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No Fear (Christian Young Adult Book Review)

“The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.” – Oswald Chambers

 

Recently, my kids and I traveled to our state capitol to join thousands of others who gathered to pray for our country.  I am very focused, as a parent, on equipping my children to impact their world positively, in ways that call them to courage and integrity.  As Franklin Graham spoke, he encouraged Americans to pray, as Nehemiah prayed, with humility and passion.  I stood a few feet back from my children, and I watched them join hands with people of different races, age, and walks of life.  I was moved by the gift they were given in connecting for a cause that is bigger than they are.  I was also struck with just how dark much of our culture has become, and how increasingly difficult it will be for my children to live faithfully according to their God-given convictions, if our nation continues on the road it’s on.  Recently, I read a book called No Fear, what I would call largely a Christian young adult book, which encouraged me as a mom, and challenged me to pray more purposefully for my kids and their generation, but also gave me great hope at the courage of their peers already, taking a stand for the good of our country.

 

No Fear is a collection of “real stories of a courageous new generation standing for truth.”

 

A collection of real-life stories about American kids who stood up to opposition of their faith and of a cause they knew to be morally mandated, this book also ties stories to biblical biographies and principles.  Even more, it includes discussion/journaling questions which would be great for reading this book as a small group.  It is thought-provoking, it is encouraging, and it dares the reader to be bold and humble at the same time.

 

In a time where kids are at risk of not just peer pressure, but full-on attack from adults they should be able to trust to protect their integrity and freedom, it’s a powerful reminder that they can, like others before them in distant and recent history, take a firm stand.  I highly recommend this book for young adult readers, for families with older children, and for small groups.  It opens the door for powerful discussion with kids about what matters, and how they have a role in God’s plan for the world.  As cultural norms become more muddy, those discussions become more vital.  The next generation needs to know, with solid understanding, what they believe.  They need to be equipped intentionally with tools to lead.  They need to be taught to have respectful, intelligent conversation, but also emboldened to have unequaled courage… to speak the truth in love, even at personal cost.

 

No Fear presents for kids and young adults a series of portraits of modern-day heroes, and helps them to see the bigger picture of the story of God’s people being salt and light in this world throughout history… daring them to become central characters in the beautiful story He is writing with their lives.

 

Do you have youth and young adults who need encouragement in their faith walk?  Do you have a story of someone who has been brave, speaking the truth in love?  I’d love to hear.

 

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I was given a copy of No Fear in exchange for sharing my honest opinion.  I highly recommend this book, and would only share my honest thoughts for readers.

 

 

Courageous {Christian Movie Review}

He may be thirteen, but I can still wrangle him into the king-size between daddy and me if I offer him a scratch-back.  He’s as much a fidgeter as I am, but I wouldn’t trade those moments for the whole world.  It’s even sweeter if he’s the only one allowed to stay up and snuggle with us, watch a “big kids only” movie, and if we’re super fortunate, have a bit of talk-time, too.  This week, our middle got to stay up without any of the other siblings, and together we watched a movie we’ve seen before, but he wasn’t old enough to watch at first – Courageous, written and produced by the Kendrick Brothers.

 

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Christian DVD’s have provided a great option for family movie nights.  From the time our kids were little and they were watching the “little kid” movies, we’ve sometimes enjoyed the chance to just curl up and zone out… but I’m never one to settle for wasted time – if we are going to watch something, I want it to have redeeming value.  As mainstream media becomes less about quality and worthy content, and more about political statements and moral decay, it’s harder to find material worthy of our time.  Having studied theater in college, it makes me giddy to see the quality of Christian production improving, and the Kendrick brothers have definitely been a marked part of that movement.

 

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Recently, FishFlix sent us the Courageous DVD to review (disclosure: the movie was free to us; we had previously seen it and all opinions are our own).  It wasn’t a new movie, but I’ve realized that often, we don’t need “new;” our kids enjoy returning to movies they’ve enjoyed before.  For me, the journey of five men through the challenges of family life and career hadn’t lost its potency.  I’ll never forget the moment my dad knelt before my sister and myself and asked us to forgive him for his failings and spoke words of life into our daughter-hearts.  He didn’t shy away from his lack, but instead pointed us with hope toward the God and father who will never fail us.  He spoke of his own hope in what God could, and does do in our lives to bring healing and purpose.  As the men in the movie step tentatively and boldly toward a greater calling, they inspire us to do the same, whether we are fathers or mothers, or wherever we are in seasons of life.

 

At times, the acting is less than amazing or the effects or plot-line falter, but as with each of the Kendrick movies we’ve seen, we found ourselves willingly suspending belief, engaging in the story, and finding encouragement and challenge to step forward, step up, and be courageous ourselves.  And isn’t that what good theater does?  Share your favorite picks for family movie night!

 

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