Archives For Christianity

I AM SECOND

Heather —  August 18, 2013

Have you heard of I AM SECOND?

iamsecond

This is a website, a project, a… movement…

that is worth looking into. I am nearing the end of the 22 day challenge and so far I am in awe of the project.

When I first went to look, I was a bit worried to even click on the videos. I mean, they were supposed to be authentic stories from people in all walks of life. So that would make the videos, probably (I figured) stories of the trouble and pain that did draw them to Christ.

After checking it out though, I love the project. The videos are so well produced and each person tells their story with such clarity. I am truly a reader, not a watcher. But this century, visual things have meaning to far more people and this site fills a very important need. I am doing the 22 Day Challenge. One of my favorite videos so far is:

http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/josh-hamilton/

Each story I have watched has brought me to the brink of tears, where, I’m going, “yes, that can happen, that’s horrible stuff” And, “yes, I’m so glad you are okay now and have found peace.”

Many of the people who are in the videos are actors and athletes, musicians, and many others are regular people. You can watch a five minute video and share all over the web. (Yes, I keep sharing, it’s good stuff!)

See what you think about the authentic stories on iamsecond.com. You could do the challenge or just choose a topic you are interested in. The site is organized by topic.

Want to help the project? One of the easiest would be to help create more films through Seconds Change: 

Give Change, Make Change  Many more stories are waiting to be told.  You can help  (and this is easy). Commit $2 every Tuesday to build film funds, and your contribution will be used to develop, produce and promote new films. Join the project and become an I am Second insider with access to exclusive content via Facebook.

I am second

So visit the iamsecond website, the Nashville page on facebook and follow them on twitter.

Have you heard of the new app Family Bible Adventures?

A few months ago, I reviewed some wonderful videos for kids from Rising Star Studios, called Meteor and friends. I really loved these!

Now, the same studio, in partnership with Faith Inkubators, has released a new App that is an interactive Bible experience for children.

The App has several parts, using videos with animated illustrations, games, quizzes and songs to teach children about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Em and I checked it out and from what I see, the original app contains a lot of content, with 5 major Bible stories and accompanying games and quizzes and music for each story. The app is set up so you can add to your collection within this same app, and eventually, I suppose, have most of the major Bible stories.

This first App tells five Gospel stories, beginning with Christ’s birth.

So what did we think?

Well, I think Emma said it best:

“The pictures and voices are a bit weird, but it tells the stories. The games and quizzes and coloring pages are so fun. And, the music is the best,” says Emma.

I agree. The narrating character is a Rev. Fink and I don’t love his voice, but Emma didn’t seem to care as much as I did. The story animation illustrations seemed kind of…what’s the word?? Maybe cheeky. Silly to me. BUT, the storylines were very biblical and I began to get used to this style. I think this was a personal feeling on my part. I am going to ask our children’s pastor what she thinks, she is a bit “cooler” than I am and knows what the kids like!

With that said, I DO like this app. I like how the stories are reinforced by the games and quizzes. I think Kids will really retain the information. I LOVE, Love the music. There is a “jukebox” and this application works really well. The songs are all straight scripture and are gentle and sweet. Emma played with listening to the music quite a bit. I would pay more just for this music. My daughter has been coloring on the coloring pages like crazy. Just a lot of thinks to do in one little app. I am impressed. RECOMMENDED!

The app is designed with the FAITH 5 concept in mind. This stands for Faith Acts In The Home and is a 5 step nightly process for having caring conversations every night in the home – teaching prayer and openness in the home.

What’s inside Family Bible Adventures HD:

  • 5 beautiful motion storybook videos – God’s Big Plan, Mary’s Song, The Birth of Jesus, Baptism & Wilderness, and Fishing For People.
  • 5 great original songs taken from scripture.
  • A fun quiz with each story to reinforce the message.
  • A music Jukebox to play all your favorite songs in whatever order you like.
  • An awesome match game with Easy, Medium and Hard difficulty settings (with art and sounds from the stories)
  • A custom coloring book featuring artwork AND a built in music player to listen to your favorite FBA songs while you draw.
  • Parent’s Corner shares with you the FAITH 5 concept– five easy steps to help keep your family together in a world that could tear it apart. – Share, Read, Talk, Pray and Bless.

