Monday, February 28, 2011

A Conversation With God

Imagine yourself in a casual setting with friends as you discuss topics of great importance. This is the scene I thought of as I was reading this remarkable book by Alton Gansky. This book goes beyond the typical questions asked & answered in a straight-forward manner to a more conversational style. We have probably all been asked the question: "Who would you choose if you could invite anyone you wanted to a dinner party?" This guest list is incredible! All of the people who answer the questions in this book are people we know from our Bibles. The questions asked are given from the viewpoint of people such as God, Jesus, Paul, Micah, Moses, Job, etc.

Divided into 10 different sections with headings such as God, Christian Living, and The Future, this makes it simple for each person to focus on the questions that are most important in their own viewpoint. There are a total of 53 questions, including: "God, who are You? What are You?", "How do we know if we are saved?", "Why should we pray?", and "What should our political role be?" While some questions can be found in all Q & A books, there were some I had not seen addressed before.

The conversational style, and thought put into answering these questions made me feel that I was among friends who loved me and wanted to let me know how much I mean to them. It was a wonderful reminder that God does want to have a relationship with me and loves to hear from me. The notes section of the book are filled with Scriptural references to further reinforce the answers given. While I did race through this initial reading due to my fascination with each topic, I plan to do a more leisurely study that incorporates these Scriptures. I highly recommend this book!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the 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 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hermie & Friends: A Bug Collection (Volume 3)

Volume 3 of the Max Lucado's Hermie & Friends: A Bug Collection is absolutely delightful. A common theme among the 3 dvds is interaction with others. There are great lessons to be learned in each video, but presented in a fun and colorful manner.

Disc 1 is "Milo, The Mantis Who Wouldn't Pray" (it's about prayer) and features a praying mantis who does not know how to talk to God. Since he is unsure of the language and posture he should use, Milo just assumes that God is not listening to him. In the aftermath of a storm, he learns that God is always listening to him. This a a great lesson that even many adults need to learn, so I was thrilled to see it spelled out for very young viewers.

Disc 2 is "Buzby And The Grumble Bees" (it's about bee-having) which deals with the visiting niece and nephew of Buzby. Their rude behavior to all of the residents of the garden causes Buzby to come up with a plan! Everyone comes together to demonstrate how it feels to be treated poorly. This a the perfect video to illustrate The Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated.

Disc 3 is "Hailey & Bailey's Silly Fight" (it's about getting along) and reinforces the idea of compromise. While these twin ladybugs are usually the best of friends, their differences cause much fighting in this episode. Not only are they arguing with each other, but their disagreements have caused their friends to be at odds at one another.

I am a huge fan of Max Lucado, so I jumped at the chance to review these dvds. Of course I love the books he writes for adults, but I am just as easily moved and taught by his products for children. Featuring the voice talent of Tim Conway, [the late] Don Knotts, Melissa Disney, Richard Kind, Victoria Jackson, & Sam Mercurio...along with a short segment with Hermie and Max Lucado, these dvds are sure to be a huge hit with young children. There are bonus features that are always enjoyable, and the dvds have the all important feature of being self-starting (and even automatic replay). I highly and enthusiastically endorse this box set!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this dvd free from the publisher through the 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

If God Is Good

In Randy Alcorn's book, "If God Is Good", he deals with the subject of why God allows suffering and evil to exist. Is He unwilling to prevent it? Is He unable to prevent it? These are just 2 of the questions that many people ask today, and Mr. Alcorn writes extensively on the subject. In my opinion, a bit too extensively. I admit the subject was covered well, but I found it to be a bit repetitive at times, and my mind would begin to wander.

The subtitle of the book is Faith In The Midst Of Suffering And Evil, and there is ample use of Scripture used. There are also examples of how what can appear to be bad is for the good of the person enduring it. Perhaps it is just my personal perspective, but I have never had an issue over the matter of why suffering exists. I may not always understand, and I may hate the circumstances, but I have no doubt that God will see me through anything. (I may have a temper tantrum, but I try to accept that my ways are not God's.) However, the examples given of those who have faced tremendous hardships with an unwavering faith are very encouraging.

I had hoped to use the book when counseling with others who do get angry with God, but I believe I will need a more condensed version. This hardcover book is slightly over 500 pages and was just too detailed to keep my interest. I would recommend it as a very helpful reference resource for those who are professional Christian counselors. Without a doubt, Mr. Alcorn puts much research into his books, and is very passionate about Biblical accuracy.

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

Monday, February 14, 2011

MOST (The Deluxe Edition)

 MOST, the Czech word for "The Bridge," is a fitting title for this 21st-century parable about a loving father, his young son, and the fateful day when they attempt to head off an impending rail disaster. Hundreds of passengers aboard an oncoming steam train are completely unaware of the danger that looms as they head toward an open drawbridge.
  As a desperate young woman witnesses an act of mercy beyond imagination, her life is changed forever—as are the lives of all who see this film.
Both heart wrenching and glorious, MOST vividly portrays the greatest offering of love, sacrifice, hope, and forgiveness known to man.~ (from the Facebook fan page)

Many people are aware of this story, more commonly called "The Bridge", so you already know that this is going to be an extremely emotional film. The love of the father (Vladimír Javorský ) and his young son Lado (Ladislav Ondrej ) for one another makes this an even more poignant film. Linda Rybová gives a compelling performance of a young woman whose life is filled with numerous problems. She is also the only one aboard the train who realizes that her life was spared due to the unimaginable choice made by the father.

 There are also moments of comic relief in a character delightfully played by Brad Heller, so don't think this is an entirely solemn film. It is a truly moving and amazing experience that will make an impact on all who see it! It is only 33 minutes long, but that makes it perfect for viewing as part of a small group. This is not a "preachy" movie, but does lend itself to discussion on a variety of topics. Personally, I was able to use it as a greater illustration to my grandson of the sacrificial love that God had for us when Jesus died on the cross to save us.

You should certainly check out the Facebook fan page and LIKE them at
MOST the Movie!!