Heart Wide Open: Trading Mundane Faith for an Exuberant Life with Jesus  -     By: Shellie Rushing Tomlinson
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Heart Wide Open: Trading Mundane Faith for an Exuberant Life with Jesus

WaterBrook Press / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

Are you and God friendly strangers? Is going to church enough, or do you want more? With her trademark southern humor, Tomlinson invites you to relax with sweet tea on the back porch as she encourages you to move beyond status quo faith, surrender to Christ, and be alive to God moment by moment. 224 pages, softcover from Waterbrook.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: WaterBrook Press
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0307731936
ISBN-13: 9780307731937
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

You believe in God. You’re trying to serve Him.
But do you know how to truly love Him—and let Him love you?
 
As a Bible-believing churchgoer, author Shellie Tomlinson harbored a secret in her good-girl heart. She longed for something more than routine faith; she wanted to love God with a genuine, all-consuming passion. So she got honest with Him: "I admit it. I don’t love you like I should, but I want to love you. Help me!"
 
In Heart Wide Open, Shellie invites you to answer the call of your restless heart and refuse to settle for anything less than the intimate friendship of God. Through her heartfelt and honest words, you’ll find practical inspiration to help you…
·   exchange your "just enough Jesus" mindset for an all-out pursuit of Him
·   put sizzle in your Bible study by asking God to show you the wonder of His Word
·   trade formulaic devotions for a devoted life
 
Are you ready to stop struggling to make time for God and instead live every moment with God? Discover how to live with your heart wide open.

Author Bio

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is the author of the award-winning nonfiction humor titles Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On and Sue Ellen’s Girl Ain’t Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy! She is a popular blogger and speaker, and the host of the radio program All Things Southern LIVE. Shellie loves sharing humor and hope with audiences across the country. She and her husband have two grown children. They live and farm in Louisiana.

Endorsements

"Heart Wide Open will fuel your desire for a deeper relationship with God and give you the gentle nudge and the steps to get it. So much of this book spoke to me that I had to get out my highlighter pen! Wherever you are in your faith, you will benefit from reading of Shellie's journey to a deeper, stronger, more intimate relationship with our Creator. She tells it like it is, with love, good humor, and abandon, as she writes out of an honest and open love for God, for His Word, and for you! With every word you read, you can sense her excitement as she went through this journey, and it will tug on your heart, calling you to join her in falling in love with Jesus all over again." - KORIE ROBERTSON of A&E's Duck Dynasty

"Shellie Rushing Tomlinson writes with wit, wisdom, and plain-spoken truth. She throws open the doors and calls women to step into a deeper, wider, more soul-fulfilling love for Scripture, for themselves, and for the Lord. Heart Wide Open reads like a conversation with a best girlfriend and a wise mentor, all in one." - LISA WINGATE, national best-selling author of The Prayer Box

"Fans who love Shellie for her fabulous sense of humor will have their hearts warmed by her emotional vulnerability in these pages. She dives deep into her personal faith journey, sharing her own search for a genuine relationship with Christ. For everyone who longs to have an intimate bond with their Savior, this book will teach you to live with your heart wide open." - JULIE CANTRELL, New York Times best-selling author of Into the Free

"In Heart Wide Open, Shellie Tomlinson shares the beauty of her heart and the journey she took to trade a mundane faith for the abundant life with Jesus we have all been invited to. She does it in her southern and inviting way, wrapped up in her gift of storytelling, while still challenging the reader's heart to dive into the deep topics of our obedience, prayer, and courage." - DENISE HILDRETH JONES, author of Reclaiming Your Heart

"I know two things about Shellie Tomlinson without question: she is an incredibly gifted storyteller with a sense of humor that never fails to save me from despair, and she is a true woman of deep and abiding faith. What I didn't know until now is that she is able to use both those qualities to teach us how to embrace an intimate relationship with God. In Heart Wide Open she has made me laugh aloud one moment and then be moved with the wisdom of her words at the next line. Shellie shows us how to take the two great commandments-to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves-and integrate those things into the perfume of our everyday lives. Regardless of how long you have been on your faith journey, you will discover wisdom in these pages that will draw you closer to God and show you how to love His people with more patience. And, my friends, at the close of the day that is what it's all about." - RIVER JORDAN, author of Praying for Strangers

"This book pushes me to be more vulnerable to the Father who loves me more than my own family-and that's a lot. How wonderful to know that God not only loves us for who we are, but that He created us the way He wants us. He wants us to pour our lives out to Him to glorify Him. Thank you, Shellie, for encouraging us all through this book to draw closer to our God and to keep our hearts wide open to all the possibilities He has for us!" - MISSY ROBERTSON of A&E's Duck Dynasty

