GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Wordless Wednesday – Folk Art


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Litfuse Tour: Practicing the Presence of Jesus by Wally Armstrong


About the Book:

Experience the Gift of His Friendship

Do you want to experience Jesus as real? When we look at Jesus’ life on earth, we see Him calling people to simply know Him. He made no demand on them to believe theological propositions. “Follow me” was the invitation which they accepted. They got to know and communicate with the real person. There is a big difference between believing something is true and experiencing it as real. This is the story of how Wally Armstrong learned to communicate with the real person of Jesus in his everyday life. Armstrong experiences Jesus up close and personal and introduces readers to the same experience. In a conversational manner, he explores what it is like to have a relationship with Jesus as if He is sitting right there next to us. He keeps an empty chair ready and imagines Jesus sitting beside him as they talk.

You can buy the book at Amazon.

About Wally Armstrong:

Wally Armstrong is a professional golfer, teacher and dynamic life coach who has competed in over 300 PGA Tour events, including the British Open, the US Open, and the Masters, and was awarded a lifetime membership in the Tour. In his first Masters appearance, Wally finished in fifth place, setting a rookie record for the lowest tournament score of eight under par. As a golf instructor and clinician, Armstrong has taught golf all over the world and has produced more than twenty golf instructional videos and DVDs covering every area of the golf game. He is the author of seven books, including the bestselling In His Grip (with Jim Sheard and Billy Graham) and The Mulligan (with Ken Blanchard). He resides in Maitland, Florida, and has been married to his wife, Debbie, for forty-one years. Together, they have three children and seven grandchildren. Armstrong invites readers to visit his website, www.oldprobooks.com, for more insights about the wonderful opportunity each of us has to know Jesus as the real person that he is.

Find out more about Wally at http://www.wallyarmstronggolf.com/wallys-world/.

My Opinion:

I think there has probably been a time on our walks with Christ that we’ve felt distant or even alone – we try to do it all on our own strength instead of relying on Christ.  He told us through His Word and His disciples that He wants a relationship with us, but sometimes it seems we only want Him when something really bad happens or we want to complain.  What about if we treat Him as a friend sitting next to us on the couch, or with us on car rides?  Would our walk change?  How we treat our spouses?  our children?

At first I thought, this is crazy?  Of course Jesus is with us in Spirit but really?  Pretend He’s sitting next to me?  Whatever!  As I kept reading though I realized that Wally Armstrong was on to something – I haven’t started this myself but I can definitely see how imagining that Jesus is with me (and He is) can actually be a boon to a sometimes lacking prayer life.  Prayers become rote or short but if we picture that our Friend is sitting with us or walking with us and converse with Him then it’ll boost our spiritual life and give us more of “He walks with me, He talks with me” relationship with the One who deserves our undivided attention.

**Disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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Father of Lights DVD (and giveaway!)


 

 

About the movie:

