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.

Community Wins: 21 Thoughts on Building a Thriving Online Tribe By Bryan Allain Book Review

In Community Wins, Bryan Allain explored the concepts of how to build a community of followers that you are positively influencing and enhancing their lives. Your community might be fans supporting your music, readers following your blog, people who purchased your books you have written, or any other type of businesses or services you are passionate about. This book demonstrated the importance of growing your mailing list, joining social media sites, and blogging to connect with other people. You don’t necessary have to do all three just pick one and start building one area. Then if you want to join other and expand then go for it! The book will describe and lead you into taking action steps at the end of each chapter seriously and you must take the required time pondering to improve.


He warned leaders that they must be able to handle rejection from their critics. He also described stories from JR Rowling, Henry Ford, Michael Jordan, and Mark Burnett and how they overcame their own personal rejections. Bryan Allain has had to experience his own battle at being rejected when he received a one star review on his first book and some hurtful comments from some readers. He understands the magnitude of leading his community. It’s important to remember anything you do and don’t do people are going to criticize. But that doesn’t mean this is the time to throw in the towel and call it quits. It’s a time to dig deeper and move forward.  


I would recommend this fantastic book to anyone who is a leader and they are trying to build a network of followers to interact with. Building a community can take a number of different steps and a lot of hard work, but it’s vital to construct something that is durable. I immensely enjoyed the action steps questions after each chapter. I strongly believe that if readers answer them regarding their own community we would see a change in the atmosphere and more effective leaders would be birth. If you’re a leader, you don’t want to miss out on this life changing book!


“I received this E-Book for free from the author for this review”.


If you would like to purchase a copy of Community Wins, check it out on



Hot Buttons Series: Dating, Sexuality, Internet, and Drugs Editions By Nicole O’Dell Blog Tour and Book Review


My Review:


Nicole O’Dell has written a series of books entitled, Hot Buttons that consist of topics ranging from dating, sexuality, internet use, and drug use. There are many more book topics that she is currently working on to address the issues and situations that teenagers may find themselves in. So be sure to check them out!

Let me just go ahead and say that I am not in the target audience yet for these parenting series books. I am only twenty-two, not married yet, and I don’t have any children or teenagers. But I hope to one day be a husband and a father.

If you have a minute and would like to pray this over my life, I would gladly appreciate it:

Please pray that I would meet my future wife and that God would make me the best husband and father that I can be. Also praying to be blessed with children. Lead my and direct my steps and provide me with a great career.

Thanks so very much!

 Dating Edition:

In the Dating Edition, Nicole points out the importance of setting clear boundaries regarding our teenagers dating. A common mistake parents tend to make is waiting to late to discuss the rules and expectations we have on our children and who they are allowed to date and when. This book has extremely helped me to realize the impact I have on my children and that I can take steps to insure that I am encouraging them to open up to me without fear of judgment. Two widespread problems that Nicole shared that teenagers have complained about parents are they are too busy and they don’t ask questions when they share what’s on their hearts. I must always give them my undivided attention when they are speaking about their problems and I have to avoid telling too many personal stories all at once. I must let them ask the questions of what I went through with my dating relationships. As parents, we have to set the example and display with our words and actions that we deeply care about the issues they encounter.

One statistics that terrified me was, “A recent survey suggested that if a child has a first date between the ages of 11 and 13, he or she has a 90 percent probability of being sexually active during senior year in high school. First date at age 14 leads to a 50 percent change; first date at age 16; 20 percent chance” (Page 57 in Hot Button- Statistics from Ray Guarendi, Discipline that Lasts a Lifetime). This was a huge eye-opener and a heartbreaking study that would cause parents to not let their children date until they are at least sixteen years old. This is a boundary that I now see that I must go ahead and stand firm on! The book also covered the differences between like, lust, and love. Most of our teenagers struggle to define what their relationships truly are and some are searching for love but settling for lust.

Sexuality Edition:

In the Sexuality Edition, Nicole O’Dell shared with parents the issues that our teenagers are being tempted by satan about their sexuality. The book covered hot buttons like vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral sex, and mutual masturbation. Most of the descriptions are brief and they don’t get to technical and I know parents get a little worried and embarrassed discussing the concept of sex to your teenagers. Some parents even decide to just let the school system teach sex education. I personally think some do this because they are afraid they won’t be able to answer their children questions regarding sex. Why not at least education our children, and even if your children ask you something you don’t know, then tell be honest and tell them I will find out answer and explain it to you. Sometimes we let the church explain the importance of waiting until their married to have sex. But it’s our job and responsibly to lead our children the way Christ has instilled for us to do. I immensely liked how Nicole pointed out would you rather let your friends or the internet tell our children the acts that our considered sex. It’s important to realize that vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral sex, and mutual masturbation are all sex!

