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Book Review: Influence by Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin

BOOK REVIEW

A.W. Tozer wisely wrote: “Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice.” He wrote this in the 1940s, way before a self-centered culture ushered in by the arrival of digital media would become the new normal. He didn’t foretell the perils of social media, although we know that self-promotion is nothing new. However, the distinction made in Kate Motaung’s and Shannon Popkin’s new book, Influence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), warns believers to not fall into the trap of seeking adulation from the world at the cost of their purpose in life: to glorify God.

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More Valuable Than What a Book Can Teach

Some lessons are better learned in sorrow

As soon as my son returned from a few days backpacking and tenting in the desert in October, we were off again in November for a weekend in Mexico. There, I got sick for days, my madrina almost choked at a taco stand, my middle son got a nosebleed, my daughter got stung by a cactus, and my mother’s face became puffy from a mite infestation, all during the trip. It’s been an eventful month. The air in California recently has been brutal considering the Woolsey firestorms that misplaced so many. I find myself grateful for much, and even for that which seems hopeless in life, there is room for thankfulness. Being ill is humbling. Being out of the country, albeit for a few days, was a lesson more valuable than what a book can teach.

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A Merry Heart Is Good Medicine

How my son continues to show us life is in the balance

For over a month, my eldest son has been away for the summer, about 300 miles from home. I leave tomorrow to pick him up from his Abuelitos’ house, making the trek up the grapevine through I-5, passing patches of cow farms and orchards, the fumes of manure creeping into the car vents each time.

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Living Free Range on the Edges of Town

How homeschooling compels us to adapt wherever we are

I live in a neighborhood that is on the edge of another town where the median home sale price for a 3 bedroom is $568K. There are homes for sale everywhere in that town, and better public schools there too (whatever that really means I couldn’t tell you), and the parks are always manicured, maintained, and updated. That town is across the street from this town where I live.

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Finding Our Way Through Conversations We’re Expected to Have

When we’re stuck keeping our words to ourselves

It is always a risk to bear the cross of Christ, to carry it through the procession of family dissonance. I find myself stuck in this cycle of defending the faith, my Biblical worldview considering what is happening in the culture, as I’m surrounded by extended family or perusing conversations online.

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