FamilyLife Today®

Summer Reading List, Part 1

with Various Guests | July 25, 2007
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Everyone has a favorite book. Join us for today's broadcast to hear some summer reading suggestions from Christian singer/songwriter Sara Groves, author and pastor Crawford Loritts, and Hungry Planet founder and author, Hayley DiMarco.

  • Show Notes

  • About the Guest

  • Everyone has a favorite book. Join us for today's broadcast to hear some summer reading suggestions from Christian singer/songwriter Sara Groves, author and pastor Crawford Loritts, and Hungry Planet founder and author, Hayley DiMarco.

Everyone has a favorite book.

Summer Reading List, Part 1

With Various Guests
July 25, 2007
| Download Transcript PDF

["Twilight Zone" theme]

Dennis: [echo chamber] We turn it on, we watch in mindlessly, it's a habit.  I know.  I've been guilty of that.

Bob: [as Rod Serling] You might think of Dennis Rainey as a spellbreaker, a man who breaks the spell of the blue glow on the face of families during the month of August.

Dennis: [in echo chamber] I just think it's good for the month of August to find some other ways to occupy your mind.

Bob: [as Rod Serling] The question is – how many people will stay zoned out in August, or how many people will join Mr. Dennis Rainey on his campaign?

[spooky music]

Bob: How did you like that?  That's pretty good, huh?  Welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Wednesday …

Dennis: Bob, Bob, have you read – I'm reading my Bible in anticipation of where we're headed over the next month here on FamilyLife Today, and what we're calling people to do.  It's found – the Bible verse is found – Hezekiah 3:5.  Now, some of our listeners are not going to know where that is.

Bob: Because it's not in their Bible.

Dennis: It's, it's …

Bob: There is no Hezekiah.

Dennis: There isn't, but if there was, here it would be – "Thou shalt not whine."  Thou shalt not whine, Bob.

Bob: Is that I've been sounding like?  Like I'm whining?

Dennis: Bob – every year we do a fast from TV, encourage our listeners …

Bob: … yes …

Dennis: … to turn off the TV, read a good book, talk, walk …

Bob: … yes …

Dennis: … spend time together, take drives together.

Bob: Somebody thought this was a great idea, and so we're doing it, right?

Dennis: I thought it was a great idea, and I have continued to champion this cause, because you know what?  We all need it.

Bob: So we're going to take a break next month from TV, and you're recommending we find other things to do, and one of those things is read some good books, right?

Dennis: I think read good books.

Bob: We've already heard from Mark Hamby this week, who has been on the radio program with us.  He's talked about some of the classics that come from 100 years ago, great Christian literature that you can read with your kids, and I thought, "Okay, that sounds like fun."  I can see sitting around and reading some of those books.

Dennis: Sitting around, yeah.

Bob: Sitting around, nothing else to do, you know, it's after dinner, and you look at each other and go, "What are we going to do tonight?"  "Let's read another book," hey.

Dennis: There you go, isn't this going to be fun?  But you know what?  It is going to be a fun month, and I promised our listeners if you do this, by the end of the month you will probably have missed the TV, yeah, that's going to be true but, you know, when you turn it back on, I think you're going to be a little astounded at kind of what's coming at your family all the time and how much time you do spent in front of the television.

Bob: Well, here is the thing – I've had these people telling me that I should watch "Lost."  I've never watched "Lost."  Have you ever watched any "Lost?"

Dennis: Sorry, I've not see "Lost." 

Bob: So I had set aside as the – that was going to be the month that I was going to catch up on all of the past episodes of "Lost."

Dennis: Oh, so you were going to put it on your DVR …

Bob: I was just going to rent the boxed set and just kind of veg out on "Lost" the whole month, but I guess I'm out of that whole deal.

Dennis: No, no, no.  In fact, what we want to do is we want to make some phone calls to some special friends…

Bob: I've been doing this already.  I've been calling some people and just saying …

Dennis: Trying to get them on your side.

Bob: I need you to recommend …

Dennis: That's not going to work.

Bob: Trying to find a good book that I can read during the month of August, do you have any recommendations?  And so I thought, "Well, we'll just call some folks on our program and see what they would recommend not just to me but for our listeners."

Dennis: And let our listeners listen in and kind of hear what other folks are reading.

Bob: So we've got – I think we've got Sara Groves, who is on the line with us, and I think some of our listeners will know Sara is a recording artist.  She and her husband Troy have been on FamilyLife Today, in fact, they're going to be back on FamilyLife Today here in a few weeks talking about Homebuilders, because they were involved in going through a Homebuilders study when they first got married, and I love Sara's CDs.  They are some of my favorites and so she's a good person – is Sara on the – I think Sara's on the line with us.