"So many of us have a longing for more in our Christian lives. In Heart Wide Open, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson fans this flame within us as she points our hearts toward a life of joy, excitement, and wonder in God. Her words will wrap around you like a hug, and you'll find yourself being equipped to engage in your daily relationship with the Lord like never before." - LISA BEVERE, best-selling author of Girls with Swords and Lioness Arising

"To read Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is to make a new friend. Her writing is filled with sound theology, great insight, humor, and authenticity. I recommend this book to all who want to draw closer to Jesus. Her questions for Bible study are thought provoking and ripe for discussions. I have no doubt this study will strike a chord for many and be a great tool for personal spiritual growth." - PAMELA GREGG FOXWORTHY, wife of comedian Jeff Foxworthy

"I love Shellie Tomlinson's humor, but it's her heart that I most want to listen to. I'm so glad she's chosen to share it in Heart Wide Open. This is the book I've wanted her to write, filled with her unique blend of realness and wisdom." - MARYBETH WHALEN, author of The Bridge Tender and cofounder of She Reads

"This is a charming, funny, honest, touching look at one southern woman's journey to a profound relationship with Christ. As the title suggests, Shellie lives with her heart wide open to the questions, the mysteries, and the certainties of our faith. You will love this book!" - SHEILA WALSH, author of The Storm Inside

"Shellie Rushing Tomlinson gets to the heart of everyday faith in Heart Wide Open with her signature storytelling and wit, opening her own heart to share about learning to walk with God. Her use of life lessons mingled with Scripture is sure to capture the heart of every believer and every seeking soul." - RACHEL HAUCK, award-winning author of Once Upon a Prince

"My Kentucky mamaw told me I was 'as handy as a pocket in a shirt.' Southern women just know how to turn a phrase and a head, which is why you won't want to miss Shellie's down-home, upbeat take on life, seen through cool drafts of sweet tea and sass. My favorite way to learn is to laugh myself sane. Thanks, Shellie." - PATSY CLAIRMONT, author of Twirl: A Fresh Spin at Life

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Heart Wide Open

"Heart Wide Open will fuel your desire for a deeper relationship with God and give you the gentle nudge and the steps to get it. So much of this book spoke to me that I had to get out my highlighter pen! Wherever you are in your faith, you will benefit from reading of Shellie’s journey to a deeper, stronger, more intimate relationship with our Creator. She tells it like it is, with love, good humor, and abandon, as she writes out of an honest and open love for God, for His Word, and for you! With every word you read, you can sense her excitement as she went through this journey, and it will tug on your heart, calling you to join her in falling in love with Jesus all over again."
—Korie Robertson of A&E’s Duck Dynasty

"Shellie Rushing Tomlinson writes with wit, wisdom, and plain-spoken truth. She throws open the doors and calls women to step into a deeper, wider, more soul-fulfilling love for Scripture, for themselves, and for the Lord. Heart Wide Open reads like a conversation with a best girlfriend and a wise mentor, all in one."
—Lisa Wingate, national best-selling author of The Prayer Box

"Fans who love Shellie for her fabulous sense of humor will have their hearts warmed by her emotional vulnerability in these pages. She dives deep into her personal faith journey, sharing her own search for a genuine relationship with Christ. For everyone who longs to have an intimate bond with their Savior, this book will teach you to live with your heart wide open."
—Julie Cantrell, New York Times best-selling author of Into the Free

"In Heart Wide Open, Shellie Tomlinson shares the beauty of her heart and the journey she took to trade a mundane faith for the abundant life with Jesus we have all been invited to. She does it in her southern and inviting way, wrapped up in her gift of storytelling, while still challenging the reader’s heart to dive into the deep topics of our obedience, prayer, and courage."
—Denise Hildreth Jones, author of Reclaiming Your Heart

"I know two things about Shellie Tomlinson without question: she is an incredibly gifted storyteller with a sense of humor that never fails to save me from despair, and she is a true woman of deep and abiding faith. What I didn’t know until now is that she is able to use both those qualities to teach us how to embrace an intimate relationship with God. In Heart Wide Open she has made me laugh aloud one moment and then be moved with the wisdom of her words at the next line. Shellie shows us how to take the two great commandments—to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves—and integrate those things into the perfume of our everyday lives. Regardless of how long you have been on your faith journey, you will discover wisdom in these pages that will draw you closer to God and show you how to love His people with more patience. And, my friends, at the close of the day that is what it’s all about."
—River Jordan, author of Praying for Strangers

"This book pushes me to be more vulnerable to the Father who loves me more than my own family—and that’s a lot. How wonderful to know that God not only loves us for who we are, but that He created us the way He wants us. He wants us to pour our lives out to Him to glorify Him. Thank you, Shellie, for encouraging us all through this book to draw closer to our God and to keep our hearts wide open to all the possibilities He has for us!"
—Missy Robertson of A&E’s Duck Dynasty

