Thursday, 30 May 2013

Armchair BEA Photo Challenge: Books To Be Read Stacks 30.5.13

Today's Armchair BEA photo challenge?
Show us your Reading Stack !
Now this one is bound to generate some humour..                                
Life has a way of getting in the way of our
best laid reading plans, so those stacks have a
way of growing [unintentionally of course!]
But it all ends up working out.

Books get read.
Books get reviewed.  Next.

Beside the physical book stack, now I have the
digital to add to it!

Seems to be a preferred delivery for reviews.
I like the instant access and knowing I have a few books on hand for when I can grab reading time rather than having to wait for delays in the postal system.  Too frequent for my liking..

So what's your stack looking like these days?
Care to show us ?  I will if you will..
                                                                                   [@_InSpirit on twitter]

Here's the Armchair BEA Photo Challenge schedule:

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Armchair BEA Day 2: Developing Blog Presence 29.5.13

Paths to Becoming a Better Blogger--Discussing Development

Today's topic at Armchair BEA, to foster "blogger development"--and clearly, that              development can go in a variety of directions! Today, we're inviting you to talk about       your approach. Have you branched out into your community? Do you partner with other     bloggers? Have you gone "pro" or tried generating some income through your blog? If you're a long-term blogger, how has your online personality developed over the years?                

Tell us about things you've done to expand your blogging horizons, and the things you'd     like to do but haven't managed (or figured out) yet. Come back HERE to link up your post, and then go see what other participants have to say. Let's foster our development as        bloggers and learn from each other!                                                                              

I've branched out in the blogging community in several ways.  I like to participate in support if an  author has a promo for their new book.  I'll interact with their book launch events by tweeting it, posting the updates or reposting their own event post including the links.  It serves to widen their influence to readers they possibly wouldn't reach on their own.  If I've read and posted a good review of one of their books, I will often get a new release to read and review as well.  Pretty much another partnership has been formed each time this occurs.
                                                                             Margaret Feinberg's 'Wonderstruck' book launch is
                                                                             one example.

Ken Wytsma's 'Pursuing Justice' is another.

I am in process of affiliation with a few businesses I particularly value and consider worth offering their product to my readers.  I wouldn't be interested in random ads for income as , to me, it just cheapens my intended influence and acts as a distraction from the purpose of Infuse as a blog.

That too aligns with my blog personality development.  Knowing what works with my personality.  What reflects me as a blogger.  I'm a resource for readers. I like to provide connections and information.  So I need to stay true and atuned to my internal call and focus for Infuse: InSpirit.

Definitely working on affiliation is a blogging expansion I want to do but haven't managed to accomplish yet and there are details I haven't figured out [though I am sincerely working on!].  I also want to import the remainder of the original posterous posts for the past 3 years onto this site and restore it to its full impact and online presence.  Time is  essential for completing that task.

And you?  What development have you experienced or pursued as a blogger?


Armchair BEA Photo Challenge: Reading Armchair

Armchair BEA  invites us today to share a photo of our own Reading Armchair -
After a wee bit of tidying the book stacks, here's the result...
Cozy corner with LOTs of natural light,
table top for my cuppa, and BOOK SPACE!

Have you posted or tweeted yours?
Look forward to seeing where your best reading happens!

Here's the invite:

Tomorrow it's our Books to be Read Stack !


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

ARMCHAIR BOOK Expo for Bloggers 2013 May 28-June 2

Introductions to begin the BEA Armchair Event running today through June 2.13

Picking 5 questions for introducing ourselves offered great options .  Thanks to our hosts!

1 - I've been blogging 3 years since May.  I first began it as part of my church mission course in Scotland as a way of inviting connection and making info available to the community.

2 - No, Infuse hasn't participated in BEA prior to this year.  Being book focused it seems the right blog event for participation and connection to other book bloggers .

