An ‘Entrusted’ Life with Claudine Broussard

This is the second interview in a series entitled An ‘Entrusted’ Life (Our first interview featured author Jaquelle Crowe and can be found here). This series serves to introduce you to Christians who display faithful stewardship amid an entitlement culture. This interview features Claudine Broussard. Claudine is a young writer from the East Coast. She is the co-author of Seeking Jesus: Stepping into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy (you can read our review of the book here). As copywriter/designer at Forward Marketing, she partners with churches and businesses to amplify their message. When not writing, she can be found playing Celtic and classical music, devouring a good book, or vending at a farmer’s market.

Claudine, would you begin by sharing your testimony of how you came to saving faith in Jesus Christ? Who and what did God use in your life to point you to Christ?

Claudine: I’ve been so blessed to grow up in a Christ-centered home. My parents created a climate saturated with joy, love, and the truth of God’s Word. One of the mottos we live by is, “When the doors of the church are open, you should be there!” Because of their faithfulness in taking me and my siblings to church, I encountered the gospel at an early age.

When I was just 3 years old, I recognized my need for a Saviour. My dad and I sat on white plastic lawn chairs as he explained the gospel to me. After he finished, I prayed to accept Christ as my personal Saviour. A weight of guilt was lifted off my heart. We walked up the stairs together to tell my mom, and she told me that the angels were having a party because of my decision (Luke 15:10). I remember being filled with new joy and jumping up and down in excitement. I’m so thankful for how God used His Word and my parents’ faithfulness to reach me with the gospel at a young age.

You have co-authored a book with Jason Homan, Seeking Jesus: Stepping into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy. Oftentimes, people pit surrender against joy. To surrender oneself makes for a life of drudgery, not joy. How do you take a different approach in this book?

Claudine: I can definitely relate to the struggle to surrender completely to God. There have been seasons in my life when I covered my ears to block out the voice of God. With one hand, I held Him at arm’s length. With the other hand, I clutched my goals and dreams in a tightly closed fist. I refused to surrender to His will. Yet a nagging sense of guilt, of things left undone, dogged my steps.

At the heart of my struggle was a lack of trust in God. I did not believe that He was truly good, truly wise, and truly generous. I feared what He would do with my life if I gave Him everything. What if I ended up as an old maid or a missionary to Fiji? (My apologies to any missionaries to Fiji 🙂 ) Yet, time after time, God patiently spoke to my heart. Not with a harsh command, not with a lengthy lecture, but with a gentle call to surrender. His Spirit would move in my heart, convicting me of my rebellion. Sooner or later, I would choose to surrender.

And I discovered a fascinating truth. Surrender to God gives me both freedom and real joy! Instead of trudging miserably through a swamp of disobedience, I can walk freely and happily down the path of His will. In our book, we explore what it means to truly surrender to God. Serving God is an amazing adventure, and it’s definitely not a life of drudgery. He is absolutely good and incredibly generous. Yes, it can be very difficult to surrender to God. But there is no sweeter place to be than in the center of His will.

In chapter 2 of Seeking Jesus, you share the story of how God used your time at Bible camp to call you into Christian ministry. How does learning to submit to God relate to the biblical concept of stewardship?

Claudine: The foundational truth behind both stewardship and surrender is that we belong to Christ. Often, we struggle to surrender because we have an incorrect perspective. We have assumed ownership of the time, talents, and treasures that belong to Someone else. When God asks us to surrender something, we feel that He is asking for a personal favour. “After all, it’s mine!

Yet, as a Christian, I know that my life is not my own. It was bought with the precious blood of Christ. Stewardship is not a favour I give to Him. Rather, it is a privilege that He gives to me. For the years I walk this earth, I get to borrow this body—to read with these eyes, sing with this voice, and write with these hands. I get to use His stuff, spend His time, and employ His gifts. To be a faithful steward of these, I need to submit to His plan for my life.

With a call into Christian ministry, how did you come to the realization God had given you the skill and platform of writing? How have you stewarded this talent?

