Saturday, March 20, 2010

book review: "beautiful things happen when a woman trusts God" by sheila walsh

Sheila begins her story with a story. She tells of when she was younger and how she and her sister would sometimes go to the park. Sheila would sit on the swing with her sister pushing her. One day a bully came to the park and began pushing Sheila. Though he didn’t push her any higher than her sister did, she was still scared. “Who was pushing the swing made all the difference in the world. The heart behind the hands pushing the swing changed everything…so this is a book about trust: how hard it is to trust, how we learn to trust, how we live with trust and how our lives are transformed by trust.”

A recurring thought Sheila shares in her book is that God is able to use what we may be ashamed of or think nothing good could come of. She spent some time in a psychiatric hospital and has been amazed at what God has done with that experience. “Suddenly I began to see that my brokenness was a far greater bridge to others than my pretended wholeness had ever been.” She talks about how when seeking God for direction, she still had no idea what to do. “Have you ever been there, prayed that God would let you in on what He’s doing so life doesn’t feel so out of control but He is silent?” We’re led on a journey with several people in the Bible; people who help illustrate what Sheila has finally discovered: “I’ve since learned that Jesus wants me to trust Him so completely that I no longer question anything He puts into my hands or the path He chooses for my life.” Anna, Mary and Martha, Paul, Tabitha, Gideon, Joseph, Samson, Abraham and Nicodemus – all men and women who struggled with trusting God.

Trust is something I think we all have to wrestle with. I just so happened to read this book at a time in my life where I’m having to constantly work on continuing to trust God when it seems He is indeed silent. Sheila’s book is a good reminder that He does listen and does care – I just need to be reminded sometimes. I feel like there’s one sentence that sums up her message: “After there's nothing else you can do - when you finally accept that stewing and supposing and worrying don't lead to answers; when your heart faints and you're afraid of that dark night and you can't figure it all out on your own and everything seems to be going up in smoke - trust kicks in and knocks you to your knees."

Monday, March 15, 2010


I just had one of those moments where you realize something and you're momentarily stunned. I just wrapped up a giveaway on my blog for a copy of "What's in the Bible?" dvd. I don't know if I expected a huge number of entries but with each day, I kept thinking "why are people not entering?" I've said it's FREE and all you have to do is tell me who'd you want to win the dvd for, yet people weren't taking the bait. Here I had this really cool gift to give away but no one was willing. Here's where I realized something. The same is true with the gospel. We, as Christians, have something that the world needs yet few seem to make the decision to accept Him. We can tell others how great having a relationship with God is, how we have this inner peace that lets us know it's all going to be ok, and give vivid details of moments we've encountered God yet people can still refuse. And if I'm this frustrated, I wonder how this must make God feel?

Monday, March 8, 2010

dvd review: what's in the bible?

Veggie Tales creator, Phil Vischer has a goal: to take kids more deeply into the Bible. Through his new series, “What’s In the Bible?” he wants to answer three main questions: where did the Bible come from? What is it? What does it mean to our lives? He explains, “We need to do something that can take our kids deeper into the Word and make their faith real.” He sets out to achieve this through the use of fun songs, puppets, animation. Characters such as Buck Denver, Captain Pete, Sunday School Lady and Clive and Ian all offer their two cents as Phil explains the Bible. Even the theme song poses questions kids ponder (why be nice to each other? Are we alone in space? Why are we here?)

Episode 1 – In the Beginning
Each episode focuses on two “Big Questions.” In this episode, the question is “what is the Bible?” Kids offer their responses and then Phil gives his answer. The second question is “what’s the Bible about?” It’s filled with stories and when put together, it tells one story – the story of God and what He’s done for us. Captain Pete explains why some Bibles have more books than others (Catholic vs. Protestant).

The big words defined in this episode are epistles, Pentateuch, and testaments.

Episode 2 – Let My People Go
This episode begins with a short recap of the previous episode and then jumps into the first “Big Question” – who wrote the Bible? The second is “Who picked the books to be in the Bible?”

Phil answers the question, “how can we trust the books of the Bible when we don’t know who wrote them?” Because we believe God inspired the process. All great stories have a beginning, middle and end. The beginning answers the who and where. Beginning of a story usually ends with an event that changes the world for our characters. Middle of a story is where characters try to make things right - try to fix what was broken in the beginning. End is where we find out if the characters’ efforts worked - if they can make their world whole again. “We know the world is broken and doesn’t work quite right. The Bible tells us our story – the story of our world.”

The big words defined in this episode are inspire, primeval, canon, salvation and redemption.

“Popsicle Stick Theater” with Chester Whigget explains the story of Genesis. One thing Phil says is that there are some things about the Bible that we don’t have a way of knowing (for example, the exact age of the earth since people have different views on whether God created the earth in six earth days or if the days were longer). “Sometimes we don’t know…and that’s ok.”

For those familiar with Veggie Tales, you’ll find the style of humor to be similar. The pace moves quickly between puppet, Phil and singing. I think my favorite part of the episodes were the segments with Michael, a little boy (puppet) going to his grandmother’s house. After watching one episode, maybe you’ll agree with the puppet Agnes who says, “It’s more fun than American Idol.”

And I'm giving away the first and second episodes (thanks to Tyndale)! The contest will be open until Friday at midnight so to enter, reply to this post, telling me who'd you love to win the dvd for. Include your e-mail so I can get in touch with you to get your snail mail address :-)


The sun is shining where I'm at and it's an absolutely gorgeous day! Since Mondays have the tendency to be icky anyway (that whole "back to work from the weekend" thing), sunshine is a much needed emotional boost. Driving to work, I was slightly in awe at how beautiful the day is - we're talking the sun's out, blue sky, and it's hovering in the 50's (as opposed to the 30's and 40's we've been experiencing). There really wasn't a point to this post other than that it's funny what a nice day can do for your perspective :-) (I now have "Walking on Sunshine" playing in my head...)