middle of a graduate theology debate or a giggle group of preschoolers. His approach to faith is thoughtful, inspiring and memorable. Never boring. I've read lots of Piper and I think of him often. If you are ready to take your faith more seriously and still keep laughing this is the book for you.
Have you read other Piper works? Which ones?
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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