FATHER OF LIGHTS chronicles the journey of filmmaker Darren Wilson and his team as they fearlessly travel the globe, far from the daily existence of the typical evangelical believer in the West. By thoughtfully documenting the stories of extraordinary believers and candidly filming miracles, visions and other supernatural occurrences, Wilson engages viewers in modern day examples of the true nature and character of God.
Wilson gives honest access to his own spiritual questions as he tackles the religious misconceptions he has struggled with throughout his life.  “I went into making this film by asking the simple question: who is God? I wanted to know His character, His personality, and who He truly is. To answer this question, we had to peel back the many layers of religious garbage that has been passed onto him through generations. That He is angry. Vengeful. Wrathful. And in general, that He doesn’t like you very much. The truth, as you will see vibrantly in this film, is that He is the most loving, compassionate, and wonderful Father you can imagine.”
About Wanderlust Productions:
Wanderlust Productions is a video production company focusing on creating content for various media that highlights, informs, and is designed to spiritually stretch our audience.  Created by Darren Wilson, Professor at Judson University, Wanderlust’s focus is on telling stories that inspire and agitate, that are unwavering in their honesty yet are emotionally compelling.  While our content will always be Christian in nature, we are not afraid to explore themes, concepts, or areas that may be considered “risky” by the Christian establishment.  Wanderlust prides itself on its willingness to put the story above the message.  That being said, the message will never waver.
My Opinion:
I have to be honest I’m not sure how to begin reviewing this documentary.  Usually, I am very forthcoming with my opinion but well I just don’t know how to say what I want to say.  This was an awesome documentary, I enjoyed seeing some of these men and women who are giving up everything, yes, some have literally given up everything for Jesus.  I don’t want to give everything away in regards to this DVD, there are miracles – and if you don’t believe in modern healing watch this or ask me about my daughter!  Regardless, the Holy Spirit is very much alive and is working through those who love people.
At first I was thinking “oh here we go, we are supposed to love but not point out their sin” but that wasn’t it at all.  Now one man said that God isn’t angry, He is love – that is true but God also gets angry at sin and He hates sin in His children’s life.  However, even with that being said the movie was about letting the Holy Spirit work, if we love the people instead of immediately jumping on their sin then the Spirit will renew their minds and lead them away from their sin.  Many of us are quick to point out the sin before the person is even saved – but more often than not that back fires – Jesus says to love and when it comes to pointing out sin that is to happen between Believers not Believers and non-believers.
I would really recommend this DVD if you think or somehow believe that the Holy Spirit no longer heals or that miracles are dead or if you believe to have that belief strengthened.  A Maharishi giving his life to Christ, a Muslim man being healed, and many more miracles happen through out this powerful 98 minute documentary and when you watch it I’m sure you’ll figure out which story was the most powerful to me!
**Disclaimer:  “Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Would you like to win your own copy?  Then visit my other blog for a simple Rafflecopter form (sorry, it doesn’t work on WordPress) to have several ways to enter.  Visit An Ohio Reviewing Mom.  Begins 11/1/12 till 11/8/12
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Read Aloud Challenge


It’s been a while since I’ve participated but over at Footprints in the Butter blog she has the read aloud challenge up and since I’m lacking on things to write I thought I’d join in again.  One thing I’ve aimed to do this year was do more read aloud books that coincide with our history studies, to really make things come alive for all the children.

The most recent one we read yesterday and today was Leif the Lucky by Ingri and Edgar D’Aulaire.  There were fabulous illustrations and it was a very good read that went along well with our studies of Leif, his dad, Eric the Red and Greenland – as well as learning that before Christopher Columbus another man landed on and name America.

The other book we read and finished this week was First Impressions of God, or Emily Tappan’s Story by Ann R. Wells.  I’m not going to go to in depth as I will be doing a review soon – suffice to say this is an excellent book!

We’ve also been reading Grace Raymond by an unknown author.  Again, I can’t go into much detail except to say it’s also enjoyable and very character building.

We have been listening to the Sugar Creek Gang as well and if you’d like to see more of my thoughts on those audio CD’s see my TOS review of  Volume 1.

We almost began a book titled Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher but after only a few pages I became uncomfortable in reading it aloud to my 6 year old son and my 8 year old daughter.  It had some mature themes such as harem life, and talk of virgins – so I told my 10 1/2 year she could read it with the caveat that she knows she can come to me with questions and she can stop anytime.  She has decided to not finish it, which I think is a great decision.  I think this may have been a great book but not as a read aloud for younger children.  So we’ll be choosing one of the other books I have checked out from the library to read as a family.

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TOS Crew: Beloved Books: Sugar Creek Gang audio CD Volume 1


I enjoy reading to my children, from the moment they were born I was reading to them.  I have enjoyed books for many years, and I think that stems from my mom having read aloud to my brothers and I from our youngest years.  Even my oldest, at 10 1/2, still enjoys it when I get a great book from the library and we begin, as a family to enter a new world.  Of course, there are times when I can’t read – I may be feeling ill, or driving, or need to get something done around the house and that is where Beloved Books comes into play.

I must admit I’d never heard of the Sugar Creek Gang but when I had the chance to be included on the group to review these audio stories I became very excited.  My children and I love and enjoy listening to audio stories and the Sugar Creek Gang is no exception – my only regret is not having heard of this series before now!  I received Volume 1 which has six stories that are narrated and produced by Paul Ramseyer and were originally written in book form by evangelist, Paul Hutchens.  The six stories on this volume are:

  1. The Swamp Robber
  2. The Killer Bear
  3. The Winter Rescue
  4. The Lost Campers
  5. Chicago Adventure
  6. The Secret Hideout

Each volume has six stories on 12 CD’s and there are six volumes that will give you over 100 hours on 72 CD’s.  I’d pop a CD in while driving somewhere or if we needed a break from our regular school day and we were still learning.  There is nature study going on, as well as Christian and godly character traits, Scripture verses, poetry, adventure and much more in these stories.  Even though the main characters are all boys, my girls loved listening to the stories and I must admit hearing the story of one of the boy’s dad’s giving his life to the Lord choked me up – not good while you’re driving!

