Friday, December 12, 2014

Men's Bible - Good News Translation

American Bible Society and National Coalition of Ministries to Men (NCMM) have joined forces to create and distribute The Men’s Bible. The first Bible from both organizations with features tailored to meet the unique needs of men, The Men’s Bible contains 72 devotions written by experts in men’s ministry, and is the only Bible focusing on the three most common areas in which men struggle: marriage, pornography, and friendship. 
Using the Good News Translation, The Men’s Bible is divided into three sections: The Tool Kit, The Battle, and The Challenge. The Tool Kit serves as a concordance, providing Scripture references for topical study. The Battle contains 60 devotionals, written by NCMM men’s ministry experts, focusing on Christian purpose, priorities, and living. The Challenge provides additional devotional content focusing on marriage, pornography, and friendship—the three areas of life that NCMM has observed to frequently present stumbling blocks. (publisher's description) 


My Review: I had been searching for a Bible to recommend for a man who was seeking God and wanted to learn more about Christianity. He had some knowledge from his childhood, but had never read the Bible as an adult. So, I jumped at the chance to review The Men's Bible when it was offered to me. I have read through it and looked at the devotions. The Battle, The Tool Kit, and The Challenge were excellent additions that clearly answered questions and brought focus on things a man needs to know as he grows in his faith. However, I also wanted input from the person who was asking me questions. He has not read it all yet, but did go through enough to let me know that it is easy to read and understand, and that he really appreciated finding discussions on some of his own questions.

The Good News Translation is not my favorite, but it is easy to read. What I disliked about this Bible is that there was no room for jotting down notes and that it is hard to read some of the words due to lack of margin in the center. On the other hand, this is a soft cover Bible that is easy to hold in one hand (and I have small hands) as you use the other to turn pages (And hold flat so I can read the middle). I get frustrated when I am trying to hold a Bible to read and it is either too big or the hard cover does not give me the flexibility I need. Overall, I really like this Bible. It is a good tool for men's ministries to have available for guys who do not have a Bible and are just starting on their faith walk. The additions are also easy to find to answer questions when speaking to others about your faith and the devotions from men's ministry leaders are excellent. 


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of Men's Bible from Icon Media Group in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Susie's Hope DVD

Susie's Hope is based on the true story that helped to pass "Susie’s Law" in North Carolina, which seeks stricter punishment for animal abusers. Susie’s Hope brings to life the inspirational relationship between pit bull attack survivor Donna Lawrence and Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy found beaten, burned and left for dead.

Realizing that abuse was largely to blame for the tragic attack that nearly caused her to lose her life 10 months earlier, Donna rescues the battered puppy. As they both heal and recover from their life-threatening injuries, Donna and her friend, Ramona, lead a historic effort to seek justice and protection, not only for Susie, but all animals. Starring Emmanuelle Vaguer (40 Days and 40 Nights), Burgess Jenkins (Remember The Titans) and Andrea Powell (Ender’s Game, The Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Saga: Part 2), Susie’s Hope is an incredible story of love, loss and redemption.


Watch and share the Susie’s Hope trailer!



My Review: The film deals with many tragic events, but does so in a manner that does make it acceptable for family viewing. There is recovery and healing, but also a strong message to portray about the neglect and abuse of pets. I confess that I don't quite understand people who treat their pets as children, but I do love animals and definitely think those who abuse them should be punished. My only negative to the film was that I felt like the audience was being manipulated during the courtroom scene. I found it distracting. Of course, that is also to be expected for a film that is not only telling a story, but also is supporting a cause. You want the audience to be entirely on your side.

I did watch with my teenaged grandson, who does have pit bulls, and does not have the prejudice toward that breed that many others have. His opinion of the film: "It was very touching." I think the film could be used as an educational tool to raise awareness of the tragedy behind the abuse of animals and to demonstrate what a difference it makes to treat your pets with kindness and care for them. The relationship between Susie and Donna was healing for both of them and for Donna's husband, Roy.



"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
GIVEAWAY: Propeller Consulting, LLC also has a DVD for one of my readers. Please leave your name and a comment on the blog post to be entered into a drawing. Drawing will be Mon, Dec 15th at 1pm CST. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

About Susie:
Susie was found nearly dead in Greenfield Park in Greensboro, North Carolina on August 20, 2009. Just a puppy, Susie had licked the face of her owner’s newborn baby. Her owner became violent—she was beaten so severely her jaw was broken. That wasn’t enough, though. She was then set on fire and left for dead. Incredibly and against all odds Susie survived. Donna Lawrence adopted her two months later. Susie is now a trained therapy dog and even won the American Humane Association’s American Hero Dog this year!

