Devotional and Missional Reads, free or bargain priced for Kindle

FREE: Gravity, True for You But Not For Me– a basic book for teens or college students or people who have never given the ideas much thought before. The basic premise is that things are true because they are true, not based on what we believe about them. This serves as a good introduction to apologetics, information on the historicity of the Bible and so on.

3.99: Between Worlds, Essays On Culture and Belonging– A book I suspect anybody with any TCK (Third Culture Kid) experience or connections will enjoy. I teared up just reading a reader review:
“My own experience and the circumstances of my childhood as a military dependent were very different from those of Marilyn Gardner’s childhood but the emotional journey she shares in “Between Worlds” is remarkably similar to my own. When Marilyn describes sipping tea with friends in a Chai shop in Pakistan her words capture perfectly the bittersweet feelings such memories hold for third culture kids and others who have lived abroad. I have never been to Pakistan or known the taste of chai but her story ignites my own journey back almost 40 years to sunny afternoons at a Bratwurst stand in Bitburg, Germany. I laughed out loud reading about how she fought off her nomadic urge to move by rearranging the furniture. She captured the confusion and fear one feels when leaving a place you know and love to go to a place where you don’t know a living soul and have never lived before; a place you have been taught to call “home.” She describes perfectly the frustration third culture kids experience when they feel the need to edit their life story to keep new friends from thinking they are bragging or being snobbish. I could go on but suffice it to say this book moved me and helped me better understand my own nomadic childhood and the role it still plays in who I am today.”

Golly. I rearrange furniture three times a year or more when I have lived in a place for more than a few months. I am thinking of a candy store in Canada, a strange looking striped flag in the land of my birth and a thing the other children recited to it which I did not know, slurping soba noodles in Japan and swimming in the China Sea, chatting with the neighbor children here in the Philippines and listening to the sing song call of the Balut man every evening…. Of my son going out with on of his best friends, a Korean basketball player who speaks enough Visayan to get around, and roaming the streets of Davao City until 2 in the morning- playing basketball with Filipinos in the ubiquitous neighborhood basketball courts. What stories he will have. What is home? Home is where I am living, wherever that may be.

1.99 The End of Me: Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins
Reader Review: If you feel you are at the end of yourself, Idleman says that’s a good place to be. That is when Jesus becomes real in your life.

His book is divided into two parts. In the first part, he explores how we come to the end of ourselves. The rest of the book is about putting ourselves into the best position to be used by God.

Idleman looks at four beatitudes that put us on the path to real life. He writes about brokenness – the way to wholeness, mourning – the way to happiness, humbleness – the way to being exalted, and authenticity – the way to being accepted.

Then he shows how Jesus fills us when we are empty. He uses stories from the Bible to illustrate how Jesus is willing to do that. Idleman also looks at what prevents us from being filled, such as failing to ask, feeling unworthy, and thinking it is too late. He also writes about our attempts to fill our soul with things that do not fit.

This is a pretty good book on getting to the point where we have nothing left. He has great stories (many about himself) and biblical illustrations as well as good exposition of Scripture. His chapter on humility is great and worth reading the book.

The only thing that makes this book less than perfect is Idleman’s quirky humor (you just have to read the footnotes). He’s a funny man. But as I imagined a devastated person reading this book, hoping to find God’s way out of the depths he or she is in, the humor seemed inappropriate and something that reduced the seriousness of the rest of his book.

.99 Tracie Peterson’s devotional book The Eyes of the Heart, Seeing God’s Hand in the Every Day Moments of Life

1.99 Healing for Damaged Emotions by David Seamands
Reader Review: “This book has become a classic, and with good reason. Some books on emotional stuggles are written as if we human beings do not have a spiritual side. Other books are written as if the proper prescription for all emotional struggles is, “Take two Bible verses and call me in the morning.” Some are written from such a deep clinical perspective that they are actually worse than useless to the layperson. This book is not like that.
If you, or someone you know, struggles with depression, this book is worth considering.
If you, or someone you know, holds onto pains from the past and nurses them to the point of ill-health, this book is worth considering.
If you are a professional counselor and don’t have much experience with “Christian counseling”, this book is worth considering.
If you are a pastor or other religious professional, but don’t have much experience with counseling from a clinical perspective, this book is worth considering.
Actually, this book is so well written, that if you are breathing and have the ability to read this review, this book is worth considering. It should be in every personal library. You never know when you will be confronted with someone who needs your friendship and care.”

