Phenomenal. It's really astonishing how good this is. Recently, we started reading straight through it, one story a night, with our son who will be fi...morePhenomenal. It's really astonishing how good this is. Recently, we started reading straight through it, one story a night, with our son who will be five at the end of November 2012. His questions and understanding of our covenant faith have matured a lot during this family time. He wants to start it over from the beginning. I can't recommend this highly enough for parents of small children, and even for new Christians. I've benefited greatly from it myself, and I've been a Christian my whole life. Get this book.(less)
Originally published in 1987 and now updated with new text and all-new photos, It Couldn’t Just Happen is a little boo...more. . Review posted here on my blog.
Originally published in 1987 and now updated with new text and all-new photos, It Couldn’t Just Happen is a little book packed with lots of information proving Creation of the Bible over the theory of evolution. Richards starts with the Creation event itself and follows with amazing facts about the human body, animal and plant life, fossil records, weather events, and nature’s impossible-to-ignore reflection of its Creator. Throughout, he uses Scripture proofs and without hesitation says the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, and that there is no room for doubting its validity when it comes to Creation, historical Adam and Eve, and the proof of God’s handiwork in humans and nature.
If the book falls short for me, it’s that it doesn’t state definitively how long Creation took. Richards leaves the door open for the day-age theory, which states we cannot know how long a “day” in the Creation story is. Perhaps it is a strict 24-hour period, as we know a day to be, or perhaps a “day” could have been millions of years long, which would allow for gradual changes we collectively call evolution. Myself, I’m a strict six-day Creationist. The word for “day” in Genesis, in the Creation story, is the same Hebrew word used for a 24-hour period elsewhere in the Old Testament. God is not a god of confusion or doubt, leaving us stranded without critical pieces of information. We know all we need to know in this life on Earth about Jesus, heaven, miracles, prophecies, and so forth, so why would He keep from us the full truth of our very origins?
Despite this personal quibble, which is easily a teachable moment for my son once it’s time to teach him in-depth about these things, It Couldn’t Just Happen is an invaluable resource for Christian parents. The Scripture texts used throughout are appropriate for the topic at hand, and each chapter ends with a “Just for Fun” page of questions and activities designed to challenge thinking and look at Creation in a fun and imaginative way. I would not use this as the primary text for teaching my son or a class about Creation, but I will certainly keep it around and use it as a supporting text.(less)
Abby Johnson grew up in a Christian home, raised to be kind and honest, to work hard, and to always do her best in school. She excelled in her Texas h...moreAbby Johnson grew up in a Christian home, raised to be kind and honest, to work hard, and to always do her best in school. She excelled in her Texas high school and excitedly went on to college at Texas A&M University. While there, she felt overwhelmed, as many young college students often do, and her choices began to affect her negatively. Abby began dating an older guy and became pregnant. She was confused and lost, unsure what to do or how to handle the situation. Her boyfriend wasn’t supportive and simply assumed Abby would have an abortion. He drove her to an abortion clinic in Houston, and the deed was done. She would later become pregnant by him again, and that pregnancy resulted in another abortion.
Abby met Planned Parenthood staffers at a campus volunteer day at A&M and was taken in by their promises of health care services for women. She worked as a clinic escort and later as a counselor for them, thinking she was helping women, all while knowing that her parents didn’t approve of her choices, and knew she wasn’t doing what they’d raised her to do.
She rose through the ranks of Planned Parenthood, eventually becoming director of the office she’d first volunteered at. She married a longtime friend, gave birth to their daughter, Grace, and worked on her master’s degree in counseling. Even though her parents and husband did not support her career, she forged ahead, certain what she was doing was right.
But, just outside the clinic’s fence, there were always pro-lifers praying. There were the typical loud and harassing ones, with the large photos of mangled baby bodies, but the ones that caught Abby’s attention were the quiet ones who just stood there praying. One, named Elizabeth, struck up conversations with Abby and over time won her trust. Elizabeth prayed for Abby, and one day gave her flowers with a Bible verse and promise of prayer attached. Abby thought this gesture was odd, but kept the card and never forgot Elizabeth.
