Sunday, May 27, 2012

Great For God

 "Great for God", by David Shibley shares short biographies of 23 missionaries who faithfully served on the mission field, both abroad and through media. The individual stories demonstrate the way an individual can make a profound impact on the lives of others when they make themselves available to God's service. Many had spouses and children working along side them, but others chose to step out alone. Some are names that are well-known through-out the Christian community, and others are unfamiliar...but their ministries have reached the world for Christ.

This is a fairly short (144 pages), and easily read book and would be perfect for anyone wanting to do a brief study on missionaries. Included are the names of the missionaries, date and places of their births and deaths, country/place of service, their legacy, a quote by them, a Scripture that illustrates their ministry or viewpoint, and ends with a short bio of their life and ministry.



I hate to highlight just a few of of the ones who stood out to me (but you need to get a copy of this book anyway.), but I did want to make special mention of the following quotes:
1. William Carey ~ "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."
2. Jim Elliot ~ "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
3. Lottie Moon ~ "How many there are . . . who imagine that because Jesus paid it all, they need pay nothing, forgetting that the prime objective of their salvation was that they should follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in bringing back a lost world to God."
4. Dawson Trotman ~ "We’ve got the truth to dispel this darkness. We’ve got to get it out, out, out."
5. Bob Pierce ~ "Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God."


Personally, I have to admit that Bob Pierce is a particular favorite inspiration of mine, but he was behind the roots of 2 areas near and dear to me: World Vision, and Samaritan's Purse. He was also a pioneer in making Christian films.

While this was not one of the missionary's quotes, one from the book that really stood out to me is, The object of reading biography…is not imitation but inspiration.” - Phillips Brooks. The people I read about in this book are an inspiration, and even more importantly, the God whom they devoted their lives to is the One I want to imitate.  "Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that." ~ Ephesians 5:1-2 (The Message)

Like Great For God facebook page.

 New Leaf Publishing  graciously provide me with a download of this book, and I do want to thank them for that. I was not required to give a positive review.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Break Through by Tim Clinton

Relationships. They are a part of everyone's lives: parents, siblings, spouse, friends...the list is endless. The issue is whether your relationship with others is healthy or unhealthy. What I Did For Love is more than just a show tune; it is also a lifestyle of unhealthy relationships for some people. In BREAK THROUGH, Dr. Tim Clinton explores some of the relationships we have with others and what makes them healthy or damaging. He, along with author Pat Springle, have written an easy to read book...yet one that can seem hard as one is confronted by their own reflection in some of the cases given. I know there were a couple of examples written that described me, even to the point of using terms I have only heard myself use. I believe the advice given in the book would most likely be very useful, and it has given me a few things to think about.

Read a sample chapter by clicking on this link:  Break Through: Chapter One
You can also watch this video by Tim Clinton:



Hear Wayne Shepherd interview Tim Clinton. This interview was recorded for the audiobook edition from Oasis Audio. 

Dr. Tim Clinton, LPC, LMFT, is president of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) and the founder of Light University Online, which has over 160,000 students enrolled. A licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist, he is also professor of counseling and executive director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University.

Links for Dr Tim Clinton:
https://www.facebook.com/drtimclinton
http://www.TimClinton.com
http://www.TimClintonBlog.com
http://www.youtube.com/DrTimClinton
http://www.twitter.com/DrTimClinton
http://www.AACC.net
http://lightcounseling.net
http://www.liberty.edu/academics/arts-sc...

Pat Springle is the founder of Baxter Press and coauthor of the classic work Codependency. Pat served on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ and was an executive at Rapha Treatment Centers. Springle has authored and coauthored more than 50 books.


You can purchase this book at great retailers including AmazonBarnes & Noble, and ChristianBook.com.

I want to thank Julie of Handlebar Marketing for providing me with a copy of this book. It was only requested that I give an honest opinion, and a positive review was not required.

I was also provided with an extra copy for a giveaway!! Please respond no later than Friday, June 1. 2012 at 5pm CDT if you wish to be entered.

Cowgirls 'N Angels

Cowgirls N' Angels is a family-friendly film that tells the story of Ida (Bailee Madison). Ida is a strong-willed young girl, being raised by her mom ( Alicia Witt). All she knows about her dad is that he was a rodeo rider, and she is determined to find him. While looking for him at the local rodeo, she connects with the Sweethearts of the Rodeo, a team of young female rodeo riders run by former rodeo star Terence Parker (James Cromwell). Reluctantly, her mom allows her to join the group, and they quickly become like a family to her.


