Three Friends, Three Books

Today I’m excited to introduce three books from three friends that are making an impact on me. Each touches me in a different way: poetry that stirs my heart, mind, and soul; missionary stories that inspire me; and a devotional book that I’m already planning to use next year.

The first excerpt is a poem and call to prayer for your personal reflection, that would also work well in a  corporate worship setting. The second is a brief meditation from a Japanese context on the obi of love (Colossians 3:14). And finally I share why I’m saving the third book for next year.


a slow and sudden god

A Slow and Sudden God book covera slow and sudden god:
40 years of wonder

by Chris Maxwell, 2018

a call to prayer

He calls us here.
He meets us here.
do we hear the calling?
do we notice the Presence?

if we come at all,
let us come expecting and desperate,
full of passion and anticipation;
convicted of our sin, convinced of our Savior,
seeking for conversion, searching for Christ.
humble, but hoping,
afraid, but aggressive,
reverent, but relentless.

name the ones we love.
label the pain we hate.
mention the darkness we despise.
discard the chains that choke us.
admit how hard this is,
but learn that it can be done.

He is here and we draw near.

we bow our heads.
we bend our knees.
we wait for a Power that rides the breeze
that blows into a room
where questioning seekers become courageous saints.
still human, but more whole.
still frail, but closer to fine.
still stumbling, but then standing;
standing up, standing still,
standing for Him, standing forever.

Father, watch over me, us, them.
Doctor, ease this relentless pain.
Savior, rescue me.

take this life, these friends, this land;
caress us all inside Your hand.
hold us in Your palm of knowing,
keep us praying, keep us growing,

keep us, we pray.

a slow and sudden god by Chris Maxwell is available from True Potential Media and Amazon.


Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine book cover

Rise and Shine:
45 Years in the Land of the Rising Sun

by Mary Klassen Derksen, 2018

Kimono According to Colossians 3:14

The kimono is not simply slipped on like a dress. Dressing is a complicated, time-consuming affair. The kimono is a loose garment open all the way down the front. The obi is the band that ties it together at the waist. Seven different ties complete the obi.

In our English version of Colossians 3:14, we are simply told And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. In the Japanese Bible we are told to put on the obi of love, which ties everything together in perfect unity. The kimono is useless without the obi. In the same way, we need God’s obi of love to be useful in building the Kingdom of God in our world. (page 212)

Rise and Shine by Mary Klassen Derksen is available in Abbotsford at House of James, Mennonite Heritage Museum, and Coles Books; in Vancouver at Pilgrim Book and Bible; in Winnipeg at CommonWord; and online from


Words of Faith to Live By

Words of Faith to Live By book coverWords of Faith to Live By:
Using 12 Reflective Words for a Calendar Year

by Grace Wulff, 2018

Although this is a small book, I haven’t read it yet, because this book is  not really about reading. Instead, this devotional guide offers twelve reflective words, one for each month of a calendar year. Then for each word there are verses of Scripture, journal prompts, some devotional thoughts, prayer suggestions, and line drawings for colouring. I love this creative combination, and plan to use this book next year.

Words of Faith To Live By is available directly from Grace Wulff’s website.



Writing/Reflection Prompt: What books are making an impact on you these days?


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4 thoughts on “Three Friends, Three Books

  1. A sleeper book I’m enjoying is The Close, about a young woman’s first year in seminary. I picked it up at my favorite place, a “Little Free Library.” Do you have those in BC? You would likely enjoy it too, even though you’re long past seminary! I love that you’re reviewing these books–small books can always use all the exposure they can get! Bless you and happy retirement in whatever form that takes for you.

    1. Too funny, Melodie – although I have a graduate degree in theological studies, I never actually went to seminary, and although I’m leaving my church, I’m not ready for retirement! Instead, I’m looking to invest more deeply in my writing and speaking, and am open to ministry in some other setting that would allow for good synergy. That’s all still in process, so please stay tuned….

      I’ve heard of the Little Free Library, but I don’t know of any in our area – sounds like a good way to find intriguing reading material.

  2. Thanks for your corrections here! I think I knew you weren’t retiring, sorry I misspoke, so to speak. But you took it well. I like Little Free Libraries right around the Eastern Mennonite University and the Eastern Mennonite High School campuses where I get many discards from people whose books I enjoy, and then can return them after keeping them 5 months, 10 months, whatever it takes to get through my stack! I can imagine the books donated might be different in a different community. I particularly like I don’t have to keep up with returning books to the public library, although as an author, I do like to purchase books too, so I have a stack! Never runs dry.

    1. I’m not sure that pastors or writers ever really retire–I imagine you and I will keep on writing…and of course reading too! The Little Free Libraries you describe sound ideal 🙂

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