3.99 The Master Plan of Evangelism
Reader REview: “I grew up hearing a lot of teaching and preaching in church about what the gospel was. It consisted, I was told, mostly of what Jesus taught.
One day when I was in college, a guest speaker came to our youth ministry class and uttered a sentence that would open an entirely new dimension to my understanding of the gospel. “Jesus’ methods,” the speaker said, “are just as much a part of the gospel as his message.” Wow!
This book takes a simple, yet profoundly insightful, look at Jesus’ methods–how he made disciples, how he equipped his disciples to carry out his mission.
If we want to know how best to make disciples, doesn’t it make sense to ask how the greatest disciple-maker of all time did it? That’s what Coleman does in this book that has become a classic.
Many of today’s “discipling” methods consist primarily of guiding either individuals or groups through a curriculum. They begin with cognitive knowledge and assume that cognitive knowlege leads to behavioral change. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn’t.
That was not Jesus’ approach. Coleman identifies eight principles that Jesus embodied in his disciple-making: Selection, Association, Consecration, Impartation, Demonstration, Delegation, Supervision, and Reproduction–and devotes a chapter to each.
A few excerpts:
“Most of the evangelistic efforts of the church begin with the multitudes under the assumption that the church is qualified to preserve what good is done. The result is our spectacular emphasis on numbers of converts, candidates for baptism, and more members for the church, with little or no genuine concern manifested toward the establishment of these souls in the love and power of God, let alone the preservation and continuation of the work.”
“This was the essence of his training program–just letting his disciples follow him.”
“Knowledge was gained by association before it was understood by explanation.”
If you’re wanting to get a biblical perspective on how to do evangelism or how to make disciples, apart from the Scripture on which this book is based, it would be harder to find a better starting point than this book.”

.99 Coaching in Ministry,

Reader Review: “I had the great fortune to attend Keith’s 5 day Coaching Mastery course in Singapore this year, and it was a game-changer for me. I recommend this book to anyone in ministry who is looking for greater effectiveness in their work, a ‘lighter load’, and less stress and frustration in their ministry.

This book is unique in several ways:

1. It describes how a coaching approach is a massive “force multiplier” in ministry: when I was a nuclear submarine officer in the US Navy, we looked for force multipliers that could increase the effectiveness of our boat as a warfighting machine: tactics and strategies that would allow a nuclear submarine to do its mission with greater power and effect, without simply increasing the number of weapons or men on the boat. I have found that the coaching approach described in this book: other-centered and non-directive, is a massive force multiplier in my own ministry as a cross-cultural missionary in Africa. My own effectiveness in my work and my personal sense of carrying the ‘light and easy yoke of Jesus’ has deepened profoundly.
2. It is written by a practitioner: Keith has the ‘street cred’ of a cross-cultural Christian worker and ministry leader, having served overseas for years in ministry. He’s not writing, as many do, from a position of small experience and much theory/opinion, he writes from a position of much experience and an appropriate amount of theory.
3. It is evidence-based: A coaching approach provides greater effectiveness in ministry and greater results than other more directive, ‘telling’ approaches in leadership. The evidence shows this, and Keith’s rigorous approach to research and conclusions greatly deepens this book.

.99 Trusting God When Bad Things Happen (Forgiveness Formula: Finding Lasting Freedom in Christ Book 1)
Reader Review: Shelley Hitz is not just an author, but one that writes from first hand experiences to share with her readers the lessons God and life have availed. In her book Trusting God When Bad Things Happen she very transparently shares her pain and offers timely advice to those going through a difficult season. She has not only been the recipient of personal pain but comes from an understanding that a vast number of people suffer from pain and brokenness.
Our strength, you will find, will only come in Him as our foundation gets rebuilt with Him as a cornerstone. Answers to all our questions and pain will not be found on this side of existence and our finite minds, because they are limited, will never grasp the entire picture. Our beauty will emerge from seemingly ashes in the refiner’s fire as character will be forged into Christlikeness.
Author Hitz offers tips on drawing closer to God and through those encounters, promises our attitude and views toward God will change for the better.
At the end of each section are questions for reflection and a prayer. Turn your trial into an incredible testimony as you gleam truths from the pen and heart of an author that has a passion for God and a love for His people.

FREE!! In Harm’s Way: A View from the Epicenter of Liberia’s Ebola Crisis by Nancy D. Sheppard
Reader Review: A gripping account of remarkable individuals – doctors, nurses, and volunteer health care workers – who risk their lives to save others. This author gives us a first-hand, insider view of what’s it like to witness the pathos and ravages of Ebola in West Africa, while having had the rare opportunity to serve as a volunteer in an Ebola Medical Center in Liberia. Nancy Sheppard’s personal relationship with medical professionals who contracted the disease and her own experience in witnessing the power of faith and prayer should make this book relevant to anyone interested in the history of one of the major medical crises of our era. Moreover, the book will have enduring value in documenting the history of missions, or for anyone contemplating or being trained or educated for ministry and missions.

