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|Format: DRM Protected ePub|
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2016
"What are you giving up for Lent?" we are asked. Our minds begin to whirl: Chocolate? Designer coffee? Social media? Forty days later, some feel disappointed in their efforts (it was a limited-time blend . . . ), some feel surprised by their success (didnt even miss it . . . ), but perhaps precious few feel spiritually renewed.
Can such fasts alone truly prepare us to celebrate Easter? Or any other chosen time of reflection during the year?
Or could it be that before we can be duly awed by resurrection, we need to daily honor crucifixion?
40 Days of Decrease emphasizes a different type of fast. What if you or your church fasted comparison? What if your family fasted accumulation? What if your office fasted gossip?
40 Days of Decrease guides readers through a study of Jesus uncommon and uncomfortable call to abandon the worlds illusions, embrace His kingdoms reality, and journey cross-ward and beyond.
Each daily, 1000-word entry will include
- a devotional based on Jesus cross-ward life;
- a reflection question to guide journaling or group discussion;
- a fast to inspire a tangible response;
- a thought-provoking Lenten quote;
- a sidebar into the historical development of Lent.
An award-winning writer, Dr. Alicia Britt Choles messages address both head and heart and are often described as grace-filled surgeries. Alicia is a speaker, author, and leadership mentor who enjoys thunderstorms, jalapenos, and honest questions. To explore Alicias other books or learn more about her ministry, visit www.aliciabrittchole.com.
Amy VG3 Stars Out Of 5couldn't use thisMarch 17, 2017Amy VGQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Alicia Britt Chole is a great writer. I enjoyed reading her book just for her vibrant, direct writing style. However, even with her amazing writing, I just couldn't get into this book. I couldn't identify with her daily intros, which were tiny snippets of Jesus' ministry from her perspective. These snippets would then connect to the daily "fast". I found the "fasts" not to be of great benefit. Fasting "collecting praise", a meal, "rationalism", "avoidance", "tidy faith" all seem like good things to fast from. But we should be doing all these things already, and so, the suggestions just seemed a bit "light". Like a self-help book. Really the point to fasting is to seek God and focus on Him. I didn't get the sense that the fasts in this book were doing that. I also didn't understand the point to the daily history lessons on Lent practices. There were daily quotes from various Christian authors, I also didn't enjoy these, as some I didn't understand, others I didn't see the connection to the chapter. I don't know what to say...I guess I am unimpressed with this book. I think there are better lent books out there. Or even better: pick a book from the Bible and read a chapter a day and pray about it. That is fasting right there: making time for God and sticking to reading His Word daily.
CDecker5 Stars Out Of 5Fasting not food, but the things that hinder our walk with ChristApril 4, 2016CDeckerQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0I was immediately drawn to the subtitles invitation: A different kind of hunger. A different kind of fast. As a Pentecostal Christian, Lent has not been a practice of mine but, I have fasted and I knew fasting included the hunger pains of giving up food. So how could this fast bring a different hunger? What I found, was this book was not about giving up food, it was about giving up the hindrances Ive collected along the way and replacing them with a hunger to become more like Christ as I devotionally followed Jesus to the cross.
Alicia grabbed me in her prologue and kept my attention fixed on the cross for 40 days. Woven in the story of Jesuss sacrifice was an invitation to embrace my own sacrifice of reduction. Alicia led me to examine my life for signs of approval, control, appearances, stinginess, self-confidence, luxury, or never having enough. And abandon it, surrender it, all for a deeper intimacy with God. For 40 days she reminded me how God seems more interested in what we are becoming than in what we are giving up. This fasting, was about decreasing the clutter of my heart to make more room for Jesus. One reading of 40 Days of Decrease is not enough, my Easter preparation will now include an annual reading of this powerful book. I cannot recommend it highly enough, there is no need to wait for Lent, read it today.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
Sufficient in JesusAge: 18-24Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Accesible and enriching.January 28, 2016Sufficient in JesusAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5What if Lent wasn't meant to be just a period of duty-bound deprivation? What if it could be a season of preparation, where a time of renunciation helps set our soul right and readies it for Resurrection fullness?
It is Alicia's conviction that we need to recover this second view of Lent, and that if we did, it would become a meaningful part of the cycle of faith.
Lent: waiting, watching, wondering, making space inside to holding the hard things and the sacred sadness. And then, we awaken to Easter-day fullness, where death gives way to life everlasting and everything is rewritten in light of an empty tomb.
Alicia's heart is captivated by this mystery, and her writing spills over with awe. This is definitely an accessible and enriching read.
Many of her forty chosen "fasts" resonated strongly with me.
