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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

To purchase a copy try these links:
Amazon
ChristianBook.com
Barnes & Noble

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

Saturday, April 10, 2010

THE MUSE, by Fred Warren


Saturday - Muse and amuse. I put it that way because when you put an "a" in front of a word it often makes the word the exact opposite. Take the word "theist" for instance, meaning someone who has a belief in God. Add the "a" to it and you have "atheist", someone who does not believe in God. So a "muse" is someone who inspires another's imagination, more like an encourager than anything else, although they often put their two cents in and that two cents can be like the breath of life to a writer. So what's "amuse"? Well, we have the word "amuse", which means, roughly, to clown around, cause to laugh, etc. They really don't inspire and can often times ridicule people in order to get their laughs. Well, Fred Warren manages to have both in The Muse. There is a muse and there is an amuse. I'm not going to give out their names. That's something you're going to have to figure out for yourself.

In this concluding piece I want to offer this advice, things aren't always what they seem. This is especially true in the spiritual world. You can follow a couple of rules of thumb. Things that are from God often look ordinary at first glance, or even less than ordinary. Things that are from the devil are often things that look extraordinary. This is because God approaches us with respect and often with humility. The enemy, on the other hand, is a liar. He will tempt you with something that looks great or promises great things, but the end is always destruction.

In the middle of this war there are people who must make a choice between two very different choices. God says in His Word, "Behold, I set death and life before you this day. Choose life." The problem often is that without a solid knowledge of God's Word many things look like "life" but actually lead to death, while those things that do in fact lead to life, look rather blah, or even hazardous. People have been constantly making wrong choices because they have been sold a lie. The problem is that once you realize it's a lie it is very difficult to get out of whatever that may be. So get a good understanding of God's Word. Don't be deceived by the enemy and follow a path to bondage and death. Instead, follow Him and His Word and choose Life.

Don't forget to visit Fred's site found HERE

You can purchase his book at any of the following sites (although I would urge you to go to Splashdown books and help a wonderful young lady get her new company off the ground)

Splashdown Books

Barnes & Noble

Amazon


Don't forget to check out the following CFRB member's sites for other reviews and insights for THE MUSE.




[Important legal notice: This book was given to me freely by Splashdown books for the purpose of doing a review. My compensation is writing a review of the book. However, having said that I must also state that I don't even bother looking at things I feel may be of inferior quality. The works displayed on CFRB are, and have been, for the most part, exemplary in their quality and content]

Friday, April 09, 2010

THE MUSE, by Fred Warren


Friday - Jilly. I believe her actual name is Jillian Jackson, although I forgot where I read that. In any case she goes by the name of Jilly. Also a member of The Seventh Circle of Hell, Jilly is a Gothic gal who is into writing vampire stories. We aren't going to get into a debate about Christians writing vampire stories or dressing in Gothic attire, because I will defend them both. Suffice it to say that Jilly is another member of this same group. The obstacle she faces is publishers don't seem to be interested in her graphic approach. In her mind she got through the story with minimal difficulties, told the story the way she felt it should be told, kept the integrity of her story in tact from beginning to end, and yet no one, seemingly, wants to publish it. In a sense this only feeds into her Gothic approach to viewing things, that is, being the outcast. There is an oddity about being an outcast. The social norm says "You need to be over here, doing this and dressing like this," when the outcast says, "No, you need to be over here, doing this and dressing whatever way makes you feel comfortable." In a sense they force themselves into being outcasts, but in another sense, they just want to be accepted for who they are.

Now I can give you the Gospel of Jesus within a vampire-like context. I can explain the usage of dark clothing, the interesting value that the "death look", piercings and even tattoos have for a Christian. Yet the most important thing is that none of this matters. Consider Jesus who told Peter, Andrew, James and John, "I will make you fishers of men." As fishermen by trade they realized that when you cast your net out you get all kinds of fish in that net. Some are thrown back, many times so they can be caught at a later time when they are bigger. Few are tossed back because they are "bad fish". None of the fish are cleaned. That happens after you catch them. Too many people in the church try to clean the fish before they catch them. They say things like, "If you smoke you're going to hell," "If you drink, you're going to hell,"If you go to dances or movies, you're going to hell," and so on. Their idea of Christianity is a bunch of dos and doen'ts. People we refer to as outcasts because they don't fit our mold. But you know something? They aren't supposed to. Just as all children, even in the same family, are different, so are all people different. And just as only the father has the right to set the rules down to govern his family, so also does our Heavenly Father have the right to govern His family. It's not up to you or me to point out someone's flaws or sins, but to accept them and let our "Daddy" take it from there. How can love cover a multitude of sins if people are unwilling to address their sins. It should never be our job to do that. We must be very careful if we point out someone's sins, because we have no right to make ourselves out to be God, and that is what we'd be doing if we made those judgments. So be careful, be very, very careful.

