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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

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5 Features That Make A Christian Game Awesome

Are you a gamer? What particular game do you play? What features and qualities do you enjoy the most?

Most people, especially the youth, are fond of gaming. There are various types of gaming applications. However, the most popular one is an adventure video game. Now, what makes it so fun, entertaining, and addictive?

Almost every kid or teen is a video gamer. Perhaps, you often see a bunch of street boys going to an Internet café. There, they challenge each other, playing in real-time multiplayer mode. Unfortunately, they spend almost the entire day just playing.

Then, what about Christian game apps? Yes, there are. Do you know any? Let us know some of them and what makes them attractive.

Types of Gaming Apps

Educational Games

  • Alphabet Games

This type of game is mostly for kids like preschoolers who are learning the alphabet. 

So, here are some examples:

  1. Write Uppercase Letters
  2. I Spy Alphabet
  3. Learn ABC
  4. Connect ABC

  • Number Games

Like alphabet games, number games are also best for children. Parents can let their kids play these at home. Also, teachers can incorporate these into the classroom lessons. 

Then, we have the following as examples:

  1. Numbers Ice Cream Attack
  2. Comparing Numbers Quiz
  3. Ordering Numbers 11-20
  4. Ski Racer: Even Numbers

  • Skill Development Games

These games can be any classroom-related game applications. They intend to develop skills that the subject requires. 

Now, examples are as follows: 

  1. Colorfy: Coloring Art Game
  2. Vocabulary Spelling City
  3. Typing Race Master

Problem Solving Games

  • Puzzle Games

This type of game exercises the player’s skill in solving puzzles. 

Then, these are some examples:

  1. Jellipop Match
  2. Fishdom
  3. Wood Block Puzzle
  4. Pirate Treasures
  5. Scrabble Go

  • Card Games

Many people are fond of playing cards. Good thing, game developers have made card games available on mobile! 

So, here are some of them:

  1. Solitaire
  2. Hearthstone
  3. Poker Games: World Poker Club and Reigns

  • Strategy Games

This game type focuses on developing the player’s skill in planning. Specifically, it emphasizes building a strategy or tactic to win the game. 

Now, below are some examples:

  1. Clash of Clans
  2. Clash Royale
  3. The Escapists
  4. Shredder Chess

Video Games

 

  • Adventure Games

 

This type of game is perfect for those looking for challenging gameplay. 

Specifically, it involves fast action and war. It brings the player into exciting situations. For this, there is a combination of puzzle-solving and reflex testing as a challenge. 

Examples are the following:

  1. Grand Mountain Adventure
  2. Genshin Impact
  3. Crashlands
  4. 80 Days

  • Arcade Games 

Arcade gaming is a competitive type of game. For instance, it topped a mobile gaming competition in 2016. 

Now, this type offers short gameplays and instant challenges. It is different from other games that feature a story or content.

Then, these are a few examples:

  1. Fruit Ninja
  2. Space Frontiers
  3. Subway Surfers

  • Role-playing Games 

This category includes games with longer gameplays. Also, it has journeys, long storylines, and various characters. 

So, these are some examples:

  1. Ragnarok
  2. Dungeons and Dragons
  3. House of the Dead
  4. Pandemic: A New Challenge 

  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena Games 

This type of game involves two teams of players. They compete against each other on a battlefield.

Precisely, each player controls a single character. It has unique abilities that improve throughout the game. Significantly, it contributes to the overall strategy of the team.

Now, here are some examples:

  1. DOTA
  2. Arena of Valor
  3. Defense of the Ancients
  4. Heroes of the Storm

Some of the Most Popular Mobile Games We Play     

Pokemon Go

Are you familiar with Pokemon? Specifically, it is a Japanese anime television series. It features the adventures of Ash Ketchum and his Pokemon, Pikachu.

In its developed mobile game, the player discovers a whole new world. Unlike that in the series, the game allows for extra navigation of the locations. Specifically, the player can view places far and wide.

Besides, one gets to discover more Pokemon characters. To catch one, target a Pokemon. Then, throw the Poke ball.

Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush is a popular puzzle video game. 

In particular, the goal is to swap colored candies to match three similar colors. A match of four or more colors creates power-ups with a larger board.

Around 2014, more than ninety-three million people played this game. Consequently, it made a revenue of almost five hundred million dollars in three months.

Angry Birds

Who hasn’t tried playing this? Almost everyone has, right?

Specifically, this game series involves multi-colored birds. They try to save their eggs from their enemies, the green-colored pigs. The goal is to destroy the pigs’ support beams using a slingshot.

Significantly, it generated more than two billion downloads in January 2014. Then, it increased to over three billion in July 2015. This success made it the most downloaded freemium game series of all time.

Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed is an action-adventure video game. 

To be particular, it depicts a fictional struggle between the Assassins and the Templars. Assassins fight for peace with free will. Meanwhile, Templars work for it through order and control.

Furthermore, the game features historical and science fiction involving fictional characters. They relate to real-life historical events and figures.

Minecraft

Minecraft is a sandbox video game. It is the best-selling video of all time. Notably, it sold two hundred million copies. In 2020, it had a hundred and twenty-six million active users monthly.

A player explores a blocky world with infinite terrain. Also, he discovers and extracts raw materials and craft tools or items. Besides, he builds earthwork structures.

Examples of Christian Games  

Bible Bingo

Most of us play bingo. It is indeed one of our favorite games. Did you know that the Bible has its version?