For example, one day she suggests we fast from trying to find quick-fixes. Some things do not reach resolution in a hurry, some aspects of life never tie up in a bow, some things have no fix at all- they simply have to be lived with.
Another day we fast from noise, intentionally choosing silence for a while. The list goes on, of course- we fast intimidation by standing against fear. We fast apathy- the world's pain is overwhelming, and we grow numb to survive it all, but we need to somehow keep our swift compassion for others.
Basically, all these "fasts" are chances to correct an unhealthy way of dealing with yourself, to refocus your relationships with others, or to catch a new glimpse of your God.
As Alicia says, Lent "frees me from the sticky stuff of self-consciousness, increases within me the sacred stuff of God-consciousness" and therefore "fills me with unspeakable joy."
Yep. I think a Resurrection should involve unspeakable joy.
I thank Thomas Nelson for providing me with a review copy in exchange for my opinion.
Alison5 Stars Out Of 5Holy weakness & following Jesus through the desert to a healthier soul.January 28, 2016AlisonQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 540 Days of Decrease is an unusual, much needed look at Lent and decrease. The authors heart to be like Jesus is woven throughout every page of the book: Jesus lived a truly uncluttered life and died a focused, eternally fruitful death. How I long to follow His example. Instead of the typical fare of giving up food or social media, Alicia Britt Chole challenges the reader to give up other things instead, one for every day of Lent. Fasting includes giving up stinginess, avoidance,spectatorship, tidy faith, isolation and formulas to unclutter our souls. On Day Eighteen we are called to fast appearances. These words cut me to my core, Our reality does not frustrate Jesus. Our hypocrisy does. (88)
As I let these words sink in, I realize this is why I hate the mess of learning and starting a conversation without knowing where it will go. My reality frustrates me. I prefer the illusion that Im someone who is put together. I prefer the appearance that I have a plan and know how to work through difficult things. I prefer looking like someone who can communicate clearly, instead of bumbling over my words while I try to figure out why Im crying.
But the truth is that Jesus doesnt mind the mess, just like I don't mind baking with my one-year-old. He doesn't mind the flour on my forehead. Jesus isnt upset with me when I get batter around my mouth and need to be wiped up. He doesnt mind the process or my tears as Im working through things. He offers so much grace for the process. He knows Im not finished and plans to stick around until completion. (Phil 1:6)
I love these words from Day Twenty One, the call to fast premature resolution:
Process can be a troublesome thing. It disrupts us and disorients us and we would much rather skip to the end. But to live true, we must allow process to run its course. Question it, weep through it, agonize over it...but, for the sake of our souls, we dare not truncate process because time alone makes its work soul-deep.
Today, fast premature resolution. Resist tidying up when you are in the muddy middle of the process of obedience-in-the-making. Befriend undone. Name the trouble. Like Jesus, talk to yourself and Your Father God. Ask Him if alternative routes exist again and again and again...until you push through resistance, pass around resentment, press past resignation, and emerge into willful (even if tearful) partnership with God. (106)
Today Im thanking Jesus for not knowing whats wrong without talking about it. It frustrates me to death and my eyes tend to ache all day from what it costs me to enter into the mess. But Im thankful. I have a pretty good guess that Id be a better pretender if I knew what my problems were without the mess of the process. But I think of what Eugene Peterson says, Christian spirituality is not a life project for becoming a better person. It isnt supposed to be neat and tidy. It isnt as simple as making a plan and executing. It is messy and a process and we are learning.
*I highly recommend 40 Days of Decrease. I was already a fan of Alicia Britt Chole after reading her beautiful book Anonymous (you can read my review here, if youre interested.) She writes about being invited into holy weakness with the Lord through some personal hardship and invites the reader to join her in following Jesus through the desert. Ill admit that Lent has never been part of my church tradition. I didnt grow up practicing Lent. But her book especially, has shed light on the spiritual importance of decrease; and not merely decrease for decreases sake. Decrease, when the destination is love, will purify our souls. There is a reading and reflection for each day, which I found both helpful and insightful. 40 Days of Decrease seeks to reintroduce Lent as a wise mentor that encourages us to reframe unanswered questions, darker seasons, and spiritual disillusionment as the shedding of earthly illusions and the gaining of Gods reality. (introduction, xviii) 5/5 for me.
Book Look Bloggers and Thomas Nelson Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of 40 Days of Decrease, in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255
Smith4Family5 Stars Out Of 5This will start a spiritual revolution!January 25, 2016Smith4FamilyQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0Wow! Do yourself a favor and take this 40-day journey. There is so much healing, hope, and Jesus in these pages...enough to start a spiritual revolution in your life, in your family, your community, your world.
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