“Remarkable Faith” by Letellier

Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at the Faith of Unremarkable People

Has a trial (or a truckload of trials) ever left you feeling isolated? Hopeless? Defeated? I mean, you didn’t start out that way. At the beginning of the trial, you were active in community, full of hope and vigor, up for the challenge of whatever came your way.

Setbacks? No problem!

Delays? I can wait!

Illness? I’ll get well in no time!

But the road to recovery was a lot longer than you—or anyone in your circle of influence—were expecting. One by one the friends dropped away, because they couldn’t force your pain to exit stage right. They couldn’t control you or your situation, so they left.  

Or maybe they didn’t drop away. They tried to stay, but you—feeling weak, worn out, and unworthy—began to isolate yourself. It was easier to be alone than to have to explain to one more person what you were going through and listen to their well-meaning, yet utterly useless advice. Solitude was a good thing. For a while. 

As you began to reflect on your situation—comparing your situation to the outcome of Bible hero stories from your childhood—you might have begun to wonder whether or not you ever had faith at all.

But you did have faith, and the fact that you continue(d) to look to God for deliverance or healing is a sign that yours is the exact type of faith Jesus finds remarkable. Don’t give up.

Remarkable Faith: When Jesus Marveled at the Faith of Unremarkable People will be an encouragement to you or a friend with chronic illness—Jesus sees you. He hears your cries. You are not alone. 

Shauna Letellier has written a profoundly insightful and painstakingly researched book retelling the stories of eight unremarkable, unnamed men and women whose “lives were marked by desperation, pain, fatigue, hopelessness, disability, poverty, loneliness, and sin. Each of them sought Jesus in unabashed desperation (p. xiii),” and Jesus found their faith remarkable. 

Remarkable Faith begins with a brief compare and contrast between the apostles and the afflicted. Letellier makes her case concisely, and there is no arguing with her point:

“Remarkable faith is often grown in the broken soil of desperation.” (p. 174)

It really is amazing, when you think about it: Jesus marveled at the faith of strangers who remain to this day unnamed and known to us only by their afflictions. 

With bridled creative liberty, Letellier has beautifully written an imagined backstory to each of the eight vignettes we read in the Gospels. Steeped in the Scriptures and cultural context, the characters come to life as they unabashedly seize their opportunity to interact with Jesus. 

Book CoverLetellier defines remarkable faith as “the braided strands of doubt, hope, and wonder at a God who is able to do anything and sometimes restrains his power for reasons we rarely understand.” (p. 15) 

The eight characters whose stories are re-imagined are: 

  1. The Father of a Demon-Possessed Boy
  2. The Paralyzed Man
  3. The Roman Centurion
  4. The Hemorrhaging Woman
  5. The Samaritan Leper
  6. The Mother of a Demon-Possessed Girl
  7. Blind Bartimaeus
  8. A Forgiven Woman 

Remarkable Faith is a mix of fictional retelling and factual application. The author imagines each person’s backstory tracing the moments immediately leading up to and through his or her encounter with Jesus Christ. 

The structure of each chapter is built to take you through one character’s faith journey at a time followed by a time of reflection, application, and prayer. 

  1. Bible passage
  2. Dramatic retelling
  3. Reflection
  4. Application
  5. Prayer

First, you will read the story straight from the Gospels. Following this is a dramatic, fictionalized retelling of the story which engages the senses and emotions.

Then, the reader is challenged to take a closer look at the person’s remarkable faith. The author is skilled at teasing out the underlying lesson(s) in the story and bringing the reader to a place of self-examination. 

Each chapter ends with a prayer to apply the lessons learned and insights gained as a result of the study. 

Although I did not agree with some of the author’s assumptions and creative liberties, I think the book is a valuable and necessary addition to the faith conversation. We need to study these characters as much as (if not more than) Bible heroes such as Noah, Moses, Samson, David, and Daniel.