Claudine: In the spring of 2015, Pastor Jason Homan started Forward Magazine, an online magazine for conservative Christians. I enjoyed reading the first few issues, but the headline that caught my eye read, “We need your help!” The editor went on to request article and photo submissions. I thought, “What if I submitted something? Could I write something good enough to be published?”

One afternoon, a wave of inspiration flooded my mind. I sat down and wrote an article on rosemary—how its fragrance reminded me of the fragrance our lives can be to the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:15). I found it both challenging and delightful to capture in words the beauty of a simple idea, a transient impression. I nervously submitted my article to Forward Magazine, and I was so happy to see it in print.

Over the next year, I wrote several more articles for Forward. I gratefully realized that God had given me a gift and a love for writing. After I overcame the initial writer’s block, I absolutely loved the creative process. Words gave me power—to express, to create, to paint a bare-bones idea in a thousand different hues. With words, I could shape ideas and define truth.

Last summer, God provided a part-time job which has grown to include writing for church blogs, marketing, and graphic design. In the fall, Jason Homan approached me and asked if I would like to co-author a book with him. We began last October and released our book, Seeking Jesus, on June 7. Throughout those months of writing and editing and marketing, I experienced the grace of God and my need for Him in a deeper way than ever before. God has been teaching me not to rely on my gifts, but rather to rely on Him. His grace is more than enough for my need.

Young people today are sometimes portrayed as entitled beings. However, as Christians, we know we are not our own (Romans 14:7–8, 1 Cor. 6:19–20). How does the understanding that we exist to glorify God and live for Him impact your writing?

Claudine: I am simply a steward of the hours, resources, and abilities He has lent me. Each starry night I gaze upon, each melody that lingers in my ears, each sentence I type—these are gifts of His grace. Without Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5). I cannot touch a life with pixels on a screen. I cannot write words that matter. I cannot discern what my readers need right now. But the glorious truth is this…He can, and He wants to use me! God doesn’t need my help to carry out His plans. He could progress a lot faster without my stumbling efforts. Yet because He loves me, God wants me to be involved. What an incredible privilege and joy it is to live for the glory of our Saviour! For He is so worthy.

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Book Review: Seeking Jesus

The cry of many parents’ hearts ring, “I just want my children to be happy.” Sadly, this statement is made sometimes when the child has gone wayward in their walk of life. The child has decided happiness is found in seeking to be sovereign, not in surrendering your will to another. But, just as the Luke 15 parable reveals, such a life leaves one empty. The way to find joy in this life and in the next is not by seeking to be sovereign but by surrendering your life, seeking the One who is sovereign. This new book by Jason Homan and Claudine Broussard aims to do just that.

In Seeking Jesus, co-authors Jason Homan and Claudine Broussard take the first three chapters to lay the foundation. In chapter 1, they take us through the testimony of Scripture to show God first sought us. As those sought and saved, we now ought to prepare our hearts to seek Him (chapters 2–3). When we have prepared our hearts to seek Christ, we will put into practice the disciplines of Bible Study (chapter 5), Scripture memory (chapter 6), and meditation (chapter 7). Seeking Jesus this way changes us both outside and inside (chapters 8–9). It is an everyday pursuit (chapter 10), looking to Him for guidance (chapter 11) while persevering through it all (chapter 12). The result of seeking Jesus is not a surrender of drudgery, but of joy (chapter 13).

Seeking Jesus: Stepping into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy is a Scripture-saturated resource bound to set your heart on seeking Jesus for joy in life. It is worth noting, for people like me who may use a different translation, the authors of the book use the King James Version when they cite Scripture passages. Nevertheless, the earlier chapters seem to be the strongest in the book and provide readers with a proper biblical view of the gospel. Homan and Broussard connect the truth God has sought us with the hunger we have in seeking joy, which is found only in Christ. They show us the proper response to Jesus Christ is repentance of sin and faith in Him and His work (see chapters 1–2).