One of the biggest things that the book presented was overcoming and exposing the lie that the first time, you have sexual intercourse you won’t get pregnant or get someone pregnant. This is completely untrue anytime you have vaginal intercourse it can result in pregnancy. There is one way that we have to teach our teenagers and that is abstinence is the only way that is 100 effective. The book shared all the different forms of birth control, including the one most teenagers like to use, you got it the withdraw method (which isn’t safe). The book pointed out the risks of getting an STD from the result of unprotected sex and if the condom breaks you can still get one and possible could get pregnant. The book also talked to the parents who take the stance, I will just get my teenage daughter(s) on the pill it’s better to be safe than sorry. But as a future father, I can’t comprehend doing something like that. I would personally feel like I am endorsing for her to engage in sexual intercourse. Now let’s me flip it around, I also couldn’t see myself handing my son(s) a condom and saying if you’re going to have sex here, wear this. I understand that talking about sex to our children can be daunting. But it’s worth talking about! I know it’s my job as a parent to lead my children in the Father’s ways and when they fail to extend forgiveness.

 Internet Edition:

In the Internet Edition, Nicole O’Dell addressed the issues that come up surrounding internet usage and the dangers lurking around our children. I understood her position on making sure we have boundaries and rules in motion to protect our children. We must supervise how are children are communicating online with and limit how many hours they spend online each night. I personally loved the fact that she proclaimed that we have to check our children’s internet browser history regularly. If the internet browser history is deleted then there has to be a consequence for their actions. Why was it deleted if you weren’t doing something, you know you weren’t supposed to be doing?

I am extremely glad that Nicole stated to make sure you have your children’s social networks passwords. She helped me to avoid not knowing what my children are up to. She also suggested that we make the rules that our children are required to accept our friend requests from their parents. This is done in order to make sure our children aren’t having a chat and connecting with people that they don’t know. The book also covered the dangers of internet porn and the risks of being sucked into the misrepresentation of what sex really is.

Drug Edition:

In the Drug Edition, Nicole O’Dell explains the hazards of consuming alcohol, taking drugs, inhalants, and prescription drugs. Most teenagers start drinking alcohol or drugs because they want to fit in and be accepted. But others take it in order to seek an escape from the pressures of life. An important aspect we have to teach our children is that consuming alcohol makes you not able to focus and think clearly. Many teenagers have regrets because they were drunk, and they have sex, and they couldn’t think clearly.

I have personally never have done any type of drugs or even been offered one and that’s a wonderful thing. But this book has helped me to learn how to teach my children the dangers of drugs or alcohol because they could be offered them. I will admit that I have consumed alcohol but it was when I was the legal age. I also have only had one drink a night on special occasions like vacation and the end of some of my college semesters to celebrate. I am personally not a fan of alcohol because it really doesn’t taste all that good to me.

The book covered a number of different types of drugs where parents could understand the dangers are children are facing in today’s times. I immensely enjoyed the warning signs of drugs included to assist parents into looking out for in your teenagers. The most shocking to me was the rate of prescription drugs that teenagers are using to get high. I am so glad Nicole helped me to understand some of the drugs and I now know how to look for the signs.

Whole Series Review:  
I would recommend this book series to any parent wanting to protect their teenagers from the hidden dangers of the internet, sexuality, dating, and drug use. Parents need to teach their sons to respect girls and not to use them. Girls also need to be taught not to play around with boy’s hearts. It’s vital we teach our children the foundations of great relationships now so eventually when they enter into marriage they know how to treat their spouse. The book taught so many details and scenarios that I have never even considered that could be something my teenagers might have to face.

The scenarios section in each book contained 13-15 different scenarios per book. Parents would then describe the real life story to the teenagers, and then the teenagers would choose which ever multiply choice answer they would have done in that story. I loved that Nicole coached the parents to not freak out on whatever response their children gave them. These life lessons aren’t meant to preach to your teenagers. It’s meant to connect and understand what your children are thinking. Then you can guide them to the correct choice slowly. If you’re looking for guidance on how to parent then this series could significantly benefit you! It has opened my eyes to the truth and I plan on doing this with my own children someday! If you’re a parent, get this series, and do it with your children!