Remarkable Faith could provoke great conversations in a youth group or small group setting. I definitely recommend reading the creative backstories with an open-mind. Give yourself permission to look at the story from a different perspective, and ask God what He wants you to learn from each one. 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

“Worthy of the Calling” by Koontz

Worthy of the Calling Free OBS Sarah Koontz

“Worthy of the Calling” is the first Online Bible Study (OBS) that I’ve gotten a glimpse of from behind the scenes. When Sarah Koontz posted in our Christian Women Bloggers group that she was prayerfully pulling together a launch team for her new OBS, I was intrigued and threw my name into the hat.

I am so excited to walk through the doors God keeps opening for me to participate in book launches! It’s really neat to get to know the authors on a personal level and learn the story behind the book, movie, or the OBS. Launching a new product is a lot of work, and I consider myself blessed to have been a teeny part of helping to raise awareness of this study and, more importantly IMHO, the author. 

Who Is Sarah Koontz?

Sarah Koontz
Sarah Koontz ~ Christian Writer

Sarah Koontz is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. She writes to inspire women of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design at SarahKoontz.com.

Sarah got her start in the blogosphere when she and her best friend launched a blog about family, healthy choices, chickens, and life on the farm. Since her ultimate goal was to become a speaker and  published author in the Christian Living genre, however, it wasn’t long until Sarah learned that her current writing platform would actually hinder, not help, her chances of being published. She recalls:

I had the privilege of speaking with the acquisitions editor from a respected Christian publishing house. When I pitched my first book idea, she asked me why I was blogging about health when it was obvious my passion was to equip Christian women to embrace God’s design for their lives.” Sarah

After much prayer, conversation, and consideration, Sarah took a major step of faith and walked away from her successful health blog into which she had invested blood, sweat, and tears and toward a brand new blog where she would write freely about her faith. The ultimate and overarching goal was to become a published author.

Writing on God’s Schedule

It was around this time that Sarah felt the Lord leading her to write an Online Bible Study on Psalm 119. Which she did, and the feedback she received on it was incredible! When it was finished, she assumed she would go back to working on her non-fiction book. 

Sarah Koontz Freebies from the Worthy of the Calling OBS
You will love these freebies!

But, the Lord had something else in mind for her (and her audience): EPHESIANS. Sarah was prompted to write this amazing study—but I honestly believe that she had no idea how big this would become! It’s YUGE!!! ? ?

God led Sarah not only to write this amazing Bible study, but also invite others into the process: creative partners and a launch team (of which I am a part).

“Worthy of the Calling” —BEFORE IT EVER CAME OUT— inspired a variety of artists who created items reflecting Paul’s main message to the members of the church in Ephesus. From bookmarks to coloring pages and original artwork to clothing and accessories—even a new song!—all of this was created for you to enhance your Bible study. Most have been made available to participants as free downloads and giveaways.

So Much Beauty. Such Wow.

Sarah had no idea that her study would impact so many lives before it even came out. But God did. He’d only just begun.

Worthy of the Calling Free Online Bible Study“Worthy of the Calling” is an original, exegetical, and inspirational Bible Study that arrives daily into your e-mail inbox for one month. Investing only 10-15 minutes per day, you will be able to complete a verse-by-verse through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

You’ll read a few verses every day, five days per week, and use the weekend as time to reflect on what you’ve learned and how to apply it to your life. The study is complemented with free downloads to help you in your time of reflection.

I needed this study in my life. Sure, I have enjoyed being part of the launch team, but more than that, I’ve enjoyed having someone else walk me through Ephesians with a completely fresh perspective on the message contained therein.

You Are Worthy 

Sarah clearly shows that the theme running throughout this letter is the Christian life—what that means from a practical standpoint. 

Sarah Koontz - Ephesians - Online Bible Study

These aren’t just esoteric or abstract concepts that are hard to grasp. They are simple. Profound. True.

Following Paul’s lead, Sarah lays a firm foundation explaining who we are in Christ: chosen, heirs, spiritually alive, reconciled to God with direct access to Him. Day 12 provided one of my favorite lessons: “You Are Rooted in Love.”

