Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Twenty-Three

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Day Twenty-Three: A Book I’d Recommend 

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m a huge bookworm. I love reading to see stories unfold and learn new things. Some of my favorite authors range from Karen Kingsbury, to Neta Jackson, to Charles Dickens, to Emily P. Freeman. I love seeing characters come to life and getting the opportunity to live a thousand lives all from my small, humble bedroom. Nonetheless, in the midst of all of the books that I love, there’s one that stands out in particular.

The Bible. 

Topping bestselling charts, the Bible is a piece of literary art. But, it’s so much more than that. It’s God’s written Word—and an account of His faithfulness in so many lives throughout decades of time. It’s His promise and a portrait of grace—promising Salvation to all who believe it and follow it. Mixing history, with poetry, with God’s words—I think even a skeptic would have to admit that it’s one of the most dynamic books of all time. 

It also contains all of the elements of a great story—even though it’s a recording of real events. It has action, with Paul’s dangerous missions across the world. It has romance, with Ruth and Boaz. It has raw emotional honesty, as King David’s laments in the Pslams. And, it challenges the status quo, as Jesus reaches out to the most marginalized of His time, bringing hope and restoration.

It also contains literary elements, such as foreshadowing within the Old Testament laws. It’s clear to see with a little bit of study that the sacrificing of lambs was a symbol, one that the people of that time would later understand as they learned of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It also contains alteration, anthropomorphism, and apostrophe—elements commonly found in many great works of literature (I’m geeking out big time here, y’all!)

Most of all, the Bible is a love letter to humanity—professing God’s sacrificial love for each one of us and pleading to adopt us as His children into one big family of believers. God used hundreds of authors throughout history to write this book under His divine inspiration, and it is up to us to accept this call. It is up to us to read the greatest story of all times, written by the Author and Creator of each of our stories. 

The Bible is the book of my life. It’s the book I live with, the book I live by, the book I want to die by—N. T. Wright

 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Twelve

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Hey everyone, I’m finally back for the blogging challenge! 

Nonetheless, I’ve found that with what I have going on right now, I’m not going to be able to blog every day. I will continue with this challenge, but it may be a little more sporadic than I had originally planned. Like my friend Emily at Fearfully Wonderfully Me, my life has gotten a little busy lately.

Now, today’s challenge is about my favorite movie. Truth be told, like with TV shows, I have a lot of movies I like. Because I can only talk about one movie that I like, I’m going to review a movie that I saw just recently called October Baby—which is easy one of my new favorites.

The story opens with a girl named Hannah, who has been dealing with various health problems over past nineteen years. After collapsing in a play from an unforeseen seizure, she finds out the truth: She adopted, and the survivor of a failed abortion. This news leads hr to unimaginable turmoil, as she tries to make sense of her life in light of this new information. Who is her birth mom? Where did she come from? What are her roots?

Before long, she’s faced with the opportunity to find out about it all—after her Jason invites her on a spring break road trip with his friends, where they’ll pass through Mobile Alabama—the place she was born. Despite her parents advisory not to, Hannah joins her friend on the trip, where one event leads to another, sending her on a full on search for her birth mother—finding hope, redemption, and forgiveness where she least expects it.

This movie had various emotional scenes, as well as a couple of comic ones, and an awesome soundtrack. It’s a movie that’s not primarily about adoption or the emotions surrounding it—it’s about redemption. Throughout the movie, messages are weaved subtly, so it feels authentic rather than forced. Many female viewers will also appreciate the subtle love story between Hannah and her lifelong friend, Jason. All and all, I’d give this movie five out of five stars and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good inspirational story. 

You can find the trailer here, if you want to get a sneak peak into the content of the movie!

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Eleven

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Day Eleven: My Favorite TV Show  

Truth be told, I have a lot of shows that I like. Some of them are (OK, most of them) are older shows, such as Full House, Friends, and Family Ties, while others are newer, such as The Middle, Fuller House, and Chesapeake Shores. Nonetheless, one of my most recent favorites would have to be 7th Heaven, a drama from the nineties about a pastor’s family. The show is titled “7th Heaven” because it focuses on each of the seven members of the family—which later turns to nine, after the mom has twins. The character casts includes

