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

Above, Kevin McHann

July 2018 – Ministry leaders will profit from wisdom, insights of Pop Up Pastor
In The Pop Up Pastor, author Kevin McHann’s zeal is transparent and youthful, but his wisdom is that of a seasoned pastor as he issues a timely warning of the insanity, futility, and danger for those he calls “pop up pastors.” But the book’s subtitle – Set Your Priorities and Save Your Sanity – promises hope.

By the phrase “pop-up pastor,” McHann refers to pastors and other church leaders who will do just about anything to please everyone around them. He warns that burnout is imminent when the pastor assumes the pop up role. Not only will there be burnout, but the laity is robbed of spiritual growth, the mission of the church is short-circuited, and the Great Commission is hindered.

McHann’s clear and cogent writing style incorporates engaging anecdotes and examples from his own experience, a solid focus on the main theme, and passion for the subject.

Best of all, he offers encouragement and challenge for ministry leaders to assess their circumstances and head off the possibility of burnout. This book is an essential read, especially for pastors and leaders in the church and other ministry organizations. Available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917.

Buddy Smith, AFA senior vice president

undefinedThe Faith of Donald J. Trump
In the midst of concerns, doubts, and cynicism about President Donald Trump’s faith, authors David Brody, CBN News chief political correspondent, and Scott Lamb, Washington Times columnist and Liberty University vice president, offer an incisive look at the president’s faith. They have thoroughly researched Donald Trump, his roots, and his spiritual journey.

The Faith of Donald J. Trump lays out their investigative work in great detail, beginning with his grandparents and parents. It delves into private and forgotten public details of President Trump’s life and how, in recent years, faith has played an ever-increasing role in his decisions, beginning even before he announced his candidacy.

Exceptional writing and exclusive interviews with persons close to Trump bring understanding to the man who continues to surprise the world. Available at retail and online booksellers.

Anne Reed

undefinedSeeking a Familiar Face
Like someone searching for the face of a friend in a foreign country, we are lost until we are with God. But so often pursuing God seems like a chore. We have dry spells where we just can’t seem to find time for prayer, for Bible study, for worship, or for time alone with God. There is so much else to be gained in the limited amount of time we have available to us. Or so we convince ourselves.

But what do we miss out on when we fail to seek God? In Seeking a Familiar Face, May Patterson aligns our journeys with the experiences of eleven Bible characters – and how their discovery of God transformed their lives. Seeking God takes work, she acknowledges.

It takes a commitment, a place, and a plan. But a glimpse of God’s glory changes everything, Patterson points out, drawing from Moses’s story. Journey with her in Seeking a Familiar Face through real-life experiences, biblical scenes, and the ordinary wonders of creation to discover how finding God strengthens prayer, worship, and love. Available from online booksellers. Learn more at maypatterson.com.

Stacy Singh

undefinedThe Fool
A new release from Ray Comfort, founder of Living Waters ministries, chronicles the history of Comfort’s engaging and effective approach to evangelism. He is well recognized for his sense of humor and his man-on-the-street interviews in which he revels in talking with college students and challenging them about their thoughts on moral issues such as abortion and creationism.

The film’s subtitle – Never Fear Looking Foolish Again – is rooted in Comfort’s own experience when his enemies’ attempts to make him look foolish backfired on them. Comfort often used a banana in show-and-tell manner when talking about biblical creation, and evolutionists capitalized on that simple gimmick to mock him. Their anti-Comfort campaign became the very vehicle through which evolutionists lit up their own websites and social media with posts that, ironically, included Comfort sharing the gospel to untold millions he might never have reached otherwise.

In The Fool, one segment introduces Comfort’s Way of the Master television series. Several comedic clips from the series illustrate Comfort’s sense of humor. A parody of name-it-claim-it preachers show Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron sipping martinis, but unfortunately the clip fails to include preceding dialogue to reveal its true intent. The Fool is an entertaining and informative account of the impact of Ray Comfort. For more information: livingwaters.com.