Drawing from her experience on the farm, Sarah was able to shed light on the importance of deep roots. She states that a “robust root system” is essential for us to withstand life’s storms, and then she explains exactly how a Christ follower could strengthen his or her root system. #sogood

As the study moves toward one of the most famous sections in scripture, the spiritual armor of God, Sarah walks us through each verse with care and consideration looking under every rock for some nugget of truth to help us live an abundant life worthy of the calling.

Worthy of the Calling Free OBS Sarah KoontzNear the end of the study, we walk through the armor of God. This is not a redo of Priscilla Shirer’s recent study which was in-depth and took weeks to go through a few verses. Instead, Sarah’s study of this section is more of an overview with excellent, memorable summations and practical application to our lives.

Working my way through “Worthy of the Calling” reminded me not only whose I am, but who I am in Christ. It reminded me of my calling—not “into ministry” or anything like that—but my calling to be myself, and to trust that being me is the best thing I can do.

The Big Takeaway

When I asked Sarah what she was praying would be the biggest takeaway for the folks working through her study, she replied,

You are God’s daughter. Created for His glory, and chosen by Him before the foundation of the world. You are holy and blameless in His sight and He has blessed you with EVERY spiritual blessing. You are worthy of the calling you have received, and God has provided all that you need to walk in worthiness.”

They say it takes 21 days to build a habit. If you’re interested in cultivating a habit of Bible reading, reflection, and application in your busy life, then let me recommend to you Sarah E. Koontz – Christian Writer‘s brand new, FREE, e-mail based Bible study on Ephesians. It’s called “Worthy of the Calling,” and it’s worthy of your time.

Click here to participate in this free study: Worthy of the Calling by Sarah E. Koontz


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Life Is Like a Box of Puzzle Pieces

Life is like a box of puzzle pieces

Are you someone who enjoys assembling jigsaw puzzles? If so, do you top out at 500 pieces, or are you a glutton for punishment preferring 1000+? I’m not a jigsaw fanatic, but I enjoy working on a good puzzle every now and then. My favorite moment in the puzzling process occurs when I finally locate a piece that has been eluding me, setting off a string of easy matches.

Image result for thomas moran grand canyon with rainbow
Pretty sure this is the one we bought.

My mother-in-law loves “puzzling,” and has framed a couple of the more beautiful puzzles she’s completed over the years. When we were at the Grand Canyon a few years ago, we purchased a stunning 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle for her as a souvenir. The image was an artist’s rendering of a view from the South Rim overlooking the Canyon at sunset. It was gorgeous! If you close your eyes, you can probably imagine what it looked like; however, I seriously doubt that you would attempt this puzzle without the box right in front of you. Most puzzlers refer to the picture on the box repeatedly to make sure they are headed in the right direction.

So, what if I were to tell you that life is more like a box of puzzle pieces than a box of chocolates? It is. Not only do you “never know what you’re gonna get,” but neither will one bite help you figure it out! You just have to live it. One funky-cut piece at a time. 

Click here to continue reading this
devotional reflection on GOD’S PROVISION at
Rooted at the Throne” hosted by Rachael Carman. 

He Himself Is Our Peace

He Himself Is Our Peace

As I was contemplating the topic of peace, I decided to share a spiritual discipline versus writing a typical blog post. When you practice this discipline, you can experience God’s peace in your life. Right now.

A Meditation on Peace

What follows is a guided meditation on Scripture based on the Christian spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer (a.k.a. meditation). In his classic book on spiritual disciplines, A Celebration of Discipline, renowned and well-regarded Christian author, teacher, and former pastor, Richard Foster observes:

"In contemporary society our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in 'muchness' and 'manyness,' he will rest satisfied."

One way we can “disengage” from the pressures of the world is with contemplative prayer or Christian meditation. Foster states that words used in Scripture “to convey the idea of meditation” occur more than fifty times—and that’s just in the Old Testament! Foster continues:

"These words have various meanings: listening to God's word, reflecting on God's works, rehearsing God's deeds, ruminating on God's law, and more. In each case there is stress upon changed behavior as a result of our encounter with the living God. Repentance and obedience are essential features in any biblical understanding of meditation."

