Tag Archives: Bible

The Manger Mission ~ a nativity book and activity set review

Disclosure: Many thanks to The Manger Mission for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

Nativity sets are such a common and joyful part of the Christmas tradition for us. We enjoy having a number of these out each Christmas season and having a variety of styles. One thing we noticed when our girls were young is that playing with the nativity set is something they did almost daily and really enjoyed. We kept a kid-friendly nativity set where they could reach it and play whenever they wanted. The Manger Mission: A Family Christmas Tradition written by Kristin Vazquez and illustrated by Hannah Santi is just such an activity set with a hardback storybook to go with it.

The Storybook – The Manger Mission

This is a lovely little storybook about about 6″x6″. This hardback book is a fairly muted color scheme of teal, gold, grays, and white. It matches they activity set beautifully. The story introduces the three wise men, modeled on the story from the Bible found in Luke that tells of an unknown number of men, also unnamed, who traveled to Judea to find the king that was foretold in prophecy from the Old Testament. (This Bible account is noted at the end of the story.)

The story is of the three wise men recounting their journey to see the newborn Christ while they are being moved daily by the children of the home for their yearly reenactment of that journey with a nativity set.

The illustrations, of course, are modeled on the activity set. In the story, the three wise men figures are taken out of the box and are excited to start their yearly reenactment to get to the manger where Jesus lay. They talk about the different places the children place them, each day a little bit closer to the destination of Jesus’ manger. It is a sweet little story.

The Activity Set

The activity set contains 12 pieces. Each piece is comfortable suited for a child’s hand and is a piece of shaped wood. They wood is painted and the covered with a protective coating. They are coordinated with the storybook. The pieces include:

  • Shelter/Cover/Barn
  • Joseph and Mary
  • Jesus
  • 3 wise men
  • 3 animals
  • a shepherd (mine had 2 but the purchase site shows 1)
  • an angel

Notes

This is a fictionalized story that is based on the Bible, though it does incorporate a lot of the tradition of man. This includes giving names to the wise men, likely based in a denominational tradition, and noted a specific number of wise men, again based solely on tradition and not the Bible account. That does not men this is not an incredible activity set that can bring a lot of meaning to your family. This daily motion of the wise men can start at any time during the holiday season if you would like to use it that way. It could also be just a beautiful, fun activity set for the children to have fun with.

The story is fine but I did not find it super engaging. If my children were still in the age range for this, we would read the story at the beginning and then just have the activity set for the girls to play with whenever they wanted. Whatever works for you family would be just right.

This is a beautiful, engaging activity set that can add a lovely tradition to your holiday season or a play time for your children or grandchildren. It is definitely worth investment. Do remember that they are painted wood, though, so a teething child or one who likes to chew on things could damage the pieces.

This is a recommend from me. My girls are even excited to have this new nativity set to add to our collection this year and they are 17, 15, and 12. 🙂 Visit https://www.themangermission.com/ to purchase your own set or one for a gift and start a new tradition.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

1 John: Relying On The Love of God ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product from the publisher New Growth Press for the purpose of this review.

1 John: Relying On The Love of God is a small group Bible study published by New Growth Press. It is a part of the Bible study series The Gospel-Centered Life In The Bible. This study is written by Scotty Smith. I received a PDF file for the purpose of this review.

1 John is themed with love and it is the identifying characteristic the John uses in a lot of his writings. The introduction to this study reads:

John referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Surely, this was not because John felt Jesus loved him more than the others, but because John treasured the love of Jesus so deeply.We identify ourselves by the things we treasure. They become the things that most define us. For John, nothing defined him more than the love God has for us in Jesus.

This is what the author of this study really wants us to get a grasp of, to understand in this study. Because 1 John is a shorter book than many others in the Bible, this study is only eight lessons long rather than the 10 that seem to typically be in this series of studies. It is expected that this study will be completed in a small group. It appears to me that it would be a stronger study in a group but would work almost as well as an individual study. Each lesson is structured to take approximately an hour to complete.

