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Stand by Me

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Description

Sometimes the person you most need is the one least like you.

Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman from a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family all but disowns her.

When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multicultural church family. But her tendency to immediately say whatever she’s thinking steps on the toes of nearly everyone she meets—especially Avis Douglass.

Avis has a strong faith, is the principal of one of Chicago’s highest performing elementary schools, and is a founding member of SouledOut. But the country’s economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband’s jobs in question. And Avis hasn’t heard from her youngest daughter in months—an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in this?

Kat’s flamboyant zeal for living a “radical” Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis’s more reserved faith. But in God’s timing, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.

Reading Guides

Reading Group Guide

  1. Have you ever been dumpster diving? What did you find? Why did you do it? What do you think about salvaging food from dumpsters?
     
  2. If you've read the Yada Yada Prayer Group novels, you've already met Avis Douglass. What surprised you the most as you became more intimately acquainted with her in this first SouledOut Sisters novel?
     
  3. Have you ever felt like Avis's husband Peter: "Do we just keep on doing what we're doing until we retire? Or do we look ahead, ask ourselves, what would we really like to do before we retire, while we've still got our health and a little energy ... put our experience to use doing something else, something different"? How would you approach such a conversation with your spouse or family members?
     
  4. Avis and Peter are experiencing some of the challenges of a "second marriage," step-parenting, and marrying in mid-life. If you had been in Avis's shoes, how would you have reacted to Peter's challenge: "Just how long are we going to let Rochelle [I.e. your adult children] dictate what we do with our lives?"
     
  5. Is there someone in your life who annoys you, like Kat Davies annoys Avis? Have you thought about why this person annoys you? How do you respond? Do you ... pull away? Avoid him or her? Push the person away? Speak with annoyance or frustration? Simply tolerate him or her? Consider: Might God be prompting you to relate in a different way with this person? Why or why not?
     
  6. Even Avis Douglass--a mature Christian--had her moments of feeling stuck in her prayers! (See pg. 137-138.) When was the last time you felt like that--wanting to pray, feeling desperate, but not knowing just how to pray? Avis heard the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit say: "Praise Me in faith, praise Me for what I'm going to do and am already doing, even if you can't see it. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength." Avis prayed Psalm 42 to get unstuck ... try it. Let the "joy of the Lord" by your strength.
     
  7. In Chapter 19, Avis recognized she was holding the CCU students at an emotional distance. "Sorry for fussing, Lord ... I just have so much on my plate right now. I don't feel like I have the energy to relate to new neighbors." Why is it so hard to relate to "new people" when you have a lot on your plate? Is that an easy excuse? When is it OK to pull away from other people? Is there danger in ignoring someone God may be putting in your path for a reason?
     
  8. A multicultural church can be a blessing--and also has its challenges. What do you think the women talking in the Ladies Room at SouledOut (Ch. 19) meant by worrying that the church might become "too black"? Avis never confronted the women or let them know she'd overheard. Was that the right or wrong thing to do? What would you have done if you'd been in Avis's shoes in that bathroom?
     
  9. At Pastor Clark's memorial service, the youth of SouledOut remembered he'd told them: "Character is who you are and what you do when no one is watching." What do your actions and attitudes "when no one's watching" say about your character? How can we teach good character qualities to our children today?
     
  10. Kat had promised Rochelle she wouldn't tell her parents about meeting her on the street. But when she learns that Rochelle's ex had been abusive, and that the Douglasses don't know Conny is staying with his dad, she faces a dilemma. What would you have done? Have you been in a similar situation where you've made a promise but feel like you have to break it? What are the implications?
     
  11. When Kat rushed out of the Douglasses house after dinner, Nick wanted to go after her but Avis stopped him. What do you think Avis meant by telling Nick not to "get in the way" of the Holy Spirit? In our rush to comfort someone or "fix things," how might we "get in the way" of the Holy Spirit?
     
  12. Kat said she wished she were Rochelle--at lest Rochelle and her mother had a relationship that could be restored. Kat barely had a relationship with her mother, couldn't remember when she'd been hugged like that (see pg. 363). Is there a broken relationship in your family that needs restoring? What might you do to take that first step toward reconciliation?
     
