Worth the Wait by Cliff Lea (Crossbooks)
Facts and figures have a place, but nothing touches the heart the way a story can.
Cliff Lea has done just that in his novel, Worth the Wait. Lea, pastor of First Baptist Church in Leesburg, Fla., takes truths from his time as minister to university students, his experience of dating his wife, Suzy, and the truth of God’s word and weaves them into a compelling narrative.
Ben and James, the central characters, spring to life in the pages and carry the reader on a fascinating journey into the collegiate world of relationships and sexuality. Without being preachy, this novel reveals the truth that choices have consequences—both positive and negative.
After an uneventful high school experience, Ben cannot wait to enjoy all that college has to offer, including meeting and dating college girls. Ben jumps right in—emotionally and physically—the first day on campus. Lea does not shy away from describing real-life situations and challenges in Worth the Wait. Yet, he also tells the truth about the consequences of improper sexual relationships—the ending that is lacking from so many of the world’s stories.
James, although interested in meeting new people and eventually dating, has his focus on the right things—grounding his fun time in college with Bible study, church and supportive friends. The reader follows with anticipation as James’ romance blossoms with a godly young woman, Julia. Lea portrays clearly the differences between doing things God’s way and doing what feels right in the moment.
Tens of thousands of True Love Waits teenagers are now entering the young adult world. Worth the Wait is just what they need to keep them on a journey toward purity. For the many who are married across the country, this book provides a tool to teach the next generation about God’s design for marriage and sexuality.
Worth the Wait is an essential tool as we seek to create a winsome and persuasive picture of a life lived in accordance with God’s principles of sexuality purity. It is a great accompaniment to the True Love Waits message and to those like it.
Professor of student ministry
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook Multnomah, 2009)
A good fiction writer makes the implausible plausible. In White Picket Fences, Susan Meissner does just that as she pens Christian-oriented fiction with a hint of mystery.
After Amanda Janvier’s estranged, widower brother leaves his daughter, Tally, with her maternal grandmother while he travels to Warsaw, the grandmother dies. Social workers can’t reach Bart and believe the reading specialist and her financial planner husband offer the stability Tally’s father never provided. Amanda and Neil and their own teens, Chase and Delcey, open their elegant home to the homeless 16-year-old.
The school counselor places Tally and Chase in the same sociology class where they share a project. Because their great-grandfather died in the Holocaust, they interview Treblinka survivors in a nursing home. The two men’s stories uncover hidden secrets from the family’s past. But the biggest secret belongs to Chase, and he can’t share it with anyone except the cousin he hasn’t seen in 12 years.
Although the plot wraps up a little too conveniently, I found White Picket Fences an engaging read with a message about the danger of playing with the fire of secrets and lies behind the white picket fence.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president
Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas
Resting Place: A Personal Guide to Spiritual Retreats by Jane Rubietta (InterVarsity)
Jane Rubietta has written 11 books including How to Keep the Pastor You Love and Grace Points. In Resting Place, she provides warm and well-written guidance for up to a dozen individual or small group retreats—but not the kind of retreats where people get together, overeat, listen to a Christian speaker for hours and lose sleep.
The retreats in mind here are periods of rest and quiet for hearing God’s still, small voice. They could be overnight getaways or a quiet afternoon where solitude is possible and distractions minimal. The model is Jesus, who habitually took time to be alone with God. The pattern in the book is based on the author’s own years of practice.
Each chapter brings up one issue related to spiritual growth—a chink in the spiritual armor common to most of us these days. The author helps us take a hard look at the issue, then offers questions and quotations for reflection, Scriptures for soaking in, hymns, and guidance for prayer and application.
Any Christian can benefit from trying the exercises in this book.
Rick Willis, pastor
First Baptist Church