"So many of us have a longing for more in our Christian lives. In Heart Wide Open, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson fans this flame within us as she points our hearts toward a life of joy, excitement, and wonder in God. Her words will wrap around you like a hug, and you’ll find yourself being equipped to engage in your daily relationship with the Lord like never before."
—Lisa Bevere, best-selling author of Girls with Swords and Lioness Arising

"To read Shellie Rushing Tomlinson is to make a new friend. Her writing is filled with sound theology, great insight, humor, and authenticity. I recommend this book to all who want to draw closer to Jesus. Her questions for Bible study are thought provoking and ripe for discussions. I have no doubt this study will strike a chord for many and be a great tool for personal spiritual growth."
—Pamela Gregg Foxworthy, wife of comedian Jeff Foxworthy

"I love Shellie Tomlinson’s humor, but it’s her heart that I most want to listen to. I’m so glad she’s chosen to share it in Heart Wide Open. This is the book I’ve wanted her to write, filled with her unique blend of realness and wisdom."
—Marybeth Whalen, author of The Bridge Tender and cofounder of She Reads

"This is a charming, funny, honest, touching look at one southern woman’s journey to a profound relationship with Christ. As the title suggests, Shellie lives with her heart wide open to the questions, the mysteries, and the certainties of our faith. You will love this book!"
—Sheila Walsh, author of The Storm Inside

"Shellie Rushing Tomlinson gets to the heart of everyday faith in Heart Wide Open with her signature storytelling and wit, opening her own heart to share about learning to walk with God. Her use of life lessons mingled with Scripture is sure to capture the heart of every believer and every seeking soul."
—Rachel Hauck, award-winning author of Once Upon a Prince

"My Kentucky mamaw told me I was ’as handy as a pocket in a shirt.’ Southern women just know how to turn a phrase and a head, which is why you won’t want to miss Shellie’s down-home, upbeat take on life, seen through cool drafts of sweet tea and sass. My favorite way to learn is to laugh myself sane. Thanks, Shellie."
—Patsy Clairmont, author of Twirl: A Fresh Spin at Life

Product Reviews

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Displaying items 1-5 of 8
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  1. Fitzysmom
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    July 16, 2014
    Fitzysmom

    I first fell in love with Shellie's work through her first two books, Suck Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On and Sue Ellen's Girl Ain't Fat, She Just Weighs Heavy! Those two books just tickled my funny bone. But let me tell you, Heart Wide Open struck a nerve.

    This book is written for those of us who grew up with not only Vacation Bible School but Backyard Bible Club. If you could do a sword drill in your sleep or recite the books of the Bible in perfect order or sing all the verses from hymn after hymn from memory, this book is probably written for you.

    It's written for those of us who fell deeply in love with Jesus as a child but somewhere along the line that love of all things Jesus began to fade. The tyranny of the urgent began to replace what was important, which is our very relationship with Jesus. We entered that awkward Jr. High era that took our eyes off of Him and put them on him. Then before we knew it we were young mommas with a growing family and all our efforts were directed there. We still love to say and sing "Oh how I love Jesus!" but do we really? Or in the words of Shellie, do we just want to want to love Jesus? The good news is that Jesus promises that He'll take that want to and turn it into a need to.

    In fact Shellie talks about how He will take all of those failed Christian rituals of ours like, daily Bible reading and devotions, prayer time, and faith and breathe fresh life into them. The secret is admitting we need the help in the first place. Instead of hiding our lackluster feelings like Adam and Eve in the garden, we just need to get naked before God and cry out "Help me!"

    I have to be honest and say that until I read this book I hadn't really realized how apathetic I had become. But as I turned page after page I continued to think, "Yep! That's describes me to a T." The good news is that Shelllie also points out the simple fix . . . Jesus! So if you are longing for a deeper relationship with Christ, pick this book up and let Him pry your heart wide open. Trust me . . . you won't regret it!

    I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.

  2. Woofiejo
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Practical Advice For Drawing Closer To God
    June 25, 2014
    Woofiejo
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3

    In this book Shellie Rushing Tomlinson aska some very important and very challenging questions. Is your faith really satisfying to you? Do you really love God your savior or do you just like him and he's a friendly acquaintance? Do you stand in church and sing hymns about "oh, how I love Jesus" but you could just as easily be singing "oh, how I love watermelons".
    And so, the book begins with the claim "I don't love You like I should, but I want to love You. Help!"

    Shellie claims that she is walking proof that you can fall in love with Jesus by learning to whisper such a simple prayer such as this and she shows the reader some important steps to take. She mentions that she's held back an enthusiastic expression of her own faith because of what she thought other people around her would think. This mentality keeps us from living with our hearts wide-open to His Spirit.

