Book Review: 100 Bible Stories for Children

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What’s your favorite Bible story? Do you remember the first time you heard it or what you thought about it?

If you grew up in church your answer might be very different from someone who came to faith as an adult.

If you come back (or do a first read of) some classic stories in the Bible – stories that most people know about, like Noah building the Ark or Adam and Eve in Creation or Jesus’ birth in a manger – reading these stories as an adult can be like seeing them all over if you read a version written for a child’s eyes. This was my impression when I reviewed 100 Bible Stories for Children, published by Tyndale Kids. I loved how this collection kept the integrity of the Bible by keeping the stories in the order that they appear to us today, in a “grown-up” Bible. I also liked how they also included stories that I hadn’t heard in a long time, like Elisha replacing Elijah, Jacob stealing a blessing, and the story of angry King Saul. And I loved how it took pieces out of stories that could raise an adult’s eyebrows – like how Esther becomes Queen because her future husband gets furious at his wife for humiliating him in public after a week-long drunken feast – and it takes these same stories and doesn’t omit the truth, but explains things in a kid-friendly way. (King X got tired of his wife. Really sounds simple, doesn’t it?)

I highly recommend this book for any parent, Sunday School teacher, or anyone who wants to teach young kids about the Bible. I can easily see young kids being fascinated by these stories and the pictures that go along with them. And I can see a book like this becoming part of a parent-child storytime routine… where Mom or Dad gets to tell a story again or even learn it for the first time.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to give a positive review.

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A solution to #MeToo?

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Is there a solution to #MeToo?

Day after day we’ve been bombarded with headlines of men behaving badly in the news. Popular men, celebrities, politicians, well-liked men, who’ve done things that have shocked and disappointed us all. We’ve all grown tired of these sad headlines. It’s time for a change. It’s time to hear about men behaving heroically. Proudly. In ways that honor their families, workplaces, and communities.

While men’s minister Kenny Luck doesn’t mention the #MeToo movement in his new book, Dangerous Good, it’s hard for me to not think that he wasn’t thinking of it while he was writing. He mentions men behaving badly and a “moral vacuum”. He asks: “Will masculinity continue to retain its negative connections with the world’s injustices?” ( xv) It’s similar to the question asked by Dan Connor in the recent Roseanne TV reboot, when Dan asks “When did masculinity become a dirty word?”

But this revolution, a “Coming Revolution of Men Who Care”, is all about the power of men who love Jesus, and not just guys who go to church, but guys who will fight for good. Those who will fight for the things that matter in life. Those guys have the power, together, for good. Kenny says, “When a man’s character and conduct become healthy, it changes things. Most directly, the women and children connected to his life and choices suffer less and develop better.” (p.95)

Dangerous Good is meant to inspire men to be their best selves, as the men they were meant to be, through the power of God. Kenny Luck challenges Christian men to be brave, to be in community with one another, and to think about their legacies. He doesn’t play along with gender wars of putting men and women against each other – he tries to inspire men to take on their God-given roles as warriors.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of it from the publisher in exchange for my review.

 

Book Review: Loving Grace (a novel)

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Watermelons, beauty pageants, young hearts caught in a first love… April Smith ties it all together in Loving Grace, a novel from Ambassador International. Grace Summer is the protagonist appointed as a “Watermelon Queen”, which is part beauty contest winner and part watermelon product promoter. After the death of her loved ones, Grace struggles to bounce back from this loss and go on with life, but she finds a special spot in the hearts and lives of the Baron family, whose livelihoods rely on the harvest of watermelons. This clan, who sponsors her role as Watermelon Queen, includes two young men that help prove the point that things aren’t always what they seem, especially when it comes to love.

Who this book is for: Grace Summer, the main character, is about to enter her senior year of high school, and the story doesn’t have anything that isn’t family-friendly. So, if your daughter is in high school, or even junior high, this book would be an enjoyable read. College- age girls might also like this book as it accurately shows the highs and lows of a first love. All in all, Loving Grace is a cute story.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of Loving Grace from the publisher, Ambassador International, in exchange for my honest review.

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42 Seconds by Carl Medearis [Book Review]

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Most people probably think of Jesus’ interactions with people in the big ways, but what about the small ways? Is it possible that Jesus made just as big of an impact on people’s lives in the small exchanges as he did in the big, long sermons?

Carl Medearis thinks so. In his new book, 42 Seconds The Jesus Model For Everyday Interactions, he claims that the average length of a conversation Jesus had with a person was a mere 42 seconds. Not even a whole minute. Not much time at all. Within these fleeting seconds, Medearis proposes, there are some ways an impact can be made on a person’s life, with each chapter posing a question. I like how Medearis uses questions to structure each chapter, and he gives stories from his own life and other people’s lives. The stories are easy to relate to, and even though the author makes suggestions on how to follow the “42 Seconds” conversation model of making a difference, he’s honest on how he falls short on his own suggestions. The book is easy to read, the chapters are short. Each chapter begins with a “Nonstarter” – something that Christians might be tempted to do  (i.e. “Try to impress “), countered by an “Opener” –  the alternative (i.e. “Be vulnerable”). The good thing about the suggestions given is that they aren’t radical life changes you have to make in one day, but they’re all small steps you can take at your own comfort level, wherever you are.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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