As followers of Christ, we don’t practice meditation for the sake of clearing our minds or relaxation (although relaxation may be a happy outcome just the same). Instead, we meditate on Scripture and the Lord’s promises in order to bring about repentance in our lives, so that restoration replaces resistance and rebellion; obedience overrides resentment.

"Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

This devotional will walk you through a Scripture-based meditation that centers on Jesus Christ as our source of peace. As you participate in this contemplative prayer, you will focus your thoughts on your relationship with the Lord by coordinating your breathing (inhale/hold/exhale) with a very simple physical action (palms up/palms down). As you exhale, you will confess your sins.

Physical Location

Scriptural meditation and prayer are gifts God gave us to center our attention on Him and experience His peace in the midst of life’s turmoils, no matter where we are physically. In other words, you can meditate anywhere, but a quiet place would be best. You can do this while laying in bed, sitting at the kitchen table, or even holding a baby. You can do this in the waiting room at a hospital, in the break room at work, or in a recliner by the pool.

This is a simple, portable spiritual discipline! For example, King David meditated in the middle of the night while he was laying awake in bed:

“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.” Psalm 63:6-7 (NKJV)

Intentional Breathing

Breathing. It’s not something we tend to think about, is it? Since we’ve been inhaling and exhaling our whole lives, the thought of intentional breathing might seem silly. But it’s not. Intentional breathing is a way for us to control our bodies and quiet our minds for the purpose of focusing on the Lord and the truths in His Word.

Box Breathing & Prayer

Box breathing, also known as square breathing or four-square breathing, is a simple yet effective breathing technique that helps promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve focus. It involves inhaling, holding the breath, exhaling, and holding the breath again, all for equal counts of time. The pattern of breath resembles the shape of a square or a box, hence the name.

To practice box breathing, follow these steps:

  1. Find a comfortable sitting position or lie down, ensuring your body is relaxed but your spine is straight.
  2. Begin by exhaling fully through your mouth, releasing any tension or stale air.
  3. Inhale gently through your nose to a slow count of four. As you breathe in, focus on filling your abdomen, then your lower chest, and finally your upper chest, allowing your lungs to expand fully.
  4. Once you’ve completed the inhalation, hold your breath for the same count of four. Keep your body relaxed and your mind focused on the present moment.
  5. Exhale slowly and steadily through your mouth for another count of four, emptying your lungs completely.
  6. After exhaling, pause and hold your breath for the final count of four. Maintain stillness and a sense of calm.
  7. Repeat the cycle by inhaling again for four counts, and continue the pattern for several rounds or until you feel more relaxed and centered.
  8. As you practice box breathing, try to maintain a steady and even rhythm, keeping your breaths smooth and controlled. It’s essential to listen to your body and adjust the breath counts to a pace that feels comfortable for you. If counting to four feels challenging, you can start with a shorter count and gradually increase it over time.

Box breathing can be done at any time of the day whenever you feel the need to reset, calm your mind, or regain focus. It’s especially useful during stressful situations, before important events, or as part of a regular mindfulness or meditation practice.

Remember, the key to box breathing is to cultivate a relaxed and intentional breathing pattern, allowing it to guide you into a state of balance and tranquility.

Here’s a video that provides both a visual to help you with this exercise as well as gorgeous scenery and beautiful music to enhance your experience. 

Palms Up & Palms Down

Whether you’re lying down, sitting, or standing, you can intentionally position the palms of your hands facing up (palms up) to symbolize your willingness to receive the Lord’s gift of peace (or anything from Him, for that matter).

When you purposefully turn your palms face down (palms down), you are symbolizing your desire to let go of anything standing in the way of your relationship with Him. With a simple turning of the hands, you can physically position yourself both to receive peace from the Lord and to let go of distractions and obstacles.

