Friday, April 16, 2010

‘Love Mercy: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey from the American Dream to the Kingdom of God’ by Lisa Samson and Ty Samson – Book Review and Giveaway

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This year, the Lord seems to be showing me how important ‘the poor among us’ are to him.  He has reaffirmed that through the latest book on my reading list, ‘Love Mercy: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey from the American Dream to the Kingdom of God’ by Lisa Samson and her daughter, Ty.   Lisa and Ty are ahead of me on this one!

Here is the book trailer for this touching book:

And here is the description of the book from the back cover:

Having lived a life of plenty in suburban America, Lisa Samson and her eighteen-year-old daughter Ty thought they were traveling to Africa to minister to Africa to minister to the people and chronicle the AIDS crisis devastating the continent.  Their trip, they assumed, would be missional, merciful, giving.
Instead, they experience a life-changing soul-rattling journey.

Part One of 'Love Mercy' describes the spiritual journey of Lisa and her husband Will, and their children Ty, Jake and Gwynnie.  The family was living in a large home in suburban Baltimore, and living the ‘American Dream.’  Over time, they discovered that Jesus’ commandments and the ‘American Dream’ were not necessarily compatible.  Lisa was also discovering that God loves her regardless of her ‘to-do’ list.  Here is how she describes her mindset prior to that realization:

Inside, I truly believed that God’s affection for me was directly linked to how much I accomplished in his name….  My desire to please God was real enough, but it was formed by a need to know that God wasn’t bad at me.  I lived in fear that God might be rearing back in righteous indignation, or , and worse, disappointment – the kind of disappointment that church had been reminding me of since day one (Jesus loves me when I’m bad, even though it makes him sad). (p. 23) 

A friend of hers, Denise, ran into her at a mutual friend’s home, and she told Lisa some words from God had come to her for Lisa (p. 27):

          God knows you’re doing good works to please him, but he wants your heart.

Lisa got the message!  Here is her interpretation, as it relates to social justice and to her heart:

Everything I’m about to tell you about social justice boils down to this: God wants your heart.  That may seem like another point entirely, but I believe this simple truth will help you bathe in the deep waters of justice instead of dipping your toes in now and again. (p. 29)

The Samsons decided to explore a different way of life.  One of the communities they visited was the Simple Way community in Philadelphia, founded by Shane Claiborne.  Lisa, in particular, was a bit taken aback by their lifestyle (dreadlocks, vegetarianism).  However, she came to see that their hearts were pure and godly.  It was an eye-opening experience.

Lisa and her husband, Will, felt that God was leading them to move to Lexington, Kentucky; they eventually did just that, making their house in downtown Lexington a house of hospitality, where people of all types were welcome.  Lisa also realized that she needed her life to be devoted to the Lord:

I look at my whole life as a mission from God.  My life isn’t divided between church and the real world, so everything I do ought to further the kingdom of God here on earth.  It’s a bit like thinking of yourself as a missionary/relief worker in your own hometown. (p. 55)

Think of what a better world we would have if all Christians lived that way!

All of these revelations from God were leading Lisa – and Ty – to a trip to Swaziland with Children’s HopeChest.  Part Two of the book takes us on their journey.  Swaziland is a country in Africa which has been ravaged by AIDS.  This disease, which seems to be contained here in the U.S., is spreading exponentially in many countries in Africa.  There are also the never-ending scourges of poverty and hunger.  One of the real-life heroes in this book is Pastor Walter, whose flock has been decimated by all of these plagues.  Here is how Lisa describes the work of a pastor in this land:

Pastors in Swaziland don’t have the luxury of worrying about “saving souls” – instead they worry about keeping hungry, undernourished, and disease-wracked bodies alive for another day, another week.  Pastor Walter’s field of corn was a church building project worth supporting.  (p. 101)

Lisa was profoundly changed by this accumulation of events:

Everything changes when issues become people.  Life becomes both simpler and more complex.  Simpler if we truly believe God loves everyone in the world, and more complex as our world expands exponentially.  When issues become people, we accept God’s plan that we are now Christ’s body – his hands, feet, legs, and arms.  His smile.  His embrace.  We wonder how this God who loves so lavishly is sovereign over a world of such pain…. [T]he more the followers of Christ act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly, the better things are for everyone.  For the others.  What if every Christian reached out in love and deed to one sick AIDS patient, one lonely orphan, one poor widow, one hungry family? (p. 147)

I was so touched and blessed reading about the journey that Lisa and her family are on these days.  They truly are ‘crucified with Christ’ (Galatians 2:20).  It is encouraging to see their obedience, and it makes me strive for the same, and to live the life that the Lord has planned for me.  I appreciate that Lisa and Ty shared their heart of Christ in this wonderful book.