Each lesson is structured in the same manner as the other books in this study series. It includes the Big Idea (theme of the lesson), Bible Conversation (reading the passage and discussing it), Article (written by the author of the study), Discussion (questions to consider and draw the group deeper into the theme of the lesson and challenge thoughts and understanding), Exercise (applying the theme and lesson to your life and creating change in you), and Wrap Up and Prayer (closure for the lesson). There is also a section at the end titled Leader’s Notes. These notes include background and information to help the leader guide the lesson and answer some of the questions brought up in the Bible Conversation and the Discussion sections. The notes section is not an answer key as these are not right and wrong sorts of questions. But it is there for consultation to aid the leader.

Personal Thoughts:
We recently went through 1 John in our Sunday night worship series and I am looking forward to going through this study more in depth. I am looking forward to the author’s approach to this. I have found his writing easy to read and his thoughts seem to be grounded in the Bible, rather than a personal take on things.

On a less positive note, I find it difficult to evaluate a book like this when it is in PDF form. I do much better with printed Bible studies. I prefer them. This format is especially difficult when you need to access the Leader’s Notes, which are at the very end. Then you have to scroll back to look at the question and scroll to the end again for the notes, etc. I think I would like this better and find it more enjoyable if I had a printed book.

Overall, I did enjoy this study. Be sure to check out other titles in this study series from New Growth Press, including PsalmsJonahRuth, Exodus, Mark, Ephesians, Titus, Revelation, and Ecclesiastes. You can read my review of some of them here on the blog.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Ecclesiastes: Life In The Light of Eternity ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product from the publisher New Growth Press for the purpose of this review.

Ecclesiastes: Life In The Light of Eternity is a small group Bible study published by New Growth Press. It is a part of the Bible study series The Gospel-Centered Life In The Bible. This study is written by David Gibson. I received a PDF file for the purpose of this review.

Ecclesiastes: Life In The Light of Eternity is a study of the book of Ecclesiastes. It is somewhat unusual to study Ecclesiastes but it is a great book to study. It is chock full of wisdom cloaked in poetic, often puzzling, language. This study helps break down that language and get at the heart of the message. Right from the introduction, the reader is struck with a challenge to what is often just taken for granted about this book.

This study of Ecclesiastes is part of a series and it is set up the same way as the previous ones. There are 10 lessons and each lesson is intended to be structured for about an hours worth of study and discussion. It is intended for a small group study but I found this one accessible for individual study, as well, which is honestly how I prefer my study right now. Your small group needs to be a place where hard, deep questions and statements can be dealt with openly and honestly without judgment because that is what Ecclesiastes gets to the heart of – living life for God when so much on this earth is not.

The lesson structure is set up in six sections.

  1. Big Idea
  2. Bible Conversation
  3. Article
  4. Discussion
  5. Exercise
  6. Wrap up and Prayer

The Big Idea introduces the theme of the lesson. The Bible Conversation gets you into God’s word, reading the section that the teaching covers. The article is written by the book’s author and is intended as a main teaching section for the lesson. Discussion covers the article and helps to group members to think deeper about the lesson and teaching. The exercise is supposed to help the group members apply the teaching to their life. Wrap up and Prayer is a short closure to the lesson.

The themes for the lessons in Ecclesiastes include:

  • wisdom
  • happiness
  • time
  • justice
  • words
  • death
  • life
  • planting
  • aging
  • eternity

These themes are quite relatable and can have a great impact on one’s life. I found that my favorite part of the lessons were the exercises because they really brought into view the life of Christ and our lives as Christians. It brought a lot of New Testament scripture into the conversation and I found that refreshing.

This study does include a section at the end of the PDF titled Leader’s Notes. These are notes on the theme and the Bible Conversation, in particular. It is intended to help guide the discussion as needed. It is not a simple right and wrong answer key.

Overall Thoughts:

I liked this study. I found it quite deep and challenging and I will enjoy working through it a bit more in depth as my current study comes to a close.

