Wine and The Word: Savor and Serve by Kurt Senske (Book Review)

 

 

I like wine. I like the Word of God. I like when a person can take a subject they know well, bring powerful truths to light, and communicate them clearly enough that I may benefit. When I was asked if I would like to read and  review Kurt Sense’s Wine and the Word: Savor and Serve my interest was piqued. I was curious. I am certainly not a wine connoisseur, so I wondered what  I might learn about both God, wine and whatever else this author had to share about the connection between wine and our Spiritual  lives.

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Knowing My God and More by Callie Grant (Children’s Books and Parenting Resources)

Who doesn’t love a good children’s book? Better still, a good children’s book that shares the deeper things of God, in an age appropriate manner. Who doesn’t remember there own favorite book illustrations? Books that are both beautifully written, illustrated and profound are a rare treasure. Callie Grant and Graham Blanchard are doing an amazing service by bringing forth books worth owning for families who value their faith and the power of story.

I am very impressed with the quality and makeup of these books, as well as the resources offered on their website for parents. I want to share a bit about the three books I received and let you see why you will be excited to own your own copies to share with our little ones.

The collection of board books are as durable and well made as they are beautiful. Perfect for taking the wear and tear of sticky fingers, drools and loving round of sibling tug of war! There are three primary categories for the story books: Learn, Absorb and Praise. You can lick on the links bellow to read learn more details about each category and also to get a peek into each book. Each offers a unique perspective for encouraging conversations about God.

Jesus Saves Me is for ages 0-7 and is from the “Knowing My God” series, and is a Learn book. The book focuses on Jesus as the Good Shepherd and introduces Jesus’s mission on earth to save and care His sheep. It is based on the verses in John 10:14-16, and illustrated with beautiful images. This book was hit with my Sunday School class, aged 5-7 years old, and they like to take turns taking it home!

Little Seed: A Life  is for ages 0-6 and is a Praise book. I really adored this story which takes the reader on a journey through the life cycle of a seed. Perfect for teaching in conjunction with a Homeschooling science with younger ones, incorporating the spiritual and physical aspects. Gorgeous colors and details, to allow little ones to share among themselves as well.

Close as a Breath is for ages 06 and is an Absorb book. This story pictures a daughter and father taking a walk, as the daughter asks one question after another. Adults and children will relate, and enjoy this little story that prompts some of those bigger questions, that lead to more questions, ultimately resting on the sovereignty of God. Beautifully affirming and lovely illustrations.

If you are looking for quality books, worth re-reading and enjoying with your young children, these books and all I have seen from this publisher, have been excellent. The site offers a number of excellent Parent resources, downloads and tips!  One PDF download available on the site, A Parents Guide for Children Growing Up in God: 5 Things for the First 5 Years, is worth a look.

Check out my review of Jesus Invites Me , also by Callie Grant. 
I had the pleasure of receiving these books through Shelton Interactive in return and for the purpose of review. The opinions I express are my own.

Reading List: Cozy Book Hop

Experiencing God at Home Day by Day: A Family Devotional by Blackaby & Osborne (Book Review)

I wanted to take the time to share this new Devotional by Tom Blackaby and Rick Osborne, in case you are looking for a great tool for your spiritual toolbox for the New Year. The Experiencing God At Home Day by Day hardcover devotional has a lot to offer families looking for something to share together that still meets the variety, complexity and diversity needed for each individual. It is written to serve as a smorgasbord where many can come eat, but also take something away that allows them to ultimately find spiritual nourishment on their own. If you haven’t shuffled off to find a snack yet, let me tell you more about this excellent resource published by B & H.

The book is small, yet packed full with devotions based on Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. I will share how it is organized so that you can get the sense of the material and how it flows. I actually appreciate the way the layout and structure are condensed well. The devotions are undated, so one could start anytime, or adapt easily for a family’s unique scheduling circumstances.

The devotions are broken into weekly themes, and cover six days, spanning 50 weeks. There are also special occasion devotions for holidays and birthdays. Some examples of the special occasion devotion topics are: Thanksgiving, Election Day, Salvation, War, New Years Eve, New Years Day, Christmas, Baptism; even Halloween is included  as well as a few more.