This book does not come without critique, however. One seems pertinent. Throughout the book, various elements are introduced. Many chapters feature “Seeking Him” in the title, but chapters 8 and 9 depart from the pattern and could somewhat feel out of place. In chapters 2, 4, and 10 we get to read “From Claudine”, which involves a story from the life of Claudine Broussard in relation to the subject of the chapter. In chapters 3 and 4, the chapter ends with “Baby Steps”, encouraging the reader to put into practice what they’ve read. A more consistent structure would have benefited the authors’ audience, particularly sharing the “From Claudine” sections with greater regularity for a picture of what seeking Jesus looks like in everyday life.

With commendations put forth and critiques put aside, Seeking Jesus by Jason Homan and Claudine Broussard will stir one’s affections for seeking Jesus through the Word that reveals Him.

I received a digital copy of this book for free in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Book Review: God’s Smuggler, Young Reader’s Edition

I am grateful for the ministry of Open Doors. I am thankful for the resources they provide about the persecuted church and for the persecuted church around the world. However, even though I have been familiar with the ministry for a time, I was foreign to the story behind its founder, a man known as Brother Andrew. God’s Smuggler, Young Reader’s Edition changed that for me.

Written with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, Brother Andrew, whose real name is Andrew van der Bijl, aims to reach the young person with his story. The book takes the reader on a journey from Andrew’s call to ministry through his time in ministry distributing Bibles behind the Iron Curtain during the time of the Cold War, a time faced with persecution against Christians and the Word of God. The book’s style is captivating and leaves the reader wanting to find out what happens next in the missionary life of Andrew.

The purpose of God’s Smuggler, Young Reader’s Edition is not merely meant to give a record of Open Doors founder. It is meant to make a present-day impact upon the reader. Particularly for the young person, the book causes them to not take the Bible for granted but to see owning a copy of the Word of God as the treasure it is. Stories in the book recount and reveal the power of prayer and serve as a testimony to young people of the power of God. The book ends with Andrew and his wife, Corry, saying, “Together, the two of us. Twelve of us. Thousands of us. None of us knows where the road will lead. We only know it is the most exciting journey of them all” (Sherrill 216). In essence, they invite others to join this journey of sharing Christ with all and sharing with other Christians in their suffering and persecution.

I recommend God’s Smuggler, Young Reader’s Edition by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill to parents and their youth alike. I encourage this book to parents who desire their children to see the treasure the Bible truly is, and for youth to see the commitment of their Christian faith, as Brother Andrew has modeled, even in the midst of persecution and suffering. Join the journey!

I received this book for free from Chosen Books via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Taking Counsel

I am not a talented swimmer. Actually, I am not a swimmer at all. Never trained in the water, I do not know how to swim. If I would slip into the deep end, I would be in trouble. At best, I could fight to keep my head above water. Left to myself and without training in how to swim, my chances of making it out of the water are slim. As a pastor and Bible college professor, I admit I have similar feelings when it comes to biblical counseling.

Competent to Counsel

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul writes to the Romans, “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another” (Romans 15:14, emphasis mine). When Paul encourages the Romans of their ability to instruct one another, the picture he is painting is these believers are competent to counsel one another. They can swim in the deep end of instructing one another. While I was blessed to take one course in biblical counseling in my undergraduate, I received no further training in biblical counseling in my seminary program. I had the basics of biblical counseling but not anything more. At best, I was keeping my head above water.

My lack of training was further exposed when I began serving in pastoral ministry as an associate pastor. My interaction with the people in the church I serve opened my eyes to the various issues and problems these different groups and ages of people face. I began seeing more of a need to grow in this area of biblical counseling. This especially hit a tipping point this summer as I engaged with students at our summer church camp. A good number of the children came from broken families. As the camp speaker, I knew I could only do so much within a span of a few days. I shared the gospel with them, and I pointed them to the hope they can have in Jesus Christ. Yet, I sensed I could have better addressed particular desires and particular battles the youth were facing. It felt as if I told them to swim without training them how. Simply put, I felt incompetent for the task.

