31 July 2011

My First Hands-On Bible

My First Hands-On Bible is the preschooler version of the popular Hands-On Bible, which has sold over a half million copies. Jesus taught with hands-on lessons and illustrations; My First Hands-On Bible uses the same experience-based learning to communicate God’s Word in an active, understandable way. My First Hands-On Bible is a fun and simple yet meaningful way to engage preschool, pre-K, and K children (ages 3-6) with the Bible while helping them build a solid faith foundation. Each lesson focuses on a specific Bible point through a variety of activities in order to reinforce and help young children remember the stories and lessons. Using common household items, you can help your children have a “hands-on” learning experience while engaging them in 85 key stories from the Bible. My First Hands-On Bible doesn’t just retell the Bible stories; it also includes actual Scripture from the easy-to-understand and easy-to-read Holy Bible, New Living Translation. In addition to the stories and activities, there are fun illustrations, prayers, and a special Jesus Connection feature.

From the Back Cover

The Bible young children can really get their hands on!

Go from just reading the Bible with your kids to experiencing it! My First Hands-On Bible does what no other Bible can—it brings the Bible to life with fun activities and games that tie directly to the Bible stories.
My First Hands-On Bible features

  • 85 exciting Bible stories from the clear and easy-to-understand New Living Translation
  • “Jesus Connections” to help kids see Jesus throughout the Bible
  • Colorful, original illustrations
  • Exciting activities and top-notch games created by the people who brought you the award-winning Hands-On Bible curriculum
With My First Hands-On Bible, kids will get into the Bible, and the Bible will get into their hearts, giving them a priceless foundation of faith in God.
Reading level: Ages 4-8

Perfection.  Such a relative thing really.  What is perfect for one, another sees only flaws.  A Bible is highly personal and people have opinions.  This particular Bible is written for little ones..."Jesus said to them, `Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.'" ~Mark 10: 14 & 15~  Mind you..."do not hinder them...".  The Hands-On Bible" is an easily accessible ( read that as non-hindering) Bible for children. This is key, for our smallest children, have equally small attention spans and if you ever find a Bible (or nearly anything else for that matter) that can capture their attention for any length of time and that "thing" is beneficial (no, Spongebob does not count) then ye had best hold onto it and encourage it.  A lifelong relationship with Jesus is a gift.  The greatest gift that any parent can give.  Far and beyond anything else, it is a duty, that I think every parent should take with the highest regard.  Well, now, Tyndale has made that goal so much easier and dare I say...fun? Yup, fun and scriptural.  That's right this Bible is scripture,  not stories.  Perfection?  Mayhaps.  I know that if you, as a parent or caregiver can present God to a child in a beautiful and friendly way then that child has a better chance of finding his or her 'way' through the narrow gate.  Show them, lead them, love them.

*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or ARC.

Colts, Colts, Colts

Not eveyone is a football fan. I am, however...I love the game and Peyton's my man:)

By Craig Kelley - Colts.com
Saturday, July 30 2011

INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning have agreed to contract terms, paving the way for Manning to continue his illustrious career. No terms of the contract are available.

Manning, entering his 14th season, can report to training camp at Anderson University as the Colts open preparations for the 2011 season.
“Signing Peyton was a top priority for this organization and we are thrilled that the deal is complete,” said Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay. “We feel that it is a salary cap friendly deal and it allows us more flexibility.”
In other Manning news, due to his surgery this past May, he will start the year on the training camp Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Being that it is the preseason Manning can be removed from the designation at any time before the start of the regular season. Manning currently is undergoing daily rehabilitation sessions with the Colt’s medical staff.
“There is every medical indication that he is progressing steadily, said Dr. Hank Feuer, team Neurosurgeon. “While he looks fine, he still has some rehabilitation to go. Recovery from disc surgery is unpredictable and it is not a medical concern that he is not ready at this time.”
In his 13 seasons to date, Manning has earned 11 Pro Bowl selections and started all 208 career games, the most games to start a career at any position in NFL history. He has completed 4,682 of 7,210 passes for 54,828 yards and 399 touchdowns. On his next touchdown pass, Manning will join Brett Favre and Dan Marino as the only players with 400+ touchdown passes. Manning (450-679-4,700, 33 TDs) set franchise seasonal records in completions, attempts and yards in 2010, and his completions also set the NFL seasonal mark.