3 - One non book related thing you may not know ?  The original blog was hosted by posterous which chose to close as of April 30th, leaving every blogger to either die quietly or find a new way to carry on.  My first choice was to continue at the autoposted blog site I'd been using for the 3 years of Infuse's existence.  Unknown to me, that site had been suspended [no reasons known as yet].   So I had to begin yet again in finding a blog platform and design another new blogsite for Infuse.  I did it all to this point since beginning Friday night.  Long way to go yet to import 3 years worth of posts , and not sure how it will all transpose, but I'm happy with what's up to date !

4 - If  I could eat dinner with any author or character - who and why?   God.  Both author and character.  Because I'm pretty sure any life issues would soon be seen with a refreshing new perspective and understanding that would be life-changing for past, present and future!

5 - Literary location I'd most like to visit and why?  Not sure if I've caught your intention with this one if you meant libraries or writing locales.  I'm choosing heaven.  Why, would probably be a lengthy response, but definitely to see it for experiential reality and understanding...

So there you have a wee bit about me as we begin this week of Armchair Book travels.

I'm Happy to meet you and look forward to learning more about you +/or your life with books...

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Review: Can You Hear Me? Tuning in to the God Who Speaks - author Brad Jersak

Can You Hear Me?
is a combination of biblical and historical research, real life experiences, and thirty-three inspiring exercises on "listening prayer." 

The premise is that God speaks to His children far more frequently and naturally than they might expect. Tuning in to the voice of God begins by discovering how well we already hear Him and deepens with practice as we step into prayerful dialogue. 

God desires to transform our prayers into intimate conversations -- real meetings with a living Friend. Readers will become aware that encounters with God are more simple, accessible, and interactive than they ever dreamed.

Can You Hear Me? Tuning In To the God Who Speaks
author: Dr. Brad Jersak 
publisher: Fresh Wind Press [Canada] 2003
3rd edition May 2013 

God desires to transform our prayers into intimate conversations, real meetings with a Living Friend. In this book, Dr. Jersak lays out the biblical foundation for the practice of listening prayer. 

CAN YOU HEAR ME? combines solid research, inspiring testimonies, and 33 spiritual exercises–all to help us hear God more clearly. Inside Can You Hear Me?: 
- Learn the simplicity of listening prayer and connect with God deeply and personally. 
- Experience personal meeting places in different rooms of your heart, in God’s Word, and in your world, that you can access freely whenever you need to meet with Jesus. 
- Identify and overcome blocks to connecting intimately with God. Stop the silence! 
- Apply listening prayer in decision-making, parenting, in your local church, and for inner healing. 
- Jesus alone is the wonderful counsellor who delights to answer your questions. 
- Test and Distinguish between God’s voice and all those competing voices.

A life changing book.
Learning to tune in to the God Who speaks...

13 chapters divided into 3 sections include:

I. The Simplicity of Listening Prayer
1. My Sheep Hear My Voice
2. Awakened Hearts: How we hear and see God 
3. God, is that really you? 
4. Was that just my imagination?
II. Encountering God: The Meeting Place of Your Heart
5. The Meeting Place 
6. Meeting God to intercede
7. Overcoming Blocks to Meeting God
III. The Life of Listening Prayer
8. Listening Prayer in Decision Times
9. Listening Prayer with Children
10. Listening Prayer in the Local Church
11. Listening Prayer and Outreach
12. Listening Prayer, Mercy and Justice
13. Listening Prayer for Inner Healing
Epilogue: Do you want to start a fire?

God has a Voice and God's 'sheep' know that Voice.  Dr Jersak provides 'tuning in' listening exercises to teach and train our inner 'ears' to hear God's Voice speaking to our inner spirit. Beautiful examples of questions to ask God as the learning begins and develops - just be sure to have your journal ready to record the inspiriting responses!

Loved this transformative book on prayer and have recommended it often to friends on the faith journey.  A perspective that develops the intimacy of relationship that God intends. 

