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

Photo, above, Mark Gregston

January-February 2018  New resource for grandparents offers rare wisdom, insight
If you are a grandparent, Mark Gregston’s (photo above) new book should be on your required reading list. There may be no better resource regarding the unique contribution of grandparents to their families than Leaving a Legacy of Hope: Offering Your Grandchildren What No One Else Can.

Gregston offers godly wisdom drawn from the Scripture, as well as from 30 years of running Heartlight, a Christian residential counseling center for struggling teens.

With a realism that avoids sentimentality, Gregston demonstrates with urgency the tremendous influence that grandparents can have in the lives of their children’s children, especially in the sometimes difficult teen years.

Leaving a Legacy of Hope teaches, encourages, and may even offend in its honesty as Gregston consistently presses grandparents to make the most of their relationship with their grandchildren.

For the sake of your grandkids: get it, read it, live it. As Gregston reminds us, we’re not getting any younger.

Leaving a Legacy of Hope is available at or from booksellers.

The author also hosts Parenting Todays Teens with Mark Gregston on American Family Radio. The program is heard Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. (CT).
Rusty Benson (grandfather of seven)

undefinedArmed and Dangerous
Armed and Dangerous: The Ultimate Battle Plan for Targeting and Defeating the Enemy, by John Ramirez, is aptly titled. Once a high-ranking satanic priest, Ramirez became a Christian in 1999, vowing total commitment to Jesus.

Ramirez now teaches Christians how to push back the gates of hell. The culmination of years of study on spiritual warfare, Armed and Dangerous additionally details Ramirez’s experiences as a former general in the enemy’s army.

Ramirez openly confronts complacency in the body of Christ, reminding readers the early church was “a force to be reckoned with spiritually.” In direct contrast, today’s church, especially in America, is definitely not armed or dangerous in spiritual warfare.

Ramirez outlines biblically-based offensive strategies that require steadfast, selfless dedication to Christ’s agenda. He also emphasizes repentance, prayer, fasting, and total reliance on Scripture as the basis of this battle plan. Available at online booksellers.
Joy Lucius

undefinedThe Miracle of Man
Theologians and philosophers make a living by forging and then debating arguments for the existence of God. What might that look like in the hands of someone trained to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both evidence and arguments? What if a lawyer tried to prove the existence of God looking into the human psyche and condition? That is exactly what Jim Howard, a lawyer with 36 years of trial experience, has done in The Miracle of Man: Evidence for God from Human Nature.

Where do we get our notion of right and wrong? Why are we offended and repulsed by death? What is intelligence and from whence does it come? Why is there order in nature? These are only a few of the questions tackled by Howard. The final chapter is a marvelous fictionalized trial setting, featuring the back and forth between an atheistic scholar on the stand being cross-examined by a lawyer. Available at online booksellers.
Ray Rooney, editor

undefinedWho Is In Control of the Church?
When soldiers have problems, they talk to their commanding officer. When teachers have problems, they go to the principal. When workers have problems, they talk to their boss. The world works on a natural order of authority.

In their book Who Is In Control of the Church: A Guide to Unity and Peace Within the Church, Dr. Gayle Alexander and Dr. John Adams make the case that local bodies of believers have a biblical line of authority that must be respected, followed, and protected.

The duo, who have a combined 100-plus years of ministry experience, build the case that pastors have an authority given by God through Scripture that must be protected by the church.

While they recognize Christ as the head of the church, they also hold that God ordains particular men to lead and serve local bodies.

The 87-page read sources each argument in Scripture. It merits a reading by pastors and everyone who claims to follow Christ. Available at online booksellers.
Teddy James

undefinedThe Essential Guide to Prayer
In this book, internationally respected author, teacher, and speaker Dutch Sheets offers the life-changing simplicity of a powerful prayer life. He begins with the crucial foundation for prayer and intercession – friendship, relationship, and partnership with a loving Father.

He explains that a personal desire to intercede for others or a longing to meet God’s need for intercessors is noble, but as a primary motivation, neither will ever result in a consistent, meaningful life of prayer.

Each chapter is replete with personal stories and thought-provoking life applications. The Essential Guide to Prayer is available at online and retail bookstores.
Anne Reed

Beyond the Farthest Star
Beyond the Farthest Star is an ambitious attempt to cover the waterfront of issues that plague humankind, all sorts of secret sins that entrap even Christians sometimes – alcohol abuse, suicide, teen rebellion, deceit, pre-marital sex, dysfunctional families, abortion, depression, failure, fear, family violence, religious freedom. Subsequently, it is challenging to watch without a consistent sense of foreboding and darkness.

 Main characters are a pastor and his family, and an undercurrent of a Christian worldview is implied but never well articulated, even in a conclusion that does culminate with a lot of justice and grace and redemption. Mildly graphic violence, sexual references, two uses of God’s name, and a few other mild profanities mar the script.
Randall Murphree