I did not care for having to work with the PDF file. It is just cumbersome and not enjoyable to work with, especially as it doesn’t scroll smoothly on my laptop but instead slides side to side as I try to scroll. Also, if the leader’s notes are needed, they are at the end of the document and it is not a simple click to get there. Rather you have to scroll all the way to the end and then back and forth as you work through whatever questions you were consulting the notes for.

Be sure to check out other titles in this study series from New Growth Press, including Psalms, Jonah, Ruth, Exodus, Mark, Ephesians, Titus, Revelation, and I John. You can read my review of some of them here on the blog.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product from the publisher New Growth Press for the purpose of this review.

Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life is a Bible study in the series The Gospel Centered Life In The Bible from New Growth Press. This study on Psalms was penned by Barbara Miller Juliani and Patric Knaak. I received the Study Guide with Leader’s Notes in PDF format to use and review.

Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life is a 10 week study designed for a group, not individuals. It begins with an introduction, 10 lessons, an article titled “How and Why To Keep Praying The Psalms”, Leader’s Notes, and a list of resources for further reading. The PDF is 129 pages, so out of the reach of printing at home for me.

Each of the 10 lessons is set up in the same form. There is a start to the lesson with a few words of introduction and then the statement of the Big Idea for the Psalm in view for that lesson. It is followed by the reading of the Psalm and the Bible Conversation. This engages the group in discussing the ideas for the Psalm in view and getting some talk going about the depth of the issue and ideas. These questions for not have a single right answer so this will challenge some. There are suggested answers in the Leader’s Notes at the end of the file but they are not the only possibility. It is suggested that these are only looked at after some other options have been considered. The Lesson 1 Bible Conversation also includes some general information about the Psalms so that better understanding of them is possible.

Following the Bible Conversation, there is an article written by one of the authors relating to the Psalm. Each of these articles are about 3-4 pages in length and often relate a personal application of the idea of the Psalm by the author, followed with some human insight into the the idea. Questions follow this article asking the group to dig into their own lives to think about the idea and to uncover some areas to explore. There are no right or wrong answers for these so there are not any notes at the end of the file for these.

After the questions, there is an exercise designed to help the group apply the lessons from the idea to their own lives in a helpful, productive manner. It is an individual application so will be completed by each person. After completion, it is a good idea to discuss what group members are willing to share about how they completed the exercise. The exercises vary from considering prayer and writing specific areas in your life to pray about, doing some creative writing, considering what you value, facing your fears and praying about them, to many other ways to approach the topics of the Psalms. Each is designed to engage you more deeply with the word of God in the Psalms.

Each lesson ends with a wrap-up and prayer time. This is a dedicated time for considering prayer needs and praying as a group over what was learned and how to apply it.

It is expected that each lesson will take about an hour. There are time designations on each portion of the lesson, such as saying the article will take approximately 5 minutes. I feel like this is a bit short on the time frame as when I was working through it on my own, it would take about an hour for me to complete a lesson and I was working without a group for discussions.

My Overall Thoughts –

Honestly, I find it difficult to evaluate a book like this when it is in PDF form. I do much better with printed Bible studies. I prefer them. This format is especially difficult when you need to access the Leader’s Notes, which are at the very end. Then you have to scroll back to look at the question and scroll to the end again for the notes, etc. I think I would like this better and find it more enjoyable if I had a printed book. As it is, I found this very difficult to engage in this study.

Another reason I found this a difficult book is that it is unusual for a Bible study to ONLY group format. This one is highly so and thus individual study of this topic using this study was not enjoyable. I think it would be a very good study in group format with people you know and trust. Because the topics of the Psalms are very personal (fear, anger, loneliness, discontent, etc.), I think having a way to effectively utilize this as a personal Bible study would be good.

Overall, this is a strong group Bible study for a group that is comfortable with each other.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Teach Sunday School Bible Breakdowns ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Teach Sunday School is a company that creates printable Bible study materials, including this one – Bible Breakdowns. They have created a number of materials that we have used previously, including Books Of The Bible At-A-Glance and Easter Escape Room. I have found these materials to be neat, compact, and effective in sharing the information they are intended to. In choosing the Bible Breakdowns, I have not been disappointed, finding them useful for the purpose I had in mind when I saw them.

