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I have spent a lot of time reading in the month of May, because I can’t get enough of sitting in my backyard and soaking up the beautiful weather. Who doesn’t breathe a little easier when sunlight dances off the leaves of an old cottonwood tree above you?
With My Eyes Wide Open by Brian “Head” Welch
When I saw With My Eyes Wide Open I was curious to read it because I knew that Brian Welch, the guitar player for Korn, had become a Christian and quit the band, but recently I heard he had retuned to the band. I thought maybe he had fallen away from his faith or something, so I wanted to read the real story.
The book is written conversationally, and was a quick, easy read. It details the story of Welch finding his way as a new Christian and trying to rebuild his music career, as well as his struggles as a single father.
The real meat of the book is in the last 30 pages. I was blown away reading about his heart to reach the lost, and the truth he speaks about giving your life wholeheartedly to God. I closed the cover of this book with a new perspective. When I started reading I was a little, maybe a lot, judgmental. Here this guy with dreadlocks down to his waist that is more than open about his struggles is reaching hundreds of lost, searching should every night. I felt like I really got s glimpse of what evangelism is supposed to look like, and not the shiny package we have been sold.
One of my favorite passages from the book says,
God has to cut into our souls in order to correct what’s wrong in us. He cuts and cuts until all we bleed is the character and nature of his beloved son, Jesus. And man, does the cutting hurt.
Even if you aren’t a Korn fan, this book is an interesting look into the messed up life of a rockstar who happens to love Jesus.
Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan
I knew nothing about this book going in, other than the fact that a lot of my blogger friends were reading it. Once my copy arrived on my doorstep and I saw the tag line, I knew I was going to love it; “A hope-filled anthem for the woman who feels she is both too much and never enough.”
If you have ever felt like you didn’t fit in our measure up to expectations, or even other women in your church community, this book is for you. They tackle a LOT in this book, right from the beginning.
I see women believing and repeating the lie that motherhood is the highest calling for all women. Did you know that’s nowhere in the Bible? The only reference to a chief call on anyone’s life is found in Matthew 6:33: Seek first the Father’s kingdom and His righteousness. We watch as that lie discourages those who are unable to be mothers and immobilizes those who love their children and still feel called to serve in other contexts.
I don’t re-read very many books, but this is one that I couldn’t wait to start re-reading as soon as I finished because it breathed so much life into me. There is almost too much depth to even accurately summarize it, so I’ll just say that if you are a Christian woman who has ever felt frustration about the expectations placed on you, read this book.
Bearing Witness edited by Charles E. Moore and Timothy Keiderling
I read this book on a whim, just because I read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs many years ago, and it was truly life-changing for me. I believe this book is a collection of stories that are quite old, that have been put together and edited for a more modern presentation. I devoured this book in two days, and had some really strong feelings on it, both good and bad.
This book starts with the story of Stephen, the first martyr for the church, on up to present-day martyrs. It is divided into 4 sections -Early Christians, Radical Reformers, Early Modern Witnesses, and Recent Witnesses. Some of the stories were familiar, and some I had never heard.
What leads me to believe that this book contains some very old stories that have been retold is some of the language. In one story they refer to a person of mixed race as mulatto, which is pretty offensive. Also, I didn’t realize that the book is written and published from by Anabaptists, which encompasses Mennonites, Hutterites, the Amish, etc. They are pacifists, so many of the stories are told from a very anti-military perspective. I don’t mean to cast a negative light, but these are things I wish I had known before I picked the book up.
Now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you that this book convicted me in a serious way. We would all like to think that if it came down to it we would die in the name of Jesus Christ, but not only did some of these martyrs suffer unspeakably, they stood up and volunteered themselves. The things that people call persecution in this day and age … we are so comfortable and spoiled.
Its hard to say I had FAVORITE stories, because let’s face it, these stories are gruesome, but a few that really touched me were the stories of Perpetua, William Tyndall, and Dirk Willems.
You can pick up a copy of Bearing Witness here, or enter to win a copy in the widget below!
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