Jeremy Camp-The Way

All creation cried out with longing
With groans only You could comprehend
And with wisdom, You always answer
And give the words of life so unfailing

And Your glory shines all around us
Your faithfulness shown for all to see
When we think of all of Your wonders
The beauty of Your plan that's been revealed
We walk in Your light, we walk in it

Shine, bright
Let Your glory fill this land
Lift high, the King of Kings and great I am
Jesus, You are the way

We can see the works of Your loving hands
With a hope and peace not made by man
When You poured out Your grace and Your mercy
And You held out Your arms so we could see
You bled for all mankind and set the captives free

Shine, bright
Let Your glory fill this land
Lift high, the King of Kings and great I am
Jesus, You are the way

Na na na na na na, Jesus 
*yet another great artist performing at the Harvest Crusade!

30 July 2011

Zorgamazoo - Robert Paul Weston

Click to purchase

Zorgamazoo tells the rhyming, rhythmical tale of Katrina, a girl with a big heart and an even bigger imagination.
Too bad Old Krabby will have none of it! She thinks Katrina is losing her marbles—and worse, she hires the quack neurosurgeon, Doctor LeFang, to make a midnight housecall! But there’s nothing wrong with Katrina’s noggin. In fact, she’s perfectly sane (Old Krabby’s the one who’s lame in the brain!)
The strange figure Katrina spotted, bumbling through the subway tunnels beneath the city, is Morty the zorgle. He’s been sent on a quest to find the lost zorgles of Zorgamazoo...
When Katrina and Morty join forces, however, they discover it’s not just the zorgles who have gone missing. Someone—or something—has kidnapped all of the Earth’s most magical creatures!
It isn’t long before Katrina and Morty uncover a bizarre, intergalactic conspiracy that threatens the existence of every last griffin, ogre, sphinx, dragon, mermaid, pixie and zorgle on the planet!


Amazing.  I read this book out loud to my darling daughter-8 and stepson-12.  They both loved this book and couldn't wait for story time:)  I highly recommend this book as it is a joy to read and it fairly begs to be read aloud.  Think Dr. Seuss meets Roald Dahl meets Tim Burton.  So go ahead, curl up with your absolute favorite person or people, grab a cup of tea and settle into the coziest spot in your home (or whereever) and read, read, read.  You'll be glad you did.

Image of Robert Paul Weston

Robert Paul Weston is the author of Zorgamazoo (which ought to be read aloud to someone you love) and Dust City (a thriller inspired by fairy tales). Currently, he lives in Canada, where he lectures in creative writing at the University of Toronto.
Zorgamazoo won the 2010 Silver Birch Award, and was shortlisted for the E.B. White Read Aloud Award, the California Young Reader Medal, and the Pacific Northwest Young Readers Choice Award.
This biography was provided by the author or their representative.

29 July 2011

Photo Post

ESV Study Bible

I just received this Bible and to be quite frank it's scope and resources are impressive (and a little overwhelming).  If you are looking for something along this line in a Bible look I suggest you give it a look.


The ESV Study Bible includes 20,000 notes, written specifically for the ESV Study Bible. These notes focus especially on understanding the meaning of the text, giving answers to frequently raised questions, and providing theological, historical, and archaeological background—all for the purpose of helping readers to understand the Bible in a deeper way.
The ESV Study Bible also provides a wealth of additional resources. The introductions to each book include essential information about the author, date, and place of writing; an extensive chart of key themes; a summary of how the book fits in with the rest of the biblical storyline; a description of literary features; an outline of the book; and a large full-color map showing the setting of the book.
Another unique feature is the inclusion of over 50 helpful articles on topics such as the authority and truthfulness of the Bible, reading the Bible for application, the Bible in worship and prayer, the reliability of the biblical manuscripts, the relationship between archaeology and the Bible, an overview of biblical theology, and many more.
Other key resources include a system of over 80,000 cross references and an extensive concordance (which together facilitate easy location of important words and biblical themes). In addition, over 200 color charts, located throughout the Bible, provide clear, concise presentations of essential information.

Full-Color Illustrations and Maps


Forty all-new illustrations were created specifically for the ESV Study Bible and are printed at key locations throughout the Bible. These include full-color renderings and architectural diagrams of important biblical structures, cities, and objects, shown in precise, accurate detail. The unique dimensional drawings were researched by leading archaeologists and have been beautifully rendered by architectural illustrators. The result is a series of exceptional illustrations—including the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, Solomon’s temple and Herod’s temple, and the city of Jerusalem throughout the history of Israel and during the time of Jesus—illustrations that bring fresh insight and in-depth understanding regarding the significance of these biblical sites and structures for ancient Israel, first-century Christians, and for believers today.
Likewise, more than 200 all new full-color maps were created specifically for the ESV Study Bible. Using the latest satellite imagery, digital technology, and cartography techniques, the maps are based on extensive research and the most recent biblical archaeology scholarship. With the Study Bible maps printed in full color and placed throughout the Bible, the events, people, and places of the Bible come to life in a fresh and compelling way.