Fellowship thru Contemplative Prayer

Since our theme this month is “peace,” what follows is a meditation on peace—a fruit of the Spirit. We will begin with a “breath prayer”—one word or a short phrase that can be said within one breath. The breath prayer is one way we can stay in touch with the Lord throughout the day. In other words, don’t make the mistake of thinking that prayer is limited to your “quiet time” or time of meditation. You can utter a breath prayer at any time throughout the day to remind yourself not only what you’re giving up, but also what God is doing in your life.

I have written a few “breath prayers” to help you get started (see below), but you don’t have to use my words! As Richard Foster says,

“Christian meditation, very simply, is the ability to hear God’s voice and obey his word…it involves no hidden mysteries, no secret mantras, no mental gymnastics, no esoteric flights into the cosmic consciousness. The truth of the matter is that the great God of the universe, the Creator of all things desires our fellowship.”

That just rocks my world! God wants fellowship with US!

And, listen, this is far from an exhaustive training on contemplative prayer (a.k.a. Christian meditation). If this is something you find fruitful, then by all means, do additional research. I’ve recommended a few resources for spiritual discipline on my website which you can find on the Resources Page.

“His Last Words” by Erickson

His Last Words by Kim Erickson

Refreshing. Inspirational. Life-Impacting. Bible Study.

It’s like a breath of fresh air just swept across my Bible Study world. As one who gravitates towards studies that dig into the historical context of Scripture, the original languages, and the local customs of the time, I tend to prefer studies by (or similar to) Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer. I enjoy digging into the Word—excavating hidden treasures and deep truths—so much so that I may have forgotten how wonderful it is to simply read the Word of God without commentaries, Bible dictionaries, lexicons, and theological resources at my fingertips.

Bible Study for the Soul

His Last Words: What Jesus Taught and Prayed in His Final Hours (John 13-17) by Kim Erickson (Moody Publishers), is a 7-week inductive Bible Study written for small groups, although it is easily adaptable to a personal study. I completed it by myself, and I loved it! Though the book is written with women in mind, I am certain anyone interested in learning more about Jesus—his last days, death, resurrection, and relationships—would benefit from this study.

Each week’s study is bracketed with a brief written introduction by the author (there are no videos) and discussion questions for a small group. (Since I completed the study on my own, I read through them, and answered anything applicable.)  There are five days of homework to be completed each week: the first four days center on Scripture reading, reflection, and application, and the fifth day is reserved for review and reflection.

From the author bio on the back cover:

Kim Erickson began following Christ after the death of her three-year-old son from strep throat in 2008. Her growing relationship with the Lord and her Bible saved her from the pit of grief. During this time, she also developed a deep, abiding love for the Word of God. Kim’s love of Scripture led her to develop a website and teaching blog to help other women fall in love with it, too: lovemyword.com. An elementary school teacher turned lawyer, Kim lives in Florida with her husband and son.”

Erickson’s explanation about how God used this tragic event to draw her close to Himself and heal her heart is interwoven throughout the book. She shares tidbits here and there so as not to detract from the study of the Word. Her testimony—though heart-wrenching—is extremely refreshing, exuding a joy and peace that only the Lord could bring.

 His Last Words: What Jesus Taught and Prayed in His Final Hours (John 13-17)

Four Days of Bible Study & One Day to Reflect

On the first four days of each week, you begin with Scripture. First, you read through the specified passage (short), and then you reflect upon it one verse at a time specifically looking for what it says about God. Erickson has provided a helpful guide for this part of the study, so you know what to look for during your review.

*His Last Words* Bible Study

Following the Scripture study, there are insightful notes and open-ended questions to help you think through the meaning of what you’ve read and how it applies to your life. Each day concludes with a Bible verse and a specific prayer to apply what was learned that day.

*His Last Words* Bible Study

On the fifth day of each week, you begin by asking the Lord to “reveal anything you may have missed the first time through the lessons.” I love that. Then, she guides you through a review of that week’s Scripture reflections, applications, and lessons learned. And then, there’s my favorite part of the study: Stillness before the Lord.

