Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sickness, Suffering and Sadness

Wow the title to this post is just depressing. But it is what we are reading about as we get ready to wrap up the book. Debbie is dying and it is very sad. I feel their pain and I cry as I read (yes 2nd time crying). Denver still amazes me with the wisdom that he possesses. I truly believe that God brings people in our lives at just the right times (like Denver, Debbie & Ron) because he knows exactly when we will need them most. So I have a couple things I want to touch on in this post before we wrap things up in the next couple of days.

Denver gives a talk to Ron about the set of keys God gives us in life and what we choose to do with them. I think he puts it beautifully in how so many times we walk on by or ignore moments when we could make a difference: “Many folks had seen me behind the bars in that prison for more than thirty years, and they just walked on by. Kept their keys in their pocket and left me locked up.” “But Miss Debbie was different – she seen me behind them bars and reached way down in her pocket and pulled out the keys God gave her and used one to unlock the prison door and set me free.” Have you been using the keys God gave you to help set others free? Have you set yourself free? Did someone help you?

I want to post the questions from the back of the book on sickness and suffering:
1) Bad things happen to good people. What might God be trying to reveal about Himself through these types of situations?
2) Recognizing our mortality puts life in perspective. What are three things for which you want to be remembered? What are you doing to accomplish these goals today?
3) Refresh your memory of the Book of Job. Through all of his pain, Job remained faithful to God. What can you do to cultivate that kind of faith in your everyday life?

What happens to Debbie is terrible. I feel so awful for Ron, Denver and her family. If you have experienced this kind of loss, I'm sorry. I pray that you open yourself up to receive God's comforting arms. I think Denver did a good job in chapter 44 articulating an answer to why sometimes we can't understand when God takes someone we love so dearly, "God calls some good ones like Miss Debbie home so He can accomplish His purpose down here on the earth." I know it's not something easy to understand or grasp but God will help us get through it.

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April Extraordinary Women Night

The April Ewomen night is coming up soon. It will be held April 3rd at 6:00 p.m. in our church sanctuary. Our April Ewomen Night lesson will be “Seasons of a Woman’s life" by Freda Crews. A brief description of the DVD is as follows:

“Learn how women can gracefully adapt to successive seasons of life, yielding to Christ, while fulfilling her purpose and being fulfilled. Join us as we learn about loss, grief and how to grow strong through the winter seasons of life." .

We will watch the DVD in the sanctuary followed by discussion with coffee and desserts in the fellowship hall. This is open to all women, please feel free to bring a friend. You can e-mail me at if you need any further information or have quesitons.

If you are interested in donating a dessert or a jug of tea, please let me know. I hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A few thoughts

In the last post I commented on some of my favorite words of wisdom we have learned from Denver thus far in the book. Well as we continue to read I want to pull out some more gems that we learn from Denver as well as Debbie.

As we find out Debbie’s diagnosis, tears come to my eyes even this second time reading it. (remember I am a crier!) Because of the way Ron and Denver write, it just seems personal. It’s like I know her and I am sad for what is going on. As we get Denver’s take on when he first hears the news we see him giving us some wisdom yet again. In chapter 30 he talks about Debbie’s love for the homeless, “The perfect love of God don’t come with no conditions, and that’s the kind of love Miss Debbie showed the folks at the mission.” This is the kind of love God calls us to give all the time. Debbie gave this love to the homeless so now they pray for her as a way to give that love back. Be honest with yourself and think about if you are giving this type of love all the time. Its part of the greatest commandment of all that Jesus gave us; Love your neighbor as yourself and the love the LORD with all your heart.

Reading about the devotion to prayer that Denver has when Debbie is sick is amazing and makes my eyes well up again. I never would have thought about what Denver is doing, “She had a lot of friends that would be praying for her all day. But he figured she needed someone to pray all night, and he would be the one to do it.” You hear the saying, “People praying 24/7.” But I guess when you hear or read about someone that REALLY did it or does it…. it’s just amazing.

I love the part when Debbie puts Ron in his place as he is worrying about Denver and his trip to take Regan her stuff. The answer she gives Ron is such a “duh!” moment; “Well, why don’t you stop worrying and let’s start praying for Denver’s safety?” How often do we miss the big picture and worry and fret over things when really we should stop what we are doing and pray? I know I am guilty of it.

