Book Giveaway! Listen, Love, Repeat

christmas-giveawayHow many of you find that listening and loving come naturally? Before you answer, take a quick quiz with me:

  • T/F: I always actively listen when my friends are talking with me, instead of anticipating how I’m going to respond.
  • T/F: I can remember all of the prayer requests from Sunday school class.
  • T/F: If I can remember last week’s requests, I prayed for them regularly throughout the week.
  • T/F: I make a point of being nice to the kid in class who is socially awkward and unpopular.
  • T/F: I welcomed the new student/coworker instead of racing off to my next class/meeting.

I wish I could say “true” to all of those (that apply to me), but the truth is that sometimes, I can’t. And maybe you can’t either.

Perhaps unintentionally, we become so busy with living that we’re swept up in our own little worlds and unaware of the hurts and needs of those around us.

That’s the problem Karen Ehman addresses in her book Listen, Love, Repeat. Her bottom line is that we need to be intentional in listening to and loving others.

About Listen, Love, Repeat

When I first picked up Karen’s book, I was intrigued by the sub-title: Other-centered living in a self-centered world. She talks about our “selfie-centered” culture and sets about to combat this mindset with the challenge to “live alert.”

… to become a person who thinks of others first takes great effort on our part. It requires us to live alert (18). – Ehman

She calls for Christians to cultivate sensitivity to “heart drops” or “when a person, either directly or in a cryptic way, gives you a peek into his or heart heart” (15). Do we pay attention when others share their interests and needs, or are we too busy to notice?

Karen builds upon the premise of Matthew 22:36-40 and outlines what she calls a Three-Step Life Plan:

  1. Love God.
  2. Love others.
  3. Love yourself.

Then, she spends the rest of the book outlining the major categories of people who cross our paths and develops ideas for how we give of ourselves to them.

She’s quick to clarify “the why” for loving people. Our motivation shouldn’t be that others notice us but that they notice our Savior.

We need to remember our why: the reason we love and serve and give thoughtful gifts and do good works. It is so that others will see Jesus. They may look at us, but we hope they see him (100). – Ehman

An ideal Christmas gift for Christian women

Are you not sure what to give your mom, sister, or friend for Christmas? I recommend Listen, Love, Repeat for godly women (and godly young women, too) who want to make a difference right where they are but maybe aren’t sure how.

Karen drives home the reality that we pass people every day who are hurting and in need of Jesus’ love. Some of them may even live in the same houses with us.

Blending the biblical with the practical, Karen offers easy recipes to share with hurting families, simple ideas for making someone’s day, and personal stories of victory and failure.

Christian women who love Jesus and lead busy lives will find this book refreshing and challenging. The beauty of Karen’s message is that we can serve God and love others right where we are.

Because Jesus wasn’t about doing big things. He was about doing the right thing. And often for him, the right thing was noticing one simple soul (19).     – Ehman

Listen, Love, Repeat is a book that will keep giving long after Christmas.

Book Pack Giveaway

I’d like for you to have a copy of this resource to use yourself or share with someone you love. It would make a great study for your small group, Bible study, or with your mom or girlfriends.

Merry Christmas early! I’m giving away one gift set, which includes:

  • (1) Copy of Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman
  • (1) Study Pack, complete with a six-session DVD and Study Guide

Four Ways to Enter

To enter, simply do one of the following: 

  • Leave a comment below. (It can be a comment about this post or something as simple as: Please enter me into your drawing.)
  • Subscribe to the Think True Thoughts newsletter.
  • Share this post on Twitter and tag me @kjhogrefe.
  • Share my Facebook post with your friends.

The winner of the random drawing will be announced on this blog next week. I hope this resource will be a blessing to you as it has been to me.

~ Kristen

Special thanks to The Blythe Daniel Agency for making this book pack giveaway possible!

 

Tweetables

Book Giveaway! Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

Listen, Love, Repeat is a book that will keep giving long after Christmas. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)

 

Advertisements

The Joy of… Receiving God’s Gift

Photo credit: Miss Kristen
Photo credit: Miss Kristen

Joy is the theme for this time of year, and so often, we mistake joy for something it is not. Joy is not a state of happiness or something that comes from an ideal set of circumstances. It’s not dependent on a relationship status or the size of your paycheck.

Children find great joy in receiving gifts and their parents, in giving them. I’ve always believed it is more blessed to give than to receive; after all, that’s what Jesus Himself said (Acts 20:35).

And yet, in one area, we are truly more blessed to receive – and in receiving, we find joy that no other person can supply.

The greatest joy we can ever receive is God’s indescribable gift of salvation (2 Corinthians 9:15).

***

Bible teacher and author Dr. Gary Chapman has written several books on what he calls The Five Love Languages, which simply stated, are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

If you’ve never read any of his books on this subject, I encourage you to find one and learn how to speak the love language(s) of the people you care most about (family, friends, siblings, boyfriends).

But let’s face it, girls. That special someone’s love, no matter how deep, will never completely satisfy us – because it wasn’t designed to do that.

Only God can satisfy us. He knows us more intimately and cares about us more completely than anyone else.

How does God speak our love language? That’s what I want to take some time to think about in my next couple posts.

***

With Christmas nearly here, it seems only fitting to think about how God meets our love language of “receiving gifts.”

Many of us could quote John 3:16 from memory:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV).

For God so loved… that He gave. There’s the best Christmas present anyone could ever want. And truly it is ours for the taking.