You can find out more at www.familybibleapp.com. Do go “like” them on facebook!

FAMILY BIBLE ADVENTURES HD trailer from Rising Star Studios on Vimeo.

*I received the Family Bible Adventure app in order to do this review. I have given my honest opinion.

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The Pelser's Shepherding Book Club

I have been reading Ted Tripp’s Shepherding a Child’s Heart. This is the second edition, 2005 version. The original was published in 1995. Right off the bat, Tripp talks about what he has seen and experienced in the years since the first edition…things that only make him feel more strongly that a biblical approach to child rearing is totally necessary for families today.

He points out: “God is concerned with the heart—the well-springs of life. Parents tend to focus on the externals of behavior rather than the internal overflow of the heart, we tend to worry more about the “what” of behavior than the “why.” (xi)

His theme is that when we miss the why…and focus on what, we miss the opportunity to teach our children to understand their own hearts…to see that “straying behavior develops a straying heart.” (xi)

From what I see so far, this is not an easy book. Tripp asks parents to delve deep into their Christian beliefs and act on biblical principles whether that is comfortable or not.

I really hope that Tripp’s book will offer the practical helps that are hinted at in the introduction.

One thing that I see very early in the book, (chapter 1) is that I will need to truly establish my thoughts on authority in order to listen to the author. I have no issue with honoring Biblical precepts overall, but authority has always been a kind of grey area for me.

Ask my Mom, I was born a bit rebellious. I still, deep down, think often I know better than some authorities…and so, you can see, I have some issues with this. Tripp mentions authority from the get go in chapter one. He asks us to consider how in the 60’s culture, people broke away from established authority roles. How this continues in out day. I like how he discusses that the past wasn’t perfect either, and authority can be used incorrectly. He points us to Jesus as an authority figure. A figure that shepherds.

I like how up front Tripp is with his answers to questions. For example, he wrote this “People frequently ask if I expected my children to become believers. I usually reply that the gospel is powerful and attractive. It uniquely meets the needs of fallen humanity. Therefore, I expected that God’s Word would be the power of God to salvation for my children. But that expectation was based on the power of the gospel and its suitability to human need, not on a correct formula for producing children who believe.”(xxi)

From this quote I realize this book follows a path…maybe a process whereby parents can show their children the how and why of the gospel, and how it functions in society…even in family.

Because parenting is not about ruling, or hiding…but raising and shepherding.

I will talk about chapter 1 later as this is so long! Want to join in this book club and chat about the book?

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Dont check your brains

My Opinion:

I can really appreciate the value of this book. Geared for teens, the book is so simple, it is genius. Basically, it is set up in many small chapters, with each chapter discussing a specific “Myth” about Jesus, God, and the Bible, about Christianity and life. Line art drawings and pull out quotes grab reader attention, and each little chapter section ends with a “Brain Food” bit that helps the reader further explore an issue through bible study and thought.

"Brain food" sections prompt research and biblical study

I like how a person can just open it up and read the chapter that they are curious about. For example, all of us have heard all kinds of myths about things like God is just a vending machine in the sky, Jesus as “just” a good teacher…that the Bible is “just” another good book…

Addressing the Humanist Myth

Addressing the Humanist Myth

In this book, authors McDowell and Hostetler take on myths like these and tons more and refute them, giving scripture based, occasionally even scientific details in their reasoning.

I like how the book is set up. Read a myth, get the answer in 5 pages or less. My kind of book to grab when a kid asks a question! Obviously, you can go into lots of depth on many of these myths and/or issues, but this is good for a book kids might actually read and an adult can point to for an answer to a question.

A winner!

The Official Word:

Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door gives teens answers that make sense, even for the toughest of questions. Internationally known defender of the faith Josh McDowell and co-author Bob Hostetler offer clarity laced with humor to expose common myths about God, the Bible, religion, and life to show how Christianity stands up to the test of fact and reason. Teens will be better equipped to stick with their faith as they begin to understand why they believe and why it’s important to make a lifetime commitment to Christ and the church.