FREE!! On Which Side of the Road do the Flowers Grow? Wendell Mettey
Reader REview; “This book by Mettey is the best yet that I have read from him. It is a compendium of stories about real people who peopled his life and the life of the church. Wonderful sketches of real people. Not all are saints, but some are and they are all sinners, as are we all. Tastefully done and very readable.”

FREE: Teach Like Jesus
Reader Review: “I have been following Josh Hunt’s work on Sunday School and small groups for years and have applied many of his principles to my own classes. So I was anxious to read his newest book and see what it had to say. As always, he does not disappoint. Easy to understand, practical to apply and fun to read, Josh puts it in a way that you don’t have to be a pastor with a degree in theology to understand. I would highly recommend this book for both pastor’s and lay leaders who are interesting in growing their small groups and growing as a teacher.

Teach like Jesus and expect results in your small group. Another great work by Josh Hunt.”

FREE: Missionary Methods: God’s Plan for Missions by Roland Allen

Amazon blurb: Newly updated, revised edition. A complete missionary manual for evangelical missionaries.

Missionary Methods is an enduring classic, a how-to that every single missionary should read, as well as any lay person who desires to be a useful part of the body of Christ. The author, Roland Allen, takes a thorough look at the practice and principle of arguably the most successful church planter in history, the biblical apostle Paul. Every missionary difficulty and success can be found in Acts and the apostle Paul’s letters, which cover such topics as training, discipleship, finances, and sustainability. The “methods” are built on the foundation of a relationship with God, salvation through Christ, and the indwelling and leading of the Holy Spirit.

About the Author
Roland Allen (1868 – 1947) was a British deacon, chaplain, and priest, and after trips to India, Canada, and Africa, he became a writer and advocate for establishing self-supportive and self-governing churches, which adapted to local conditions as the Holy Spirit led individuals in their own localities. Allen spent the last years of his life in Kenya and wrote a book titled The Family Rite, advocating the family as the center of the Christian church and its ministry.

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Homeschooling Links

Guest Hollow Biology!: GH has taken the free CK-12 biology curriculum and tweaked it to be a comfortable fit for those who lean heavily creationist. Guest Hollow has also worked it up into a weekly schedule for you and matched biology labs with online resources, or the labs in the Home Biology text, as well as linked other options to read and do week by week. To be honest, I think the schedule is over-packed and there are some busy workish things I wouldnt’ do- but that’s the freedom of having so much work already done for you, it’s easy to adapt it for your own purposes and do as much or as little as works for you. This was a lot of work, and I really appreciate the way things are laid out (they have other curriculum, which I have not looked at). (she recommends using her program with a Kindle Fire)

Dr. David Menton’s Seeing Eye video (and others), online free at Answers in Genesis. YOu can also spend 8 dollars to download it, which is a bit steep at the moment for us, but, on the other hand, when you live in southeast Asia and have the lack of consistent, steady internet service to show for it, downloading might be the way to go.

Brandy Vencel, Are You Sabotaging your Charlotte Mason Homeschool? This was a fabulous read/reminder that principles and goals matter rather more than tools.
It’s not that tools don’t matter at all. It’s just that sometimes we get them all out of proportion to goals and principles.

In addition to Overdrive, where I check out e-books from my two local libraries back home and read them here in the Philippines, I also can check out books from OpenLibrary, no card needed.

Happy Learning!

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The artist and the maker

“It is the artist who, more than other men, is able to create something out of nothing. A whole artistic work is immeasurably more than the sum of its parts.
But here is the will of God, a flash of the will that can,
Existent behind all laws, that made them, and lo, they are!
And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to man,
That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a star.
Consider it well: each tone of our scale in itself is nought,
It is everywhere in the world-loud, soft, and all is said:
Give it to me to use! I mix it with two in my thought:
And there! Ye have heard and seen: consider and bow the head!’
… Robert Browning: Abt Vogler.
“I mix it with two in my thought”; this is the statement of the fact of universal experience that the work of art has real existence apart from its translation into material form. Without the thought, though the material parts already exist, the form does not and cannot. The “creation” is not a product of the matter, and is not simply a rearrangement of the matter. The amount of matter in the universe is limited, and its possible rearrangements, though the sum of them would amount to astronomical figures, is also limited. But no such limitation of numbers applies to the creation of works of art. The poet is not obliged, as it were, to destroy the material of a Hamlet in order to create a Falstaff, as a carpenter must destroy a tree – form to create a table -form. The components of the material world are fixed; those of the world of imagination increase by a continuous and irreversible process, without any destruction or rearrangement of what went before. This represents the nearest approach we experience to “creation out of nothing”, and we conceive of the act of absolute creation as being an act analogous to that of the creative artist. Thus Berdyaev is able to say: “God created the world by imagination.”
The Mind of the Maker, Dorothy Sayers.
Those opposed to all copyright law are essentially mere materialists.