  • Eric Camden – The pastor of Glen Oak Community Church and husband and father of the show. He’s often portrayed as wise and eager to help his family and their friends with the problems they encounter—sometimes portrayed as a bit nosy but with good intentions.
  • Annie Camden – The wife and a mother of the show, sometimes fading to the background, but often stepping up and letting her strong but loving personality shine through when the family needs it most.
  • Matt Camden – The eldest brother, initially portrayed as the most rebellious of the group, but soon revealed to care very deeply about his siblings and take on the role of “protective older brother” when he senses one of his siblings to be in trouble.
  • Mary Camden – The tomboyish older daughter who is showed to be the least conventional of the Camden daughters. She is portrayed as a kick-butt basketball player in the earliest season, but develops other interests as the series goes on.
  • Lucy Camden – The awkward but goodhearted middle daughter, who constantly tries to find her places in her family and in the world. She’s relatable as a preteen, worrying about the typical stuff like boys and periods, but eventually matures into a confident and mature young adult—even becoming a pastor during her adult years.
  • Simon Camden – The youngest boy and ironically the wealthiest of the Camden siblings, as his older brothers and sisters consistently borrow money from him. He’s also fairly optimistic and portrayed as a good kid and a good friend.
  • Ruthie Camden – Ruthie is the adorable youngest daughter of the family. She’s nosy at times, always wanting to join in on her older siblings’ activities, but she typically only wants to join in on the excitement of the lives of her family members. She’s also very quirky and hilarious.
  • The twins – I honestly haven’t seen enough episodes with the twins to say what they’re like.

As an author, I’ve always enjoyed shows with depth, good character development, and interesting plot lines and I believe that this show does a good job in all three of these areas. I also, as a Christian, appreciate the faith element that’s rare to most modern TV shows. I watched this show pretty faithfully during my middle school years, and I have recently picked the show up again—thoroughly enjoying following the Camden family through their ups and downs of life and faith.

Not to mention, it has an awesome theme song and opening, which you can watch here.

I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for an entertaining faith based TV show to binge watch.

How about you? What’s your current favorite show? 

Left Behind: The Next Generation – Vanished

 

When I was in middle school, I read and was borderline-obsessed with a popular teen series called Left Behind: The Young Trib Force. For those of you who have never read or heard of the series, it was basically the original teen disposition series, largely based off the Biblical book of Revelations. I can honestly say that this was one of the first YA books that I really fell in love with.

Six years later, my dream came true—they released a movie based after the popular Christian series from the nineties, which I could not wait to see. Thus, considering how big a fan I was of the book series, I felt it was fitting to review the movie on my blog, doing my best to avoid spoilers (Though be warned, there may still be some).

The movie starts out with three teens and one preteen—Gabby, Josh, Flynn, and Claire. If you’re a fan of the original, I should probably warn you that Vicki, Judd. Lionel, and Ryan have been replaced, which was probably the most difficult thing to get past for me. Nonetheless, if you think of it as a story of it’s own, independent of the books, you’ll quickly grow to like the new characters.

Gabby is basically you’re all around girl-next store with a whole lot of bravery. She’s quick to take care of her sister, and is a good friend to Josh—AKA the archetype boy-next-store. Josh is also quickly likable, as he’s portrayed of the all around good guy of the film. He watches out for Gabby, adapts the role of an older-brother-figure, and is faithfully loyal and dependable. He also, has a huge crush on Gabby, along with a new guy who falls into the picture, Flynn—a homeless teen who turns out to be surprisingly more sensitive and compassionate than anyone would have initially guessed. Lastly, there’s Claire, the adorable and innocent younger sister of Gabby.

The movie starts off with Gabby narrating her life, and than quickly shoots to her doing normal teenage-things. Talking to her mom. Hanging out with her best friend, Josh. She never foresaw the tragedy that was about to take place—a rapture that would take her mom, eventually leaving her as an orphan. Cars crash. Criminals run rampant. Things blow up. Nothing is safe as drivers are taken from their cars and children are taken from their parents.

Therefore, Gabby, Claire, and Josh flee—heading for the countryside to try to escape the danger of the city, where they meet Flynn, who joins their group and quickly becomes friends with the rest of the main characters. Before long, as they search for Gabby’s father, they stumble upon a backwards “doomsday prepper” man who they stay with, as his sister cleans up a nasty gash on Claires leg. But, are these people who they think they are? And who can be trusted?

From this point, there’s mostly nonstop action, along with some poignant moments of faith and redemption, and a couple of sweet romantic moments. Their goal is survival, and as they’re left alone, they soon begin turning to the only One who can help them through a long period of tribulation. Backstories are also revealed, as two characters soon learn that they both had difficult family situations growing up. At the end, they finally return home, where they discover that a frightening world leader has risen to power.

Overall, despite it’s drastic differences from the origin, I would highly recommend this movie. Though the characters are different, this story stays true to the heart of the original. The action will keep you on the edge of your seat, as you root for four unlikely heroes. The faith element comes of very authentic, avoiding the cheesiness of some Christian films. And, of course, many girls are bound to enjoy trying to figure out which attractive guy Gabby will end up with.

I’d give this movie a good four stars, only leaving out the fifth star because of the change of the original cast and a cliffhanger ending. If you want a good action packed Christian movie, Vanished is a great choice for viewers twelve and up.😃

The Future Of Our Faith: By Ron J. Sider and Ben Lowe

Hey everyone, sorry I haven’t posted in a while! I promise to get better about that moving forward! 

A couple of months back, I read a book called The Future of Our Faith by Ron J. Sider. and Ben Lowe. This book is an “intergenerational conversation on critical issues facing the church“, and throughout this book, we see commentary on important social issues through the eyes of a baby-boomer and a millennial.