I've gifted this book to each of my children as a resource for building solid life foundations and highly recommend it to Infuse: InSpirit readers.  

Forever grateful to Dr Brad Jersak for taking time to write these lessons - 

May 2013 3rd edition -1st Kindle edition - includes forward by Jason Upton + study guide for each chapter and includes an appendix "The Biblical Basis for Listening Prayer."

Available on  Brad Jersak's youtube channel for listening and learning ..

About the author:  

Dr. Brad Jersak is a Canadian author and teacher based in Abbotsford, BC, where he attends Fresh Wind Christian Fellowship. His heart is to share the good news that God is Love and that God’s love was shown to us perfectly in Jesus of Nazareth. Through his books and seminars, Brad teaches that anyone can learn to hear God’s voice through the simple practice of ”listening prayer.” 

Those who practice listening prayer find that God’s love heals wounded hearts and empowers them to heal this broken world. Brad Jersak’s foundational book, “Can You Hear Me? Tuning in to the God Who Speaks” trains readers in the ways of “Listening Prayer.” 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Infuse: InSpirit New Site Under Construction

Welcome to Infuse: InSpirit's New Blog site !

Working on completing our move over to blogger from 3 years blog posting at

The first site has been suspended so no access to our posts there either.
Third try with this one ..

Glad you've found us -
Your patience is appreciated !  Thank You...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Review: Finding Your Voice in the Psalms author Elizabeth J Canham

Finding Your Voice in the Psalms:
An Invitation to Honest Prayer
published April 1.13 by Upper Room Books
Rev Dr Elizabeth Canham author

I loved this book by Dr Canham. Personable and practical. It makes the Psalms available and applicable ...

The Psalms are ancient Hebrew prayers addressing our
experiences in life even today.
Heartfelt responses of joy, sorrow, lament, praise,
they encourage free expression by example set.
Music, dance, movement, all are part of worshipping God.
In reading another's open heart toward God,
we discover God's open heart is turned toward us.

Dr. Canham models praying with the Psalms
including the silent pause that begins the reading
and ends each line,
making room for hearing the Voice of Holy Spirit
and dwelling in God's nurturing Presence.
Moving from our own voice - allowing for God's transformative work.

Lectio Divina is beautifully outlined and explained
for readers instruction and use.
A process for creating our own Psalm in response to our life's
hope, joy, need, gratitude, desire, loss, injustice, grief...
either individually or in a group, is also described.

Written with insights gained whilst living
in a Benedictine monastery,
accessible writing style for instruction and understanding,
it is an invitation to intentional living in awareness, present to God.
Moving counter-culturally from constant restless 'doing' to rest -
to 'being' - still - living at rest.
Ps 116.7 'Return, O my soul, to your rest'
the place of restoration - the still waters and pastures where
'He restores my soul' Psalm 23.3

'Finding Your Voice in the Psalms: An Invitation to Honest Prayer'
is an invitation worth accepting.
Highly recommended!

*Thank you to Upper Room Books for the opportunity to read and review
'Finding Your Voice in the Psalms' without obligation.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Review: Majestic and Wild author Murray Pura

 "...get up and get outside to experience the grandeur of God. In "Majestic and Wild," pastor, writer, and avid outdoorsman Murray Pura weaves his real-life adventures with spiritual inspiration and life lessons, capturing the majestic and wild creation that God has set before us all. From animal encounters to wildfires to raging rapids to Daniel Boone hunts and buffalo stampedes, the stories range from dramatic and suspenseful to light-hearted and whimsical. Each story is woven with spiritual lessons not easily learned from sitting in a pew. 
A great gift for wives to give to their husbands and kids to give to their dads, "Majestic and Wild" will entertain and inspire anyone with a sense of adventure and a love for the great outdoors." [Goodreads]

Majestic and Wild: by Canadian author, Murray Pura
published by Baker Books 
released April 15.13

Inspiring adventures in the wilds of Canada, Canadian author, Murray Pura, provides greater glimpses into the majesty and beauty of our country and Creator.

