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

September 2019 – Homegrown
In the Bible study Homegrown: Cultivating Kids in the Fruit of the Spirit, authors Dr. Josh and Christi Straub lead the reader through six weeks of spiritual growth framed around the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Designed specifically for adults with children, this study is a refreshing and easy-to-follow guide for how to engage families in this scriptural teaching.

Each week’s study culminates in application and activities for the whole family – a morning prayer, dinnertime story, bedtime questions, and activities. Many times, parents are encouraged to participate by telling stories from their own lives to apply to the daily lesson.

Being professional family and marriage coaches, Dr. Josh and Christi Straub have a wealth of experience to draw from. Available at retail and online booksellers.

Canada Burns

I am Male, I am Female
In the children’s book I am Male, I am Female, author Karen L. Hill defines gender for very little ones in a way that is both biblical and easy to understand. The author explains the differences between men and women in a basic and tactful way. Men marry women and women marry men, genders are determined by your chromosomes (called alphabets for young readers), and gender does not change because of the way you feel. While it may seem extremely basic, this helpful little book backs up each fact with Scriptures and science that parents can teach to their children. Available at online retailers.

Canada Burns

What a Great Word
What a Great Word: A Year of Daily Devotions by Karen Moore is a unique collection of devotions, designed around one “great” word per day. The concept for Moore’s latest devotional work came to her directly from her husband, who rises early each morning to have quiet time with the Lord. Later in the morning, he always shares one particular word from his daily Bible study as a source of encouragement and strength for his wife and other friends.

Within each entry, Moore examines words such as arise, pities, quickly, zeal, and aim in relation to a selected Bible verse for the day. Moore gets straight to the point in her thoughtful, albeit short, daily devotions. What a Great Word is a great way to start each day with a thought-provoking, inspiring look into God’s Word. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Joy Lucius

Kinda Like Grace
Not many people, including Christians, have the courage to forge a relationship with a homeless man. Author Ginger Sprouse did. And eventually, she and her husband moved their homeless friend Victor from a nearby street corner into their home and their hearts.

Kinda Like Grace: A Homeless Man, a Broken Woman, and the Decision That Made Them Family details the amazing story of Victor and his newfound family. Told with honesty, transparency, and gratefulness, Sprouse shows readers that the love of Christ can heal and restore the brokenness in all of us. Available at online or retail booksellers.

Joy Lucius

Difference Makers
Trying to follow Christ in today’s world is harder than ever. Gregg Matte addresses this challenge in Difference Makers.

This book provides answers to those struggling with their identity in Christ. Matte uses the “Difference Maker Declaration” as encouragement for those needing to define where they stand.

Matte concludes that believers were made for more than sitting on the sidelines. Instead, they are called to be the difference in the world and embrace their uniqueness for the glory of God.

The book tackles different topics that help readers deal with how we see God and others. Matte uses biblical heroes such as Esther, Ezra, and the paralyzed man to teach readers how the Lord uses the ordinary to make a difference.

Available online and at retailers.

Hannah Harrison

Open Hands, Willing Heart
In Open Hands, Willing Heart, Vivian Mabuni says, “When our hearts are surrendered to His will, we draw closer to Him in a way that unleashes His grand purpose for our lives.” Mabuni discusses how we are more apt to follow the Lord’s calling when we let go of our own plans and trust His.

The book is divided into three sections: a willing heart, what gets in the way, and living an open-
handed life.

Through each of these topics, Mabuni uses Scripture, stories, and personal experiences to point the reader toward saying yes to God. Mabuni draws from biblical heroes such as Esther to paint the picture of what happens when we say yes to God. At the end of the chapter, Mabuni creates questions that encourage personal reflection and small group discussion.

The book is encouraging, for those who find themselves wanting to say yes to the Lord, but not having the courage to do so. Available at online or retail booksellers.

Hannah Harrison

I Thank God
Mabel A. Chang has written a delightfully inspiring book for elementary-aged children titled I Thank God. With colorful images on each page, Chang reminds young readers to praise God for the profound beauty of His creation while pointing to His perfect plan and design for each child’s life.

I Thank God pairs well with Chang’s earlier book, Through the Eyes of a Child. Both are told with a sense of simplicity and child-like wonder. Through the Eyes of a Child examines the meaning of Christmas from the perspective of an innocent child in a straightforward, biblical manner. Available at online booksellers.

Joy Lucius

Jesus, M.D.
Dr. David Stevens is a story-teller extraordinaire, as evidenced in his book, Jesus, M.D. Stevens begins with a startling account of his early days on the mission field. “Panga Sunday” was his first day as senior physician on duty at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya, and two victims of a machete attack were brought in, one with the worst facial injuries Stevens had ever seen.

Giving the Great Physician all the credit, Stevens graphically recounts that day with clarity and compassion. Each subsequent chapter parallels the teachings of Jesus with the practice of Stevens and other physicians. Available at online and retail booksellers.

Joy Lucius

Jesus in Me
Jesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion is Anne Graham Lotz’s latest book. Lotz walks the reader through scriptural insights that have been woven into her life experiences, teaching her to become increasingly more reliant on the Holy Spirit.  Transparent examples of failures and victories serve to help readers recognize His presence in their daily lives.

Chapters focus on the jobs of the Spirit: helper, comforter, advocate, counselor, strengthener, and more.  Conversely, other chapters provide detailed descriptions of a believer’s responsibility in relating to the Holy Spirit: enjoying His presence, relying on His power, embracing His purpose, living by His precepts, reflecting His purity, and trusting in His providence. Available online and at retail bookstores. 

Anne Reed

Rest in Hope
Rest in Hope is a devotional book offering the hope of God’s peace and rest in the midst of life’s storms. Written by Jennifer Gerelds, each of the 90 devotions begins and ends with Scripture.

Gerelds also packs both a timely anecdote and a powerful inspirational message into each entry. She transforms the most mundane of life’s experiences into a pivotal, life-changing lesson on the hope and assurance found in Christ alone. Rest in Hope is available online at dayspring.com.

Joy Lucius