Time to Train

This pastoral concern of caring for others reaches both the church and the academy. As I continue in pastoral ministry and as I teach college students, the need to give biblical counsel will only grow. The matter is not whether I will counsel or not. The matter is will my counsel be robustly biblical or not. In order to prepare myself to meet the complexities of pastoring and shepherding people, I must take counsel. I must learn from other Christians on how to counsel biblically when the questions and situations one is facing are complex and multifaceted. I need training. Just as training is important in for swimming, training is essential in biblical counseling. For this reason, I am excited to share with you beginning this Fall, I am taking biblical counseling training courses with Rod & Staff Ministries. My intention is to work toward becoming a certified biblical counselor. As I take this necessary step, would you pray with me God would grow me to be “full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to instruct”? May the training I receive be for other’s good and for the God’s glory!

Book Review: Reformation Women

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Any discussion on the Reformation will likely bring up names like Martin Luther and John Calvin. And rightfully so. These men had a great impact on church history. Yet, what lacks in most discussions on the Reformation is a recognition of the women who lived then and made an impact during their lifetime. Some may fear to uphold women’s contributions during the Reformation might blur the complementarian view given in Scripture, that is men and women are equal in dignity and worth but they are distinct in roles, men entrusted with the responsibility of servant leadership and women given the call to help and submit. However, I find those fears unwarranted. As men and women’s distinct roles are meant to complement one another, I believe men and women’s contributions in the Reformation complemented each other as well. Rebecca VanDoodewaard believes this to be the case too, as evidenced by her new release Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth. In this updated text of James I. Good’s Famous Women of the Reformed Church, VanDoodewaard introduces us to fairly unknown women of the Reformed faith who committed their lives to the cause of the Reformation.

In this revised and expanded work, VanDooewaard sketches twelve biographies of these Reformation women. Each of the women in the book come from different backgrounds but a mutual love for God and His Word, a care for people, particularly the hurting, Protestant refugees, and children are found in each. These women were hospitable, opening their homes to many. They also faced many hardships, whether they feared for their husbands during a dangerous time of ministry or struggled with the pain of losing children to death. Above all, these two women, while not well-known, knew the cost the Reformation brought with it against the Roman Catholic church. These Reformation women stood firm in their commitment to Jesus Christ and the Scriptures. They held to the truth we are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, and the Scriptures alone, as the Word of God, are our ultimate authority.

The stories of such women are, as the author says, “an essential element in church history” (ix). While all made unique contributions, the women are an example of faithfulness to the Lord, His Word, and His church. Reformation Women by Rebecca VanDooewaard will introduce you to women of the Word who fought for the truth of the Word and can give us the courage to fight for that same truth today!

I received this book for free from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Book Review: Pray About Everything

Earlier this year the church where I serve as associate pastor began holding monthly prayer services. Each time I have participated, I have been blessed. The unfortunate reality is many do not get to experience this blessing because a concentrated time of corporate prayer is all too rare. Sure, Christians emphasize the priority of personal prayer, as they should. Most books on prayer reflect this importance. What lacks is an intentionality on corporate and congregational prayer. That is why I am thankful for my senior pastor’s initiative to begin a prayer service, and it is why I am excited to share with you Pray About Everything: Cultivating God-Dependency by Paul Tautges. This book teaches all Christians how to pray biblically and equips Christian leaders on how to lead their congregations in prayer.

The book is divided up into three parts. In part 1, Paul Tautges lays the foundation for cultivating God-dependency by pointing the reader to how God uses prayer in the life of His people (chapter 1) and by showing the reader how to pray according to the will of God as revealed in Word of God (chapter 2). In part 2, he builds on the foundation, equipping the reader, particularly with Christian leaders and pastors in mind. He devotes seven chapters to seven potential prayer meeting messages. The message themes include: praying in Jesus’ name (John 14:13-14), praying for unbelievers (John 16:8-11), praying for governmental leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-4), praying with a forgiving heart (Matthew 6:12-15), calling for your elders (James 5:13-18), how husbands get their prayers answered (1 Peter 3:7), and when the Holy Spirit prays (Romans 8:26-27). The last third of the book continues to equip the Christian leader on how to encourage prayer among the congregation and equip them for their own times of prayer.

