“God’s Crime Scene for Kids” by J. Warner Wallace

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In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God’s existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.
 
In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

J. Warner Wallace

J. Warner Wallace has hit it out of the park with his newest book God’s Crime Scene for Kids.  The second in his apologetic series for kids, the book reads like a fiction story, but each chapter teaches the reader new investigative skills that help them to examine Christianity from a new perspective.

I love that this book is such a short, easy read.  The detective vocabulary is in bold print with definition bubbles off to the side.  The many pictures give it a friendly feel, and the accompanying printables and videos make the book even easier to understand – and to teach, too.

God’s Crime Scene for Kids may be short, but that doesn’t make it watered down or a preschooler’s book, either.  With real life detective strategies, real vocabulary words, and a deep premise (how did the universe come to be?), this book is real and deep.  The best part is that it teaches kids how to think in those real and deep ways so that they can examine the Bible and their own faith to see if it holds up to the test.

Wallace has created neat resources to accompany the book itself, too.  There are videos and pages to download for each chapter, as well as a printable certificate upon completion of the book (and the course).  With all of those resources, it should be easy for an adult to use these resources, along with the book, to teach a Bible study or detective class.

I love these resources!  They are deep, kid-friendly, and easy to use.  I’m definitely going to be using God’s Crime Scene for Kids with my own family.

Click here to read other reviews in this bloggy hop, or here to purchase your own copy now.

I received a free copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity.  All opinions are my own.

 

“Treasured Grace” by Tracie Peterson

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Grace Martindale has known more than her share of hardship. After her parents died, raising her two younger sisters became her responsibility. A hasty marriage to a minister who is heading to the untamed West seemed like an opportunity for a fresh start, but a cholera outbreak along the wagon trail has left Grace a widow in a very precarious position.

Having learned natural remedies and midwifery from her mother, Grace seeks an opportunity to use her skills for the benefit of others. So when she and her sisters arrive at the Whitman mission in “Oregon Country,” she decides to stay rather than push on.

With the help of Alex Armistead, a French-American fur trapper, Grace begins to provide care for her neighbors, including some of the native populace. But not everyone welcomes her skills–or her presence–and soon Grace finds herself and those she loves in more danger than she imagined possible.

Tracie Peterson

Wow.  That’s the best way to describe Peterson’s hard-hitting new historical Western.

This is not your run-of-the-mill Oregon Trail novel.  In no way does Peterson romanticize the difficulties of the trail or of life for single women during the 1840s.  I love that she keeps history real during her stories, but she takes it many steps further during this one.

Death is not unknown on the Trail or in the West, but Peterson doesn’t hesitate to include both death and the violence of the time.  It’s actually so clearly depicted that I’m glad I didn’t share this book with My Big Helper before reading it, as I think she needs a few more years before tackling this type of hardcore violence.

It’s not gratuitous violence, though.  The scenes included put the story into perspective and added a layer of depth and wisdom to Treasured Grace that could not exist otherwise.  Peterson’s attention to historical detail is amazing, and it’s obvious that she’s both a lover of the West and an admirer of the fierce, independent spirit which was necessary to survive.

I found Grace’s knowledge of herbs and natural medicine fascinating.  As someone who is only beginning to learn about these things, I love that she was written as an expert, and I would have loved to read more details about her remedies.  Her conflicts with Dr. Whitman and other educated, trained doctors made a fascinating subplot.

Treasured Grace is a heartbreakingly raw tale of survival and love.  If you’re a fan of historical fiction, put it on your TBR pile immediately.

I received a free copy of Treasured Grace from Bethany House Publishers.  All opinions are my own.

 

Armed with Truth: Scripture Tattoos Review & Giveaway

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I have never been good at memorizing stuff.  Passing those math fact quizzes in second grade was stressful.  Having to learn and recite entire ballads in middle school was awful.  Science vocabulary quizzes in high school were horrible. 

Over the years, both as a student and as an adult, I’ve practiced nearly every educational trick I know.  I’ve written stuff on flashcards and taped them all over the house.  I’ve written things in different colors.  I’ve used pneumonic devices.  I’ve set facts to music, drawn pictures in place of words, and been quizzed by my mom, even as a high school student.

