Immanuel's Veins
Ted Dekker

I was pretty excited at the chance to review a Ted Dekker book.

It's been seveal years since I read any of his work, and I was looking forward to a great, intense read.
He has a reputation for brilliant suspense stories with a strong spiritual message.

Set in 1700's Russia, two soldier friends are sent from the Empress to guard a family with two beautiful daughters. Evil lurks around the corner and these two men must be on their guard. Only, the evil does not come from the expected sources.

This story is for everyone--but not everyone is for this story...

So begins the publisher's description of the book.
And I have to agree.

I was not for this story.

Only, not the way that the publisher was talking about.
I'm all for the message of redemption that ultimately ends the book.
What I'm not for, is all the seductive language, imagery and connotations that permeate the book.
I'm all for building a story.
But, Dekker took two-thirds of the book to concoct frivolous sensuality and vampire themes
and then seemingly threw in the spiritual aspect as an after thought.
Very disappointing.
If you are into vampires and dark sensuality, this book is for you.
If you aren't, don't bother picking up this book.

Same Kind of Different As Me
by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.

An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana . . .
and an East Texas honky-tonk . . .
and, without a doubt, in the heart of God.

It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda . . .
an upscale New York gallery . . .
a downtown dumpster . . .
a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

If you're looking for a great read (one that you won't want to put down until you're finished) go out right now and pick up this book!

Same Kind Of Different As Me takes a look inside the hearts and minds of two vastly different men. More than a good read, this story moved me and challenged me to see people with heavenly eyes. Eyes that look beyond the dirt and disaster of addiction, eyes that look for wisdom in the most unlikely places, and eyes that do not make rash judgements based on the appearance of a person.

I was also challenged to step out of my comfort zone. Do the thing that is hard for me. Obey the voice of God and leave the results up to Him. Like Deborah (in the book), pursue the passions that God has placed in my matter how far fetched they seem.

I would highly recommend this book. It is a heart-warming, convicting, stereo-type destroying book that everyone should own.

Read and Share Bible DVD: The Jesus Series, Life and Miracles

Animated straight from the pages of the popular Read and Share® Bible, The Jesus Series introduces children to the life of Christ. Unlike the 3-minute, bite-size story format of the Read and Share® DVD Bible Volumes 1-4, this DVD is an uninterrupted half-hour presentation of Jesus' ministry along the shores of Lake Galilee and the villages near Nazareth. Children will see Jesus call His disciples, feed 5,000 people, heal the sick, teach about God’s kingdom and introduce the Lord’s Supper.

Seeing how we already have the Read and Share Bible and volumes 1 & 2 of the accompanying DVD (and love them), I was really excited to be able to review this DVD and add it to our collection. But I have to say, I was very disappointed.

Unlike the other DVDs, this one was not cohesive at all. In an effort to cover as much of the life of Christ as possible, the result was a bunch of snippets of scripture mashed together. It was hard for my 4 1/2 yr old son (and me!) to follow and left us feeling like we had just been rushed through a maze of stories. I was fully expecting a smoother transition between stories and a more in depth look at Jesus' life and ministry. 

Due to the content and length of the stories, I'm assuming the target audience for this DVD is early preschool aged children (2-3). With that in mind, I would recommend this DVD to such families, especially if your child has a short attention span and likes constant change.  Otherwise, it was too simplistic and choppy for older children. 

If I Could Ask God Anything: 
awesome Bible answers for curious kids

Written by Kathryn Slattery and distributed by Thomas Nelson Publishers, this 207 page book covers questions like, 

"Do I need to use special words when I pray?"

"Why did Jesus have to die?"

"What is sin?"

"Where did God come from?"

"If God loves people, why do bad things happen?"

Great questions that kids actually ask with simple, straight-forward answers. Each answer has a biblical reference too (which I liked a lot), so that you can take your child directly to God's Word.
Overall, I thought this was a great book. I would recommend it for ages 6 and above, since some of the answers were a little over my (almost) 5 yr old's head. I loved that it covered all the major themes of Christianity and even covered topics like holidays. To that end though, I was a little disappointed with the inclusion of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Halloween. I realized that it was a great jumping off point for some answers, but that I would need to fill in the gaps regarding our specific doctrinal beliefs. I also thought that it over-simplified the love that Christ has for us, without giving equal emphasis to our need for repentance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”