Monday, November 21, 2011

Walk though the Christmas Story with this DVD

Journey to Christmas
My favorite holiday is Christmas, and in the midst of typing this, I am preparing to put away all of our fall decor and replace it with our Christmas decorations. When I was offered the opportunity to receive and review this DVD series by Tyndale, I was ecstatic! I am always wanting to learn more about the true meaning the holiday I adore so much. 
This DVD series contains 4 episodes on 2 different discs. Each episode takes the viewer through the various places and customs of the places important to the Christmas story. The narrators of this series are5 individuals, all from quite different backgrounds:an artist, Christian, agnostic, talk show host, and a Native American. Each individual journeys to Israel for different purposes, but all with the mission to learn more about the birth of the King. 
The video content of the DVD was very well done! Is is definitely of professional quality and is not your typical amateur documentary.  I also really enjoyed the tour guide for the video as he showed the places, history, and customs. As my husband was watching the video with me one night, he commented on the fact that he had never thought to consider what Mary and Joseph might have eaten, which was thoroughly depicted in the video. 
For me personally, I was not in love with this video series. For one thing, you can tell this was made to be broadcast on the television, as there are awkward breaks throughout each episode. Secondly, I was not a huge fan of the different individuals giving their personal impression of what was going on throughout their journey. I think this video would have been much better had it included simply a tour guide though the holy land with out the additional commentary. There is not much Christian content in this video, which was also discouraging. 
If this were free on T.V., I would more than likely watch it, but I would not want to purchase it for my personal use in my home. I think watching it one time would be enough. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Remind Your Daughter She is a Princess!

His Little Princess: Treasured Letters from Your King (His Princess)

This book is a sweet reminder for any little girl about how much God loves them and how they can glorify Him in their personal relationship with their Father, the King. Each page has a little written to your little princess from God and a correlating prayer that the little girl can offer up to God. The letters are so sweet and well written. I will say though, that I was not thrilled about the illustrations or borders. I thought it dated the book quite a bit. Although my daughter is still a little young for this book (I would recommend ages 5-9), I can not wait to use it with her when she gets a little older. In a day when being a princess is the popular thing to dream of, you can make that a reality by reminding your sweet one that she is a daughter of true King. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Year with Jesus

A Year with Jesus: Daily Readings and Reflections On Jesus' Own Words
My husband and I love having devotionals around the house! They are especially handy when you want or need a quick read for encouragement and don't necessarily have the time to get into a book. "A Year with Jesus" is a great devotional that we look forward to having around our home. It contains a year's worth of devotions based solely on the words from Jesus that is broken into different topical sections. Each day begins with a piece of scripture, followed by a small commentary written by the author.
This is an insightful and easy to read devotional, and while I do recommend Christians read this book, it is by no means meant to be read as the sole quiet time, but rather better serves as a supplement. This would make a great Christmas gift, as this devotional would be ideal to start on January 1st.

Focused on Eternity

Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well
I'm 23 years old, but I have been wanting to read "Nearing Home" by Billy Graham now for quite some time. This book is simply stated: focused on living our final years for the glory of God. So often, people strive throughout their life to sacrifice and serve God, and yet somehow our culture tells us that once we hit the magical age of retirement, that our responsibilities have ended. We then desire to waste away those precious God-given years relaxing and doing what we most enjoy. Don't get me wrong, it is nice to spend time at ease, but I am confident that spending the next 20-30 years of our life on "vacation" is not how God intended us to use our precious days on earth. 
In his book, Billy Graham speaks with a peace and confidence about getting old in a way that makes you feel as if you are having a conversation with a friend. As he put it in his introduction, getting old is not a time "to be despised or a burden to be endured with gritted teeth (if we have any). Nor does pictures us in our latter years as useless and ineffective, condemned to spend our last days in endless boredom or meaningless activity until God takes us home." Even though I am considered young, I am very much enjoying this book!
This is not just a book for the elderly. No in fact, using Billy Graham's own words, this book "is written for people at every stage of life - even those who have never thought much about growing older... the best way to meet the challenges of old age is to prepare for them now, before they arrive. 
I can not recommend this book more highly! I would encourage people of all ages to read and discover what the Bible says about growing old and nearing home!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Liked the simplicity