From camping tales to heroics, we journey outback trails and wilderness with Pura. Sometimes solitary, sometimes in company with his family or wild menagerie. But always with increased insights into the ways of nature and of God.

Pura's writings vividly portray roaring mountain rivers to the dance of the Aurora Borealis; scents of the pine to freshly falling rainshowers.
Captivating stories of forest fires consuming vast areas of forest and relational loneliness of isolation in the midst of overwhelming beauty.

Spiritual insights are offered with gentleness; woven naturally into the fabric of the adventure. Some quotes of note-

"The wild is one of the best regions to rediscover your faith." 

"A wild place in the wet is altogether different. There is a hush, the birds are not calling... everything is waiting for the rain to finish its work..."

"The woods during a long rain are a gift from God, custom made for deep thought... for worship of God that is personal and profound..."

"..rainfall is seen as a nuisance or inconvenience.. when, in fact, its beauty can offer us rare experiences if only we enter into it. Unfortunately, we withdraw from many of life's trials and challenges which could be transforming if properly embraced."

"we need to pray for a fearless heart that retreats from nothing but faces everything"

Pura adds nature quotes from various others such as Luther, Browning and Muir and relevant writings that illustrate the scriptures referenced in each chapter.

Highly recommended for all who enjoy adventure and well suited for gift giving such as Father's Day or birthdays.

Thank you, Murray, for sharing these enlightening perspectives on your abundant spiritual journeys.

Gratefully received from Baker Books for reading and review without obligation. 

Review: Chasing Francis author Ian Morgan Cron

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron
published by Zondervan and released May 7.13

Ian Cron introduces us to Francis of Assissi via his impact on a contemporary pastor, Chase Falson, who hits the wall in his faith journey after the death of one of his parish children. Taking a much needed break to restore, refresh and rediscover faith, he travels to Italy to spend time with his uncle, a Fransiscan priest. 

While he's on this spiritual journey, the youth pastor back home is on a campaign to aggrandize his position to the elders and ingratiate himself to the congregation in order to become the replacement senior pastor. Chase had planted the church after his graduation from college, and seen it through all the early struggles, growth and building enlargement to its current place of respectability in the academically and intellectually wealthy area of Thackery.

Chase's beliefs and the teachings of Francis collide in the experiential realities Chase encounters during his time in Rome and pilgrimage in the steps of Francis. God orchestrated connections and relationships speak deeply to him, re-orient his spiritual direction and focus that dramatically impacts his future upon returning to his US homeland.

I'm including some of author Ian Cron's quotes to introduce readers to Francis and inspire us as readers to new ways of being Light to our world as well ...

“First, if Francis were around today, he'd say our church community relies too much on words to tell others about our faith. For Francis, the gathered community was as potent a form of witness as words. He was convinced that how we live together is what attracts people to faith.” 

“Francis taught me that if we spent less time worrying about how to share our faith with someone on an airplane and more time thinking about how to live radically generous lives, more people would start taking our message seriously.” 

“Beauty can break a heart and make it think about something more spiritual than the mindless routine we go through day after day to get by. Francis was a singer, a poet, an actor. He knew that the imagination was a stealth way into people's souls, a way to get all of us to think about God. For him, beauty was its own apologetic. That's why a church should care about the arts. They inspire all of us to think about the eternal.” 

― Ian Morgan Cron, Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale

I appreciate the thought provoking challenges of this novel that had me countering with my own spiritual insights and responses. Definitely an interactive read. Thank you, Ian. 

I received this book from Zondervan Publishers to read and review without obligation. Thank you for the opportunity.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Review: God's Favorite Place on Earth author Frank Viola

A book of comfort. A book of challenge.