And for the last thought I want to mention Denver and his friend Mr. Ballentine. We learn about Mr. Ballentine through Ron and Denver’s descriptions. How many times have we been like Ron and thought we were doing soooo good and God uses something or someone to knock us back in perspective, "bring us off our high horse"? I love what Denver tells Mr. Scott when he comes to visit Mr. Ballentine and offers to bless him but he wants to pick and choose how he blesses him. “You asked the man how you could bless him, and he told you he wanted two things – cigarettes and Ensure. Now you trying to judge him instead of blessin him by blessin him with only half the things he asked for. You saw the man. Now tell me the truth: How much worse you think he gon’ be after smoking? Cigarettes it he only pleasure he got left.” Now you and I know that what Denver is saying might not apply to all situations. But he definitely gets to the point and core of how we judge people so often. It goes back to the post I did about the Homelessness; We say we want to give but then we worry about what will happen to what we give. It’s not our job to judge someone for how they use their blessings. Now you may not agree with me and questioning what I am saying but remember my disclaimer… Every situation is unique so what Denver is saying may not apply to everything. But the heart of what Denver is saying about not judging people is the truth.

I hope you are enjoying the book or did enjoy it if you are already done. I am getting lots of great feedback by word of mouth. We are in the home stretch till our next book....I’m excited!

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New little feature

I just wanted to make a brief post and let you know about a new little feature I added to the blog in case you are interested. You can look down the right hand side of the blog and see the part titled, "What Amber's reading other than the monthly selection!" You will see a picture and the title of the book. Sometimes people are looking for something else to read if they finish the month's selection and ask what I am reading. So now you will know! If you want to know how a book is going or my opinion on one just e-mail me, and I will let you know. Beware.... you may get more of a critique than you want... haha!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Words of Wisdom

I’m sorry to my faithful readers if you are out there. Sorry for my slacking. Thank you for your forgiviness! But anyways could we write a book on words of wisdom by Denver Moore or what? As I read through the book so many things come up that he says that are so thought provoking and wise. First off the part about the fishing for friends that I already mentioned in a previous post is so true. I love Denver’s heart and the way he defends “the man” and what was done to him as he grew up. Humor me for a moment as I list a couple of my favorite Denver quotes thus far in the book (before we find out the news about Debbie).

1) “Are you sure you own them, or does they own you?” Here Denver is referring to all the keys on Ron’s key chain. How right is Denver in relating to our “stuff?” Does our stuff own us or do we own it? I love his view of all the fancy art and the sushi aka “bait”. It defiantly helps you bring things back down a little in perspective.
2) “When you is precious to God, you become important to Satan.” This is the part of the statement he uses after he finishes the retreat with Debbie. He warns Ron to watch out because something bad is going to happen to Debbie soon, which it does. But whether you believe this kind of thinking or not I believe in a way it is true. It doesn’t necessarily mean something bad is about to happen to you. But it is true in the sense that when you become important to God you become important to satan and he will do everything he can to try to pull you away from God. When you are not close to God, well then satan is done good he doesn’t have to work so hard. It’s like smooth sailing for him because you are already doing exactly what he wants you to do. But if you are close to God well that isn’t what satan wants, so he starts working overtime. And it is up to you how you deal with this when it happens.

Now for one more piece of wisdom that we have learned thus far that we can all take away and practice. It’s not from Denver but another homeless gentleman described in Chapter 26. He was happy even in his awful condition because he woke up. Ron mentions that Debbie and he began to practice that kind of thankfulness every morning they woke up. I think this is something we could all use and remember to do. The first thing we can do is praise God that we woke up.

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April Reading Selection

Our April selection for the book club will be, The Shack by William Paul Young. There were MANY of you who have expressed you would really like to have The Shack as a selection. And not only because you liked it so much but also for all the great discussion it will produce. If you have not heard of The Shack or are unaware of what it is about, here is the description from the back of the book cover:

Mackenzie Allen Philip's youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question: Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain? The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book! (end quote)

If you have read this book I hope you are like me and look forward to reading it again for all the great discussion we will have. If you have not read it I encourage you to read along with us. Don't forget you can always have discussion about the book or post your thoughts on our blog throughout the month. If you need help with this, please let me know and I will get it on there for you.

Now a bit of warning is in order for this book because there is much controversy surrounding it and it's mixed theology. We must remember that it is a fictional novel that is merely a source of entertainment that has been able to impact many lives with some of it's themes. In no way is this book completely factual or a clear representation of the Word of God. Please keep this in mind as you read and recommend it to others.

If you are interested in a Pre-order please contact Kathy. I'm sure in the next couple of days she will be e-mailing you with the information for a possible pre-order. I know there are many people who already have this book so an online order may not be necessary. I know books-a-million and the library have several copies of the book available as well. Sorry the pre-order is late! My fault!

