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DVD Review



I apologize for not being more active, but not having other reviewers or books to review, it's been a little difficult. However I want to let you know about this wonderful DVD "God's Not Dead." Working at the library I found it on our shelves and took it home. When I brought it back I raved about it. I wanted to take it out again, but it seems word gets around. It's always on hold for someone else. That's great.

The opening scene is in a freshman college philosophy class. The professor states he is an atheist, and asks that if everyone will sign a paper with 3 little words on it he can dispense of the dust and get to the subject. Those 3 words are "God Is Dead." One student cannot sign that. He is given 3 chances to argue the case of the existence of God before the class.

Fueled by hate on one side and a determined love of God on the other this is not your simple movie. The poor kid researches and goes off on a journey of his own to state his case. The end is nothing short of amazing. I guess telling people stuff like this is one of the reasons I can't get a hold of it a second time. It's really that good.

For more you can go here:
http://godsnotdeadthemovie.com/synopsis

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Amazon
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May our Lord be with you now and always. Remember, God is in control, even when things look like they're crashing all around you. David

Monday, September 24, 2007

Random House presents



LET THE EAT CAKE, by Sandra Byrd



Lexi Stuart doesn't seem to be able to get the dots in life to connect correctly. The book begins with her dragging herself into a job that she hates...and soon loses. Without a job, a pension for food and French, she treats herself at this new French place, pastries, cafe la creme, breads...and an owner to die for. Soon she finds herself applying for a job there, and actually getting it. Try explaining that to the folks who sent you money to go to college and get a “good” job. Few people seem to respect her decision and the fireworks building up at work aren't helping matters. The trouble is, Alexandra, (that's what the owner calls her), loves her job, even the challenges it brings. Is this what God wants for her life? If so, she'll have a second helping, thank you very much.



Sandra Byrd is a prolific writer of fiction, including the popular Friends for a Season series for teens, and the bestselling Girls Like You and Secret Sisters series for young girls. She is a regular contributor to national Christian publications. Before she began writing full time, Sandra worked in marketing, sales, and acquisitions for an educational publisher. She and her husband have two children, and make their home in Seattle , Washington.





For more information and reviews go to Amazon.com

CFRB is proud to extend their services to Waterbrook/Random House to the extent that the Gospel of Jesus Christ may reach even more people.

Friday, September 07, 2007

HIGH STREET, by Jack Stinson

Day 7 Saturday


I thought a good way to end this tour would be with an interview with Jack Stinson. It was getting way to hard to write posts without giving too much away. This interview, however, will give you an inside look at the author, his motivation for writing HIGH STREET and some other background information you may find interesting. I hope you enjoy it. So without further delay I present to you, Jack Stinson.


CFRB - We're here with Jack Stinson, author of HIGH STREET. Jack, tell us a bit about yourself. What kind of family background did you have?


RS - I grew up in what most would call a middle-class working family, just outside of a small town along Lake Erie. My father worked in a factory and did commercial fishing on the side. I worked on the fishing boats a lot as part of the crew. Nets, anchors, ropes… When I was in high school Dad formed a commercial fishing business with four partners and went into that full-time. The kids went to church once in a while; my parents didn’t. I became a Christian during my third year of college.


CFRB - What kind of family life do you have now?


RS - I’ve been married for about 28 years (gosh, I think that’s right!). I have a 25 year old daughter and a 16 year old son. We’re sort of an average suburban-type family in Columbus, Ohio. My daughter graduated from Bible college and is getting married this fall.


CFRB - What ministry involvements are you in?


RS -I’ve been a manager at a large software company for the past seven years. That, along with family stuff and the time I need to write, takes up pretty much all of my time. I’m not a part of any formal ministry right now. Church twice a week is about it right now.


CFRB - HIGH STREET isn't the soft-soap Christian novels people are used to. What led you to write it this way?


RS - The easy, completely honest answer: That’s the story that came to me. I just wanted to write that story, and write it in that manner. There is no such thing as “Just sowing some wild oats.” People get scarred for life, and sometimes they don’t survive it. Being “down & out” in the human condition is not pretty. I helped in an inner-city homeless ministry for about five years and saw a lot of ugliness. Above all else, I wanted realism.


CFRB - How were you able to describe getting high so accurately? Were you ever involved with drugs, or is this just from observation and research?


RS - All of the above. During my first two years of college I went to a lot of parties where college students did a lot of alcohol and drugs. Yes, I experimented some too. Though I was never pulled in to the extent that my main character was, I was close enough to see how someone could get completely lost in it. Then, years later, I heard many stories while working in a homeless ministry.


