In March 2014, internationally known speaker and author Jeff Cavins was appointed director of evangelization for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. Cavins spent 12 years as a protestant minister before returning to the Catholic faith in 1995. In 1996 he earned a master's degree in theology. Since then, he has been enormously productive. He has, for example, worked individually and with others to develop bible study materials in a variety of formats; led pilgrimages; hosted shows on Catholic radio and TV; and produced CDs, MP3s, DVDs, and books on practical aspects of the faith. His latest book, Praise God and Thank Him, focuses on developing and sustaining a personal relationship with God.
In Part I, Biblical Praise, Cavins refers to Scripture as "The playbook of life." He cites familiar Old Testament stories emphasizing cycles of exile and return/ sin and deliverance. He quotes the Catechism of the Catholic Church on mortal and venial sin, pointing out the importance of confession as a way of removing "footholds of the enemy to penetrate our lives" and relying on God to help us in life's battles.
Part Two is dedicated to thanksgiving, with chapters on cultivating a thankful heart and thanking God in the midst of adversity. The chapter on saying thank-you revolves around the Hebrew "todah" offering, a liturgical form expressing trust in God in the Old Testament, which is a foreshadowing of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. The chapter's "key takeaways" include a reminder that we can thank God today in the same way the Israelites thanked him. Among the reflection questions for this chapter: Can you deepen your experience of being at Mass so it can authentically transform your life?
In addition to these summaries and reflection questions at the end of each chapter, Cavins provides end-of-section "Ten Tips" lists consisting of practical suggestions. For example, to develop a thankful heart, recognize everything you have as a gift. To develop an attitude of praise, create a list of the great attributes of God and post it in your home.