Specifically, the mechanics are the same as in any typical bingo. However, instead of numbers, this game uses Bible verses. The game flashes a biblical passage. Then, cross out all verses that serve as references for it. 

Bible Crossword Puzzle

This game is similar to any crossword puzzle that we know. In particular, there is a set of questions to answer. Then, you have to input the words into the intersecting tiles of letters.

However, this game uses biblical terms instead. These may be characters, places, events, or the like.

Bible Crush

Candy Crush is a favorite of most gamers. Are you one? Surprisingly, there is also a crushing game for the Bible.

The concept is the same. However, instead of candies, Bible Crush uses fruits and plants. Also, there is a bonus. Specifically, it includes a trivia question at the end of every level.

Bible Hangman

Hangman is a guessing game. Typically, it uses paper and pencil. A player thinks of any word, phrase, or sentence. Then, the other tries to guess it by suggesting letters. There is a limit of guesses.

Generally, Bible Hangman is the same. However, it employs biblical books, persons, events, and the like.

Heroes Bible Trivia

Heroes? Yes, the Bible has heroes! 

They are characters like Adam, Moses, Jacob, Abraham, and others. How? They have traits and deeds that make them significant for people to know. Of course, the list includes Jesus, the ultimate superhero of all.

Now, this game educates the player about the life of biblical icons. It does this in the form of trivia questions for him to answer. With every correct answer, he collects power effects that he can use to upgrade further.

It is an educational yet fun way of knowing the heroes of the Bible. Instead of spending too much time on useless games, why don’t you choose this one? While enjoying the thrill of the game, you learn facts.

Indeed, it’s like studying the Bible already! You don’t have to worry about having an overdose of addiction for this. The more you enjoy playing, the more you gain knowledge.

5 Features That Make A Christian Game Awesome   

Nonfictional Content

Most video gameplays comprise fictional characters, places, ideas, or events. In contrast, a Christian game uses nonfiction elements. Notably, it is one of the best things about this type of play.

Because of this, there is no room for deception and misleading. In essence, everything the user learns from the app is a piece of truth.

Integration of the Bible, History, and Faith

Unlike secular gaming apps, a Christian game incorporates religion and spirituality. That is, it touches on sacred truths from the Bible. It introduces biblical teachings, personalities, cultures, and occurrences. 

More particularly, it educates the player on a certain Bible hero, place, or event. He gets to know his life, challenges, and significant acts. 

Eventually, it leads him to God. He increases his knowledge about Him. The more he plays, the more he grows in His likeness. Hence, it develops his faith.

Stunning Yet Nontoxic Graphics and Sounds

Christian games are at par with other popular gaming apps. Like them, they have excellent graphics and sounds.

Unfortunately, most secular adventure gameplays are harmful to health. For instance, most players of Mobile Legends develop eye problems. It is because of the extremely rapid motions that demand close attention.

Fortunately, Christian games are more eye-friendly. They do not have optically demanding graphics. Also, their sound effects and music do not pollute the ear and the brain.

Educational Value with Fun and Entertainment

Undoubtedly, Christmas games provide educational value. It teaches about the Bible and enhances spirituality.

But at the same time, the player enjoys the game. There are exciting puzzles to exercise the brain. Also, there are fun quizzes to challenge memory and stock knowledge. Still, there are exciting trivia to learn.

Excellent Gameplay

Significantly, Christian games do not go behind in terms of technical features.

Specifically, it has excellent input controls. It works well with keyboards, mouses, gamepads, joysticks, and the like.

Moreover, Christian games are compatible with most devices and operating systems. They work well with both Android and Apple systems. 

Finally, Christian games have a fast loading time. Like other video games, it has advanced graphics and animation technology. Hence, it prevents lagging.

Bio

Heroes 2 : The Game is a Bible trivia game released by the Hope Channel. It is a sequel to the game, Heroes, which was released way back in 2013. The latest game version is on its new 3D animation, comes with unique features, and has more challenging Bible questions in four languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French. The game is available on both iOS and Android.

5 Features That Make A Christian Game Awesome

 

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'Till Kingdom Come

'Till Kingdom Come

Thank you Abramorama for providing us with a screener to watch!

‘Til Kingdom Come is a documentary about the strange political and religious partnership between the United States and Israel. In the 1980s Evangelicals were often viewed as KKK/white supremacists by Israelites. In 1983, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein founded the Holyland Fellowship of Christians and Jews which is now known as International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. Their goal is to build bridges of understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews. Not long after its founding, some popular televangelists like Pat Robertson and John Hagee supported this ministry with over four million in donations through telethons and other financial gifts. Through these gifts, poor people in Israel overlooked by the government are given food items and care that they could not afford on their own.

Binghamtown Baptist Church in Kentucky is located in a poor county with nearly half of the children living below the poverty line. This church, in their own words, "indoctrinates" the youth about the importance of the Jewish people and Israel's role in the end times. They fully believe in the promise of Genesis 12:3 in receiving blessings from God by blessing Abraham’s people. They have raised thousands in supporting Israel and continue to do so faithfully because of this promise. Interestingly enough, they are doing well financially even with the economy in a downturn. Their associate pastor, W. Boyd Bingham has miraculously survived cancer and dedicated his life to serving the Lord faithfully. He’s also depicted cleaning his guns and shooting targets in a forest.

Meanwhile in Palestine, a Christian church is experiencing a decline in membership due to the political unrest and loss of territory. Through Trump’s presidential run, he relocated the US Embassy to Jerusalem and granted Israel settlement rights to the West Bank. Although Christians and Jews have different views on religion, when partnered together politically they are an unstoppable force.