If you want your child to step back in time, and enter a way of life where wrong is wrong and right is right.  Standing up for those who are in need, sharing the love of Christ and not being afraid of being a boy who goes to church – then the Sugar Creek Gang audios are a great choice.  Good for all ages, my children are 6, 8 and 10 1/2 years old, and they were enjoyed by all – including me (my husband isn’t in to audio adventures as we are) and it’s available for $54.95 with free media rate shipping.  If you’d like you can also buy the first story, The Swamp Robber, for $4.95 plus free shipping so you can try before you buy.  I cannot say enough how much we did and are continuing to enjoy these CD’s and my son is even requesting other volumes for Christmas!

If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents are saying about the Sugar Creek Gang audio CD’s visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

****Disclaimer:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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The MoneySmart Family System by Steve Economides and Annette Economides


About the book:

Is it possible to raise financially responsible kids of any age in a society filled with consumerism and entitlement?

New York Times best-selling authors Steve and Annette Economides raised their five kids while spending 77 percent less than the USDA predicted. And the money they did spend was also used to train their children to become financially independent. The MoneySmart Family System will show you how to teach your children to manage money and have a good attitude while they’re learning to earn, budget, and spend wisely.

Learn how to:

*Get the kids out the door for school with less stress. *End the battle over clothing—forever *Teach your children to be grateful and generous. *Inspire your kids to help with chores as a member of a winning team. *Prepare your kids for their first paying job. *Help your kids pay for their own auto insurance, and even pay cash for their own cars. *Employ strategies for debt-free college educations. *Truly help your adult children when they want to move back home. *Be prepared to deal with your adult children when they ask for bailouts.

With clear steps for children of every age, The MoneySmart Family System proves that it’s never too early, too late, or too hard to start learning financial responsibility.

 

You can purchase the book at Thomas Nelson.

 

My Opinion:

 

I’m always looking for ways to incorporate financial responsibility to my children and I really liked some of the ideas given in The MoneySmart Family System – and like all books some ideas just don’t fit our family, but I don’t like tossing the baby out with the bath water.  I think it’s funny today that “experts” think that it would take $261,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17 – the authors seemed to find this as ludicrous as I did – and I know if it did cost that much then we wouldn’t have had 1 child let alone 3 and wanting more!  Of course, our children don’t feel the pull to need or want the newest fashion or high end clothing – they think a trip to Goodwill is better than going to the mall and expensive possessions are usually bought by Grandparents for Christmas and birthdays or they raise the money themselves.

 

I like the fact the authors themselves homeschool, but they also give ways to evaluate school choices – and there are a lot of them today as a way to begin teaching money smarts (no pun intended).  If a family simply can’t afford private school but enrolls the children anyway that’s just not smart or a good steward of money whereas homeschooling can be almost free – if you want to give them a superior education and know what they are learning.  The one thing the authors recommend is sort of an allowance, and while I can respect that decision it’s one my husband and I have decided to forgo.  Since our children are members of the household they are expected to help with chores and not get paid.

 

Our children get money usually at birthdays and Christmas and maybe someone will give them some for Easter.  We make sure they save some, give some and spend some with the knowledge that they can save their spending money as well.  I’d like to implement more ideas but first we need to have the disposable income in order to give them a weekly allowance and that isn’t available at this time.  I think this book is on to something and since I wasn’t given a lot of financial education – yes school and parents taught me to write checks but never about how to save and spend wisely so by putting some of these ideas to work in my family I hope to change that for my children.

 

**Disclaimer:  I was provided an e-copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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Motorcyles, butterflies, and fossils! Oh My!


Last Sunday, we were on our way to grab a few items from the grocery and saw people lining the streets and were thinking it was probably a motorcade for some politician.  I got hubby to stop and ask and we were told it was the Toys for Tots run, so we stayed.  It was actually for the Salvation Army toy run but regardless it was fun.  There were over 1,900 motorcycles and to my son and middle DD’s delight, some even threw out candy.

Some of the bikers.

All the bikes coming down the street.