*His Last Words* Bible StudyBe Quiet. Be Still. 

Each week ends with a reminder to be quiet and still. To listen to the Lord. To remember what you’ve learned. To listen to the Holy Spirit. This is a very important part of the study and should not be skipped.

God has been showing me over and over and over again throughout the Prophets that, as His people, we need to slow down, be quiet, pay attention, and listen. We cannot continue living a hectic pace of life with the volume on everything turned up and expect to be able to hear what God is saying! We have to carve out time to be still and know that He is God.

Time for Reflection on the Entire Study

The final week (week 7) of the study is a review. Each day, you revisit one of the previous weeks and reflect on what God has revealed to you through this study. The book ends with suggestions for taking it deeper with goal setting and accountability.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I highly recommend His Last Words. I recommend it for small groups and individuals. I recommend it for women and men. I recommend it for Christ followers and those who aren’t yet sure about this whole Jesus thing. In fact, if you or a friend have not yet put faith in God, this is the study for you!

There Were Not Enough Sources 

Now, being the Bible nerd that I am, I have to confess that I was a lot disappointed in the “Notes” page at the end of the book: There were only nine footnotes for the entire study including only six sources (one of which was an English dictionary).

While I loved relying primarily on the Bible for this study, I believe a few more resources would have shed a more light on certain passages. For example, while reflecting on Jesus’ restoration of Peter in John 21, Erickson laments,

We don’t know why Peter was grieved by the third ‘do you love me?'”

Um…yeah, we kinda do know why he was grieved. With a little more research or a more scholarly commentary, the author would have seen that Jesus was using one word for “love” (agape) in His first two questions, while Peter was answering with a completely different word (phileo). The third time Jesus asks Peter “do you love me?” He switches from using His word (agape) to using Peter’s word (phileo). This is what grieved Peter, and a study of the interplay of these two Greek words for “love” adds texture and depth to the interaction between Jesus and Peter, as well as one’s interpretation of the passage. This can easily be overlooked if you’re relying exclusively on an English translation. I’m not trying to underplay the role of the Holy Spirit at all; however, we must keep in mind that the Bible was written in other languages, and the Holy Spirit has enlightened many theologians as they did their own research on the Scripture. 

With that said, honestly, I think that this is one of the best Bible studies I’ve done in a really, really long time! I loved it, and I recommend His Last Words with no hesitation whatsoever! 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

“Abandoned Faith”-McFarland & Jimenez

Abandoned Faith

Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home by Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez

Over the past few years, I’ve been heartbroken to observe the turning away from faith by a few of my nieces and nephews. Although they were raised in Christian homes and stem from a strong faith heritage (my father has been a full-time pastor since 1966), they have, for all intents and purposes, rejected God. How does something like this happen? Why would a young man or woman—who was raised by Christian parents and grandparents; who was taught about God from a young age; who “invited Jesus into his/her heart” early in life; who knows how to pray; who has served when asked—turn his or her heart away from God and towards a worldview in total opposition to Him?

The truth is, most parents try to raise their children in the fear of the Lord. Unfortunately, many of these children (now adults) still turn away from Christianity.” (p. 6)

In their timely book, Abandoned Faith: Why Millennials Are Walking Away and How You Can Lead Them Home, Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez explain what is going on, examine the root causes of this modern phenomenon, and offer valuable advice for parents, grandparents, and other adults who are deeply concerned about the choices their children and grandchildren (and nieces and nephews) are making which will affect their lives both now and eternally. While there is no official definition of the age range of millennials at this time, most demographers place their birth between the early-1980s and the mid-1990s with some extending it through the early 2000s.1

Based on well-documented research about the millennial generation and years of personal experience working with this age group, the authors present an excellent overview of what makes millennials tick, how they view the world, what it is they are seeking, and how to help them become rooted in Christ. Their insights are extremely valuable and relevant; their solutions, doable.

