God's StoryAlright, if you know the lyrics to this old Sam Cooke song, sing along with me … “Don’t know much about (church) history. Don’t know much about (church) geography….” Many of us have likely heard this familiar pop song “What a Wonderful World” (Click here if you want a reminder)– of course I added the church part and mixed it up a bit, but you get the idea!

I have confessed here before that I am not a church history expert, but I do know a little more about geography with my Biblical travels. Honestly, a good and easy read on church history is hard to come by. As a home schooling family, we are always looking for additional resources to supplement our education at home or recommend to our youth pastors and Sunday School teachers.  So Dr. Brian Cosby’s new title, God’s Story: A Student’s Guide to Church History was a welcomed title to read and review.

Bottom Line

I highly recommend this book.  It is concise. It is very easy to read, and I believe anyone who is not familiar with church history will be well informed by reading this book.  The target audience is meant to be around 14 to 16 years old; however, I think younger teens who are well versed in the Bible and anyone older would also enjoy this book. Dr. Cosby is able to write to his audience in a manner that will speak to them and help them understand the important people and major events that shaped Christianity through the ages.  Dr. Cosby wrote another book I really enjoyed and recommended a while back Rebels Rescued.

We will be covering the time periods in history covered by this book. This book will be an great supplement for our younger kids education. Also, it is a perfect resource for a Bible study, Sunday school class, or small group for youth.  The chapters take about 10-15 minutes to read and there are great questions that would help facilitate discussion about historical events, theology, and cultural impact on Christianity.

I give God’s Story five of five stars and recommend this book for teens and adults who want a easy to read overview of church history.

Book Description

Gods story coverBrian Cosby makes the past come alive for students to explain Christian identity and to help readers avoid past mistakes. The history of the church reveals God’s story for the world – despite the sin, corruption, and twisted events in the church’s past, God has preserved this remnant, His people. Get a new understanding of His plan for the church and your life.

Series: A Students Guide
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: CF4Kids (May 20, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 178191320X
ISBN-13: 978-1781913208
Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.1 x 0.1 inches
Retail Price:  $9.99

Available for less at these retailers:



Christian Focus

 About the AuthorBrian Cosby

Brian H. Cosby is pastor of Wayside Presbyterian Church (PCA) on Signal Mountain, Tennessee, and visiting professor of church history at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta. He holds degrees from Samford University (B.A.), Beeson Divinity School (M.Div.), The North American Reformed Seminary (D.Min.), and Australian College of Theology (Ph.D.).


Notice: I received a complimentary e-book for an honest review of this title through Shaun Tabatt at  Cross-Focused Reviews and Christian Focus Publications

 photo credit: cyclops-photo via photopin cc



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By the Waters of KadeshA most anticipated sequel! I was so excited when my on-line friend Carole Towriss sent me her newest book in her Journey to Canaan series. If you have followed my reviews, you know that I loved her first book, In the Shadow of Sinai, which follows a Hebrew slave, Bazalel, into flight with the Israelites on their journey to the promised land. But that was only the beginning….

Now in this second of three books, By the Waters of Kadesh, Carole focuses on Kamose, a former Egyptian soldier who escaped with the Israelites. His story is intertwined with a young widow and mother of two and her brother-in-laws, one who is a spy with the twelve spies.  This story continues the Israelites’ journey to Canaan, after their escape from Egypt. 

Bottom Line

Carole really is a master at creating intriguing characters; she is able to get into her characters’ thoughts and emotions in a way that makes you feel like you really know them.  She has created a story around the biblical facts including  Gaddiel, a spy who is hungry for power and very jealous of Joshua.  I love the biblical basis of her story and how she stays so true to Scripture while adding other characters. Tirzah is Gaddiel’s sister-in-law; she can only see her past and her lonely future as a single mother responsible for two young children in the wilderness. Kamose, a former Egyptian soldier, must decide how he will live among people who are not his own and follow their God, Yahweh, and His plan for his life.  The struggles in this story are  believable and intriguing. 

