Living not striving…

Random thoughts and daily adventures in my life

Dug Down Deep January 21, 2010

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 7:23 pm
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I have a running theme of not finishing my books recently in the right amount of time.   I am heading out in 45 minutes to a Beth Moore conference in Houston, TX w/two of my best gals.  Whoot whoot!  So excited!  I am halfway done with the book Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris that I am supposed to do a blog review on.  So a short sweet review is that so far I am loving it.  It is not a hard read but it does need thought behind it.  He wrote Kissed Dating Goodbye back in the day.  I read that and liked it (although, alas, I did not kiss dating goodbye:).  But this book is a much more mature, spiritually insightful Harris.

It discusses the importance of doctrine and why we need to know what we believe and why as Christ followers.  He also shares a lot of his journey toward really understanding what he believes.  Some of it is deep weeds but it doesn’t bog you down.  I am really enjoying it.  It would be great for a newer believer or someone that is really wanting to “dig deep” and figure out the foundations of the faith.

Below you will find a summary and author bio:

Book: Dug Down Deep

Author: Joshua Harris


What will you build your life on?

With startling transparency, Joshua Harris shares how we can rediscover the relevance and power of Christian truth. This is book shows a young man who rose quickly to success in the Christian evangelical world before he realized his spirituality lacked a foundation—it rested more on tradition and morality than on an informed knowledge of God.

For the indifferent or spiritually numb, Harris’s humorous and engaging reflections on Christian beliefs show that orthodoxy isn’t just for scholars—it is for anyone who longs to know the living Jesus Christ. As Harris writes, “I’ve come to learn that theology matters. It matters not because we want to impress people, but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. Theology matters because if we get it wrong then our whole life will be wrong.”

Whether you are just exploring Christianity or you are a veteran believer finding yourself overly familiar and cold-hearted, Dug Down Deep will help you rediscover the timeless truths of Scripture. As Harris challenges you to root your faith and feelings about God in the person, work, and words of Jesus, he answers questions such as:

What is God like and how does he speak to me?What difference does it make that Jesus was both human and divine?How does Jesus’s death on the cross pay for my sins?Who is the Holy Spirit and how does he work in my life?
With grace and wisdom, Harris will inspire you to revel in the truth that has captured his own mind and heart. He will ask you to dig deep into a faith so solid you can build your life on it. He will point you to something to believe in again.

Cover art:

Author Bio:

Joshua Harris is senior pastor of Covenant Life in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which belongs to the Sovereign Grace network of local churches. A passionate speaker with a gift for making theological truth easy to understand, Joshua is perhaps best known for his runaway bestseller, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which he wrote at the age of twenty-one. His later books include Boy Meets Girl, Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is), and Stop Dating the Church. The founder of the NEXT conferences for young adults, Joshua is committed to seeing the gospel transferred to a new generation of Christians. He and his wife, Shannon, have three children.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


Sacred Parenting January 18, 2010

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 3:45 am
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This isn’t one of my book reviews.  Last year I read Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage and it taught me so, so much.  Now I am excited to finally be reading his book Sacred Parenting. Wow!  I am only two chapters in and probably almost 50% of it is underlined.  I thought I would share a bit…

“In other words, having kids isn’t about us – it’s about him.  We are called to bear and raise children for the glory of God….

When we don’t understand the purpose of parenting, the process becomes tedious.  When we realize that having children isn’t about us but is rather about God, then the trials and sacrifices of parenting are more easily borne.  We see the purpose behind the difficulty, and we remind ourselves, “This isn’t about me; it’s about him.”  The ultimate issue is no longer how proud my children make me, but how faithful I’ve been to discharge the duties God has given me.  To pin our hope and joy on the response of any given sinner is a precarious move at best.  To pin this same hope and joy on the response of a sinner in his or her toddler years or teen years is to beg for disillusionment and to risk waking up in despair.

If we have only a selfish motivation, we will run from parenting’s greatest challenges.  Once disappointment seeps in, we’ll pull back into the same shells we inhabited as children and run from the pain, not by retreating to our bedrooms or backyards (which we did as children), but to our offices, boardrooms, workout clubs, Starbucks, or even churches.

….but let’s accept that, for most of us, this is God’s call and part of his plan to perfect us.  Once we realize that we are sinners, that the children God has given us are sinners, and that together, as a family, we are to grow toward God, then family life takes on an entirely new purpose and context.  It becomes a sacred enterprise when we finally understand that God can baptize dirty diapers, toddlers’ tantrums, and teenagers’ silence in order to transform us into people who more closely resemble Jesus Christ.”