Free ESV Online Study Bible


The ESV Study Bible is available in print form and online—and the online edition is available free to all who purchase a copy of the print edition. The ESV Online Study Bible provides additional unique features, including the ability to create personal online notes; to search and follow interactive links between notes, maps, articles, charts, timelines, illustrations, and cross-references; to listen to audio recordings of the ESV; and to access additional resources not available in the print edition—all available for free with the print edition.
Access to the ESV Online Study Bible may also be purchased separately from the print edition.

*I had difficulty accessing the online edition with my code that came with the Bible.  Just thought I'd pass that along.

28 July 2011

Vampires and Cells by Agnieszka Biskup

Click to buy
In cartoon format, uses vampires to explain the science of cells.
Reading Level: 3-4
Interest Level: 3-9
ISBN:  9781429665827 / 1-4296-6582-3

Okay, let me say up front I really like vampires.   Even if, lately, I've developed a keen fondness for Zombies, I still have an undeniable soft spot for a rakish vampire or two (a la Anne Rice-sorry Twilight fans).  I also should mention that I really like anything educational for children that makes it fun for them.  So, when I saw that there was a vampire all poised and ready to explain the basics of life/biology well, the pun was not lost on me.  It's a clever and cute way to teach kids a little bit of how the world functions in an engaging and easily accessible format.  I stand by that assessment and I wholeheartedly love that there are authors out there interested and willing to put out this sort of material.  However, this reviewer, does almost all her reading on a Kindle and unfortunately this book did not fair well in the translation. I do believe that as a physical book it is probably wonderful. 

Forbidden -Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee

Click to Purchase

Publish Date:  13 Sept 2011

ISBN:  9781455509850

New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker teams with Tosca Lee to create this gripping thriller set in a desolate future.

A terrible truth has been revealed to one man: the entire human race has been drained of every emotion except one-- fear. To bring life back to the world, Rom must embark on a journey that will end either in his own demise or a reawakening of humanity. But to bring love and passion back into existence will also threaten the powers of the world with the revolution and anarchy that had nearly destroyed them previously.

After happening upon a journal through strange circumstance, Rom's world is shattered. He learns that humanity long ago ceased to "live," that it exists today in a living death of emotions. In a terrible risk, Rom exposes himself to the vial of blood folded into the old leather of the journal. His change is fearful and fraught with mind-bending emotion. A once-pious observer of the Order's passionless statues, he is filled with uncontrollable impulses. He is filled with love.

He is undone, terrified, and alone in the desolate world.

This was a fairly entertaining read.  I enjoyed the plot, the story and the characters.  Having recently finished a most fabulous book I often feel that it isn't quite fair to the tale that follows.  It is something akin to Miss runner up.  'Tis hard to compare say...burger and fries to steak and lobster.  Each has it's charm and place.  Certainly I would not necessarily care to dine on Steak and lobster every meal.  Sometimes one simply feels like indulging in the perfectly plain and everyday. Nothing quite satisfies like a good old fashioned guilty pleasure.  "Forbidden" falls firmly into the category of light summer reading-I finished it within a couple of days.  A guilty pleasure to be sure.  Within the pages of "Forbidden" the reader will find, heroism, love, deceit, mystery, nefarious plots and a sword flight.  Oh, how I love a good nefarious plot or two. "Forbidden" is set in a far off dystopian future and it is up to the heroes to right some pretty devious, ancient wrongs.  Just be advised that the book ends with a bit of a cliff hangar so if you are adverse to open ends I would at least wait for book two to be released:)

About The Authors

TED DEKKER is a New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty novels with a total of more than 5 million books in print. He is known for thrillers that combine adrenaline-laced plots with incredible confrontations between good and evil.

TOSCA LEE is the critically-acclaimed author of Demon Memoir, a Christy Award finalist and a Publisher's Weekly Editor's Choice. Her novel, Havah received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and 4.5 stars from Romantic Times.

24 July 2011

Bright Empires #2 : The Bone House By Stephen R. Lawhead


An avenue of Egyptian sphinxes, an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide …

Kit Livingstone met his great grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.