Bible Breakdowns has both an Old Testament pack and a New Testament pack. We were given both for the purpose of this review and both have come in handy. There is a single page for each of the books of the Bible, except for Matthew which is broken down into so many subdivisions that it includes 2 pages. Each book includes a heading that notes the name of the book, whether it is Old Testament or New Testament, and which book of the Bible it is. (Job for example has 18 and OT to designate the 18th book of the Bible found in the Old Testament.) It has a short written summary next. This is followed by how many chapters there are, the type of book it is, the date it was written (or approximate date), the period of time covered by the book, and the author. Then it is broken down by chapter and verse, with each break given a subject or theme. Job includes 7 sections. Finally there is a list of a few of the most popular verses from the book, including their ranking within the book and within the whole Bible.

These are very similar to the Bible-At-A-Glance pages yet they organize the information differently and highlight different parts. As you can see in the image below, much of the information is the same – book placement, author, date, etc. But the Bible-At-A-Glance page does not include the chapter and verse breakdown that is in this set. This set allows the user to have a checklist of what to read and a helpful subject or theme for what will be read. This can really assist in keeping one on track and moving forward. And some books are much easier to read when you know what the theme is of what is coming up. You can see this comparison below.

So, how do you use these? I am using them a couple of different ways.

First, our Bible bowl book this year is Joshua. So all three of the girls have a copy of Joshua to keep with their materials for that. When we really settle into the studying for that, I will be asking them to check it off as they daily read, as I expect them to get through Joshua 6-8 times during our study. Each time through I’ll ask them use a different color pen to mark the passages so they can see progress clearly.

Second, I have printed it all off on half-sized sheets and included them in the mini-3 ring binder that I have with the Bible-At-A-Glance pages, also from Teach Sunday School. This is a resource I keep on our bookshelves for use at any time. I have recently had my daughter who was working through Proverbs take a look at this resource. We have often picked it up to help us get an idea about a book of the Bible we are studying.

Third, our 5-8 grade students at Bible class (my youngest is in this group) are reading through the Bible chronologically. I’ll be sharing the pages for each of the books she reads as she goes through. She has already started both Genesis, Exodus, and Job.

These really have quite a wide variety of uses. If I were teaching the 2nd-4th grade class at church this quarter, I would carry this with me each time we started a new book, just to have another way to view the book we were starting. Overviews are such a great way to get a handle on the start of a new book each time.

There are many great ways to use this resource from Teach Sunday School. I highly recommend that you visit their website to order the download for the product or, if you are looking for more ideas on how you might use it, visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about how other families have been using this Bible resource with their family.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Kids’ Devo Book: Roar Like a Lion by Levi Lusko ~ a book review

Disclosure: Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing this product/product information for review.  Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive the product in exchange for this review and post.

Levi Lusko has a view of life that inspires and encourages. Hardship in his life has brought him close to God and his writings share that well. Roar Like A Lion: 90 Devotions To A Courageous Faith is a book of short daily devotional thoughts to share with children. The publisher recommends ages 6-10 but my personal feeling is that it is well suited as young as 4, especially because a parent will be going through it with them.

Each of the 90 devotional thoughts includes a Bible verse, some thoughts about applying that to the child’s life, a prayer to God relevant to the topic and either a Did You Know? or a Get Ready To Roar! These two page devotions open up in a simple way deep topics to delve into and discuss from a Biblical view.

Every page of the book has beautiful, bright, and colorful artwork that will capture the mind of the child as each devotion is begun. The topics are varied but are quite relevant to the students. These include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • facing fears about school and friendships
  • dealing with peers, including things like peer pressure and bullying
  • handling emotional times like disappointment, grief, and new challenges
  • having courage to try new things
  • understanding how we fit into God’s story and plan

Each devotion even has fun facts or interesting ideas that relate to the topic of the day in some way. For kids who really absorb trivia, these help them relate as the trivia will tie back into the topic.

