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The Gospel Cannot Be Chained: A Grace Paraphrase of Paul’s Four Prison Letters

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The Gospel Cannot Be Chained is Mick Mooney’s paraphrase of Paul’s four prison letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Mooney’s paraphrase places a special emphasis on the message of grace throughout each letter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his paraphrase and I’ll probably read it again from time to time. I thought the paraphrase was respectful to the original while giving a modern, personal flair (such as his reference to DNA). What more can I say? Read a couple brief excerpts for yourself:   At one point in time, we all assumed we had to keep our distance from God; believing, in our minds, that our weaknesses and shameful behavior made us an enemy of God. But how wrong our thinking was! For the very God we believed was against us actually journeyed from heaven to earth in order to reach out to us with the truth of his eternal love. Oh, what a wonderful revelation...

The Power of Not Yet

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God must have prompted me to select this book off my Kindle, because it spoke to my need in the midst of feeling stuck. Parented by a perfectionist, I learned to see things in a pass or fail mindset. In order to gain approval, “pass” (or perfection) was the only option. Later in life, I’ve found that I give up easily because if it’s not perfect, it’s not worth doing. It also means I’ve learned to seek approval, validation, and acceptance through my work. Donna Pisani explained the “not yet” mentality that replaces failure with persistence—Not Yet. That is, I haven’t failed; I just haven’t succeeded yet. She also explains how to see the “not yet” as a thing of merit on its own by changing our perception and goals during a “not yet” period. Waiting is more productive and comfortable when we see it as a growth period, which has value in itself. If you’re feeling stuck or tired of asking...

Jesus Behaving Badly: The Puzzling Paradoxes of the Man from Galilee

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Jesus Behaving Badly explores the apparent contradictions in the life of Jesus. How can it be that some people view Jesus as a revolutionary and others view Him as a pacifist? Some people view Him as angry and others view him as loving. Some people consider Jesus an environmentalist and other claim He’s an earth scorcher. Some see Jesus through the lens of hellfire preacher and other see a gentle shepherd. Legalist or grace filled, sexist or egalitarian, and on and on. Some people look at one set of Bible passages and come to one conclusion and others gravitate to a different set of Bible passages and come to different conclusions. Mark Strauss has done a masterful job of looking at Jesus from all sides. For each pair of apparent contradictions, he builds a case for one side and then he turns around and lays out a convincing case for the other side. Then, he masterfully paints the...

The Spirit-Filled Life by Eddie Snipes (@eddiesnipes)

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“As long as we believe our actions are what creates godliness, then we’ll continue to live life from a position of defeat, trying to find a way to victory.” – Eddie Snipes, The Spirit-Filled Life   The Spirit-Filled Life by Eddie Snipes provides a very clear explanation of what it means to live in dependence on the Holy Spirit. If the title makes you squirm, let me assure you he’s not a tongues-speaking Pentecostal, but neither is he a fundamentalist. His middle road navigated some rugged terrain with ease. I say that because he would point out the flaws with extremes on either side of a theological issue and show ample support from scripture to lead you forward toward a Spirit-filled life. The author begins by explaining our new nature in Christ. Then he talks about the anointing of the Spirit, which is the result of placing ourselves under the authority of Christ. Next, he...

Out of the Ashes: How Unplanned Trials Reveal God’s Planned Grace

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“The one who feels that they have ruined their life and whose religion, works, and self-goodness has failed is also the person who can fully understand the love of God.” —Eddie Snipes, Out of the Ashes   Out of the Ashes helps people struggling with difficult circumstances in their lives. The author, Eddie Snipes, describes the beauty of failure and how God can transform our lives and circumstances, but also how God can use our circumstances to teach us to depend on Him rather than rely on ourselves. The author describes God’s love and grace to bring us salvation and new life. He also reminds us that guilt and shame can’t stick to our new life in Christ (I like that analogy). Other chapters deal with receiving God’s gift of abundant life and how to grow in grace. I enjoy reading short books and feel this one is worthwhile if you don’t mind that it’s short.     Tweetables “The person...