Now he’s on the run – and on a quest, trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse while staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map – but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent, who from the shadows are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Across time and space, through manifest and hidden worlds, those who know how to use ley lines to travel through astral planes have left their own world behind in this, the second quest: to unlock the mystery of The Bone House. 

This is the second book in the Bright Empires Series by S. Lawhead and like the first (read my review of book one here) I read this book voraciously.  The wonderful Mr. Lawhead never fails to entertain.  The "characters of the BRIGHT EMPIRES SERIES" are not time-traveling explorers, a la H.G. Wells....Rather [they] are bouncing around a multidimensional universe in the equivalent of a helicopter that can travel in any of a thousand different directions...with a dose of time slippage thrown in for good measure"  That description will get you close to understanding what this story is about.  What sets Mr. Lawhead apart from so many authors is the absolute authority with which he plies his craft.  The details are rich and evocative,  the characters are extremely well thought out and realized, the intricacies of the plot are flawless.  This tale, in the hands of a master, is nothing short of enthralling.  I wholly enjoyed this book.  I would rate this book ten...no fifteen big, fat fabulous stars.
The third book in the "BRIGHT EMPIRES SERIES" is slated for release in September 2012.

Photo for Stephen R. Lawhead

Stephen R. Lawhead

Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He is the author of such epics as The Skin Map; The King Raven, Song of Albion, and Dragon King Trilogies. Lawhead makes his home in Oxford, England, with his wife. Twitter @StephenLawhead, facebook.com/StephenRLawhead

20 July 2011

Don't Check Your Brains at the Door By Josh McDowell & Bob Hostetler

Buy Book Now

 Author:  McDowell and Hostetler
Publisher:  Tommy Nelson

“Seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30—both evangelical and mainline—who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23, according to the survey by LifeWay Research.” (USA Today)
Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door gives teens answers that make sense, even for the toughest of questions. Internationally known defender of the faith Josh McDowell and co-author Bob Hostetler offer clarity laced with humor to expose common myths about God, the Bible, religion, and life to show how Christianity stands up to the test of fact and reason. Teens will be better equipped to stick with their faith as they begin to understand why they believe and why it’s important to make a lifetime commitment to Christ and the church.

I am about to write a not so favorable review.  Let me begin by stating that I had very high hopes for this book.  I had hoped that it would be a valuable resource for my little one someday.  However, even at the tender age of eight, I have to say that her reading level already far exceeds the scope of this book.  The introduction to this book states that it is the authors intention to equip its reader with the tools necessary to defend their faith with fact and reason to those who would malign it.  The authors then proceed to work their way through the top "myths" about the Bible...attempting along the way to provide the reader with solid irrefutable evidence to the contrary.  It is my opinion, that if someone finds fault with the Bible and you seek to defend it, probably it's best not to use the Bible to do so.  The criticizer has already decided that the Bible itself is faulty.  Therefore citing from it isn't going to change their mind.  It's like saying the Bible is true because the Bible says so. It won't sway anyone.

There are far more effective ways for the faithful to defend their faith in a world that is increasingly more dubious.  “I’m rubber and you’re glue . . .”  Would be a more convincing argument.  Well it would be if we were say... four years old.  Unfortunately, utilizing such and argument (while no less convincing than the ones posited by the authors of "Don't check your brains..") against those seeking to attack Christianity will not win you any debate.  Eventually there will come a time when you have to come up with better arguments, especially when defending your faith in Jesus Christ.  So truly, ultimately, we must each look deep inside and first ask ourselves our reasons for believing.  Not the reasons we've been taught but the reasons deep within our souls. If our faith is true then that truth shines through our words and actions and that is by far the most convincing argument.  Besides, it isn't for us to change others...only God changes minds and hearts.

BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy.

About the Authors

J. Mcdowell

Josh McDowell has been reaching the spiritually skeptical for almost five decades. Since beginning ministry in 1961, Josh has delivered more than 24,000 talks to over 10 million young people in 118 countries. He is the author or co-author of 120 books, with over 51 million copies distributed worldwide; including More Than a Carpenter (over 15 million copies printed in 85 languages), and The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, recognized by World magazine as one of the twentieth century's top 40 books. Josh continues to travel throughout the United States and countries around the world, helping young people and adults strengthen their faith and understanding of Scripture. Josh will tell you that his family is his ministry. He and his wife, Dottie, have been married for 39 years and have four children and four grandchildren.
This biography was provided by the author or their representative.

