The Roar of Africa

Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton grew up on the African savanna as a member of the Maasai tribe.  He and his brothers were responsible for tending the cows during their daily grazing.  His family was nomadic and so the trek that Joseph and his brothers embarked on for the daily grazing included being alert to the dangers of African wildlife including lions.  Joseph, like most young boys, likes to play with his friends instead of indulging in the tedious alertness that is required of his duties.  He also dreams of a different life.

Joseph is given that chance when his older brother does not want to attend the compulsory school required for one son of each family in the tribe.  He begins a journey that ends with him becoming a teacher at The Langley School, a prestigious school near Washington, D.C.  However, Joseph never forgot where he came from and returns there as often as possible with a group of students and parents from The Langley School.  He embarks on a cross-cultural trek that is furthering the advancement of learning for both sides of the ocean.

I read this book as part of the required reading for United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

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A Life’s Passion

Richard Showalter authored On the Way with Jesus: A Passion for Mission which features five sections directing the reader along a path to deepen his/her journey for missional works.  The sections (The Vision, The People, The Walk, The World, and The Path Ahead) are then comprised of several short stories or essays about mission.  The book is easy to read, easy to understand, and contains some quite compelling essays.

I found the book to be interesting, though not riveting.  It would make an excellent book for someone who is new to the faith and to someone who seeks to learn about call to mission.  It also features a couple of discussion questions on each section that would make it an excellent option for study groups or book clubs.

I have read this book as part of the required reading for the United Methodist Women’s Reading Program.

The Resounding Clap of Love

Max Lucado, one of the most renowned Christian writers of contemporary times, wrote The Applause of Heaven which illustrates how the Beatitudes are applicable for a life of joy and peace despite the ugliness of modern times. The joy and peace come from knowing, really knowing, God and His delight for each of us. It is not found in the everyday moments of this world but rather in the everyday moments of a relationship with our Father, Friend, and most devoted Fan. I love the writing style of Max Lucado and I am thankful that I added this book to my library.

Max has written numerous books about how to live a more abundant life by developing a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ and God. This book was written in the classic easy to read style of Lucado’s. Each chapter is a breakdown of a line from Matthew 5:1-10. It uses modern stories to aid in understanding the Beatitudes. I think one of the best lines in the whole book, at least for me, was the very last paragraph of the book when he describes the moment we get to heaven and hear the applause of the One who did not want to live without us and so died on the cross to enable us to be with Him.

Child Not for Sale

Living in the land of plenty, the land of freedom, ensures that we probably will never have to experience the fear, violence, and devastation of child sex trafficking. I just finished reading a book for young adults about a thirteen-year-old girl from Nepal who dreamt of better days for her mother, stepfather, and infant brother. Instead, her stepfather sold her to a trafficker who took her to a brothel in India where she was beaten and forced into prostitution. Sold by Patricia McCormick is a National Book Award Finalist that tells the story of Lakshmi.

Despite being beaten, drugged, and threatened, Lakshmi maintained a spirit of survival through friendships that she made with some of the other girls in the brothel, the son of one of the other girls, and a Christian missionary. She lost her innocence and childhood in the darkness of the evil. She found her strength and freedom in the light of love.

Sold is an easy to read narrative of Lakshmi’s life with her family and the trek to her imprisonment. Some of the “chapters” are actually only a paragraph or two. I would recommend this book for any young adult or adult interested in learning more about human trafficking.

I read this book for my United Methodist Women Reading Program.

The Raw Simplicity of Grace

Grace is defined many ways and used many ways. Grace is defined as elegance, a pleasing quality, favor, goodwill, mercy, clemency, or pardon. It is used to describe someone. It is used as a name. It is even used as a form of sarcasm. However, the most profound use of grace is described in detail by Andy Stanley in his book The Grace of God. Grace is that behavior that we extend to others who have hurt us in some way because we have been given grace by God.

Grace is not earned but it can be paid back. Grace is free but comes with a price. Grace must be offered in order to be taken. God has given grace since the beginning of time when Adam and Eve first sinned. Andy Stanley begins with Genesis and describes in detail the grace – mercy, clemency, and pardon – that God has given to each and every person in creation. He beautifully describes that “grace doesn’t dumb down sin to make it more palatable” (xv).

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This book is broken down into thirteen small chapters that are easy to read and shows the beauty, power, and humility of grace. He moves from the Old Testament through the New Testament to illustrate the need for God’s grace, the implication of sin which leads to the need for grace, and the reconciliation of God to His beloved people through the gift of grace. The Grace of God would make a wonderful gift for someone seeking an understanding of grace.

I received this book free for review from booksneeze.com.