I had never realized the amount of time Jesus spent in Bethany prior to reading Viola's newest release, 'God's Favorite Place on Earth'. Viola presents a good case for Jesus' attachment to the people and the place that captured his favour. People who welcomed and received Christ, providing hospitality, honour, friendship and love. All responses we are encouraged to offer as our own Bethany invitation to Christ.

To move past performance mentality of serving as exemplified by Martha at our initial glimpse into this home in Bethany. To pursue relational living with the Lord as seen in Mary 's response. Casting aside gender and cultural restraints to be who she is called to be, Mary leaves propriety to wholeheartedly invest herself, her time, her efforts for the worth that is Christ. A worth that increased in her relational pursuit, culminating in the ointment poured upon the object of her affection, her heart's desire, her Lord. Viola would that we recognize Mary's 'waste' and make it our own. Recognize that what religion and religious of our day consider service or ministry is often the real 'waste' when worship is God's heart cry for his 'friends' to follow...

This particular point also spoke to a recent conversation on property ownership 
vs communal living where all things are shared. 
Christ never suggested personal property ownership was sin. Mary's fragrant offering was hers to give, revealing a heart of generosity. She owned the perfume; the perfume, valuable as it undeniably was, did not own her. There's the heart of the issue. For the rich young ruler, his personally owned property owned his heart. Thus, Jesus' solution to his particular issue wasn't a wholesale solution or command to every follower. We're called to have Mary hearts of worth and worship toward our Saviour, whatever our financial situation.

A beautifully novelized telling from Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha, of their times spent with their friend, Yeshua Jesus. Insights gained from those times, his own death and resurrection foretelling Christ's own. The deathbed counsel of his so-called friends reminiscent of Job's counsellors; there's definitely got to be some sin in there somewhere Lazarus! Or some lack of God's abilities or God's heart isn't toward you. How common to the religious minded to confront and affront another, all, supposedly, in service to God. 
But not in the truth of Christ's Spirit of Love and Compassion. 
Mercy that fails not...

Thought provoking and life changing challenges from Viola, if allowed to search and cleanse our own heart; to move us toward becoming a Bethany that welcomes and creates sanctuary for Christ and His nature to become our self-image.

Rich with narrative, scripture background to each chapter, and practical applications such as our position in prayer. 
Beggars coming before God? 
Or from the place of ascendancy provided through Christ's ascension? 
Are we seated with Christ in heavenly places?
Or still lacking boldness to enter God's throne of Grace
through the completed work of Christ in His death, resurrection and

A book to inspirit new perspectives in living out the Bethany experience as well as invitation to make our churches Bethany communities that welcome and promote Christ in relation and reality.

Highly recommended for those who are pursuing more than religious form and function, 
those who desire to live an ascendant life, 
or those who are curious.

*David C Cook provided an ebook copy to read and review without obligation. Thank you for the opportunity.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Review: The Lifestyle of a Prophet author James Goll

The Lifestyle of a Prophet:
A 21 Day Journey to Embracing Your Calling -
has proved to be a solid and insightful manual on the topic of Christian prophetic living. As the author reveals, a prophet is being God's confidante. The book takes us on a learning journey in what is required to fulfill that call.

Divided into 3 sections, the foundational piece is Intimacy of relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Section 2 covers the Wisdom required, and 3rd is Revelation. The ordering is intentional. A prophetic lifestyle begins in intimacy of relationship, and must gain wisdom and character before receiving and delivering revelation. 

Each section provides 7 days of writing on each theme; each day's discussion ends in a prayer, followed by interactive questions on the topic of the day. It would be ideal to begin the book with a journal in order to record your responses to the questions. They encourage deeper thought and process in revealing more than the reader's surface reaction. Inner growth is definitely an intended outcome as the questions are challenging. These challenges would be welcomed by those readers intent on "Embracing [Their] Calling".

I found the daily readings encompass each topic with a thorough investment of knowledge from the author's perspective, abundant scriptural references, and quotations from others in the prophetic realm, both past and present. Language used makes for ease of reading and understanding.