Recently, I had my mom read both books in the series.  She told me she couldn’t put them down either and devoured them both quickly.  If you have been waiting for By the Waters of Kadesh like me, or you haven’t read either book and want an excellent read, consider starting or continuing this great series.  I give this book a five of five stars! Looking forward to number 3.

Book Description

A displaced soldier anticipates only empty tomorrows. A young widow knows nothing but yesterdays filled with abuse and neglect. A spy sees only a today he can manipulate to gain the power he craves. Will they allow Yahweh to give them what they need?
Kamose, once Egypt’s most trusted soldier, no longer has a country to serve or king to protect. Moses insists God has a plan for him, but Kamose is not so sure. Tirzah’s cruel husband died shortly after they left Egypt. She escaped his brutality, but now she’s alone, and once they reach their new land, how will she survive? Gaddiel, Tirzah’s brother-in-law, is chosen as one of the twelve spies sent to scout out Canaan. He’s supposed to go in, get information and come back, but all he really wants is to bring down Joshua.

Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: DeWard Publishing (September 16, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1936341654
ISBN-13: 978-1936341658
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
Retail Price: $14.99

Available for less at these retailers and in e-book


Barnes and Noble

Carole’s Website-Autographed paperback

About the AuthorCarole Towriss

I grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now I live with my husband just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling my four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, I read, watch chick flicks, write and wait for summertime to return to the beach.

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DON’T DELAY … Watch this exclusive trailer and see if you don’t get goosebumps!

Now THIS is a movie I will pay full price to see … perhaps more than once … then to own. Spread the word and mark your calendars, my friends, because we have a date at our local theaters!


Read more about it here …



An Up Close and Personal Journey with the World’s Most Successful Worship Band


LOS ANGELES, CA, July 1, 2014—Alcon Entertainment has acquired HILLSONG – LET

HOPE RISE for worldwide release by Warner Bros. Pictures, it was announced today by Alcon

principals Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson.


The full-length feature documentary, directed by Michael John Warren (Jay-Z’s “Fade to

Black”), chronicles the spectacular rise to prominence of the Australia-based Christian worship

band Hillsong UNITED. Matthew Weaver of MediaWeaver Entertainment and Jonathan Bock

of Grace Hill Media are producing. B. Wayne Hughes, Jr. and Greg Campbell of Cantinas

Entertainment, which is financing the feature, are executive producing. Warner Bros. Pictures

will release the film on April 3, 2015.


The movie will present the band’s remarkable journey from a youth group band at Hillsong

Church to worldwide sensation, routinely performing sold-out stadium concerts and selling more

than 16 million albums all over the world.


In a joint statement, Kosove and Johnson said, “In terms of reach, Hillsong UNITED is one

of the biggest bands out there, Christian or otherwise. But at their core, they’re just a group

of unassuming individuals impacting the world with their music. We’re thrilled to be part of

bringing their extraordinary story to the big screen.”


Led by Joel Houston, son of Hillsong Church founders Brian and Bobbie Houston, all of

Hillsong UNITED’s 11-member band are volunteers or employees of the church. Their songs are

so popular is it estimated that on any given Sunday, more than 30 million churchgoers around the

world are singing one of Hillsong’s worship songs.


“With songs like Mighty to Save, Oceans, Hosanna and From the Inside Out, anyone who

regularly attends a church knows Hillsong’s music by heart. That’s how influential they’ve

become,” Bock said. “And yet despite the fame and adulation, they’re still just a simple worship

band trying to do what tens of thousands of other worship bands try to do every week — glorify

God through their music. How they balance that is a fascinating and surprising story.”


The filmmakers will follow the band as it completes its current tour and prepares to record its

next album. The film will marry live concert footage with a narrative structure.


“It’s a little weird and a lot humbling to have a movie made about us,” Joel Houston said. “But

we didn’t say ‘yes’ to this to draw attention to ourselves. It’s our hope that by sharing an up-
close and unvarnished look inside our music and lives, we can shatter pre-conceived notions of

what it means to follow Jesus in today’s modern world.”


