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.

Thrive Student Edition: Digging Deep, Reaching Out By Mark Hall Book Review

Thrive is a book about thriving in this world and not living in survival mode and going through the motions of everyday living. It is written by Mark Hall lead singer of popular recording group Casting Crowns. Mark Hall strongly believes too many Christians are just trying to survive through this life when in fact Jesus came where we could live our life and live it abundantly. In part one of the book, he compared our lives to a tree and we need to have roots that run deep and that is only possible by digging into the word of God regularly. The next part is reaching out to others like branches on a tree.


I would recommend this life changing book especially to every single high school and college aged student. I liked how Mark Hall revealed personally details about how he struggled with negative thinking and seeing himself the way God saw him. He also openly admitted that after a long-term relationship ended he held a gun to his head and tried to take his own life. What helped him was digging into the word of God and listening to His voice instead of the enemy. Mark Hall also failed the entrance exam for music majors and he struggled to know what to do with his life. In this book, he is actively trying to assist students into discovering their gifts that God has given them and how to use it for His kingdom.


One of my favorite chapters was, “The Eagle and The Yardbird”. This story was basically about a lost eagle that was living with a bunch of chickens. The chickens believed he was just an ugly yardbird who wasn’t like the other chickens. He was chastised for shrieking instead of clucking. He was told to follow everyone else and act like them. He never knew he was an eagle and he had so much more in store for his life. I really connected with this story because so many people struggle to believe what God has declared over their lives and they struggle with accepting and loving themselves like God does. We get caught up in believing what other people say about us and we believe their lies. Mark Hall pointed out the one way to fix this is having our roots into the word of God. This book helped me to realize that I have to work on making sure my roots are planted on solid ground. If you’re looking for a book on thriving and living an abundant life, then read this book!



 "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 Thrive, check it out on


Killing Lions: A Guide Through the Trials Young Men Face by John Eldredge and Sam Eldredge Book Review

I’m a member of the Family Christian Bloggers and they provided me with a free copy of Killing Lions for this review.


Killing Lions is a book written by John Eldredge and his son, Sam Eldredge. This is Sam’s first book that he has written. The book is constructed as conversations between father and son. It is written as a critical guide to assisting young boys transforming into grown men. The book covered topics such as career changes, financial, love, changing our inner beliefs about ourselves and discovering our new identity, fighting like a warrior against the true enemy, and standing strong in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


I would recommend this amazing book to anyone who is yearning to learn how to be an effective man. This book is more geared towards young men but adults could still benefit from reading this book. I especially enjoyed that the book was written from a father and son perceptive and I believe this greatly will assist young men. The book was very relatable and I liked how John reinforced the importance of why isn’t good for man to be alone and he shared that God created women to be a mystery. John also strongly suggested learning about the femininity heart. I think this is great advice for young men and older men and this could help improve our relationships. Another big thing the book taught me was changing the inner scripts that are running wild in my brain. Sam revealed throughout the book he struggled with fear and he didn’t believe that he was a good enough writer. John talked about how men seek validation from God and the man in us gets our identity from Him. I immensely love how the authors included a prayer for guidance in the back of the book, a daily prayer, and a prayer for sexual healing. If you’re looking an excellent book that could change men lives, then read this book!


If you would like to purchase a copy of Killing Lions, then check it out on Family Christian:

Christmas in the Country CD Review and Giveaway

I’m a member of the Family Christian Bloggers and they provided me with a free copy of Christmas in the Country.


Christmas in the Country is a collection of songs from popular country artists featuring, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, LeAnn Rimes, Little Texas, Steve Holy, Kenny Rogers and Wynonna, John Michael Montgomery, Clay Walker, Bryan White, Holly Dunn, Kathy Mattea, The Bellamy Brothers, Neal McCory, Big & Rich, and Glen Campbell.


The album starts off with Randy Travis – Meet Me under the Mistletoe. This song has the vibe of classic country. The song is about falling in love and meeting your lover under the mistletoe and who doesn’t want to receive a romantic kiss as a first gift! I know, I do!!

The second is a classic radio hit featuring vocals from Travis Tritt called Santa Looked a lot like Daddy. It’s a humorous Christmas song and this one is about a boy witnessing his mommy kissing Santa and he is confused as to why.

The third song is one by LeAnn Rimes and it’s the classic White Christmas. This one makes me recall watching out the window and seeing snow falling and everyone is getting ready to go out after they unwrap their gifts. LeAnn Rimes does an excellent job hitting all of the high notes in this song and her voice is simplify stunning.

Track number four is Here Comes Santa Claus by Little Texas. This one has a country rock feeling to the track and it makes you want to rock out waiting for Santa to deliver presents. I also like how this one talked about how peace would come to all if we would follow the light and giving thanks to God for our many blessings and how we all God’s children.