My memory isn’t any better when it comes to memorizing scripture.  I have scripture flashcards taped around the house.  I write things in out different colors and types of writing, I write them over and over, and my daughter has even helped me practice at times.  Memorizing stuff is really hard for me.

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That’s why I was so excited to find out about the Armed with Truth scripture tattoos.  It’s like those little cartoon-like pictures that kiddos often paste onto their arms, but way, way better.  These are scripture verses in a blackish ink and simple font that you can stick anywhere on your body – but, of course, the arm is a great place, because then you can easily see it throughout the day and work to memorize it.

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The Armed with Truth tattoos come in thematic packages of ten.  There are all sorts, but I chose the ‘comforted’ package because we’ve had a lot going on this year, and I wanted the opportunity to really dig into these scriptures.

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There are also single words or phrases in neat, artistically-designed fonts, too.  I chose the ‘It is well’ design for that one.

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My Big Helper and I each chose the scripture we wanted to apply first.  We studied the directions closely, because we’ve never done anything like this before – not even those little kiddie tattoo-stickers.  It did take us a few minutes to figure out, but it turned out to be really easy – put on skin, wet, wait, and peel off. 

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My Big Helper was immediately excited about her scripture tattoo. 

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I found that the first benefit of wearing it was an unexpected one:  I found myself thinking about different phrases of the verse on my arm.  The second line especially caught my attention:   “Who created all these?”  Too often, I think, we take for granted the beauty around us.  I forget that these rivers and mountains and trees and clouds weren’t always there – that Someone purposely created them, and they’re intricate and interdependent and beautiful.  I can’t wait to journal this verse.

I haven’t done that yet because we’ve been having the craziest, busiest week ever.  I thought the tattoo would help me memorize scripture, but I’ve most enjoyed the ability to take it with my physically wherever I go.

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On the second day, we took a field trip to see the Durham Bulls play ball.  Several people asked about the words on my arm, and I was able to explain about this cool product and how I was using it.  It looked great, and while it’s not looking super crisp or clear in this picture, this was the best I could do with the chaos around me.  I could easily read it in a glance.

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Day Three was a work day at home, and we were moving all day. I remembered to take the photo just before bedtime, and despite several showers and hot, humid days, my tattoo still looks great.  Armed with TruthWe had major, huge homeschool events on Days Four and Five.  I barely remembered to breathe and took both photos in the same place, shortly before heading off to bed.  Looking back at the pictures, I can’t tell which was which – my scripture tattoo was holding up beautifully.

My Big Helper had a revelation on this day.   We thought that her verse would have worn off her arm by now, but instead, it was still there, crisp and clear, as she headed off to the NC State History Day competition.  She was nervous and scared as she prepared for judging, and she decided that she was happy to have Isaiah 41:10 on her arm. 

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Day Seven.  My scripture tattoo has begun to lose a bit of its crispness, and with tiny bits of some letters missing, I need to focus on it just a bit more to read it, but as you can see, it’s still there and still looking good.

Day Eight – My Big Helper rubbed her arm after her shower while it was still wet, and she found that her tattoo came right off.  Since the company claimed that it would last for 3-5 days, I think 8 is pretty amazing.  With much of her tattoo now washed off, My Big Helper was able to easily wash off the rest, and she can’t wait to choose her next one.

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I’m super excited about this new product.  I love the versatility, the ease with which I can keep scripture in front of me all day long, and the help it provides mem in both memorizing and praying through scripture.  If you’d like to try Armed with Truth products for yourself, you can use code anest to get a 20% discount off your purchase.  You can also use the widget below to enter the giveaway happening now.

 
Armed With Truth Emboldened Giveaway! (Contest on Hive.co)

Hop over to Armed with Truth.  Which one is first on your wishlist?

I received a free package of these tattoos in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

 

Growing Up & Joining the Church: A Confirmation Decision

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We’ve had a really big weekend around here, for several reasons, but one of the biggest was our Big Helper’s decision to join the church.