These devotions are written with engaging language for younger children and new independent readers. But, as with many devotions for children, it is always best to engage as a family and study the Bible and its application to our lives together. Parents understand their children, their passions, and their needs. This makes them the right for helping a student study the Bible at their level and their applications.

You can get this book today through https://www.roarlikealionbook.com/
On this website, you can also sign up to get a parent guide with additional questions to help guide your family into a deeper study each day.

I like the simplicity of these studies for young students or children whose families may be new to Bible study. The topics are handled on the level of the children yet with a draw towards knowing God more. I have not read all of the devotions so there may be something I am unaware of in the lessons that is not Biblical but I have not come across this at all with Mr. Lusko’s writings in the past. (I have read and enjoyed his book Through The Eyes of a Lion.)

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Help Your Kids Learn & Love The Bible ~ a Crew book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Danika Cooley has written some neat curriculum for Bible study that I have used in a few different ways and groups over the years. So, when her newest book, Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible, published by Bethany House Publishers, came up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it. I have found over the years that Mrs. Cooley presents no-nonsense ideas and straight-forward talk on the Bible amid creative ways to apply the content. I was not disappointed in her approach with this book.

Mrs. Cooley’s focus, in all of her writing, is about raising our families to know, understand, and live the word of God. She has put her knowledge of stumbling along this road with her own family down on paper so that you and I can benefit from her hard-won information. She shared, very plainly, her successes AND her failures so that, maybe, I won’t find the same pitfall. This book is easy to read and feels almost like having a cup of tea and talk with someone who cares about your family.

Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible is a softback book of about 5″ x 7″. It contains 198 pages divided up into three parts, plus an introduction and conclusion.

Part One: You’re The Leader

Okay – this one is an obvious one but we don’t always claim this role the way we should in Bible study. I really like the way Mrs. Cooley approaches some of the big excuses people use for not delving in deeply to the bible with their young children. Straight forward responses in a way that is relatable. Working right into the heart of the matter – priority – Mrs. Cooley gets your time schedule and your habits worked on right from the start. No excuses, time scheduled, ideas presented.

Part Two: Faithful Reading

The information in part two deals with topics such as where the Bible came from and how it came about, the message of the Bible, and what it does for us when we read it faithfully. Where the Bible came from does deal with some big words that our children need to know and understand. Mrs. Cooley does a great job of defining those and helping us define them for our children. The chapter titled Keeping the Message in View brings up large themes that are carried through the books to be on the lookout for and practical ideas for your kids to utilize to focus, such as cheat sheet cards with questions to think about. I also enjoyed the Profitable Discussion chapter because it is again, some very practical ways to begin discussions about what is read in the Bible. I do not agree with the catechism recommendation. God gave us His word to answer questions. Answers should be straight Bible verses if you are going to work on memorizing answers to questions, rather than what man has created as the answers to questions and filled with interpretation. Doctrine should be straight from the Bible.

Part Three: A Daily Walk

Once again, Mrs. Cooley delves boldly into keeping your daily habit of reading and studying the Bible as a family up front and center. This section really has some practical ideas of how to read, how to pray, memorizing, and keeping up the habit when life throws a few wrenches your way.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. I feel as though it is more of a practical read for those with younger children, though she does address how to do some of this with teens. We have 3 girls – 12, 15, 17 – that are all very active in many things outside of the home. The practicality of these ideas have been something that I would have loved and benefitted from 10 years ago but struggle with today. Between the girls activity and my husband’s non-standard work schedule, I have yet to be able to put into practice any of the ideas. I plan to reread some of the chapters and see if I can find a way to apply them to our family. I would love to do a family Bible study so I have to find a place for it, perhaps moving some other thing when we get off of the summer schedule. As Part One says – I’m the Leader. 🙂

Be certain to head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read what other families have done with their schedules after reading Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible by Danika Cooley, published by Bethany House Publishers.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Wise Up: Wisdom In Proverbs ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

I had been looking for a Bible study to do with my middle schooler daughter. We went through a Hebrews study last year and she enjoyed it a lot. So, when Wise Up from Positive Action Bible Curriculum came up for review, I took a really good look at it. It is a study of the wisdom found in the book of Proverbs in the Bible and is recommended for middle school and up. Themes run the gamut of wisdom, from home life and honoring parents to freedoms, responsibility, and attitudes. It covers submission and obedience, learning and serving God’s will, and what is truly success.