Randall Murphree

undefinedHope 4 Today
Statistics show that professing Christians who read the Bible less than four times a week lead lives that are remarkably similar to that of unbelievers. Therefore, as an encouragement to look less like the world by staying connected to God in a distracted culture, Kathleen Cooke wrote Hope 4 Today – A Devotional: Stay Connected to God in a Distracted Culture, a soft-bound, gift-sized devotional book designed to be read on a four-days-a-week schedule.

Each reading includes a Scripture passage, a related application, and questions for personal reflection on topics that range from stubbornness to forgiveness to surrender to the awesomeness of God. There is also space for journaling.

Cooke is the wife of Phil Cooke, and together they founded Cooke Pictures (cookepictures.com) and the Influence Lab. She is a media executive, actor, writer, and speaker who is passionate about pointing others to a vibrant relationship with God and who believes that reading the Bible at least four days a week can be life-changing. Available at retail and online booksellers.

Rebecca Davis

undefinedThe Three Sixes
For the big publishing companies, this one was off-limits as long as Barack Obama was in the White House. But with the election of Donald Trump, the storyline finally passed muster. It’s a novel, but author Mark Alan Leslie’s insights into world politics and contemporary culture are staggering and frighteningly realistic. He and his co-writer, son Darek Leslie, will make readers think they’re living too close to catastrophe.

The Three Sixes is a political thriller in which the plotline is woven around explosive conflict between terrorists and patriots. What would happen if U.S. citizens, in the throes of systemic Islamic terrorist attacks, should discover that their newly-elected, untested president is complicit in anti-U.S. movements? As early as his inaugural address, it becomes clear that he will give in to all the demands of enemies of the U.S. – and Israel.

Clandestine terrorist cells thrive in every state in the nation. And an unlikely triumvirate consisting of special-ops veteran Max Braxton, archaeologist Kat Cardova, and a small cadre of Yale students emerge to combat the evil. And save the country. Hopefully.

The Three Sixes is the second title in Leslie’s Thrill of the Hunt series. Fans met Braxton and Cardova in the first title, Chasing the Music, when they were in Israel hot on the trail of the music King David wrote for his psalms (review in AFA Journal, 1/17). The novels are not sequential. Start with either one. Learn more at markalanleslie.com. Available at retail and online booksellers.

Randall Murphree

undefinedSgt. Stubby
Sgt. Stubby tells the World War I story of the most decorated dog in U.S. Army history. Produced by Fun Academy Motion Pictures, this feature-length, animated film, starring Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Gerard Depardieu, is educational and highly entertaining.

A homeless mutt called Stubby takes up residence in a 1917 Army training camp with a soldier from the 102nd Infantry Regiment. Stubby completes training with the platoon and stows aboard a ship to follow his 26th “Yankee” Division overseas.

On the battlefields of France, Stubby carries out numerous heroic, life-saving escapades, earning the official rank of Sgt. Stubby. The film graciously handles life in the trenches and gas warfare without bloody violence, even when Sgt. Stubby is terribly injured.

Online at stubbymovie.com, find ticket information; read about the real Sgt. Stubby; download fun-filled educational tools; or book a group viewing of Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero.

Joy Lucius

undefinedListen Up
The kids in your church will not be the only ones who profit from Listen Up, an innovative Sunday school curriculum that includes a family devotions and music component. Parents and teachers will also find the content biblically faithful and rich in gospel content.

Written by veteran pastor Marty Machowski and published by New Growth Press, Listen Up uses selected parables of Jesus to teach the gospel of Christ and His Kingdom. Lesson plans are offered for three age ranges: preschool, elementary, and middle school students.

Sunday school lesson plans are printed from a CD and distributed to teachers. A second CD contains 13 songs from Sovereign Grace Music, a highly respected source of Christ-exalting music. The music supports the teaching content and makes use of a number of popular styles that kids and their parents will enjoy.

The 250-page family devotion book, designed with five devotions per week, tracks the classroom content. It is also available without the Sunday school curriculum.

Learn more and see a sample lesson at newgrowthpress.com.

Rusty Benson