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

Above, Amber collapses when military officers come to tell her that her husband has died in combat in Afghanistan.

October 2018 – God Bless the Broken Road
A lot of emotions come to the surface in God Bless the Broken Road, a new movie from Giving Films.

Reflecting the popular song of the same title, the plot follows Amber Hill, a young Kentucky mom whose husband Darren is killed in Afghanistan. Amber and her young daughter suffer not only Darren’s death, but also foreclosure on their home, depression, fear, isolation from old friends, and a dysfunctional relationship with Amber’s mother-in-law. Furthermore, Amber abandons her faith in God.

The only caution for families is an intense three-minute battlefield flashback scene that focuses on David’s face as he is shot while saving another soldier’s life. Strong family and faith components and solid acting makes this an outstanding addition to the faith-based film genre. It is scheduled in theaters in September. Visit godblessthebrokenroad.com to find dates and theaters.

Randall Murphree

undefinedConnect: Real Help for Parenting
For every adult concerned with the pull of technology on their children, Kirk Cameron offers Connect: Real Help for Parenting Kids in a Social Media World. Cameron guides viewers to recognize ways to help kids make a godly impact on today’s world.

He cites the pitfalls and dangers of social media from experts like Dr. Kathy Koch, founder of Celebrate Kids, Inc.; Mark Gregston, author and founder of Heartlight Ministries; neurosurgeon Dr. Ian Armstrong; and Internet safety expert Tim Woda.

Connect includes testimonies from parents and teens who overcame heart-wrenching situations brought on by online predators, cyber bullying, and Internet pornography. The film identifies ways to monitor and manage a child’s virtual realities by grounding the whole family in the truths of God’s Word. Learn more at connectmovie.com.

Joy Lucius

undefinedThe Presence Centered Church
Bill Elliff, pastor of the Summit Church in Arkansas and leader in the OneCry movement, has pastored for more than 50 years. With keen insight, his new book, The Presence Centered Church, will help the pastor or church leader understand how to build a church where God is pleased to dwell.

So what kind of church do you want? A business-as-usual church? One that entertains and relies on slick marketing to attract a lost world?

More important, Elliff asks what do you think God wants?

Readers are called to prayer and given a practical understanding of personally experiencing Christ, removing barriers to Christ’s presence, and creating healthy, biblical environments for growth.

A model for church life spotlights the presence of Christ, equipping saints for the work of ministry, and engaging a lost world. Available at retail and online booksellers.

Buddy Smith, AFA vice president

undefinedIn Unbroken: Path to Redemption, Will Graham (photo left) has a cameo role as his grandfather, evangelist Billy Graham.

Unbroken: Path to Redemption
A faith-based sequel to the 2014 movie Unbroken released in theaters September 14, telling the rest of the story of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini.

Based on Unbroken, a book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: Path to Redemption focuses on Zamperini’s life after the war.

He refuses to admit he suffers from PTSD, and his life spirals out of control. Haunted by debilitating flashbacks from his time as a POW, he turns to alcohol as his salvation before experiencing true saving grace at Billy Graham’s 1949 Los Angeles Crusade.

It’s a powerful and gripping real-life story of forgiveness, redemption, and grace. However, it is rated PG-13 and merits several cautions: graphic war scenes (flashbacks), many uses of alcohol, some immodesty (beach scenes), multiple kissing scenes, and two profanities.

Rebecca Davis

undefinedLife Changing Prayers
If the title of Dr. Michael Youssef’s new book suggests that effective prayer is formulaic, the rich content does not. The subtitle, How God Displays His Power to Ordinary People, helps, but still doesn’t fully capture the author’s clear, rich, and engaging analysis and application of the prayers of men and women from the Bible.

Exploring the prayers of Eliezer, Hannah, David, Daniel, Jonah, Habakkuk, and Mary, Life Changing Prayers offers solid instruction and encouragement for believers to undertake the discipline of prayer and understand that its purpose is to glorify.

Dr. Youssef relates prayer to God’s sovereignty, obedience, decision-making persistence, action, brokenness, consistency with Scripture, and more.

He is founding pastor of Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, and founder of Leading The Way with Michael Youssef ministries. Leading the Way is heard on American Family Radio (afr.net) weekdays 8-8:30 p.m. CT. Life Changing Prayers is available at retail and online booksellers.

Rusty Benson

undefinedWho Was David?
Well-known for his popular IMAGINE adventures, Matt Koceich has now authored The Kingdom Files, a Bible biography series for ages 8-12. Each title examines a well-known Bible character with captivating illustrations and innovative story devices.