Check out and share Susie’s Hero Dog Award Video here!



This website is a GREAT resource for all things Susie / Susie’s Hope related

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jesus is the Good News! What's in the Bible? Vol 10

What's in the Bible? is a 13 volume set of DVDs that explain the Bible to your kids from Genesis to Revelation in a way that is fun and informative. VeggieTales creator, Phil Visher, is the creator and host of this series that is filled with entertaining characters, music, and valuable basic knowledge about the Bible.
 

Volume 10: Jesus is the Good News, an introduction to the New Testament, includes TWO 25 minute episodes:  

God’s Perfect Timing - Buck Denver and crew learn about the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments and how Jesus arrives at just the perfect time.

The Messiah Has Come! - Learn about the life and ministry of Jesus-how He died for us and rose again to launch the kingdom of God in the world and in us!

The DVD contains the following:

  • Intertestamental Period
  • John the Baptist
  • Jesus’ Miracles, Healings & Teachings
  • Jesus Feeds 5,000
  • The Kingdom of God
  • The Last Supper, Jesus’ Arrest and Trial
  • Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection
  • Jesus’ Ascension

My Review: I loved this DVD. Phil Vischer has a way to reach kids on a level they will understand, yet still provide entertainment for the adults who are watching. Even more than the entertainment, though, is the wonderful lessons learned. Actually, there was even one thing taught from an angle I had never considered. At least I had never given it much thought. There were also a few things that I did not realize until I was an adult, so it is refreshing to see kids learning about the Bible, the significance of events, and the authors of the books. I highly recommend this DVD, and have no doubt that the others are also top-notch. It is recommended for 1st-4th grade...but I enjoyed it immensely. 

What's in the Bible? website

What's in the Bible? on Facebook


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Congrats to winner, Gayle Aycock!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Jesus Boat - Witness to Prophecy DVD

Jesus Boat - Witness To Prophecy synopsis: The astounding prophetic rebirth of Israel is told through the discovery of an ancient and unlikely artifact found under the shores of the Sea of Galilee. A first century fishing boat, identical to the boat Jesus sailed upon with his disciples, was destroyed in the years Israel was destroyed by the Romans, but found 2000 years later in a series of astonishing events that even scientists called a miracle. Mirroring Israel's own story of devastation and survival, the boat from the time of Jesus, would rise against all odds and float upon the Sea of Galilee once more as the oldest surviving freshwater boat in the world. Featuring commentary from some of the great theologians of our day including Franklin Graham, Joel Rosenberg, Jay Sekulow, Skip Heitzig, Chuck Smith and more. (back cover)


My Review: I don't remember hearing about the discovery of the boat, but the documentary did sound intriguing. The DVD is is better than I had hoped for, and one that I recommend to all believers and history buffs. Called the Jesus boat because it has been dated to the time when Jesus was on Earth, it was discovered by brothers, Moshe and Yuval Lufan, during a severe drought in the 1980s. This story alone, with the trials of carefully excavating the boat, various groups claiming ownership, and time factors that had to be considered, along with the tales of God's blessings and solutions to problems are fascinating on their own. But, I was completely absorbed in the realization of all of the prophecy fulfilled as Scripture was compared to historical events.
This DVD is one that historians (particularly of Jewish history) and those with an interest in archaeology...or even fishing, will enjoy. As a Christian, this documentary made the Bible come even more vividly to life.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this DVD from Elliot Wallach to review. I was not required to write a positive review.

I also been given a copy to give to one of my readers. Leave a comment (or message me to add your name) if you want to be entered. Deadline is December 5th, 2014
.


The Jesus Boat- Witness to Prophecy, produced by Edify Films and Jesus Boat Incorporated, features commentary from Franklin Graham, Joel Rosenberg, Jay Sekulow, Skip Heitzig, Chuck Smith, Ken Ortize and more. The movie is being distributed by Word Entertainment. www.JesusBoatMovie.com.

.A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives. Word Entertainment represents some of the top names and brands in music, including Meredith Andrews, Chris August, BarlowGirl, Francesca Battistelli, Big Daddy Weave, Jason Castro, Patrick Ryan Clark, Everfound, for KING & COUNTRY, Group 1 Crew, Dara Maclean, Point Of Grace and Sidewalk Prophets and is home to 25 Entertainment, Word Distribution (representing Curb Records and Big Idea/VeggieTales among others), Word Print, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records and Fervent Records.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas

Have you lost the joy of celebrating Christmas? Kirk Cameron and family dive headfirst into Christmas this season. KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS is a film that provides a Biblical basis for many of the traditions of Christmas and gives a refreshing perspective for the feasts, dancing, joy, and fun that surrounds the reason for this season. We live in a culture that wants to take away all faith aspects: not just the nonbelievers, but also some Christians. Kirk Cameron explains why you should take it all and put Christ back in Christmas. Saving Christmas is in theaters for a limited engagement beginning November 14 for two weeks only!