The Introduction and Instructions chapter lays out clearly how to have family devotional time with a number of ages present and also how to get the most from this time.

The weekly themed devotions begin with what is called “Parent Connection” and introduce scripture and topic. Each day takes up one page in the book. The print is smallish, but not overly hard to read. There are also some great recommendations of additional resources, tools and activities offered. Days 2-6 Begin with a Reading and follow with 4 parts:

1. Quick Start-is a short, focus point or springboard. A Tidbit to stir up the thinking and communication process.
2. Quest – this is the devotional portion which ties into scripture.
3. Quiet Family Prayer- A prompt for prayer also based on the topic.
4. Quiet Time- This section is further broken down into older kids and younger kids and each is encouraged to seek out their own quiet time in an age appropriate way. It’s kind of like individual “homework”, to encourage the child to seek God on His own.

If your family is is seeking to establish a devotional time or if you have grown frustrated in your efforts, this little book could be handy in helping you and yours  find a measure of success in planning and practicing, as you grow in living out this aspect of ministry together.

Practical, handy and helpful is how I would describe this Devotional.

From the Publishers:
Experiencing God at Home Day by Day features 50 weeks of daily devotions that takes families from Genesis to Revelations, allowing them to explore all books of the Bible in just one year. The daily devotions feature a passage of scripture, a parent connection section, a conversation starter, applications, and more. There are also special devotions for important family moments like birthdays, holidays, back-to-school and more, so God can be celebrated and incorporated into all seasons and stages of life. Experiencing God at Home Day by Day not only provides a basis for personal, daily time spent together as a family, but serves as a pace setter for the deeper study of God’s word, preparing children to develop their own habit of seeking God in their lives

Blackaby Ministries International was founded by Henry and Marilyn Blackaby to help people experience God. The ministry focuses on three main concepts: helping people experience God, helping people and churches return to God, and helping church, business and family leaders move people to God’s agenda. Through writing, speaking and teaching ministries the Blackabys share their unique message, drawing on timeless truths to show how God is drawing people close to Him, and setting them free. For more information, visit www.blackaby.net

 I received this book in return for a review from Shelton Interactive. All opinions are my own.
Thanks to the lovely folks at Shelton Interactive who continuously provide me the opportunity to review excellent books! 

Thanks to B & H publishing Group for making the book available. 

Linking w/TimewarpWife

Chase – A DVD Based Study by Jennie Allen (Review)

