Sunday, September 25, 2016

Book Review: Guardrails by Alan Briggs

Guardrails is a book to help inspire and encourage people to create and find the right type of discipleship program. It helps people to discern whether they are stuck on "The Spiritual Activity Track" (Busyness Without Transformation) or "The Process to Programs" (Transformation Yielding Activity). It also helps people to try to find and be accountable to other people for discipleship. It describes what makes a good discipleship group/program, such as agreeing to go to all meetings (except during times that can't be helped, like when going out of town). It also encourages leaders to make other leaders in the groups so they won't fall apart if the main leaders have to miss any meetings.  I think I could also see places in the book where there was some one-on-one discipleship experiences discussed.

One thing that really got my attention in this book was the part that described "The Cycle of Religious Enslavement", which shows a diagram about how when we are forced to try harder it puts us in a cycle that eventually causes us to give up and have other negative feelings. I am a person that likes to be guided step by step so when I am rushed through a process without even going through step one I get very frustrated. I think I have been held back because of some people trying to push me too hard spiritually.

One thing I really have struggled with in congregations is being an onlooker/outsider on the sidelines when people are off participating in classes, going on field trips and congregational trips, and participating in potlucks. A lot of it happened during a time in my life I could barely afford to buy anything extra (like even a pencil for myself or anybody else). I think God brought me through that time because I went through a period of time when I got caught up in a "Spiritual Activity Track" with a congregation in the past also (when there were people getting left out because they couldn't afford the classes, activities, and field trips). So, it's important to me to want to be at a congregation that includes everybody as much as they can: the poor, the middle class, and the rich alike, and that has been very hard for me to find.

I really liked most of the ideas in this book. If I am ever going to go through discipleship I hope to go through the kind that Jesus (Yeshua) would have put his disciples through in the ancient days, or the kind that his disciples put others through. I believe this book brings congregations not involved or not very involved in discipleship much closer to that model.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

DVD Review: When Calls the Heart : Season 1


When Calls the Heart : Season 1 the Episodes is based on the When Calls the Heart book series by Janette Oke. Elizabeth Thatcher is new to Coal Valley, a coal mining town that thrives on hope. A lot of women have become widows in the town, due to an explosion in the mining profession of their husbands. Elizabeth is at odds with Jack Thornton, but with every step they take they come to like each other better.

Elizabeth and Jack are the main characters and most of the people in the town seem to love and respect them. I haven't been able to predict what will happen in each episode, the turn of events has often been unexpected. The episodes seem to weave together a lot of hope and encouragement, as life happens to the people of Coal Valley.

I have fallen in love with this series, and look forward to watching season 2 episodes in the near future I hope! It is really hard to find many TV series that are good for my mind to take in so I am thrilled to come across this series. I am glad that Michael Landon's son continued the legacy of his father in bringing forth a great television series based on this book series by Janette Oak!

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this DVD series free for posting some special promotions from Fishflix.com on my blog. I was not required to write a review.

This DVD series is available through Fishflix.com here: https://www.fishflix.com/christian-movies-when-calls-the-heart-complete-season-1-the-episodes-dvd.html

 


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Speciality / Study Bible Review: NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible

This NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible contains many features. It allows readers to immerse themselves in the culture, everyday life, literature, and geography of the people to whom the Bible was originally written through articles, study notes, charts, maps, timelines, etc.

The beginning pages include: Presented To page, Title Page, Quick Start Guide, Table of Contents, Author Introduction, Acknowledgements, About the Authors Page,  Abbreviations (General, and Old and New Testament Bible book abbreviations), Preface, Hebrew to English Translation Chart, Ancient Texts, and Old Testament Chronology.

Sections between the Old and New Testament: Description of the time between both of the testaments, time between Malachi to Christ, Key New Testament Terms, and New Testament Chronology.

Ending pages include: Table of Weights and Measures, Index of Articles in Canonical Order, Index of Articles in Alphabetical Order, Concordance, Index to Maps (with codes listed), and colored maps (each map is numbered and includes letters and numbers to locate rivers, mountains, towns, etc from the Index to Maps listed).

The books of the Bible are divided up in sections of: 1) The Torah, 2) Narrative Literature, 3) Wisdom of Hymnic Literature, 4) Oracles of the Prophets, 5) The Gospels and Acts, 6) The Letters and Revelation.

While reading through the Biblical books of Nehemiah and Ephesians in this Bible, I liked how I could learn about ancient cultural history during Biblical times. Even though the word LORD is used throughout this NIV version, information was included about God's name (that was replaced by LORD) in some of the articles and study notes (which I liked).  I also liked that the study notes are included at the bottom of the pages and are close to the Scriptures that they explain and that the study notes in the New Testament Scriptures that I read included many thoughts related to different Hebrews of the times, and how the Scriptures applied to them. I noticed that most Bible books in this Speciality / Study Bible have an introduction which includes date and author, literary setting, and key concepts, although I noticed that at least one Bible book didn't have the introduction included (the book of Nehemiah).

