Jan 15, 2012

The Search Committee by Tim Owens

If any of you have ever attended a church long enough, you will discover there are times when a Pastor must move on to bigger or better things.  For whatever reason God calls them to move on and with moving on it leaves a congregation searching.  In The Search Committee Tim Owens pairs up seven of the most diverse group of characters to search for a new pastor for their Presbyterian church.  This diverse group of characters represent the people groups of the church.

We are introduced to Travis who represents the young married professionals of the church.  We also see Bill who is a retiree. and Frankie who is about 70 yrs. old...and the leader of the pact.  We find Matt, who is in his early 30's, unemployed, with a PhD living with his dad.  We are also introduced to Dot, a middle-aged housewife and gossip.  Then there is Joyce, a widowed 60 yr old misplaced from NY.  Last but not least, we find a 30 something divorcee who is raising a teenaged son.

At the beginning of each chapter Tim Owens scribes either a scripture from the Bible or an excerpt from the Book of Confessions or  the Book of Order from the Presbyterian Church which leads his readers into what the chapter will focus on.  I found this tidbit of info to be helpful simply because I have never attended a Presbyterian church and know nothing of this denomination or its beliefs.  I was able to more fully understand the beliefs and ideologies of the church.  

What I loved most about the book as a whole is that Tim didn't try to create over-spiritual characters that we couldn't relate to.  They each represented what we would, as mere humans, experience in our own lives.  I could relate to many of the "issues" that this small group of people had, which makes it a good read in and of itself.  

"If you believe just a little, itty-bitty bit, you can say to the mountain, 'Move', and the mountain has to move."  ~Mrs. Bryant (a small but powerful character)

As this search committee heads out across three states in search of a new pastor for their church, they find themselves on some of the most hilarious adventures as they enter different restaurants and churches.  As they drive along, the committee takes notice of the different church signs along the way...in which Travis writes them all down.  As the search unfolds, so do the issues of their own lives.  Will this group of rag-tag characters find the right pastor that will lead them into a more Christ-like life?  Or will the itty-bitty bit of faith be the moving force of the mountains in their lives?  Each member of the group is searching for something...will that searching truly be found through finding a pastor or will they bond as a group and find what they are truly longing for?  

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has ever had to deal with lust, gossip, loss, divorce, love, or searching for God while feeling like their faith is too small.  (Which I think would be everyone).

I received this book free to review from Tyndale House.  The review and opinions are my own. 

Jan 10, 2012

Delivery By Diane Prusik

I downloaded this book onto my nook several months ago and planned on reading it in 2012 as part of my reading goal.  I had no idea that this novel was Diana Prusik's debut novel which was Tyndale House Publisher's Digital First initiative fiction titles.  Delivery was also the 2008 finalist, 2009 semi-finalist, and 2010 finalist of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel.  Diana Prusik's inspiration for her novel came from her first place of employment at a small-town florist...that she still works at part-time as a floral designer to this day.

Since I didn't read the excerpt about what this book was about, I went into reading this novel with absolutely no expectation whatsoever as to what to expect or what the story line would be.

As I walked through the pages of this story, I followed Livi (the main character of the book) through her journey of finding healing and hope through a smalll town floral shop and the characters who entered.  The story starts out in the Wilson family floral shop during 1988 with the death of a close family friend.  Through the death of Bink Carter, Livi's old wounds have surfaced and she is faced with the pain that she has tried to cover up for the last 20 years with alcohol.

Diana takes us on the journey of Livi's life, love, heart break, and alcohol addiction.  Through Livi's story we find God's grace being shown through some of the most intricate character's that walk through the back door of the Wilson Floral Shop.  We meet Mom Robinson who through casual conversation plants spiritual seeds of love and hope and never keeps a gift to herself.  We are also introduced to Miss Ellie, who works at the shop.  In her old age, she has learned to not care what others think about her, but what God thinks. 

Livi's story can be many of our stories.  There are issues and heartache that we run away from and find comfort in other things rather than turning to God.  We question God about why He would allow such heartache to happen. We get angry with God for allowing situations and circumstances to happen in our lives that we think are too much for us to bear. 

Will Livi find peace and healing from her past?  More importantly, will Livi find peace and healing with Christ? 

As you journey through Livi's story, and the intertwining lives of the community around her...you might very well end up finding a new hope and healing for the issues that you may be running from.  Grab your tissues because Livi's story will touch your heart in a way that it hasn't been touched before.