But we have to receive it. It seems strange, the idea of refusing the most wonderful gift ever given. After all, would we ever dream of declining a free apartment in the nicest subdivision, free diamond bling, a free lifetime spa membership, or a free Vera-Bradley wallet-full of cash?

The no-brainer answer is NO!

Ok, so why would we decline a free gift that promises an eternal home in heaven, the chance to walk streets of gold, a body that never grows old, and a place where we will have no need of money to buy things because all we could ever want is to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?

That’s our gift – yours and mine – for the taking, offered to us by Jesus Christ. There’s no payment necessary and no strings attached. God’s Son already paid the price.

We have but to accept the gift.

~ Miss Kristen

 

 

 

The Wonder of His Love

Alexey Kljatov via Compfight cc
Alexey Kljatov via Compfight cc

Have you ever watched a young child encounter Christmas lights for the first time? My older brother’s children are young, and their faces display a glorious rapture and delight in all things bright, colorful and new (to them) during the holiday season.

I think the same is true of young Christians. When we first come to know Christ, we recognize our salvation as a marvelous gift – completely undeserved and therefore all the more beautiful. Although our love for Christ deepens as we seek to know Him more and walk daily with Him, sometimes, I think, we lose the sparkle.

More often than not, the reason is that we let something  or someone come between us and our Savior. Perhaps we set up an idol in our hearts – anything that replaces God as our first priority. Another common culprit is unconfessed sin that robs us of the closeness to God we once experienced.

David understood this. In Psalm 51, a Psalm of repentance after his affair with Bathsheba, he acknowledged his sin and begged for restoration: “Restore to me the joy of my salvation” (verse 11).

Is there something in my life or in your life that is stealing our joy this Christmas season?

If so, there’s no better time of year to clear the clutter out of our hearts to make room for Christ.

Perhaps we also need to clear our schedules to make room for Him. May we not become absorbed in the endless activities or tangled in the tinsel, but rather take the time to rejoice in the wonder of God’s love for us… love so amazing that God sent His Son to be born of a virgin with the purpose of redeeming mankind from sin’s curse.

Maybe it’s in the quiet of our own home. Maybe it’s in a candlelight service where we block out life’s distractions and focus on the reason we celebrate the season.

Regardless, take time to thank Him for His love. Don’t let anything in your life rob you of the wonder of it.

 

There’s plenty of room in the stable!

Photo Credit: planetschwa via Compfight cc

Mary the mother of Jesus has a grandiose aura around her. She is depicted as the woman who was chosen for the biggest blessing in history. Some versions of the Bible even call her favored or full of grace. On the surface, Mary does look blessed indeed, having a major role in the stage-play of the life of Jesus. In delving deeper, however, I cannot help but see a different side to the story.

It’s no secret that Jesus was born in a stable. The most powerful being on earth (God) could have had Jesus born in the most pleasant of circumstances. It could have been the most prestigious situation in all of history. He is God after all, Maker of the stars. He could have, but He didn’t. That leads me to my question and my attempt at an answer: why?

Mary was an ordinary girl, from an ordinary town. She was chosen for many reasons that we do not know, and if I were to list why I think she was chosen, it would be speculation, not truth. Mary aside, we turn to the next character, Joseph. A pretty down to earth guy, making tables and chairs for a living. Not a bad career. He seems to be able to support a soon-to-be wife and her unborn child. He was also chosen to be the earthly father of Jesus, for reasons we do not know.

Two ordinary people, extremely confused about their situation in which they seemed to be thrown into without asking for. To top it off, after Mary shared the news with her family, she left home to stay with her aunt because her family had trouble accepting the situation of her un-wed pregnancy. Sounds like a rough situation from the start.

Fast forward all that to the night Jesus was born in a stable, and we have the whole story. Why did it have to be so hard? Surely God loved Jesus a lot. We know and believe that. So, my question of why must be based in the fact that God loved Jesus. He wanted the best for Him….OR maybe He denied the best for His Son, because He wanted the best for us instead?

Face it: If Jesus were born in the Hyatt, with the best doctor in town, CNN covering the story, and a lifetime supply of free Pampers for the “Messiah,” do you think many people would approach Him? Would you believe this Baby was born to serve if He were served from the start? I don’t know about you, but my answer is a fast NO!! I would never even dream of meeting a celebrity or feeling comfortable being myself around him, and celebrities are human like me.

The Messiah is much, much higher than those celebrities will ever be, and yet I can be myself around Him. He hears me when I speak, and He knows my faults, my favorite color, what makes me smile, what I want for Christmas, and so much more. He is the most intimate person I will ever know. I can think a conversation with Him (also known as prayer), and He actually hears me.

Because I’m important? No! Because He cares about me, and I know Him. I approached Him when I was a little girl in need of a Savior. I asked Him to come into my heart. A six-year-old girl talking to the Messiah? Yes, because a long, long time ago, that Messiah was born into the simplest of circumstances and endured the harshest life of anyone on earth. I know that because the Bible says that Jesus understands our infirmities because He underwent all of them, yet without sinning.

The Bible also says that Jesus had no place to rest His head. (That’s code for homeless!) Jesus couldn’t be born for the wealthy only. He was born for everybody: even the homeless and the kicked-out-of-their-house and the ones who hold a job barely good enough for their soon-to-be-wife and unborn child. Jesus came for everyone and in order for Him to be understood by everyone, He had to undergo their struggles first.

So, to answer the question, why? Because that’s how much God loves you.

“For even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45 (NLT)

~ Miss Q