Andrew Smith's Blog

My name is Andrew. Come and have a look inside my life and watch me share what is on my heart.

Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer by Max Lucado Book Review

My Thoughts:

I would recommend this amazing book to anyone who is struggling in their prayer life and they are wanting to become closer to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I liked how Max Lucado wrote in a way that was very practical and easy for readers to comprehend. I liked how he illustrated that when children talk to their father, they use simple language and they don’t have to use the most vocabulary words. I learned that prayer can be simple and it doesn’t have to be dramatic and I don’t have to pray to impress God or anyone else. He wants me to pray what’s in my heart and in my mind. Max reminded readers to come to God like a little child and I think this is critical. This book personally couldn’t have been written in a better time because we all know the world is in chaos, fear is trying to overwhelm us, and trials are trying to overtake us. Prayer is the key to communicating with God and this book can be a huge benefit to you, if you take its message to heart! If you’re looking a book to help you in your prayer life, then read this one!

“I received a review copy of Before Amen from Litfuse for this review.”



About the book: 
We all pray . . . some.
We pray to stay sober, centered, or solvent. When the lump is deemed malignant. When the money runs out before the month does. When the marriage is falling apart. We pray.
But wouldn't we like to pray more? Better? Stronger? With more fire, faith, and fervency?
Yet we have kids to feed, bills to pay, deadlines to meet. The calendar pounces on our good intentions like a tiger on a rabbit. And what about our checkered history with prayer? Uncertain words. Unmet expectations. Unanswered requests.
We aren't the first to struggle with prayer. The first followers of Jesus needed prayer guidance too. In fact, prayer is the only tutorial they ever requested.
And Jesus gave them a prayer. Not a lecture on prayer. Not the doctrine of prayer. He gave them a quotable, repeatable, portable prayer. Couldn't we use the same?
In Before Amen best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts and confidence even for prayer wimps. Distilling prayers in the Bible down to one pocket-sized prayer, Max reminds readers that prayer is not a privilege for the pious nor the art of a chosen few. Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. Let the conversation begin.

Pre-order a copy of Before Amen by 9/29 and receive a FREE ebook copy of Max's best-selling Second Chances: More Stories of Grace.
Purchase a copy:
About the author: More than 120 million readers have found comfort in the writings of Max Lucado. He ministers at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Denalyn, and a sweet but misbehaving mutt, Andy.

Find Max online: website, Twitter,

What Others Are Saying:

Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and his child. In Before Amen, best-selling author Max Lucado joins readers on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer, offering hope for doubts, and confidence even for prayer wimps. Let the conversation begin.

Be sure to enter the Before Amen iPad Mini giveaway. AND if you pre-order a copy of Before Amen by 9/29, you'll receive a FREE ebook copy of Max’s best-selling Second Chances: More Stories of Grace.
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • Before Amen by Max Lucado
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 29th. Winner will be announced September 30th on the Litfuse blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit the Litfuse blog on the 30th to see if you won! (Or better yet, subscribe to their blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

7 Ways to Be Her Hero: The One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For By Doug Fields

In 7 Ways to Be Her Hero, Doug Fields discussed how men can improve their marriage and they can become their wife’s personal hero. This book is primary written towards men but women could still benefit from reading this book. Doug Fields opened up about his own personal failures and frustrations in loving his wife completely like Christ loves her. The first chapter, he looked into what is breaking and hurting our marriages. He also explored the meaning behind Ecclesiastes 2:11 and this verse basically means Solomon was pursuing after everything he wanted to do and he realized, he was chasing things like the wind. And in the second chapter he revealed what scripture verses relate to marriage and how God is strongly for marriage. The rest of the book was divided into the actual seven ways to be your wife’s hero and they had a part A and a part B. Part B of the seven chapters was designed to address if your wife had a big problem in that category. Some of the chapters included: “Don’t Say Everything You Think”, “Say What is Powerful”, “Go Big with Small Things”, “Be Liberal with Touch… but Not That Way!”, “Shepherd Your Wife’s Heart”, and much more.
I would recommend this life changing book to all men. This book is especially helpful to all of the husbands that are striving to become the best husband that they can be. I will admit that I’m not married yet and I read this book in order to prepare for my future marriage whenever that may occur. Doug Fields did an excellent job in describing how men are born to chase after something and most of us have a problem with chasing after work too much. I liked how he stressed that it is important to work but we also must make time for our wife and kids. I really enjoyed the “One Heart Principle” that Doug discussed and how it is critical to remember that we must live as one with our spouse. I appreciated that Doug Fields wrote in a way that men could connect with the content and it was very relatable. If you’re looking for a book to help you to improve your marriage, then read this one!
"I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program."  
If you would like to purchase a copy of 7 Ways to Be Her Hero, check it out on