If you want to see how this all plays out, check out the 76-minute documentary when it becomes available!

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Oligase

As a Christian who’s interested in bridging the gap between faith-based entertainment and entertaining execution, I look forward to big-budget productions that can nail Christian themes while still being something that can work in a secular space. While not necessarily a huge blockbuster (premiering at an online version of a Filipino film festival earlier this week), director John Valdes Tan adapts Filipino author Pio Arce’s Oligase for film. Endorsed by CBN Asia (the Asian chapter of the Christian Broadcasting Network), it’s a film that shows the uncomfortable struggle of an indigenous girl who wants to leave her tribe in order to pursue an education.

Based on the indigenous tribe of the Matigsalug tribe in the Bukidnon province of the Philippines, Oligase is a legend of a mythical demon of fear, who consumes innocent children that dare to learn outside knowledge of the tribe. In essence, this legend is shown to be a deterrent to leave, but protagonist Laha stumbles across a school when selling crops with her mom in town. Inspired by the teacher Connie (and disbelieving of the Oligase), she longs for the day when she can leave the village and educate herself.

Laha’s plan is settled as she realizes that she has been forced in an arranged marriage to the village chief, and runs away with farmhand Salantay in order to escape to the city. Unfortunately, this causes problems for Salantay, who is forced to leave the village and head to a bible school that his father went to; Salantay’s dad is known as one of the only people in the tribe to be able to read, and has been chastised for it.

Laha’s life continues to spiral up and down as while she does receive her education, a series of unfortunate events cause her blessing to be a curse. She is raped by Connie’s husband and forced on the streets as a prostitute, trying to find a way out of her situation. Meanwhile, Salantay learns about the misconceptions of the Oligase, and that while demonic spirits are out to prey on the tribe, the Lord Jesus is there to cast them out.

As a novel, Oligase is a heartfelt effort to shine a light to the indigenous Filipino’s plight. The author of the original novel worked with the Matigsalug for decades and wanted to explore their culture and lifestyle in a way that would be digestible to the metropolitan Filipino. In his journey, Arce also wanted to use this opportunity to evangelize and share Jesus’ love to those who need it the most, and to change the hearts and minds of the people within the provincial areas by providing assistance as well as education to these areas.

The film dances around this idea in the beginning and end, with the Gospel story being uttered by Salantay and Laha in the final scene. The cinematography of the scenery is done quite well, as the directors do a great job of showcasing the provincial Filipino areas of the Manobo tribes as well as the city of Davao. For someone who would want to travel to the Philippines, it does a great job with highlighting the lush areas of the place. It’s neat to see that most of the actors are from the Matigsalug tribe itself, and most of the performances contribute well to the film. The raw nature of some of the inexperienced actresses complement well to the gritty nature of the movie, though I couldn’t help but laugh at the actor portraying Chief Pinon. It was almost comical for the few scenes he has.

Unfortunately, this does get into “the book was better” territory (even if the novel isn’t available outside the Philippines currently), as the character development feels rushed, especially in the middle. I understand that the director wanted to emphasize the metaphorical horror of fear by stressing the unfortunate world of human sex trafficking in the Philippines, but due to the hour and 40 minute runtime, feels like it lingers a little too long in these areas. It doesn’t help that (most likely due to budgetary reasons), almost a third of the book is excised. I might not have noticed it if I didn’t read the novel, but considering this omission includes the redemptive arc of Laha finding faith from a passerby as she’s smuggled into Japan, it’s quite apparent. (For context, the film stays solely in the Philippines, specifically the Bukidnon and Davao areas.) This also cuts back on Salantay’s arc as a budding pastor, as a lot of his scenes are gone, making him a bit of a flat character in comparison to Laha.

In terms of content, I would probably peg Oligase to something like a hard PG-13, to the point where I was surprised that CBN Asia would allow the director to show some of it. There is some uncomfortable subject matter involved in Laha’s journey as she is violated by multiple men. Thankfully, nothing explicit is shown, but the scene where she is raped does portray the man getting half-naked (while Laha is fully clothed, the implications are there). There’s also a montage of her time in a brothel with some indecent acts beginning and implied to have a sexual ending, including a forced threesome with an adult film director. None of these scenes are played in a titillating light, and it’s constantly shown that Laha wants to escape from this accursed lifestyle.

The tribal practices also might cause some to squirm, with the death of a horse shown (though just the end when people finish stabbing its remains). There are some scary sequences concerning the Oligase itself, who is portrayed as an old, imposing creature with a frightening countenance, normally accompanied by a jumpscare. While almost the entirety of the film is spoken in dialects of Tagalog, there are some English instances of the word a** and s***. The translated subtitles include every PG-13 swear except for f***. I would recommend this film to older teens and adults who want a look into the life of the provincial Filipino, and who can deal with something as intense as The Passion of the Christ in terms of faith-based entertainment.

If you’d like to watch Oligase, you can do so for free until December 13 through the Mindanao Film Festival channel.

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In the Garden: An Illustrated Guide to the Plants of the Bible

In the Garden: An Illustrated Guide to the Plants of the Bible

Thank you Karen Campbell Media for sending us this book to review!

On the third day of creation, God created plants, trees, and kinds of vegetation. The Bible is full of references to various trees, plants, and flowers. In The Garden provides Biblical references, useful information, and beautiful water color illustrations to all of the plant life mentioned in the Bible.

