As a kid I was a fan of Choose Your Own Adventure books. This post is a “choose your own adventure” of sorts. As a Family Christian blogger I was given a $50 Appreciation Certificate to spend on anything from Family Christian that I wanted to review. The following post contains the three items that I selected for our family. I had a lot of fun shopping and reviewing – thank you Family Christian.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links…
Here in Central Arkansas, while our neighbors to the North are buried in snow, we have been enjoying an unseasonably warm winter. Given that our summers are often unbearably hot and plagued with critters of all sorts (snakes are not a favorite of mine) our family tries to make the most out of the fall and winter seasons. For the past two weeks we have taken short excursions around out state in our trusty minivan. First we visited Mount Magazine, by way of Paris, for a little hiking and geocaching. We racked up 4+ hours in roundtrip travel time. During our second trip we spent 7+ hours in the van for our adventure to a Safari Park in Gentry, Arkansas. It included a stop in Fayetteville, AR at the Family Christian Store, an overnight stay, and a day of geocaching in Devils Den State Park. In total we probably spent 12 hours in the van during the past two weekends. With a 9 year old and a 6 year old we needed road trip worthy entertainment. That is what I would like to share with you now given that Spring Break is just around the corner.
1. Time spent learning is time well spent. Let’s squeeze a bible lesson into this roadtrip!
As one of the country’s most respected evangelical leaders, pastor and author Tony Evans challenges “tweens” (ages 8 to 12) to explore what the armor of God is all about. He understands that Christian kids want to be stronger, more confident, and skilled at living an exciting God-centered life, and so he presents the unvarnished truth. Tony Evans gives kids a plan for success by explaining: Scripture reveals who’s behind the world’s traps and snares, and how to resist him. God offers all Christians a powerful suit of armor and mighty weapons. The suit includes a belt of truth and helmet of salvation to wear and shield of faith to carry into the battle.When every piece of God’s armor is worn correctly, the enemy is defeated and Christians are victorious. By learning how to dress in the armor God provides, preteens are able to speak the truth, stand firm in the faith, and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Explaining the concept and reality of spiritual warfare to kids can be a daunting task. In his book A Kid’s Guide to The Armor of God, Tony Evans does a remarkable job of unpacking the meaning of each piece of Armor and it’s implications for the believer. He does this by letting scripture explain scripture, through word studies(e.g. Word can be used as Graphe, Logos, and Rhema), story telling, and well placed humor. More than just a book for children, parents can learn a lot from this book.
I mention spiritual warfare and have ask for God’s protection over our children during devotions and family prayer time but I wanted more. Tony’s book is well suited for a homeschool classroom. With our children being 9 years old and 6 years old, the book was a little too deep for them at this time. I found this out when I attempted to read through an entire lesson in one sitting. By the third page I had lost our little one and by the last page our 4th grader’s eyes had glazed over. When I divided the second lesson into two parts it was better received, but at this point I believe the maturity of our children has to be taken into consideration. Upon completing the book myself, I believe that it is well-organized, well thought out, biblical, and boasts real life application for tweens and teens. At times it can be a little heavy handed in theology, but that’s the part I loved – a self-proclaimed bible nerd. With that being said I would also like to share my gratitude to Tony Evans for defining a number of words that get tossed around in church circles to include: righteousness, sanctified, covert sins, justification, salvation, glorification, and many others. This is truly a book we will revisit in the future.
2. They love audiobooks, let’s try an audio drama.
Experience the fierce battle at Jericho and the huge city walls tumbling around you! Sense the heat of the fire coming down from heaven as Elijah calls out to God. Feel the splash as Moses parts the Red Sea, right in front of your very ears!
Now you can be eyewitness to some of the greatest Bible miracles and stories ever produced for radio in this collector’s set, featuring 36 exciting Odyssey episodes! In each of these previously released audio dramas, faith will come to life in a new way, and you will understand and experience the Bible in ways you never imagined.