Christmas time is almost here (unless you are a retailer. They start a bit earlier each year), and each year it really does seem like there is a war on Christmas. Some people simply love Christmas and celebrate however they want and there are others who quietly ignore it all. The combatants, however, are those who are determined that no religious symbols be attached to Christmas, along with the Christians who warn of paganism and idolatry versus the militant Christians who angrily demand that you will say "Merry CHRISTmas"...or else! So, what position does Saving Christmas take?

I thought it was a fun, informative film that did a very good presentation of their point of view, but I could not embrace the film 100%. I'll start with the negatives, mostly technical. Sometimes the sound and lighting were not up to standard. There were also camera angles that I disliked, or moments of rushed movement to the point I even felt a bit dizzy for a second or two. Most of it was near the beginning, so I just felt it got off to a rough start. The story got a little too silly for me at times, but nothing major. A little eye-rolling on my part, but not enough to ruin the film.

However, there was also genuinely humorous moments that made me smile, and even laugh. The premise was a gathering of family and friends but with one person who rejected the commercialism and the pagan symbols connected with Christmas. Kirk gives a tie-in to Christianity with each objectionable issue that brought a special meaning to each. There was a section on the swaddling clothes Jesus wore in the manger that truly touched me. Actually, the movie is worth seeing for that alone. Technically, there were also some scenes (appeared to be CGI) that were amazing and made up for my earlier tech criticisms.

It is a fun film about a family embracing their faith and celebrating the birth of Jesus. While it was a bit cheesy at times, and it leaned more toward being a documentary, I honestly did like it. My son and his girlfriend were at the house the night I was watching it, and they enjoyed it. My son even mentioned someone he wished could see it because that family refuses to acknowledge Christmas. Do I think it will change the minds of those adamantly opposed to Christmas? Probably not. But, it did rekindle the spark of celebrating Christmas within me that has been dying over the last few years. So, if you need to jump start that feeling of joy and the true reason we celebrate, go see Saving Christmas while it is in theaters.



  • GIVEAWAY!! Leave a comment on the blog post letting me know what your favorite Christmas tradition is to be entered into this contest. The prize is a Saving Christmas movie poster, signed by Kirk Cameron, the Saving Christmas soundtrack cd, and car air fresheners that smell like Christmas trees! Deadline to enter is 11pm (CST) on Nov. 22, 2014.Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” Open to US and Canada residents only.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Follow @KirkCameron on Twitter

Saving Christmas on FB
Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas websiteFind A Theater


The Blessed Church by Robert Morris

In The Blessed Church, Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church explores how a church can be fast-growing and spiritually-enriching—and still healthy. With the powerful stories, candor, and humor he’s known for, Morris shows how every component of your church—including mission, government, teaching, worship, small groups, giving, and outreach—can receive God’s richest blessings. Written for both church leaders and laypeople, The Blessed Church explores the vision and other qualities that make church “work”—regardless of size--in the twenty-first century. (back cover description)



Read Chapter One

My Review: This is a book that I would consider more for pastors and leaders within a church, but I did find it interesting as a lay person. I also admit that I was curious because I watch Gateway online every weekend. I tend to be a bit leery of mega-churches, but the solid Biblical teaching makes me wish I lived near enough to attend. The chance to learn more about the thinking behind the growth of Gateway and their structure gives me even more confidence that Robert Morris is a man who seeks the Lord and has the desire to minister to his congregation in a way that promotes healthy growth and a desire to be merely a bench/pew warmer. 

It's not enough to just soak in the teaching each week; you need to become equipped to minister to others. This is the church Robert Morris considers blessed. I know some look at that word plus mega-church and think "prosperity gospel". Absolutely not! I think most strong leaders have a touch of arrogance about them, but Morris works within a plan that makes him (and the rest of his staff) accountable to one another. I believe there is a lot of good in the way Gateway does things. My main objection was the current buzzword "empower" that annoys me, but I actually have a deeper understanding of what is meant by it now and don't find it as irksome. He does sometimes give me a new way to think about things.