I apologize that this is shorter notice than usually is given on a book selection but some other ideas kinda fell through at the last minute. But also remember that the April meeting will be pushed back till May 2nd so we have an extra week. On a side note, The $5.00 Christian book store located in the Outlet mall is open again. Great store with lots of great finds! I look forward to seeing you this upcoming Saturday, March 28th. If you have any questions or need anything please let me know. Have a great week!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009


I just wanted to do a quick post to celebrate that we have had 300 views of the blog since starting back in January. If you are wondering how I know this, there is a ticker at the bottom of the blog from Sitemeter. Anyways I thought that was pretty cool! I also need to apologize for being such a slacker. I haven't been posting near as much about this month's book as I normally do. I have alot going on which I know isn't a good excuse but please forgive me! I am going to try really hard to make a post this afternoon but I'm not making any promises. I will be announcing the April selection VERY soon. Stay tuned!

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Friday, March 13, 2009


Denver gives us a glimpse into what life is really like for a homeless person. His stories move something in me that want to do something like what Deborah and Ron do for the mission. It is neat to see the transformation in Ron as he goes to the mission and does things he thinks at first are just for Deborah but then later realizes that it’s for him too. I think what “mister” says to Ron in the book is a good eye opener for people. Just because someone is homeless doesn’t make them some kind of criminal or terrible person. It could happen to anyone. Have you ever known someone homeless or come across someone that was? What did you do, how did you react? Often times I see the people on the side of the road with the cardboard signs. I have heard several people say as well as myself, “Well I would like to help but just don’t know if they are scamming you or not.” And a very wise person told me that if God happens to give you that urging to give, then you do it. You let God take care of the rest because it’s not our job to judge what they do with the money because it is not our money anyway. I’m not saying you don’t have to be careful because there are people out there that will hurt you but that if you can, give to others and pray for God to take care of them and guide them. My mom tried to teach this to my sister and I. She tried to teach us that no matter who someone was or what they looked like, you could do something for them. After she passed away last summer my sister told me about a time that I don't quite remember in which my mother brought a homeless gentleman to Thanksgiving dinner. There was a little stir in the family I believe, but it all worked out okay. I hope one day I can be that kind of testimony for my children.

Here are some Homelessness Questions from the back of the book for you to ponder:
1) What is your initial reaction to encountering a homeless person or someone who is in serious financial or personal need?
2) If you were in that situation, how would you want others to respond to you?
3) Other than give money to social service agencies, what are three things you can do to provide ministry to the homeless people in your community?
4) Jesus’ ministry was often focused on society’s outcasts. Why did Jesus seek them out rather than socialize with the religious elite? With which crowd are you most likely to spend time – the outcasts in your community or the religious elite? Why?

Starting at about chapter 18 and on for a little while Ron and Denver go back and forth with their first meetings. I enjoy hearing Ron tell the Story then Denver cutting in with “Lord-a-mercy” and his different way of saying what he really thought of them two. I love the analogy Denver gives Ron about the fishing for friends. Isn’t that what we all really want… real friends not just catch and release friends? If you believe Deborah’s dreams it is truly amazing how it all worked out and how God spoke to her spirit. Denver does prove to be a wise man and we can already see that beginning now. I hope you are enjoying reading the book. We will announce April’s book next week for pre-orders so stay tuned! Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009


Ron tells us about college, the army, Deborah and the changes he makes in his life becoming an adult. I don’t know about you but just from what I read so far about her, I like Deborah. I like the way she tells Ron how it is (like the time with the Rolls Royce). Ron tells us how they were just average Sunday church goers until they met some people at a discussion group and learned that they were wrong. How often do you think people miss the point of church and think that all you need to do is be “good” and sit in the pews on Sunday? Sadly it is very common. I know because growing up I used to be one of them. Do you think there is some prejudice in Ron and Deborah when they first meet the people of the discussion group who question them being saved?

Ron is very open with us and tells us about what was going on with Deborah and his marriage. I pray that more couples can do what Ron and Deborah did after his fling with the artist and keep moving on. But I know no one is perfect and not everyone can do what they did and sometimes it’s for the better, I just admire it. Deborah amazed me at the grace she had dealing with that girl, (after she threw stuff at Ron which every practical wife would do). Not only did Deborah release the girl with forgiveness but she also released herself. When you forgive someone you are not only lifting a burden of someone else’s but you are setting yourself free too. We see lots of changes in all the characters throughout the book. We all have to make changes and adapt to life to keep moving forward and grow in our relationship with Christ.