Each book has three unique features: The Fact File offers basic information and a timeline of David’s life. Koceich’s Action File narrates David’s story from a biblical perspective, and a Power File leads to what kids today can learn from David’s life.

Since it is for children to read, Koceich does not mention David’s sinful indiscretions with Bathsheba. Others in the series include Daniel, Esther, Jonah, Jesus, and His mother Mary. Available at online or retail booksellers.

Joy Lucius

undefinedAlways Fall Forward
“He was a man’s man. He was the fiercest lover of people who ever lived. … And I’ll bet He’d have been a free safety.” That’s Todd Gerelds’s assessment of Jesus in his new book, Always Fall Forward.

The subtitle – Life lessons I’ll never forget from “The Coach” – honors the author’s father, Tandy Gerelds, a Birmingham, Alabama, high school football coach in the 1970s. Though in the context of football, the life lessons in this small volume apply to all walks of life.

Always Fall Forward has 52 devotions to take the reader through a year of lessons deeply rooted in Scripture. Each weekly entry has stories and example of what Gerelds learned under the tutelage of his father and how those principles apply to life. This book will appeal to anyone interested in growing closer to the One who was “the fiercest lover of people who ever lived.” Available at retail and online booksellers.

Durick Hayden, AFA vice president

undefinedIn photo, Paul interviews “God.”

An Interview With God
Who wouldn’t want it – a face-to-face talk with God? Paul Asher gets his chance in the movie An Interview With God. Paul is a journalist returning home after covering action in war-torn Afghanistan.

He faces a crumbling faith, failing marriage, and unstable job. Then he lands a dream assignment: Interview God.

He’s sane enough to know this man can’t be God. Or is he? Nonetheless, the reporter in him drives Paul to summon up his journalistic eagerness. But ironically, time after time, God (is He or isn’t he?) subtly turns the tables, and Paul finds himself – instead of God – wrestling with probing questions.

The creative script merges serious themes into a cohesive conclusion with surprising and satisfying resolutions. After a limited theater release, DVD and streaming are now available.

Randall Murphree

undefinedJonah and the Bitter Blues
Kids love the Jonah narrative. But for adults, Jonah’s bitterness and rebellion against God challenge them to grapple with their own attitudes. In his new book Jonah and the Bitter Blues: A Biblical Solution for Bitterness, Dr. John Neihof calls bitterness the secret sin of the church.

“Home, work, church, rush hour traffic, the grocery store … no area of life remains untouched from the debilitating and destructive force of bitterness,” he writes.

The book looks at how bitterness harbored by individual believers infects the church and inhibits the impact of Christ on the culture. Dr. Neihof doesn’t preach; in fact, he turns totally transparent with examples of how bitterness has at times impeded his own faith journey.

It’s a small volume, worth the read for all who struggle with bitterness.

Available at teleiospress.com and other online booksellers.

Randall Murphree

undefinedWhere do I Find Jesus?
In Where Do I Find Jesus? author Sheila Walsh explains to three young children what it means to have Jesus Christ in their lives. Emma and Liam bring Abby to church to find out more about Jesus.

At first, they misunderstand and think Jesus is hiding somewhere nearby. So they begin searching for Him in a tree, the attic, the cupboard, etc. The children soon discover that Jesus will come to them if they accept and believe in Him.

At one point, Abby asks, “Can I bring my best friend, the Bible?” It’s an apt symbol to help children understand the importance of the Bible, but parents will probably want to explain the comparison. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Mason Beasler

undefinedThe Believer’s Code
In this beautifully bound book by O.S. Hawkins, each of 365 daily devotions includes a Scripture and a thought provoking commentary, often with cross references to other biblical passages. A “code word” summarizes the commentary with an action challenge, followed by a short prayer.

The Believer’s Code is theologically rich and gospel centered, yet written in simple terms. It will be meaningful encouragement for all who desire a deeper walk with God. All author royalties are donated to Mission: Dignity to help aging pastors, their wives and widows in financial need. Available at retail and online booksellers.

Anne Reed

undefined12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You
In this insightful title, author Tony Reinke explores a relevant topic with clarity and directness. He aims for total self-examination of the ways technology affects people, specifically through the use of smartphones.

Citing experts in technology, psychology, and sociology, plus research among many demographics, 12 Ways paints a complete picture of smartphone use.

Through the lens of Scripture, Reinke puts the smartphone in spiritual perspective as a tool, which may add to or detract from a Christian’s mandated mission. 12 Ways spotlights what can be eternally lost or gained via a smartphone. Available at retail and online booksellers.

Joy Lucius