 
“God is invisible, and yet He is the only thing we can chase that won’t leave us feeling more empty.”
What comes to your mind when you hear the name David? Chase DVD-Based Study
by Jennie Allen is an attempt to draw the lessons of the life of the man whom God called “a man after my own heart.”. I want to be a woman who God would say the same about, how about you?
I have done a number of Bible Study Lessons about the Life of David, and I have to admit, this one life continues to deepen my faith and trust in God like no other. So let me tell you how this DVD-Based Study is unique.
This beautifully boxed DVD study set, comes complete with an Leader’s guide, Student (Study) Guide, 80 minute DVD, and Conversation Cards. Additional Study Guides can be purchased separately. It has all you need to hold a Bible Study group in your home or church, although I am thinking that it lends itself well to comfortable, cozy gatherings of women in  relaxed environments. If you have never led a Bible Study before, Jennie gives enough instruction, coaching and advice to allow for a great start. 
The Leader’s Guide offers a section on preparing to lead a group, tips on leading and things to watch out for. The rest of the guide directs each of the 8 lessons in a concise manner. There is also a section on the different types of learners and how best to encourage them in this study.
The Study Book states clearly instructions and expectations supported by those in the Leader’s Guide. Since this study is highly interactive (more on that in a minute), there is no getting around there has to be some clear guidelines set in place for everyone to adhere and refer to in print. 
The DVD is segmented into 10 minute sessions to use at each of the get togethers. I loved the unique and beautiful way Jennie appears in these video clips. They are sure to draw out and inspire deep sharing among women. I absolutely felt moved to tears a couple of times while listening to her speaking. 
Discussion time comes in various ways for each meeting but one of the unique features offered with this study are the Conversation Cards. These small cards have questions printed on them for each of the weekly themes. The leader spreads the cards out and allows the group to choose the question they are willing to discuss. Here are a couple of examples: “Do you feel pressure from God to obey or measure up? How is that pressure affecting you?” and What do you most fear losing? Is God enough to fill the space of what you might lose?”.  These cards are meant to encourage authentic reflecting and sharing within the safety of the group. I also think they would make great journal prompts! 
 The Chase study follows themed in this way : 
Getting Started: Chase
Lesson 1: Identity- 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Lesson 2: Courage- 1 Samuel 17:1-51
Lesson 3: Obedience- 1 Samuel 15:1-31
Lesson 4: Belief- 2 Samuel 7:1-17
Lesson 5: Repentance-2 Samuel 11; 2 Samuel 12:1-14
Lesson 6: Surrender- 2 Samuel 13; 2 Samuel 18:13-33
Lesson 7: Chased Down- Ephesians 1:3-14
I have listed the specific study scripture to give an idea of the chapters covered on David’s life but additional scripture is used and referenced throughout the study as well, including Psalms. 
I passed the Chase Box along to my Women’s Ministry Leader who kindly shared her input on this study as well. Here are her thoughts: “The videos will make participants feel as though they are having a one on one discussion with Jennie – the material is thought provoking. Chase would be excellent for small group study. The Chase cards would give the women the opportunity to know each other on a deeper level.” 
I am hoping to lead this study in my home this Winter. I think it would definitely rock my world, and those who join in the journey! All the tools you need need to enjoy a small gathering study are available in this one box. 
“This is not a study for people who want to play it safe. This study will mess with you., just as it messed with me, because we are all chasing things other than Go, and when you look into the life of someone chasing God Himself, God alone, you start craving Him too. I want a life like David’s, brave dependent and full of worship. He had a relationship with God unlike any other I’ve ever seen. I want to know God like he did. I want to trust God like he did. “
~ Jennie Allen
Here is a clip of Jennie (click to see video clip if you are viewing through e-mail)
For more, check out Jennie Allen’s Chase  at Thomas Nelson.
I received this Product through Shelton Interactive. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Jesus Invites Me by Callie Grant (Book Review)

As one who loves all books and also teaches Sunday School class to 1st and 2nd graders, I was happy to get my hands on a beautiful hard copy of Jesus Invites Me which is part of the Knowing My God series by Graham Blanchard Publishing.
This series is an excellent resource for sharing God’s word and will, right at home during read times. Beautiful full color photographs make on sturdy pages make this enjoyable for inquisitive eyes as well as curious, busy hands. There is something for everybody on these beautiful pages, based on Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. God’s words of scripture and photos invite children to come to Jesus and learn what it means to walk with Him. I love the way the book simply explains what a “yoke” is and what Jesus means when He uses these words. It helps that there is a picture, along with scripture and a simple but clear explanation.
Click to see the actual first pages here:
  Take a Peek.
I have to say these books would make a perfect gift for little ones from Infant to age 7.
I also had a sneak peek through PDF versions of both Jesus Saves Me and Jesus Shows Me.
I think the quality and content in all of these books is excellent and useful in the home as well as in a number of children’s settings. I would have loved to get these for my Girl when she was younger!

This Board Book publishing date is October 1, 2013.
Just in time for Fall Birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I highly recommend you also check out this faith based company and the other books available.
A very impressive endeavor and quality products that seek to make a difference.
Check out Author/Publisher Callie Grant and her team at Graham Blanchard (Children’s Books for Growing Up in God)

About the Publisher (from the website):
Graham Blanchard is based out of Austin, Texas and works with a growing team of writers, editors, 
illustrators, parents and pastors. The company is passionate about providing the highest quality books and resources to promote a love of learning about God, in addition to supporting families with prayer and the shared experiences of other parents. Graham Blanchard books are distributed by STL, Spring Arbor and Anchor Distributors. For more information please visit www.grahamblanchard.com.
I received this book from Shelton Interactive in return for a review. Opinions expressed are my own.
Reading List: Cozy Reading Spot

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