  • Josh McDowell wrote the international best-selling apologetics references Evidence That Demands a Verdict and over 120 other books. He travels and speaks with Campus Crusade for Christ.
  • Bob Hostetler is an award-winning and best-selling writer, editor, pastor, and speaker. His books include Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door and The Bone Box.

To celebrate the release of their new book, Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler have teamed up with their publisher,Thomas Nelson, to give away a brand new KINDLE!

Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door answers many of the faith-related questions Christian youth face. It challenges young readers to test gospel truths found in the Bible so they can learn to give an answer for their faith as they mature into thinking adults. A great resource for teens and college-age. Read the reviews here.

Enter 8/8 – 8/18! One “brainy” winner will receive a Kindle prize package worth over $150.00:

  • A Brand New KINDLE with Wi-Fi and Pearl Ink Screen
  • Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door by Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler (for KINDLE)

A perfect back-to-school prize package! To enter just click one of the icons below. Hurry! The giveaway ends August 18th. Winner will be announced on the evening of the 18th during the Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door Facebook Party! The authors will be chatting with guests, answering questions on “knowing what you believe and why” (it’s okay if you haven’t read the book – who knows, you might WIN a copy!), testing your trivia skills, and giving away tons of great stuff! (Gift certificates, books, and more!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Bring your friends and join the fun on August 18th at 5:00 PM PST (6 PM MDT, 7 PM CDT, & 8 PM EDT).

Thanks to LitFuse for sending me a copy for review.

Women of Faith Imagine
Some days blogging is just so fun! I am excited to share that I was just selected as a blogger to receive a 2011 Women of Faith Conference Pass…and a pass for a friend!

So, I will be on the road…and tweeting and facebooking all about my experience at the Washington D.C. Imagine Event in late August. I have not been to an event like this in years and I am really looking forward to the chance to listen to some great speakers, worship and meet new friends.

Usually, I would say I can’t afford this…or I’m too busy….what should I do with the kids…But, this time, with the support of Booksneeze and Women of Faith, it’s time to go! I even love the description of the event:

“Escape from the everyday at a Women of Faith weekend and be refreshed, encouraged and inspired. Because the God who loves you can do far more than you can ever Imagine”

Amen. He always does.

Here’s a taste of what I have in store:


And the speakers and singers look great!

Some of the Speakers!

Some of the Speakers!

To check out the Women of Faith 2011 events, visit the Women of Faith website and see when they will be in your area!

Facebook.com/Womenoffaith
Twitter.com/Womenoffaith

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I was blessed recently with the chance to review a new book by a blogger friend of mine…from the Mouths of Babes, Stories about Life, Children, Faith, and This World We Live In.

My expectations were high, because I have often read her blog posts and know that she is not frivolous, but rather a serious and thoughtful writer, and disciple of Christ.

Based on my interactions with the author, I believe her to be a person of integrity, a person who makes her relationship with God, her husband and her family a priority in today’s ever changing world.

In this book, Kimberly offers a friends advice…but not just any old advice.

During the time I was reading through from the Mouth of Babes, I heard a sermon by Alistair Beggs. He was speaking on Philippians 2: 19, and he said:

“You will never have a better friend than a friend who points you to Christ, by their life, by their commitment, by their service, by their example.”

In every interaction I have had with Kimberly, she has been that friend.

Being the friend who points to Christ can be a very sweet thing, but it is sometimes difficult and is not always popular. So, I appreciate that Kimberly writes with candor about many aspects of life and culture.

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Now, while the book is a compilation of short stories–and you can certainly just put your feet up and enjoy it that way–I have decided to use it as a devotional. With 170 pages of insights on the career of motherhood, living as a Christian and meditations on scriptures, I find reading this as a devotional is a pleasant way to start my morning devotions.

I especially enjoy reading about how Kimberly’s family goes through their days and holidays. It is always fun to me to take a “peek” into the lives of others.

Overall, while reading the book, I feel supported in my role as wife and mother while also challenged to examine my choices and my walk with Christ.

You can purchase from The Mouths of Babes on Amazon or on Kimberly’s website, Until The Day Dawn.

I received a complimentary copy of from The Mouths of Babes, for this review.

Do your kids pore over those cool DK science books? Do you? Honestly, I do! I was an English major and I certainly love to read, but there is something about the layouts of this type of reference book that makes reading even more fun–I feel like I’m playing, not learning… So, I was excited to see this kids Bible reference book hit our mailbox:

A great reference tool. 8 ½ x 11 hardcover, 224 pages

This kid friendly book can be a read alone book or as a reference tool as your child asks about biblical times and concepts. The book is geared towards children 5-10 and has 750 Bible terms. Over 500 of the terms have full color illustrations, photographs, maps or reconstructions.

Each entry includes a phonetic spelling and the biblical verse the term(s) is associated with, as below:

My kids find this type of reference book captivating and much more interesting than one with a text heavy page.

Download a pdf sampler on the publishers site.

Purchase the Holman Bible Dictionary at Lifeway Christian Stores.

See what my crewmates have to say about Lifeway Christian Stores Holman Illustrated Bible

I received the above book through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.

Oh, I love this kid! He just has such a happy personality and so often, he just lights up from the inside. He has a heart for understanding God’s Word. One thing I felt he needed was more factual knowledge about Christianity, the Bible, about Jesus…in short, more “head” knowledge.

A lot of people talk about their children needing more “heart” knowledge—and I agree that we can never stop seeking to have more of Jesus in our hearts…should never stop resting in him with our whole selves.

But, as a mom, I have had a strong conviction this year, that my child needs to work on working. Researching…learning to explore ideas and disciplines more thoroughly and at a higher level than he has before.

So, it was interesting that I was assigned to review a Bible curriculum from Positive Action for Christ, whose mission statement proclaims:

“Positive Action seeks to supply Bible study materials that teach the heart as well as the head…they strive to equip teachers to magnify the glory of God”

The heart AND the head.

God is always on time.

Anyway, the study we got seems quite scholarly to me! It is the high school curriculum The Life of Christ, From the Gospel of John. This is a in-depth study of the Gospel of John—it includes 35 very structured lessons.

Now, if you are familiar with the Gospel of John, you will realize that this is one of the most beautiful books of the Bible. John proclaims the deity of Christ without reservation and with such personal detail.

This study is designed to show Christ as a living reality—not just a historical fact. So the two portions of this study work well together for me. First, basing the study of the Gospel of John cannot help but lead to more “heart” knowledge, I believe, and secondly, the actual coursework is appropriate to push my highschooler a bit to earn some more “head” knowledge. And, this course is appropriate for highschool credits.

I liked the set-up of the materials. There is a nice binder full of teacher lessons, Quizzes and Tests. There are maps and illustrations and a CD with slides for use with teaching. The teaching plans are very thorough. You are going through John and studying Christ, his times and geography, just to mention a few things. I am finding that I really need to give myself time to study the lessons and plans before sitting down with Nick and doing the teacher lesson—I had assumed I could just pick up the book and work from it—kind of just filling in pieces that Nick hadn’t gotten, working through his manual–but the lessons do not just mesh up with what the student has in his book. They are more detailed and elaborate. So, no just filling in the blanks for my teaching! I have to study a bit also.

Nick’s manual is a nice softcover, with full color that he can easily cart around. I love it that he can just fill in the answers in the book and have this to keep. He seems to like the book and did well on several quizzes. He laughed and said he likes not having to print out anything to get his work done.

I could go on and on about what is included in the study—but you can see that on the Positive Action for Christ website. The Teacher’s Manual runs $41.95 and the student (deluxe) manual is $17.95. If you can, I highly recommend purchasing the hardcopy  pieces of the study we received—it is so nice to have all the items printed and setup for me and letting Nick use the workbook with all the color and maps and photos is a nice change from printing out “just what we need.” There are varying costs if you choose deluxe edition or downloads, etc.

Download sample pages from the student and teacher manuals.

Take a look at their Catalogs and several Free Resources they offer

Positive Action, has a long history of producing youth curriculum for Churches, Bible curriculum for Christian Schools and Curriculum for Homeschool and Personal use.

See what my crewmates have to say about Positive Action For Christ

I received materials from Positive Action for Christ through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.