Ron J. Sider is seventy-six years old, a professor at Palmer Theological Seminary, and the author of over ten books, including Living Like Jesus, Just Politics: a Guide for Christian Engagement, Churches That Make A Difference, etc. He is passionate about social justice and has been working within the Christian community for years to help Christians better engage with the world around them.

Ben Lowe is a Christian author (Green Revolution, Doing Good Without Giving Up, and The Future of Our Faith) and Senior Advisor with Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. He has worked in the Christian community to try to raise more awareness for Biblical environmentalism and once ran for congress in 2010.

Reading this book, it’s clear that both authors have done a lot of research on trends and problems facing the modern day church. Deeply frustrated with our current dysfunctional patterns, they strive to pave a new way forward in our approaches to topics like race, wealth, homosexuality, politics, gender equality, the environment, social sin vs. personal sin, divorce, etc.

The chapters are broken up into nine chapters, each addressing a separate topic. They’re both well-researched in different stances on important issues and strive to present their views with sensitivity and grace—especially on some of the more controversial topics. They don’t always stick with popular opinion and are quick to call out dysfunction when needed, but they always remain Biblical and stick to God’s Word as their number-one-source.

The Future of Our Faith remains relevant throughout, and addresses some of the very questions that we’re asking as a Christian society right now in a very nonpartisan way—avoiding siding completely with either political party. It avoids focusing on legislation and is more concerned with how we, as the Body of Christ, operate in the world around us. I appreciated this, as I believe that the current hyper-political atmosphere of the church is damaging our witnessing and making the us look bad.

At the end of each chapter, each author comments on the other’s points, and despite the extremely wide age gap, they tend to wholeheartedly agree with each other’s perspective. It was clear that they each valued the other’s opinions and appreciated the unique perspectives of their counterpart.

Personally, I believe that every Christian should read this, as the choices that we make at this point of history have the potential to shape the “future of our faith” (No pun intended). The authors have an excellent and consistent worldview and present a positive framework for how we can move forward in a changing world. It was easily one of the most insightful books that I’ve read in a long time.

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To conclude, I would easily give this book a five-out-of-five stars and I’d highly recommend it to any Christian interested in engaging Biblically with the world around them. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 19

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Hey everyone, sorry I’m a little late! I had a Bible study today and everyone just left my house. Today’s topic is my favorite movie.

I have a lot of movies that I like, but one of my favorites would have to be God’s Not Dead. In addition to a great cast (I already knew Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, and the Robertson family from other works), the movie had an amazing storyline!

One thing that I loved about the movie was the fact that it had multiple plots. A lot of books that I’ve read use the same tactic, and I feel that it often makes the story feel more complex and interesting. Plus, you get the advantage of having multiple perspectives.

The main storyline centered around a college student named Josh Wheaton, who had to defend his faith in a college classroom. This story got the most attention, but the other ones were just as compelling. Some other stories include

  • An ex-Muslim girl who was forced to hide her new faith in Jesus from her family.
  • A successful blogger and reporter who gets cancer and is forced to take a second look at God and life.
  • The dynamics between a college professor and his girlfriend, who was beginning to realize that she is unequally yoked.

Somehow, as different as all of these stories appear to be, they all tie together nicely and share the common underlying theme of of faith and it’s role in a person’s life. Josh and Aisha (The former Muslim) risk everything to stay true to their faith, while Amy (the reporter) and the professor are forced to reconsider their unbelief.

This movie carries a surprising amount of depth and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys well made faith based films. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the Newsboys make a star appearance at the end of the film. 😉

Here’s the trailer in case you guys want to check it out!

Summer Playlist

Hey everyone, summer is in the air and you know what that means! Beach trips and summer vacations! Thus, I decided to make a playlist of some of my favorite upbeat Christian songs to enjoy the summer with. I hope you enjoy! ❤

  1. Ready Or Not by Britt Nicole
  2. Sunshine Girl by Britt Nicole
  3. Shine by Salvador
  4. Heaven by Salvador
  5. Waiting For Tomorrow by Mandisa
  6. If You Say Go by Blanca
  7. Turn Up Your Light by V. Rose
  8. Light For You by Anthem Lights
  9. Free To Be Me by Francesca Battistelli
  10. It’s Your Life by Francesca Battistelli
  11. Starry Night by Chris August
  12. God Is On The Move by Seventh Time Down
  13. Origional by Royal Tailor
  14. Making Me New by Royal Tailor
  15. Dive by Steven Curtis Chapman
  16. Save Your Life by The Newsboys
  17. Live With Abandon by The Newsboys
  18. Show Me What It Means by Meredith Andrews
  19. This Is Not A Test by TobyMac
  20. Backseat Driver by TobyMac
  21.  I Feel So Alive by Capital Kings
  22. Fireblazin’ by Capital Kings
  23. What Are You Afraid of By Kerrie Roberts
  24. Closer To Your Heart by Natalie Grant
  25. The One by Brandon Heath