Our two surviving caterpillars made their chrysalis and one emerged the other day.  It was neat to see him come out, at this point the children are a bit disappointed as he isn’t flying and the other one still has yet to emerge and we’re beginning to wonder if it ever will.

One of our butterfly’s that newly emerged.

We’ve been wondering why our butterfly wasn’t flying and upon closer inspection we noticed that part of it’s wings are missing 😦

On October 12th we took a field trip to a local creek bed that has lots of fossils.  The children enjoyed it and it was neat to be able to walk where once the Great Deluge waters once were and know that God left these behind for us to use for our knowledge.

My middle and her best friend and my oldest with her best friend. It was VERY cold and windy out!

Christian starting out on his fossil hunt.

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TOS Crew: Samson’s Classroom


I’d like to introduce you to Samson’s Classroom that is geared for grades K through 5 and encompasses sight words, reading and spelling.  Samson’s Classroom is an “umbrella” product which means you’ll have access to all the products and your child will get a lot of practice for each area all without having to leave to go to another website.   Samson is a cute dog that will appeal to both boys and girls as they go through the learning process.

With sight words children will learn 224 commonly used words in the English language.  In spelling with Samson there are 5,o00 and going words included for this area and children will better improve their spelling skills.  Finally, in reading with Samson each child will read a passage of text and answer questions that pertains to that text to establish reading proficiency.   They will earn different prizes depending on what area they are in, such as for reading the child will earn hammer swings which they use to earn hammer points competing for a space in the top 5.

The two favorite of all three of my children were the sight words and reading.  In the sight words area they work through one of 4 levels, each level has seven lists of sight words in varying degrees of difficulty.  Within each level there are 5 areas to be completed such as: learn words where the words are said and spelled, build words where the words are said and the child must spell by clicking on the right letter in the right order, identify words several words are given and the correct one must be given, quiz, and treasure hunt challenge where for each one correct the child earns a jewel.

I used this to reinforce what were already doing in our current studies although my oldest daughter who is in 5th grade found the reading selections too easy as well as the sight and spelling words.  However, my non-reading son and middle daughter found each area to be challenging that I felt that they were learning.  My only issue with the site is that since most children aren’t proficiently reading in kindergarten that the reading area for the lowest level should have the ability to turn on or off voice so that a non-reading child can hear the passage and still answer questions regarding the passage.

If you think this is just a fun educational game there is more to it than that – in the resource area under sight words parents and children can find lesson plans that go along with the lists such as flashcards, bingo, kaboom, recall and more games that make learning fun and get the parent involved.  There are printable PDF documents that will also add a worksheet flair for those students who like and learn from seat work – and as a way for the parent to document progress.  Finally, there is the toolbox which has more printable sheets geared to the parent such as a manual grade-book, word lists and awards.

Even though my children didn’t prefer to play the spelling area I had them try it so I knew what it was about.  You, the parent, can make lists for your child if you want them to have lists that are based on current studies you are doing or you can chose the random lists based on the site generated lists.  There are four games for each list like, the study area which helps the child to master the list.  It will open a list and then the child clicks on it and can have it spelled, said and used in a sentence.  The next game, which was my son’s favorite, is missing letters where Samson karate chops his way through the list, then there is spelling scramble where the word has to be spelled while avoiding a tarantula (we couldn’t get this game to work on our computer but from watching it it appears fun).  Lastly, there is the game crunch time where your child has to avoid Wally the Walrus and keep Samson dry and is especially fun to do.

My children, at least the younger two, are still asking to play Samson’s Classroom and I think that is great!  I’m hoping as my son learns more of his phonics rules he’ll be able to play on his own but for now I have to help him and explain certain areas that don’t quite make sense just yet.  Samson’s Classroom offers a variety of pricing options, which is great for a family who may only need it for one child ($30.00 per year) or has multiple children who could use it ($50.00 per year for up to 4 students) and even a classroom option and more.

If you’d like to see what other homeschool parents thought about Samson’s Classroom visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

****Disclaimer:  As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

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FIRST Tour: Straight Talk with Your Kids About Sex by Josh and Dottie McDowell


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card authors are:
Josh and Dottie McDowell
and the book:
Straight Talk with Your Kids About Sex
Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Josh McDowell has been reaching the spiritually skeptical for more than five decades. Since beginning ministry in 1961, Josh has delivered more than 24,000 talks to over 10 million young people in 118 countries. He is the author or coauthor of 130 books, with over 51 million copies distributed worldwide, including Experience Your Bible, The Unshakable Truth®, Evidence for the Historical Jesus, More Than a Carpenter (over 15 million copies printed in 85 languages), and The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, recognized by World magazine as one of the twentieth century’s top 40 books. Josh continues to travel throughout the United States and countries around the world, helping young people and adults strengthen their faith and understanding of Scripture. Josh will tell you that his family is his ministry. He and his wife, Dottie, have been married for over 40 years and have four children and five grandchildren.