This is a cute film, reminiscent of the Disney films from when I was younger. While some of the film was a bit corny or far-fetched, it is a breath of fresh air as far as the 'bathroom humor' laden films that are too often aimed at tweens. Kids who love horses, trick riding, and rodeos will especially love this film. A budding romance between one of the older 'Sweethearts' (Madison Burge) and a cowboy (Jackson Rathbone) brings an added dimension to the film. There were lessons learned about respect and starting over after making a mistake yet without being overly "preachy". No bad language, no nudity, nothing tossed in for a parent to be hovering over their child worrying about covering their eyes or ears! I enjoyed watching it myself, and it is a very good choice if you are wanting to take the kids out to the movies.



Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cowgirlsnangels
Website: www.cowgirls-n-angels.com/ 
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOYbWF22mnE

Thanks to Propeller for allowing me to see an online advanced screening of this film. I was not required to give a positive review, merely asked for an honest opinion.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Genesis Code dvd

Kerry Wells (Kelsey Sanders), a college journalist and committed Christian with an effervescent personality, has been assigned to do a story on Blake Truman (Logan Bartholomew) the college’s newest and very popular hockey superstar. As a relationship between them begins to develop Kerry finds that Blake, who hides behind a tough and independent fa├žade, is actually struggling through a difficult personal crisis and that he bears the cross of a secret he has kept hidden for years. Blake rebuffs Kerry's suggestion that prayer might help ease his burden; he is convinced that modern science completely disproves the Bible, especially the opening verses of Genesis. Kerry — who is herself suddenly confronted with a challenge to her faith on another front — sets out to prove that science and Genesis are not in conflict and her quest leads to a startling revelation. Could it be that what science teaches us about creation and the Story as told in Genesis are both true! ~ (from the dvd cover)

Website: http://www.thegenesiscodemovie.com/ 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thegenesiscodemovie 
Twitter: http://www.facebook.com/thegenesiscodemovie   
Dove Foundation Review: http://www.dove.org/reviewpopup.asp?Unique_ID=8437   
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p4Cs_QkwsM&feature=player_embedded

Creation is a subject that has long been debated. There are too many theories, and it all creates conflict and confusion. I believe God created. It has never mattered to me how He chose to do or how long it actually took. Science interests me, but most of it overwhelms me, so I had a bit of trepidation when I saw what this film is actually about. (I glanced at it and thought it was a sports film; I like those.)

The Genesis Code turned out to be a fun film with quirky characters, witty dialogue, and an intriguing plot. The marriage of Biblical accounts of creation and scientific evidence made sense to me, and I could embrace that theory. However, I am not qualified to say if it is accurate; I just know I enjoyed the presentation. Some of the subplots were more plausible that others, but it gave you a chance to get to know more about the characters and establish a relationship with them.

 Of course, the cast of Hollywood veterans who appear in the film make it even more engaging. I would have wanted this dvd just for Ernest Borgnine alone! Other fabulous actors in this film are Louise Fletcher, Fred Dalton Thompson, Lance Henriksen, Rance Howard, Catherine HicksBen Murphy, and Susan Blakely. Along with marvelous actors, there are some awesome graphics. While there were a few parts in the film I wasn't satisfied with, it made me laugh and it made me think: both of those make this a film I would recommend.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, May 21, 2012

Christian Films

 The subject of Christian film...and what YOU think "Christian Film" means has been the topic of several discussions lately. I am of the opinion that Christian film is a label that should not necessarily be used. Just the words cause some people to automatically love or hate a film. When reading the reviews of films that are categorized as 'Christian', it always seems to boil down to followers of Christ raving about the perfection or nonbelievers ranting about the absurdity of the film content. Both viewpoints are unfair to the makers of the films and the potential viewers. A major point of contention is often whether faith-based films are meant to proselytize.

In fact, one of my FB friends, Clayton Michael Frasier recently asked: "DO YOU THINK THAT CHRISTIAN FILM DOES WHAT THEY THINK IT DOES; AS IN SAVES PEOPLE, BRINGS PEOPLE TO CHRIST?" 
Please go chime in with your answer!! (click here for link)

Another complaint is the opinion that Christian films are "cheesy" or of poor quality. There are some poorly made films that the Christian community is sometimes "guilted" into supporting. However, is this a fair evaluation of ALL faith-based films?  Have they compromised to appeal to more people...just to 'lure' them into theaters? Do you think the quality of these films is improving? Recently, producer Benjamin Dane sat down with BTFS Editor, James Burgess to talk about the evolution of faith-based films (and what makes Beyond The Farthest Star different.)






