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. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

VIP by Manic Drive

Manic Drive is a Canadian band who always delivers a great show, but  is also intent on reaching out to their generation with a clear message of having a deeper walk with Christ. As they tour the US and Canada, this group of musicians, all in their 20s, live out the faith they proclaim to their fans. With multiple Billboard Top 10 and 20 singles on CHR & Christian Rock Radio, they continue to grow creatively and in their personal development.


Connect with Manic Drive:
Manic Drive on Facebook

My Review: I have mixed views on this one. First off, there is no doubt that these guys are talented! They sing great, they have a great message, and the energy is definitely flowing. It is just more of my personal taste in music. Some of it is just a tad too much techno-pop and disco-esque (is that a word?) for me. I confess that not all Christian music brings me to a place of worship & praise to God, so that is  not my issue. But my patience was tested with too many songs in a row. (I am the same way with Gospel quartets, so I can't blame it all on my age.) I simply enjoyed it better if I would listen to one song rather than the entire album.

My favorite was "Song To Sing", and I did really enjoy Manwell (of Group 1 Crew) on "VIP". I also liked "King of Mercy" a lot. It felt more like one I would be singing to God. So, for me personally, it isn't a cd I will listen to frequently (and will probably pass along to a grandchild), but I have to respect the talent and I do know a lot of people who will love this one.


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When Calls the Heart: Change of Heart

The latest dvd to be released in the When Calls the Heart series is Change of Heart.

Synopsis - Jack (Daniel Lissing) gets Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) to agree to join him for a dinner date and lets her know he is interested in a courtship,  just as Elizabeth’s younger sister, Julie Thatcher (Charlotte Hegele), arrives in Coal Valley, surprising Elizabeth.  Julie is accompanied by Mountie Patrick O’Reilly (Ken Tremblett), the man who has come to replace Jack as the new Constable of Coal Valley. Jack had forgotten all about his transfer request, so now decisions must be made.

This is the episode that many fans have been looking forward to through the entire series. Jack and Elizabeth finally admit to each other (and themselves) that there is an attraction that goes beyond friendship. Of course there are twists and turns throughout the storyline, but these are one of the things that make this series so intriguing to the fans. Julie finds herself attracted to a man who may not be what he seems, and Mr. Gowen is showing an unusual interest in Abigail. As usual, the production qualities are above far, and the story engages the viewers interest...and leaves us wanting more!


DISCLAIMER: I was given the above mentioned DVD for review purposes only from Edify Media.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Pre-order on Amazon


Michael Landon Jr. – Director:  Michael Landon Jr., son of the late television legend Michael Landon, has been in the film business for over 25 years.  With two of the highest rated films in the history of the Hallmark channel, and several top ten releases targeted to the Christian market, Michael has become known for creating heartfelt, inspiring films that connect to the family.  He has developed and/or produced, directed, and written screenplays for Fox, CBS, NBC, Disney, Sony, Lifetime, and others.
 Brian Bird- Writer/Producer : Brian Bird is co-founder with partner Michael Landon, Jr., of Believe Pictures, a film and television production company.  He was co-executive producer and writer on the successful television series, Touched by an Angel.  Adding to Brian’s success, he had also written and produced episodes of Evening Shade, Step by Step and The Family Man.  Most recently, Bird wrote and produced Gametime, a two-hour television pilot for NBC, The Shunning, inspired by the novel by best-selling author Beverly Lewis, for the Hallmark Channel, and Not Easily Broken, adapted from the novel by T.D. Jakes and released theatrically by Sony/TriStar.
About Word Entertainment:  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, Love & The Outcome, 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 Films, Word Music Publishing and Word Label Group’s Word Records, Word Worship and Fervent Records.

Sue Hooley - 2015 Daily Planner

With busy schedules, everyone is always looking for the best way to keep track of what they need to do. I was excited to have a chance to review Sue Hoovey's Daily Planner. This 6x9 spiral bound book is an easy-to-use planner that is easy to write in, sturdy and compact, but is also attractive and gives lots of room for all you need to keep up with. I also loved the weekly Scriptures inside the book.

Sue, a mother of six, simply ran out of room when she tried to write down all that her family scheduled, so she needed something more versatile and with adequate space to record activities and appointments. Whether you have a large family or are a family of one, this is, by far, the most efficient planner I have ever used. Sue graciously supplied a 2014 version to try out for review purposes, as well as a 2015 planner, so I did get to find out exactly how effective it was for me. I don't have as much to schedule with running a household as many users, but it helped me schedule my reviews and tasks for the various clients I have as a social media assistant.

Features include: 
  • Two-page Weekly layout with menu planning and to-do list
  • Two-page Month layout
  • Year Calendars with place for notations
  • Perforated Shopping Lists
  • Tasks Lists and Projects; Events Sections
  • Information Section

Take a look inside:

Picture
Picture

To purchase your own (or buy as Christmas gifts), click on this link. There is FREE SHIPPING on 3 or more planners (USA only) and discounted prices on multiple purchases. Order now!


 Disclosure: I received this product at no cost to myself as a member of the CWA Review Crew. In exchange, I was only asked to write an honest review of the product.
 

 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts is a thought-provoking, heart-breaking, and encouraging book written by a woman who has faced adversity of many types yet whose faith continues to grow stronger as she weathers each storm.

Raised in less than ideal circumstances, she had a grandmother who introduced her to the Lord at an early age. This made a tremendous impact that has continued to sustain her over the years. Being diagnosed with Stage-IV cancer at the age of 36 has been the hardest battle of all. Kara discusses the peace she has while relying on God and how His grace is sufficient, yet is realistic about the pain and suffering. The longing she has to grow old with her husband and watch her children grow is also eloquently expressed. Yet her ability to stand firm on the knowledge that God will see her and her loved ones through each moment is an encouragement to others.
 
Questions posed at the end of each chapter really help the reader reflect and dig deeper into their own relationships...with God, family, and friends; Very helpful in making you more intentional in your words and deeds, and your personal and spiritual growth. I confess that her writing style is not one that keeps my attention, but it is very similar to another author, Ann Voskamp, whose books and blog millions of women love. I believe this book will be a blessing to anyone who reads it, but fans of Voskamp and similar authors will especially love it.

Kara’s Blog: mundanefaithfulness.com
Follow her on Instagram
 
Kara Tippetts and her husband, Jason, have four children and are planting a church in Colorado Springs, CO. Cancer is only part of Kara’s story. Her real fight is to truly live while facing a crushing reality. 

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

GIVEAWAY Rules:
Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.
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.”
Leave a comment on the blog no later than midnight (CDT) Oct. 29, 2014 to be entered in to the drawing.