This hard cover, 128-page book is broken down into four sections: Trees & Shrubs, Edible Plants, Medicinal & Aromatic Plants, and Flowers. There is also a guide on how to grow your own Biblically inspired garden, a calendar of Jewish growing seasons, an index of plants, and an index of scripture references.

In the tree section, I found it helpful that Noah’s Ark was made from acacia wood or shittim as it’s referred to in scripture. While it’s hard to pinpoint the exact plant used to make Jesus’ crown of thorns, the author suggests that it may have been made from Sarcopeterium spinosum, which was readily available in Rome and quite malleable.

When it comes to edible plants, I had no idea that barley is valued at a third of wheat. The young boy’s provisions of fish and barley loaves were meager, but fed thousands that were listening to Jesus’ message! Plants like spikenard, which was imported from India were quite costly. This was the base of the ointment used by Mary to wash Jesus’ feet.

Myrrh gets a double mention as the New Testament version is most likely Commiphora. It’s interesting to note how Christ’s life began (Matt 2:11) and ended (Mark 15:23) with Myrrh. When Jesus was offered the vinegar mingled with gall, he turned down an opioid painkiller. It’s quite humbling to know that Christ carried our sins without any physical or spiritual help.

Saffron is mentioned in Song of Solomon. It’s still an expensive spice and now I know why. It takes four thousand blossoms to make one ounce of saffron!

Though many of the plants mentioned are specific to Israel with its rocky ground and two seasons, some of them can handle our four season calendar year and climate changes. The Biblically inspired garden guide is quite helpful in recommending hearty plants that can remind us of their Biblical roots. If you know anyone with a green thumb, I’m sure they’ll find this $13.99 book fascinating.


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I Still Believe

I Still Believe

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us a digital screener to review!

I Still Believe is based on the true story of Jeremy Camp’s college days before he became a popular Christian artist who sold five million CDs. This film was supposed to be released in theaters on March 13, 2020, but those plans were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Christians and fans of Jeremy Camp’s music can support this film by renting a premium video on demand on sites like Amazon for $19.99. The digital rentals are good for 48 hours.

This film has a star-studded cast including Gary Sinese and Shania Twain as Jeremy’s parents. Jeremy Camp is played by KJ Apa who does not lip-sync, but puts his own spin on the popular Christian hits sung throughout the movie. I must confess that I’m not familiar with Mr. Camp’s music (despite owning a CD!) so none of the songs performed in it sounded familiar to me. It’s really fascinating knowing the inspiration of two of his hit songs “I Still Believe”, and "Walk by Faith”.

The events in the movie are based loosely on Jeremy Camp’s written biography, I Still Believe. Some artistic liberties have been taken. In the film, the love triangle is between Michelle Henning, Jeremy Camp, and his musical mentor, Jean-Luc La Joie. In reality, the love triangle was with a friend from Jeremy’s Bible study instead.

Without giving away too much of the story, this movie depicts the genuineness of Jeremy’s faith in God and love for his on-and-off again girlfriend who eventually became his wife despite her health issues. It’s amazing how God uses people and how miracles still happen. This film is pretty family-friendly though some blood is shown.

I recommend checking out this film that will certainly pull at your heartstrings. It’s a shame that it didn’t debut in the theaters, but you can still enjoy it if you have high-speed internet.


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Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Miracle - Part 1

Patterns of Evidence: The Red Sea Miracle - Part 1

Thank you Thinking Man Films for sending us a screener to review!

The book of Exodus documents many of God's miracles from the twelve plagues of Egypt to guiding the Israelites in the desert and parting the waters allowing them to cross on dry land. Director Cecil DeMile was so inspired by this book that he made the movie The Ten Commandments twice! I have fond memories watching the 1956 Charleston Heston version and these movies have also inspired film maker Tim Mahoney to create the Patterns of Evidence series. Sadly, many of these miracles are downplayed or considered mere fairy tales in today’s society. The Red Sea Miracle aims to determine where the parting of the waters occurred and the path that the Israelites took to eventually get to Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.

Before seeing this film, you should watch Patterns of Evidence: Exodus and Patterns of Evidence: The Moses Controversy to understand the non-conventional timeline they use for dating these events. Like the previous films, Tim interviews several Egyptologists and scholars on their thoughts on where the Israelites went and where the parting of the waters took place.

There are two schools of thought on how epic of a journey this truly was. The Egyptian theory is that there was 50,000 or less Hebrews and they didn’t travel too far before having shallow water part before them. The Hebrew view is that there were roughly two million Israelites who traveled a great distance for about a month before having a large body of water parted for them.

The goal in this two-part movie series is to break down the six-step journey. This film focuses on the first few objectives including determining where the departure point was, the direction they were heading, the size of the desert they crossed, and where the detour was before arriving at the dead end. The sea was parted at the dead end and there are many theories on where that took place.

The evidence provided to state their case is very convincing and it seems like they are on the right track given the teaser clips for the second half of this film series. I look forward to seeing remnants of Egyptian chariot wheels and other relics now covered with coral reefs. The Red Sea Miracle part 1 will be in theaters nationwide on February 18th. Part two will be coming to theaters in May of 2020.

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The Moses Controversy

The Moses Controversy

Thank you Thinking Man Films for sending us a screener to review!

Many Christians believe wholeheartedly that Moses wrote (with God’s guidance) the first five books of the Bible. Exodus 24:4 states that Moses wrote what the Lord instructed him and in John 5:46, Jesus mentions that Moses wrote about Him. Many agnostic and non-Christian scholars don’t believe that Moses wrote the Torah since the Hebrew language used in the dead sea scrolls didn’t exist during the Exodus.

