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Showing posts from September, 2010

The Least Among You (2009 DVD)

I like movies, a lot. It’s probably our number one pastime in our family. Lion’s Gate produces the majority of the Christian movies that have hit the theater’s in the past few years, including The Love Dare with Kirk Cameron.

The Least Among You is the story of a young black man, Richard (Cedric Sanders), who is sentenced to a term of probation at an all white seminary after harming a police officer during the Watts Riots. He appears on this campus and is immediately encouraged by the President of the seminary (William Devane) to push for the integration of the seminary. Richard also discovers that his professor Kate Allison (Lauren Holly) has served in Africa and he tries to seek her help in guidance on this endeavor.

As Richard tries his best to change the minds of his classmates, the gardener (Louis Gossett, Jr.) befriends him. The story is an excellent journey of how God works in our lives.

The film itself has its share of poorly shot scenes and some dubbed out bits. If you are…

Windfalls

We are the typical American family, swimming in debt. All of it was accumulated between 2000 and 2006. For six years we spent more than we made. We paid for groceries on credit and still to this day the only piece of furniture that we have bought is our bed and a tv stand. The other bits and pieces in our home have been gifts. We are going to pay the last payment on our car, eight years later thanks to leasing and loans.

Our material life has been built upon the hope that one day we could afford the basics. The problem with that kind of thinking is that once you start making a decent salary, you have this burden of all the things you've acquired on the way there, so you don't actually get to enjoy it at all.

Once we stopped using credit and making our way toward being able to enjoy the hear and now, we were able to start enjoying windfalls. Small unexpected windfalls mainly. Someone would bring us a meal or a check would show up before going on a trip. Angel Food Ministries…

Immanuel’s Veins by Ted Dekker

Immanuel’s Veins is a story set in Czarist Russia, when Catherine the Great was ruling. Toma is one of Catherine’s war heroes and she has sent him along with his companion Alec to guard two young ladies that may one day be heirs to the throne. While Toma and Alec travel to their charge, they encounter a man who warns them of the danger they are about to face. And the face of that danger is seen on the first day of their arrival. Vlad and his coven are intent on stealing away the young ladies that Toma is responsible for guarding. Immanuel’s Veins is the story of how Toma learns that it is not always the sword that wins the battle, but the heart and sacrifice are needed, too.

Dekker did a wonderful job of keeping me scared and curious as to what the mystery of Vlad might be. He employed the “don’t tell” method to allow the mind to come up with all sorts of things that could possibly be going on in the shadows. Once the true darkness was revealed, Dekker masterfully brought in the light…

Rhythm

Why is it that we all talk so much about the rhythm of life, but rarely, if ever, dance on the beat?

I love to dance to my own self made rhythm, it's normally made up of the sounds of desire, determination, deadlines, and duty. Come to think of it, that sounds an awful lot like a dirge. But it's not an uncommon way to make up a rhythm. We look at our calendar and to do lists and decide how we will move within the time we expect to have, forsaking the rhythm God is singing to us, each and every day, in order to satisfy some ambition of how life is supposed to be.

I know that I do this in small ways, getting that feeling that something should happen today or right this instance. My brain says "You should do the dishes! Look at them! What a mess!"
But then that quiet rhythm says "Wait, this should be done in the morning."
My body agrees and says "It's been a long day, if you make me do that, it's going to take forever AND I'm going to sweat,…

Love, Charleston by Beth Hart

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Love, Charlestonby Beth Hart. It took me less than 24 hours to read it cover to cover. Making it the first book that has kept me up past midnight in a long time.


Hart’s storytelling is excellent, and easy to read. I grew up in the Charleston area and feel like she did an great job of propagating the myth that all true Charlestonians are a different kind of folk. Though Hart did not use the dialogue to highlight the Southern charm, she did use some unusual terms that would only be found in the homes of Charleston such as “piazza”. It was delightful to read about streets and homes that I have passed by numerous times. And to think about traveling along I-26 as I have done too many times to count.