CFRB - You mentioned on your emails that this story grew out of working in a shelter. In what capacity did you work?


RS - My church had a homeless ministry, and I was one of the guys who went out in the vans. We would go out two at a time every Sunday morning, one driving and one riding. I would go into the various shelters and around the vicinity outside inviting the homeless to church. We served breakfast before church and then lunch afterward. (Then we would bring them back and drop them off where we had picked them up—which was really hard.) I would eat with the homeless folks and then sit in their Sunday School class with them. I got to see and hear a lot.


CFRB - What do you hope to achieve by writing HIGH STREET?


RS - I hope that Christians reading High Street will gain some empathy for the homeless. Maybe parents and teenagers will get a dose of sober fear about how easy it is for someone at that stage of their life to mess up big time. I also hope any non-Christian reading the story will think about the greater meaning of life…God, death… The greatest thing I could hope for is that this book would be instrumental in someone accepting Christ.


CFRB - Is there anything you'd like to add or say that I haven't addressed?


RS - No, I think you’ve been very thorough in your questions.


CFRB – Thanks Jack for taking some time with us. I think we'll be able to appreciate HIGH STREET better from knowing its author better. May God bless the work of your hands.


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HIGH STREET, by Jack Stinson

Day 6 Friday



God's grace, Jamie Boyer, the Prodigal Son and the Thief on the Cross.


For all the rebelliousness Jamie Boyer exhibits in this book, he is really one who is bound. He has fashioned the chains of bondage with his own hands, and by his rebelliousness, has securely fastened locks about them. He longs to be free, yet his is the one who has kept him in chains. But God's grace doesn't give up on someone until they have drawn their last breath. So Jamie's life becomes much like two other people who are known to us from their accounts in the Bible.


One of these, whose life parallels Jamie's in an almost eerie fashion, is the Prodigal Son. Here is a son, who not only struck out on his own, but took all of his inheritance with him. Life was grand as long as the money held out, but when a famine struck the land and his money ran out, his friends all left. He was left homeless, just like Jamie. We aren't told how long this young man languished in poverty, but we do know that he found a job feeding pigs, and even fought them for food. When at last “he came to himself” as the Bible puts it in Luke 15:17, he returned home to beg his father to hire him on as one of his servants. The father, however, had been waiting daily for his son's return. Every day he would wait out by the road and look for his return. When at last his son appeared on the horizon, he ran out to meet him. The father wasn't interested in hiring him as a slave. He rejoiced that his son had returned. All rights and privileges were returned to the son, even though he certainly didn't deserve it, at least not to our way of thinking. So also the Heavenly Father waits for all those children who have walked out to be on their own. He cries at the distress we bring upon ourselves, but He awaits for our return. Every time one of us does return there is great rejoicing in Heaven. This is a glimpse of the grace of God.


There is another man, a thief who was crucified next to Jesus. There were actually 2 thieves, one on either side of the Master. Yet, this one thief saw all that was happening. He may have even heard Jesus teach a few times. (Crowds always present a thief with easily obtained wealth) He may have seen people healed, yet all of this time he never gave a thought to follow this man. I'm sure his heart was fairly hard at one time. Yet, as he saw this innocent man being ridiculed by the crowds, and even his fellow thief, his heart broke at last. Matthew 27:44 says that both thieves mocked Jesus along with the crowds. Yet at some point the heart of one of them broke. In Luke 23:40-43 we learn that one o these thieves began to rebuke the other thief. He called out to Jesus and was saved on the spot.


God's grace is not always gentle and easy. Sometimes it is famine. Sometimes it is loneliness. Sometimes it is spending time in a pig's sty. Sometimes it takes even the grace of a torturous death to soften the heart of someone to receive Him and His salvation. Sometimes we have to walk through life like Jamie, lost, friendless, homeless, afraid to go home, on a path that leads to death, for us to finally come to realize God's love and grace. This is the way we are to come to God. Do not wait to clean yourself up, because it will never happen. Do you really want to know how dirty you are in God's eyes? Look at yourself in the mirror of His Law. Then when you realize that He STILL loved you enough to become a man that He might die for you, you will begin to understand and appreciate His marvelous grace.