Following the model Jesus set forth in Matthew 7:3-5, the authors challenge their readers to first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” In other words, with compassion and boldness, they encourage their readers to first look at their own spiritual lives before that of their children.

Unfortunately, many of the problems millennials deal with stem from their parents…whatever the case—if we are going to see major turnaround among millennials, they need to see a change first in moms and dads.” (page 9)

One by one, the authors gently peel back the layers of parenting in order to reveal that many Christians are in unspeakable pain because of the decisions their adult children have made. They are paralyzed by fear and doubt as they suffer under waves of regret regarding their parenting blunders. By encouraging the reader to let go of “fear-driven” parenting and focus instead on “faith-driven” parenting, McFarland and Jimenez challenge moms and dads to lean into their unique and influential roles in the lives of their adult children:

You are God’s stewards. You represent Him and have been given the authority and responsibility to serve and to demonstrate His love graciously.” (page 19)

We must remember that as parents, we have a LIFELONG role in shaping our children’s perception of God and what it means to be a Christian—this doesn’t stop when they turn eighteen.

Once we’ve looked within, confessed our sins, and gotten our own lives right with the Lord, we are in a better position to understand what is going on with our children. Out of the seven key reasons for faith abandonment common among millennial Christians, the first reason will probably come as a surprise to some of my readers, but it’s true.

Many millennials (18- to 29-year-olds) who claim to be Christian never had a true conversion to begin with.” (page 27)

“But wait!” you exclaim…

  • “He was active in the youth group!”
  • “She went on missions trips!”
  • “They went to church camp every summer!”
  • “He went to a Christian school!”

Activity does NOT not equal relationship. What they have discovered is that young adults who lack deep, relational roots in the faith will fall away when confronted with questions they are unprepared to answer. Remember the parable of the sower. Not everything that sprouts thrives.

Not everything that sprouts thrives ~ Laura Zielke #abandonedfaith @jasonpjimenez @alexmcfarland Click To Tweet

The book is organized into four key sections:

  1. What Went Wrong?
    Offering both hope and explanation, this section focuses on the roles of society, parents, and the church in the lives of millennials.
    .
  2. Forces Shaping Our Sons and Daughters
    This section paints an excellent picture of who millennials are, what drives them, and how much we need them in our lives and organizations.
    .
  3. Steps to Mend and Move Forward 
    With practical tips for helping to sustain and/or rebuild parent/adult-child relationships, this section will help the parent (or boss) understand how to relate to young adults.
    .
  4. Winning Back Your Millennial Child
    Here’s where the rubber meets the road. Practical tools include a prayer map for your millennial as well as instructions for building a foundation of biblical truth.
  • Appendix: When There Is a Failure to Launch
    This bonus section gives step-by-step instructions to help parents help their millennials move out on their own and enjoy a life of independence. 

Hope for MillennialsWhether or not they have walked away from the faith, if you have millennial children or grandchildren (or maybe they are post-millennial, like mine), you will benefit from reading Abandoned Faith. By the time you finish it, not only will you have a better understanding of millennials in general, you’ll also have a more clear picture of the millennial(s) in your own life. You will have more insight into the ways we, as parents, have exacerbated the problem and how we might contribute to the solution. Abandoned Faith will help you become more transparent with your kids about your own faith journey, struggles, and victories. This type of authenticity strengthens the parent-child bond and could potentially help your child come to (or return to) a fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ.

McFarland and Jimenez remind us that God has not given up on this generation, and neither should we. The LORD continues to reach out in love to ALL who call on His Name.

I highly recommend Abandoned Faith to anyone in a parental or work relationship with millennials. My hope is that pastors, ministers, young adult workers, grandparents of millennials, and anyone else interested in reaching this generation for the Lord will make an investment in this book and read it from cover to cover. By understanding ways the church has failed this generation, readers will be empowered to change course and make necessary changes before it’s too late.

1 Wikipedia contributors, “Millennials,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Millennials&oldid=773009995(accessed April 1, 2017).


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”