B. Hostetler
Bob Hostetler is a writer, editor, and speaker from southeastern Ohio. His 20 books, which include "They Call Me A.W.O.L." and "Holy Moses (and Other Adventures in Vertical Living)," have sold over 2 million copies. He has coauthored eight books with Josh McDowell, including the best-selling "Right from Wrong: What You Need to Know to Help Youth Make Right Choices" and the award-winning "Don't Check Your Brains at the Door." He has won two Gold Medallion awards, three Ohio Associated Press awards, and an Amy Foundation award.
Bob is a frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and retreats. He has been a disk jockey, pastor, magazine editor, freelance book editor, and, with his wife, Robin, a foster parent to 10 boys (though not all at once).
Bob and Robin have two adult children, Aubrey and Aaron.
This biography was provided by the author or their representative

19 July 2011

The Canary List: A Novel by Sigmund Brouwer


In this blisteringly-paced novel certain to attract thriller fans who love exploring the corners where spiritual conspiracy intersects with scientific reality, The Canary List uncovers the fine—and fatal—line between the physical and spiritual worlds.

Protected by the dark of night, Jaimie Piper runs. But is anywhere safe when Evil is hunting you?

She's just a twelve year-old girl, bumped around between foster homes and relegated to school classes for challenged kids, those lagging in their test scores or with behavioral issues. But her real problem is that she can sense something the other kids can't-something dark. Something compelling her to run for her life.

All Crockett Grey wants is to mark the anniversary of his daughter's death alone.

But when his student Jaimie comes to him, terrified, her need for protection collides with his grief, and a tangled web of bizarre events sends them both spiraling toward destruction.

Crockett's one hope of getting his life back is to uncover the mysterious secrets of Jaimie's past and her strange gift. It isn't long before his discoveries lead him to a darker conspiracy, secrets guarded by the highest seat of power in the world-the Vatican.

I couldn't put this book down.  Mr. Brouwer weaves a perfectly paced suspense filled mystery that will leave the reader breathless and turning pages well into the night.  It is a classic tale of light versus dark told in the modern era and centered on the Holy Catholic Church.  Dan Brown fans are sure to be pleased.  This reviewer truly enjoyed reading "The Canary List" and must say that with a few exceptions it has been my most enjoyable read this summer.  Perfect reading for the beach or poolside and while it is a book ideal for distraction Mr. Brouwer writes with a conscience and never forgets that his audience is intelligent and not shy about tackling thought-provoking questions about faith and science.  

The Canary List begs the reader to ask themselves whether demons are real, or if they can be explained away by modern psychology. And if we decide that demons don't exist, how much of the gospels must we reject in order to rationalize the frequent mention of demons and miracles?*  Thought provoking, indeed, especially when taken in the context of the modern day Church that rarely if ever mentions the existence of the evil one. 
“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.

Sigmund Brouwer is the bestselling author of Broken Angel and nineteen other novels, with close to three million books in print. His work has appeared in Time, The Tennessean, on Good Morning America and other media. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan and has two young daughters.

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer (Chapter 1)

18 July 2011

Kutless - What Faith Can Do

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you're stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

Harvest Crusade 24 days and counting!

17 July 2011

Always Good to Remember;)

26  When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.27  Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].
Ephesians 4:26-27

16 July 2011

What I'm Reading Today

1 Chronicles 22:1 - 23:32
Romans 3: 9-31 
Psalm 12:1-8 
Proverbs 19:13-14

Psalm 1:2-3 talks about the man or woman blessed by God.  It says: His delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night.  It goes on to say, He is like a tree planted by the streams on water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither; whatever he does prospers.

Our fruitfulness, growth, vitality and prosperity are all dependant upon taking in the Word of God.  We must get into the Word and let the Word get into us.

Keep in mind, how much you read is not as important as what you do with it.  Meditating on even a verse or two can radically transform your life. 
-B. Conley

15 July 2011

David Crowder Band

In anticipation of the Harvest Festival...

How He Loves
He is jealous for me
Love's like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
and I realize just how beautiful You are and how great your affections are for me.
Oh, how He loves us so
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us so.

Yeah, He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves.

So we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way

That he loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

He loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

[Whispered]: Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died and You met me between my breaking
I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony
...they want to tell me You're cruel
But if Stephen could sing, he'd say it's not true, cause...[voice breaks]...