The five song is one by Steve Holy and Jingle Bell Rock reminded me of an oldies tune mixed with today’s music. The guitar licks in this song is amazing and it makes you to want to get up and dance.

Track six is a duet by Kenny Rogers and Wynonna called Mary Did You Know and this song gives me chills. This one asks the question to Mary if she knew the child, Jesus she was carrying was going to change the world.

Track seven is a classic song called Santa Claus is Coming to Town by John Michael Montgomery. I especially miss hearing John Michael Montgomery on the radio. I liked how this version had a wonderful piano solo part and kids will love his voice.
Track eight is a soulful song called Please Come Home for Christmas by Clay Walker. This one is about begging your lover to return home by Christmas or at least by New Years. Clay Walker sings this one with such passion like he’s lived this song! It also has magnificent guitar riffs towards the end of the song that really bring the song alive.
Track nine is a classic song recorded by many artists called I’ll Be Home for Christmas. I really enjoyed the violin parts that added a sad ambiance and longing to get home to be with your family and friends.
Track ten is a Latino song called Feliz Navidad by Holly Dunn. It had a nice drumbeat in the middle of the song. It makes listeners to want to dance along to the track.
Track eleven is a song called the Christmas Song by Kathy Mattea. I love the instruments in this track and it sounds like a classic country Christmas song.
Track twelve is by the Bellamy Brothers – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. There isn’t a song that the Bellamy Brothers can’t cover. This one has a rocky edge to it that country lovers will love!
Track thirteen is one called Merry Christmas Darling by Neal McCoy. This was the first time that I have ever heard this Christmas song and I like how it described the perfect Christmas scene of being by the cozy fire.
Track fourteen is by Big & Rich – Blue Christmas and it has such a rock feeling throughout the entire song and it’s different than the typical version of Blue Christmas. I like this version way better and the guitar parts blew me away with how epic they sounded.
Track fifteen is called Brightest And Best by Glen Campbell and this one is about shepherds travelling to meet our Savior. It gives me the Heavenly in awe feeling!
I would recommend this amazing country Christmas album especially to any country music fans who are fans of classic country and today’s country. It has the perfect mix of both styles of artists. Even if you’re not a huge country music lover the album is still enjoyable. I really like how this album had classic Christmas tunes and some new songs that I haven’t heard before. The songs are all family friendly and everyone will adore listening to these by the fire. My top five songs are Santa Looked a lot like Daddy, Here Comes Santa Claus, Mary Did You Know, Please Come Home for Christmas, and Blue Christmas. If you’re looking for a wonderful produced album featuring great country artists, then check out this CD!
Family Christian has graciously provided me with a Family Christian $10 appreciation certificate to giveaway to a luck reader!
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Jesus Daily: 365 Interactive Devotions by Aaron Tabor, MD Book Review and Giveaway

My Review:


Jesus Daily is an excellent new interactive devotional written by Aaron Tabor, founder of popular Facebook page, Jesus Daily. Each month covers a different theme and some of these themes are “Jesus is the answer, Jesus Heals, Jesus Changed My Life”, and much more. The book contains beautiful illustrations to draw readers into God’s Holy presence. It also has a nice ribbon bookmark in it to help you find the next day easier. Each day has a main scripture verse and a wonderful lesson to encourage readers through this difficult walk of life. It also enclosed a connect feature which is designed to ignite readers into reaching out and interacting with others and showing them the love of Christ.


I was selected to post my review today, December 3.


Today’s teaching told the story of the angel appearing to Mary telling her that a child was going to be born to her. Mary was told she would conceive and have a son and to name him Jesus. The angel assured her to not be afraid because she found favor from God. Imagine for a minute that an angel just appeared to you declaring you’re carrying God’s chosen child who would forever change the entire world. If you can’t imagine an angel appearing before you, then picture waiting for the results of an EPT test. Like most people who have ever taken a pregnancy test, you have mixed emotions: excitement, fear, and maybe even a little scared to death waiting for those long results to see if one’s on the way or more than one. Not to mention, Mary was engaged to be married and it wasn’t Joseph’s child. As we all know people would gossip and pass judgment and believe they had premarital sex even when it wasn’t the truth. But when God gave Mary favor it changed her life and everyone around her for generations to come.