I was glad to find Jilly in this story. I can relate to fantasy and sci-fi writers, but this gave me a chance address some things that I feel needed to be addressed. People will accept, to a point, writers of fantasy and science fiction, but they tend to have problems with writers of horror, especially when it includes vampires and werewolves. I can't say that I'm totally comfortable with the whole vampire schtick, especially when they are glorified as they often are. Still, people are people. Jesus did not say He came to die for only the sheep without blemish. He didn't say, "I'll except you and you, but you over there, keep on walking." No, the love of Jesus is such that He loves all of us, just as we are. We are all sin-stained and if we don't realize that then we are missing the whole point of the Gospel. Jesus came to save sinners. Outcasts, more than others, know what it is to be, well, cast out. They actually have the greatest potential to being some of the strongest Christians in our society, but if we keep shutting the doors in their faces, if we continue to shut up our hearts against them, then they will turn to paganism. If you think that's God's will for them, then keep shutting the door in their face, keep turning them away, keep shutting up your hearts against them. If you believe, as I do, and as Jesus teaches, that we are to love everyone, to embrace everyone as He would, then these people will bless you as they find their way into the household of God.

(Sorry, Fred, didn't mean to get carried away, but you started it *S*)

Don't forget to visit Fred's site found HERE

You can purchase his book at any of the following sites (although I would urge you to go to Splashdown books and help a wonderful young lady get her new company off the ground)

Splashdown Books

Barnes & Noble

Amazon


Don't forget to check out the following CFRB member's sites for other reviews and insights for THE MUSE.




[Important legal notice: This book was given to me freely by Splashdown books for the purpose of doing a review. My compensation is writing a review of the book. However, having said that I must also state that I don't even bother looking at things I feel may be of inferior quality. The works displayed on CFRB are, and have been, for the most part, exemplary in their quality and content]

Thursday, April 08, 2010

THE MUSE, by Fred Warren


Thursday - Davos Alexandros is one of the members of The Seventh Circle of Hell, and close friend of Stan and Jilly. Now his particular writing is in science fiction and his major difficulty with writing in that genre is his fastidious approach to making all things based upon realistic designs. We meet him because he is bummed out over the space ship he has his characters traveling on. In the course of his story he realizes that the ship, as it currently is constructed, cannot possibly have enough fuel to reach their destination. I like Stan's approach to use some poetic license and be done with it, but that isn't in the nature of Davos. He must retool the spaceship so that it will be able to make the journey, then re-write the story to include everything that touches the ship. Few people realize how changing a single event, structure, or something of the sort, impacts nearly all of a writing. Take for instance A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. If Tiny Tim were a healthy little boy then perhaps his father wouldn't have feel as though the need for money was so desperate, perhaps they wouldn't be so antagonistic towards Scrooge, and we'd have to wonder if the reason for Scrooge's change was all selfishness instead of part of the story hoping that he might bring about a different end to the book. You see, one small item reaches through and touches many other things. In order to make it work when you change something, you must go back and change a lot of things.

This is also true spiritually. Although God created us to have fellowship with Him we all start out dead. We begin to form a character that is so far apart from God's will that it is hard to comprehend. Yet, the only thing we need to do in order to come into fellowship with God is to cry out to Him. ("Whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13) Once God has made that change in us we begin to find that this "little" change touches every area of our lives. We begin, slowly and step by step (because we couldn't take it all at once) changing who we are, a little at a time. Yes, we became Christians the day we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but as we are led by His Holy Spirit we find that there are so many areas we need to change to become truly formed in the image of Jesus Christ. We are led to one area in our life, and when that gets under God's control He shows us another area that needs attention. This lasts our entire life on this planet. Do not point fingers at others and begin listing their faults, because many of them may be your own. Do not think you have finally come into perfection, but listen to the voice of the Lord as He directs you to work on yet another area in your life. And do not let others put you in bondage, by telling you that you are worthless or anything of the sort. The blood of Jesus has made you worthy in the eyes of God. The very action of believing in Jesus, in accepting Him as Lord and Savior, gives you the power to become Children of God. Yet we are brothers and sisters. We are not God. We are not the Father, and only the Father has the right to come to one of His children and correct them. There are things that are obvious, but even those should be handled by God, because He does it best. After all, He loves us with an everlasting love.

Don't forget to visit Fred's site found HERE

You can purchase his book at any of the following sites (although I would urge you to go to Splashdown books and help a wonderful young lady get her new company off the ground)

Splashdown Books

Barnes & Noble

Amazon


Don't forget to check out the following CFRB member's sites for other reviews and insights for THE MUSE.