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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

HIGH STREET, by Jack Stinson

HIGH STREET

Day 5 Thursday



Yesterday we discussed how Jack Stinson covered the topic of “shame”, and how it was nothing more than a false humility, a type of pride. Today I want to talk about something we can all relate to. I want to talk about “fear”. Now you may be thinking I'm doubling back on what I said yesterday, but I'm not. In this story about Jamie Boyer pride expressed itself in the form of shame. However, fear was a very different matter. With shame he thought about what others thought about him, but with fear he had to face himself. A good part of the book deals with Jamie trying to excuse himself, to rationalize things, yet at the same time we get to see Jamie's heart. He's scared. He doesn't fear death to the extent one might think. What he fears is himself. On a number of occasions I've stated that the most frightening horror stories are those where a person must face himself. Stinson does a great job at showing the absolute horror that Jamie experiences. With each new experience he seems to see himself more and more clear so that the end result is truly one of absolute horror. I'm not talking something like most horror stories. This is more terrifying because it is more realistic, much closer to home.


When we are faced with ourselves, and are honest about it, it should frighten us. Who are we anyway? Nothing but a sack of dirt that God is keeping alive by His mighty power. Reality isn't a pleasant thing. We see what we are doing, the lies, the gossiping, the drugs, the lusts, and look at our hands. We see bloody hands holding a huge metal spike while it is pounded into the feet of our Savior. We hear our voices cry out, “Crucify Him!” and wonder what wretched creatures we must be. How could God ever love us? Jesus put Himself on that cross for our sins. We are the murderers. We can scarcely look in the mirror because of this reality. The same is true with Jamie Boyer, only he doesn't even know about Jesus other than a word used in a vulgar way. Throughout HIGH STREET we find layer upon layer of excuses and rationalizations being stripped from him, until at last he stands naked, ugly, without excuse. Oh that each of us would let this story take you to this place. For it is here that you can finally hear and understand the words of Jesus on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” There, in that naked reality, in fear and trembling we realize who and what we are, and it is there, if we would call upon the name of the Lord we can find ourselves changed, clothed in His righteousness.


If there is one thing this book teaches us that we should never forget, it is this, we are creatures, not even worthy of God's smallest consideration, yet because of Jesus He has brought us into His house and made us to be joint heirs with His Son. We are His children. If we have come to salvation by some other route than facing ourselves and our lawlessness before a holy God, then that salvation is in jeopardy. When we come to Him through His Son, knowing full well that we are lawbreakers of the worse kind, then He makes us righteous in Christ Jesus. Our salvation is no longer dependent upon how good we are, but upon the perfection of the Son of God. As we appreciate this truth we can offer up true praises and worship to our Heavenly Father.


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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

HIGH STREET, by Jack Stinson

HIGH STREET

Day 4 Wednesday



Through the life of Jamie Boyer, Jack Stinson is able to portray for us how HIGH STREET afffects our lives on all levels. Today let's look at shame.


Shame is one of the first things we learn that Jamie feels. He's been kicked out of college, lost his possessions to drugs, and forced to live on the streets. As the book opens Jamie Boyer is signing in to a homeless shelter. The mere fact that he has to do this to survive is almost more than he can bear. Yet as he enters the dorm and sees the others he is faced with a new shame. If he doesn't take care of himself, if he doesn't watch his step, he will become like these other men. The thought sickens him.


These are reasonable thoughts, in and of themselves. Yet one wonders why he never goes back home. The answer is given to us and it is the same reason that sent him to the homeless shelter, shame. He has let his family down and just can't bear to break their hearts by showing up on their doorstep looking the way he does, never mind that he's still hooked on drugs. We come to realize that shame is a false pride that robs a person of the little dignity he has left, the ability to reach out for help.


This nagged me through out the book. Here is this intelligent person who has become such a slave to his own desires that he can't even go home. It's like the story of the Prodigal Son, but with a terribly different ending. As Christians I would hope that we would reach out to those who refuse help and lend them a hand just the same, give them back some of the dignity that they have lost, and by the power of God, help them become free of the bondages of sin and death. There are too many Jamies out there. There are too many broken hearts, twisted minds, people lost in worlds of their own making. They know they are trapped, but they don't know how to get out. They don't know how to ask for help. It is for us to go to them. Jesus called for us to be workers, bringing in the harvest. The harvest doesn't come to the farmer. The farmer must go out to the crops and reap the harvest. He cuts and pulls, he binds and carries away the crop. In the same way Jesus has sent us out to cut through their bonds with His truth, to pull them from the peers who would take them to Hell with them, to bind up the broken hearted and carry away their burdens. For you see, we may be the only Jesus they ever see. We must go out and conquer shame and set these captives free by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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Monday, September 03, 2007