- The Tower
- On Solid Ground
- Two Brothers and Bernard – Part 1 of 2
- Two Brothers and Bernard – Part 2 of 2
- Bernard & Joseph – Part 1 of 2 Bernard & Joseph- Part 2 of 2
- Moses – the Passover – Part 1 of 2
- Moses – the Passover – Part 2 of 2
- Siege at Jericho
- The Power of One
- OT Action News: Jephthahs Vow
- Three Funerals and a Wedding – Part 1 of 2
- Three Funerals and a Wedding – Part 2 of 2
- Bernard & Saul
In our home, “screen time” is limited to about 20-30 minutes a night. With that in mind I can tell you that books and audiobooks play a major roll in our family entertainment. The Adventures in Odyssey: Bible Eyewitness Collector’s Set is a radio drama, not unlike the best dramatized audiobooks that we have enjoyed. Our first encounter with Adventures in Odyssey was during the 2013 Christmas season when I purchased “The Star,” as a single. At that time my children were so completely captivated by the characters and dramatic storytelling that I knew we would eventually purchase additional episodes. Looking ahead at the number of family road trip adventures we have scheduled for 2015 I decided to GO BIG with the The Adventures in Odyssey: Bible Eyewitness Collector’s Set and I am so glad we did!
Each story follows one or two children on an adventure through a particular portion of scripture. Through Adventures in Odyssey families get quality entertainment, valuable lessons in faith, as well as great conversation starters. Our children ask to continue listening even before we get into the vehicle. While we have reserved our collection for road trips, they would be a great addition to family devotions or Sunday school classes. Furthermore, a collection would make a nice gift or centerpiece to a Christ-centered Easter basket.
I believe that the creators, Focus on the Family, have done their best to accurately portray the biblical portions of the story. I noticed that in the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal that many of the characters lines were taken directly from scripture. During “The Shepherd and the Giant” our son remarked that, “Samuel sounds like a crazy person.” To me it came across as the actor trying to convey Samuel’s fear of being discovered by King Saul as he anointed David the future King of Israel. Either way, it opened a dialog about Samuel’s mission and obedience to God.
As a parent I enjoy how each lesson represents a real temptation or dilemma that children face today. For example in “The Big Deal” (Disc 10), the character Aubrey is super excited to have been awarded a part in a play. Only later do her parents realize that the play violates what they believe as Christians and forbid Audrey to participate. Infuriated by the news, Aubrey takes a walk to the park where she meets Mr. Whitaker. Through the Imagination Station at Whit’s End, Mr. Whitaker introduces Audrey into the bible story of John the Baptist. By meeting and interacting with John she learns the difference between standing up for something you want and standing up for what you believe. She also learns what it means to stand firm in faith and obedience to God. This lesson concluded by a posing the question “How far are you willing to go for what you believe?” Once the story has ended, parents are given an open door to discuss what transpired and how the situation could be applied to the lives of their children.
3. Movies are always a hit and there’s a moral to this story…
When Junior is late for dinner with his family, he makes up a lie. When his family believes him, be begins to make up more and more lies. Before he knows it, he’s on a roadtrip with his mom because of a lie he told. Will Junior be able to tell the truth before it’s too late?
Being dishonest or lying is an occasional temptation for our children. More often than not a lie is spoken in an effort to avoid punishment, but sometimes they appear to serve no purpose at all [sigh]. We have addressed the problem head-on, yet still the problem rears it’s ugly head from time to time. I purchased Junior’s Giants: Nothing But The Truth in an effort to gently address the topic. To my great pleasure the lesson brought on belly laughs while driving home my message that honesty is the best policy.
The Junior’s Giants series opens with Junior’s Sunday school teacher explaining that metaphorically, everyone faces a giant similar to David and his battle with Goliath. In this episode Junior’s “giant” just happens to be lying. In the beginning, Junior arrives home late for dinner… again. Instead of telling the truth, he weaves an unbelievable story about an accident which he and his friend Nico witnessed. At this point, his mom calls his bluff and asks Junior to return with her to the scene of the accident. Once there, in order to cover his tracks, he is forced to add another lie, then another, and another, until the whole situation comes crashing down. Teaching Junior a valuable and biblically based reason to tell the truth.
Humor is the biggest asset of this DVD. Junior’s entire family is quirky and a number of crazy subplots run simultaneously. In courtroom asides denoting Junior’s conscience – Junior’s legal representation, an alligator, pleads his case while encouraging him to continue lying. In the end Junior wants nothing more than to come clean. My children caught a serious case of the giggles watching the show and they also grasped the spiritual lesson. If you’re looking for another way to address dishonesty in your home, this DVD is a good value.
Which books, movies, or CD’s top your family-friendly list?
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