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Nature Study, Advice from Comstock

Previously Ms Comstock explained what the study of nature might be expected to do for the child. Now she explains the benefits to the teacher (or parent):

WHAT NATURE-STUDY SHOULD DO FOR THE TEACHER

During many years, I have been watching teachers in our public schools in their conscientious and ceaseless work; and so far as I can foretell, the fate that awaits them finally is either nerve exhaustion or nerve atrophy. The teacher must become either a neurasthenic or a ” clam.” ( i.e. neurotic and heading for a nervous break-down or apathetic)

I have had conversations with hundreds of teachers in the public schools of New York State concerning the introduction of nature-study into the curriculum, and most of them declared, ” Oh, we have not time for it. Every moment is full now! ”

(doesn’t that sound familiar? If I had a dollar for every mom who I hear saying she can’t add nature study because she’s stretched to the breaking point, well, we might still be self supporting missionaries, but our self support would bring us up to considerably more comforts!)

Their nerves were at such a tension that with one more thing to do they must fall apart. The question in my own mind during these conversations was always, how long can she stand it! I asked some of them, ” Did you ever try a vigorous walk in the open air in the open country every Saturday or every Sunday of your teaching year? ” ” Oh no! ” they exclaimed in despair of making me understand. ” On Sunday we must go to church or see our
friends and on Saturday we… *(have to catch up with all the undone tasks from the previous week).

What are you catching up with?
Consider, points out Ms Comstock, that you may be behind on grading papers and household tasks and so on, but you are also behind on some other things you haven’t considered- rest, refreshment, rejuvenation, the things that give you more energy and motivation to bring you through the other cares:

Yes, catch up with more cares, more worries, more fatigue, but not with more growth, more strength, more vigor, and more courage for work. In my belief, there are two and only two occupations for Saturday afternoon or forenoon for a teacher.
One is to be out-of-doors and the other is to lie in. bed, and the first is best.
Out in this, God’s beautiful world, there is everything waiting to heal lacerated nerves, to strengthen tired muscles, to please and content the soul that is torn to shreds with duty and care. To the teacher who turns to nature’s healing, nature-study in the schoolroom is not a trouble; it is a sweet, fresh breath of air blown across the heat of radiators and the noi-
some odor of overcrowded small humans. She who opens her eyes and her heart
nature-ward even once a week finds nature-study in the schoolroom a delight and an abiding joy. What does such a one find in her schoolroom instead of the terrors of discipline, the eternal watching and eternal nagging to keep the pupils quiet and at work? She finds, first of all, companionship with her children; and second, she finds that without planning or going
on a far voyage, she has found health and strength.

No time for nature study? By not doing nature study, you may be losing at more time in terms of the renewed eagerness, fresh minds, health, and cooperative spirits that come from time outside observing nature.

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Learning Is Hard Work

“Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham: “People’s minds are not
“especially well-suited to thinking….Thinking is slow, effortful, and uncertain.”
This means we tend to automatically rely on past habits and memories to guide our actions, and are less likely to think deliberately and deeply.
To further complicate matters, struggle and confusion are usually necessary for deep and transformative learning to happen, something that many students tend to avoid or incorrectly interpret as a sign of their ineffectiveness as learners.”
From the free online course ‘The Science of Learning, What Every Teacher Should Know.’

There is so much to think about packed into that small paragraph. It’s true we don’t like to think, which I suppose is why so many substitute thinking for feeling as though they were the same, or even as though feeling matters more than thinking.

Since we do rely so much on past habits, it behooves us, as Charlotte Mason explained, to help our children (and ourselves) develop good habits).

And also, the fact that something we ask of a child is not light and easy and as much fun as eating popsicles while dabbling our toes in the swimming pool is not ‘proof’ that we are asking something we shouldn’t. Sometims learning is really hard work. Worthwhile things often are.

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