Here's one quote of note that describes the prophetic lifestyle in a nutshell. From the beginning of section 3. "The true prophet is at a crosscurrent with society, challenges others to be like Jesus, carries a tailor-made cross and dies daily to self! ... So are you sure you want to be a prophet or even live a prophetic lifestyle?"

The amount of material covered, along with the comprehensive scripture inclusion, makes this an ideal reference resource. Combined with the reader's own journal of responses gleaned during the study, it creates a solid foundational piece for both beginners and those seasoned desiring prophetic giftings that enable becoming God's confidante through a lifestyle of intimacy, wisdom and revelation.

My recommendation would include both, as well as readers sensing a call to know more about living a prophetic Christian lifestyle. A lifestyle of seeing, hearing, attending to what's given, then declaring in response to what God has given.

*Read courtesy of Chosen Books in exchange for a review without obligation...

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Review: Eyes of the Heart- Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice author Christine Valters Paintner

This is not a book about photographic technique: rather, it is about cultivating photography as a spiritual practice. Adapting the monastic practice of lectio divina (sacred reading) into a form of visio divina (sacred seeing), spiritual director and Benedictine oblate Christine Valters Paintner invites readers to a new way of viewing the worldthrough the lens of a camera. Drawing on the Christian tradition of the spiritual senses, Paintner guides readers through six themes connecting the medium of photography with the Christian spiritual life. Each theme provides a photographic journey in which the reader does not simply take images, but receives images. Readers are prompted to engage what St. Paul describes as the eyes of the heart (Eph 1:18) and understand how through photography, they can see the world around them more deeply and discover anew their own spiritual capacity. Creative exercises offer both novice and accomplished photographers rich reflection. Photos by the author are included. [Goodreads]

" see takes time, like to have a friend takes time."
-Georgia O'Keefe
I loved this quote and its impact regarding the material of Eyes of the Heart. It's a book of process. Process takes time...

The first 2 chapters introduce the reader to the idea and practice of simply receiving images from the world around us, as gifts to us for inner exploration. Next chapter introduced shadow and light as spiritual dimensions we can view through the lens as well as our personal interior. By chapter 4 we were exploring framing and reframing ourselves and our self-stories just as we can frame and reframe our photo subjects. Colour, our inspiration for chapter 5. Creative sources of reflections of the holy in our world for chapter 6. Self-portraits, our chapter 7 topic. Chapter 8 ties it all together; God is in our seeing. Open the eyes of our heart to see the Divine Presence everywhere. To live in awe and wonder.

Supporting quotes open each chapter, in depth instructional material plus each chapter provides multiple activities for interaction to deepen the learning opportunities; to enrich the inner growth available through intentional practice. eg. Go walking. What images evoke/reflect your deepest dreams/longings/wishes/hopes...? or scripture passages to contemplate,journal and apply.

“..every photo we make is in some way a self-portrait, b/c it reveals something about how we see the world.” What are our photos saying about us? “In a sense your photographs are your autobiography.” –Dorothea Lange. Everyday objects can symbolically represent the self. For me, the teacup icons I use are a self portrait. Stacks of books another. In fact, more representational of me than a single dimension photo visage.

Here is a book intent on breaking down the perpetuation of our false self that wants “to create only images beautiful in the eyes of others or ‘marketable’ rather than truthful.” We must discover our true self – ‘who I am beneath the accolades and achievements’. What desires has God planted in our heart? The exercises included are designed for just such discoveries.

Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice is a personable guide to a life of awareness lived centered in calm and stillness rather than knocked off course by reactive emotions. I highly recommend it for those who wish to live at a deeper than surface level. For those who are ready to take the necessary steps in that direction and for those who pray, "Lord, Open the eyes of my heart"...

*My appreciation to Ave Maria Press for providing an ebook copy for review without obligation.