Dottie McDowell has been married to Josh for over 40 years. She has written several children’s books with her husband, and she and Josh are enjoying their four adult children and numerous grandchildren as he continues to travel worldwide in his ministry. Dottie and Josh live in Southern California.

Visit the authors’ website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Utilizing up-to-the-minute research from Josh’s “The Bare Facts” resources and their experience with four children, the McDowells give readers encouragement and solid information in the sometimes-awkward process of guiding their child into a healthy understanding of God’s gift of sex and sexuality—within a biblical context of relationship to Him.

Product Details:

List Price: $11.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736949925

ISBN-13: 978-0736949927

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Just One Click AwaySex. To some people it’s a dirty word, to others a beautiful one. And to still others it’s a provocative word…something they’re not comfortable talking about. Whatever your attitude, sex is a sensitive yet immensely important issue. For those who believe it’s a marvelous but powerful force that should not be misused, such as parents or leaders working with youth, the idea of sex—sexual activity—among young people is loaded with plenty of concern.

So how concerned would you be if a stranger was slipping into your child’s bedroom every day? What if this intruder was systematically teaching your child a distorted and perverted concept of sex? And what if this “sex education” your child was receiving led them down a path to immoral sex? You would no doubt be frightened and infuriated that the mind and heart of your child was being violated by this menacing intruder.

But before we go on to explain this danger, let us say this. We (Josh and Dottie), as parents who have raised four children of our own, are not here just to alarm you, although you have reason to be alarmed. We also want to equip you with a clear strategy to counter what your kids are facing. Even more at the heart of what we want to do, we hope to supply you with effective tools to raise your kids with a healthy (godly) understanding of sex.

After all, sex is great. It’s marvelous. It’s so wonderful that it can’t be put into words—because God has made it that way. You no doubt want your children to grow up understanding and embracing his design for their sexuality so they can delight in sex as he meant it to be delighted in. And if an immoral intruder were to cause your kids to misuse God’s wonderful gift, you would be angry and heartbroken.

Studies have shown that the number-one fear among Christian parents and Christian leaders is that a secular worldview and sexual immorality will somehow capture the hearts and minds of their kids. We certainly had that fear for our own children. To address that fear, many parents have helped open and develop more Christian schools. They have formed more networks to homeschool their children than ever before. Many have sent their kids off to Christian summer camps. Families have started attending megachurches with top-rated youth programs in unprecedented numbers. The hope of these parents has been to counteract the negative influences of a destructive culture in the lives of their children.

However, these positive steps may have actually caused many parents and educators to drop their guard. It’s natural to assume that kids are largely insulated from the influences of a corrupt culture if they live in a Christian home, are involved in a good church, are getting a solid Christian education, and are participating in monitored activities.

Actually, though, our kids are far more exposed to destructive cultural influences today than kids were even ten years ago. The reason for this is because right now we are in the midst of a social-media revolution that is allowing a corrupt and twisted morality to have direct access to our children at much earlier ages than ever before, even in the privacy of our own homes and in their bedrooms. This is the intruder we have been talking about.

The Social-Media Revolution

The culture influenced the previous generation through various media such as radio, TV, videos, magazines, and so on. If a parent monitored what his or her child listened to, watched, and read, there was somewhat of an assurance that a child could be insulated from the negative effects of a destructive culture. However, today’s social-media revolution has changed everything. Our culture intrudes upon your children through channels that barely existed a decade ago. For example, compare media growth (based on the general U.S. population) over the last decade.
In 2000

In 2010–2011

2.7 hours per week spent online by the average person

18 hours per week spent online by the average person

100 million daily Google searches

2 billion daily Google searches

12 billion e-mails sent daily

247 billion e-mails sent daily

12,000 active blogs

141 million active blogs

0 iTunes downloads

10 billion iTunes downloads

0 tweets on Twitter

25 billion tweets on Twitter

0 YouTube videos seen daily

4 billion YouTube videos seen daily

0 hours of YouTube videos uploaded every minute

60 hours of YouTube videos uploaded every minute

0 people on Facebook

845 million active users on Facebook

0 articles on Wikipedia

20 million articles on Wikipedia

More than 250 million new people were added to Facebook in 2010, with 30 billion pieces of content shared each month. If Facebook were a country, it would have the world’s third-largest population.