Wise Up: Wisdom In Proverbs came as a set with a student manual and a teacher manual. It includes 35 lessons (enough material for a school year) and sample schedules for 3, 4, or 5 day a week studies. The student manual is a softback book and the teacher manual is a large 3 ring binder.

The student manual is intended to be used by a single student and is a consumable resource. You will need one for each student involved in the study. Each lesson has its own set of pages in the student manual with questions of all levels for the student to answer. There are suggested days for assigning the student work in the sample schedules but the student can complete the student manual at whatever point in the lesson the teacher determines it is best suited.

The teacher manual contains information on the purpose of the study, as well as scripted lessons, target truths for each lesson, strategies for teaching, notes to help, and testing materials. There is also a page for logging the suggested memory work. This is a large, heavy 3 ring binder with almost 400 pages in it. I found myself taking the pages out that I needed for the current lesson so I didn’t have to move the binder around too much.

The teacher manual has a lot of information for the teacher to read through before beginning the study. I found it a bit overwhelming and it took me a couple of weeks to figure out how I wanted to approach this study with my middle school student. The answer key in the teacher manual is helpful but it also caused me a good bit of confusion. The answers are designed to work with all translations, which means it doesn’t really work with any translation well. Several of the suggested answers didn’t make sense with the NIV1985 translation that we were using. Even pulling up side by side translations online was unhelpful.

Inside the teacher guide showing the strategies and some of the teaching materials.
Inside the teacher guide showing answer keys for the exercise, corresponding to the student guide.

So, what did we do with this study? We used it, and will use it this fall, completely different than the suggestions in the teachers manual. As set up, it was too slow and shallow of a study for my daughter. Instead, we are focusing on a single lesson in a single day. We are not doing the memorization recommendations and we are working through the student manual together in discussion. (See the previous paragraph for information on the translation, which is why we are doing it together in discussion.)

We used the Bible app on the Kindle a couple of times in trying to match some of the answers to a version of the Bible.

We really enjoy studying the book of Proverbs and talking about the wisdom to be found there. We snuggle up together on the couch or side-by-side at the table with the Bible, the student book, and the teacher pages for the lesson. I paraphrase the scripted teacher lesson (so that it makes sense for my daughter) and we talk about it and the target truths for the lesson. Then we open up the student manual and tackle what is there. I found it common to skip some of the questions each lesson as it was often repetitive.

I believe that this is a program best suited to a full classroom situation, rather than a homeschool. It doesn’t flow well for a single student and the scripting/strategies/testing from the teacher manual seem burdensome for a single student. There is a lot of review time built into each lesson, especially in the 5 day week schedule. This type of review and pacing is necessary when you have a large number of students but with just one student, I have seldom found it was needed.

I can see a lot of benefit in this study and we will continue using it with the modifications we have made. If you are looking for a program that is all laid out for you, that includes written work and testing, and you would like something spread out over a few days or a week, this is for you. It is written for just that.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews on curriculum from Positive Action Bible Curriculum. Other families were using either Wise Up or 5th Grade – Possessing the Land.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Praise in Singing

Last Sunday, May 30, was our 5th Sunday singing at evening worship. I love those singing days a lot. Singing is a joyful way to worship and praise. This is a recording of that worship service. Sing along and enjoy!




