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Adventures of readingcomment (0)

December 5, 2013

By Jennifer Davis Rash

My mother-in-law is an avid reader. That’s one of the things I love about her. She will tackle a new book with fervor and be wrapping up the final chapter within days, sometimes hours if everything lines up just right.

I love to read also, but I can’t seem to find the same discipline she does to complete a book quickly. It takes me much longer to make my way to the end, and I always seem to have seven or eight books in progress at the same time. Of course, reading several at a time rather than one may be part of the reason it takes me so long to finish them!

And while reading for pleasure seems like a luxury I rarely can afford to take, I try to remind myself of the importance it plays throughout our lives.

Studies have proven that babies who are read to learn and develop at faster rates than those who are not. Children who are encouraged to practice reading and develop disciplined reading habits do better in school and expand their social skills more quickly. Teenagers and young adults continue to learn and mature with a reading habit that grows with them. 

The reality is that we can continue learning, growing and maturing by reading — no matter our age. Our awareness of the world and its issues is broadened, our knowledge basis is expanded and our ability to think reasonably is enhanced. And for those of us seeking to grow more and more like Christ, our faith is increased as we read and study His Word.

Technology today even allows those with visual disabilities to “read.”

One of the things I love about reading is the discovery process. Whether I’m reading specifically to gather new information or for escape — and no matter if the book or article is amazing or lacking — I always learn something.

Of course, I’m that person who counts any experience a success, even if it is the most boring of situations, as long as I walk away with one nugget of new information.

Another thing I love about reading is where it leads me. Almost every writer will point you to a wealth of new reading material if you pay attention. As I read other writers’ works, I make note of the books, articles, blogs, etc., that he or she references. And then I overwhelm myself trying to read them all!

As readers of The Alabama Baptist, you likely notice a similar experience as you flip through each issue. The “extras” are shared in many of the articles for those wanting more than what we can squeeze into our limited space. You also may have noticed we are expanding our media reviews section from a monthly feature to a weekly emphasis. 

As part of the expanded effort, we will be asking you about the books you are currently reading. From the submissions, we will select a few each month to publish in an upcoming issue. 

What new book are you reading right now? Do you recommend it and why? Share your name, church home, city and state along with a brief review of the book you are reading. Email to news@thealabamabaptist.org and put “What I’m reading” in the subject line.

Try some of the books that will be recommended and let us know if you agree. 

If you have written a new book, then be sure to mail a copy to our book reviewer Martine Bates Sharp at P.O. Box 1504, Hartselle, AL 35640, to be considered for an official review.

And, as always, thanks for reading my column. I appreciate you and the feedback you provide — even if the most popular request is that I change the name to “Ir-Rashional Thoughts.”


Rashional Extras



Communicating through storytelling
By Kevin Eikenberry
Remarkable Learning leadership tip e-newsletter


Starting from the time we have enough of a vocabulary to string together two sentences, we start telling stories — and even before that, we are entranced by them.

We make sense of our lives through stories, relate our experiences through stories and therefore stories are an incredibly powerful way to communicate, influence and lead.

The next time you need to illustrate a point, transfer specific information or help your listener feel something, tell a powerful story. Here are four specific ways to make your story powerful:

1. Be brief. Stories should be long enough to cover the topic but short enough to be interesting. 

2. Be vivid. Use descriptive language to create word pictures. When you tell the story, draw on as many senses as possible.

3. Include action. There is a reason that action films are consistently among the top in the box office. To be compelling, your story must include action.

4. Stories must make a point or create dialogue. Your story’s point may be obvious. Perhaps, though, you want your story to be discussed further. If so, conceal your point just a bit and then when the point is discovered during dialogue, people will own the point and the story.

Start telling your story today to gain trust, inspire action and communicate your authentic message.


“No mom can come up with words to express the ripping pain of losing a child ... and no words can do justice to the mysteries of God in the midst of tragedy. ... I believe God can handle my heart, my questions and my anger. ... The question is, what do I do with it all? What do I do with God? In the midst of such heartbreak, do I really believe that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose? ... Even in this free fall of pain, I’ve landed on a solid foundation and my faith has held ... on most days. I have learned that God is good ... always. Hope is real. I have found even in the awful pain of tears and grief so intense you think it will kill you that my family and I can do hard. We’ll never get over our loss, but we’re getting through it. And so I have prayed that our journey through the shadows of loss might be of some help to those who have experienced similar pain ... that our stewardship of this story would comfort many.”

Mary Beth Chapman
“Choosing to SEE”



The Squirrel
By Josh Townsend
Birmingham, Ala.

A squirrel stores up its treasures

In the hollow of a tree.

Do we keep ours in the attic

Or storage facility?

A squirrel will gather daily

Only those things it will need,

While we put things on credit

Just to satisfy our greed.

A squirrel is very playful

And has a lot of fun.

Often we are way too busy

With so much work to be done.

A squirrel is always willing

To go out upon a limb,

But we’re afraid of falling off

’Cause our eyes are not on Him.

A squirrel keeps climbing higher

To the tiptops of the trees.

Though sometimes we set our sights low,

Hoping life is filled with ease.

A squirrel can lose direction

And not know which way to turn.

Yet with God Himself to guide us

Often we refuse to learn.

So when a squirrel comes along

As you go about your way,

Remember God created us

To trust in Him each day.



“God sometimes delivers us from evils we never see. Other times He parts raging oceans before our very eyes. Still other times He says, ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. ... Do not be afraid, for I am with you, I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west’ (Isa. 43:2, 5).”

Beth Moore
Christian speaker/teacher



“Peace, rest and calm are the gifts God gives to stressed, rushed and harried people. Our sinful, broken world cannot provide such peace. Real peace comes from faith in God because He is the source of peace. In verse two of the 23rd Psalm, the words makes me and leads me imply gentle persuasion. God makes the first move. He takes the initiative in providing peace to our lives. He does not force peace and calm upon us, but He does invite us to rest in His care over our lives. Is this something you need to be doing?”

Gary Hardin and Greg Locklear
“He Is All I Need: The 23rd Psalm for Today”



“Worship is not a song. Worship is a lifestyle and loving God with all you are.”

Charles Billingsley
Christian singer/songwriter

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