What do you think? I must admit, a couple of films did immediately come to my mind. I would love to hear more of what he has to say about how Christian film and filmmaking has changed from earlier efforts. Also, more on what he (or any of my readers) consider to be good or poorly made Christian films...both past and present.


James Burgess ( Pros And Cons: A Fantasy Football Movie, Still Born, Pilgrim's Progress) is pictured here in a late night Beyond The Farthest Star editing session with actor/producer Benjamin Dane and writer/director Andrew Librizzi.

 (I know there are other films I could have used, but y'all know this is my favorite. lol) 




My point...and the reason I was unable to simply answer my friends question... is that each film is not necessarily meant to have an 'altar call' at the end. Should a filmmaker even try to encompass all of Christianity in one film? Amazing Grace is one of my favorite films, and part of the reason is because it was about a man who was a Christian yet the film did not try to beat people upside the head with a Bible. It was simply a realistic film of a man who made his decisions based on his faith...just as I do in my own life. I like films that strengthen my faith or make me think. I also have no issue with films that do boldly lay out the plan of salvation.  But a film that is well-written, sincerely told, and doesn't feel 'forced' and will open a dialogue about why I believe what I do about Jesus with a non-believer is amazing. There is room for most genres of film to be made with a Christian perspective, and we should offer the best of our talents to Christ. I am excited to see what the future holds for the film industry as more people are raising a standard of excellence.

Days With Jesus by Jim Jackson

 Last month I received an email from Jim Jackson. He explained that he had read some of my book reviews, and had just published a book himself. Jim continued, "The book is actually only a part of a large project called 'Days With Jesus'. It combines the book, which walks the reader through the first half of the Gospel of John, with numerous videos shot on-location in Israel hosted on the website where a person can see where that particular Day took place. I call the book a 'Docuvotional' as I attempt to take the reader through the life of Jesus as told to us by His disciple John, then help the reader to try and apply the teachings in a devotional manner."


WOW! I loved it!! One thing that I think people forget to take into consideration when reading the Bible is the culture and customs of the time. We see things through our own perspective. Not only has approximately 2000 years passed since Jesus lived on Earth, but we tend to filter through our own viewpoints and experiences. Jim's ability to share a story to help the reader relate to the Scripture from a modern angle, along with background history of the mindset of the people Jesus encountered truly helps bring a greater depth of understanding. If you don't love history, don't worry, this is not the dry, dull facts you may fear. There is just the right amount to illuminate the portion of Scripture you are studying for the day. His humor and excitement, and love of Jesus make this a great read for your own personal study. Want to study with friends? Great! There are discussion questions at the end of each study that are perfect for both an individual or groups. This would also be great for family devotionals! The questions tie in with each day in a way that is likely to bring a closer connection with God. But, that's not all! There are videos!! There isn't one for each day, but the videos that correspond with certain days can be found on the website at dayswithjesus.com/. Watch an example of the videos with this one explaining about Nicodemus:







I absolutely and unreservedly recommend Days With Jesus! Make sure you check out all of the links at the following:
Days Of Jesus website
LIKE on Facebook
Follow on Twitter


I did receive the PDF of Days With Jesus without charge from the author in hopes I would review it for my blog, but I was not required to give a positive review.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fearless by Eric Blehm

When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan—but he was ready.
In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, “I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me.”
Fearless is the story of Adam Brown, a man of extremes, whose courage and determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman. It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top tier of the US military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.

 Watch Fearless book trailer:



Read the first chapter of  Fearless.
Order a copy of Fearless here.
Website: http://fearlessnavyseal.com/
Fearless by Eric Blehm on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ericblehm
Eric Blehm on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ericblehm

This book was offered to me by WaterBrook Multnomah to help share the story of the remarkable Adam Brown. Fearless is a book I will definitely recommend. It is a tribute not only to a man of great courage, strength, and faith, but also a tribute to his Lord, his family, and to all of those brave men and women who are willing to lay down their lives in defense of our nation. Adam was part of the elite Navy SEAL Team Six who were responsible for the death of Osama Bin Laden ( and tragically lost many members in a heliocopter crash). I have always had admiration and respect for the SEALs, but it has increased even more. Adam Brown's story is one of stunning determination, courage, loyalty...and the ability to recover from poor life choices. This is a MUST READ!!