I love how this Specialty/Study Bible focuses on the ancient times of the Biblical days and who it was written to during those times! It is filled with so much information that will continue to expand my mind each time I read something new. I will also try to allow the information to absorb deeper if I end up reading some of information more than once!

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a hardcover version of this Specialty Bible free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, August 29, 2016

We're Missing You Gene Wilder!

People are already missing having Gene Wilder around.

He was/is the only author I have ever felt comfortable asking a question to during a book talk. He told me what his favorite memory was during the "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" film. I think he smiled at everybody that came to get a book signed.

I almost asked him to sing for us that night but thought it might embarrass him. I wonder if he would've though.
 


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Special Promotions from Fishflix.com: When Calls the Heart: Season 3 Collector's Edition

 
Special Promotions from Fishflix.com:
 
 
Fishflix.com is currently running a very special promotion. For every person that preorders When Calls the Heart: Season 3 Collector's Edition before October 11, 2016 will receive When Calls the Heart: Season 1 Episodes Set free!

I bet you're wondering just what the When Calls the Heart: Season 3 Collector's Edition contains? Well, be prepared because this might just blow you away:

What is included with When Calls the Heart: Season 3 Collector's Edition:

A 10-DVD set that contains the film and tv episode versions of When Calls the Heart: Season 3, which means it can be watched with small differences as 10 episodes or 5 feature films!

3 bonus DVD disks. Disc 8 features behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, etc. Disc 9 features grassroots success that includes footage from the #Hearties gathering in Vancouver in January of 2016. Disc 10 features a When Calls the Heart Trivia game.

If you are a When Calls the Heart fan or are just starting to fall in love with the series this would be a great deal act on. Please make sure to preorder before October 11, 2016!

Please click on the following link to start to process of accepting this great offer!

https://www.fishflix.com/when-calls-the-heart-complete-season-3-dvd-box-set-christian-movies.html


 
There is also a drawing for a $100 gift card that will take place. To enter simply leave a review of When Calls the Heart Season 3 here:  https://www.fishflix.com/review/product/list/id/1836/category/153/#review . Also one must send an email to promo@fishflix.com verifying the nickname that is used on the review to enter. A winner will be drawn on September 1, 2016!
  
There is also a wide variety of other great Christian films and TV series sets available through https://www.fishflix.com/ !

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review: The Light by Mike Evans


The Light is a fictionalized version of Mike Evans' life. David is the character that portrays Mike in the book. He has a Jewish mother and his father is a non-Jew. David endured a hard life having to live with abuse from his father. His father also makes it clear that he is not happy that he is Jewish. He wonders why God didn't stop the abuse as he was going through it, he was a child when it happened after all.

David is taken on a path of healing and hope as he encounters and follows the advice of what he thinks are angels that cross his path. The advice is beyond what David would have thought of on his own, although mysteries and answers are uncovered when he takes it.

I followed this book very well because I understand what it is like to crave for an end to nightmarish conditions and not receive an immediate release. David wasn't released from his conditions until he was old enough to make a decision on his own about how to find a better path and place for himself in life. It got my attention that one thing that helped David to heal years after the abuse happened was when he went back to the house that the abuse happened at. He seemed to have been released from a lot after he took that step. That might not be the answer for everyone but I was happy to see that it worked for him.

It like that this book was put into fiction format because it is hard to remember all the details of the past, especially when they involve trauma. This book showed me and I hope it will show others how important it is to find the Messiah's path of healing and hope after enduring terrible circumstances.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book on behalf of a ministry and was not required to write a review for it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Book Review: The Cricket and the Ant: A Shabbat Story by Naomi Ben-Gur, Illustrated by Shahar Kober

*****This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.***** 



A cricket has had a busy week. The day before Shabbat (Sabbath) approaches. He is so tired that when Friday approaches he wants to sleep a little longer. He slept much longer than expected and has realized there is not much time to make a cake before Shabbat starts. He checks and he has no food, and no time to shop for groceries. He asks for help from his neighbor, who is in ant. She (the ant) runs into a dilemma herself and the cricket steps in to offer her help as well and make her Shabbat less lonely and more enjoyable.

I really liked how the ant gave some ingredients to the cricket so he could make a cake for Shabbat. I also liked how he shared part of his Shabbat experience with the ant, who was by herself as well.

I believe that this book will help educate children about the importance of making preparations the day before Shabbat so that when it comes it can be a day of refraining from working. It will also help to show them that's is good to celebrate Shabbat with others so they won't have to do celebrate it alone.

My review = 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.