Approximately 20 million minors are on Facebook. Of those, 7.5 million are younger than 13 years old, and 5 million are younger than 10 years old. It is estimated that Facebook will soon reach 90 percent of all social-network users and 57.1 percent of all U.S. Internet users. By 2013, 62 percent of Internet users and half of the U.S. population are expected to be on Facebook.

In regard to video content, eMarketer estimates that of the 50 million U.S. children under 12, nearly 12 million—about 25 percent—“were online video viewers in 2011.” The estimate skyrockets to 70 percent by 2015. According to Harris Interactive, in 2010, the number of children under 12 years old who spent at least one hour a day online increased from 61 percent to 76 percent.

The Internet has surpassed TV as kids’ media of choice. A study by the U.S. Department of Education shows that 27 percent of all four- to six-year olds are on the Internet. Today kindergarteners are learning on iPads, not chalkboards.

The social-media revolution is connecting us in positive ways never before imagined 10 or 20 years ago. Yet all this ability to connect and have people connect to your children may cause you to feel uncomfortable. And it should. There is an alarming downside to the instant accessibility this culture has to your children.

Intrusive Immorality

As parents and Christian leaders, we want our young people to embrace a biblical sexual morality. We want them to enjoy sex as God designed them to enjoy it within the context of marriage. And just 10 or 15 years ago, we as parents, pastors, or Christian educators had a good measure of control over what type of things our young people saw or heard that shaped their view of sex. We could say, “We don’t watch those kinds of TV programs in our home; nor do we read those types of books.” There were certain controls we could put in place to insulate our children from damaging influences. When our children wanted to visit neighbors or friends, we tried to limit it to people with our same convictions.

But today we have, by and large, lost control of the controls. That is because a perverted morality is just one click away from our children. With just one keystroke on a smartphone, iPad, or laptop, your child can open up some of the worst pornography and sexually graphic content you can imagine. Just a few decades ago pornographic magazines were sold behind store counters and placed in paper bags. Most adult men didn’t even want to be seen carrying such a magazine out of a store. Today pornography is available to anyone, including your kids and teenagers.

Immoral sexual content is reaching many, if not the majority, of our children. According to research from Family Safe Media, the average age of the first Internet exposure to pornography is nine years old.12 And there are plenty of sites to be exposed to. There are over 5 million pornographic sites available today with over 68 million search requests daily. More than 2.5 billion porn e-mails are circulated every day.

A 2009 survey of 29,000 North American university students confirmed that 51 percent of males and 32 percent of females first viewed pornography before their teenage years. A journal article, “The Nature and Dynamics of Internet Pornography Exposure for Youth,” reports that 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to Internet porn before they are 18 years old. Eighty-three percent of boys and 57 percent of girls have seen group sex. Sixty-nine percent of boys and 55 percent of girls have viewed homosexual or lesbian acts. Thirty-nine percent of boys and 23 percent of girls have been exposed to sexual acts depicting bondage.

According to a study cited in the Washington Post, more than 11 million teenagers view Internet porn on a regular basis. A Focus on the Family poll revealed that 47 percent of families said that pornography is a problem in their home. These were largely Christian families responding to the poll.

Who Is Concerned About This?

In contrast to the situation several decades ago, most of our young people see little or no problem with viewing pornography. Overall, studies show that 67 percent of young men and 49 percent of young women 18 to 26 years of age consider viewing pornography as acceptable behavior.

Of course, as a concerned parent, you no doubt warn your children and teens to stay away from “sex sites.” As a responsible and proactive parent, you may even install Internet filtering and monitoring software on your computers, as you should.

Yet what happens when your children visit their friends and they turn on their cell phones? Do the parents of your children’s friends have sexually explicit material blocked from all their electronic devices? The problem is that sexually oriented and perverted material through cyberspace is everywhere, and it is difficult to avoid, even when you try to block it.

Further, more than 1.5 billion pornographic peer-to-peer downloads occur each month, and most are not detected by “family filters.” (Peer-to-peer is from one computer directly to another computer.) An entire pornographic video can be downloaded by a child, often without detection by parents.