Pray About Everything is a go-to resource for pastors and Christians who desire to pray biblically according to the will of God and to pray corporately with the people of God. While I wish Pastor Tautges would have devoted a chapter to praying for workers, based on Matthew 9:35-38, I am aware there is only so much space one has in a book. Yet, with a title like Pray About Everything a chapter on praying for workers would have fit nicely alongside the chapter on praying for unbelievers (chapter 4). Minor critique aside, what may be the most valuable section of the book for the Christian seeking to improve their prayer life is the appendices. The appendices can nicely be implemented into the life of the Christian and into the life of a church. Not too many books encourage both but this one does. I gladly recommend Paul Tautge’s Pray About Everything: Cultivating God-Dependency to every church member and church leader who desires to be a contributing part of a praying church.

I received this book for free from Shepherd Press via Cross Focused Reviews for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

Book Review: The Good Book

Nearly every home in America owns a Bible. However, surveys and statistics from various sources show biblical illiteracy is present in our culture and even in our churches. In other words, people may have Bibles laying around at home but those Bibles are not being opened in their hands. What biblical illiteracy leads to is a group of people Deron Spoo, pastor and author, calls ignostic, “someone who is ignorant about the subject of God” (Spoo 15). This is one of the reasons for which Deron Spoo set forth to write a resource to teach people the message of the Bible. The result is The Good Book: 40 Chapters That Reveal the Bible’s Biggest Ideas.

In The Good Book, Pastor Spoo lays out 40 chapters broken into eight sections, with each section containing five different selections of Scripture. In such a brief work, he makes it clear from the beginning, “we’ll focus on the best-known passages of Scripture that form the basis of the faith” (Spoo 17). While he refers to the book as a guidebook to the Bible, he admits the depths are too deep to be explored in such a concise volume. Nevertheless, Deron Spoo serves the reader as a guide, leading them through the story of the Bible.

The Good Book by Deron Spoo is ideal for Bible beginners who are looking to understand the Bible in perspective and its passages in context. While the more experienced Bible reader may benefit (Spoo 18), the primary audience for this book is for those who do not have a great amount of knowledge of God’s Word. The book is easy-to-read, featuring concise and compact chapters, making it a fit for devotional time. Each chapter does impress upon the reader the need to apply the passage they are studying. I would greatly encourage the reader to follow the practice Pastor Spoo describes, “read the Bible selections first. Each chapter will take about five minutes to read. Then, after reading the entire Bible passage, read my brief exploration of that passage. Finally, I encourage you to reread the Bible chapter with the benefit of knowing more about the context and content” (Spoo 19).

The book does not come without critique, though. Two in particular are worth mentioning. The first concerns the point of the book. The subtitle to The Good Book states the book contains 40 chapters that reveal the Bible’s biggest ideas. While it is certainly true many of the Bible’s biggest ideas are expounded upon in the volume, his choice of a passage like Judges 16 reveals his philosophy. To be fair, he does state the focus of the book will be “on the best-known passages of Scripture” (Spoo 17) and his choice of Bible portions are more art than science (Spoo 18). The issue is the subtitle could have been rephrased to fit the book’s philosophy. Something like 40 Chapters that Put the Bible’s Best-Known Passages in Context (or Perspective) may have worked just as well.

The first critique is a minor detail. The second critique is a matter of understanding God’s Word. Deron Spoo wants to point the reader to the Bible’s biggest ideas and even says himself, “The Bible, from the first word to the last, points to the person of Jesus” (Spoo 21). What he says in theory, he fails to do consistently in practice. He teaches on Genesis 3 but makes no comment on the promise of Genesis 3:15. In 1 Samuel 17, he mentions the importance of David in the Bible, but he fails to mention how this event points to the greater David, Jesus Christ. Although the author does not describe how the passage points to Christ in those instances, in other places (Genesis 22, for instance) he does briefly draw the connection to Christ. If all of Scripture points to Jesus, wouldn’t it make sense to see how each chapter’s big idea leads us to the biggest idea of all, Jesus Christ?

Even with these critiques, The Good Book by Deron Spoo is a good resource to put into the hands of Bible beginners who are seeking to grow in their understanding of the Word of God.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from David C Cook via Litfuse Publicity Group for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own and are my honest review of the book.

If interested in learning more about this resource, click here.