Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NIV Once-A-Day Bible for Leaders

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible for Leaders (Zondervan)

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible for Leaders (Zondervan) is just the thing for those wanting a daily Scripture reading plan made easy and with an added plus: an inspirational thought on leadership from a key leader.

The 365 daily reading sections taken from the NIV are conducive for reading the entire Bible in one year, or to go at a faster or slower pace. The sections are conveniently numbered (1-365) rather than dated so that the reader can stretch out or speed up the reading pace of those 365 readings as they so choose. You can read the entire Bible in a year, less than a year or over several years—as suits your lifestyle.

Similar to other daily reading Bibles, each of the 365 sections provides selections from the Old Testament and the New Testament as well as portions from the Psalms and Proverbs. But what sets the NIV Once-A-Day Bible for Leaders apart are the insightful leadership blurbs shared from renowned influencers such as: Bill Hybels, Blaise Pascal, Ann Voskamp, Chuck Swindoll, J. Oswald Sanders, David Platt, Teddy Roosevelt, Matthew Henry, Madam Guyon… (Ah, the list alone is inspiring.)

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible for Leaders comes in an attractive glossy-and-matt-mix soft cover. An index at the back provides short descriptions of what can be found under each of the 365 reading sections. An alphabetically ordered index providing a brief bio on each author included in the leadership sections is also placed towards the end of the book. This section also gives the page numbers where each leader’s portion can be found making it easy to just look up the sections of a preferred author.

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible for Leaders makes a great Bible for leaders or potential leaders. Think: stocking stuffer.

This article will also appear in Assist News Service.

Janey DeMeo M.A.

Copyright © September 2014


Friday, September 19, 2014

Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past, a ballad novella

Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past (Abingdon) is a cozy ballad novella by New York Times best selling author, Sharyn McCrumb. In typical McCrumb style, the reader enters a quaint world in the Tennessee mountains where characters are quirky, endearing and believable.

Two stories that run side by side within this novella and the only relationship between them would seem to be the intrinsic mountain feel. But neither thread highlights biblical faith, as one would have expected given that Abingdon fiction’s motto is “a novel approach to faith.” On the contrary, part of the story, although charming, emphasizes connecting with spirits (or ghosts)—something the Bible clearly prohibits.

Nora Bonesteel is familiar with the mountains of Tennessee where she has lived all her life. She is also familiar with the spirit world and seems to possess an uncanny gift: an ability to connect with the dead. Nora’s gift provides useful in solving a disturbing mystery for the new owners of the beautiful home previously owned by a wonderful family, the Honeycutts. These new owners seem to have stirred up something unseen within the walls of this old home.

Read my full review of this novella in Assist News

Janey DeMeo M.A.

Copyright © September 2014


Monday, September 08, 2014

A Long Way Off, the Prodigal Son in today's setting

The story of the Prodigal Son never gets old. But it is easy to miss the full impact of this parable because it is set in New Testament times within the context of the Jewish culture. A Long Way Off brings the story into a contemporary setting that makes it more relatable.

Much to the disappointment of his father (John Diehl)—and much to the disgust of his older brother, Seth (Dave Blamy)—handsome college grad Jake Abraham (Jason Burkey) does not want to continue working in the family’s agricultural farm. He has other ambitions and they do not include agricultural business at any level. So, he asks for his inheritance in order to set off and begin a new life.

But Jake flaunts his finances, makes unwise investments and yields to a lifestyle of foolish partying. It doesn’t take long before this “new life” does not look so good and Jake finds his life in danger. He is trapped.

As in the biblical Prodigal Son, Jake returns home humbled and repentant – and is received with arms open wide by his father. The older brother, meanwhile, is not so keen to see him. But, as good stories go, the brother comes around. (Although in the biblical account, there is no suggestion that the brother comes around. Still one can hope.)

A few other special characters are part of Jake’s life and were instrumental in his turnaround including a homeless man (Rusty Martin, Sr.) and a barista called Summer (Zoe Myers). Summer serves to add a touch of romance to the story too.

You can download study notes, sermon guide and other interesting info to complement the movie here: http://alongwayoffthemovie.com.

A Long Way Off makes a wonderful addition to a DVD library for those who enjoy wholesome entertainment with a meaningful message. Or, think “stocking stuffer.” It’s not too early to begin.

This story will also appear in Assist News Service.

Janey DeMeo M.A.

Copyright © September 2014