How could God’s word have been preserved accurately in Moses’ lifetime? Oral tradition changes over time and if the Torah can’t be trusted, what credibility does the rest of the Bible have? Investigative film maker, Timothy Mahoney, travels around the world to find answers for several questions and determine if it is possible for Moses to truly be the author of the Pentateuch and how it was done.

This two and a half hour film is very informative and gathers input from Archaeologists, Egyptologists, Christian and Jewish scholars. In order to validate Moses as the author of the Torah, a suitable language that was like Hebrew had to be used, the origin of it in the region of Egypt, and used during the Exodus’ time period.

The key to solving this puzzle was discovered by an Egyptologist named Flinders Petrie. Unlike many archaeologists, he was looking at relics with a scientific mindset instead of a profitable one. Flinders and his wife, Hilda, discovered the Proto-Sinaitic script in the winter of 1904-1905. To understand the significance of this discovery, I recommend watching this film, since I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

If you haven’t seen Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, I recommend watching that movie first. That documentary focuses on a timeline discrepancy that’s heavily relied on for this film. Both of these films are thought provoking and it’s great to have your faith bolstered by science instead of “The Bible says so.”

In the end, my faith was strengthened by this film. Though I didn’t doubt Moses’ authorship, it’s fascinating to see how it could be validated with science. Today's Hebrew was not around during Moses' lifetime, but its origins were. The alphabet is something we truly take for granted, and yet it’s a gift from God that has been used to solidify and translate His word to thousands of dialects.

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Finnian and the Seven Mountains

Thank you Philip Kosloski for sending us a digital copy to review!

Finnian and the Seven Mountains is a 25-page long Christian comic about a man named Finnian who wants to find a lost sword because his village was raided by vikings. He wants to get revenge, so he asks a man who was fishing for a boat. He says that if Finnian helps him fish, he would show him where a boat is. Finnian helps him fish, and ironically, they caught so many fish in their nets that they could not carry them all. Finnian gets in a boat, and starts paddling. Weeks later, he arrives at an island that is supposed to have the sword. He gets hit by a giant wave but someone on the island named Brendan grabs his hand. Brendan takes him to an old man named Abba, who is a very wise man who the people on that island seem to speak to for help. Somehow, Abba knew that Finnian would come. He showed him around the island, and Finnian stayed there for a while, but when he had to leave, he slipped and almost fell into the ocean! He grabbed on to the cliff and climbed up. But when he did so, he loosened a rock and it fell down. Under that rock was a container. Inside that container was a map. It was a map that led to the sword he was looking for! But little did he know that vikings had another version of that map, but they only had half, but they were still going to the same place as Finnian...

I think that this book has a good art style which fits the book very well. It has a similar art style to a Marvel comic, except it doesen't have any action bubbles because there isn't any violence for those to fit in to.

I really enjoyed this story, and I think that my favorite part was the fishing, because it was obviously a reference to the Bible. I think that any Christian people who like comics would really enjoy this one. I am really looking forward to the second issue, and I think that anyone who reads this one would feel the same way.

 


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The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity

Thank you Blue Sparrow for sending us this book to review!

The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity is written by Matthew Kelly who is an author of books translated into twenty-five languages, acclaimed speaker, and business consultant at his company, Floyd Consulting. This book is fifteen chapters long and only 128 pages. It’s a pretty quick read if you want to learn how modern culture is robbing billions of people of happiness.

If you’re looking for the answer to the title’s statement, you’ll have to read through the first few chapters of fluff. In fact, much of the book is filled with statements that I was already aware of. For example, the second chapter discusses happiness and the author shares insights like “Lying never makes me happy” and “It is impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time.” The fifth chapter discusses various lies about Christianity including: Jesus did not exist, the resurrection is a myth, Christianity preys on the weak and ignorant, Christianity is anti-intellectual and anti-scientific, and Christianity is anti-sex.

The biggest lie is uncovered in chapter six, claiming that holiness is not possible. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is referenced and used to state that “God wants us to live holy lives, grow in character and virtue, and become the-best-version-of-ourselves.” I bet you’re wondering how this is possible! Through what this book calls holy moments. Everyone else knows them as pay it forward. There are some nice examples of kindness like a guy taking care of his neighbor’s lawn while recuperating from a broken leg or nurses agreeing to take on an extra shift for years to cover the salary for their co-worker who is battling cancer. Those are some significant tasks that surely make God proud and bring joy to others, but even simple things like recycling are holy moments according to the author.

Even if I don’t see eye to eye with what qualifies as a “holy moment”, I do agree with the author that our world does indeed need changing and we as Christians should get off of our collective butts and do something about it. The thirteenth chapter uses some fascinating math on how if we impact three people that can multiply to one billion people if each of the three people we inspire bring three more and continue the cycle. In the end, The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity has some good stories and ideas, but I’ve already heard them all before.

 


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God Bless the Broken Road

Thank you Lionsgate for sending us this Blu-ray, soundtrack CD, pot, and toy car to review!

God Bless the Broken Road is about Amber Hill, a wife and mother who tries to make ends meet after the loss of her husband in the Afghanistan war. Before his death, she was very active in church and led their worship ministry. Two years after his passing, her house is behind on the mortgage payments and working 7 days a week is straining the relationship with her daughter, Bree.