It’s always tough when our circumstances don’t look good in the natural and we don’t understand His plan for our life in this present moment. In the bigger scope of looking at life, we will eventually see that His plan is far better than we will realize. But one touch of God’s favor changed her life instantly and one touch of His favor can also change yours! That dry season and drought in your life dramatically can be changed with one touch of His favor! That couple who is having infertility problems one touch of God’s favor and boom you’re expecting. The adoption process that is taking forever and suddenly you receive an unexpected call that you’re approved for adoption and everything works out. The married couple who is angry and bitter at their spouse and can’t even stand sleeping next to their spouse anymore and one touch of His favor and hearts are soften and love is rekindled. The breakup that has almost killed you’re self-worth and you’re thinking you will never find love again and one touch of God’s favor and boom you fall in love again and this time it’s with a way better person. You lost your job and you’re struggling to find another one and boom with God’s favor you find a way better job. That person who has an addiction and is struggling to be set free, one touch of God’s favor and you’re craving is gone. Sickness and disease is causing you to have immense fear in your life and one touch of His power and your body is healed.


Today’s devotional reminded me to always remember to notice the favor of God in small and big things. Favor can be simple things such as someone giving you a good parking space to bigger things such as receiving an unexpected financial blessing. It’s viral to take the time and pay attention to God’s favor in your life.


I would highly recommend checking this devotional out and seriously letting it help you to refocus on enjoying God’s presence.



I was asked by FaithWords to review a copy of this amazing new resource.


Thanks so very much to FaithWords for graciously providing me with an extra copy of Jesus Daily and a t-shirt to giveaway to a lucky reader during their 12 Days of Christmas promotion! 

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Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood By Suzanne Hadley Gosselin Book Review

My Review:


I would recommend this amazing book to every single couple that is expecting a baby and to all parents in general. Let me just share that, I’m not in the target audience yet, I’m not married and I don’t have kids yet. I requested to review this book because I enjoy gathering as much knowledge as I can about being an effective parent ahead of time. I plan to reread this book in the future whenever we’re expecting our first child or child(s). I appreciated the advice she gave to first time parents concerning the importance of communicating with your spouse and making sure you talk about other things besides just focusing on always taking about the baby. It’s critical to still take time to listen to what’s on your spouse heart and mind. I also liked her guidance on staying connected during the pregnancy with some helpful suggestions such as having a getaway to add some romance before the baby arrives and it doesn’t have to be an expensive trip. I really loved how she guided readers through the many different pregnancy stages and how to handle them. This book is an immense benefit to parents and this will teach them all about how their lives will change once they have a baby!  


“I received a review copy of Expectant Parents from Litfuse for this review.”


About the book: 
Many books focus on prenatal development and the health of a mom-to-be. While Expectant Parents does touch on important issues of pregnancy, its core purpose is help expectant parents understand key issues related to the arrival of a new child in the home, offering practical assistance as they prepare themselves for long-term family success.
It's often said that babies don't come with an instruction manual. This book actually provides parents with information and practical steps for writing their own---as they work to create the kind of home and family they choose to build. This includes strengthening their own marriage relationship, setting plans and expectations for parenthood, increasing communication, and preparing for the new stage of their family life that is just ahead. Ideal for first-time parents, this book would also be helpful for couples wanting to explore and prepare for the emotional, physical, and spiritual life changes that come with the arrival of any new child into the family.
Purchase a copy:
About the author: 

Suzanne Hadley Gosselin is the former editor of Clubhouse Jr. magazine for Focus on the Family. She is now a regular contributor to Thriving Family magazine and, and the recipient of several Evangelical Press Association awards for her writing and editorial work. Gosselin writes children's resources for David C Cook, Zondervan and Harvest House. She is also the author of Faithgirlz Handbook: Let Your Light Shine Through and is currently working on the God's Got an Answer for That children's devotional and activity books to be released in January 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and biblical theology from Multnomah University. Suzanne and her husband, Kevin, who is a children's pastor, have three children and make their home in Colorado.
Find Suzanne online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Read what others are saying:

While many books for new parents focus on prenatal development and the health of a mom-to-be, Suzanne Hadley Gosselin's Expectant Parents' core purpose is to help new parents understand key issues related to the arrival of a new child in the home, offering practical assistance as they prepare themselves for long-term family success.
Learn ways to strengthen your marriage relationship, set plans and expectations for parenthood, increase communication, and prepare for the new stage of your family life. Pick up a copy for yourself or for expectant friends and enter for a chance to win an iPad Mini!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • Expectant Parents from Suzanne Hadley Gosselin and Focus on the Family
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 2nd. Winner will be announced November 3rd on Suzanne's website here.

Citizens: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom by Rob Peabody Book Review

My Review:


I would recommend this amazing book to readers who are longing to live the abundant life God has created for them to live. Rob Peabody encouraged readers to join the awaking and to repossess their Jerusalem. I liked how he reminded readers that we can live an extraordinary life and doing what God has called us to do. I felt exhilarated when he shared about how he made the challenging move to London from the United States. He showed breathtaking courage in stepping out of his comfort zone. I really enjoyed how he used the term “citizens” as being a part of His Kingdom. He went in great detail about how Caleb and Joshua wasn’t afraid to overcome the Nephilim and how the Israelites were scared of the giants. They knew their role in the Kingdom and they knew God’s astonishing power! I appreciated how he included tons of scriptures verses throughout the book to guide readers. If you’re looking for a book to help you in your walk with God, then read this book!