HIGH STREET, by Jack Stinson

HIGH STREET

Day 3 Tuesday



Jamie Boyer soon finds out that the pleasures of High Street are costly. He finds himself in bondage, not free at all. Throughout the book he keeps wondering how he ended up in this place. If we remember the words of Jesus mentioned in the last post, the answer is very plain. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:13-15)

First, Jamie finds that the pleasure of doing drugs is fleeting. He finds that he needs to get high again. His focus isn't on college, on his friends, on anything except getting high. He has exchanged his freedom to become a slave to please the desire for drugs. The next thing he notices is this is an expensive road. He depletes his bank account, loses his car, his kicked out of college...in the end all he has are the clothes on his back and very little else.


The "false prophets" in Jamie's case, and in many others, are the taunts and pressures of their friends. Before long we find ourself not even hanging with them any more, but trying to find another fix. As broad a way as High Street is we have fallen off into the enemy's web that surrounds it. We are like Frodo in Cirith Ungol, following a known enemy into an unknown cave which is actually the lair of Shelob. There Frodo, and most of us, nearly die. If it hadn't been for the Law of God which drove us to the grace of the cross we would have been lost forever. By the time Jamie realizes this he also realizes that every effort he uses to fight to get out of this web only entangles him further. He struggles on, knowing that soon will come a time when all power fails him and he is left at the mercy of the enemy. The choice, however, has been his. Not even the enemy can claim this victory.



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HIGH STREET, by Jack Stinson

Day 2 Monday



The story HIGH STREET, takes place in Columbus, OH, oddly enough not on High Street at all, but because of High Street. The person's life we follow is Jamie Boyer. A smart young man from the western farmlands of Ohio, Jamie is lured away the sudden rush of “freedom”.


Make no mistake, everyone has a High Street they need to be aware of, a lure away from the normal, boring things we've known all our lives. It may be alcohol and drugs as it was with Jamie. It may be pornography. It may be any one of a million different vices all designed to give us a rush of pleasure. Like Jamie, however, we usually find out that our story doesn't stay on High Street, but languishes in back alleys and in the dark corners of our lives BECAUSE we were lured to taste the pleasures of High Street. No one is immune.


Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:13-15) Look at this statement carefully. It's as if Jesus knew about the bars, the crack houses and the prostitutes Jamie encountered on High Street. That's because High Street represents that broad way, that false freedom.


So begins Jack Stinson's HIGH STREET, a sobering tale of people lured from one life into another. We will look at this later.



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Sunday, September 02, 2007

HIGH STREET, by Jack Stinson

Day 1 Sunday


When we meet up with Jamie Boyer he is checking into a homeless shelter. He could have gone home, but his pride will not allow him to do this. He could go to a Christian for counseling, but his pride won't allow this either. So he lodges with, what he calls “bums” for what he thinks will be just a short while until he can get his act together and get back into college.


This is so incredible to me. We are used to those arrogant people around us who make our job ten times more difficult than it needs to be. I work at a library and have had several people call me from other states asking for things like the phone number of a businesses in the area. I've had people get so arrogant they nearly start shouting because I'll not let them use the computers or take out books without their library card. “It's in the system,” they spit out angrily. “Yes, but that is not policy,” I reply as calmly as I can.


That kind of arrogance, that kind of pride we hate, but can recognize and understand, at least to some degree. Then there is the arrogance of false humility. Comedians have made monologues about this kind of pride. “No, no, really, you shouldn't...do you really think it was good?” The fake humility, followed by trolling for a pat on the back is an indication of this kind of false humility.


Jamie suffers from a different kind of false pride, one that says, “I know I may have made a mistake, but I'll straighten things out. I can do it by myself. I don't need anyone else's help.” Every one of us have to deal harshly with this kind of pride. The fact of the matter is we cannot do it, that is live properly, by ourselves. We need as much help as we can get, starting and ending with the help of God. It's not just a mistake we've made...we have offended the Almighty God. We are facing His eternal judgment. How dare we say that we can straighten everything out. We can't, only by accepting Jesus as both Lord and Savior can we be extracted from our problematic lives. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we find our shackles fall free. If we do not bend to the will of God we follow the path of Jamie and so many others like him. We cut ourselves off from God's help and place ourselves at the cross-hairs of His judgment. No wonder Jesus said, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:4,5),



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