A dashing young racecar driver named Cody arrives in town and is instantly told that Amber is out of his league, but that makes her all the more appealing to him. After wrecking his racecar in the big leagues, he’s sent back to this small town to learn from one of the greats, Joe Carter. One of Cody’s first assignments from Joe is to work with the children at the town’s church. Bree takes a liking to Cody and enjoys making a pink camouflaged go-kart there.

While Bree is getting more active in church, her mother is becoming less so. Though Amber is working many hours at the diner, she’s still unable to make ends meet and resorts to pawning off possessions instead of pursuing a job offer from her mother-in-law. The relationship with Bree’s grandmother is strained and Bree wishes that she could spend more time with her. Amber’s walk with God is also deteriorating as she is relying on herself and not Him during her times of financial hardship.

One trait that Cody and Amber share is stubbornness. This film teaches a good moral lesson about listening to and relying on God. It’s Dove approved for all ages and there is little to be worried about morally. In fact, the war violence is bloodless which is contrary to most war films I’ve seen recently. The overall story is moving but predictable at times. While I’m not in a hurry to see this film again, I did enjoy it.



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Reflections of God's Grace

Thank you WestBow Press for sending us this book to review!

Reflections of God’s Grace is written by Michelle Hanna, and features 72 different devotions focusing on different topics of life. These devotions offer unique illustrations to make their point, and at the end of each one, there are assorted Scriptures to back up the message of the devotion. Each devotion is only a few pages long, but they provide deep, inspiring messages to bring God’s wisdom into your life and help Him influence your decisions each and every day.

The book as a whole is 179 pages long. While it generally focuses on making your relationship with God better, the devotions help to focus on various areas where your personal friendship with God can be improved upon. All of the sections are influenced by something that happened in the author’s personal life that struck her heart. For example, a section could be influenced by a song the author heard, an event that happened, or simply just a passage from the Bible.

Each devotion ends with a blessing and a wish that the author wants you to pray for in your daily life as you grow with your relationship with the Lord. After this blessing, the aforementioned Scripture is there to back up the passage. Usually there are four to nine pieces of Scripture after the original message of the devotion.

If you’re looking for something to help you expand your friendship with God, this is the book for you. Containing Scripture to back up each of its messages, it is biblically based and contains unique illustrations of Scriptural concepts that will help you grasp what each devotion is trying to tell you. Again, if you’re looking for something to help you get closer to the Lord, then this book would be a good one to add to your collection.

-Kittycathead

 


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The Rational Bible: Exodus

Thank you Regnery Faith for sending us this book to review!

Dennis Prager has studied and taught the Torah for fifty years and has hosted The Dennis Prager Show on radio. This book is written for people of all faiths or lack thereof. According to the author, “The Torah either has something to say to everyone or it has nothing to say to Jews.” The Rational Bible: Exodus is 520 pages long and goes through each verse and adds commentary to explain them further as needed.

Each chapter of the book focuses on a chapter in Exodus and the longest chapter by far is the 20th one which focuses on the Ten Commandments. That chapter alone is over fifty pages long. Along with the verse explanations are various essays that are thought provoking. Some of the major topics covered are slavery, abortion, and the “eye for an eye” concept.

When the Bible was written, slavery was much different than slavery during the Civil War. Most of the slaves in Bible times were slaves by choice or circumstance and not by kidnapping/stealing. In fact, human trafficking is punishable by death according to the Bible. Many Jews became slaves to pay off debt and they had many rights that American slaves did not have. Along with guaranteed food, clothing, and freedom after seven years, they were not required to work on the Sabbath, and even had marital rights.

While not tolerated or recommended, slave abuse is also covered in Exodus. Any injury that involved the loss of a tooth, limb, or an eye, freed the slaves from their abusive master. If a slave was killed by their master, their death must be avenged and treated as a murder. Beatings are not harshly punished though they are counterproductive and if done too severely, sets the slave free.

Many controversial topics are covered in this book and I cannot recommend it enough. I only wish that a thorough verse by verse explanation book was available for each book in the Bible. The $25 asking price is very reasonable and worth considering if you want an in-depth explanation of the Ten Commandments and the reasoning behind them.


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My Prayer Journal

Thank you Quiet Fox Designs and Fox Chapel Publishing for sending us this book to review!

“My Prayer Journal” is a guided journal meant for recording your heartfelt prayers and keep track of important dates in the lives of people you are praying for. In this book you’ll find the beautiful illustrations and hand lettering of Joanne Fink ready to color next to perfect places to jot down your prayers. The first few pages consist of a huge list of empty spots where you’re supposed to write the date, specific person you’re praying for, and the reason they need God’s help.

Once you fill up that whole list, you’ll enter a new section of the book (happens to be the longest) that’s more like a journal. These pages feature prayer prompts, inspiring scriptures to color, and reminders to check your prayer calendar at the beginning of the book.

After you pass that section, near the end of the book is a little calendar meant for recording important dates in your life or the life of somebody you’re praying for. February has only twenty-eight days though, meaning that if an important event happens on a leap year, you can’t record it in this book.

I won’t be able to live long enough to know if the paper in this book lasts 200 years, but according to the information on the back of “My Prayer Journal” it is printed on archival quality, 200-year acid-free paper. The book itself is hardcover, and I used it for a little while to keep track of my prayers, and I found that it gives you a lot of space to write answers to the prayer prompts and keep track of special dates in the second and third sections.

Maybe you aren’t that organized, or maybe you don’t have a good place to keep track of your thoughts and prayers. Either way, I would recommend this book to you even if you are organized. “My Prayer Journal” is a title I would recommend to any Christian.

 


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Scripture T-shirt Club

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Thank you Scripture T-shirt Club for sending us a review sample!