    Shellie includes practical tips for immersing ourselves in the Word -- mediating on it, memorizing, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal things to you, etc. She suggests that instead of trying to find time for God during our day, we should try to find God throughout our day. And I love her description of a Spiritual Strip Search -- those times when we might be dealing with a bad medical report, a rebellious child, job loss, etc. where our faith feels naked and exposed and we desperately need to hear from God and know that He hears from us. In an important chapter on obedience, she illuminates an important thought that was new to me -- Christ lives in us to obey for us.

    Shellie’s writing style is very conversational and uses a lot of personal examples to highlight the key points in the book. There are discussion questions at the back of the book that can be used for a small group discussion.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Blogging For Books program from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for this fair and unbiased review.

  3. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Inspiration for intimacy with Jesus
    June 15, 2014
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Tomlinson grew up in church and continued going as a married woman. But when her kids came along and she wanted to instill in them the faith she had, she realized her lack. She knew there had always been a certain disconnect – a spiritual experience at church that did not permeate the rest of her life. She was a hypocrite. The faith she was experiencing did not satisfy her deepest longings. She couldn't pass on to her children what she didn't have.

    Tomlinson admitted to God that she was lukewarm and cried out for help. “I don't love You, but I want to love You. Help me!”

    She writes about the decisions made to choose God, to treasure Him, and admitting you don't love Him but want to. She helps you deal with intimidation, encourages you to be addicted to reading God's Word and hearing Him talk, to keep in touch with Him throughout the day, to continually submit to His will, to keep from legalism, and keep from being disgruntled by other Christians.

    There is a great Bible Study and Discussion Guide included, good for an eight week study.

    I was inspired by this book. Tomlinson has a way of writing that is so encouraging. Her stories are ones I can understand and relate to. She is very honest with the reality of challenges to growing in an intimate relationship with Jesus. I appreciate that attitude.

    If you have a dullness in your faith, read this book. If you have little or no sense of intimacy with God, read this book. Even if you don't want a closer relationship with Jesus but wish you did, read this book. Don't settle for just going through the motions. Tomlinson wants your life to go from “just enough” to “I can't get enough.”

    Food for thought: “If going to church is enough, if being around others who are passionate about Him is enough, if anything short of realizing His intimate presence for ourselves is enough, that's all we'll ever experience.”

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

  4. Vicky
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Enjoyable Read
    May 3, 2014
    Vicky
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5

    When I pick out the books I want to read there are various things that make a book standout to me and this statement did it for me "You believe in God. You're trying to serve him. But do you know how to truly love Him and let Him love you"?, This statement is from Shellie Tomlinson in her book Heart Wide Open which she lays her heart open in eight chapters. She says "Jesus, I know I don't love You like I should, but I want to want to love You". That is where my heart is and where all our hearts should be-loving Jesus more and more each day.

    I loved so many things about this book; the author's humor, her honesty, her truth in her search for a deeper relationship with God. She instilled in me some valuable tools to make that relationship become deeper for me and how to make my faith become "more alive". I enjoyed how she used lessons from her own life and sprinkled her writing with Scripture to enhance each chapter with easy to understand teaching. She had a great chapter on bible study-I suppose cliff notes are out. This chapter game me some new ideas on how to approach scripture reading. "Every single choice we make to take hold of Scripture provides another opportunity for Scripture to grab hold of us".

    This is one book I am glad I chose to review. This is a book you want to read slowly and have a highlighter ready to mark up the pages. There are many nuggets you will want to go back and re-read again and again. Enjoy your new pursuit of Jesus.

    Thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to review this free book just for my honest opinion.

  5. lorealle
    pa
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Highly Recommended!!
    April 29, 2014
    lorealle
    pa
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    When I saw the title and description of this book, I was intrigued and ordered it straight away. I couldn't wait to dive into it. I mean, read the description above, put sizzle in your Bible study? Trade formulaic devotions for a devoted life? Count me in!

    I have to say, her honesty and transparency along with her southern charm make for a fun read. She leads you through a variety of topics such as "Are some of us stuck with messed up mustard seeds" and
    "When all you can bring Him is a broken want-to". She gives sample prayers to pray that hit home to me. I've said before, I'm a "God talk" girl. I talk to Him like He's sitting right beside me. My words aren't fancy, and they don't need to be, it’s the heart attitude to which God responds. She includes prayers like, “Jesus, I know I don’t love You like I should, but I want to love You” and “Lord, teach me how to live devoted beyond my daily devotional.” In the back of the book she includes a Bible study and discussion guide that would help individuals and small groups go deeper.

    I really appreciated her willingness to share her own experiences. And, of course, I can always appreciate some good humor! Her ability to use humor yet still convey the magnitude of things like God’s desire to know us personally, and living in the power of the Holy Spirit rather than our own strength.

    WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for this honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program.

Displaying items 1-5 of 8
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