Hardflip

 Hardflip follows the story of Caleb (Randy Wayne;To Save A Life, ABC Family’s The Lying Game) a young skater whose ill mother (Rosanna Arquette; Pulp Fiction, The Whole Nine Yards) and absent father (John Schneider; Dukes of Hazard, October Baby, I Am Gabriel) leave him reaching for the only hope he has—becoming a sponsored skater. After finding a stack of old love letters, he sets out to find the father he never knew and inadvertently begins a journey he never could have expected. This story explores what happens when we let go of our anger and pain and forgive those who have hurt us most.

 Johnny Remo (A Letter To Dad, Cutback) has already written, produced, and directed 2 films that I and the teens in my life have loved, and Hardflip is another huge hit with my family. I always love the music in SkipStone Pictures films, and there's another great lineup in this film, including Brian "Head" Welch :


Hardflip also features some awesome skaters like Christian Hosoi, Brian Sumner, and others.



 The skating action is fantastic (and my grandkids loved all of the tricks), but the story also captured their attention. I do recommend the film for 12 and up due to some scenes of drinking, drugs, and attempted suicide, but I found them to be good conversation openers about choices people make. They also gave the film a realistic look into problems that are more prevalent than we sometimes realize. Hope, forgiveness, and faith are offered and show that there is a way out of despair, loneliness, tragedy, and rejection. I really liked the film a lot and the teenagers loved it!


Hardflip Website:  http://www.hardflipmovie.com.

Hardflip on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/HardflipMovie
SkipStone Pictures Website: 
http://www.skipstonepictures.com

Risen Magazine:   http://risenmagazine.com/


Faith and Family Film Weekend: https://www.facebook.com/events/232612680172130/

                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4PD0sYD9Jo

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Couldn't Love You More by Matt Hammitt & Jason Ingram

I Couldn't Love You More, by Matt Hammitt and Jason Ingram is a book written not only as an expression of a parent's love for their child, but also to share with younger children about Christ's unconditional love for His children. Matt wrote the song, "I Couldn't Love You More" (Every Falling Tear) soon after his son, Bowen, was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a rare congenital defect. This book, beautifully illustrated by Polona Lovsin, is based on that song.

This over-sized book is filled with bright colorful illustrations of animals that are sure to delight any child. Simple sentences that are great not only for those shorter attention spans also make this book ideal for reading to a young child, or for a new reader to practice their skills on. Most important, though, is the message that assures the child not only of a parent's love, but that Jesus loves them! Another fantastic reason for wanting to purchase this book is that a portion of the proceeds are donated to Whole Hearts Foundation!! The opportunity to share the love of Jesus with a child you love, plus contribute to an organization that provides help for children suffering from congenital heart disease and their families. See the Whole Hearts video to learn more.

 IMPORTANT LINKS:

Video of Matt talking about the book
ABC News story about Bowen
Bowen's heart website
Whole Hearts Foundation on Facebook

I have one certificate available for a free copy of this book from any Christian bookstore. To enter to win, simply leave a comment no later than Sun., May 20, 2012 at 2:00pm (CDT).

In accordance with FTC guidelines: Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a copy of this book. I was not required to give a positive review.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Voice Bible

The Voice is a faithful dynamic equivalent translation that reads like a story with all the truth and wisdom of God's Word. Through compelling narratives, poetry, and teaching, The Voice invites readers to enter into the whole story of God with their heart, soul, and mind, enabling them to hear God speaking and to experience His presence in their lives. Through a collaboration of more than 120 biblical scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and artists, The Voice recaptures the passion, grit, humor, and beauty that is often lost in the translation process. The result is a retelling of the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works, yet remaining painstakingly true to the original manuscripts. (from the publisher)


Several months ago I read the New Testament portion of The Voice Bible, and I was very happy to be given the opportunity to read the entire book. I still love and will continue to use the Bible I normally use, but I love The Voice for additional reading and study! Written in a screenplay style, it clarifies who is speaking to whom, and provides background info to help deepen one's understanding of the cultural relevance or background that further explains what is happening. 

I find it a refreshing new look at Scripture. I admit that I am guilty of skimming through certain books of the Bible, such as Leviticus and Numbers, so I appreciated the additional info about why something was happening and to know who was speaking. (By the way, The Voice also properly capitalizes pronouns that refer to God. That is very important to me.) While some of the poetry of the Psalms may not seem to flow as well, I found it to be applicable to my life. After all, one of the main reasons I read my Bible is to live my life in a manner that glorifies and pleases God.