T-shirts are comfortable, attention getting, and often stylish. If they have words on them, people will usually take the time to read what your shirt says. What better way to spread God’s Word than wearing a comfortable, stylish, and easy to read t-shirt? The best part is that the t-shirts from scripturetshirtclub.com come directly to your mailbox! Along with your t-shirt are cards with the same verse on them to share with others. Spreading God’s Word has never been easier!

The t-shirts are available in men’s or women’s styles and the material is a 50/50 cotton polyester blend. Though the verses are the same on the men and women’s shirts, the female version has a fancier font. The material feels nice and comfortable, but I can’t vouch personally for it since the sample sent to me was too small to try on. My daughter on the other hand was eager to take it off my hands.

tshirt

The verse on the shirt and three cards I received was Isaiah 40:31 “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength”. That’s a great verse and certainly one worth sharing with others. The price isn’t shown on the website yet but it will be close to $20 a month which is very reasonable. A fresh and fashionable verse to memorize and share would be a great blessing for any Christian.

There’s a newsletter available to join and if you sign up you can get 20% off and a chance to get a free t-shirt. The first winner will be chosen on their launch date of July 1st. If you’re looking for some new clothes to wear or a fresh way to share God’s Word, check out the Scripture T-shirt Club!

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Samson

Thank you Pure Flix for sending us this Blu-ray to review!

Samson’s story in the Bible is an incredible one about a man who had God-given strength as long as he kept the Nazarite vows. Since his birth, he was forbidden to cut his hair and abstain from grapes, raisins, and wine. Samson was a judge and was supposed to lead the tribe of Dan, but he was too busy womanizing. Instead of settling down with a nice Hebrew girl, he preferred Philistine women. The Philistines were oppressing the Hebrews so it was difficult for Samson to get his parents' blessing on marrying the girl he fell in love with. In the movie, the Philistine slave he proposes to is named Taren though her name is not revealed in the book of Judges.

While this one hundred and ten minute movie is rated PG-13, it’s for the violence rather than sex scenes. Intimacy is only alluded to and not seen. Samson is shown taking down a lion with his bare hands, killing thirty Philistines for their tunics, and using the jawbone of a donkey to slaughter one thousand Philistine warriors. Tying ignited twigs on three hundred fox tails is also seen though I doubt that any animals were harmed while filming. The special effects are pretty good though not as high tech as many big budget films out there.

Though this film portrays Samson in a positive light, it does deviate from the scriptures a bit. The Philistine woman Samson married is given to Prince Rallah instead of the best man. Rather than being a harlot, Delilah is Rallah’s wife. True to the scriptures, she does entice Samson to reveal his weakness, but the movie only shows two out of four attempts.

If you’re familiar with the book of Judges, you’ll know how this film ends. I won’t spoil it here, but I will say that Samson was definitely used by God to reveal his power to the Philistines. My husband and I enjoyed watching this film and its fresh take on one the Bible’s strongest men. On Amazon the Blu-ray sells for less than $18 and the DVD edition is under $15.

 


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God All Around Me

Thank you Fox Chapel Publishing for sending us this book to review!

This journal features art by Robin Pickens and contains 128 pages. Unlike The Beloved Word: A Scripture Journal, the pages are numbered in this book. There are Bible verses scattered throughout the journal, but the Bible version is not mentioned. There is also beautiful art on each page, and every so often you’ll find a prompt to guide you in your faith journaling.

Just like the previous journal I reviewed, this one is hardcover with 200-year paper. The illustrations are quite colorful, but aren’t an eyesore; rather, they pleasantly introduce a variety of colors to your eyes and are on almost every page. The pages are easy to write on, pen or pencil, and the book is designed to last. When I got this book, I decided to draw on the first page, and found it very easy to do so.

This book, being a guided journal, has a theme for the questions inside. In this book that theme is everyday miracles, as one could tell from the cover (it’s written there). There are questions asking about things like what people are you grateful for, where are you closest to God, etc. that are designed to increase your faith and deepen your relationship with God.

This journal creates an environment inside that allows you to soak in God’s Word with its Scripture on so many pages, giving you space next to the verses to write your reflections on those verses, or to just write what you were writing on the previous page(s). I think it is a really good book, with lots of godly themes inside of it. It contains a broad spectrum of verses that convey lots of different but godly messages. Flipping through it, I saw lots of verses from Psalms, but there are plenty of verses from other books of the Bible too. (Example: Phillippians 4:4 on the cover.)

Once again, I thank Fox Chapel Publishing for sending us this book to review, and I look forward to seeing more from them in the future!

 


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The Beloved Word: A Scripture Journal

Thank you Fox Chapel Publishing for sending us this book to review!

This journal features artwork by Joanne Fink and scriptures from the New International Version (NIV) Bible. The verses are designed to encourage you to trust in God, and are dispersed throughout the book.

This journal has 128 pages (but no page numbers!) and features artwork on almost every page.
There are no guiding questions, but the inspiring verses to look at as you write in this journal are there to help stimulate your faith in God as you dutifully record your thoughts in this book.

This is a hardcover journal, and it uses 200-year paper, which I’m guessing is meant to last for 200 years, and the art in the journal isn’t black and white like it is in most books, but full color. The art is a watercolor style, so it's not so bright that it’s an eyesore, but rather it pleasantly brings color and a soft, feathery feeling into the journal. The book is easy to write in, and the paper is soft so it’s effortless for your pen or pencil to make a nice, satisfying mark.