About the book: 
For Rob Peabody, the young pastor at a mega-church in southern USA, the realization that his faith had little real connection with the world around him meant that something had to change. He redirected his church towards the poor on their doorstep and then took the larger step of moving to the UK to establish the missional fellowship 'Awaken'.
In Citizen he outlines the Kingdom-centered identity that is given to followers of Jesus. It's a wake-up call to the church in the West. Jesus' death and resurrection initiates and invites people into a life of so much more than the status quo. God is re-building, re-newing, and re-creating that which is broken and marred by sin, and he is doing this --- setting things right in the world --- through Jesus. As citizens of the Kingdom, we have been saved and set apart for this work. We have a new allegiance, a changed identity, and a new mission as we seek to establish the rule of God on earth as it is in Heaven.
Purchase a copy at the Awaken website and get a FREE study guide. Bundle discounts also available:
About the author: 

Previously the lead campus pastor at an American mega-church, Rob Peabody is now director of the Awaken Movement who left his church in the Texan Bible-belt to start and lead a Fresh Expression of church seeking to engage unreached 20's and 30's in northeast London.
Find Rob online: website, Facebook, Twitter


What others are saying:


The Hardest Peace: Expecting Grace in the Midst of Life’s Hard By Kara Tippetts Book Review

My Review:

I would recommend this life changing book especially to anyone who has cancer and they are looking for some guidance during this difficult time. Even if you don’t have cancer, this book covered the important topics of having peace during life’s challenges. If you feel like you’re spinning in a hurricane that’s completely out of your control, then this book is written for you. Peace is obtainable and God can give you His incredible peace. I appreciated how Kara Tippetts was very honest and real about her feelings on having cancer. She called cancer as a gift which was an enormous surprise to me. Cancer isn’t something that I would declare a gift and she had a great perspective. She learned to enjoy life to the fullest and to cherish every single moment with her husband and her children.


I liked how she enclosed her testimony about how she came to know Jesus as her personal Savior. She also wasn’t afraid to share about how her father influenced her life in a negative way by spanking his children and she choose to extend forgiveness to him. Forgiveness and holding on to grudges is something I struggle with and this book helped me to learn to let go of the hurts and choose to forgive even though it’s tough.


The book also covered her marriage and how she met her husband. She revealed that marriage has a way of unveiling each other’s personal quirks. A pastor taught her the importance of 1 Cor. 13:4 and how critical kindness is in love. Being kind to your spouse, when you’re angry, and you’re both fighting and, you would rather not see that person at the moment almost seems impossible. But choosing to respond with kindness and displaying love could dramatically change your marriage and relationships.


“I received a review copy of The Hardest Peace from Litfuse for this review.”



About the book: 
A young mother battling cancer invites readers to embrace grace in every season of life.
Kara Tippetts knows the mundane but rich days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow.and the devastating reality of stage-four cancer.
In The Hardest Peace, she invites readers to see the grace of the everyday in all seasons of life and to live well even when the living is hard. As the thousands of readers of her blog know, Tippetts explores the hardest questions of life with rare beauty and honesty. Most of all, she draws them back to the God who is present, in the ordinary and the suffering, and shapes every life into the best story of all.
Purchase a copy:
About the Author: 

Kara Tippetts and her husband, Jason, have four children and lead a church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cancer is only part of Kara's story. Her real fight is to truly live while facing a crushing reality. 
Find Kara online: website, Facebook, Twitter

Read what others are saying:

Kara Tippetts' brave and touching book, The Hardest Peace is launching with a blogger challenge. Celebrate with Kara by joining the #HardestPeace conversation and share how you are finding grace in the midst of the everyday and in life's hard moments.
The Hardest Peace, Kara Tippetts

Share your stories of everyday grace in the midst of life’s difficulties and enter to win a #HardestPeace prize pack:

  • A book club pack (10 copies of The Hardest Peace for you and your small group!)
  • A handcrafted candle
  • Journal
  • Custom Etsy The Hardest Peace print and coffee mug
To enter to win, simply blog about your #HardestPeace story and then submit the link to your post via the link-up (or see link in the Rafflecopter below). Plus stop by others’ stories to leave encouragement and offer prayers as we all travel the journey of life together and discover that the hardest peace is often the most fulfilling peace. Then follow Kara online (via the Rafflcopter) for additional entries into the giveaway.

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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