There are four main characters that we get to know well in the book and because of that I would say that for me the story line was not about Ray and Anne, which is what the back cover suggests. I was far more intrigued with the stories of Della and Lish. Which are …

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado

Max Lucado’s latest book, Outlive Your Life,  is based on the book of Acts from the New Testament. Lucado journeys through the book of Acts exploring what made the church explode from a few believers in Jerusalem to a world wide phenomena. Along the journey, Lucado encourages and teaches how we too can have this type of experience with God, in essence, how we can outlive our lives.

As always, Lucado does an excellent job of illustrating the scripture and making it not only personal, but also memorable. This book has several retellings of scripture that will bring the text to life in a way that you may not have thought of it before. There are numerous touching stories that caused me to pause and to consider ways in which I can live a life that is more Jesus and less me.

The book includes a Discussion and Action guide that is encouraging and thoughtful. It may very be the best part of the book, as it takes you through the mental process and encourages action upon the ideas expressed i…

Making it work

A lot of people would love to spend more time with their children or just not have to work in general, so that they can devote their time to other things.  And the truth of the matter is that if you are married and your spouse has a job, you can make it work, but you have to be willing to do just that, make it work. 

Joel and I have been on one income for the past nine years, and guess what, we do not own our own home, we have one vehicle and we still make conscious decisions about every article of clothing that comes into the house.  The food side has laxed up a bit, but I think that was probably a much needed change.  Here are my tips in regards to making it work.  Or I guess I should say, this is how we made it work, because staying home will look different for every household.  Here's the encouragement, we did it on less than 20k a year with a child, student loans, consumer debt out the wazoo and pets, so you can, too.

Tip 1: You can do without a lot of stuff that you current…

Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson

My first impression of Anne Jackson’s book Permission to Speak Freely is that it was small and unassuming. Little did I know that inside it is anything but. Simply put, this is part of Anne Jackson’s story, mainly the bits that she has been unable to share as freely in the church. It is a common story, one that many of us will be able to relate to on one level or another. Interwoven into Jackson’s story is that of hundreds of people who contributed small parts of their lives through emails, note cards, and photos.

It is beautiful and beautifully done. The book is easy to read and full of the art that makes up our lives. I was able to share part of the book with a small group that I meet with and it helped us with our own personal time of confession. Permission to Speak Freely is an invitation to do just that, speak freely, with yourself as well as the church. There are many barriers that will need to be met and overcome in order for any one of us to be free with in community. This b…

The Boy Who Changed The World by Andy Andrews

It has been a long time since I have read a children’s book that is as touching and needed in this world as The Boy Who Changed The World. Andrew’s story is based on real events, but they are extraordinary outcomes to simple choices. Illustrator Philip Hurst almost steals the show with his breath taking watercolor paintings of the story. I could feel the depth of the paper even though I reviewed a digital copy of the book. His paintings alone make this a worthwhile investment.
The story is about connections between a young man named Norman Bourlag, who created a super food that is used in third world countries and how his story was created by the overlapping stories of Henry Wallace, George Washington Carver, and Moses Carver.
This book is an excellent history book for young readers and a welcomed reminder for young and old alike that we can make simple choices that will have positive results beyond our imagination. The Boy Who Changed The World is a compliment to one of Andy Andrews…

LASB Bible Study 2 Corinthians

The Life Application Study Bible (LASB) Bible Study of 2 Corinthians is a 13-lesson study “to help us stay loyal to Christ.” I really enjoyed having the entirety of the LASB’s 2 Corinthians text with study notes right in the study. It meant that I never had to go searching for a Bible when I wanted to read through a lesson. This feature will also make it helpful series for seekers who may not own a Bible and are not in a place to invest in a study Bible quite yet.

The instructions on use are very helpful and the time line is sufficient for a class setting. The first lesson was excellent, where as the second was lacking in depth, which was surprising. The different areas of study for each chapter are well thought out and should lead to a deeper understanding of 2 Corinthians. I would recommend this study to groups of new believers, but would hold off of using it with those who are well versed in scripture as it is a bit repetitive in spots.

The book is well laid out and easy to maneu…