List of songs (I think I got them all listed here)

  • I Come to the Garden Alone
  • To God Be The Glory
  • Flee As A Bird
  • Hide Me, Rock of Ages
  • Step By Step
  • I Stand Amazed
  • Just As I Am/I Come Broken
  • Thomas’ Song
  • Be Thou My Vision
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • Will Your Anchor Hold?
  • Night With Ebon Pinion
  • I’ll Fly Away
  • When I Go Home
  • O Lord, Our Lord
  • It Is Well With My Soul (When Peace Like A River)
  • Restore My Soul
  • Ten Thousand Angels
  • I Am A Poor Wayfaring Stranger

We live stream our services on Facebook every time we meet. You can join us Sunday mornings at 9 am CST for Bible class, 10 am CST for worship, and 5 pm CST for worship. We also meet at 7pm CST for Wednesday devotional and Bible study time. If you are in town, please visit in person. We’d love to meet you.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Pursued To Eternity book ~ a Crew review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Stories can often convey ideas and influence thoughts that we as people struggle to articulate. Pursued to Eternity shows us just that. This is a fictionalized story, though it is so well written that it can pull you in and make you want to research more about the people in the story. This short story is an easy read and is within reading ability for most middle school students and up.

John Riley is the author of Pursued to Eternity. He wrote this story to mix the truth of salvation and apologetics (defending the truth of the Bible) with fictional story lines that intersect. The story is written with the purpose of defending the Bible and bringing truth to those who doubt the Bible. The idea of evolution is addressed in the story, as is the idea of an old earth. One of the main characters is an athiest but God is pursing him, thus the title of the book.

The story line spans several locations and several centuries, bringing the old to the new through geology and archaeology. But first, there is an introduction that addresses ideas of time, pursuit, eternity, and history. Bible references are throughout but are particularly common in this introductory section.

Connor Bridges and Alan Bridges were brothers. The book starts with a retrospective from Connor Bridges. He begins by telling us who his brother was and that he died a few month prior. And Connor is rejoicing because Alan turned from athiesm to Christ right before his death. And then Connor tells us the story.

It begins centuries ago with the story of a dinosaur hunt. We follow the hunt to see that the wounded creature took a man to his death with it. Next we are in Egypt about 1000 years later. We follow the story of Egyptians who sympathized with the Hebrew slaves and helped them secretly. The man and his family have to quickly leave the city when it is suspected that they had been found out as helping the Hebrews with food, medicine, and money. After they leave, though, God does something even more amazing – the ten plagues are upon the Egyptians. The daughter of the family that has escaped to the desert is keeping a record of all this in her diary which she hides in a clay pot in the sand before the family is discovered and punished with death for treason.

Jumping forward in time to 2020, we find the Bridges family going through their lives with the two brothers at odds over beliefs. There is a great discussion included of Conner talking to Alan about why he believes the Bible and science are on his side. After this discussion, Alan announces he is leaving for a new job in Kenya. The family is concerned.

Conner’s life continues on as he goes about teaching biology. His students are smart, interested, and questioning. They ask him tough questions that the school boards has forbidden him to respond to with anything other than the teaching of evolution. Outside of school, he met his students one day and he encouraged them to pursue their questions and told them he would help guide them but all work must be their own. The students start a website of questions that the science curriculum doesn’t answer for them. They research it. They want to know.

Well, because Conner is connected to the students, he ends up facing termination from his position for it. Despite so many in the community supporting him and his students, he loses his job. But all is not bad – he is able to join Alan in Kenya. And wait until you read about what they find!

This all adds together to create a compelling story that is easy to read but has a lot of depth to the Biblical truths it teaches. The Biblical references are clearly noted so that the reader can double check them for truth and it makes for a strong apologetics storyline.

I found that by the end of the story that the characters felt very real and I wanted to go searching to find out more about the “finds” in the story. Of course, it is fiction so the characters weren’t real, nor were the archaeological finds. This is well written and can provide a good foundation with simple reading for someone struggling with the teaching of evolution, big bang theories, and athiesm. Will it be the only thing needed? No. You have to be involved with the new students learning about God but this is a good little book that can head them in the right way through a fictional story that has a lot of Bible truth in it.

If you would like to know more, you can visit the website for Pursued to Eternity.

You can also visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about what other families thought of this short novel with a fictional setting and apologetics storyline. I encourage you to do so.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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