Posts filed under ‘Books’

Clusters of Hope

Some friends and I have been meeting regularly for a few years now.  We started off as a book discussion group, and the first book we read together took us almost two years to finish!  As we did our book study, we became increasingly aware of our need for relationships with people who truly know us, would lovingly speak truth to us and help us see our flaws and failings more clearly, so that God can transform us.  As a result, we’re focusing more on spiritual growth and accountability.  We have a (long!) list of questions to guide us in our discussion, as we seek to honestly examine our lives together.  

We’ve also started something called “Clusters of Hope.”  This is basically an exercise in encouraging hope in each other. Our hope is external to our situations, and rests in the triumph of God. So each of us is given a research assignment before our “Clusters of Hope” meeting, to bring back to the group and do a short presentation on. One person is assigned to come with a story from a biography or history book that gives a living illustration of God’s faithfulness and power in spreading His kingdom. Another person is assigned to come with a text from the Bible that stirs up hope in the triumph of God over the forces of unbelief and evil and pain. A third person is assigned to come with a report of a contemporary happening or development that illustrates God’s triumphant movement in the world today. There is some discussion, and then prayer that focuses on the advances of God’s causes in the world, and our feeling the hope of his victory so that our little problems would be swallowed up in the great God who rules all of history.            

At our first “Clusters” meeting, B had not just one text from the Bible, but a multitude of them, on a handout! As she went through each one, I was overwhelmed by the great number of God’s promises to base our hope on. R read a chapter from Steve Saint’s latest book about a believer that he met in Timbuktoo. What an encouragement!! I did some reading on the current movement toward missions to unreached people groups (UPGs) and the Joshua Project. I certainly learned a lot, and even though R and B already knew a lot about the UPGs, they had a clearer picture of the history and trends occurring in this movement. We all went away with stories and happenings of God’s work in the world, and with a stronger feeling of hope.


January 19, 2008 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

The Dangerous Book For Boys

As a child, I was continually exasperated by my brothers’ antics. They were usually up to something – whether it involved wet toilet paper, waterbombs, combustibles and the like. So now that I have two sons, it’s dejavu all over again. Except, as parents, we are encouraging it!

After reading a review on The Dangerous Book For Boys, and bumping into a friend who was biking with his son to their “secret hideout” to read the book together, we trotted off to the bookstore to look at it. The first sentence in the introduction had me hooked.

In this age of video games and cell phones, there must still be a place for knots, tree houses, and stories of incredible courage.

So Marcus, who’s almost eight years old, has been reading this book. I balked at his request for “essential gear” like fishhooks and matches, but we’ve tried making a bow and arrow (couldn’t find a flint or bone for arrowheads, and I was squeamish about picking up feathers from our backyard), reading cloud formations, looking at bugs (although pill bugs don’t make good pets, and a toad peed in our house). We’ve read about the elite spartan warriors in the battle of Thermopylae, and the courage and tenacity of Robert Scott in his quest to reach the Antarctic. I was moved by the “Seven Poems Every Boy Should Know” section.

I love watching Marcus just be a boy, and exploring the world that God made. I wonder how long it will be before we get this book?

June 28, 2007 at 6:14 pm 2 comments


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