“I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity Group/ Kregel Publications for this review”.

 Link to buy Hot Buttons books:

Win a $100 Visa Cash Card at the Hot Buttons Live Video Chat with Nicole O’Dell!
Kregel Live Webcast event

About the books:
Nicole O'Dell helps address the Hot Buttons in teens' lives before the issues become problems

From dating to drugs, modesty to purity, morals to popularity, teens face all sorts of tough issues. How teens respond to these hot-button issues can have lasting effects on who they want to be and who they actually become. What if parents can help their teens prepare for these hot buttons-before the issues become a problem?

The uniquely packaged Hot Buttons Series is an accessible, quick-reference resource that parents can use to equip their children to make the right decisions, even in the face of peer pressure and outside influences. More than just another how-to manual, Hot Button Dating Edition offers practical real-life situations that parents can read and discuss with their preteens. Topics include: physical activity, missionary dating, and violence/abuse in dating relationships.

Author, mom, and broadcaster, Nicole O'Dell provides short scenarios followed by three or four responses that a teen might choose in that particular situation. Parents are then encouraged to help their children explore the issue, ask questions, and discuss the options, so when a similar situation comes up in real life, the teens are already prepared to respond.

Hot Buttons Dating Edition offers practical real-life situations that parents can read and discuss with their preteens. Topics include: physical activity, missionary dating, and violence/abuse in dating relationships.

Hot Buttons Internet Edition helps parents prepare their teens for online challenges they may face. Topics discussed include: internet activity, file sharing, social networking, and internet predators.

Hot Buttons Drug Edition braves the scary world of substance abuse, equipping parents with facts, warning signs, and real-world scenarios on: alcohol; Marijuana and other drugs; inhalants; and prescription drugs.

Hot Buttons Sexuality Edition offers the facts about teen sexuality, backed by statistics; specifics for how to talk frankly about sex with your kids, discussion about the growth of homosexuality and bisexuality among teens; and compassionate advice for guiding your teen to reclaim purity.
Meet Nicole:


Youth-culture expert, Nicole O'Dell is the host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk and the founder of Choose NOW Ministries, dedicated to guiding teens through tough issues and helping parents encourage good decisions.

On air, O'Dell covers peer pressure, dating, purity, drugs, alcohol, modesty, popularity, and anything else that comes up along the way. Nicole writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life's tough choices.
As an author, O'Dell writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her popular YA fiction includes the Diamond Estate Series and the Scenarios for Girls interactive books that feature alternate endings, allowing young girls to decide the outcome for the main character. Her nonfiction for teens includes Girl Talk, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column.

While her YA resources encourage and equip teens, Nicole also works to bridge the communication gap between teens and their parents. The Hot Buttons series helps parents discuss tough issues with their tweens and teens before the issues pop up in real life. Watch for future Hot Buttons books on subjects like bullying, image, prejudice, friendships, politics, and more.
O'Dell, resides in Paxton, IL, with her husband and six children-the youngest of whom are toddler triplets.

Find out more about Nicole at


Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action By Nick Vujicic Book Review

Unstoppable is the second book written by Nick Vujicic, founder of Life Without Limbs. Nick Vujicic is a motivational speaker who was born without arms or legs. When he was first born, like many parents they didn’t understand why their son had been born without any limbs. But despite what the world would declare that Nick wouldn’t be able to do, he is doing! He has learned to surf, skateboard, and swim. His life wasn’t without pain and many fears controlled his negative thoughts. He strongly believed that he would be a burden to his family forever and he couldn’t make a decent living on his own. He struggled with depression and suicide as a young boy at the age of ten. He wanted to end his life where he wouldn’t have to be a burden to his family. He tried to drown himself in his bathtub a few times, but luckily he wasn’t able to actually go through with it.


He also feared that his desire to get married and have a family wouldn’t ever happen. He felt that because he couldn’t hold his wife hand or hug her, no one would want him as a husband. Chapter three went into great detail about how he eventually met his wonderful wife Kanae. And after the book was released, they announced that they are expecting their first child! His story also tells the graphic experiences about him being bullied and the impact it can have on a child.


I would recommend this marvelous book to any readers who are feeling like quitting and giving up on life or love. If you have lost your hope for a better future, this book will benefit you, if you take the messages to heart. Nick’s book is about finding your passion, making a difference in the world, putting action behind your faith, believing that you are here for a reason and purpose, that you are loved, that God is going to work everything out for your ultimate good, that God can give the desires of your heart, and so much more!