Dennis: Sara, Sara, are you there?

Sara: Hello.

Dennis: This is Dennis Rainey.

Sara: Hi, Dennis, how are you doing?

Dennis: I'm doing well.  Say hi to Bob Lepine.

Sara: Hi, Bob, good to hear you.

Bob: I just saw you on a video.

Sara: Oh, you did?

Bob: I was over in Nashville and on my TV right there in my hotel room was Sara Groves over and over and over again.

Sara: I'm sorry about that.

Bob: Showing your trip to – where was it you went in Africa?

Sara: To Rwanda.

Bob: It had to be amazing.

Sara: It was incredible, it was incredible.

Bob: Did it change your life?

Sara: Life-changing, yes, very much so.  That's kind of what that video is about – Soccer mom wakes up to the world.

Dennis: So what's the action point out of that trip for you and your ministry?

Sara: Oh, man, there have been a few.  I have been working with International Justice Mission the last year and a half.  Gary Haugen was on that trip, and …

Bob: We're big fans of Gary and that ministry.

Sara: Yes, and, actually, I just heard – well, we were – talking about adoption, we're expecting a baby in about two months here.  I had just gone to a seminar and then found out I was expecting – surprise – this is my third.

Dennis: Well, congratulations.

Sara: Thank you.  So we – what I'd love to communicate, and I'm trying to communicate with music is the privilege of being involved in these stories.  I mean, it really is deeply lifegiving.

Bob: So I'm guessing "Terrified No More," might be on your book list for this summer.

Sara: Definitely, either one, I mean, I have such a – I have a long list, but that or "The Good News About Injustice."  Both of those really shaped my worldview about justice and God's heart for justice, yes.

Dennis: To be able to touch the lives of those who can't repay you, could never begin to express their appreciation for what you've done, you know, I'm glad to hear your ministry has taken on this flavor and this emphasis.  In fact, maybe what we can do, Bob, when we talk about the needs of orphans and adoption and foster care next November, maybe we can talk a little bit to Sara and maybe her husband just about their ministry and what's going on there and how they're using music to really talk about how the body of Christ needs to step forward and get on the field here.

Bob: Well, then she'd really have to adopt, though, wouldn't she?

Dennis: Well, it sounded like she was moving in that direction already.

Sara: We're talking – we hope that's part of our story at some point and until our latest surprise here, we were moving in that direction.

Dennis: Yes.

Bob: What else is on your summer reading list, or your recommended list, that you'd give for our listeners?

Sara: You know, I read a great book just a little bit ago called "The Gilead" by Marilyn Robinson, and it's just a good beach book, but it's about a man of faith who comes from generations of pastors, and he is – at the end of his life, he's writing to his young son.  He had a son late in life, and he's writing to his seven-year-old boy, and it's one of the most pieces of literature that I have read in a long time.  So I would highly recommend that for just some very enjoyable, deeply moving piece of literature.

 Then my third one was – you know, this is a book, for me, that I could read once a year just for a good blueprint for life, and that is "A Long Obedience in the Same Direction" by Eugene Peterson.  I could pick that up once a year and just refresh – the whole point of being a believer and being a Christ follower.

Dennis: Sara, you're a young mom, been reading any books recently that have sharpened you as a mother as you attempt to raise soon-to-be three children?

Sara: Probably the book that gave me the biggest sigh of relief most recently was Carol Kirkendahl's book "Five Star Family."  She's a MOPS, founder of MOPS, and the principle that she wrote about in there that really let me off the hook – she said children don't remember moments.  In our society we get very caught up in the moments, and she said kids remember patterns – patterns of love, patterns of faith, patterns of fun.

 And when I step back from my life, I have my monster mom moments, but when I really step back and look at it, I feel like God is really painting a beautiful picture with our family, and something that I feel good about.  I make a lot of mistakes, but I feel like my children will look back – and I want to think about in the broad strokes, what am I really doing, so I don't get caught up in the minutiae of every interaction and forget kind of the bigger picture of what God is doing in our family.

Dennis: Yes, no doubt about it.  Well, I want to applaud you for your trip to Rwanda and just how you've come alongside Gary Haugen and International Justice Mission, and I pray God's favor will be upon you and your husband as you continue to do the mom thing, most importantly, and then also continue your ministry as well.

Sara: Thank you very much.

Bob: Tell Troy we said hi.

Sara: I will, I will, thank you.

Bob: Great to talk to you.

Sara: You, too, bye-bye.

