The King’s Christmas List

I  ordered this sweet book The King’s Christmas List (written by Eldon Johnson and illustrated by Bonnie Leick)  from Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program awhile back, simply because the little girl on the front cover looks like our daughter Isabelle, and I knew she would love having a book with a picture of herself on the cover.  I was gratefully surprised that the story with a lesson on sharing on the inside matched the cuteness of the cover.

The general synopsis of the book is that Emma is on the way to the King’s Birthday party (the king being Jesus), but has no idea what to get for a King.  Along the way Emma and her dog meet a few weary travelers, and end up giving them her teddy bear, a cake meant for the King, and her coat—all they had.  By the time Emma gets to the King, she is empty handed and ashamed, but the King assures her that the greatest gift she could give Him was what she gave to others.

My favorite part of the book is at the very end.  The book points out a few charities that a family can help and make a difference in the world.  I love that there is this challenge at the end, and it makes the book action-oriented.  The writing of the book is a little rhymey and uses language that might be a little over the top of a little girl or boy’s head, but the point of the story comes across clear.  Sharing and giving is the best gift to give Jesus for His Birthday.  I would highly recommend this book as a gift for a young child for Christmas, or even before Christmas!

 

Disclaimer: I got this book for free from Booksneeze, and they didn’t bribe me to say good things about it.

St. Francis

St. Francis  I just finished reading Thomas Nelson’s “Saint Francis” by Robert west.  It is a part of Christian Encounters, a series of biographies which highlight important lives from all ages and areas of the Church. Quite honestly, I didn’t know much about St. Francis, except that he must have really loved animals because preached to some birds once, and lots of people have nice little statues of him in their front yards with birds on his shoulders. 

What I did learn though, was that St. Francis was a guy that lived with reckless abandon, sold out completely for the faith he believed in, and the calling of God on his life.  He utterly rejected the lavish lifestyle he was brought up with, and devoted the rest of his life to living in extreme poverty.  He believed that anything we own takes time and energy to protect.  When we own stuff, we are constantly filling our thoughts with ways to protect what is ours, diverting attention from our community with God.  I love that his mindset went completely against everything he ever knew to be true.

As word spread about St.Francis, so did the folklore surrounding him.  The stories about him seeme to have gotten bigger and bigger through time.  I appreciate that the author doesn’t claim that every story surrounding St.Francis’ life to be true.  Rather, he paints a vivid picture of the character, and lets the reader decide for themselves. 

This is a great, short, easy to read book about the life of St. Francis.  The only thing I’m not completely crazy about is the quality of the cover and pages. I like to read, highlight, and take notes on the pages of this type of books, and the ink from my highlighter bled through to the other side…not a big deal really.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the life of St.Francis.

BibleMan DVD Review By Maddie, Whitney, and Belle

I received this DVD to review from the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze program.  We own one other BibleMan DVD that the girls have watched a lot over the years, so I thought I’d give this one the true test and see what my 6, 10, and 11 year old girls thought of it.  I asked them all the same questions, and got completely different answers.  The target age for the DVD says 6-10, and I think you will be able to see from their answers how accurate of an estimation that is.

The basic synopsis of the DVD is this:  A dastardly villain plots to steal the armor of God.  Bible Man and his team use truths from the Bible to beat him Scripture lesson: “God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace.1 Corinthians 14:33.  The video is shot in front of a live audience, and the over all quality was pretty low.  Here’s what my kids thought:

Keep in mind:  Belle is 6, Whitney is 10, and Maddie is 11. 

 Did you learn anything from this DVD?

B: Jesus is better than you think

W: I heard Bible verses that I had not heard before, but other than that, no.

M: I learned that people in spandex look weird.

What age do you think Bible Man is made for?

B: 6, 7, 8, 9

W: 6-8

M: 3-7

Was it scary?

B: No, but it would be scary for little girls.  You can just cover their eyes or skip it.

W: No. Maybe a little bit for little kids

M: NO!

What was your favorite part?

B: When Bible Man Wins

W: um…

M: When it ended

What was the worst part?

B: When the bad guy almost kills him

W: I didn’t like that it was live.  I like it better when it is a directed show.

M: The whole thing

Was it interesting or boring?

B: Interesting

W: Boring

M: Boring

What are your final thoughts?

B: Man, ladies, and parents, and maybe even animals would like to watch this since it is about God.

W: Overall, it’s a great show about God for little kids.

M: You can tell the people are mouthing the words 3/4 of the time, and the costumes look plastic.

So, you can see for yourselves that this DVD would be great for younger kids.  It teaches them that the Word of God can be used as a weapon against the enemy of our souls.  If you have a boy or girl ages 6-10, I think they would love this video, BibleMan Combating the Commandant of Confusion.

St. Patrick-Saint and Legend.

At age 14, a boy named Patrick was captured from his homeland of Scotland by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years as a shepherd/slave.  By his own confession, he grew up knowing about God, but not loving God.  The forced imprisonment left him completely alone and away everything familiar to him.  He sat for years watching sheep, and like King David in the Bible spent his hours and days listening and talking to God. 

In his early twenties, he had a dream where he said God told him to leave because his ship was waiting for him.  He ran through the dark, through swamps and hills over 200 miles and escaped by ship, returning to his family.  His family asked him to swear he’d stay close to them forever, since they already lost him once.  He had another dream a few years later that prompted him to return to the people in Ireland he had grown to love and share the Gospel of Jesus with them. 

I really enjoyed this short biography of St. Patrick.  Jonathan Rogers shares the legends of St. Patrick alongside the facts we know about him through his own writings.  I was fascinated with the legends that grew and grew over the years about St. Patrick and his ministry.  No, he was not the first Christian in Ireland, No, he really didn’t drive all the snakes out, and no, he wasn’t the first Bishop of Ireland-all new and surprising news to me.

This is a really great read, and I highly recommend it to anyone, especially as St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner.  Reading this book made St. Patrick come alive to me with all his passion for Jesus and the people of Ireland that he loved and gave his life for.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: The Liturgical Year

The latest book I have read for Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program is entitled: The Liturgical Year: the spiraling adventure of the spiritual life, by Joan Chittister.

The book takes us through the liturgical year, beginning on the first Sunday of Advent and carrying through the following November.

The premise of the book is to help us begin to fully understand that Christmas and Easter are our anchors to the Christian faith, and the in-between time a cause for reflection and anticipation of what is to come.

Joan is a Benedictine nun, and I have come to love her writing through other books of hers such as “Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope.”  She has a connection with the heart of God that is evident.  She loves Jesus, and it appears she has a passion to paint the picture of liturgy as a source of hope and life to those who call themselves Christians.

Being Liturgically clueless, this book was a bit confusing.  There are many feasts and celebrations I had not heard of before.  I chose this book hoping it would somehow connect me to the Liturgical practices I don’t really know about, but the book left me wanting for more understanding and desire for clarity on practical ways I can incorporate the Liturgical practices into my Evangelical life.

With that said, I think anyone who wants to explore the Liturgical life further should pick up this book.  It certainly opened the door of curiosity a little wider for me, and I walked away understanding a bit more of what the Liturgical calendar is and why it is important.

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255