Chapter three was the chapter that encouraged me the most because I have like many others doubted that God had a special spouse for me to marry and that I would one day have children. I struggled to believe that it was even possible that someone would even want me. I’m twenty-two years old and personally I haven’t dated any woman or, in fact, been on a date.  And to be honest, dating seriously frightens me and I won’t know how to keep the conversation going.  I had a difficult time healing from my past disappointments about my failed relationships rejections. I only seemed to attract the type of women that like to play around with hearts and then move on. Often times I believe that others deserve to have that close intimacy in marriage and that’s something I won’t ever have. I also saw the hard truth that I was jealous of everyone else who was in a blissful relationship and I feared that I would die and never have experienced the love of a woman.


Nick’s story about his own failed attempts at relationships deeply encouraged me to keep trying and let God take the lead. I am beginning to realize that to find love I have to never give up on it. I will admit that sometimes I want to and I am guilty of singing Miranda Lambert’s hit song, “Kerosene”. The verse that I would sing loudly would be: “I'm giving up on love cause love's given up on me”. Nick helped open my eyes to the fact that I was the one who is afraid of rejection and of actually finding love. I shielded and protected myself from experiencing happiness and love. I was lonely and I didn’t want to face the truth and overcome the fears that I had. Nick’s story is a huge encouragement that God will give me the desires of my heart. Nick also reminded me that I wasn’t so alone in my feelings, disappointments, pain, and hurts. And whether I stay single or eventually marry I will still be alright. I truly believe that Nick’s story will vastly change your life and give you much needed encouragement! By the end of the book, you will realize that you are unstoppable, and you must put action behind your faith.



“I received this ARC copy of Unstoppable for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.


If you would like to purchase a copy of Unstoppable check it out on or Christian


Please rate my review: Thanks so very much!!

Book Trailer:



Read Chapter Three Excerpt (This chapter is about how he found his wife) If you're afraid, doubting, and you are thinking about giving up on love and wondering if you can ever find a marriage partner, then this book is written just for you! Be encouraged!

Unstoppable Love Story (Excerpt from Chapter 3)


About Nick Vujicic:



Author's Web Site:



Follow Nick on Facebook:



It’s Not Over: How to Keep Moving Forward When You Feel You’re Losing the Fight By Ricardo Sanchez Book Review

Ricardo Sanchez is a leading worship leader in the Atlanta residence and the book is based on the song entitled, “It’s Not Over”. The best-selling song was co-written with Israel Houghton.  It’s Not Over is written to encourage readers to not let the press of trials to discourage them and cause them to quit, when the pressure of life comes against them. He has experienced a personal situation that has forever changed his entire life and like most people he never saw the attack coming. He was travelling to Jacksonville, Florida on a ministry trip and when he stepped off the plane his phone was bombarded with urgent messages telling him to call home. The text and phone messages were from pastors, friends, family, and most importantly his wife, Jeanette. He called his wife and his entire world came crashing down, while he was standing in an airport. She promptly told him that there had been an accident involving their son. Their son, Josiah was at a friend’s house and he dove into the shallow end of the swimming pool and he hit his head on the bottom of the pool. They had to pull him out of the water because he couldn’t feel anything. It was difficult for Ricardo to be so far away from his wife and son when they needed him for support. He decided that during the waiting part of a flight back to Atlanta, he would worship and praise God for who he was and his mighty power that he had control over everything.  He had to silence the voices from the enemy that his son would never be able to walk or talk again. The book enclosed many scriptural examples to assist readers that are going through their own trials.


One important aspect that Ricardo pointed out was, don’t let bitterness grow and affect your perception and mind-set. It’s easy to become jealous when someone gets blessed with something we have been praying and believing for. We have to wait on the Lord’s timing and completion for our lives. You may be feeling like he isn’t listening, he is ignoring you, he left you during the storm, or that he doesn’t care about your needs and problems. But this is a lie! He hasn’t forgotten about what you’re been faithfully praying for and he hasn’t left your side.