A Christian Survival Guide: A Lifetime to Faith and Growth By Ed Cyzewski Book Review

A Christian Survival Guide was written to instill principles in our daily walk with Christ and to help us not just to survive until we meet Jesus face to face but to also grow deeper in their relationship with Him. The first part of the book covered Christian beliefs for example: prayer, the Bible, hell, Apocalypse, and so much more. The second part of the book also enclosed Christian practices for instance: sin addiction, money, community, and more.


One of my favorite chapters was the chapter on prayer. I liked how Ed Cyzewski shared Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplications (also referred to as ACTS) method to praying to our loving Creator. This way of praying is a wonderful reminder that we can pray for our own needs but we also pray for others. I connected with how Ed revealed he struggled with always feeling like he never could pray enough and when he did it would be many times repetitious. As a child, I would also constantly restate the same prayer over and over again. It took me countless years to realize my prayers doesn’t always to be said the precise same way. I also enjoyed the story he shared about Bill Graham and his dramatic big bold praying in regard to his radio show. This was the first time I heard that story and this will inspire readers.


I would recommend this life changing book to anyone who is sick and tired of barely surviving and they are ready to thrive and to run their race and to grow more in their faith. After reading this book, I have begun to pray more and to pray to God like a true friend and to study the Bible and try to become more like Christ. Ed Cyzewski did an excellent job at presenting the topics in this book and I liked how he didn’t sugarcoat the message. If you’re looking for a book to help you in your walk with Christ, then read this one!


"I received this book free from the publisher from Kregel Publications book review bloggers program."   


If you would like to purchase a copy of A Christian Survival Guide, then check it out on


New Books Available for Pre-order at

Living Courageously: You Can Face Anything, Just Do It Afraid by Joyce Meyer is a new book being released on Sep 16, 2014. It is available for pre-order on I have read a number of Joyce Meyer books and let me personally share that she knows scripture and she knows how to apply it to your life. This book covers the important topic of not letting fear control your life and this one will be another life changing book! This is another one that I can’t wait to read because I struggle with dealing with fear in my own life. I can’t wait to learn how to “just do it afraid” and the steps on how to do just that.

New from Joyce Meyer, Living Courageously: PreBuy now at


You Can You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner by Joel Osteen is another new book available for pre-order on Family Christian. I have read a number of Joel Osteen’s book and this one is about dreaming big and going after your destiny, thinking positively, and so much more. I can’t wait to read this one and find out all of the eight qualities to make me a winner in what God has called me to do for His glory.

New from Joel Osteen, You Can You Will: PreBuy now at



AD 30 by Ted Dekker is novel that takes place in AD 30 in Arabia and ancient Palestine. There is a major war occurring between good and evil. Maviah is the main character of this novel and she is determined to protect her people. This will be a wonderful novel that I will have to check out!

