First Friday Faves and LinkUp - January 2014


That's the question we will be asking COF contributors and you, our readers, each month. Is there a book that you just can't seem to put down, that's teaching you a profound spiritual lesson, or making you laugh amid your struggles? We want to hear about it!

There are two ways you can join us! Tell us in the comments what you are reading or use the LinkUp below to share your blog post about a favorite book you've read.


Love Does By Bob Goff, Published by Thomas Nelson, Nonfiction

I just recently finished Love Does by Bob Goff. This book is a collection of stories and lessons from Goff's life, which have taught him that love is not a passive emotion. Love does. His writing style is humorous and captivating, and I found myself very present in each story as he recounted his memories. I read through this book in a few short days, and it lifted my soul and encouraged my heart to love actively. For those who might need a boost for their spirit after the busy holiday season, I highly recommend this book!


THE DANIEL PLAN: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren, Daniel Amen, and Mark Hyman, Published by Zondervan, Nonfiction

As a woman who has struggled with her weight for years, I needed a plan to help me kick-start my journey to better health. I knew it needed to be something more than just the latest diet. I needed something that was going to address my spiritual health too. The Daniel Plan is a well-balanced plan that incorporates elements of faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends. It is organized and easy to read. The recipes are delicious too! 

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Cross Roads by Wm Paul Young, Published by FaithWords, Fiction

Right now I am reading Cross Roads by Wm. Paul Young. I chose this book because it was written by the New York Times Best Selling author of The Shack, a book I enjoyed a few years back. The story centers around Anthony Spencer, a successful businessman who burned all his bridges on the way to the top. Unexpectedly, Anthony ends up in a coma and has an “encounter” with the Trinity, giving him a glimpse at his soul. I was hooked after the first chapter. Then,  about a quarter of the way in, I was hesitant to continue because I felt as though I was reading The Shack all over again, just with different characters.  I couldn’t be more wrong. I am glad I stuck with it because the story has taken unexpected turns and I can’t wait to see what happens next.


A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey by Brian McLaren, Published by Jossey-Bass, Fiction

While this book was written in 2001, A New Kind of Christian is still as relevant today, and perhaps more so. Written as a fictional account, a pastor and his friend Neo converse about questions and how to live faithfully in our current age, particularly in the shift from modernism to postmodernism. It addresses many topics, including how today’s world could (and should) affect Christianity as we know it and live it. This book put into words concepts I have been thinking about for a long time. I strongly recommend it!


Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary E. DeMuth, Zondervan, Nonfiction

Though there is terrible pain, there is also great beauty in Mary’s telling of her true and redemptive story. In this book, Mary explores “thin places…places where the division between this world and the eternal fades” in and through life. Mary has traveled no easy road. Her life journey included the horror of sexual abuse and neglect. Mary grapples with her trials with envy, narcissism, busyness, divorce, a reactionary personality, shame, and more. While not a “fun” read, Thin Places is insightful and readable, keeping me engaged late into the night.


The Saving Life of Christ and The Mystery of Godliness by Major W. Ian Thomas. Published by Zondervan. Nonfiction

The depth of riches found in this classic is completely amazing!  It is a double-volume iconic work written in the early '60s. The first volume explains how literally the life of Christ has saved us to the uttermost from every addiction, dark desire, and quirky character trait. As the title states, in the second volume the author explores the deep mysteries of how a human soul can live in godliness as a lifestyle. Almost every  paragraph gives you a moment when you need to pause and reflect. I cannot overstate how wonderful this work is, a true favorite of mine.

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