I would recommend this book to anyone who believes their life is over because of a failure or mistake they have made. It would also encourage readers to not ever declare and say that their marriage is over or that no one would want to marry them. Maybe you have recently lost your job or your business went bankrupt and you don’t see a way to provide for your family. Maybe you’re been praying for divine healing to take place because you know that God is still able to heal. You must remember that “it isn’t over until God say so”. The word “it” can mean many different things to different people - apply this statement where it is needed. I especially love the behind the song meaning that the book entails. The song and book has inspired me to keep waiting and when the press in life comes to stand firm. I immensely enjoyed the last chapter that contained personal stories shared to remind readers that “it’s not over until God says so”. The stories ranged from people on the verge on a divorce, people struggling to pay their bills, healing from sickness, and many more. This book will impact your life and you will be encouraged that it’s not over!


“Charisma House/ Passio has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.”



If you would like to purchase a copy of It's Not Over check it out on or Christian





Women Redeemed 2.0 Webcast Event on October 10th and iPad Giveaway

Join authors Kim Ketola, Teske Drake and Dawn Scott Jones for an evening of encouraging chat about healing and hope for women on the evening of October 10th. The authors will join together for a Live Webcast Event to share their stories.

BUT … wait there’s more! Between 10/1 and 10/10 enter to win a brand-new iPad from Women Redeemed!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • iPad with Wi-Fi
  • Cradle My Heart by Kim Ketola, Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow by Teske Drake and When a Woman You Loved Was Abused by Dawn Scott Jones
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 10/10/12. Just click one of the icons below. The winner will be announced that evening at the Women Redeemed Webcast In coordination with the launch of their fall releases, Kregel will be hosting a live webcast event on October 10th at 8 PM EDT featuring authors Kim Ketola (Cradle My Heart)Teske Drake (Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow), and Dawn Scott Jones (When a Woman You Love Was Abused). The webcast will allow women to come together to share their struggles and fears in order to move toward healing and hope. Women will able to support one another and discuss shared experiences in a non-threatening, open and loving environment.

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

 Check out the trailer for the Webcast:

Undaunted: One Man's Real-Life Journey from Unspeakable Memories to Unbelievable Grace By Josh McDowell Book Review


Undaunted is a personal memoir demonstrating the life of Josh McDowell. The book is also based on the movie Undaunted. He grew up on a farm in Union City, Michigan. At a young age, he began to realize that life isn’t always right and you aren’t always treated fairly. His father was an abusive alcoholic and would regularly beat his wife. He witnessed many quarrel and fights between his parents during his childhood. Many different times, he would stand up to his father and try to stop him from hurting his mother. He would sometimes be so drunk Josh would tie his father up in the family barn and threaten to kill him.  He secretly wanted him to die where his mother wouldn’t have to endure anymore pain. He had much resentment and bitterness over how his father behaved and treated his mother.


At the age of six, his family hired a farm aid named Wayne. His mother stated and warned Wayne that Josh was a trouble maker and that he liked to get into stuff. One day his mother and father had to take a trip out of town to visit some relatives. Wayne ended up having to watch Josh because he couldn’t miss school. Before his mother left she told Josh, “Do everything Wayne, tells you to do. If I hear that you disobeyed, I’ll give you a good thrashing when I get back” (Page29). This event led to Wayne molesting Josh at the young age of six. He was molested for the next seven years. He told his mother twice about the abuse and his own mother wouldn’t believe him. She denied and claimed that her son was lying and he never told anyone else.  


I would recommend this memoir to anyone who is looking for an inspirational story about overcoming the odds and the struggles of life. I especially connected to the realness that Josh displayed and shared the bad things he had to go through.  I can’t even begin to imagine the heartache and the pain of being sexual abuse. This book has made me think about making sure I don’t ever say to my children to do whatever someone tells them to do. I’m not saying that they don’t need to listen to authority, but if someone tries to touch them, I want them to speak up and I want to know about it. This book will awaken your eyes and you must always watch out for others and listen when your child speaks.


Josh had to encounter sexual abuse, an alcoholic abusive father, and he had great difficulty understanding a relationship with a God was possible and that he truly loved him. Like many fatherless and abusive fathers, he had to learn how to receive that the Creator knew him and loved him. This book will take readers through the whole ordeal and adventures of Josh’s searching for God’s answers and the truth. Josh was seeking to try and disprove that the Gospel wasn’t true and that it was all made up. Eventually we know he has radically changed because now he is a popular evangelist and a bestselling Christian author. This book revealed the details of his transformation journey to him following Christ. His story will inspire, encourage, and give readers hope to overcome whatever trials they had to face in their own childhood.



Tyndale House Publishers/ Tyndale Momentum has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.




If you would like to purchase a copy of Undaunted check it out on



Read Chapter One:



About Josh McDowell: