Archives For Jesus

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 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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Finding Joy In Depression

Heather —  March 16, 2012

What are your thoughts about depression?

Honestly, I feel very uncomfortable talking about depression. Over the years, I have had many health issues and one doctor did attribute them to depression. I found that frustrating, because deep down, I suppose I see depression as a weakness, something I could fix if I “just tried harder.”

At the time, I went ahead and was treated for depression using medication. I disliked that very much and did gain some weight. To make a long story short…well, I am not sure that I ever really was depressed. I still have some health issues. My current doctor is very helpful and has helped find some other solutions for my health issues, such as figuring out my gluten intolerance and a couple other things—this has improved my quality of life.

And, yes, I feel happier. I wonder about all this sometimes. Am I really depressed and it manifests as immune issues? Or do my immune issues cause me to feel bad and so I seem depressed? I mean really…which came first, the chicken or the egg? You know?

And, I am not a doctor. I know there are some types of depression that can be clearly diagnosed and treated. I certainly do not think depression should be some sort of white elephant in the room.

The reason I am talking about this today is because I was able to get a copy of Amanda Pelsers new ebook, Finding Joy in Depression. I enjoy Amanda’s blog and her wonderful book clubs, and when I saw she had a book coming out about depression, I was super curious to see what she would say…because I also know that she has a BA in Bible from Anderson University and a MA in Old Testament Studies from Talbot School of Theology.  (She is a former church communications director turned stay-at-home-mom.)

So, I thought, what would she say? I mean, the fact that she is in ministry adds a whole other layer to this discussion. Because some people feel that depression is a heart issue, and that if you are depressed maybe you need to go to God to resolve something. Personally, I do not agree with this take on depression. I know that Jesus is our healer and nothing is impossible with him. But I also believe that depression can be a medical issue that God can use doctors and medications to heal.

So…anyway, all this led me to read Finding Joy in Depression.

I found Amanda’s take on this subject refreshing. Just the title clues you in that she is searching to honor God through hardship, finding the joy in the midst of trouble.

Overall, I feel that Amanda really wants to throw open some windows on the topic of depression. Especially for Christians. For people who have been through a traumatic event. For the young, stressed moms who wonder if they are depressed or just a bit overwhelmed.

Often, when I read a book like this, I look hard for solid solutions to issues. I like how clearly Amanda described her journey and tries to give answers that can really help others.

In a down to earth fashion, she talks about the options of medication, the importance of a caring spouse, natural remedies, knowing triggers and dealing with bad days.

It is fascinating to think about the connections between our bodies, minds and spirits. I really encourage you to read this book.

Click here to view more details

Finding Joy in Depression, by Amanda Pelser, ebook/kindle/nook format, $4.99

Finding Joy in Depression.

Have a story to share to encourage others? Visit

Follow @apelser on Twitter and Like The Pelsers on Facebook.

I received a copy of this ebook to facilitate my review. I am also an affiliate, now, because I like the book:) Buy it from my link…or hers…whatever:) But if you know someone struggling with depression, do check it out.

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.

Each year, as I look forward to our Christmas Traditions, I also try to incorporate new traditions. For our household, my husband and I celebrate Christmas with what we hope is a focus on Jesus’ birth. A few of the things we do include using Advent Calendar readings and candles in the evenings, preparing a Christmas Tree as a family, and even getting stockings and cookies and milk ready for Santa.

As mom, I do struggle sometimes with what traditions to include and focus on for my family and I am thrilled when an idea or activity really fits our family and helps us celebrate the Savior’s Birth.

When I read Ellen Nibali’s The Secret of St. Nicholas, I immediately felt that I had found a new tradition for us! This new book is based on a story of St. Nicholas’s life that many scholars believe to be true. I was delighted to find a story that imparts the joy of the Christmas Story of Christ’s birth, while also sharing some of the fun and tradition of St. Nicholas and his doing of good deeds “in secret.”

The watercolor illustrations are lovely and the hardback book is perfect for a special holiday gift book.

Yes, this one is a keeper!

Yes, this one is a keeper!

You can look inside the book, “The Secret of St. Nicholas” on the website. Also, read about the author, and take a Santa Claus survey…or, find lessons and study plans for The Secret of St. Nicholas. You can even order an autographed copy.

You can also purchase “The Secret of St. Nicholas” on Amazon–if you have Amazon Mom, you can get free, fast shipping!

The Jesus Book, by Stephen Elkins, is a marvelous resource for anyone who wants to share about Jesus’ life and love with children! When I opened this book up, I thought, “Wow! This is amazing…a question and answer book about Jesus…with maps and a CD!”

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A Wonderful Choice for a Little one:)

A Wonderful Choice for a Little One:)

We are in love with this Read and Share TM brand Toddler Bible and bonus DVD! The Bible is wonderfully crafted by Gwen Ellis to inspire a love of God’s Word in children ages one to four, and includes 40 Bible stories and a 60 minute DVD. Our four year old delighted in Steve Smallman’s vibrant artwork, and loves to watch the colorful DVD and find the accompanying story in “her” Bible.

While the prose is concise, Ellis manages to keep the meaning of each biblical story. This is really perfect for a small child. The stories are from both the Old and New Testament, and include the Creation, Noah, Moses, David, to Jesus’ birth, miracles and resurrection. The book is great as a teaching tool, for the bible verse is included with each story, and at the conclusion of each story there is a parent/child activity offered to help solidify the story/lesson.

I think this Bible is a perfect gift for a child. The artwork is fantastic and the stories grab a child’s attention. This is a great way to lead your child into a lifetime of honoring the Bible. The bible itself is a small size, making it easy for little hands to hold and carry. The book is well bound, and the price is very reasonable and even includes the dvd!

You can link to the preview flip book, here, or find more information, here.

Busy with many things…

Heather —  June 29, 2009

Today has been a very busy day. I just keep thinking about the bible story about Mary & Martha–with Martha busy with many things, while Mary chose the better thing– sitting and listening to Jesus. Today, as one of my Thousand gifts, I thank God for reminding me that I deserve the time to sit and listen to him!

I suppose that gets me to about 7. So here are a few more things I am thankful for:

8. I live in a sunny place
9. My parents are wonderful
10. My children love our church youth group
11. I really like my home
12. The kids are all healthy
13. While it is hard that my husband has been unemployed for a long time, he is really fun to be with at home–he is just so tolerant and gentle.
14. My husband makes a great cup of coffee just before I want it.
15. My children are all here for now