Abby’s life changed in October 2009 when a doctor visited the clinic to do surgical abortions while using an ultrasound machine. Abby was called from her office to assist, and as she watched the horror of what unfolded before her on screen, her mind and heart were changed. The ultrasound was so similar to the ones she’d experienced during her pregnancy with Grace, and when the baby looked frightened and in pain and tried to get away from the doctor’s abortion instruments, Abby knew she could never again be partner to abortions.
She went down the street to the local Coalition for Life office, and in tears, asked them for help. Abby left her job at Planned Parenthood immediately, and has since become a Christian pro-life activist, eager to counsel women away from the horrific and painful choice of abortion and toward choosing life for their babies.
Abby’s new book, Unplanned tells her story in riveting detail. The accompanying DVD offers a glimpse into her story, in her own words and through interviews with her family and Coalition for Life members who prayed for her. (less)
Deeply troubling from a theological perspective. Quite often mystical, with a near wringing-out of a thesis (eucharisteo), repeated multiple times per...moreDeeply troubling from a theological perspective. Quite often mystical, with a near wringing-out of a thesis (eucharisteo), repeated multiple times per page. Quotes pulled from all over, various denominations (and even other religions!), all mashed together in the to-her radical notion that life should be lived in thankfulness. Why is this notion so life-altering for Voskamp and the hoards of women nearly breathless in awe at this book? Is Scripture not full of God's people giving thanks in all things, no matter the circumstance? What is missing from the pulpit for these women, I wonder? Why is this so shocking in its revelation?(less)
In general, I have a bit of a problem with Christian fiction of the romance/chick-lit variety. I get tired of the wooden, stereotypical characters, th...moreIn general, I have a bit of a problem with Christian fiction of the romance/chick-lit variety. I get tired of the wooden, stereotypical characters, the unrealistic holiness, and the too-good-to-be-true heartthrob. (And let’s not even get started on that other creature, Amish fiction. Ugh.) So I’ve vowed a hundred times that I’ll never read Christian romance/chick-lit again. Well, let’s just say I’m very glad I broke my own rule with this one.
I puffy cartoon hearts adored this book. I know, that doesn’t sound very professional or Book Reviewer-ish, but it’s true. Start to finish, every single word, I loved Save the Date.
Lucy has had some hard knocks in her life. She grew up poor, the only child of a house-cleaning single mom. She worked her way through college and has been on her own since her mother’s death. She lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and runs Saving Grace, a home for young women who have aged-out of the foster system but still aren’t quite ready to be out on their own. Her best-friends are a group of self-described science fiction nerds. Things seem to be going okay for Lucy. She’d been dating Matt, a reliable but boring accountant. Just when Lucy thought Matt would propose to her, he broke up with her and moved away.
Fast-forward and Saving Grace loses most of its funding. Lucy is lonely and worried about Saving Grace, wondering how she’s going to keep it all afloat. But then Alex Sinclair comes along. He’s an old classmate from Lucy’s childhood, a former NFL quarterback, and a congressional hopeful. He also happens to be irrevocably tied to the foundation that’s just cut Lucy’s funding.
What happens next seems implausible but is completely believable in the hands of Jenny B. Jones and her gift for storytelling. And I’m not going to tell you what that something is, because the book is so good you should read it yourself. It’s often laugh-out-loud funny, incredibly sweet and endearing, and more than just a little romantic.
What I love the most about Jones’ writing is her characters. She has quite a knack for creating fully-formed folks you think you could know. I want to be friends with Lucy. I want her to be real! And call me crazy, but I had a hard time not picturing Eli Manning as Alex. I mean, come on.
Save the Date strikes that perfect balance between secular and Christian romance/chick-lit. It’s not profane as some secular offerings are, and it’s not at all sickly-sweet as some Christian ones are. It’s instead a delightful read full of delightful characters from an author whose other books I’ll now seek out and gobble up. (less)
My goodness, this book is terrible. It's loaded with bad stereotypes, unreal plot devices and a ridiculous, impossible Cinderella-type ending. This bo...moreMy goodness, this book is terrible. It's loaded with bad stereotypes, unreal plot devices and a ridiculous, impossible Cinderella-type ending. This book is an illustration of everything that's wrong with modern Christian fiction.(less)