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Number of Pages: 228
Vendor: Tate Publishing
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LoriCincinnati, OHAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Great Book!April 17, 2012LoriCincinnati, OHAge: 45-54Gender: femaleI am impressed at how helpful this book would be for a new believer in Christ. Many struggle with daily devotions. However, Karen makes it so simple that anyone can follow her plan. This is a must read and must share!
LarryDes Plaines, IllinoisAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5ValuableFebruary 22, 2012LarryDes Plaines, IllinoisAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5As promised in her book title, Karen Kolbu provides a "how-to" book for those who wish to begin and/or improve their personal daily devotions. The book does much more than just informing a person of the importance of daily devotions; it gives six weeks of guided, how-to develop a spiritual habit that will make them stronger and more intentional about their devotional life.
The book is divided into several sections, the first is an explanation about the importance and practice of doing daily devotions; it is followed by six separate chapters which takes the readers on a daily devotional discovery of six weeks that, upon completion, will solidify a holy habit of daily devotions in their lives.
Let me begin by saying, I'm a fan! I'm hooked on the book. I find Beginning very readable and useable. I have taught "Spiritual Formation" as a college class since 1998 and have not found a better book which, step by step, leads a person through a how-to of developing one's daily devotions. All through the book, Kolbu is very encouraging; it seems as though she is sitting next to you as you journey from day to day through the six weeks.
At the very beginning of the book, she states: "What will this book do for me?...In a nutshell, our purpose on this earth is to serve God and along the way become the people he made us to be_. This book is designed to give you direction in talking to God (prayer) and hearing him talk back to you" (pp.19-20).
If I had to use only one word to describe this book, I would say it is a book about relationships. Part of my reason for that word choice comes from Kolbu's own words describing a Christian's relationships, she says: "Developing a relationship with anyone takes time, effort, and commitment. But first it takes trust. It can be even harder when you can't touch that person physically. With that truth in mind, I designed this book to:
â€¢ Help you develop a habit of spending time alone with God daily, which in turn allows you to know him better. [Remember, habit formation takes time.]
â€¢ Give you a tour through some biblical doctrine_ [Don't worry that, she makes it informative without putting you to sleep.]
â€¢ Help you memorize verses. [Perhaps you don't think you can memorize anything, but what about the phone numbers, addresses, birthdates, etc. that you already have memorizedâ€”you can memorize scripture, this book will help you.]
â€¢ Help you experience God through contemplative prayer_ [Don't be afraid of that word "contemplative" because it is already a daily practice of yours. When you are thinking about anythingâ€”but especially people who you are in a relationship with, i.e., your spouse, children, grandchildren, or friendsâ€”you are contemplating; only during our devotional time, we turn our contemplation (thoughts) to God and his Word in our effort to get to know him and his will for our lives better.]
â€¢ Help you develop the practice of journaling_ [There is another word not to be afraid of; journaling helps us write our thoughts on paper so that we can remember them and think about them later.] (pp. 22-23).
A second reason I would also ascribe the word relationship to the book is because of the way Kolbu helps to guide the reader through the process of learning this new skill. Throughout the pages in which she leads the reader through six weeks of practicing the discipline of daily devotions, it seems like she is right there with you, offering her encouraging words as you work your way through them. Also she promises to pray for the reader every step of the way. It reminded me of the Apostle Paul's words to pray for the various readers in his Epistles (e.g., Philippians 1:3-4; Colossians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2). As I am sure those first century Christians never doubted Paul's concern or prayers, I do not doubt Kolbu's for her readers. Also, half-way through the book, she gives her e-mail address, encouraging readers to "let me know how you're feeling about your developing devotional practice and more importantly, your relationship with God" (p.112). Twice more after that she prompts the reader to e-mail her (pp. 164, 214) and share with her how things are going with their new devotional experience. Her primary concern is for her readers' progress in developing that holy habit of daily devotions. It's about relationshipsâ€”you and God; the reader and the author; you and other readers.
If I had a negative thought regarding Beginning, it was that the book left me wanting more. However, after guiding the reader through the six weeks of devotion development, she gives ideas as to how to expand their devotional journey into several more weeks (pp. 215-218) with "follow-up assignments." All habits take time to flower into a normal practice.
Beginning is a book for the serious minded Christian who desires to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18). If the reader does their part, this book delivers on its promise to help the reader develop a habit of spending time alone with God.
Kolbu closes her book with "my friend, my time with you for this book has come to an end, but our faith journey continues_I pray your relationship with God is deeper than it was before and you have a better understanding of his ways and his will. But mostly, I pray you have a greater understanding of God's heart_Be blessed, dear friend, and know that I continue to pray for you" (p. 219). The Christian lifeâ€”it's all about relationship.
Jo61CAAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Improve your devotional time with GodFebruary 13, 2012Jo61CAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I had the pleasure of opening my computer each weekday to read Karen's Verse of the Day and I grew to depend on the verses and insights Karen would glean from them. Her book, Beginning, is the perfect next step for anyone that wants to learn how to develop a life-long habit of daily devotional time with God. As a Bible scholar, she shares from the Word; and as a trainer, she has designed the book to be a teaching guide that we can use to build our own method of communing with God each day! Jo61
Located in: Kerrville, Texas
Submitted: March 16, 2011
Tell us a little about yourself. I have been writing for one reason or another for more than 40 years. I enjoy getting my thoughts, passions and experiences out on paper. My spiritual gifts include teaching and exhorting others, so this book is a great use of those skills entrusted to me by my Lord. I graduated with honors from a seminary internship program specializing in Womens Ministry leadership and a church-sponsored counseling program. I also served in my churchs childrens ministry, womens ministry and worship and arts programs. My greatest accomplishment, though, is becoming a child of God. What a God we serve who takes the least qualified and equips them for His works. I have been told over the years that my writing style is conversational, easy to read and easy relate to (I risk ending this sentence with a preposition). I am told I write very closely to how I speak. Im not quite sure how to take that, but I think the comments were meant as compliments and so thats how Ill take them.
What was your motivation behind this project? The birth of "Beginning: Developing a Lasting Devotional Practice"... I began authoring the Verse of the Day in 2000. Studying the Bible became a major driving force in my expository of the daily verses and so did my desire to help Christians with their understanding of Gods Word and how to apply it in their lives. Then after a number of devastating events in my life, I began to hear God so clearly and rely on Him more and more. I used my training design and development skills to build on the Verse of the Day and teach folks how to spend time alone with God. I write for new Christians or Christians whose path may be a little garbled (as mine was in the in the beginning) and need some focus and direction. Members of churches and Christian groups would benefit greatly from reading Beginning.
What do you hope folks will gain from this project? My hope is that, after reading this book, folks would have the skills and practices in place to maintain their devotional practice they developed while going through the book. Ultimately, being and becoming closer to God.
How were you personally impacted by working on this project? It's amazing how God can use anyone as a tool in His hand to further His kingdom. I am continually blessed and encouraged by the comments and feedback I get as a result of being a tool in God's hand.
Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists? First and foremost, Jesus. I try (very hard) to be like-minded. I would say Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, is a close second. Then I would have to say Josh McDowell, Donna Partow and a myriad of other Christian authors.
Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know: If you're impassioned to do something that appears way too big for you, don't stop there. If the idea scares the socks off you, it's most likely from God. Follow it. If you're having trouble discerning God's will for you or His voice, take the journey through this book and He will make your path straight. God bless you on your new Beginning!