Bob: And, I guess, Dennis, I can't watch Sara's video during the TV fast thing, can I?  This is her trip to Rwanda.

Dennis: Let your conscience be your guide, Bob.  We're just trying to encourage a little fellowship at the Lepine household, and …

Bob: I'll squeeze it in before August 1st rolls around.

Dennis: You know, I'm really surprised, Bob, in all these years, I really am, that I've never received a phone call from Mary Ann; that she's never called me to say thanks.

Bob: To thank you for giving me my husband back during August, is that what you're …

Dennis: I'm not saying you're an addict, I'm not saying that at all, but I just would have thought, you know, knowing Mary Ann as I am, she's kind of a family value champion.  She's …

Bob: Oh, and what am I, huh?  Mr. Slob Man?

Dennis: I was not saying that, Bob.

Bob: She's the family values champion, and her husband is a couch potato.

Dennis: This is what you call a classic case of taking someone's words out of context.  I was complimenting your wife.

Bob: Yeah, Mary Ann, yeah, by contrasting her with her husband.

Dennis: Well, whose nails are dug into the side of the wall, you know, fighting this thing the whole way, pulling the channel surfer, pulling his fingers off the channel surfer.

Bob: All right, we've got another phone call here to make, and we're still looking for book recommendations so you can get some great reading done during the upcoming TV fast in August, and your friend, Crawford Loritts …

Dennis: Not your friend?

Bob: Well, he's my friend, too, although …

Dennis: Just doing what you just did to me.

Bob: He's paired up with you as …

Dennis: You just said he was my friend, he's not your friend.

Bob: He's paired up with you on this TV fast, so he's become less of my friend as a result of that.  Crawford, are you there?  Welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Crawford: Hey, Bob and Dennis, I'm doing great.

Dennis: Hey, I just want to say thanks, first of all, for serving on the FamilyLife board of directors and also the board of directors for Campus Crusade for Christ.  We love you and appreciate you.

Crawford: Well, thank you, Dennis.  I just wanted to say, too, it's invigorating to be on FamilyLife's board, it's invigorating to be on Crusade's board, but sitting in our board meetings, I wish our listeners could have been at our last few board meetings when we talked about vision and direction and what God has in store for the ministry.  I'm just fired up.  So I thank you for the privilege of serving.

Bob: Well, we appreciate your ministry not only speaking and writing, but we wanted to just pick your brain.  You know, we've encouraged our listeners to take the month – actually, let me rephrase this – Dennis has been encouraging our listeners to take the month of August off from television.

Dennis: Bob is resisting, Crawford.

Bob: There's still a little root of bitterness.

Dennis: I may need to talk to you, as a board member …

Bob: A little rebellion going on here.

Dennis: … of FamilyLife about this.  We may have to have a little discipline here.

Bob: He wants the whole month with the TV off.

Crawford: You know, Bob and I know of good places where we can get some disguises.

Bob: What have you been reading recently or what – if somebody was looking for something this summer that they were going to read – fiction, nonfiction, spiritually oriented or practically oriented – not that the Scriptures aren't practical – but what would you recommend to folks?

Crawford: Well, you know, there are a couple of classics that come to mind, Bob.  I think, of course, J.I. Packer's "Knowing God," is one of those volumes that needs to be read over and over and over again.  And, you know, it's one of those things where you need time to just marinate in it, to savor it, and so that would be a great read.

 You know, I think also "The Holiness of God" by R.C. Sproul is another great read that will get us thinking in more lofty ways.  I think sometimes – one of my little hobbyhorses recently in the last four or five years is that we have been so focused on practical Christianity – there's nothing wrong with that, the how-tos are great – but sometimes I think it's almost at the expense of fingering the greatness of God.

Dennis: No doubt.

Crawford: And I think, you know, that would be another great read.  And I’m getting back to the old stuff here – any of E.M. Bounds classic stuff on prayer, "Power Through Prayer," "Prevailing Prayer," any of his stuff.  They're short but very thought-provoking.

Dennis: Crawford, you're a leader of a church.  Undoubtedly, you step out of the biblical books and biographies to read a story or maybe a how-to book that develops you as a man. What's the best secular book you've read recently, as a man, as a leader, or maybe just a novel?

Crawford: Well, you know, I tell you what, I love reading all of John Grisham's stuff, and so I've read that, but I'd tell you the best secular book I've ever read that's helped me greatly is "Good to Great," in terms of my leadership and I don't know if Collins is a follower yet of Jesus, but that book should be must reading for anyone that takes the task of leadership seriously.