[Important legal notice: This book was given to me freely by Splashdown books for the purpose of doing a review. My compensation is writing a review of the book. However, having said that I must also state that I don't even bother looking at things I feel may be of inferior quality. The works displayed on CFRB are, and have been, for the most part, exemplary in their quality and content]

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

THE MUSE, by Fred Warren


Wednesday - Stan Marino. The way we are introduced to Stan, and in fact the novel as a whole, is fresh. We are in the middle of a story, a battle sequence. The odds are stacked against them, when suddenly...suddenly Stan stops writing and you can almost here the expletives escaping his lips. Again, he's run into a wall yet again. Not only that, but he's written himself into that wall. For all you writers out there you know what this feels like. The writing is going along smooth, then you suddenly realize that there's no way out of the situation you've placed yourself in. You could re-write it, but you'd have to go so far back and lose some really good writing to do so. So what do we do? We stare at a blank computer screen or blank sheet of paper as if the right words will suddenly appear and we'll be saved the aggravation of going back and doing all that terrible re-writing. From here we meet his encouraging wife Charity, who suggest he get together with his writing group. It happens to be a Saturday when they meet. This brings us into contact with two close writing friends, both of whom have also run into walls of their own. Instead of a place of encouragement the Seventh Circle of Hell becomes pretty much what the name says. And that, my friends is where the story takes a decided turn. To find out what that turn is you'll have to buy the book and read it. Sorry. I gave too much away already.

There is an Author who has all these flawed characters, and other equally flawed material to work with, yet has never experienced "writer's block". There isn't a wall he cannot overcome, a situation he cannot use to his advantage, even if that was not where his original story was supposed to go. He knows his characters so well that he anticipates their folly and begins crafting a solution even before they ever show up in his story. Who is this Author? His name is Jesus, and His Story will not be swayed. It will be told, lived and loved for all generations. We are the people in this story. We are the ones who bring the story into places that were not according to His will, and yet find even there that Jesus has already planned for our folly. He's written our folly into the Book along with the way out. Never has a writer ever crafted a work as well as He. There is a good reason. Jesus is the Word of God, and the Word of God stands forever.

In Stan's situation he should have gone to the Lord and asked for His advice. I mean, really, Jesus has already dealt with situations like Stan's before. Who else would be better to help him through this. Bringing this down several hundred thousand notches to a human level that we can understand, supposing Stan could have talked to J.R.R. Tolkien and gotten his ideas, support and encouragement. Do you think he would have hesitated? Should he hesitate? It's really sad that we look at a great author, Lewis, Tolkien, MacDonald and others and think they can help us out in our writing, and they can and have in the past, yet not consider the Author Himself. Jesus is the one who gave these gifts to these great writers, who encouraged them along the way, who was their inspiration. Going to God should be the first thing we do, even before we run into a wall. If we put God first, as writers, we'll find those walls crumble when we get to them. As everyday Christians we must deal with all kinds of situations, internally and externally, and if we do not go to Jesus first we are going to make our way hard. If we do go to Him first He will make our "rough ways smooth".

Don't forget to visit Fred's site found HERE

You can purchase his book at any of the following sites (although I would urge you to go to Splashdown books and help a wonderful young lady get her new company off the ground)

Splashdown Books

Barnes & Noble

Amazon


Don't forget to check out the following CFRB member's sites for other reviews and insights for THE MUSE.




[Important legal notice: This book was given to me freely by Splashdown books for the purpose of doing a review. My compensation is writing a review of the book. However, having said that I must also state that I don't even bother looking at things I feel may be of inferior quality. The works displayed on CFRB are, and have been, for the most part, exemplary in their quality and content]

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

THE MUSE, by Fred Warren


Tuesday - The Seventh Circle of Hell. Hope that doesn't offend anyone, but it's the name of the writing group that Stan Marino and his friends started. It is actually more of a whine and complain group than a real writer's group. That's because Davos, Jilly and Stan have all run into obstacles in their current works. What struck me was the choice of a name for their group. According to Wikipedia the 7th Circle of Hell is a particular level reserved for sinners committing violent offenses. While these three writer geeks are hardly violent, they seem to have brought violence into their group by the mere name itself. This works out later in the book. Sure they may write about violence, but they are pretty nerdy people, not truly violent in reality.

I have a pastor who harps on the fact that what you confess locates you in your faith. Applying this to the members of the Seventh Circle of Hell, we find that they have, but simply choosing this name, located their faith, who they are, and created the blockages they moan and groan about it. I half expected them to change the name and in so doing extricate themselves from the problems they now face. Fred Warren wasn't going to let them off that easy, and in a very real sense, I'm glad for it.

