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

January-February 2019  Booklets ‘teach truth quicker’
Dr. Ray Pritchard, president of Keep Believing Ministries, did not anticipate the positive response to a series of booklets he has published, most of them 8-9 pages. (See reviews below.)

“This has been a happy surprise for us,” Pritchard told AFA Journal. “After writing a number of books over the years, I stumbled on the idea of producing booklets. These all started as sermons.”

The popular booklets are available free in hard copy or downloadable at his website. (keepbelieving.com)

“The booklets help us give biblical truth in bite-size format,” Pritchard said. “I think that’s a wave of the future. We’re going to have to find ways to teach truth quicker for a generation with a short attention span.” Each booklet includes a few questions urging readers to go deeper.

Pritchard is a co-host of Today’s Issues on American Family Radio. In addition to 42 years as a pastor, he has ministered extensively on five continents. His 31 book titles include Stealth Attack and The Healing Power of Forgiveness.

Praying For Your Prodigal
“I reject my faith,” a young daughter tells her mother. A college aged son tells his father, “My girlfriend and I are moving in together.”

How do we deal with the prodigals in our lives? In this booklet Dr. Ray Pritchard offers valuable biblical insight for those seeking God’s help in this area.

We are encouraged to look past the external problems – those things we can see – and deal with the heart of the problem, which is a problem of the heart. We must understand that until our loved ones’ hearts are opened to the Truth there will never be genuine and lasting change.

Pritchard says to pray for them and put that seemingly hopeless case at God’s doorstep, because that’s where it belongs.

Five Keys To Unlocking God’s Will
Does God have a will for your life, and if He does, can you really know it?

In this resource Dr. Ray Pritchard offers five keys to unlocking the mystery of God’s will for your life by exploring five specific words found in a very familiar passage of Scripture – Proverbs 3:5-6.

He suggests that rather than reducing our relationship with God to a formula – a three-step plan if you will – that we actually get to know Him in the intimate way He desires. And when we do that, we can be sure that God will let us know what we need to know, when we need to know it.

If I Believe, Why Do I Doubt?
We all experience occasional doubt, so why is it an avoided subject and an issue that seems to be hidden within the church?

Dr. Ray Pritchard assures us that doubt is indeed a very natural part of the Christian life. So natural, in fact, that he says, “I don’t know how a person can be a Christian and not have doubts from time to time. Faith requires doubt in order to be faith.”

Though doubt doesn’t disqualify us as a disciple, Pritchard acknowledges that it can be dangerous if it’s not dealt with, which is why in this booklet, he offers four solid ways to deal with doubt when it surfaces in our lives.

Other booklet titles include:
Two Minutes Till Midnight
When the Foundations are Destroyed
How to Love Your Enemies
Why is Life so Hard?
How Can I be Filled with the Holy Spirit?
Faces Around the Cross (a 98-page Lenten devotion)

Find Dr. Pritchard’s booklets, books, and other resources at keepbelieving.com

Reviews by Matthew White

undefinedTime Out! The Gift or God of Youth Sports
If you love your children or grandchildren and you want to impact their lives for Christ, Time Out! The Gift or God of Youth Sports by John Perritt should top your reading list.

Perritt, a veteran youth pastor, father, and sports fan, wrote the book as a framework to help parents, coaches, and youth leaders think biblically about the culture’s obsession with athletics. However, his insights are equally applicable for any endeavor that could become an idol.

Although he often draws illustrations from his own youth ministry experience, the real value in Time Out! lies in Perritt’s careful application of the Scripture that calls on a wide range of biblical doctrines including creation and the fall, grace, worship, lordship, idolatry, and especially stewardship.

Time Out! will challenge, correct, convict, and possibly even confuse. But in the end it drives readers to the cross, and that’s good news. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Rusty Benson

undefinedGetting to No: How to Break a Stubborn Habit
This book by noted pastor/author Dr. Erwin Lutzer can be a lifeline for anyone who’s struggling with life’s hard knocks but is serious about getting back on the right track. Lutzer is pastor emeritus of Chicago’s storied Moody Church.

The author begins with this uncomfortable truism: “Stubborn habits begin innocently enough, but because we don’t master them, they quickly master us.”

In Chapter 1, “Why so Much Temptation?” Lutzer says temptation is an opportunity to test our loyalty and love for God. Later chapters address practical principles such as leaving the past behind, freedom at the Cross, renewing the mind, and taming the human will. It’s a rich, deep study resource for groups or solitary study.

Getting to No merits the label “contemporary classic.” Available at retail and online booksellers.

Randall Murphree

undefinedChoosing the Extraordinary Life
In his new book, Choosing the Extraordinary Life: God’s 7 Secrets for Success and Significance, Dr. Robert Jeffress offers straightforward biblical insight on how to live beyond the mundaneness of everyday life. Jeffress uses the life of Elijah, as well as stories of contemporary Christians, to demonstrate seven ways to transform an ordinary existence into a powerful relationship with Christ. With timely topics such as purpose, prayer, and heavenly perspective, Jeffress emphasizes that Christians must live to influence their culture rather than vice versa.

Choosing the Extraordinary Life issues a challenging mandate, drawing the proverbial line in the sand between going with the flow of secularism or taking a stand for powerful Christian living. Available at afastore.net or 877-927-4917.

Joy Lucius

undefinedGod Counts
With an array of delightful full-color illustrations, God Counts is a wonderful children’s book that draws on Scripture to teach counting and numbers. From Adam and Eve to the Fruit of the Spirit, this learning tool is both engaging and entertaining. Author Irene Sun seamlessly connects basic theology and Scripture with numbers 1-12 in a way that is easy to understand.

With God Counts, children can take advantage of a sound way to learn and memorize Scripture while also learning to count and observe the Creator’s world.

God Counts is available at online booksellers or at newgrowthpress.com where quantity discounts are offered.

Canada Burkhalter

undefinedThe Incredible Growing Basketball Goal
Contemporary Christian singer/songwriter Dennis Jernigan has authored more than a dozen books for readers of all ages. His children’s book The Incredible Growing Basketball Goal chronicles the true story of Jernigan’s father demonstrating love for his son through an unforgettable act of sacrifice.

Jernigan was an adult before he ever heard his stoic father speak the words, “I love you,” but this story is filled with the love of the father for his son.

As a child, DJ “lived, ate, drank, and dreamt” nothing but basketball. When he asked for a basketball goal for his seventh birthday, DJ’s dad said he couldn’t afford one. So his father suggested DJ plant a tiny basketball goal “seed.” Then his father secretly “grew,” i.e. built, the basketball goal DJ yearned for.

In this imaginative tale, DJ learns that even the tiniest seed of hope must be nurtured and tended with unwavering faith. Readers will be reminded that God’s love for His children is active, intentional, and sacrificial. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Joy Lucius

undefined100 Extraordinary Stories
The women featured in 100 Extraordinary Stories for Courageous Girls are women of faith from many centuries, Old Testament biblical times to the 21st century. Well-known figures such as Rosa Parks, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Florence Nightingale are included, as well as the lesser known: Lady Jane Grey, Huldah the prophetess, and Sarah Pierpoint Edwards.

The book by Jean Fischer reads a little like a devotional and a little like a child’s version of Foxes’ Book of Martyrs, with an age appropriate, one-page biography of each lady, a full-page illustration depicting that woman, and a complementary Bible verse at the bottom.

The book hints at criticism of the view that women should not hold careers or should not serve in ministerial roles. It is an excellent resource for historical or devotional studies and will inspire women and girls of all ages. Available from online and retail booksellers.

Stacy Singh