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As we continue to read we learn about Ron and Denver as they finish childhood and become adults. We read more about tragic things that happen to Denver such as the horse incident but also good things like the little white boy and the bike. It is no wonder that when Denver hopped that train to get away from the plantation he began to develop a hardness that kept others out. As Denver describes the type of poor he was and what happens to him it gives me chills. How sad for people that they don’t even have a clue that life could be better. And what is even worse is that there are so many people still like this and worse today and they still need to hear the good news.

In the reader’s guide in the book there are some questions that face the prejudice we are learning about in the first part of the book:

1) What are some modern examples of prejudice? Other than racial prejudice, what other kinds of prejudice are common today?
2) What are three things you can do to combat your personal prejudices?
3) What does being prejudiced say about your personal self-esteem?
4) Read Micah 6:8. What does this verse say about the attitude we should have toward other people?

So after reading through these my question to you is do you still experience or know someone who does experience prejudice, either by race, religion, age, etc.? Do you think as followers of Jesus any kind of prejudice is okay? I don’t. The greatest commandment is to Love God and Love others as ourselves and there is no room for prejudices. At this stage in the book this is not the end of what we see of prejudice but now we have some things to think about as we read on.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


First I must apologize because I know I have been slacking on the blogging. I’m sure you have been so disappointed. Haha! But I am determined to play catch up this week so if all goes well I will have several posts this week! By the way if you missed our March Ewomen night please stay tuned for information on the April meeting!

At the very beginning of Same Kind of Different as Me we are getting to know Denver and Ron’s childhood. I find it very interesting the way Ron and Denver take turns writing chapters showing us their very separate lives as they come together later in the book. This gives us insight into what they were going through at the same time just at separate places and it shows two different worlds. As young as I am it’s hard for me to imagine the way that Denver is growing up. I of course have learned about slavery and the civil rights movement through history books but it’s as if all of that skipped over where Denver was living as if stuck back in time. I wonder how many people know that there were people like Denver that were still around sharecropping when slavery was supposedly over. My heart goes out to Denver when he is just a child and he loses his Big Mama and is shuffled around from home to home. All too often today this is still occurring where children are abandoned by their parents and swapped around between family members. Depending on you will depend on how much you will be shocked by what all happens to Denver as he continues to tell his story. As we read along, may it change our perceptions as we learn to become the hands and feet of Christ and reach out of our sheltered world to the many Denver’s still out there.

I think it is easy to identify with Ron in the embarrassing episodes at school, the alcoholic father and trying to get the “rich” life. This is showing us who shaped the person Ron is when he meets Denver for the first time. Ron grew up the kid that was usually put down and strives to be that person that has the potential to look down on others. You get a good taste of this when he describes going to the airport all fancy and wishing people that used to make fun of him could see him now. It’s easy to have that feeling when others didn’t put faith in you to succeed and now you have, it’s natural for you to want them to see that you proved them wrong. We have to remember we are all human just like Ron and it is so easy to think a lot of ourselves and accomplishments and forget where our blessings really come from. It is neat to see the transformation that Ron makes as we continue to read and learn about his relationships with Denver and Debbie.

I hope you are enjoying the book. Remember if you would like to make a blog entry just e-mail it to me for posting or if you have any comments to post, please do so!

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Monday, March 2, 2009

February Meeting Recap/March Reading Guide

We had a great February meeting with 17 people! We had a lot of people read the book this month and everyone I have talked to really enjoyed it. But not everyone could make it to the meeting. I was afraid we would have less than January because a lot of people couldn’t come, but really we had more. We had lots of great discussion. All month long I had heard how much people loved the book from beginning to end, so it was neat to hear some perspective from people who didn’t like the book until the end and then they loved it too. Newcomer Sandy Plugge won our raffle copy of the March book, Congratulations Sandy! Thank you to Jessica Smith and Bridgit Gosa who contributed to our door prizes. If you would like to donate something in the future please do so and let me know! We missed you if you couldn’t make it to the meeting but are so glad you are reading along with us. Hopefully you can make it to our next meeting. Don’t forget to post what you thought of the book on the blog. I am going to remove the polls because I didn’t get much response and maybe bring them back at a later date when the blog is up and running better.

Now it is time to start our next book, Same kind of different as me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. The book has approximately 245 pages. It has 67 chapters, a reader’s guide, an interview with the authors and there are pictures in the back of the book that help tell the story. If you would like to pace yourself through the month, a good guide is as follows:

Week 1=Chapters 1 - 17
Week 2=Chapters 18 - 34
Week 3=Chapters 35 - 51
Week 4=Chapters 52 – 67, interview with Authors

I hope you enjoy this month’s selection and I look forward to reading along with you and seeing you at our next meeting. Please invite your friends and family to come and read along with us, the more the better! Happy Reading!

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