Thursday, April 18, 2013


Have you ever sat through a Sunday morning sermon and felt like, "Oh, my goodness. I think that preacher just spent the last week living life as a fly on my kitchen wall. How on earth did he know _______?" You know, you felt like the preacher somehow had an inside line on what was going on in your life, your heart, your mind? Like he was just God's mouthpiece, and God was using him to talk straight to you?

That seems to happen to me a lot. I usually chalk it up to the influence and power of the Holy Spirit. And I thank God for a pastor and for teachers who are sensitive to His leading and who faithfully proclaim His Word, even if the message makes me squirm a little in the pew.

Then there are writers - writers who know nothing at all about your past, or about your messed up family, or about the secret broken places in your heart that you never talk about to anyone. They know nothing about you, but then they sit down and write a book that has pieces of your story and your life all over it. Such writers are keen students of the human condition, and, thankfully, some are bold enough to write about what they see. To ask hard questions. To consider the real-life implications of living by faith while in the midst of a broken and messed up world. To admit that, yes, life throws some nasty stuff at us - but that in no way diminishes the goodness or sovereignty of God.

Four months ago, I wrote a review of Lisa Smartt's book, "Doug & Carlie," and told you to get a copy and read it. If you did as I advised, you enjoyed a hystetrical romp through small-town, West Tennessee life. Well, Lisa has already written a sequel, and she knocked the ball out of the park.

I do not read contemporary Christian fiction. I do not read Chick Lit. So, if I'm recommending a book with a title like "Doug & Carlie's Love Conspiracy" - well, you'd just better go read it.  (You can get a copy HERE.)

This is the second book in the Doug & Carlie series. In it, Lisa Smartt comes into her stride as a writer, skillfully weaving a tale of brokenness and hope amid the idiosyncrasies of small town life. Somehow, Lisa manages to pull all this off without loosing her country-girl humor or her infectious love for people and for life. She plunges into dark places and deep hurts, but does so with the light of the gospel and with an unquenchable confidence in the healing power of grace. "Doug & Carlie's Love Conspiracy" will make you laugh, make you cry, and leave you asking, "When is the next book coming out?"

And if you're planning a women's retreat for your church, or a business luncheon for your co-workers, or training session for the teachers at your school, or whatever, look Lisa up at her website, Smartt Speaking. Just be warned: if you invite Lisa Smartt to speak at your function, be prepared to fall in love.

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