I taped a piece of paper in this journal, and when trying to take it out, I accidentally ripped a small part of one of the layers of the paper off, even though I did it nice and slowly. Otherwise, I don’t have any problems with this journal. It’s beautifully illustrated, wonderfully colored, and just awe-inspiring to look at as you flip through each page, not to mention the awesomely picked Bible verses placed throughout the book. On the front cover, there’s Matthew 19:26. Scattered throughout the book, there are other well-known verses like Jeremiah 29:11 and Philippians 4:13.

This is an awesome book, and I thank Fox Chapel Publishing once again for sending us this journal to review.

I look forward to seeing more books from you in the future!

 


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Love and Sex – A Christian Guide

Thank you Regnery for sending us this book to review!

Love and Sex – A Christian Guide is written by Nancy Houston, a Christian sex therapist. According to statistics, people are in one of three places when it comes to human sexuality. If you are either in the process of working through a sexual issue, have just come out of a sexual issue, or about to discover a sexual situation, you’ll want to consider reading through this 231 page book. Out of all the twelve chapters, I found the last one more fitting of a guide since a majority of this book tells the stories of various individuals working through different sexual traumas and abuse.

Admittedly, I could not relate to their stories of homosexuality, porn addiction, rape, or child molestation. However, I still found the book to be well written and the characters relatable despite not being able to connect with them personally. The stories don’t hold back on the details so I recommend this book for mature readers only. There are vivid recollections concerning masturbation, rape, and pedophilia. Sadly, the abuse often came from loved ones or people who should have been trusted in a sinless world. Many marital issues stemmed from childhood traumas earlier on in life for the characters in this book.

It was encouraging to read about the restoration of marriages that suffered from affairs and pornography addiction. There are many scriptural references and quotes from esteemed doctors to back up the claims made by the author. According to this book, there are three elements to creating and cultivating healthy relationships. If your marriage is lacking intimacy, attachment, and passion, then you may want to consider reading this title. The hardcover edition sells for less than $17.00 on Amazon and the digital format is only $9.99.

 



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Leaving My Father’s Faith

Thank you Jolson Creative PR for sending us a screener to review!

Tony Campolo is a well-known author, pastor, and evangelist. He was a spiritual advisor to Bill Clinton and recently made headlines in 2015 for fully supporting gay marriage. Up until his 2011 bike accident that resulted in a concussion, Bart Campolo was following in his father’s footsteps as an evangelist. However, after the bike accident, Bart changed and abandoned his faith entirely.

The movie Leaving My Father’s Faith chronicles e-mail exchanges between Tony and Bart and shows them dialoguing over what caused Bart to abandon Christianity. Bart doesn’t completely blame the bike accident for his departure, but mentions that there were several things in his life that cast doubts and slowly corroded his faith.

The first issue that caused Bart to leave Christianity is God allowing for people to suffer. Tony responded saying that according to Philippians 2:7, God emptied His power and doesn’t reclaim it fully until the end days mentioned in Revelation. In college Bart’s faith was further challenged in a religious class that dealt with contradictions in the Bible. Bart’s teacher told him about the writing of Karl Bart that conclude that Jesus was the perfect word and that the Bible is just merely a witness to it. Karl Bart’s works were so inspiring to Tony that he named his son after him. Not surprisingly, both father and son disagree with the Bible’s stance on homosexuality.

Most of the movie talks about Bart’s upbringing and doubts. It claims to be fair and representing both sides equally, but I can’t help think that more time is spent on Bart than Tony. Because of the imbalance, I don’t really recommend this movie to believers. In the end, I’m glad that their relationship with each other is amicable. If you find this exchange interesting you can read the book Why I Left, Why I Stayed which this film is based off of.

 


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All the Commandments of God: Find Out the Secret to Inherit All the Blessings of God

Thank you Bohlsen Group for sending us this book to review!

All the Commandments of God: Find Out the Secret to Inherit All the Blessings of God is written by Dr. Esther V. Sheker who was a former Hindu and became a Christian at eighteen. She spends 3-4 hours a day praying to the Spirit and listening to His Word. Many of these sessions begin at 3am and she recommends that you follow her example. According to the author, this book was “conceived into her spirit by the Lord God Almighty Himself and it is absolutely from the Throne-Room of God.” Some parts of this book were also paraphrased from Trinity Broadcasting Network.

While this book isn’t exactly a “page turner”, it certainly is a great reference for various topics and the Scripture supporting or condemning them. There are three parts with the first and longest focusing on the Ten Commandments. The second section talks about God’s ways being higher than our own. The last part is devoted to salvation and obtaining eternal life through Christ.

The majority of this book is taken straight from the Bible and the topics are arranged in a table format explaining the commandments and the rewards or consequences behind them. Scripture is referenced and quoted directly to support each statement. All of the topics, parables, and miracles are listed in the back of the book. This is in addition to the table of contents in the beginning of it.

I have little to argue with most of the points made in this book. I must admit that I find the beginning statements a bit much along with some of the suggestions from the author. While I’m familiar with Jesus ordering the storm to calm down in Mark 4:35-41, I think it’s a bit of a stretch that we as Christians should run out and rebuke natural calamities around the world as the author suggests. I definitely pray for those in harm’s way but I don’t expect major hurricanes or earthquakes to dissipate because of my prayers in Jesus’ name.

If you’re looking for a good reference guide, this book is a worthwhile purchase on Kindle for $3.99. The paperback is quite a bit more at $22.95. If you’re looking for sensible Christian advice, you may want to look elsewhere.


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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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