Hillsong Church spans 12 global locations with more than 100,000 weekly attendees, including

thriving congregations in New York and Los Angeles. In addition to its music efforts, Hillsong

sponsors worldwide ministry work – examples include feeding and educating children in the

slums of India, building housing for those living with AIDS in Africa and rescuing victims of

human trafficking around the globe – outreaches paid for in part through proceeds from Hillsong

UNITED music and merchandise sales



Co-founders and co-CEO’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson founded Alcon Entertainment in 1997

with partner Frederick W. Smith, the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FedEx. Warner

Bros. distributes Alcon’s motion pictures via the companies’ long-term output distribution agreement.


Alcon has financed and produced, and/or co-financed/produced 23 films to date, including My Dog

Skip; Insomnia, starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank and directed by Chris Nolan;

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; P.S. I Love You, starring Hilary Swank; the Academy Award

nominated Best Picture The Blind Side, which earned Sandra Bullock a Best Actress Oscar; The Book of

Eli, starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman; the hit family film Dolphin Tale, starring Morgan

Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Kris Kristofferson; Prisoners, the critically acclaimed

thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal; and Transcendence,

starring Johnny Depp. Alcon’s next release is Dolphin Tale 2, a sequel to the 2011 box-office success that

reunites the original cast. Alcon is currently in pre-production on Point Break, a reimagining of the classic

action movie, starring Edgar Ramirez.


Alcon Television Group is currently producing the drama pilot Hysteria with Shaun Cassidy and Adam

Schroeder for Amazon; a four-hour mini-series documentary for HBO about the life and times of Frank

Sinatra, directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney; and The Expanse, a ten-episode epic space

thriller for Syfy Network.



Cantinas Entertainment, LLC, founded in 2014 by Greg Campbell and B. Wayne Hughes Jr., seeks to

inspire and engage audiences disillusioned with the landscape of cynicism – and to offer a dependable

choice in entertainment. Upcoming projects include a film based on Brenda Spahn’s book “Miss Brenda

and the Loveladies,” with Donald Petrie (“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “Miss Congeniality,”) set to


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IMG_0064_2If you asked me where I see God, I might give answers similar to yours … in the sunrise and sunset, in the faces of my family, in the expanse of the ocean, the majesty of a mountain, and the work of an artist. Before our trip to Nepal, I would not have said that I see God in a Buddhist art form. Nope. Never.

That was before.

In Nepal, God revealed himself in new contexts; and it was beautiful.

As we wandered past countless gift shops in Pokhara, a lakeside city nestled in the Himalayan foothills, it’s common to encounter artists selling their thangka (tahn-kah … think Tonka trucks). Thangka is a painting on cotton, or silk applique, usually depicting a Buddhist deity or scene. That’s why we were intrigued when our friend Usha told us about Binod, a local convert to Christianity whose thangkas were different; they portrayed biblical stories of Jesus.

Usha led us to the little shop not far from our favorite breakfast spot – Mike’s Restaurant – on the lake and eight of us huddled in the tiny space. Binod was thrilled to have such a crowd to whom he could proudly show his work.

Binod grew up in a family of thangka painters in a small Bhaktapur village in Nepal. He met a Christian who shared the gospel and gave him a Bible. Binod accepted the gift, but kept it locked in a box in his thangka shop. Binod’s previous experience with “religious” men (Hindi priests) wasn’t great. Those he knew from his small village used to take money from the poor. Binod was pretty sure all he needed was hard work. Nevertheless, God created countless opportunities for Binod to see clear answers to prayer.  Specifically, God revealed himself to Binod and his wife after a flood destroyed 300 of his thangkas – 5 months worth of work – that were stored in his basement. God helped him recover his business and he began selling a lot of art. Today Binod is a faithful church attender and follower of Christ.


Photo Credit:

In a country that so obviously needs Jesus, I think all of us were eager to encourage this Nepali brother.  Let’s just say he had great sales that day!

Buddhists recognize Mahakala, a fierce and powerful, six-armed creature wearing a crown of five skulls whose name means ‘Great Black One.’ Traditional thangka depicts the full Mahakala holding the Buddhist wheel of life.

