Thursday, April 1, 2010

Children's Bible Hour Stories, Now in a Book!

Many of you may already be familiar with Children’s Bible Hour (CBH); a delightful radio broadcast in which the inviting voice of “Uncle Charlie” reads Bible based stories to kids. We have an old set of CBH  cassette tapes (guess that is redundant: tapes=old) that my  son, in particular, has worn out over the years. 
CBH now brings four of those stories to life with their “Seasons of Faith” book series. I was recently sent a set for review. Each beautifully illustrated, soft cover book tells the story of one aspect of life that we will all experience as Believers. Much like a parable helps to give a concrete idea of a spiritual concept, these stories help kids grasp what walking through life’s challenges-- with Christ-- looks like.
Spring is the time when new faith prods growth and a desire to share this wonderful faith with others. 
Race with Midnight: Becky is off to spend spring break in Montana at her cousin Sarah's ranch. She's looking forward to learning how to ride a horse and doing lots of horseback riding. She is also praying that she will have the opportunity to share the gospel with her unsaved family members. Will Becky have the opportunity to share the gospel with Sarah and her family? Will they listen? 

Summer is a time of maturing as we learn how to apply God’s truths to our lives and see his care in developing Fruits of the Spirit.

You Can't Come In: Zack and Adam are new best buds who decide to build a fort together. During the process, Zack ends up getting completely muddy. This leads to some interesting conversations between Zack and Adam as well as Zack's parents later on in the evening. Will Adam be able to share the gospel message with Zack? Will Zack understand what Adam is telling him? 

Autumn is a time when we will experience struggle and setbacks in our walk. Our faith is challenged and transitions stretch us, yet through it all we will see God’s faithfulness.

 Seventy Times Seven: Brad and Doug a good friends, but Brad is upset about a few things Doug as done to him. One day, while the boys are playing baseball, Brad accidentally hits a ball through Mr. Jeffries' ice cream shop window. Mr. Jeffries forgives Brad. Can Brad do the same and forgive Doug? 

Winter can bring times of seemingly dormant faith when troubles overwhelm and test us. It is a time to learn to trust, regardless of the circumstance, and learn of God’s comfort and peace. 

Braving the Storm: Things have been pretty tough for Thomas and his family lately. Thomas is feeling pretty down, so his Grandpa tries to help him get through the tough times by depending on God. Will Thomas learn the lesson his Grandpa is trying to teach him? 

Each of these stories come with a CD of Uncle Charlie reading the story from the original radio broadcast. Your younger ones will delight in following along with the book, whilst waiting on that endearing turn-the-page “chime” we 40-somethings can recall hearing in books on...records?...8-tracks? It is sure to make parents wax nostalgic!
Your older kids will be able to handle the reading themselves, although everyone would probably enjoy listening to Uncle Charlie while riding in the car. These stories are not subtle in their presentation of gospel concepts. Ideas such as being too muddy to come in the house, are obviously paralleled to the state of sin keeping us out of heaven, for example. At the back of each book there is also an explanation of How to Become a Christian. This could prove to be eternally valuable for unsaved care-givers that may read the story to the children. It could also be a tool for your child to witness and lead others to Christ! 
The old fashioned charm of these books is matched by an affordable price. Each book with CD is just $10, and now through April 15th, 2010, you can get free standard shipping when you buy the set! (Use code: FREESHIPAPR15) Personally, I think all four books should stay together, helping kids to comprehend the long term seasons of the Christian journey. Click here to order yours today!

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.