What about you? Have you found yourself claiming something that is both negative and turns into a reality in your life? From time to time I find myself doing this. Then when I begin to remind myself of who I am in Christ, and in the eyes of God, praises begin to flow out of my mouth and my situation changes. Well, maybe not the situation, but my ability to handle the situation. Since I've already brought hardship into my life it isn't going to suddenly disappear. My ability to stand up under these hardships has changed, however, because I'm letting Jesus carry the load. 1st Cor. 10:13 tells us that we haven't been tempted beyond what we are able, but that with the temptation God always provides a way of escape. A close reading of that verse, however, shows you that the way of escape is actually through the problem and in Christ. Jesus is our way of escape, but the situation hasn't changed except that He now carries our baggage. That's a fantastic truth to carry with you always.

Don't forget to visit Fred's site found HERE

You can purchase his book at any of the following sites (although I would urge you to go to Splashdown books and help a wonderful young lady get her new company off the ground)

Splashdown Books

Barnes & Noble

Amazon


Don't forget to check out the following CFRB member's sites for other reviews and insights for THE MUSE.




[Important legal notice: This book was given to me freely by Splashdown books for the purpose of doing a review. My compensation is writing a review of the book. However, having said that I must also state that I don't even bother looking at things I feel may be of inferior quality. The works displayed on CFRB are, and have been, for the most part, exemplary in their quality and content]

Monday, April 05, 2010

THE MUSE, by Fred Warren


Monday - When I was contacted to review and tour THE MUSE, by Fred Warren I looked at the cover and thought, "You've got to be kidding." After reading this book, which incidentally came late, but was read in a little over 2 days...almost a record-breaking speed for me, I was convinced that this is not just your "hole in the wall" book that you see a lot of in small pubs and self pubs. This is an extraordinary piece of literary work. Okay enough of the accolades. Let's talk some about the book.

While the book is about good verses evil (aren't the all?) this book centers around writers and the struggles they go through to write. An odd place to start, but one I'm sure Mr. Warren was truly acquainted with. As a writer myself I can tell you that there are times when the writing comes so fast you can barely keep up with it. Characters appear, dialog pops into place as these characters take on a 3 dimensional fullness. Places, whether real or imagined, are seen clearly in the mind's eye. Writer's live for moments like that. Then, right in the middle of some beautiful flow of thought and writing the writer sudden stops. He/she realizes that they have been paying so much attention to what is going on they didn't realize where they were going. Like Stan Marino, we end up staring at a blank computer screen with no idea what to put down next. We have boxed ourselves into an impossible corner. Now you may wonder why a writer doesn't just go back and rewrite themselves into a different setting. I'll tell you, at least from my own personal experience, everything leading up to this impasse has been so fluid, so real, and has taken up so many words and hours to get down, that to go back, as you say, and do it over would ruin what we have, and in the process cause us an endless drudgery through re-writes that could never live up to what we have now. Of course, what we have now can never be fully told because we can't come up with an ending, or at least get through this to the next scene. That is why writers will stare at blank screens, blank pages in notebooks or in typewriters. It's why they will try one thing then another, littering the room with discarding ideas that pale in the light of what they already have written.

It is upon this phenomenon that Fred Warren builds his story. My dad tells me about being given a writing assignment as a kid. It could be about anything, but the thing is, that's too broad a field to be able to pick anything. He was stumped and didn't know what to write. He finally wrote about the difficulties of writing an essay, which his teacher loved. In the same way Fred Warren has written a story about writing a story. How cool is that? It's when he finds a "solution" to getting past his "writer's block" that adds the needed dynamics to this work, making it exciting to read. There is so much more in here and I hope I will be able to give you glimpses without giving away too much. This is a book you WILL love, especially if you are a writer yourself.

So what do we learn? The list is seemingly endless. He doesn't write to teach or preach, which he makes obvious even though he does mention that Stan is a Christian. There are just these things that keep popping up. I suppose that one of the lessons, if you insist on calling it that, would be that we all have talents, each different from everyone else, yet no less or more important. It's how we use that talent that is important. Stan likes his fantasy elvish worlds, Davos his technically correct science fiction, and Jilly her vampire novels. They don't put the others down, nor do they try to emulate the other's works. They are there to help encourage them. I would dearly like a group like this in the local area, a place where I could cry in my root beer
float with my friends, if, especially if, I would be able to help a fellow writer out. Doing that is almost more fulfilling that doing actual writing of my own. Maybe that's why I love CFRB so much. I get to do just that. I get to encourage people with talent to go out and "show off" for the Lord. Let me tell you a secret. I have a lot of fun doing it.

Don't forget to visit Fred's site found HERE

You can purchase his book at any of the following sites (although I would urge you to go to Splashdown books and help a wonderful young lady get her new company off the ground)

Splashdown Books

Barnes & Noble

Amazon


Don't forget to check out the following CFRB member's sites for other reviews and insights for THE MUSE.




[Important legal notice: This book was given to me freely by Splashdown books for the purpose of doing a review. My compensation is writing a review of the book. However, having said that I must also state that I don't even bother looking at things I feel may be of inferior quality. The works displayed on CFRB are, and have been, for the most part, exemplary in their quality and content]

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