I recently read and reviewed a book by Tom Davis by the name of ‘Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World’ (you can read the review here).  The author, Tom Davis, is also the president of Children’s HopeChest.  Lisa and Ty visited Swaziland with Tom and his team.  The proceeds for this book will benefit that wonderful charity which helps orphans around the world to experience God, develop independent living skills and have more than just their basic needs met to achieve a sustainable life.

Lisa Samson is the author of over twenty-five books, including the Christy award-winning novel ‘Songbird.’  Her novel, ‘Quaker Summer’ was Christianity Today's novel of 2008.  She is coauthor with her husband, Will, of ‘Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live.’
Ty Samson loves art, literature, playing upright bass, and baking bread.  She enjoys working with children and serving at the East Seventh Street Center in downtown Lexington, Kentucky.

You can order this book here.

This book was published by Zondervan and provided by the Blog Tour Spot.  I am proud to be participating in the tour with these other bloggers.
I have a copy of this book that I would love to pass along to one of you! 

There are several ways to gain entry:

1) Leave a comment here on the blog, telling me how you live your life as a Christ-follower (assuming that you are!).  Please make sure to leave your email address in this format – sample[at]gmail[dot]com.

2) Follow me on Twitter; I will more than likely follow you back!  If you are already a Twitter follower, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

3) Follow me as a Google Friend on this blog; if you are already a Friend, that counts, too!  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

4) Become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

5) Follow this blog as a NetWorked Blog Follower after you’ve become my Facebook friend.  Please leave a new comment to that effect.

So there are five chances to enter!  Please limit one entry per option.

This giveaway is for U.S. residents only.  The deadline for entry is Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  A winner will be chosen via the Random Number Generator on Friday, April 30, 2010 and will be contacted via email.  The best to all of you!


Anonymous said...

i love the message spoken by lisa in all of her books.

i try to treat others as i would like to be treated.


kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Julia said...

Its a day-by-day moment-by-moment decision as I surrender to Him and allow Him to use me as He wishes. I'm sure not perfect, but I am growing.

Love Lisa's books.


heidi330 said...

I say my prayers everyday and try very hard to follow his words in everything I do. I also read my bible every evening for about hr. And I'm raising my son to know the lord. I am blessed everyday with the love from my little man and I thank god for him..It took a long time for him to come into my life and I am grateful god sent him to me now.

Please enter me in the contest


heidi330 said...

we are friends on facebook,

follow you on twitter,

follow this blog



Linda Kish said...

I have always lived by the golden rule.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

glenda09 said...

I put off the old self humbly continuing to ask for his loving mercy and forgiveness. I'm no longer of the world. I let my light shine in all the darkness and tell everyone about salvation I don't leave out that the wages of sin is death meaning hell. I'm no longer the old fleshly person that I was who was a liar, gossip, sluggard, fornicator, idolator, thief, murderer at heart, who was once religious (thinking works will get us right by Him) then pagan denying our Savior. I have faith and a wonderful relationship with Christ and continue to pray for conviction, discernment and for Him to mold me into the child of God,mother and wife I need to be.

glenda09 said...

I follow you on twitter @wellnessmommie is me!

glenda09 said...

I follow via GFC on this blog.

I no longer have a facebook since I deleted it.. God really convicted me. If I had it I would have became a friend :)

Patsy said...

Sounds like a great read! Count me in. Carmen sent me.

Linda said...

I read and blog on Christian novels to encourage others to move out boldly for the Lord and I'm involved in BSF, an interdenominational Bible study. Currently reading Catherine's Gift of work in Ethiopia by John LIttle.

I'm a follower on Twitter.

I'm a friend on FB.

Please enter me. Thank you.

I follow on Google Friend.

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