Cause He loves us,
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

Yeah, He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves us
Woah, how He loves

Today's Inspiration

Whatever You Do Will Prosper
Today’s Scripture:
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers”
(Psalm 1:3, NIV)
Today’s Word:
God’s plan is for you to prosper and be successful in every area of your life. Some people might say, “I don’t see how you can say that with the economy like it is. All the experts are saying it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” That may be true in general, but it doesn’t have to be true for believers in Jesus. We are connected to a supply line that will never run dry. Don’t be talked in to having a bad year. The economy is not your source. God is your source. And God wants to bless you beyond your salary. He wants to bless you beyond your normal income. He likes to do unusual things. He can bless you with what I call an explosive blessing! That means, all of the sudden, unexpectedly, something happens that takes you to a new level. Old limitations are broken, and suddenly, you find yourself further than you ever dreamed!

The key is found in Psalm 1:1-2. We have to separate ourselves from the system of the world and set our heart and mind on the Word of God. When you meditate on His promises and follow His commands, you will experience these explosive blessings. When you put Him first, you will be strong and stable, and whatever you do will prosper!
Prayer for Today:
Father God, thank You for Your Word which lights my path and directs my heart. I submit every area of my life to You and put You first in everything I do. Teach me Your ways so I can walk with You and experience everything You have in store for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Joel and Victoria Osteen

14 July 2011

Lightening the Load-Weekly Devotional from Pastor Bayless Conley

When we get into the storms of life, it is often difficult to know what to do.  It can feel like the noise of our troubles drowns out everything else.

In Acts 27 we find the apostle Paul caught in the midst of a horrible storm.  The ship was being tossed all over the place, and the situation was becoming quite serious.

Embedded in this story is a spiritual truth that can guide you and me when we get caught in the storms of life.  It is found in verses 18-19,

And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship.  On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands.

Notice that when the storm got bad and threatened to capsize the ship, they lightened the load.

Sometimes in a storm you need to throw some things overboard.  In fact, it is a great time to evaluate any baggage that you are carrying in your life.  There are some things that may not be a sin to you, but they are a weight to you.
One of the things you need to carefully evaluate is your relationships.  There are some relationships you need to cut loose because they are hanging you up, holding you back, and they are hindering you from getting to where God wants you to go.

Or maybe it’s something as simple as too much TV.  Watching TV may not be a sin, but it can sure be a weight!  It can sure be a hindrance to you hearing from God, especially when you are in a time of crisis.

If you really want to hear from God and get yourself unstuck, lighten your ship.

Answers with Bayless Conley

13 July 2011

Am I Really a Christian?-By Mike McKinley


About Am I Really a Christian?

Jesus divided the world into two groups—those who follow him and those who don’t. But what happens when someone thinks he or she is a Christian, but isn’t? With his witty, engaging style, Mike McKinley takes readers on a journey of what it means to be a Christian. He asserts that “manipulative evangelism techniques and a poor understanding of the gospel have resulted in an abundance of professing Christians who have no idea what it means to follow Christ.” 
Each chapter title begins with “You’re not a Christian [if/when/just because you]…” As he surveys what it means to be Christian, McKinley offers criteria for evaluating one’s standing before God. Readers are guided through a series of challenges to reflect, repent, remember, and report to another person. Am I Really a Christian? ends with chapters on salvation and the local church. This unique book is written for nominal or new Christians and can be used in personal or small-group study.
What an amazing book for new believers, "casual" Christians looking to ratchet up their faith and I might add many people who would count themselves as having a strong and abiding faith in God.  It is a book that has the possibility of making the reader a little bit uncomfortable.  You may just find yourself wondering how deep your walk with the lord really is.  Have you faltered without even realizing it? McKinley writes from his heart in an engaging and friendly tone.  He openly admits that to write such a book could invite criticism on alot of fronts. For example, McKinley addresses the often tossed about "once saved, always saved" catch-phrase and the concept of "losing" salvation when a Christian doesn't persevere in his faith.  I applaud him for tackling this task.  Many will benefit.  This is simply an essential read that is packed with (and backed by) solid scripture.

Find out more about the book here.

About the author:

MIKE MCKINLEY received his MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary and is the author of several articles and reviews. He served on the pastoral staff of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC, and in 2005 was called to revitalize Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia.

Praise for Am I Really A Christian? :

“This is a truly important book in the most urgent sense—a book that serves the cause of Christ by raising the most important question human beings face, and helping to answer it, no less. I am thankful to McKinley for his faithfulness and for the pastoral concern that prompted him to write such an important work.”
-R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

“There can be no more important question than ‘Am I really a Christian?’ and Mike McKinley helps us answer it with great skill. He manages to challenge nominal Christians while comforting genuine believers. McKinley’s writing is accessible, engaging, and simple without ever being simplistic. I particularly appreciate the way he encourages us to explore this crucial question in the context of a Christian community. If you’re not sure where you stand before God, or you know someone who’s not sure, then this is the book for you.”
-Tim Chester, Director, The Porterbrook Institute; author, You Can Change and A Meal With Jesus

Buy the Book HERE.