That’s good stuff, right there!


New Year’s Resolutions January 12, 2010

Filed under: Book reviews — erikaivory @ 2:10 am
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I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions b/c I am the kind of crazy cat that makes resolutions toward change all throughout the year.  I start this, change that, begin again and struggle to keep on.  Of course I always feel the need to renew my commitment to eating better and exercising once January hits.  January 1st usually marks the end of 45-60 days  of sluggish behavior and horrid overeating.  So when I was sent this nice little book, The One Day Way by Chantel Hobbs< I thought I should at least give it a read.

I must admit that I did not read every word, but I read most of it and hopped around all of it.  The message is great and full of motivation and great encouragement.  The philosophy behind the eating plan and exercise suggestions is solid.  Some of the things that stood out to me from the book is her suggestion to have a once a week meal fast as well as a once a week indulgent meal.  She talks about doing a daily hunger check and to view food as a fuel not a friend.  She also includes many personal stories from people who have followed her One Day Way plan and had huge success.

I enjoyed it and picked up some great tips.  Below you will find a summary and bio info as well as a link where you can buy the book for yourself.  This would be a great way to jumpstart your healthy new year!

Book: The One-Day Way

Author: Chantel Hobbs


The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to basics. No more complicated weight-loss strategies. No more expensive diet plans that achieve only temporary results. Instead, you will lose weight and get fit with Chantel Hobbs’s simple, high-energy meal plans and her at-home program for cardio exercise and strength training. She will teach you how to change the way you think, which leads to new actions. Before you know it you will be strong, fit, and healthy. All it takes is doing things differently for twenty-four hours—and then repeating it.

The One-Day Way gives you everything you need to lose weight and get fit in body, mind, and spirit:

  • Break free from past dieting defeats
  • Learn a realistic, life-changing way to measure success
  • Change the way you think so you can change your life
  • Translate your dreams into goals, and your goals into lasting achievements
  • Get strong with thirty-one simple exercises, no fancy equipment required
  • Take advantage of ten ways to eat better while you lose weight

By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, Chantel shows you not only how to lose weight, but how to build the new life you were designed to live. You don’t have to wait any longer. The One-Day Way gives you all the tools for success, starting right now.

Author Bio:

The author of Never Say Diet and The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer, Chantel Hobbs is a motivational speaker, life coach, personal trainer, marathon runner, wife, and mother of four whose story has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, the 700 Club, and the covers of People and First magazines. She appears weekly on two fitness-themed radio programs and promotes her One-Day Way Learning System on television. Visit Chantel at for fitness updates and coaching tips.

Cover art:

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

You can purchase the book here:


Dadgum! January 10, 2010

Filed under: Random stuff — erikaivory @ 10:17 pm
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Dadgum Mark Batterson can bring it!  Somehow I lost his feed in my blog reader so I haven’t read anything from him recently.  I just started following him on twitter and I love it!  One of his recent posts was “4 ways to identify an idol”.

Check it out below.  By the way just skip it if you are lazy or not willing to be introspective. 🙂  For real…

When we read about idols in the Old Testament, we tend to think of ancient people bowing down to carved wooden statues. How silly. How foolish. But most of us are just sophisticated idolaters. And it’s no less silly or foolish. I’m convinced that idolatry is our root spiritual problem. Maybe that’s why it’s the first commandment of ten?

In the beginning, God created us in His image. We’ve been creating Him in our image ever since. Instead of worshiping the Creator, we settle for something less. We find a substitute god, small g. And here’s the tricky thing. Most idols are good things, but those good things become bad things because they take the place of God. Instead of being the Ultimate End, God become a means to an end. We want something more than we want God. And we try to use God to get it.

So how do you identify an idol? Here are four idol identifiers:

1) What consumes your thoughts? Your daydreams are idol clues. If it’s something you think about more than God then it may be an idol.

2) What bad habits do you struggle with? Your addictions are idol clues. An idol is something you cannot control. It controls you.

3) What do you spend too much money on? Your spending habits are idol clues. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!

4) What produces your strongest emotions? Your intense emotions are idol clues. If you want to identify an idol, all you have to do is identify your emotional attachments.

Identifying an idol takes a tremendous amount of soul searching. And you have to be brutally honest. But you cannot tear it down until you name it. If you’re serious, I highly recommend Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods.