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Updated: 2018-03-05T09:13:41.967-08:00


for CFBA - " In Every Heartbeat" by Kim Vogel Sawyer


This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

In Every Heartbeat
Bethany House (September 1, 2010)

Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and six grandchildren.


As three friends who grew up in the same orphanage head off to college together, they each harbor a cherished dream.

Libby Conley hopes to become a famous journalist. Pete Leidig believes God has called him to study to become a minister. And Bennett Martin plans to pledge a fraternity, find a place to belong, and have as much fun as possible.

But as tensions rise around the world on the brink of World War I, the friends' differing aspirations and opinions begin to divide them, as well. And when Libby makes a shocking discovery about Pete's family, will it drive a final wedge between the friends or bond them in ways they never anticipated?

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Every Heartbeat, go HERE.

This one, while it had a good story line, didn't really float my boat. It did keep me reading, but I didn't walk away with that, 'I'm so glad I read this!' feeling. Please take the time to read the first chapter - and see if you can change my mind! I really adore Kim Vogel, and have enjoyed her books in the past - but perhaps I just wasn't in the right season for this particular book.

for CFBA "The Thorn" by Beverly Lewis


This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing The Thorn Bethany House (September 7, 2010) by Beverly Lewis ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books). Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life." Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time." A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms." ABOUT THE BOOK Lancaster County, with its rolling meadows and secret byways, may seem idyllic, but it is not without its thorns. THE ROSE TRILOGY is the stirring saga of two Amish sisters on the fringes of the church, and the unforeseen discoveries that change their lives. Rose Kauffman, a spirited young woman, has a close friendship with the bishop's foster son. Nick dresses Plain and works hard but stirs up plenty of trouble too. Rose's sister cautions her against becoming too involved, but Rose is being courted by a good, Amish fellow, so dismisses the warnings. Meanwhile, Rose keeps house for an English widower but is startled when he forbids her to ever go upstairs. What is the man hiding? Rose's older sister, Hen, knows more than she should about falling for the wrong man. Unable to abandon her Amish ways, Hen is soon separated from her very modern husband. Mattie, their young daughter, must visit her father regularly, but Hen demands she wear Amish attire--and speak Pennsylvania Dutch, despite her husband's wishes. Will Hen be able to reestablish her place among the People she abandoned? And will she be able to convince Rose to steer clear of rogue neighbor Nick? Watch the book trailer:If you would like to read the first chapter of The Thorn, go HERE.I am still reading this latest work by Mrs. Lewis, and let me tell you it is very, very good! I have found that as I get older (and wiser?), I'm less fond of romance novels - though never a big fan of them to begin with. However, unlike a lot of 'Amish-based books', Mrs. Lewis does a fine job of relating more about relationship than romance, which I appreciate. This book also has her signature twists and turns in the plot that will keep you guessing with every turn of the page! Thanks, again, Mrs. Lewis for a wonderbar gut book! *smile*![...]

for The B&B Media Group Book Tour - 'Storylines: Your Map to Understanding the Bible' by Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft


Storylines: Your Map to Understanding the BibleDavid C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010) ***Special thanks to Audra Jennings - Senior Media Specialist - of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Mike Pilavachi is the founder and public face of the U.K.’s biggest Christian youth event, Soul Survivor (25,000 annual attendance), and senior pastor of the Soul Survivor church in Watford, North London. He is the author of Live the Life, For the Audience of One, Wasteland?: Encountering God in the Desert, and Worship, Evangelism, Justice.Visit the Mike's MySpace.Andy Croft is a young twenty-something who has just been awarded a First Class Theology degree from Cambridge University. He is due to be the next leader of Soul Survivor.Visit the authors' Website.Product Details:List Price: $12.99Paperback: 208 pages Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010) Language: English ISBN-10: 1434764753 ISBN-13: 978-1434764751 AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: The Jesus Storyline Years ago, when I was in my teens and Mike was having his first midlife crisis, a series of very popular picture books came out. Perhaps you remember them: They were called Where’s Waldo? The basic idea was you would look at a big picture that would tell a story; there’d be loads of characters in it and tons of stuff going on. Waldo (a little bloke in a red-and-white shirt) was hiding somewhere in the picture. Sometimes he’d be up a tree, sometimes under water, sometimes he’d be in a massive crowd, often he’d be peering out from behind a corner, and almost always he’d be hidden from plain view. The challenge was to find him hidden in the story the picture told. Two thousand years ago Jesus said to a bunch of Pharisees, “Where’s Waldo?” But he said it like this, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39–40). Jesus wasn’t talking about the New Testament, because his biography hadn’t been written yet, so he must have been talking about the Old Testament. But how could he have been? Everyone knows the Old Testament was about Israel and Moses, David, Abraham, Joshua, and others. Did Jesus get this one wrong? Had he eaten a rotten fig for breakfast? Or …have we all been missing something? Could it be possible that, like Waldo in the picture books, Jesus appears hidden all over the Old Testament? You probably already know that Jesus is all over the Bible; in the Old Testament he’s concealed, in the New Testament he’s revealed. Finding Jesus in the Old Testament is not just a game, like finding Waldo. It’s more like a treasure hunt, and it brings the story of God to life in a whole new way. Throughout the Old Testament we see strong hints, images, and prophecies about Jesus. In the New Testament those hints, images, and prophecies are unveiled; the curtain is ripped apart, from top to bottom, to reveal the star of the whole show. Let’s go on a journey together to find Jesus in the crowd of Old Testament heroes. Noah The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Gen. 6:5–8) The human race was so messed up there was no way to straighten it out. God decided to bring a flood and wipe out every creature. There was just one problem. Noah. Noah and God were friends, and Noah was a righteous man. To destroy every living creature would have meant the unjust of killing his friend. God longed to save Noah, and so he commanded him to build a massive [...]

for CFBA Book Tour - "As Young As We Feel" by Melody Carlson


This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing As Young As We Feel David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010) by Melody Carlson ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards. And her "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series has received great reviews and a large box of fan mail.She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.ABOUT THE BOOK Is there room in one little hometown for four very different Lindas to reinvent their lives … together?Once upon a time in a little town on the Oregon coast lived four Lindas—all in the same first-grade classroom. So they decided to go by their middle names. And form a club. And be friends forever. But that was forty-seven years and four very different lives ago. Now a class reunion has brought them all together in their old hometown—at a crossroads in their lives.Janie is a high-powered lawyer with a load of grief. Abby is a lonely housewife in a beautiful oceanfront empty nest. Marley is trying to recapture the artistic free spirit she lost in an unhappy marriage. And the beautiful Caroline is scrambling to cope with her mother’s dementia and a Hollywood career that never really happened. Together, they’re about to explore the invigorating reality that even the most eventful life has second acts … and friendship doesn’t come with a statue of limitations.If you would like to read the first chapter of As Young As We Feel, go HERE.Watch the Video:Melody Carlson does a great job of developing believable characters whose stories intertwine with each other so easily and believably. However, I was disappointed with the depth of character, especially from these 'older women'.[...]

for FIRST WIldcard - "Chosen" by Ginger Garrett


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!You never know when I might play a wild card on you!Today's Wild Card author is: Ginger Garrett and the book: ChosenDavid C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010) ***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Focusing on ancient women’s history, critically acclaimed author Ginger Garrett creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. In addition to her writing, Garrett is a frequent radio and television guest. A native Texan, she now resides in Georgia with her husband and three children. Visit the author's website.Chosen, by Ginger Garrett from David C. Cook on Vimeo.Product Details:List Price: $14.99Paperback: 304 pages Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010) Language: English ISBN-10: 1434768015 ISBN-13: 978-1434768018 AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: Prologue Fourth Day of the Month of AvYear 3414 after Creation If you have opened this, you are the chosen one.For this book has been sealed in the tomb of the ancients of Persia, never to be opened, I pray, until G-d1 has put His finger on a new woman of destiny, a woman who will rise up and change her nation. But we will not talk of your circumstances, and the many reasons this book may have fallen into your hands. There are no mistakes with prayer. You have indeed been called. If this sounds too strange, if you must look around your room and question whether G-d’s finger has perhaps slipped, if you are not a woman with the means to change a nation, then join me on a journey. You must return with me now to a place without hope, a nation that had lost sight of G-d, a girl with nothing to offer, and no one to give it to. I must introduce myself first as I truly am: an exiled Jew, and an orphan. My given name was Hadassah, but the oppression of exile has stripped that too from me: I am now called Esther,2 so that I may blend in with my captors. My people, the Hebrew nation, had been sent out of our homeland after a bitter defeat in battle. We were allowed to settle in the kingdom of Persia, but we were not allowed to truly prosper there. We blended in, our lives preserved, but our heritage and customs were forced underground. Our hearts, once set only on returning to Jerusalem, were set out to wither in the heatof the Arabian sun. My cousin Mordecai rescued me when I was orphaned and we lived in the capital city of Susa, under the reign of King Xerxes.3 Mordecai had a small flock of sheep that I helped tend, and we sold their fleece in the market. If times were good, we would sell a lamb for someone’s celebration. It was always for others to celebrate. We merely survived. But Mordecai was kind and good, and I was not forced into dishonor like the other orphans I had once known. This is how my story begins, and I give you these details not for sympathy, but so you will know that I am a girl well acquainted with bitter reality. I am not given to the freedom in flights of fantasy. But how can I explain to you the setting of my story? It is most certainly far removed from your experience. For I suspect that in the future, women will know freedom. And freedom is not an easy thing to forget, even if only to entertain an orphan’s story. But you must forget now. I was born into a world, and into this story, where even the bravest women were faceless specters. Once married, they could venture out of their homes only with veils and escorts. No one yet had freed our souls. P[...]

for Random House Blog Tour - 'Start Here' by Alex and Brett Harris



Author: Alex and Brett Harris


At the age of eighteen, Alex and Brett Harris wrote Do Hard Things—and launched a movement that would change a generation. Young people around the world were ready to be inspired, ready to move beyond complacency, ready to rebel against society’s low expectations.

Now the highly anticipated companion book,Start Here, answers the questions Alex and Brett have received from thousands of teens on their worldwide conference tour and popular online community: How do I get started? What hard things does God want me to do? How do I keep from getting discouraged or burned out? What is the best way to inspire others?

Filled with stories and insights from Alex, Brett, and other real-life rebelutionaries, Start Here is a powerful and practical guide for young people who are ready to take the next step and blast past apathy. Let the rebelution continue.

Author Bio:

Alex and Brett Harris are the coauthors of the best-selling book Do Hard Things, which they wrote at age eighteen. Today the twins speak regularly to audiences of thousands on The Rebelution Tour, maintain a hugely popular online presence through their blog, The Rebelution, and have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times. Raised in Portland, Oregon, the brothers currently attend Patrick Henry College in Virginia.

My review:

Thanks to Random House for providing me with a copy of the book 'Start Here' for review. Alex and Brett do a great job of answering the question 'Now what?' after challenging the teens of their generation in 'Do Hard Things' with 'Start Here'. The book is short, but full of great ideas of getting young people moving right where God has them now. They remind the young people that the 'hard things' aren't always big and spectacular with lots of pomp - as the world sees, but can be seemingly small, insignificant actions - which the world would hardly notice, but will have lasting impact on the Kingdom. If you enjoyed 'Do Hard Things', and have some questions - this is a great book to help you plow up the ground and dig for the hard thing the Lord has for you. You can order yours today from Random House.

for The B&B Media Group present "A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years " hosted by Diarmaid MacCulloch


Discovering the Surprising History of the First ChristiansNew DVD series examines Christianity’s global roots.Click here to view the trailer!Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—There are two billion Christians in the world today, a third of humanity—Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal, and many more. Though Christians, by definition, are well-versed in the story of Christ and the apostles, many have given little thought to the details of their Christian heritage—the miraculous transferring of their faith from the first Christians huddled at Golgotha, across two centuries worth of cultures and languages, wars, and the rising and falling of empires. How did this small, obscure Jewish sect that preached humility and personal sacrifice become the biggest religion in the world? The answer will surprise you.A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a six-part series co-produced by the BBC, the Open University, and Jerusalem Productions and presented by Diarmaid MacCulloch, one of the world’s leading historians and Professor of History of the Church and Fellow at St. Cross College, Oxford. As MacCulloch reveals the true history of Christianity, he explores the question, “What does it really mean to be a Christian?”While most Christian histories start with St. Paul’s mission to Rome, MacCulloch asserts that the Christianity stayed much closer to its Middle-Eastern roots and that, in fact, the first Christians actually took the eastern road from Jerusalem, spreading their faith across Asia, even to parts of China. “Today, Christianity is seen as a Western faith. Indeed, many in the Muslim world would see Western lifestyles as Christian lifestyles. But Christianity is not by origin a Western religion,” MacCulloch says. “Its beginnings are in the Middle East, where there still exist churches which have been Eastern since the earliest Christian era. The story of the first Christianity tells us the Christian faith is, in fact, hugely diverse with many identities.”MacCulloch is one of the most widely traveled Christian historians, and A History of Christianity is the first retelling of the Christian story that is truly global in scope. Filmed in high definition, A History of Christianity takes viewers on a 2,000-year odyssey that reaches the farthest corners of the world, from Palestine in the first century to India in the third, from Damascus to China in the seventh century, and from San Francisco to Korea in the twentieth. A scholar whose fascination with Christian history was cultivated at an early age, Diarmaid MacCulloch is the last in three generations of Anglican clergy. That personal connection enriches the storytelling, as he describes not only the main ideas and personalities of Christian history, its organization, and spirituality, but how it has changed our views on politics, sex, and human society. “Religious belief can transform us for good or ill. It has brought human beings to acts of criminal folly as well as the highest achievements of goodness and creativity. I tell the story of both extremes,” MacCulloch says. The twentieth century brought what many perceive to be the greatest threat to Christianity—skepticism and spiritual apathy. Still, MacCulloch contends that the future of Christianity is filled with possibilities. The DVD set will arrive in stores, including Sam’s Club, in time for the Easter Season. The series will also be available on A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years 6 DVD Set presented by Diarmaid MacCullochThanks to the fine folks at The B&B Media Group, I was able to receive and preview Episode 1 of this very interesting look at the history of Christianity. At first I was a little put off by Mr. MacCulloch. While he seemed to know history, and know it well, I could not discern if he knew Jesus Christ personally. However, I continued watching and was glad to hear[...]

for FIRST Wildcard - 'Life of Washington' by Anna C. Reed


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!You never know when I might play a wild card on you!Today's Wild Card author is: Anna C. Reedand the book: Life of WashingtonNew Leaf Publishing Group/Attic Books (November 30, 2009)***Special thanks to Robert Parrish of New Leaf Press for sending me a review copy.***ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anna C. Reed, niece of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, authored this amazing work for the ASSU prior to 1850. Originally translated into over 20 languages, the book was among the most widely read biographies of Washington at that time. The ASSU, now called the American Missionary Fellowship, has been associated with some of America's most prominent citizens and religious leaders. Bushrod Washington, George Washington's nephew and heir of Mount Vernon, was vide-president of the ASSU until 1829. Other ASSU officers include Francis Scott Key, D.L. Moody, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and John Adams (descendant of both early presidents). Product Details:List Price: $16.99Hardcover: 299 pages Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group/Attic Books (November 30, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 0890515786 ISBN-13: 978-0890515785 AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: TheLIFE OF WASHINGTON CHAPTER 1 1732-1762 To give us the delightful assurance, that we are always under the watchful care of our almighty and kind Creator, He has told us that He notices the movements of every little sparrow; and as we are ”of more value than many sparrows,” He will surely ever care for us. It was His powerful and kind care that protected and guided Columbus, the once poor sailor boy, to obtain the favour of a great king and queen; and then to pass over the waves of a dangerous ocean, in a little vessel, and reach in safety an unknown land. The same powerful and kind care which protected and guided houseless strangers to a land of freedom and peace, gave Washington to their children, to lead them on to take a place amongst the nations of the earth. His history is as a shining light upon the path of virtue; for he “acknowledged God in all his ways.” George Washington was the third son of Augustine Washington, whose grandfather left England, his native country, in 1657, and settled at Bridges Creek, in Virginia, where, on the 22nd of February, in the year 1732, his great-grandson, George, was born. One of the first lessons which young Washington received from his faithful parents, was, the importance of always speaking the truth; and they enjoyed a satisfactory reward for their attention to this duty; for through his childhood, “the law of truth was in his mouth,” so that he was not known in one instance to tell a falsehood, either to obtain a desired indulgence, or to escape a deserved punishment or reproof. His character, as a lover of truth, was so well known at the school which he attended, that the children were certain of being believed, when they related any thing, if they could say, “George Washington says it was so.” An anecdote is related of him to illustrate this trait in his character, which we introduce without being able to ascertain on what authority it is related. We hope it will not be supposed, however, that we regard such an incident as an extraordinary proof of an ingenuousness on the part of young Washington. We trust there are very few boys who would think of adopting any other course under like circumstances, and those who do generally find that “honesty is the best poli[...]

FIRST Wildcard Tour - Dinosaurs for Kids by Ken Ham


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!You never know when I might play a wild card on you!Today's Wild Card author is: Ken Hamand the book: Dinosaurs for KidsMaster Books (October 15, 2009)***Special thanks to Robert Parrish of New Leaf Press for sending me a review copy.***ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ken Ham is the founder and executive director of Answers in Genesis in the USA and one of the most sought-after Christian speakers in North America. He is the author or co-author of many books and is heard daily on the radio program, “Answers...with Ken Ham,” on more than 300 stations worldwide. Ken is also featured in various videos including the series, “Answers in Genesis with Dr. Gary Parker,” and the 12-part series of 28-minute videos, “Answers...with Ken Ham.” Ken's teaching is clear, true to the Bible, engaging, and challenging. Many have found salvation and others have been encouraged and equipped to reach others with the gospel through Ken's ministry.Visit the author's website.Product Details:Price: $14.99Reading level: Ages 9-12Hardcover: 64 pages Publisher: Master Books (October 15, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 0890515557 ISBN-13: 978-0890515556 AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: Dinosaurs for KidsbyKen Ham, illustrated by Bill Looney Dinosaurs can provide a great way to learn about history. You may already be familiar with some of these dinosaurs. These drawings show you what we think they may have looked like. Now, we don’t know for sure, of course, as we usually only find their bones as fossils (and most times, only a few of their bones). Artists use what bones have been found, knowledge about living animals, and some imagination to come up with drawings like these. See if you can pronounce these dinosaur names: Dilophosaurus (die-LOF-o-SWAR-us), meaning “two-crested lizard.” Styracosaurus (sty-RAK-o-SAWR-us), meaning “spiked lizard.” Triceratops (tri-SER-a-tops), meaning “three-horned face.” Megalosaurus (MEG-a-lo-SAWR-us), meaning “big lizard.” Iguanodon (i-GWAHN-o-don), meaning “iguana tooth.” Ceratosaurus (ser-ah-toe-SAWR-us), meaning “horned lizard.” Deinonychus (die-NON-i-kus), meaning “terrible claws.” Velociraptor (vee-LOHS-i-RAP-tor), meaning “swift robber.” Ultrasaurus (UHL-tra-SAWR-us), was so nicknamed because of its enormous size. Seismosaurus (SEIS-mo-SAWR-us), meaning “earthquake lizard.” Did you know there are hundreds of dinosaur names? However, there were not hundreds of types of dinosaurs. There were a number of similar ones that should be grouped into categories known by what the Bible describes as “kinds.” Does that sound a little confusing? Well, this book will help to explain this and a lot of other things about dinosaurs you may not know. (Pictures with names):Dilophosaurus Styracosaurus Triceratops Iguanodon Ceratosaurus Velociraptor Ultrasaurus Seismosaurus Before we begin, I don’t want you to miss out on knowing what my very favorite dinosaur is! In fact, I think he deserves this whole page to himself! It is the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex (ti-RAN-oh-SAWR-us-rex), meaning “tyrant lizard king.” I’ll let you in on a secret – I love T-rex because I like his teeth! I use teeth to teach kids and parents some very interesting things about dinosaurs – things that you may not have heard or really understood before. But it is very important to understand the truth about dinosaur[...]

FIRST Wildcard Tour - Raising a Modern Day Princess by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!You never know when I might play a wild card on you!Today's Wild Card authors are: Pam Farrel andDoreen Hannaand the book: Raising a Modern-Day PrincessTyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 3, 2009) ***Special thanks to Christy Wong of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***ABOUT THE AUTHORs: Pam Farrel is a relationship specialist, international speaker, and author of over 25 books, including best selling Men are like Waffles—Woman Are Like Spaghetti. She hs been a pastor’s wife and director of women’s ministries, and is president of Seasoned Sisters.Visit the author's website.Doreen Hanna is founder and president of Treasured Celebrations Ministries. She is the co-author of Becoming a Modern-Day Princess, a biblically-based rite-of-passage program for teenage girls. She is a faculty member and motivational speaker for CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors, & Speakers Seminars), and has been a women’s Bible study teacher and trained biblical counselor for more than 25 years.Visit the author's website.Product Details:List Price: $13.99Paperback: 256 pages Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 3, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 158997574X ISBN-13: 978-1589975743 AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: Seeking My Father’s Blessing: What Every Young Woman Longs For‘I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.’The Word of the Master, God.—2 CORINTHIANS 6:18 (MSG)I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics; even if they dress in rags; even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father ever tell you that? Didn’t he?—A LITTLE PRINCESS (1995) Lying in my bed, I [Doreen] lifted the shade and peeked out the window. Except for a sprinkle of stars and a sliver of a moon, it was now pitch black outside. My sister’s gentle snore let me know she was sound asleep. The TV was off and I had heard my parents’ bedroom door close. It was time for my escape. Earlier in the day I had picked out my best purse for this “runaway.” It was red, rectangular in shape, with hinges on it, like a little suitcase, and a mirror on the lid. It could only hold my hairbrush, two pairs of panties, and a package of crackers. But for an eight-year-old, that was good enough. I was ready to go. However, I began to have doubts. I considered how hard it would be to walk down the hall past my parents’ bedroom without them hearing me because there was a board in the floor of the hallway that creaked. But if I attempted to open the heavy wooden window of our bedroom and tried to remove the screen, I knew for sure that my sister would wake up. Suddenly, or so it seemed, those warm covers felt so good as I heard the wind blow through the trees on that chilly, late winter’s eve. I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes open. I fought it, but it felt like someone was gently closing them. The next thing I knew, it was morning, and once again, I had failed to make my great escape. This scenario played out many times in my elementary years. But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties, seeking help for challenges in my marriage, that I discovered why I continued to replay leaving home but never making my way out. As a child, there were certain securities that kept me there. My mother loved me, food was always on the table, and [...]

for CFBA - 'The Familiar Stranger' by Christina Berry


This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducing The Familiar Stranger Moody Publishers (September 1, 2009)byChristina BerryABOUT THE AUTHOR:Single mother and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time to write from her busy schedule because she must tell the stories that haunt her every waking moment. (Such is the overly dramatic description of an author's life!) She holds a BA in Literature, yet loves a good Calculus problem, as well. All that confusion must have influenced her decision to be team captain of a winning team on Family Feud.Her debut novel, The Familiar Stranger, released from Moody in September and deals with lies, secrets, and themes of forgiveness in a troubled marriage. A moving speaker and dynamic teacher, Christina strives to Live Transparently--Forgive Extravagantly!Her work has also appeared in The Secret Place, The Oregonian, and Daily Devotions for Writers.ABOUT THE BOOKCraig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise . . . if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets. An affair? An emptied bank account? A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?But what will she do when she realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?If you would like to read the first chapter of The Familiar Stranger, go HEREHow can I write a review without regretting what I wrote? I just don't know on this one. I was thoroughly pleased with this book - click the link, read the first chapter - and then go out and buy the book! 'Nuff said.[...]

for CFBA Tour - 'The Christmas Glass' by Marci Alborghetti


This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducing The Christmas GlassGuidepostsBooks (October 1, 2009) byMarci AlborghettiABOUT THE AUTHOR:Marci Alborghetti has been writing only slightly longer than she's been reading. In seventh grade she received her first writing prize for a zany Halloween story. The prize? A five dollar gift certificate to a local bookstore. She was hooked. The Christmas Glass is her fourteenth book, and she is currently at work on a sequel as well as a non-fiction book about service. Some of her other books include: Prayer Power: How to Pray When You Think You Can’t, A Season in the South and Twelve Strong Women of God.She and her husband, Charlie Duffy, live in New London, Connecticut and the San Francisco Bay area. While in New London she facilitates the Saint James Literary Club.ABOUT THE BOOKIn the tradition of The Christmas Shoes and A Christmas on Jane Street, the heartwarming story of The Christmas Glass shows how, today as always, the Christmas miracle works its wonders in the human heart.In the early days of World War II in Italy, Anna, a young widow who runs a small orphanage, carefully wraps her most cherished possessions -- a dozen hand-blown, German-made, Christmas ornaments, handed down by her mother -- and sends them to a cousin she hasn't seen in years.Anna is distressed to part with her only tangible reminder of her mother, but she worries that the ornaments will be lost or destroyed in the war, especially now that her orphanage has begun to secretly shelter Jewish children. Anna's young cousin Filomena is married with two-year-old twins when she receives the box of precious Christmas glass.After the war, Filomena emigrates to America, where the precious ornaments are passed down through the generations. After more than forty years, twelve people come to possess a piece of Christmas glass, some intimately connected by family bonds, some connected only through the history of the ornaments.As Christmas Day approaches, readers join each character in a journey of laughter and tears, fractures and healings, as Filomena, now an eighty-four-year-old great-grandmother, brings them all to what will be either a wondrous reunion or a disaster that may shatter them all like the precious glass they cherish.If you would like to read the first chapter of The Christmas Glass, go HEREThis was a very fun read! I think the author could have taken a bit more time at the end, it was still enjoyable. Sis is reading it right now, so I'll get her thoughts on it and post them later. It's hard to find good Christmas literature, at least for me!, so I was glad I took the time to read this one![...]

for FIRST Wild Card Tour - The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!You never know when I might play a wild card on you!Today's Wild Card authors are: Tricia Goyer andMike Yorkeyand the book: The Swiss CourierRevell (October 1, 2009) ***Special thanks to Amy Lathrop of the LitFUSE Publicity Group for sending me a review copy.***ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. Visit the author's website.Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including the bestselling Every Man's Battle series. Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family currently reside in California. Visit the author's website.Product Details:List Price: $13.99Paperback: 336 pages Publisher: Revell (October 1, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 0800733363 ISBN-13: 978-0800733360 AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: To the ReaderIn the early afternoon of July 20, 1944, Colonel Claus Graf von Stauffenberg confidently lugged a sturdy briefcase into Wolfsschanze—Wolf’s Lair—the East Prussian redoubt of Adolf Hitler. Inside the black briefcase, a small but powerful bomb ticked away, counting down the minutes to der Führer’s demise. Several generals involved in the assassination plot arranged to have Stauffenberg invited to a routine staff meeting with Hitler and two dozen officers. The one o’clock conference was held in the map room of Wolfsschanze’s cement-lined underground bunker. Stauffenberg quietly entered the conference a bit tardy and managed to get close to Hitler by claiming he was hard of hearing. While poring over detailed topological maps of the Eastern Front’s war theater, the colonel unobtrusively set the briefcase underneath the heavy oak table near Hitler’s legs. After waiting for an appropriate amount of time, Stauffenberg excused himself and quietly exited the claustrophobic bunker, saying he had to place an urgent call to Berlin. When a Wehrmacht officer noticed the bulky briefcase was in his way, he inconspicuously moved it away from Hitler, placing it behind the other substantial oak support. That simple event turned the tide of history. Moments later, a terrific explosion catapulted one officer to the ceiling, ripped off the legs of others, and killed four soldiers instantly. Although the main force of the blast was directed away from Hitler, the German leader nonetheless suffered burst eardrums, burned hair, and a wounded arm. He was in shock but still alive—and unhinged for revenge. Stauffenberg, believing Hitler was dead, leaped into a staff car with his aide Werner von Haeften. They talked their way out of the Wolfsschanze compound and made a dash for a nearby airfield, where they flew back to Berlin in a Heinkel He 111. When news got out that Hitler had survived, Stauffenberg and three other conspirators were quickly tracked down, captured, and executed at midnight by a makeshift firing squad. An enraged Hitler did not stop there to satisfy his bloodlust. For the next month and a half, he instigated a bloody purge, resulting in the execution of dozens of plotters and hundreds of others remotely involved in the assassination coup. The Gestapo, no doubt acting [...]

for 'White Picket Fences' by Susan Meissner brought to you by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group




Amanda Janvier and husband Neil take motherless niece Tally into their seemingly storybook life, all the while refusing to acknowledge that their son Chase is haunted by memories of the horrific house fire no one talks about. Secrets of the past can’t stay hidden forever behind their white picket fence.

Author Bio:

Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn’t driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novel The Shape of Mercy was a Publishers Weekly pick for best religious fiction of 2008 and a Christian Book Award finalist. Susan and her husband live in Southern California, where he is a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four grown children.

This was a really fascinating book. I so appreciated the steering away from the stereotypical casting of teen that has suffered loss and lived a life that is not 'the norm'. More often than not, these characters (and their real-life counterparts) tend to get the short end of the stick. They are labeled 'troubled', 'rebellious', 'anti-social', and typcially are involved in any number of 'unsavory' activities. I applaud Ms. Meissner for not taking the 'easy route' with the character of Tally.

There are multiple stories going on throughout the whole book. The interweave so well, and keep you turning the pages as you cheer for each character. This book deals with hard decisions, real-life temptations, and healing. You won't be disappointed!

To learn more about the book, to read an excerpt, and to order your copy, please be sure to visit Waterbrook Multnomah today.

for movies!


The Jesus Movie forthe Next Generation Guest post by Bruce Marchiano, producer of Jesus...No Greater Love The truth of the gospel never changes. But Christianity has many faces. They reflect the customs and cultures and the beautiful diversity of the global church. They are lined with the wisdom of age and vibrant with the passion of youth. One gospel for all the world…but how will we deliver it in a way that reaches the whole world? How will we reach the next generation? Young Christians today are more like St. Francis of Assisi than a circuit riding preacher. “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary, use words.” This is a generation focused on being the hands and feet of Christ and meeting the physical needs of those in both the local and global community. They are building houses, planting gardens, taking food and clothes to the poor and helping the widows and orphans… and then they are sharing the gospel. And they are using technology like never before. They communicate the message through audio, film, video and the internet, and they strive for excellence within those mediums. They must. This is how they will reach their generation for Christ. I share their passion. In the film, The Gospel According to Matthew, we were able to capture the heart of Christ that is so often missing in Christian films, but the quality of the film making was constrained by an $800,000 budget. Now we are inspiring a movement that will bring Jesus to film in a version that literally leaps off the screen and into the hearts of viewers.Jesus…No Greater Love, the new Jesus movie, ( will be a word for word, verse by verse film adaption of the Gospel according to John. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. That’s really our concept, that the gospel would go out in the power of the film medium, unaltered by any human script writer. The budget for a typical Hollywood production is $100-110 million. Actors’ salaries account for much of that cost. Because the new Jesus movie will be not be paying big name actors, our team believes we can produce a world class, state-of-the-art film incorporating the latest cutting-edge technology for just $45 million. The production will be shot on location in Jerusalem and shot digitally using CGI backgrounds and a green screen stage, providing unlimited potential for sharing the gospel for generations to come. We are inviting people from all nations and all generations to join this movement to bring the gospel to all people. A movement made of 4.5 million people contributing a tax deductible donation of $10 each would fund the cost of the film. The Gospel belongs to everyone, and the new Jesus movie will be produced expressly so it can be accessed by everyone, no matter their financial situation. Our team's vision is to see the film translated into as many languages as possible and supplied to mission organizations and churches all over the world. You can become a part of the movement to reach the next generation. Please help us spread the word to your friends and family. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so at Also, you can keep up with our progress by visiting any of these ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bruce Marchiano is an actor, author, international speaker, and the founder of Marchiano Ministries, a non-profit organization reaching out to people both spiritually and practically in the USA and across the world. He is best known for his joyful, passionate portrayal of Jesus in the film, The Gos[...]

for pictures!!!!


(These pictures are not in any particular order!)David being David....Why we are not in the Family Portrait business: Troy's BIG catch of the day...(okay, okay, it's a stuffed fish...but a guy CAN dream!)... David sliding down a Fire Pole: Climbing on a Pirate Ship toy... Marlee girl finding her way through the hedge maze in the midst of the corn maze: Ah ha...the castle!!! In the corn maze: Random picture from home....the fog was moving in! Marlee's nature shot...pretty good, if I do say so myself! Troy pickin' and grinnin': Jacob got his birthday present a month early - his 'excited' expression was for his dear old mom!(Thanks, Jacob!): Marlee and David's watermelon crop - Dad could have eaten it in one bite!! David being David... Laylie, Marlee and Elsie reading 'The Jungle Book' - [...]

for catching up


Not sure where I left off...but I'll just fill you in on what has been going on around our house. We have moved to a year-round school year this year as a test drive. So far, everything is going smoothly. Every 9th week we take a week off, and we just enjoyed our first week off last week. We focused on what we had been learning in History and Bible while doing crafts. The kids made a replica of Charlemagne's crown when crowned 'Holy Roman Emperor'. They also made a necklace of Thor's hammer - which also led to discussion of Charles the Hammer. They made mosaic tile coasters (which didn't turn out so well) and finally we made paper mache whales as we talked about Jonah and his trials.

The kids and I went to Green Bluff a few weekends ago to enjoy their Harvest Festival. We went through a corn maze - the kids explored a castle - and we picked up some very cool wool hats for the little ones (who aren't so little anymore!). It was a fun day!

We have been staying relatively healthy this season. A few coughs and stuffy noses - but nothing too serious - of which we are very thankful!!!

Victoria continues with her studies through Whitefield - which she thoroughly enjoys - and I have been reading some of J. C. Ryle's works. If you have not read anything of his, I highly suggest you do. It is very, very good teaching...and though written in another generation - it pertains to ours just as well. Of course - isn't the Lord wonderful in that way? No matter the culture or the society - His word fits all.

Troy took a day to go fishing - and has been using his smoker with great success. He and Jacob refabricated an old refrigerator into a smoker - and it works wonderfully! I'm not much of a fish eater - but I have had a few tastes - and it is very good.

Pictures will follow soon - I have to track down the camera and get them on the computer!!!

So, how are things in your corner of the world?

for getting away from being 'Christian-ish'



About the book:

Somewhere between cold faith and hot pursuit lies lukewarm spirituality. And in the median between the wide path and the narrow road we find the middle-ground of the spiritual walk. It's something not quite Christian. More like.Christianish.

It may feel like authentic faith. It may even look like the real deal. Yet it's often easy to settle for the souvenir t-shirt—the appearance of a transformed heart—instead of taking the actual trip through true life-change. We find ourselves settling for a personal faith that's been polluted by culture, and diluted by other people's take on spirituality.

Christianish tells the story of one man's journey to move from the in-between to a life that's centered on Christ. To move forward, author Mark Steele goes back to the beginning, to examine Christ's life and words. Through stories and insights that are sometimes profound, often hilarious, and always honest, Mark delivers a compelling look at what our faith is all about.

So rediscover what it means to live like Christ, and ditch the ish.

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About the author:

Mark Steele is the president and executive creative of Steelehouse Productions where he creates art for business and ministry through the mediums of film, stage, and animation. Mark is the author of Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself. He lives in Oklahoma with his wife, Kaysie, and their greatest productions: Morgan, Jackson, and Charlie.

Mark Steele hits hard in this book as we travel with him through his own journey out of being 'Christian-ish'. I didn't always agree with Mr. Steele's conclusions - but this is definitely a hard-hitting book that looks at what our culture/society has done to 'Christianity' in our today. Isobel Kuhn referred to it as 'The Misty Flats' - Mr. Steele calls it 'Christian-ish', but they both are referring to the same thing - a form of godliness, with missing God altogether.

To find out more about this book and to order your copy, please go to David C. Cook today.

for missions at home


What has washing someone’s car got to do with the gospel?

Committed to bringing the Christian message to young people to his hometown of Manchester, England, Andy Hawthorne was shocked when a missions partner told him he shouldn’t just preach the gospel but also engage in community projects.

It worked. The Message Trust has been recognized internationally as bringing hope and change to the roughest, poorest neighborhoods of Manchester.

And it got him thinking: What, exactly, should the priority of the church be? Should it be the lamp on a stand—bold, unashamed gospel proclamation to as many as possible? Or should it be more salt and yeast—serving and blessing the vulnerable and marginalized, with no questions asked?

The answer, of course, is both. Christians who truly want to follow Jesus should explain the good news with words—but also make sure to demonstrate the gospel through what’s been described as random acts of kindness. Written in a passionate, nonreligious style, Hope Unleashed is filled with moving true stories and practical ideas and strategies for Christian mission based on word and deed.

Andy Hawthorne is an evangelist, author, and founder of the Message Trust, an award-winning Christian mission organization dedicated to bringing the gospel message to the poorest neighborhoods of his hometown and beyond. He is the author of Diary of a Dangerous Vision and The Smile of God.

Hope Unleashed: Serving God through Words and Actions by Andy Hawthorne

David C Cook/August 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1-4347-6448-5/softcover/171 pages/$12.99

To find out more and to purchase your copy, go to
David C. Cook.

