Something For Everyone: My 10 Favorite Gifts of 2017

Your Christmas shopping just got a whole lot easier. Okay, Okay, I know you don't know me as a professional shopper, but if I was, these are the things that would make it on my must-have list for the year. There's something for everyone. Here's my favorite gifts of 2017.

If you're looking for a great way to support my work with graceismessy.com and the #AskSteveAustin Podcast, please click the links below when you're ready to purchase. As an Amazon affiliate, each purchase helps spread the message of messy grace!

If you're looking for great gift ideas, this list has something for everyone. Here's my 10 favorite gifts of 2017...

10. A Pentatonix Christmas (Deluxe)

I can't get enough of this album! Do you have it? What's your favorite song? One of my biggest reasons for loving this one so much is because anyone, at any age, can appreciate these amazing Christmas songs. Click here to purchase your copy today.

My friend JJ gifted me this bad boy a few months ago and I love to use it as my run jam. If you're a history buff, a musical theater nerd, or just enjoy a good story - download this one today. Just click here.

We bought an earlier version of this super fun camera a couple of years ago and we still love it! It's even easy enough for our kids to use. This is a super fun way to create a collage or other fun photo project. If you love the feel of an old school Polaroid, get this camera today!

7. Canon 50mm f/1.8 Lens

Wondering how I capture those beautiful family portraits for my photography business? The secret is out! If you're a photographer and don't have a "fixed 50", add this one to your arsenal today! Just click here.

6. Humans of New York: Stories (Hardcover)

The only thing more beautiful than the portraits are the personal stories of triumph and tragedy. If you've been a fan of Humans of New York on Facebook as long as I have, you need this book. This one also makes an amazing gift! Get it right here.

5. LeapTV: Educational Gaming System

Lord, don't let my kids see this (they're getting one)! LeapTV is "the only active video gaming system made exclusively for kids ages 3-8 yeas old". Y'all - it's so cool. And they aren't making any more! So snag yours before they sell out! Just click here.

4. Kombucha Brewing Kit

If you're tired of paying $3.50 per bottle for kombucha at the store, make your own! This is the kit we use at our house, and it's fun and easy! The kids feel like we're doing a science experiment every day, and I love being able to test out new and interesting flavors. The best part? It tastes good and is GREAT for your health! Order your kombucha brewing kit today. Just click here.

3. 8 Habits of Love: Overcome Fear and Transform Your Life

Now y'all know the Rev. Ed Bacon is my IRL friend and mentor, whom I adore. Want to know more about Ed's heart? Check out our conversation on my podcast:

My precious friend, Doris, sent me a copy of this amazing book recently. HOLY MOLEY. If you're a fan of Brene' Brown's book, Daring Greatly, this one is even better. Brene's raw honesty makes this deeply spiritual journey of finding the courage to stand alone one powerful book. Lindsey and I are reading a chapter a night together and it gives us much to talk about. Get your copy here.

  1. Lies We Believe about God

If you love The Shack by William Paul Young, you're going to love his first non-fiction book. The one that spoke to me most is this: God loves me, but God doesn't like me. It's amazing just how many lies we believe about God. This is my favorite book of the year. I promise, you'll love it, too. Get your copy today.And buy one for a friend!Just click here.

Honorable Mention: Lindsey's Must-Have for All the Runners Out There: Polar A370 Fitness Tracker

Lindsey loves the Polar A370 because it consistently monitors her heart rate, provides GPS assistance, sleep monitoring, and more activity data (including average pace/mile) than you can imagine! Get yours today by clicking right here.

Following Jesus Out of the Evangelical Church

In Episode 41 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast, Steve Austin talks with David P. Gushee, author of the brand-new book, Still Christian: Following Jesus Out of American Evangelicalism. Tony Campolo says, “Still Christian takes us on the journey of a Christian leader who endeavors to maintain his integrity while navigating his way from a rigid fundamentalism with its right-wing political agenda into a progressive worldview.” Listen now at AskSteveAustin.com or on your favorite podcasting app!

A piece of my journal from March of 2016 says this:

I’m too liberal for the Republicans and too conservative for the Democrats. I’m a 30-something Southerner, born and raised in the buckle of the Bible Belt. I was dunked by the Baptists, spoke in tongues in the Assemblies of God, went to a Church of God college, returned to my Baptist roots as a youth pastor, became a Methodist, and now agree with about 80 percent of the Catholic Church’s teachings. I attended George W. Bush’s first inauguration as a senior in high school but have voted Democrat in the last election. I study the King James Bible with a concordance but I read The Message on my iPhone for enjoyment, while having a glass of wine and smoking a cigar.

I’m a walking contradiction.

Maybe there was once room for people like me. Maybe everyone is like me, if we’re all honest with each other. But our culture no longer allows contradictions. I run from discussions with other Christians because it almost always ends poorly. A loss of friendship, a loss of faith, a loss of fervor. I’m tired of being burned.

When many people of faith force it to be an either/or battle of choosing sides, how do you find your voice without losing your soul? This is what today’s episode with David Gushee, author of Still Christian, is all about.

Some questions from today’s conversation:

  • What’s it like to become a born-again Christian in 1978, during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter and the formation of the Religious Right?
  • How has stepping away from American Evangelicalism impacted the way you pastor and parent?
  • What is life like for you, as a pastor or Christian leader, when church life in America seems to be on the decline?
  • Do you have any advice for folks like me, who are in the midst of a personal deconstruction of faith…on how to hold onto their faith, while not abandoning their intellect or ignoring the questions?
  • Is the Bible literally true?
  • How similar were the religious wars of the 1980’s to whatever we’re experiencing today with the marriage of President Trump and the Religious Right?
  • If we look at life through the lens of American Christianity, politics, and culture in 2017 – when do we compromise, and when we do we stand our ground?
  • Do you have any advice for Evangelical Christian pastors who feel stuck, Sunday after Sunday, with the obligation to support their family pressing right up against their secret affirmation of the LGBT community, or their support of women, or their disdain of the President?
  • You have been described as “every liberal’s favorite evangelical” and you have also been described as “every liberal’s least-favorite evangelical”. Which one would you rather be, and why?
  • You are an anti-torture, pro-environment, LGBTQ-affirming, academic…and yet you seem to still consider yourself a Baptist? If so, how and why?
  • After all that you’ve been through, how is this not just a book about a disillusioned ex-Christian?

Favorite quote? “I’m disillusioned. But I’m not an ex-Christian.”

Music: BenSound.com

“Hey Jesus” by Trey Pearson

You can also listen on iTunes.

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