NOTE: I requested and received a copy of this title via NetGalley.com but made no commitment to review it.

The Sleepwalkers-J. Gabriel Gates

From author J. Gabriel Gates, a debut teen horror novel, “The Sleepwalkers,” slated for release in October 2011.
From the back cover:

Privileged and popular Caleb Mason is celebrating his high school graduation when he receives a mysterious, disturbing letter from his long-lost childhood playmate, Christine. Caleb and his jokester friend Bean decide to travel to his tiny hometown of Hudsonville, Florida, to find her. Upon arrival, they discover the town has taken a horrifying turn for the worse. Caleb’s childhood home is abandoned and his father has disappeared. Children are going missing. The old insane asylum has reopened, and Christine is locked inside. Her mother, a witch, is consumed with madness, and Christine’s long-dead twin sister whispers clues to Caleb through the static of an A.M. radio.
The terrifying prophesies of the spirits are coming to pass. Sixteen clocks are ticking; sixty-six murdered souls will bring about the end of the world. As Caleb peels back layer after layer of mystery, he uncovers a truth more horrible than anything he had imagined, a truth that could only be uttered by the lips of the dead.”
At first I was dubious.  The writing seemed  forced, like the characters were simply playing parts in a play.  Some of the phrases felt dated.  Funny thing is before I realized it I was hooked.  I couldn't put it down.  The story moves along at a quick and engaging pace.  The characters were well drawn out, the plot fairly solid and the premise original.  I really feel that Mr. Gates has a gift that will only become more honed with time and I look forward to reading more of his work.

About the Author:

Author J. Gabriel Gates is a native of Marshall, Michigan. The son of an English teacher, his passion for the written word began at a young age. During college, another passion – for performing – led him to get his B.A. degree in theater from Florida State University.
During his years in Los Angeles, he appeared in a dozen national TV commercials and penned several screenplays while laying the groundwork for his career as a novelist.
His first two novels are Dark Territory: The Tracks, book 1, which is scheduled for release July 1st, and The Sleepwalkers, coming October 3rd, both from HCI Books.
He currently lives in Southwest Michigan.
You can find more about him here.

PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline-Janet Holm McHenry

Prayerwalking Basics
“By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.” (Proverbs 11:11)
Prayerwalking or “praying on site with insight” is about intercession. Those who practice it believe that God answers prayer and that prayer is one of the most powerful tools of evangelism that God has given us. Those who have participated in prayerwalks can share some incredible stories of how God moved before, during, and after their prayerwalks. God honors prayer because it focuses on Him and not on us. Prayerwalking is not a program, a process, nor a prayer event. It is intercession that transforms the intercessor and his/her praying. Let me encourage you to begin where you are.

God is at work. Prayerwalking is just another way of joining Him in what He is doing. It is praying that enlightens and educates us so that we may intercede with internationality and a heart for the people of our target area. The primary reason for Prayerwalking is God. We are being obedient to His command to pray for one another. 

McHenry has written an inspiring and helpful guide to the practice of prayerwalking.  If you have a difficult time finding the time and/or inspiration for deep personal prayer I absolutely suggest that you try prayerwalking.  McHenry has wrtten a thorough guide that will guide you on a path that you will not regret having chosen.  I have been prayerwalking for the last year and I can say that it has born fruit that sustains me. Prayerwalking has opened my eyes and heart to the will of God.

McHenry's book should be a quick read that will (hopefully) get you up on your feet and walking with God and for God.  If you are unaccustomed to prayer or are not sure how to pray or what to pray McHeny also guides you in that direction as well.  Not only will you find yourself becoming more physically fit you will find that spiritually you will be stronger and stronger in your faith with each step.  

