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

One man’s insights: When Faith Is Forbidden
After traveling the world for 23 years with Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), Todd Nettleton has accumulated countless stories during his ministry supporting persecuted Christians worldwide. His new book, When Faith Is Forbidden: 40 Days on the Frontiers with Persecuted Christians, documents inspiring testimonies he has gathered from the field.

“I believe that if you’ll spend 40 days being impacted by the stories of persecuted Christians,” said Nettleton, “your faith will be changed.”

Nettleton’s 40-day study of global Christian persecution takes the reader through a wide range of stories from many nations. Each chapter includes a specific personal experience, a suggestion for reflection, a prayer, and excerpts from his personal journal entries as he traversed these global mission fields.

From Nepal to Bangladesh to China to Turkey, and more, Nettleton offers powerful insight into the life and experience of those persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Nettleton’s VOM radio show airs weekly on over 1,000 radio stations including American Family Radio (Sunday 10 a.m. CT).

Order his book at or online bookstores.

Mason Beasler

The martyrs’ stories: Jesus Freaks
Jesus Freaks
 from Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) shares scores of gripping stories of martyred men and women, girls and boys. Boys such as Roy Pontoh, a 15-year-old Indonesian who was at a secret Bible camp when a Muslim mob broke up the meeting. The mob threatened Roy: “Renounce your Jesus, or we will kill you!”

Trembling, Roy answered, “I am a soldier of Christ.” A sword ripped into his Bible, then his body. Roy’s last word was “Jesus.”

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity reports that currently, more than 150,000 Christians are martyred around the world every year.

VOM first published Jesus Freaks 20 years ago. An updated and revised edition of the contemporary classic (released last fall) delivers more stirring accounts of martyrs from across the ages.

The contemporary music trio dc Talk – Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, and Kevin Max – again partnered with VOM for the book with their messages challenging readers to become more aware of persecution of Christians around the world.

Jesus Freaks has the potential to awaken the Western church on this issue if only believers will read it. It is available at online booksellers.

Randall Murphree

The Post-Quarantine Church
Thom S. Rainer, founder and CEO of Church Answers, has written The Post-Quarantine Church, a timely resource for pastors and church leaders. Focusing on six urgent challenges presented by COVID-19, Rainer uses common sense and creativity to help pastors turn those challenges into opportunities. He looks at how to gather for worship differently and how to rethink the design and function of available church facilities.

Rainer also addresses the importance of the digital world in the post-quarantine church as well as how to reconnect with unreached pockets of the local community. He emphasizes needed times of deeper prayer, starting with an honest confession about his own prayer life: “I wish I prayed as much as I talk and write about prayer.”

Finally Rainer concludes his small but power-packed book by urging pastors to recognize the advent of a new church era. Though not an easy time, Rainer describes this era in church leadership as a blank slate, a time of unprecedented opportunity to evangelize and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Available at online and retail booksellers or at

Joy Lucius

Journeys With Jerry
In Journeys With Jerry, Robert L. Krogh shares lessons he learned from his youth pastor, Jerry Zeilstra, who has served for 30 years in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, at Hebron Church.

Each chapter starts with a “Jerry-ism” and expands to explain Christian concepts. For example, “Love Under a Tractor” shows how when God wants to teach you something, He often takes you on a journey.

When Jerry was 13, he was pinned under a tractor. He pleaded with his older sister to back away because flammable fluids were pooling around him while they waited for help.

“No, I love you too much,” she said. “If something happens to you, it will happen to me too.” This incident leads to greater insight about the types of love and to Zeilstra’s conversion story.

Each chapter shares pieces of the journey to help and encourage every reader.

Available at online booksellers.

Robert Youngblood

Beyond the Handshake
Author Jerry Coleman, age 82, calls his first book both a memoir and an appeal. It has the best elements of both. His story is engaging, his challenge convicting.

Until age 7, he lived in an Indiana tuberculosis hospital where his dad was also a patient, but they could not see each other. At age 7, Coleman left the hospital and traveled alone by train to join his family, who had moved to Arizona. His father died soon thereafter.

Without much focus or discipline, he dropped out of high school and joined the Army. During his Army years, he was saved and eventually became a pastor for decades. He shares stories of people who had positive influences on his life, tells how he has written to thank them, and challenges readers to do likewise. Coleman urges a real letter sent through the mail. Beyond the Handshake is available at (Be cautious of similar titles.) or from Jerry Coleman, 3010 S. Kokomo Dr., Nampa, ID 83686.

Randall Murphree

Winning the War in Your Mind
Do you ever have a nagging thought that seems impossible to escape? Does that thought dictate your day-to-day life? Are you looking for a way to break free? In Winning the War in Your Mind, Craig Groeschel offers insight on how to address these concerns biblically and practically. Through prompts, exercises, and scientific explanations, Groeschel invites readers to redirect their thoughts and seek biblical encouragement.

“Your mind is a battlefield,” Groeschel said, “and the battle for your life is won or lost in your mind.”

Winning the War in Your Mind is an excellent resource for anyone dealing with the scriptural principle of “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Available at online and retail stores.

Hannah Harrison

Caught up in the Clouds
The music artist calls it “smooth Christian jazz,” and worship finds a comfortable home in the music and lyrics of Michael Canaan, whose debut mini-album was released in March. The former Christian radio broadcaster artfully interprets Scripture passages into music that sooths the soul and invites worship.

Canaan’s keyboard provides the foundation of his music, but occasional guitar, saxophone, and vocals enhance the worshipful settings with impact and ease.

Canaan coined the phrase “smooth Christian jazz” decades ago when he was composing it as an aid for personal worship. Years later he joined a church worship team, playing for the first time in public, which finally led him to share his gift with the world.

Learn more and listen to samples at

Randall Murphree