I was excited to receive my free review copy of Hope Unleashed from David C. Cook. This is an interesting book - not so much a 'How to...', which I was expecting, but more of a wake up call to what mission could look like in your own neighborhood. It is a rather quick read, and tells the interesting story of what thinking outside the traditional box of mission can look like and how God blesses the work in the process. If you want a new perspective on mission work, you won't be disappointed. However, again, it is not so much a 'How to...' book that spells out how to get something like what they described in the book going in your neighborhood, but it is full of wonderful ideas that the creative mind can put to work for the glory of God.

for thoughts and ponderings


From "The Valley of Vision" found at Banner of Truth:

O God,

Though I am allowed to approach thee

I am not unmindful of my sins,

I do not deny my guilt,

I confess my wickedness, and earnestly

plead forgiveness.

May I with Moses choose affliction rather than

enjoy the pleasures of sin.

Help me to place myself always under thy guiding

and guardian care,

to take firmer hold of the sure covenant that

binds me to thee,

to feel more of the purifying, dignifying,

softening influence of the religion I profess,

to have more compassion, love, pity, courtesy,

to deem it an honour to be employed by thee

as an instrument in thy hands,

ready to seize every opportunity of usefulness,

and willing to offer all my talents to thy service.

Thou hast done for me all things well,

hast remembered, distinguished, indulged me.

All my desires have not been gratified,

but thy love denied them to me

when fulfilment of my wishes would have

proved my ruin or injury.

My trials have been fewer than my sins,

and when I have kissed the rod it has fallen

from thy hands.

Thou hast often wiped away my tears,

restored peace to my mourning heart,

chastened me for my profit.

All thy work for me is perfect,

and I praise thee.

for FIRST Wild Card Tour - 'Already Gone' by Ken Ham


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!You never know when I might play a wild card on you!Today's Wild Card authors are: Ken Ham, and Britt Beemer, with Todd Hillardand the book: Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do to stop itNew Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (May 28, 2009)***Special thanks to Robert Parrish of New Leaf Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***ABOUT THE AUTHORs: Ken Ham, founder and president, Answers in Genesis. He is one of the most in-demand speakers in the world today, representing Answers in Genesis (AiG) at many events throughout the year. Visit the author's website and book blog.C. Britt Beemer is chairman and founder of America's Research Group (ARG), a consumer behavior research and strategic marketing firm. He is a speaker at major trade and industry events. Visit the author's website.Product Details:List Price: $12.99Paperback: 176 pages Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (May 28, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 0890515298 ISBN-13: 978-0890515297 AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: Part 1:An Epidemic on Our Hands Epidemic (Ep-i-dem-ic)11. A disease or anything resembling a disease; attacking or affecting many individuals in a community or a population simultaneously.2. Anything which takes possession of the minds of people as an epidemic does of their bodies; as, an epidemic of terror. A majority of twenty-somethings — 61% of today’s young adults — had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the Bible, or praying).George Barna Chapter 1 Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” — which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you (1 Tim. 6:20–21). I dare you. I dare you to try it this Sunday. Look to the right, and look to the left. While the pastor delivers his message, while the worship team sings their songs, while the youth pastor gives his announcements, look to the right and look to the left. Look at the children and look at the teens around you. Many of them will be familiar faces. They are the faces of your friends’ sons and daughters. They are the friends that your children bring home after youth group. They are your children . . . the ones who have been faithfully following you to church for years. Now, imagine that two-thirds of them have just disappeared. That’s right, two-thirds of them — the ones who go to secular school, even those homeschooled or sent to Christian school, the boys and the girls, the kids who are leaders of the school’s Bible club, the kids who sit in the back row with their baseball caps pulled low over their eyes — imagine that two-thirds of them have just disappearedfrom your church. Yes, look to the left and look to the right this Sunday. Put down your church bulletin; look at those kids and imagine that two-thirds of them aren’t even there. Why? Because they are alre[...]

for FIRST WildCard Tour - The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!You never know when I might play a wild card on you!Today's Wild Card author is: Mike Masonand the book: The Blue UmbrellaDavid C. Cook; New edition (October 1, 2009) ***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mike Mason is the best-selling, award-winning author of The Mystery of Marriage, The Gospel According to Job, Practicing the Presence of People, and many others. He has an M.A. in English and has studied theology at Regent College. He lives in Langley, BC, Canada, with his wife, Karen, a family physician. They have one daughter, Heather, who is pursuing a career in dance and the arts. The Blue Umbrella is Mike’s first novel.Visit the author's website.The Blue Umbrella, by Mike Mason from David C. Cook on Vimeo.Product Details:List Price: $14.99Paperback: 448 pages Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (October 1, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 1434765261 ISBN-13: 978-1434765260 AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: FIVE CORNERS Not many people are killed by lightning. Zac’s mother was. Zachary Sparks, though small for ten years old, had a look perpetual astonishment that made him seem larger than life. His eyes were nearly the biggest part of him, round and wide, and his eyebrows had a natural arch as if held up with invisible strings. His voice was high and excitable and his whole bodyseemed full of little springs. Even his hair, fiery red and frizzy, looked as if he was the one hit by lightning. Everything about Zac Sparks was up, up, up. Until his mother died and everything changed. Zac lived with his mother beside a golf course. Every day after school he picked up balls from his backyard to sell for fifty cents apiece. He was happy and carefree and his mother was good to him. He had no father. At least, he’d never known his father. At night, when there were no golfers, Zac’s mother liked to go walking across the wide, rolling lawns of the course. To her it was like a big park. She never met anyone else out there. This was a small town and it was quite safe (except for lightning). She liked being in nature and she loved all kinds of weather, especially weather that had what she called character, the kind you could feel on your skin: wind, cold, hail, pelting rain, thunder, and lightning. Whenever a good electrical storm happened in the middle of the night, Zac’s mother would wake him up and they’d sit on the veranda listening to the long, almost articulate rumbles and watching the lightning illuminate the great treed corridors of grass. The two wouldn’t say much. They didn’t have to. The sky did the talking for them. Some of Zac’s happiest memories were of sitting up with his mother at night to revel silently in storms. The irony was that Zac’s mother was killed by something she loved. It happened one night when she went walking in the pouring rain, carrying, as usual, her umbrella. Of course, she knew better than to go walking on a golf course with an umbrella in a thunderstorm. But this was not a thunder[...]