 You know, Bill Hybels' book entitled "Courageous Leadership" is another great read.  Some of our listeners or, you know, if they have leadership responsibility whether it's being on a board of the church or on your job or whatever, the principles that you glean from that book would be outstanding.

Dennis: Well, we appreciate you taking the time to stimulate our listeners to love and good deeds and getting them in the right books.

Bob: If Mary Ann and I drop by sometime during the month of August, you know, could we watch something together, you know, you and me?

Crawford: Well, what we'll do, we'll go down to my unfinished basement, and we'll read a little book, and there will be hammers nearby, too.

Bob: All right, I'm staying away from your place.

Dennis: Yeah, no doubt about it.  Hey, we love you, Crawford, and we appreciate you.

Crawford: I love you guys, take care.

Dennis: You have a good day, bye-bye.

Bob: Yeah, and it sounds like I’m not getting any help from him in trying to find refuge during this TV fast.  Anyplace I can sneak out – if I go, like, to Chili's for lunch, and there's a TV on in Chili's …

Dennis: Bob, let's just make the next phone call.  We want to talk to Hayley DiMarco.

Bob: Just trying to get the rules down.  I want to know where the loopholes are in this.

Dennis: Hayley has been a guest here on FamilyLife Today along with her husband, Michael.  She's an author of youth books.  She's a contemporary.  You might be able to find somebody here, Bob, who would turn on the TV for you and go visit their house.

Bob: I don't think she'll join in this fast.  Hayley, welcome to FamilyLife Today.

Hayley: Hey, Dennis, Bob, how are you doing?

Bob: Doing good.

Hayley:  Good, it's nice to talk to you guys again.

Bob: Nice to talk to you, too.

Dennis: Thanks for joining us.

Hayley: Oh, you bet.

Dennis: As you know, we're talking to our listeners, at least I am, Bob has not yet signed on.

Bob: Well, I'm actually – I'm glad we called Hayley because I know one of the things that Hayley wants to make sure she is, is culturally savvy, right?

Hayley: Right.

Dennis: So you think because she's culturally savvy, she's going to keep her TV on for the month of August.  You think you've found an ally here.

Bob: There might be refuge for me during the month, you know, someplace I can go and late at night I'll see that blue glow sneaking through the window.

Hayley: Oh, yes, he'll always in a blue glow – probably several places in our house.

Dennis: Are you an addict, Hayley?

Hayley: Am I an addict?

Dennis: A TV addict, yeah?

Hayley: No.

Dennis: Thank you.

Hayley: No, I wouldn't say I'm an addict.

Bob: So are you going to join Dennis's harebrained idea to turn off the TV in August?

Hayley: No.

Bob: Alright!  But you're going to keep reading through the month, too, right?

Hayley: Oh, gosh, yeah.  I'm going to read a lot.  It's because of my one-year-old, I'm not going to turn the TV off.  I'd go crazy.

Bob: So is the TV on as a babysitter for your one-year-old or companionship for you?

Hayley: It's not really on as a babysitter.  You know what?  I found that there's really some great educational stuff.  We do the Baby Einstein videos, and she's learning all this vocabulary about stuff she wouldn't ordinarily see, like stuff on the farm.

Bob: Your one-year-old is learning vocabulary?

Hayley: My one-year-old almost has the entire alphabet learned.

Bob: All right, this is that prodigy thing at work over there.

Hayley: She's obsessed with learning.  I'm telling you, she yells at me, if I don't tell her.  She says, "What's this, what's this, what's this?"  And I tell her and – yeah.

Dennis: Okay, since you're raising a Baby Einstein, share with our listeners what the best books you've read recently are?

Hayley: Okay, one of my favorites is "The Blessings of Brokenness" by Charles Stanley.  I think for a lot of reasons, there's just got to be a lot of people out there like me who have gone through some tragedy in their lives who have been just broken to pieces, and you think, "I just can't get out of this," or "Why is God doing this to me?"  And this is the kind of book that you want to get when you're going through that because it's just like a balm on your wounds.  It's a wonderful book.

Bob: All right, I've got Dr .Charles Stanley, "Blessing of Brokenness."  What's number two on your list?

Hayley: Number two would be "A Marriage Without Regrets" by Kay Arthur.  This book, boy, is fantastic for people who really want to – I mean, you've really got to want to know God's position on the role of husband and wife in marriage, because it is a sobering look.  I mean, a fabulous book for really understanding God's position on it.

Dennis: Hayley, you're a young mom, you've got a one-year-old Baby Einstein on your hands there, as we just found out.  Any books that you've read about being a mother, disciplining children, just those early years of starting your family you'd want to pass on?