  13. Back to that person who annoys you to death: Could that per s on--like Avis realized about Kat--simply be needing some acceptance, affirmation, and "mother love"? How could you reach out to that person?
     
  14. Estelle Bentley tells Avis: "Don't let that ol' devil discouragement gain another inch of territory ... He's defeated already. Just doesn't know it yet" (see pg. 153). Has the devil been discouraging you lately? How might knowing the devil is already defeated encourage you in something you're facing right now?
     
  15. Peter Douglass struggled with the way things were turning out: "Feel like I'm getting jerked all over the place. I mean, why even send us that invitation from Nony and Mark, if God's just going to slam the door in our faces? It felt like it came straight from heaven, an answer to prayer ..." (see pg. 225). Do you struggle with doors that seem to open and then close, opportunities that don't work out? How do you feel about Harry Bentley's observation: "Might be God [allowed those things] to get you used to thinkin' about change, about something new comin' your way." Like Queen Esther in the Bible: "To prepare you for such a time as this."
     
  16. How would you answer Pastor Cobbs's challenge: "None of us knew that last Sunday would be Pastor Clark's last day on earth. He didn't know it either. But he was ready. Are you ready? If today was your last day to live, are you ready to die?"
     
  17. Kat liked the worship at SouledOut--but if she was honest, it was mostly like observing a cultural experience she admired. But Avis and others worshipped as if they were communicating with Someone they knew intimately and loved deeply. Kat wondered what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Did she love Him? Do you?
     
  18. Peter Douglass thinks Nick is sweet on Kat. What do you think?
     

Reviews (3) Write a Review

Another great one! April 17, 2012

Another wonderful book by Anita. Really enjoyed getting to know some new characters. Looking forward to the next one.

Review by Wsbc bookclub

Rating




Can't wait for the next installment! March 30, 2012

I had heard of the Yadda Yadda books but hadn’t ever read one before. I knew who Neta Jackson was from the homeschool history books she and her husband sell. After reading “Stand by Me” I’m hooked. I LOVE a good piece of fiction and this book was just that. I have definitely found a new favorite author and I’m headed to the library to get started on the Yadda Yadda Books!

This story was great! I loved the journey that Kat is on. And the drama around Avis her family is so real that I felt like I knew the characters. There is lots of scriptures and “Jesus talk” through out the book but it fits so well with the story and is very encouraging to read. After finishing the book I felt like I’d finished a bible study or devotion.

“Stand by Me” is the first in a new series for Neta Jackson and I cannot wait for the next installment!

Review by LaToya

Rating




Another series that will have readers hooked March 25, 2012

I've read all of Neta's books from the first release in the Yada Yada series. All of her books are entertaining, will have you laughing until you cry and crying because your touched by the real life struggles her cast of characters struggle through. You'll be reminded of what you need to pray for - everything!

Stand by Me brings in old friends you'll recognize and new ones that you will either love or will make you pull your hair out. Either way, you'll find someone you know in the course of the story.

Review by Audra

Rating




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Stand by Me, Neta Jackson
  • Stand by Me, Neta Jackson

Details

Sometimes the person you most need is the one least like you.

Kathryn Davies is a bright young woman from a prominent Phoenix family. But after making a leap of faith at a Christian music fest, dropping out of med school, and moving to inner city Chicago, her family all but disowns her.

When Kat discovers SouledOut Community Church, she longs to become a part of the multicultural church family. But her tendency to immediately say whatever she’s thinking steps on the toes of nearly everyone she meets—especially Avis Douglass.

Avis has a strong faith, is the principal of one of Chicago’s highest performing elementary schools, and is a founding member of SouledOut. But the country’s economic downturn has thrown both her and her husband’s jobs in question. And Avis hasn’t heard from her youngest daughter in months—an estrangement that gnaws at her every day. Where is God in this?

Kat’s flamboyant zeal for living a “radical” Christian life is a stark contrast to Avis’s more reserved faith. But in God’s timing, the two women discover they need each other in ways neither of them expected.

More Information

Length 400 Pages
Series A SouledOut Sisters Novel
Publication Date March 13, 2012
Company
  • Thomas Nelson
ISBN-10 1595548645
ISBN-13 9781595548641
Height 8.3"
Width 5.5"