Binod’s thangka still depicts the “Great Black One” only now it is crushed beneath the mandala of Jesus’ life and only the top of Mahakala’s head and his sharp-clawed hands and feet poke out.

We were in Nepal to learn all we could about Tiny Hands International and the work they are doing in the lives of orphans, street children, and victims of sex trafficking. The enemy is at work. Where there is a wide door for effective work, there are many adversaries (1 Corinthians 16:9).

For two weeks we heard stories and saw faces that will be etched in our hearts and memories forever. That morning after breakfast, as we stepped into Binod’s thangka shop, God knew that I needed a reminder. I needed to see that He is active and alive in Nepal and his plan remains to crush Satan underneath his feet. I needed to see that He is showing himself in this country – even in unlikely places. These people are his; they have not and will not be forgotten.

That message was punctuated as we pressed our palms together, nodded, and parted from our brother-in-Christ with the traditional words shared between believers, “Jai Mashi (Victory in Christ).


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Titus 4 YouJust a few months ago, I told you about an excellent new Bible Study Series from The Good Book Company called God’s Word For You series. The Bible study in this series that I reviewed was Romans 1-7 for You by Dr. Timothy Keller.  We have to wait until Spring 2015 to finish the rest of the Romans Bible study… However, while we wait, The Good Book Company has been kind enough to serve us another book of the Bible–Titus for You.

The author of this study is widely published, Dr. Tim Chester. He breaks down Paul’s letter to Titus who was ministering to the church of Crete. Paul wanted to be sure that Titus was able to establish the church, while Paul was imprisoned and nearing the end of his ministry.  He instructs Titus on choosing elders, establishing believers in the faith, and making sure the family household and church are in a godly order.  As you may remember, I was a big fan of the previous book in this series, and I was looking forward to see if the book’s format that worked so well for Keller would also be as rich and meaningful with Chester and a different book of the Bible.

Bottom Line

Titus is so rich with Biblical truths that are timelessly relevant. I was not completely surprised that this book would be every bit as good!  This format is engaging.  The questions at the end of each chapter are rich for personal reflection or an engaging group discussion.

Chester gives a fresh look at the book of Titus. His new insights inform and inspire his reader to stretch his or her faith. He is an engaging writer and teacher; I believe readers will be encouraged to dig deeper into the Scriptures with Chester’s insightful presentation.

I would be hard pressed to find anything not to like about this study or for that matter this series. I hope you consider giving this or one of the books in this series a try for your individual or group Bible study.  I think you will be glad that you  did!  This is a five of five star rating for another excellent study in the series.

Book DescriptionTitus Cover

Join Tim Chester for the latest in the groundbreaking, bestselling God’s Word For You book. Titus For You will help you get to grips with this short, powerful letter, showing how it transforms our hearts and lives today. Tim Chester’s renowned gifts for making the complex clear, the truth applied and the gospel shine brightly mean this book will take you to the pages of the Bible to engage your mind and stir your heart.

The “God’s Word For You” Series Written for people of every age and stage, from new believers to pastors and teachers, this flexible resource is for you to:

READ: As a guide to this wonderful letter, exciting and equipping you to live out the truth in your life.

FEED: As a daily devotional to help you grow in Christ as you read and meditate on this portion of God s word.

LEAD: As notes to aid you in explaining, illustrating and applying Titus as you preach or lead a Bible study.

Whoever you are, and however you use it, this is… God’s Word For You

Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: The Good Book Company (June 24, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1909919616
ISBN-13: 978-1909919617
Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
Retail Price: $19.99

Available for less at these Retailers:


Christian Book Distributors

The Good Book Company – Discounts on multiple copies


Tim ChesterAbout the Author

Dr Tim Chester is part of The Crowded House, a church planting initiative in Sheffield, UK. He is Director of The Porterbrook Institute. He was previously Research & Policy Director for Tearfund UK, and has been published widely on prayer, mission, social issues and theology. He is married to Helen and has two daughters.

Notice: I received a complimentary e-book for an honest review of this title through Shaun Tabatt at  Cross-Focused Reviews and The Good Book Company

Butterfly / Caterpillar photo credit: EJP Photo via photopin

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