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Our Big Helper’s faith journey is a simple one, but it’s strong.

When she was 18 months old, we were sitting on the kitchen floor, carving a pumpkin and doing the pumpkin parable devotion with it.  I was rather mentally rolling my eyes as I read the scripture, wondering how my little tiny tyke was supposed to be getting anything other than “pumpkins have slimy guts” from the exercise and the complicated passage in Revelations I was reading (according to the devotion’s directions), when she said she wanted to be clean, too.  I sat there in shock as she said she didn’t want to be dirty like the pumpkin.  We prayed together, and she was very excited – as only toddlers can be – and life continued.  I recorded the event and we continued life.

A few years later, something similar happened.  As a young child, she had continued to participate in our family devotions, to memorize Bible verses at dinnertime, and to pray with us.  The topic of salvation had come up again in another devotion, and she again indicated that she wanted to follow Jesus.  We asked her questions, including if she remembered her first pumpkin experience (she didn’t) but was quite sincere, and so she prayed, and again life continued.

Our Big Helper was never really not following Jesus, in that she never consciously tried to go against the ways of faith.  She has, however, over and over, indicated that she is intentionally choosing to follow Jesus: to love Him, love others, to study His Word, and to serve wherever possible.

For years now, our Big Helper has looked at life through a faith lens.  She often questions how life events compare to scripture, or the other way around – what scripture says about what she sees happening around her.  She studies her Bible, asks lots of questions, and has been working for years to earn enough money for a mission trip to Haiti with the Hands and Feet Project.

It came as no surprise that she jumped at the chance to be confirmed, or to study to join the church.  As United Methodists, this means completing the work begun at baptism and making a public, informed, conscious choice to follow Jesus and to join his earthly Church. 

She began classes weeks ago, meeting with our pastor and the other confirmand, studying church history, theology, the creeds, and what it means to be a full church member.  They met for a retreat, where they continued their work and did some service projects.

And then yesterday was the big day.  My Big Helper was up early, dressed in her new confirmation dress, excitedly twirling to see her skirt flare out and chattering nervously about the ceremony to come.  She’s at an age where the child and the adult she’s one day going to be both manifest themselves, sometimes both in minutes, and it’s odd and amazing to see.

Suddenly it was time.  It seemed somewhat surreal as family members all trooped up front to stand with her in support of her decision.  She answered questions confirming her faith, smiling all the while, standing and kneeling as instructed by our pastor. 

Then, as her first act as a full member of Warren’s Grove United Methodist Church, she was (with our other onfirmand) invited to serve communion to the congregation.  Her smiles continued as she passed out the bread to each in turn, excited to be serving in a real and tangible way.

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When church was over, we headed home.  Friends and family joined us to celebrate our Big Helper’s decision, as well as our Little Man’s tenth birthday.  We had a fun afternoon with everyone, and we’re very thankful for the support and encouragement they give our children.

For me, it was an emotional day.  I’m excited about the decision she’s made, but it’s also a sign that she’s growing up, and that’s always a little bittersweet.  I wouldn’t want this decision to be any other way, of course, but her need for discipleship is far from over.  I feel the weight of the responsibility to guide her well; to provide answers, examples, and resources to prepare her for full adulthood.  While she’s now an adult in the church, she’s also only twelve, and still needs much guidance from people further along in their faith journeys.  I pray that she can be surrounded by those people, and by people to whom she can turn with her questions, and by those who will provide strong, faithful examples for her.

Have your children made decisions for faith?  What resources have you found to support them along the way?

These are a few of our favorites:

 

Download Your Free How-To Guide for Bring Your Bible to School Day

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Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are preparing for Hurricane Matthew to hit. For students in hurricane-affected states who are facing school closures but still want to participate in Bring Your Bible to School Day, the alternate date is Thursday, October 20.

This brings about a good point: Any day can be a day you organize your friends to bring your Bibles to school together!

By signing up during the month of October for Bring Your Bible to School Day (even if you missed the official celebration), you can download a free how-to guide for teens, parents, pastors, and elementary students. It’s full of helpful information that will help you organize a day to take a stand for religious freedom and bring your Bible to school with your fellow classmates.