Features include:
--Reading plans
--Maps
--Italicized information added to help contemporary readers understand what the original readers would have known intuitively
--In-text commentary notes include cultural, historical, theological, or devotional thoughts
--Screenplay format, ideal for public readings and group studies
--Book introductions

Go to their website ( http://hearthevoice.com/ ) to explore more about The Voice for yourself. I admit, that I am hoping their next step will be to put this on cd so I can literally hear the voices and music. In the meantime, whether you are wanting a fresh look at the Bible, or you are looking for a Bible for someone who doesn't have a church/Biblical background, I recommend The Voice Bible.

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur

Sometimes Life does not turn out the way you expected, and you wonder why God allowed certain things to happen. Whether it is a major event or just many little things all coming together, all of us have had something devastating, or even just disappointing happen in our lives. In As Silver Refined, author Kay Arthur suggests that "the things you call disappointments are really His appointments." 

Dr. Joseph Carroll  of  the Evangelical Institute of Greenville, SC  is the person Kay credits with introducing her to the idea of the "5 Deadly D's": Disappointment, Discouragement, Dejection, Despair, Demoralization.  I have to admit that I got a bit confused here since she also threw in disturbed, disheartened, depression, and demoralization (plus, I read disbelief somewhere else). Being the person I am, I guess I should also toss in distraction! Things like that are my fault, though, and not the author's. I also struggle with the Precept concept because I get so focused on properly coloring and using the correct symbols that I miss the point.

I do have mixed views on the book, though. I am all too familiar with all of the "D's" mentioned, and I do appreciate the Scripture provided and can definitely see the benefits of going through the Study Guide provided in the back. Perhaps the brief overall of just reading the book for review purposes is why I still feel like something is missing. And, of course, this book is not meant to be a one-time-read "cure-all". The conversational style of writing makes this seem more of a personal journal; it does bother me a bit to be called "beloved", but that is just me.

Still, I would recommend this book to others. There is no doubt that Kay has gone through some of these emotions and feelings herself. There is a depth of understanding present that not all authors are capable of presenting on the written page. I did glean useful info from the pages, and I know several people who find her methods to be incredibly helpful.


For more info, check out the links below:

Precept Ministries International
Follow Kay on Twitter 
More info
Read Chapter One
Author Bio

  "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."


LIKE WaterBrook Multnomah on Facebook

Follow WaterBrook Multnomah on Twitter

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Heart Like His by Beth Moore


We all go through times when we feel insignificant or times when we feel certain that we have experienced a degree of failure from which there is no return. This is not a reality we experience alone, but is one that a man after God’s heart experienced as well.

In “A Heart Like His,” Beth Moore looks at this bond of mutual love and admiration between a man who was not unlike any of us and the one true God who is all good and all powerful. The book is an exploration of David’s incredible life, drawing spiritual insights from a man who boldly fulfilled his divine destiny not merely by what he did, but who he loved and served.

Bringing lessons from David’s life to bear on your own, this picture of a man who loved and followed God will help you to serve with a heart focused on Him no matter the circumstance. (from the publisher)

I've never read a Beth Moore book I did not love, and this one is no exception. A Heart Like His follows the life of David from a teenaged shepherd to his final breath as the king of Israel. Using 9 different Psalms David wrote, Beth provides the history of what David was going through during that time. It is so easy to place his story into a few Sunday School stories that often gloss over certain details of his life, and forget that he was a man who had great victories, but also made many mistakes. I have never fought a giant, but I wept with David for his loss (and in remembrance of my own) when his infant son died. Reading of his many failures, mistakes, and sins is such a clear message that God can and will forgive when we seek His forgiveness. I laughed, I cried, I sympathized, I was appalled, but I learned new truths or was at least reminded of lessons I had forgotten.

This was written in a format that allows a straight read through but, it is encouraged that you read the Scripture in your own Bible for a deeper understanding. My complaint with the book is that it left me wanting to go even more indepth on the life of David. However, at the back of the book is an excerpt from Beth's 11 session dvd study on the life of David. Hopefully, I will have a chance to go through it soon. In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially anyone who feels that they have failed God, family, and friends too many times. 

Vitals:
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
ISBN: 9781433677168
Page count: 336 Pages
USD: $14.99
Publication date: May 2012
Genre: NON-FICTION/Christian

 I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."