Hayley: Oh, boy, I'd like to say that I have, but I can't really think of anything.

Bob: That's okay, we may box some up and send them to you.

Hayley: That would be great.

Bob: You and Michael have been writing for a number of years.  Are you working on anything right now?

Hayley: Yes.  I am currently working a book called "Idol Girls," that talks about these said addictions you mentioned earlier – anything that we are addicted to and can't turn away from can easily be said to be an idol, something that takes the place of God.  So I'm working on that for girls to kind of understand all that, man, there are a lot of idols you can come up with when you're a teenager and then on into adult years.  So we're working on that and a couple of other Bible study books to go with some of my previous books out there.

Bob: Well, you go, girl, all right?

Dennis: Yeah, really.  That's needed today.

Bob: And we appreciate your ministry, we appreciate you tackling tough issues in teenagers' lives, and tackling them directly and in a very compelling way.

Hayley: Well, thank you.

Bob: Good to talk to you.

Hayley: Yes, nice talking to you, too.

Bob: Thanks for the recommendations.

Dennis: Thanks for your ministry, Hayley.

Hayley: Sure, thank you.  Thanks for yours as well.

Bob: Bye-bye.  You know, I'm going to send her – I'm just sitting here thinking about what would be good.  You know, the book "Don't Make Me Count to Three," Ginger Plowman's book.  We interviewed her on FamilyLife Today.  Talk about a book that helps moms with kids in those early years.  We'll get a copy of that off to her.

 In fact, our team has assembled suggested books for the month of August during the TV fast time.  We've got books that we've already talked about this week that you can read to your children, books that they can read themselves, some great stories, great literature from 100 years ago or more.  Those are available on our website, but we've also got some recommended titles for Mom and Dad this summer, too, to both help you in your marriage relationship, and to help you as you raise your children.

 So go to our website,, click the red "Go" button in the middle of the screen.  That will take you to the area of the site where you can get some ideas on some good summer reading for the month of August while the TV is off in your home.

 Again, the website is, click the red button that says "Go" in the middle of the screen, and you'll be right at the area of the site where there is more information about what's available and what's suggested for summer reading.

 You can also call 1-800-FLTODAY.  We've got folks available who can answer any questions you have, or if you'd like to place an order over the phone, 1-800-358-6329, that's 1-800-F-as-in-family, L-as-in-life, and then the word TODAY.

 I have to tell you a quick story.  I was recently out in Northern California with my son, and I ran into a couple that listens to FamilyLife Today from time to time, and they said, "We have to tell you a story."

 They had been listening to our program back, oh, almost a year and a half ago now – we were talking about the needs of orphans and about families that had made the decision to adopt.  And God used that program to touch the heart of this mom who began to ask the question, "Is that what the Lord would have us do?"

 And she and her husband began to pray through that, and she pulled me aside and said, "We have all the paperwork in, and we are waiting for the green light to adopt a child from Asia."  And they were so excited, and they said FamilyLife Today was really the impetus behind that kind of a decision.  And I thanked them for listening, and I told them that I would share their story with you.

 It's always encouraging for us to hear how God is using the ministry of FamilyLife Today in people's lives, sometimes in some very significant ways.  I want to ask you, if God has used FamilyLife Today in a significant way in your life, in your marriage or in your family, can we ask you to consider making a donation to the ministry of FamilyLife Today.

 We're listener-supported, and so it's folks like you who pitch in from time to time with a donation of any amount who keep this program on the air in your city and in other cities.  If you can make a donation of any amount this week, we'd love to send you four CDs that feature messages from our Weekend to Remember Marriage Conference on the subjects of conflict resolution, communication, and sexual intimacy.

 We'll send those CDs out to you as our way of saying thank you for your support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today when you make a donation of any amount this week, go online at to make your donation and, if you do, when you get to the keycode box there, just type in the letters "WTR" and we'll know to send you these CDs.

 Or call 1-800-FLTODAY.  You can make a donation over the phone and, again, just mention that you'd like to receive the CDS, and we'll be happy to send them to you.  Thanks for listening and thanks for your financial support of this ministry as well.

 Tomorrow we're going to get back on the phones and see who we can call, get some more book recommendations and see who will join us in our August TV fast.  I hope you can be with us for that.

 I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

 FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. 


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Episodes in this Series

Summer Reading List, Part 3
with Various Guests July 27, 2007
Reading is to the mind what food is to the stomach.
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Elementary Day 2
Summer Reading List, Part 2
with Various Guests July 26, 2007
Want to immerse yourself in a really good book this summer but don't know which one to pick up?
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