"Living Close to God When You're Not Good at It" by Gene Edwards sounded like the perfect book for me to read. You see, I desire to live closely to God; to know Him and to be known by Him. I want desperately to feel His presence at work in my life, but I do struggle with it at time, and therefore, I thought that this would be the perfect book for me to read. 
As a mom with a young baby, I truly find it difficult some days to "schedule a time with the Lord," but in reality that is no excuse. We all have time to be with our Creator and our Master. In experimenting with the authors suggestions for drawing near to God, I found none of them to be as fulfilling as just coming before the Lord and meditating on His Word and being still. So often I find that, especially as Christians, we true to find things to take the place of reading our bible. With that said, this book does offer simple ways to know God and it is a very short, easy read. Gene offers ideas how to not get into a strict routine of doing things just to check them off of a list. Overall, I liked the simplicity that he offers in this book, and would recommend it to anyone certain of the need to spend time in God's word. 

Being Radical Together

After my husband read "Radical" by David Platt, he was excited to learn of his new book "Radical Together." Radical Together is a short read (approximately 150 pages including a section of small group questions at the end) that focuses on a gospel-centered vision within the church. Platt helps to challenge the church to be more engaging within the body of Christ and with the people God places around them with this question: ""How can we in the church best unleash the people of God in the Spirit of God with the Word of God for the glory of God in the world?" 

The 6 chapters are:
1. Tyranny of God - One of the worst enemies of Christians can be good things in the church
2. The Gospel Misunderstood - the gospel that saves us from works saves us to work
3. God is Saying Something - The Word that does not work
4. The Genius of Wrong - Building the right church depends on using all of the wrong people
5. Our Unmistakable Task - We are living - and longing - for the end of the world
6. The God Who Exalts God - We are selfless followers of a self-centered God. 

At the end of the book, there are small group discussions that would be perfect for Sunday Schools or Home Groups. 

My husband and I have really enjoyed reading David Platts books and look forward to reading "A Radical idea." If you would like to be challenged to grow in your relationship with Christ, I would recommend this reading to you. It is time for us as a church to stop focusing on what is "good" and focus on what is "best." 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Experience true Love & Respect

As a couple, we are constantly trying to find a devotional that works well for both my husband and myself. Without fail, we start a devotional, only to discontinue going through it after a few days. Eggrich talks about it in his new devotional, that often times a couple devotional caters more towards the women's need for emotional intimacy and love, rather than equally regarding a man's need and desire for a shared time together. This makes it had for the husband to become engaged, which in turn frustrates the wife, and thus the end to the devotional time occurs. This is exactly what the enemy wants in marriage. Lack of time and commitment between a couple in sharing God's Word. 
When we read Love & Respect about 2 years ago on a road trip, we were hooked & loved it. When we heard that Eggrich was coming out with a devotional for couples, we knew that we had to get it! So far, after 4 devotionals, we have thoroughly enjoyed this book together!
First of all, this devotional comes bound in a beautiful leather, making it ideal to give as a gift. We had already purchased 2 for Christmas gifts, and plan on buying this devotional for future weddings that we attend. There are 52 lessons for the couple to go through, and while the author says that he intends for the couple to go through them at their own pace, it is ideal for some couples to go through one devotional a week for a year. There is a small section about love and respect, followed by an action and prayer. All in all, this devotional should take couples anywhere from 15-30 minutes to complete each time.
My husband was particularly drawn to this book, as it is guy friendly. He kept saying over and over, "I really like this devotional!" You know it is good when he is the one to initiate time together reading it, and isn't that what women want? I am confident we will actually finish this devotional together! I recommend this book to couples looking for a boost in their marriage.

Three Cups

I recently received a copy of "Three Cups" by Tony Townsley. The primary focus of this book is to teach children the three different aspects in receiving money: giving, saving, and spending. I really liked that this book in particular focused equally on these three parts, as they are all very important for children to learn at a young age. I believe that teaching children to save money for something that they would like to purchase is important, but it is also equally valuable to teach children to save their money in the bank and to share their wealth and gifts with others.
I would recommend this book to parents desiring to teach their children about money.