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Book & Cover Review of "Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn't Enough" by Kay Warren

Book Review
I was unfamiliar with Kay Warren and her ministry, but I had previously participated in a small group that read through her husband Rick Warren’s well-known book “Purpose Driven Life”. I believe this book “Choose Joy: Because Happiness Isn’t Enough” would also be best suited for a small group discussion environment. When I attempted to read it straight through in order to review it, I realized that this book would be much more effective if I had others to discuss the end of chapter questions with. Without that environment, some of the information seemed a little repetitive – but if it were broken up into separate readings over an extended period of time it would be more of a review, where one idea built upon another to complete the whole.

Kay is very up-front about her own struggles to be joyful even during life’s difficult periods. She doesn’t pretend that it isn’t hard – that we can just mark ‘yes, I want joy’ and it will be ours and we will never face further difficulty in our lives. That would be mistaking happiness for joy … Hardships will always come along, it’s our choice how to receive them.

I would recommend this book for a women’s small group – especially aiming to include Christians facing hard times, whether that be health issues, grief, financial struggles, a marriage in crisis, or any other life situation that can steal our happiness, but can be opportunities for growth and joy if we learn  to see it.

Book Cover Review
My first reaction to this cover, was that it reflected the possibility that the grass could not only be greener on the other side of the road, but actually golden! But after reading the book it has a far deeper meaning. Kay states in her book “. . . life is like a set of train tracks. The track of joy and the track of sorrow run side by side, inseparably throughout our lives.”

After reading that I wondered if the grass on the right was a little too green? If they could have put a more desolate looking desert on that side it might have made the point faster? But perhaps that is the point. Why settle for just green grass? We can have the golden fruits of heaven if we keep our eyes on the prize, instead of pining for the things that make us happy only on earth!

The use of gold embossing in the title is appropriate for a book that pursues heavenly joy. One small recommendation I would suggest would have been to put in small text under her name, something about her connection to Rick Warren, the author of the Purpose Driven Life. I wasn’t going to review this book until the publisher mentioned that connection. And due to the great experience I had in my small group discussing his book – I then felt compelled to see what his wife’s would be like. It was not because of the cover, or the author’s name that I was interested in reviewing the book.

This book was provided by the publisher for review. Available April 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Publisher’s Description

Ever wonder why some people seem to experience joy in their daily lives–even in the tough times–and others can’t seem to find it no matter how hard they search? Is a joy-filled life really possible? The answer is yes! And it’s possible for every woman, no matter what her circumstances may be. In this inspiring book, Kay Warren teaches women what joy really is, where to find it, and how to choose it in the good times and the bad. With compassion and wisdom, she shows readers–even those who live with the constant companions of discouragement and depression–that true joy is deeper, richer, and more accessible than they might think. Perfect for small groups or individual reading, Choose Joy will empower women who feel like their emotions and well-being are at the mercy of others by helping them understand the life-giving truth that joy is within their grasp–every day.

Author Bio

Kay Warren, cofounder of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, is also the founder of the HIV & AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church. She is a Bible teacher, author, and international speaker. Warren frequently travels the globe to encourage HIV-positive men, women, and vulnerable children, and today she is a powerful voice on their behalf. In 2007, Kay authoredDangerous Surrender, and the revised and expanded softcover edition, retitled Say Yes to God, was released in 2010. She also coauthored Foundations, a systematic theology course used in churches around the world. She has three children and five grandchildren and lives with her husband Rick in Southern California. Learn more at http://www.kaywarren.com, and follow her on Facebook (Kay Warren) and on Twitter (KayWarren1).

Author Bio

Kay Warren is a Bible teacher, an author, an international speaker, and the founder of the HIV & AIDS Initiative at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Kay and her husband, Rick, founded Saddleback Church in 1980. She is the author of Say Ye
s to God
 and coauthor of Foundations, a systematic theology course used in churches around the world. She has three children and five grandchildren, and lives in Southern California. Find out more by visiting http://www.kaywarren.com.

Publisher Summary

Ever wonder why some people seem to experience joy in their daily lives – even in the tough times – and others can’t seem to find it no matter how hard they search? Is a joy-filled life really possible?
The answer is yes! And it’s possible for every woman, no matter what her circumstances may be. In this inspiring book, Kay Warren teaches women what joy really is, where to find it, and how to choose it in good times and the bad. With compassion and wisdom, she shows readers – even those who live with the constant companions of discouragement and depression – that true joy is deeper, richer, and more accessible than they might think. Perfect for small groups or individual reading, Choose Joywill empower women who feel like their emotions and well-being are at the mercy of others by helping them understand the life-giving truth that joy is within their grasp -every day.

Endorsements

Choose Joy has changed my life. I have learned to live in joy no matter the season or circumstances.”
–Laura Sullivan
Choose Joy reminds me that my past is a cancelled check and God has given me a promissory note for my future. I choose to believe this promise from God which gives me joy unspeakable.”
–Tanya Hutchison
“Every minute of Choose Joy touched my heart with new light and perception of how joyful my life could be, can be, will be.”
–Airma LeGere
“God just showered me with blessings in friendships, my marriage, and as a mom as I choose joy. This gave me a refreshed perspective.”
–Sarah Donahou
Choose Joy was life-changing. To know that joy and sorrow go side by side and it’s our choice as to what side we will stand on empowers me to intentionally stand on the joy side.”
–Maria Hickman
Choose Joy saved my marriage.”
–Samantha Stewart

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