First Friday Faves and LinkUp - February 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.

Noelle Rhodes

I am currently reading Dave Gilpin's Jesus, Save Me From Your Followers: Confessions of a Confused Leader. Hands down, this has been one of the best books I have ever read about leadership in ministry/church. Dave is insightful, hilarious, and very real. If you are a leader in ministry, this is definitely worth the read!

Denise Trio

The Birth Order Book by Dr. Kevin Leman: Why You Are The Way You Are. I confess that I'm a closet nerd. I have a Master's Degree in Pastoral Counseling and the intricacies of human beings fascinate me. I saw this book on clearance in Barnes and Noble and wanted to understand how "I am the way I am" (as the tagline suggests) because of my position as the middle child in my family of three kids. I'm a little more than halfway through the book, and already, Dr. Leman, through his wit and wisdom, sheds new light on my life as a middle, my family's interesting dynamic, and my friends' personalities because of their birth orders. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to relate to others better and understand their world!

Susan Panzica

The Emotionally Healthy Woman by Geri Scazzero

Geri and her husband Pete created the program and book "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" that answers the question "Can you be spiritually healthy if you're not emotionally healthy?" In short, the answer is no. Our emotional baggage clouds our ability to live a spiritually healthy life. In the "Emotionally Healthy Woman" (formerly titled "I Quit"), Geri shares 8 things she quit including Quit Being Afraid of What Others Think, Quit Blaming, Quit Faulty Thinking, Quit Denying Anger, Sadness, Fear. This powerful book has helped me create boundaries without guilt and have fuller, more honest relationships. It also has an accompanying workbook and video series for group discussion. 

Susanne Ciancio 

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are - Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life by Brene' Brown, Ph.D. This book is a NY Times bestseller and a great read. Brene is a brilliant researcher, writer, and speaker and she admonishes us with this quote, "Caution: If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief." One reviewer said, "This important book is about the journey from "What will people think?" to "I am enough."

Elise Daly Parker

by Tony Hendra. I'm a little hesitant to recommend this book because there are drugs, sex, and foul language. So please be forewarned. Tony Hendra is a satirist, writer, performer who has worked in and around National Lampoon, Spy magazine, This Is Spinal Tap, and much more. This true story chronicles an unlikely relationship over 40 years between Hendra and Father Joe, a Benedictine monk whose great gift to Hendra is friendship and love no matter what. Father Joe accompanies Hendra on his spiritual journey from young school boy to would-be monk, through a failed marriage and a sometimes bumpy career. No matter where Hendra goes or what he does, no matter how unstable his wild life becomes, Father Joe remains a steady, gentle, faithful force. One of the most memorable lines is about death. Says Father Joe, "Don't think of it as going, dear. More that God is coming." The book is full of wonderful faith insights. 

Beth Stiff

Anything by Jennie Allen
Jennie's book challenges you to really consider the act of surrender to God. She asks questions such as: “What if heaven and God and forever became our normal?” and "...what if I laid down my life, my domino, and through that unleashed an army of others who laid down and unleashed their obedience, and through this matrix, God's glory was displayed through the laying down of lives in the midst of a generation?" By the end of the book, you may just find yourself on your knees telling God you will do Anything. And when we say we will do anything that means giving him everything. Her book is powerful and a must-read. 

Kimberly Amici

I just finished reading The Long Awakening : A Memoir.

Waking up from a coma is nothing like it's depicted in the movies. Author Lindsey O'Connor was in a 47 day medically induced coma from complications when giving birth to her daughter. After miraculously surviving the trauma that required drastic medical intervention she is forever changed -physically, mentally, and spiritually. Using journals, firsthand accounts, and personal experience, she walks us through the months following her awaking.

It's an inspiring memoir that was hard to put down. I was amazed by the power of God and the faithfulness of family and friends who rallied around in time of crisis. 

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