Sunday, June 29, 2014

Life Work by Randy Harris

What does minimal human ethics look like? Can Christians really be followers of Jesus in the way they live today? In his own unique style, Randy Harris wrestles with these and other ethical issues facing Christians and all humanity.

In a world gone crazy, what would basic human decency look like? Are there principles that all humans could follow to make their neighborhoods, countries, and world more just and peaceful? Randy Harris, from his long experience as a teacher of philosophy and ethics, calls us to those principles of fair play, justice, and peace.

Life Work: Confessions of an Everyday Disciple by Randy Harris is the third in a trilogy of books. Harris divides the book into 4 different sctions: Ethics (chapters 1-4), Cruciformity (chapters 5-9), Fellow Travelers (chapters 10-12), and Shalom (chapters 13-14). It starts out with a series of ethical questions that prove that many decisions are harder to make than one thinks. Sometimes there simply is not a perfect answer, and even the greater good of all can be blurred on what is personally invested in the outcome. For a Christian, it goes beyond simply good morals and ethical decisions to looking at the situation through a cross-shaped vision, or, as Harris call it, "cruciformity". A follower of Jesus is bound to look at any situation through their Biblical worldview, but that does not mean that it is easy or mistakes never made.

His fellow travelers include both the dead and the living. Harris gives us insight into things he has learned from reading the works of some the historical leaders and from learning from those who are still forming a pathway and making differences today. Some he agrees with and some he doesn't, but he uses all to come to his own conclusions of best to live his life as a philosopher, ethicist, and theologian. He ends the book with finding the importance of finding peace.

Honestly, I sometimes got a bit bored or had trouble making the leap to the same conclusion Harris made. He has a good writing style, so it may have simply been that my mind was filled with other matters. However, I do plan on reading it again. Sometimes ideas just need to marinate for a while. If you are looking for light reading, this is not the best choice. But, if you want something to think about, I do recommend the book. It is only 157 pages, so you can spread out the reading a bit without losing sight of what you have already read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from ACU Press/Leafwood Publishers. 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Face To Face With Jesus by Samaa Habib

Face to Face with Jesus: A Former Muslim’s Extraordinary Journey to Heaven and Encounter with the God of Love by Samaa Habib and Bodie Thoene

It starts as a story ripped from the headlines of the war-torn Middle East. An extremist faction of Islam bombs a church during a service. The one door in the back isn't big enough for five hundred people trying to escape. Some are killed. 

But after the chaos and fire and smoke, one young woman comes back to life. In this thrilling true tale, death does not have the final word. 

From the first time Samaa heard the Lord Jesus calling her out of Islam into faith in Him, til she met Him face to face in heaven, her life is marked by God's supernatural love and power. Full of hope and encouragement, and overflowing with Jesus' love, her riveting account reveals the power of God to break through any circumstance—and is a moving reminder that, in a place beyond what we can imagine, we have a Savior waiting to welcome us face to face. (publisher's description)

This is a fascinating, at times nearly unbelievable, story of a young woman's conversion from Islam to Christianity. Raised in a country and culture that is beyond my comprehension, I felt a mixture of doubt, hope, and acceptance...mixed with a tinge of envy, for the closeness she has with Jesus as I read the experiences she survived. Sometimes it is hard to grasp the atrocities faced by others, yet I can not imagine her survival without the supernatural intervention of God.

The story, co-authored by Bodie Thoene, is a gripping story that keeps you wanting to read just one more page before turning out the lights. I did get a little confused sometimes about the time frame of events, but that could be my own fault since I read at bedtime. However, the book gives you a lot to think about and to pray about. Not only is it a call for action to do just a bit more for those who have yet to turn to Jesus, but is also a nudge to examine my own relationship with Jesus. I certainly recommend this book.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing, in order to write a review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Veil Of Tears

Narrated by Natalie Grant, Veil of Tears tells the untold story of millions of women in India who are culturally oppressed simply because they are women. Their value is only in their ability to produce sons and to provide for the needs of their men. Once her husband dies (which is ALWAYS the fault of the wife), the widow has no value. This film was shot on-location across various regions of India spanning from the majesty of the Taj Mahal to remote tribal villages to some of the worst slums imaginable.

This documentary, produced and directed by Kenny and Kyle Saylors, gives a glimpse of the heart-breaking tragedy that these women face, but also shows the resilience and ability to survive the persecution, rejection, and poverty they face daily.

The film brings an overall view of darker side of life, but also shares the stories of a few women to personalize the anguish they face. But, there is Hope and the film leads to ways that millions of women are now receiving hope through the efforts of Dr. KP Yohannan and Gospel For Asia. Their Bridge of Hope program cares for tens of thousands of children, helping them break out of the generational curses of poverty and hopelessness. Women minister to women to teach them a skill to be used to support themselves and their families, and to teach them their value to Jesus Christ. 

The film starts out with a colorful, fairy tale type story about the Taj Mahal and the love and honor Shah Jahan had for his 3rd wife, Mumtaz Mahal. But the storybook quickly changes to the stark reality of the plight of many Indian women today. Instead of being cherished by their husbands, we learn of the despair. The Saylor Brothers skillfully pull you into the the stories of these women.

The cinematography is outstanding, and I love the way the story moves from various regions of India, clearly demonstrating that this dehumanizing of females is not merely a few isolated instances. The viewer is moved by the despair these women and their children face daily, but we are led to the hope that can be found. Follow-ups on some of the stories that were so heart-wrenching are now colorful and joyous as these women have learned that they are loved and that there are people who are willing to help. The colorful saris and beautiful smiles the women are wearing by the end as they work and worship together is a joy to behold.