Ted Dekker, A.D. 30: PreBuy now at

Jesus Daily: 365 Interactive Devotions by Aaron Tabor is a book that was inspired by Facebook fans and it encompasses life altering devotions to lead you into a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This devotions seems like it will be very relevant in today times. I can’t wait to read some of the themes presented in this book!
New from Aaron Tabor, Jesus Daily: PreBuy now at

When I Fall In Love By Susan May Warren Book Review

My Review:


Susan May Warren has written another awesome book filled with romance. This book is the three book in the series A Christiansen Family. I haven’t read the other two books but I was able to follow along just fine. I read the book during vacation on the beach and I loved how the setting of the book was placed in Hawaii. I enjoyed how relatable the characters were and how Max and Grace both avoided falling in love at all costs. They seemed to be too terrified to let someone in and let themselves to be loved. This is something I personally struggle with myself letting someone get close enough and perhaps even falling in love with them. Yes, love could end but it also could last! Very eye-opening messages! I also liked how the book had a Christian message that was spread throughout the novel.


My favorite character was Max Sharpe and I connected with how he held onto the guilt of accidentally injuring Owen and ending his hockey career. The book had a great lesson about dealing with the truth and forgiving yourself and others when they make mistakes. This book also touched on Max’s family background and I liked how Susan described in details everything Max felt. Max didn’t feel like he deserved happiness because of Huntington’s disease that runs in his family. Max didn’t want another person having to suffer from seeing him going through the effects of the disease. I loved how she intertwined this facet of the novel and I thought it prominently enhanced the character dramatics. I liked how she added a minor character, Raina to the storyline and her story portrayed the importance of choosing our actions carefully. I would have liked to see more of her story played out more in another novel. If you’re looking for a romantic novel, then this one is for you!


“I received a review copy of When I Fall In Love from Litfuse for this review.” the book: 
Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled-or maybe yanked-away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.
Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.
Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace's faith will face its toughest test yet.
Purchase a copy: the author: 
Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Find Susan online: website, My Book TherapyTwitter, Facebook


Read what others are saying:

Susan May Warren's newest book in the Christiansen Family Collection, When I Fall In Love,  has won over readers' and critics' hearts alike. With critical reviews like, ". . . an exquisite romance. Profoundly touching on the topic of facing fears, this book is a true gem," and more than 60 five-star reviews at Amazon, When I Fall in Love is sure to please.

Susan has teamed up with some amazing food bloggers for a fun food challenge and a KitchenAid Mixer giveaway!

  One grand prize winner will receive:
Grab your aprons and wire whisks and buzz on over to the When I Fall in Love website to learn more and enter the Hawaiian Chef Showdown! Susan is challenging you to make a Hawaiian-inspired dish using coconut, mango, or one of the other ingredients mentioned in the book. You’ll get extra points for creating your own recipe—plus she might share it on the When I Fall in Love site! Or if you're not up for an adventure in the kitchen just click one of the icons below for easy entry.

Hurry, the giveaway ends on August 10th. All winners will be announced August 13th at Susan's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Susan's blog on the 13th to see if you won!

Summer Activities for Adventures in Odyssey Fans!


Summer is officially here! Don't let your kids' boredom run rampant. Adventures in Odyssey is here to save the day. Below are some must-try ideas for summer fun! Want even more summer fun? For the month of June, you can join the Odyssey Adventure Club for only $5! More details can be found here.

Summer Activities

As a parent you are probably a big proponent of reading. Encourage your kids to dig into a book or two this summer with Adventures in Odyssey's On Your Marks Summer Reading Challenge. Bonus points if YOU create a reading challenge for yourself as you read along with your kids!

Looking for something hands-on? Create Matthew in 3-D! Invite a few of your kids' friends over for a play date, print off the activity sheet, and let them have at it for the afternoon (with the promise of cookies and lemonade once they've finished constructing Matthew).

Maybe your kids aren't into reading, but they love math. If that's the case, have them solve Eugene's Sudoku!

The laundry needs to be done; the dishes need to be put away. But your kids are begging you to take them out to the zoo. Let them take a whack at Matthew's Decoder in the morning, then make an agreement that if they figure out how to use the decoder, you'll take them on an afternoon adventure. That'll give you the morning to finish up your to-do list!