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

07 July 2011


Pair soft, supple yarns in eye-catching colors with timeless yet contemporary designs and you have answered every knitter's dream. For more than 20 years, the studios of Classic Elite Yarns have created enduring patterns that beg to be knitted with their sumptuous products. In this pattern collection, a follow-up to best-selling Classic Elite Knits, the focus is on quick-to-make accessories. Knitters of all skill levels will love this value-packed collection of 100 patterns for socks, wraps, hats, gloves, bags, scarves, and more. Knitters can indulge themselves or find something to knit for every member of the family. The 120 color photos showcase the range of high-quality yarns as well, including cotton, wool, bamboo, angora, cashmere, and blended yarns. Classic Elite Quick Knits will keep knitters' hands busy for a long time to come.  Created in 1980, CLASSIC ELITE YARNS had its origin in the late 40s when the founder became a partner in Warley Worsted Mills. Today, as one of the top U.S. yarn companies, Classic Elite Yarns distributes fine hand-knitting fibers from numerous international mills. The company resides in a historic mill building on the banks of the Merrimack River in Lowell, Massachusetts.   A terrific value-a collection of 100 patterns for $24.95.   Classic Elite Yarns is one of the most notable and respected manufacturers of quality fibers in the United States.   The collection includes a variety of patterns from a stable of accomplished knitwear designers like Cathy Carron, CecilyGlowik MacDonald, and Jared Flood.

 I love, love this knitting book!  The patterns are not only beautiful but they are also clearly written out with most of them being fully charted as well.  The yarns used are perfect for each project...elegant and a joy to hold in the hands.  Most, if not all, of the patterns are best suited for the intermediate to experienced knitter.  However, having said that, I would suggest that if you are a beginner and are looking for something to take your knitting to the next level this book could very well be the perfect book to start with. All of the projects can be finished in a very short amount of time and also just happen to be the ideal project to tuck into a bag for on the go knitting.  I realize that summer is in full swing but as a knitter it is not too early to start tackling that Christmas list and this book definitely has a plethora of great gift ideas.  I really can not say enough wonderful things about this book...I like it that much.  In fact, I should mention, that for most of two years I have been searching for that one elusive pattern book that I could return to time and again.  A book that is lovely to look at, one that has original and enchanting projects suited for gifting and one that challenges me just enough to keep me interested.  I have found that book.  Finally. Classic Elite Quick Knits will be available 18 October 2011 from Taunton Publishers-ISBN 9781600854033.

I recieved a preview copy for review purposes from Taunton Publishers and I am grateful. 

05 July 2011

40 Days Without food - Russ Masterson

Russ Masterson had read and heard about purpose, but didn't have a clue what his own purpose was to be.  And there was emptiness where there should have been value.  As he puts it, "I kept hoping a step would arrive when it was time to lift my foot."  Disillusioned with his life, as well as with God, he heard this advice: fast from food for 40 days.  Faithless and frazzled, Russ accepted the challenge, hoping for direction, reflecting on the past, and wrestling with issues like purpose, faith, and love. In this book, readers will find a fresh literary voice -- an insightful thinker who meets people in their humanity while helping them to see they can be rescued from it.  The journey of these forty days without food will help you explore what really matters in life. 

40 Days Without Food is a very honest account of one man's journey through faith.  So many Christian books take faith as an absolute ideal, skirting around the issue of doubt and uncertainty.   Yet all of us struggle with belief and faith at the intersection of worldly things and the spiritual.

Earlier this year I myself fasted for 21 days and 41 days respectively.  I am always curious about other people's experience during a spiritual fast.  Did they meet God somewhere along the way?  Were their most fervent prayers answered in some grand and mystical way?  I personally didn't experience any particularly religious epiphanies.  Nor did I have any of my more pressing questions of faith resolved.  What I did receive was a deeper and more settled faith in God.

Masterson's personal account was inspiring, inspirational and brutally honest. He details his struggles with greed and vanity...his thoughts on contentment and love.  He tackles the very big question on what it means to be saved and yet still human.  How can we as very broken, sinful by nature people, succeed in honoring our Lord and Saviour?  Each and every decision we make hinges on this one central question.  How do we know if what we desire, think and strive to achieve is in line with our Great Maker's purpose?  It is in the questioning of this that we find the answer.  The very fact that we question our motives and measure our actions against our beliefs leads us (hopefully) in the right direction.  God guides us gently and faithfully and if we simple surrender our lives and selves up to Him we are never truly alone and without purpose.  Our purpose is simply this...Bring Glory to our Lord.

"Life is about more that stuff.  Stuff corrodes.  One hundred years from now, Bill Gates will be as poor as you.  Money can't bring contentment or purpose.  Money can only propel purpose that already exists." 

This book is so much more than a book about fasting-although it can be helpful in that regard.  It is a solid and truthful portrait of every Christian's journey through faith.  If you've ever experienced spiritual doubt, know that you are not alone.  If you've ever felt that God has forgotten you, know that you are deeply loved by Him.  If you ever wanted to know how to walk this path of faith, read Russ Masterson's words and find camaraderie and comfort. 

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or ARC.