(Sign-ups must be received by midnight (MT), Oct. 7, in order to be automatically entered into the Newsboys giveaway.)

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey

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Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Take the Bible Challenge with Odyssey Adventure Club

How much do you know about the Bible and its influence on our culture, history–and the whole world? Focus on the Family and Bring Your Bible have teamed up to create a quiz to test how much you and your kids know about the Bible. Take the quiz to find out!

Don’t forget to mark your calendars to celebrate religious freedom with other students across the U.S. on October 6—Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends in just a few short weeks. Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations.

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By signing up, you’ll receive a free guide with tips, downloadable posters, sticker and T-shirt designs, information on your legal rights, and other fun, interactive activities.

You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, an award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas!

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey

sept-oac-art-250x250 

Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

See the Newsboys in Concert with Adventures in Odyssey

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Want to be entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, the award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas? Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations: Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends on October 6.

By completing the information on this page, you’re automatically entered to win the chance to see the Newsboys with Focus on the Family and Adventures in Odyssey. Don’t miss out on the chance to see a fantastic band with your family!

Plus Sign Up for a Free Two-Week Trial of Odyssey Adventure Club

sept-oac-art-250x250 

Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Commit to Bring Your Bible to School October 6

Celebrate religious freedom with other students across the U.S. on October 6—Bring Your Bible to School Day! Students from kindergarten to college will be bringing their Bibles to school and sharing God with their friends in just a few short weeks. Sign up to be a part of the movement to protect religious freedom for future generations.


By signing up, you’ll receive a free guide with tips, downloadable posters, sticker and T-shirt designs, information on your legal rights, and other fun, interactive activities.

You’ll also be automatically entered for a chance to win a free trip for four to hear the Newsboys, an award-winning Christian music band, in Dallas!

Plus Bring Your Bible to School Comes to Adventures in Odyssey

sept-oac-art-250x250 

Getting used to a new school isn’t easy, especially for someone as paranoid as Buddy Norman. In “A Predicament of Biblical Proportions” he envisions wacky worst-case encounters with townsfolk who seem like mobsters, snoops and fairy-tale tyrants—until he gets to know them. He’s also a little confused about Bring Your Bible to School Day. What’s it about? Should he participate? See Odyssey through Buddy’s eyes in this witty celebration of religious freedom.

Listen to this story through a two-week trial only on the Odyssey Adventure Club.

Free Clubhouse Magazine Trial

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Try 3 issues of the Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse® (ages 8-12) OR Clubhouse Jr.® (ages 3-7) magazine for free!

Created with kids in mind, Focus on the Family offers a world of fun and imagination through short stories, jokes, puzzles, and games as well as recipes and activities to do as a family. Plus, what child doesn’t like mail? Your child will enjoy getting this entertaining magazine each month in the mail.

Click here to sign up for the free Clubhouse® magazine trial.

Click here to sign up for the free Clubhouse Jr.® magazine trial.

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Grow Your Child’s Faith This Summer!

Now is the time to make sure your kids have the greatest adventure this summer with more than 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and non-stop listening fun! Sign up for the Odyssey Adventure Club today for just $9.99 per month at OACLUB.org.

Make Your Children World Explorers

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Give your family summer vacation a makeover this year and turn it into a “staycation.” Have your kids forget their summer boredom, turn off their screens, and instead circle the globe with Focus on the Family’s “World Explorers” summer adventure kit!

Throughout the next two months, travel our colorful, diverse world, visiting 27 different countries on six continents. Part of the fun will be figuring out where the next stop is, using five clues that reveal interesting facts about the next country. Once you’ve determined where you’re going, use the games, activities and faith lessons to give your kids a glimpse into that country’s unique culture.

Click here to sign up and receive your free summer adventure kit.

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Don’t Be Bored This Summer!

Now is the time to make sure your kids have the greatest adventure this summer with more than 800 Adventures in Odyssey episodes and non-stop listening fun! Sign up for the Odyssey Adventure Club today for just $9.99 per month at OACLUB.org.