Erica Lane's music was another favorite part, and the songs stayed with me long after the credits had ended. You will also want to check out the Special Features section to find out more behind-the-scenes stuff and a couple of more stories. Obviously, this is not a film made to entertain, but it is one you will want to share with others. Perhaps you will be led to find a way to help other women and children realize the hope these women now have.

Proceeds of this film will be donated toward continued efforts to change lives on a social, educational, health and spiritual level. Take a moment to learn more about the mission of GFA and how you can be a part of our movement to rescue generations of women from persecution and rejection and into the hope of Jesus Christ.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this DVD from EDIFY/MEDIA as part of the movie's promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Veil of Tears website
Gospel For Asia website

Veil of Tears FB page

Erica Lane - "For Those Who Love Him" music video

GIVEAWAY!! Edify Media is prepared to give 1 of my readers a copy of Veil of Tears. International Widows Day is June 23, so in honor of these women, the winner will be selected at 7pm (CDT) that day.  Just leave a comment on the blog to be entered.  (Also, keep in mind that I have to approve comments. Just leave one...I will post it ASAP!!) *US and Canada only.

Monday, June 9, 2014


May 6, 2014 -Dallas, Texas, Joanne Cash legendary country music singer will be in concert in Dallas June 12. Christian Women in Media Association will host the evening concert and dinner event. Joanne brings with her an amazing voice and a life spent in the country music industry.

As the younger sister of Johnny Cash, Joanne Cash has certainly made her way in the music industry. With twenty-six historic recordings, the acclaimed autobiography My Fears Are Gone, and continuous concert appearances, the singer/songwriter extraordinaire is driven by a deeper sense of eternal purpose.

Growing up in the Cash family alongside Johnny, plus fellow siblings Reba, Jack, Tommy, Roy and Louise, some of her earliest memories from their Dyess, Arkansas upbringing (the family later migrated to Nashville) was singing spiritual standards in the cotton fields while working in the steamy sun, after which the family would convene inside together for old time radio programs.

On October 18, 1970, Joanne gave her heart to Jesus at a small area church and began a brand new life. It was at that time she found a musical calling while working at House of Cash, Johnny's famed recording studio, office space and musical museum.

"I learned so much about the music business and my desire to sing increased rapidly," offers a jovial Joanne. "I got involved in singing at church and then sang at the Grand Ole Opry on Fridays from 1972-1976 with Jimmy Rodgers Snow's 'Grand Ole Gospel Time.'"

Ms. Cash's testimony can be found on her latest CD Gospel, which includes 15 hymns and original songs, such as Cotton, Popcorn, Peanuts and Jesus (the basic fabric of what Joanne was raised on), and Glory Glory, a bold expression of faith relating to her brother Jack's death and the fact that all the siblings will again be united in heaven. Johnny penned Meet Me in Heaven, which was one of the last songs he and Joanne sang together before his wife June Carter Cash made her heavenly passage. Johnny's 1979 standard Welcome Back Jesus is also included, as is the vintage church hymn Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.

'I'm amazed that at my age I still want to sing, but it's like therapy for me," she summarizes. "Johnny always helped me remember that and he was constantly encouraging. But there was one short phrase from Johnny that's always stuck with me and it's one I'll continue for as long as I'm here, 'Baby, just keep on singing!'"

The Concert and Dinner event with Joanne Cash for men and women will be at the Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas, Texas. The cost of the ticket which includes dinner is $25 for members and $35 for guests. Register online at - registration online is required.

Press contact:  Tonya Neal,
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Christian Women in Media Association (CWIMA) is a professional association dedicated to Connecting Women in Purpose and Vision. With a national platform focused on impacting our culture through media, our members work in the fields of TV, Radio, Social Media, Film, Publishing, Music, and Arts and Entertainment. Suellen Roberts, Founder & President said "Our organizational framework promotes and provides opportunities for industry networking, professional equipping, and spiritual refreshment." CWIMA provides National Conferences, Music Showcases, Regional Events, Local Networks, and International Outreach.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

When Calls The Heart: A Telling Silence dvd

When Calls the Heart: A Telling Silence is a feature length film made from episodes of the television series, When Calls the Heart. The series is the story of Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow), a teacher who was raised in a wealthy family but whose first assignment is a small coal mining town that recently suffered a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of many of the miners. Another newcomer, Canadian Mountie, Jack Thornton (Daniel Lissing), and Elizabeth have sparks flying with a few clashes but also a budding romance and friendship developing.

In this episode, young Rosaleen (Mamie Laverock) has not spoken since the mining accident which took the life of her father. Elizabeth reaches out to help her young student, and is highly suspicious of a man who seems to strike fear into the child each time she sees him. She brings her concerns to Jack and it looks like her fears may have been realized when Rosaleen suddenly disappears.

Jack is also busy investigating the suspicious fire that destroyed the town church. The pastor (Adrian Hough) is getting a lot of pressure from the head of the mining company about the drop in attendance, especially since the townspeople are flocking to hear Cat Montgomery (Chelah Horsdal) speak each Sunday. Cat lost her husband during the mining accident, and was one of the few who did not attend the memorial service. Evidence is building against her and even her son, Gabe (Mitchell Kummen) has doubts of his mom's innocence.

My Review: I love this series! The characters are people you get to know and love ( or loathe) as their stories unfold. There is enough drama, comedy, mystery, and romance to keep my attention, and leaving me wanting to see more of the story. This particular episode revealed new layers to one of my favorites, Cat Montgomery. (The actor who plays her son always stand out to me; I expect to see a lot more of Mitchell Kummen in the future.) There was much to be learned from the this storyline, but it was achieved through the art of telling a story and telling it well. Ken LaZebnik
wrote this episode and it was directed by Michael Landon Jr.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the above DVD for free from Edify Media in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. 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."

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.