Because of the massive amount of sexually perverted material available today, the sheer overexposure, no matter how infrequent, tends to desensitize a young person. Rather than gaining an understanding of what sex is really for, why it comes with boundaries, and how it can bring intimacy and joy in a committed marriage relationship, young people tend to think everyone is doing whatever they want sexually without consequences. This is clearly the impression given through cyberspace.

Most young people have been so desensitized to sexually explicit material that they see no problem with joking, posting, or texting about provocative sex. Do you realize that 4 out of 10 teens are posting sexually suggestive messages? And another 39 percent of teen boys and 38 percent of teen girls say they have had sexually suggestive text messages or e-mails—originally meant for someone else—shared with them.

No doubt, it seems to our kids that the entire world around them, including their peers, is into premarital sex. We, of course, know that not everyone is “doing it;” yet our kids’ perception becomes their reality. The irony is, many Christian adults tend to think none of their kids are involved sexually, while their own kids think everyone else is “doing it.” These contradictory viewpoints are widespread.

Recently, I (Josh) did a two-hour seminar on “The Bare Facts: The Truth Bbout Sex, Love, and Relationships” at the staff conference of an evangelical organization. At an afternoon session, 1800 people showed up with their kids. In the next three days, ten different staff members told me that one of their children (all under the age of 14) had confessed to them that they were addicted to pornography on the Internet. Each parent expressed amazement and had never suspected a thing.

During a recent pastor’s conference I was addressing the same topic, and five pastors approached me after a session with their stories:

• Pastor #1: “I just found out that my two sons (ages 14 and 18) are struggling with pornography on the Internet.” Then he confessed that he had been addicted to pornography himself for 11 years.

• Pastor #2: “I learned last week that my 17-year-old son just got his girlfriend pregnant and my 15-year-old daughter is also pregnant. What do I do? I’m going to have two grandchildren soon!” He shared that his son regularly viewed pornography.

• Pastor #3 (a youth pastor): “My 14-year-old daughter has been giving oral sex to the boys at her [Christian] school.”

• Pastor #4: “I just found my 8-year-old son watching pornography on my office computer.”

• Pastor #5: “My 5-year-old son has been looking at pornography since he was 4 years old.” The pastor was crushed.

These five conversations happened in the 20-minute time span it took me to get from the podium to my car.

Before I could get into the car, a desperate teenager gripped my arm and said, “Dr. McDowell, would you please pray for me? I’ve been struggling with pornography for three years and it is destroying me!”

Several years ago, I was invited to speak on sex and relationships at one of the largest and most prestigious evangelical Christian schools in North America. The administration appreciated that I came to speak on that subject, but they made the following request: “We don’t want you to mention anything about oral sex,” they said, “because we don’t have that problem here. If you mention it, our kids will simply start thinking about it and want to do it.”

I thought their request was absurd and naive, but out of respect, I honored it. The moment I finished speaking, dozens of kids crowded around me to ask questions. Nearly every question was about oral sex. “Is it sex?” “Is it wrong?” “Can you get an STD from doing it?” and so on.

I wished the school headmaster had been standing there to hear his students. As I walked outside, three guys and two girls, all sophomores, approached me and asked, “Why didn’t you talk about oral sex?”

I avoided telling them that I had been asked not to talk on the subject. Instead, I asked them, “Why? Is oral sex a problem here?” And they said, “No, not really.” I replied, “That’s good,” to which they responded, “No, it’s not a problem for kids to do, because everyone is doing it.” (This was an exaggeration.)

I asked them to explain. “Well,” they stated, “at our school when a guy wants oral sex, he walks up to a girl and says, “Would you like a taco?” That was their code word for oral sex. They went on to explain, “If she agrees, they go into some room right here at school and perform oral sex. But then the boy is obligated after school to take the girl to Taco Bell to buy her a taco.”

According to these kids, oral sex was commonplace. According to the school leadership, “We don’t have that kind of problem here.” The disconnect between what many parents and Christian leaders believe their young people are doing, and what kids are actually doing, is vast. Sure, we don’t want to think our sons and daughters are involved in sexual activity of any kind and are being brainwashed with a distorted view of sex. But the truth is, if we are not proactive to counter what our kids are exposed to, chances are they will be captured by a destructive culture.