for CFBA Tour - Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark


This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducing Things Worth Remembering Bethany House (October 1, 2009)byJackina StarkABOUT THE AUTHOR:Jackina (pronounced with a long “i” to rhyme with China) Stark recently retired from teaching English at Ozark Christian College to spend more time writing and traveling. Jackina says: "Although I loved my subjects and my students, I retired to do more writing and speaking, to spend more time with my family, and to travel with family and friends (including trips to encourage two missions in Cambodia). I have also spoken nationally and internationally at many retreats and seminars and enjoy running into many readers and former students. I have written frequently for both Christian Standard and Lookout, periodicals of Standard Publishing. Years ago I wrote two non-fiction books, published by College Press, but currently out of print. These days, I’m exploring fiction. My first novel, Tender Grace, was released by Bethany House January 30, 2009, and Things Worth Remembering, is the second. I’m working on new projects, including a third novel, as time permits. Whether speaking or writing, I love the opportunity to tell about Him whom Jesus called “Holy Father” and “the only true God.” She has been married to her husband, Tony, for forty-two years. They live in Carl Junction, Missouri, and have two daughters and six grandchildren. ABOUT THE BOOKKendy Laswell and her daughter, Maisey, used to do everything together--until one fateful summer when Maisey witnessed something she shouldn't have, and their relationship fractured. Now, Maisey is back home to get married and Kendy realizes this is her last chance to reconnect with her daughter. Will Kendy and Maisey be able to reclaim the bond they once shared?Maisey asked for a bride doll the Christmas she was five, mesmerized by her aunt's wedding the fall before. Since then I've been dreaming of the day, or days, we would shop for her wedding dress. A mother helping her daughter find just the right creation for that momentous walk down the aisle strikes me as one of life's happiest endeavors. The night she called to tell us she'd bought her "dream of a gown," I sat beside Luke on the couch, a striking contrast to Maisey's exuberance. My dejection seemed a tad inappropriate. "Being hurt because I wasn't included is silly, isn't it?" I asked."Not so silly," he said.Will I ever quit longing for the Maisey who was once mine?If you would like to read the first chapter of Things Worth Remembering , go HEREI laughed, I cried, I moaned, I learned, and I was given hope. This is a quick read - and Ms. Stark still remains one of my fav authors to read. Her characters are the family down the street. You feel like you know them immediately. This is a story about the root of sin - whether our own or others. You find yourself looking at situations in your own history from a different angle. I enjoyed this book immensely. It is full of wise advice - and real-to-life characters that you can identify with. Have tissues handy! This would be a great fall or winter read as you curl up in your favorite spot with a cup of your hot beverage of choice![...]

for judging not lest you be judged


I'm sure most Christians, at some point in their walk, have been exhorted with the words found in the the 7th chapter of Matthew. You know the one...about that log in your own eye and the speck in your neighbors? If not, it goes like this:1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. ...but does this truly say we are not to judge - in some degree - our brothers and sisters in Christ? What of Paul? Was he breaking a holy commandment when he said, "For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed." How about Jesus? When he told the Pharisees to not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment?It is time for the church of Christ to stand up and once again start using the Word for the purpose it was given to us. We need to stop listening to the vain philosophies of the world...including by not limited to Dr. Phil, Oprah, and the like...but listening to the very Word of God which was given not only to get to know God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ, but also for another very important reason - one that is oftentimes overlooked in today's society. The answer of course, is found, in the third chapter of 2 Timothy, which says:All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. Isn't that wonderful? I am incredibly blessed when a brother or sister comes to me with the living Word of the very God that I profess to love and live to correct and instruct me...why? that I will be thoroughly equipped for every good work!!! Love doesn't get more complete than that!So, back to our judging. Are we called to judge each other. The answer the Scripture gives me says, 'You bet!'. However, I must remember that with the measure I judge others - this is the measure that the Lord will use on me. So, when I am 'testing myself - to see whether I am in the faith' - my prayer is I will use a harsher measure with myself, than when I approach a brother or sister in Christ in correction or instruction.We need to be quick to listen and slow to speak. If someone comes to us - with an encouraging Word from Scripture, with a correction, or with instruction - let us take the time to search out the answer for ourself. Let us go to our wonderful Couselor in prayer and meditation. Let us not give the rash, 'Oh, judge not unless you want to be judged yourself. You're not God - only God can judge!' With prayer and supplication, let us take all our requests to God. This brings another verse into a new light, as well. In the 15th chapter of John we are told that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for his friend. My comfort, what others think of me, what others will say about me - aren't those the things this world calls 'life'? But, when we step out and give holy instruction - we are ris[...]

for CFBA Tour - Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin


This week, theChristian Fiction Blog Allianceis introducing Though Waters Roar· Bethany House (October 1, 2009)byLynn AustinABOUT THE AUTHOR:Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel.ABOUT THE BOOK "Thank goodness you're such a plain child. You'll have to rely on your wits."So went the words of Grandma Bebe. And for all of my growing-up years, I scoffed at the beauty of my sister and what I saw as her meaningless existence. But my wits hadn't served me well in this instance, for here I was, in jail. And while I could have seen it as carrying on the family tradition (for Grandma Bebe landed in jail for her support of Prohibition), the truth is, my reasons for being here would probably break her heart. So how did I end up becoming a criminal? I've been pondering that question all night. Perhaps the best way to search for an answer is to start at the very beginning.Harriet Sherwood has always adored her grandmother. But when Harriet decides to follow in her footsteps to fight for social justice, she certainly never expected her efforts to land her in jail. Nor did she expect her childhood enemy and notorious school bully, Tommy O'Reilly, to be the arresting officer. Languishing in a jail cell, Harriet has plenty of time to sift through the memories of the three generations of women who have preceded her. As each story emerges, the strength of her family--and their deep faith in the God of justice and righteousness--brings Harriet to the discovery of her own goals and motives for pursuing them. If you would like to read the first chapter of Though Waters Roar, go HEREThis book sky-rocketed to the top of my 'favorite books of all-time' list. It tells a story over 4 generations - that is applicable no matter the day, no matter the age. It is fantastic! It is the words of advice and an example of living that I did not get from my mother - but one that I hope to emulate for my daughters (and sons). There are so many different angles in this book - it is hard to pinpoint one to focus on. It tells a story, yes. It delves into the age-old 'birth of feminism', yes. It is full of godly wisdom, yes. It points towards using the Word in context, yes. There is so much in this book! Ms. Austin outdid herself on this one! I WILL be reading this one again, and taking notes. It was fantastic! I encourage everyone, everyone, everyone to[...]