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STAND BY ME by NETA JACKSON - REVIEWED





Stand By Me
By Neta Jackson
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#978-159-554-48641
385 pages


Back Cover: Sometimes the person you most need is the one least like you.

Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman form a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family all but disowns her.

When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multicultural church family. But her tendency to immediately say whatever she's thinking steps on the toes of nearly everyone she meets-especially Avis Douglass.

Avis has a strong faith, is the principal of one of Chicago's highest performing elementary schools, and is a founding member of SouledOut. But the country's economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband's jobs in question. And Avis hasn't heard from her youngest daughter in months-an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in this?

Kat's flamboyant zeal for living a "radical" Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis's more reserved faith. But in God's timing, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.

Review: I first got acquainted with Neta Jackson when Finding Hope book Club voted Yada Yada Prayer Group as their monthly read, we were thrilled to talk with Neta via speaker phone and learned about trip to China. Neta and her husband had just returned from a writing conference they taught to a homeschooling group there. They had never done anything like this before but really saw God in it. It was an amazing trip.

I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Stand By Me, which is the first book in a new series called Souledout Sisters Series, where the reader can see where parts of Neta’s real life is sprinkled through the pages (like going on an unexpected mission trip).

Neta Jackson does a brilliant job of honestly showing how people go about seeking God’s will for their lives, and once they find it having the courage to walk it out. I loved how she shows people from all walks of life using, their talents and fight for the Body of Christ. We all need each other to accomplish His will.

Kate, a college student gets saved at a music fest. Her whole world changes from the inside out. After being a Christian twelve hours, Kat decides to change her major and move to Chicago. She is determined to walk as a believer even if her parents aren’t thrilled about her choices.

Kats parents had high hopes for her in the field of medicine. They had hoped whatever Kat was in the middle of it would pass quickly. Their daughter was going to church every week instead of just Easter and Christmas, why would she do that?

“Kate desperately longed for something-someone- to help her figure out who she was and what she should do with her life…A life sold out to something she could believe in, to give herself to 100%.” God has created this need in all of us.

Kate listened and was in awe about Jesus. She didn’t know He cared for the poor. She never heard of “A Jesus who created the world and told humans to care for it. A Jesus who might not be blond and blue eyed after all. A Jesus who said, “Love your neighbor – and that neighbor might be black or brown or speak Spanish or Chinese…That’s the Jesus she’d asked to be Lord of her life, even though she wasn’t exactly sure what that meant.”

Kate and her college friends start to attend and get involved with SouledOut Community Church. They wanted to grown in their faith and get to know the people and culture. This church was culturally diverse in many ways.

Avis was a worship leader at Soulout Church. She’s also the principle of one of Chicago’s high performance Elementary schools. Avis gets a letter from missionary friends in Africa. It’s a call for help! Avis and her husband wonder if they are called to help for six months or a year.

Avis drags her feet on asking God what He would have her do. There were too many things up in the air. For one her job at the school, then there is the situation with her daughter and grandson. She couldn’t leave until things were settled.

Neta’s characters are honest, believable and struggle with living and walking out what God has called them to do. All are earnestly seeking to hear God and His will for their lives. This author creates characters you care about. root for and they even make you laugh out-loud.

Life gets messy at times. I liked how Neta showed an candid response to how Souledout Church, Avis and Kate deal with discovering God’s will for their lives. The spiritual thread is natural and believable not preachy. I can’t wait to see where this author takes us in the next book. I’m excited about this new Series.

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network CEO
www.bookfun.org

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