Bottom line is that I would recommend The Blessed Church more for those in positions of leadership, but I do believe that it is suitable for anyone who is seeking their own healthy growth. I give it 4.5 stars.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book at no charge from WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging For Books program in exchange for a fair and honest review.


Robert Morris is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Gateway Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Since it began in 2000, Gateway has grown to more than 16,000 active members. Robert is featured on the weekly television program, The Blessed Life, seen in 80 million homes in the United States and in more than 200 countries around the world. He is the best-selling author of nine books, including The Blessed Life, From Dream to Destiny, and The Power of Your Words.
Robert Morris is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Gateway Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Since it began in 2000, Gateway has grown to more than 16,000 active members. Robert is featured on the weekly television program, The Blessed Life, seen in 80 million homes in the United States and in more than 200 countries around the world. He is the best-selling author of nine books, including The Blessed Life, From Dream to Destiny, and The Power of Your Words. - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=125406#sthash.flU15VAi.dpuf
Robert Morris is the Founding and Senior Pastor of Gateway Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Since it began in 2000, Gateway has grown to more than 16,000 active members. Robert is featured on the weekly television program, The Blessed Life, seen in 80 million homes in the United States and in more than 200 countries around the world. He is the best-selling author of nine books, including The Blessed Life, From Dream to Destiny, and The Power of Your Words. - See more at: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=125406#sthash.flU15VAi.dpuf

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Iesodo - Joy dvd

JOY is a special re-imagining of the Nativity story. Let your heart take flight and tweet along to holiday carols and all-new songs! Festivities are in full swing as the flock prepares to celebrate Iesodo's birthday! The Cypress Tree is decked out with holly berries and excitement is in the air. Everyone gathers as Rocky shares the incredible story of Iesodo's birth.

Unto Us A Dove Is Born
: "Festivities are in full swing as the flock prepares to celebrate Iesodo's birthday! The Cypress Tree is decked out with holly berries and excitement is in the air. Everyone gathers as Rocky shares the story of this amazing day, and how it changed their lives forever."




My Review: In time for Christmas season, a new cartoon, and one that celebrates the birth of Jesus. This has been my favorite of the Iesodo series (still have not seen "Believe"). It tells the story of the nativity on a level that younger children would understand, and also has hints of what life was like during the final days Jesus was on earth. It gives a good foundational base for children, but without making it seem like a sermon. Kids will love the bright colors and songs that they will soon be singing along with. I confess that "We Three Kings" was my favorite, largely because it reminded me of the Claymation Christmas version...but with wise owls. I recommend this as a great new addition for your kids to watch, so pick up a copy.

For those, like me, who don't like to start Christmas season until after Thanksgiving, this would be a fun video for the family to watch together after decorating the house and putting up your tree. What better way to start the season off right, but by reminding your kids of the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of the DVD from Edify Media to enable me to write a fair and honest review.

FULL SERIES: Iesodo (YAY-sa-doe) is a wise white dove whose name means "The Way of Jesus". He and his feathered friends bring your favorite New Testament stories to life in a whole new way.   Iesodo and his friends live in the Holy Land, in a beautiful Cypress Tree on the shores of a vast Lake (or as we know it, the Sea of Galilee). These birds are an unlikely group of friends, and though they have their differences, they have one thing in common: since they met Iesodo, their lives have never been the same. Now they’re out to spread his message of hope to the entire bird world!

Zaya Toonz, the animation company behind Iesodo, assembled a collaboration of animation experts with experience in both the children’s and Christian markets.  Directors for the series include Brian E. Ray whose credits consist of “Muppet Babies,” “My Little Pony Tales” and “Ed, Ed, and Eddy,” as well as Colin Brady, whose credits include “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2” and “A Bug's Life.” Brady also served as the former animation supervisor for Pixar Animation Studios. Producer Eric S. Rollman, President of Rollman Entertainment, formerly served as President of Production for Fox Kids and Marvel, and writer/producer Rob Loos is an Emmy Nominee and writer/producer for “McGee and Me,” “Christmas Lamb,” “Kids 10 Commandments” and “Touched by an Angel.” The “Iesodo” series also features the voice of Erin Bethea (“Fireproof,” “Amazing Love”) as Maggie. For more information, visit http://www.iesodo.com.

About Capitol Christian Distribution: Capitol Christian Distribution is the market leader in Christian and Gospel music distribution, and also represents a diverse range of chart topping Christian films and books, reaching the US Christian specialty and general retail marketplace and physical and digital retailers in more than 50 countries around the world.  


*Except for my review, most of this is from the Iesodo press release.