So What Can You Do?

It seems that it would be ideal if we could reverse the social-media explosion. But we can’t, nor should we even try. In fact, in the last 12 months, some estimate more than 200 million people were confronted with the claims of Christ on the Internet. Social media themselves are not the real culprit here. They are simply the vehicle that can bring either positive or destructive influences into the lives of our kids.

Escaping to a remote island where only committed Christians live might seem like a definitive solution. Then we could raise our kids where no secular culture could influence them. But that isn’t a realistic alternative any more than reversing the media revolution we are experiencing. So what can we do?

1. We must acknowledge the reality that kids are being negatively influenced with a distorted view of sex by the culture. We can’t live in denial of what is really happening. It is like one young mother said, “It feels as if we are trying to raise our kids in the center of Las Vegas.” So the first step to a solution is seeing the problem as it truly exists.

2. We need to counter the distorted and perverted views about sex our kids are hearing and seeing with the correct and healthy understanding of sex. Let’s say you are among those parents who have one or more children over the age of seven. And let’s say you are just now getting around to talking to them about sex. By now your kids have already got their sex education from the outside culture. And in all probability their understanding of sex is distorted and quite different than what you had hoped.

In this case, you will need to reintroduce your kids to a whole new concept of what sex is and why God created it. In many respects you will need to deconstruct the distorted concepts of sex they have adopted and represent an understanding based on God’s design. If your children are much younger you may still have time to get to them before the culture does. But you must start with them at a very young age.

Teaching kids God’s idea of sex means that we as parents and Christian leaders must first clearly understand why he created us as sexual beings in the first place. We must know the real purpose of sex, what sexual purity actually means, why there are boundaries around sex, and how a loving relationship is the cornerstone in teaching God’s view of sex. With this type of foundational understanding you will have a biblical context for introducing or reintroducing your children to what sex is all about. This will give you the biblical basis to raise your family to embrace a healthy (godly) perspective of sex. And that is what we will address in part one of this book, “Sex Is God’s Design.”

3. We must actively guide, lead, and instruct our kids in God’s perspective of sex. And to do that we offer you valuable and practical tools in part two, “Tips and Ideas for Your Conversations.” These short chapters have insights, examples, answers, and ways to deal with so many issues that you either have encountered or soon will encounter. We will discover together the wonderful opportunities to introduce or reintroduce God’s wonderful gift of sex to your kids.

As parents we (Josh and Dottie) didn’t do it perfectly. Perfect parents don’t exist. But we are grateful for the wonderful opportunity we had to impart to our children God’s plan for sex. All four of our kids are married now and have children of their own. And it is thrilling to watch them successfully passing on a biblical view of sex to their own children—our grandchildren. Be encouraged—your biblical values on love and sex can be passed on to the next generation. And we hope the pages that follow will help you in your effort to do just that.


My Opinion:

 

I forgot to add this to my calendar so I will post a review once I’ve read it.

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FIRST Tour: My First Handy Bible, Text by Cecilie Olesen and Illustrations by Gustavo Mazali


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:
Cecilie Olesen
and illustrated by:
Gustavo Mazali
and the book:
My First Handy Bible
Hendrickson Publishers (January 31, 2012)
***Special thanks to Rick Roberson for sending me a review copy.***
SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

My First Handy Bible aims to communicate God’s character and His love to the youngest of children, ages one to three. Beautifully illustrated in bright full color, My First Handy Bible has a cheerful padded hardcover with 61 child-friendly hardback pages and a handle and clasp that make it easy for small hands to tote and manipulate. The timeless stories are retold in simple sentences by author and artist Cecilie Olesen, illustrated by author and illustrator Gustavo Mazali and designed by Ben Alex, a C. S. Lewis Gold Medal winner author and designer.



Website for Book

Product Details:

List Price: $12.95

Hardcover: 61 pages

Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers (January 31, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 8772473045

ISBN-13: 978-8772473048

AND NOW…SOME SAMPLE PAGES (Click on images to enlarge):


 

My Opinion:

 

This is a cute little Bible with the most familiar stories told in child friendly formats and illustrations.  The handle is sturdy and children will enjoy carrying it with them to church or from shelf to couch.  Scripture where each story can be found is included, and the overall story is very short which makes it great for those busy bodies who just can’t sit still for very long – but enough to begin instilling God’s truths to their bodies.  This would make a great gift for a little one this Christmas season.

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