Reviews: family entertainment, documentaries, resources, books, music
AFA Staff
AFA Journal staff reviews movies, books and other resources

August 2018 – History of America’s first church traced in word and photo
A church was erected in early 1608 near the center of James Fort just months after the first English colony in America was founded in 1607. In 2010 – 400 years later – archaeologists discovered the first traces of a large timber-framed structure, the earliest church in English America.

Along with other discoveries of recent years, the church’s story comes alive in Holy Ground: Archaeology, Religion, and the First Founders of Jamestown. Packed with stunning photographs of structures, arrowheads and other artifacts, and scientists and diggers at work, plus abridged historical and rediscovery notes, this volume is a treasure of the area’s history, its Christian context, and the remarkable progress of scientists who continue to learn more and more about the Jamestown, Virginia, settlers.

The book’s visual beauty and textual brevity combine to make it appealing to all ages. Readers will be surprised at how much researchers are able to discern with certainty many facts about those early days. For example, the shape of a coffin suggests the status of the person buried in it, and bone and tooth analyses can help determine age and diet.

Learn more about the groundbreaking discoveries and purchase Holy Ground at historicjamestowne.org.

Randall Murphree

undefinedWalk On
This autobiography is a heart-gripping, rip-roaring, totally engaging narrative of Ben Malcolmson’s life from tear-stained Pee Wee football uniforms to the locker room at the storied University of Southern California. At age 10, Ben cried and begged to quit Pee Wee football as his dad drove him to practice. It was traumatic enough to turn him away from organized sports for years.

However, academic success allowed Ben to skip senior year of high school and enroll at University of Southern California. As a journalism major, he soon became sports editor of the campus newspaper, and he enjoyed being in the sports press corps.

Ever creative with story ideas, Ben persuaded USC football coach Pete Carroll to let him walk on “undercover” to do a story on the guys who failed to earn scholarships. He wanted a story with victory, defeat, tears, cheers, and more. He got it. And he got more than he bargained for. Shocking everyone, he made the team himself!

Walk On is his account of how that unexpected “victory” tested his Christian faith, bringing failure after failure as he tried to share his faith with teammates.

These days, Malcolmson is Carroll’s personal assistant at the Seattle Seahawks. Learn more at benmalcolmson.com. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Randall Murphree

undefinedThe King’s Messengers
This faith-based, feature film series chronicles two refugees, Anwaar and David, as they struggle to survive in the fictitious war-torn country of Zanora. Not only must they persevere against a corrupt government regime, but also work together to avoid an equally dangerous resistance army.

With a mandate to be God’s witnesses amidst apocalyptic chaos, they begin a series of global webcasts to address basic questions of theology and spread the gospel. The wartime subject matter of The King’s Messengers, though definitely gospel-centered, might not be appropriate for younger children. For more information on this four-episode DVD, visit crystalcreekmedia.com.

Joy Lucius

undefinedWhy Israel Matters
Why Israel Matters: Past, Present, Forever is a beautiful hardcover piece of journalism, a perfect coffee table book with a wealth of stunning photography and applicable illustrations including maps, archaeological findings, and a comprehensive timeline. Its pages provide an insightful overview of Israel’s history; past, current, and future relationships with other nations; and scripturally-based instruction concerning Israel’s eternal bond with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Specific chapters address Islam’s relationship with Israel, and why Israel matters to the world, America, and the church.

Readers can enjoy the captivating story of Why Israel Matters in one sitting or at a more leisurely pace. Released in 2017, the book is written by Liberty Counsel founder Mathew D. Staver and John P. Aman, LC director of creative services. It is available through the online store at lc.org.

Anne Reed

undefinedGuide to the Prayers of Jesus
In The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus, author Janet Holm McHenry emphasizes the importance of listening to and learning from the greatest prayer warrior of all time, Jesus Christ.

With the voice of an experienced teacher, McHenry thoroughly explicates 13 pertinent topics that Jesus covered in His earthly prayer time, such as forgiveness, abandonment, decision making, and even submission. Each chapter of McHenry’s book ends with a meaningful, scripture-based prayer that models the lessons taught in that chapter. She also provides study questions for each chapter to be used for personal or group reflection.

Ultimately, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus reminds Christians that, like Jesus, his followers should live to pray rather than pray to live. Available at retail and online booksellers.

Joy Lucius

undefinedThe Best News Ever
The Best News Ever: The New Testament translates the Scriptures in language and style that kids can understand. However, it’s more than a kiddie version of the Bible. Jan Harthan used her 40-plus years of experience with Wycliffe Bible Translators to craft this unique, verse-by-verse New Testament with an average of only 10 words per sentence.

Drafts of The Best News Ever have been checked and approved by consultants with Wycliffe Bible Translators, as well as Harthan’s own grandchildren and her primary-age Sunday school classes.

For parents, grandparents, and teachers who want to instill both a love for and knowledge of the Scriptures in their children, The Best News Ever: The New Testament and a companion version of The Best News Ever: Proverbs can be purchased online at thebestnewsever.org. Harthan’s translations of Genesis and Exodus will be available in October.

Joy Lucius

undefinedGoldfish Devotionals
In this eclectic collection of devotions, David Jones grabs the reader’s attention and proceeds quickly to a deep spiritual truth or a frank challenge.

For example, in “Old Bones,” he says, “The Rice Krispie Boys – Snap, Crackle, and Pop – must live in my knees because they do a recital every time I sit or stand.” Then he moves to David’s groaning in Psalm 32 before, “Wham!” he hits his stride with a probing question: “Do you have secret sins [like David] that are making your bones old and weary?”

Jones is executive director of Restoration Path Ministries. Learn more and purchase books at restorationpath.org.

Randall Murphree

undefinedPeaceful Promises for Restful Sleep
“‘Why is this happening to me?’” we often cry in frustration,” writes Jennifer Geralds. “From the biggest tragedies to the slightest inconveniences, we daily encounter reminders of how broken our world is.”

In Peaceful Promises for Restful Sleep, Geralds uses 100 verses to ease the anxieties and sufferings that all people face at times. The percentage of Americans on medication for depression and anxiety is 400% higher than 20 years ago, the introduction explains. But God’s Word can touch those issues in a way medicine can’t.

Each entry has a verse matched with a few words (see excerpt above) that take a reflective tone. The result brings God’s promises to bear on the worries of the moment. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Stacy Singh