Product Review: Self-Guided Tour of the Bible

When we desire to have a closer relationship with God, the best way to do so is through the practice of spiritual disciplines.  The practice of spiritual disciplines helps us grow in the knowledge of God, his teachings, and how to live life, pleasing in His sight.  It is through studying God’s Word that we receive instructions in righteousness that allows us to be transformed by the renewing of minds. (2 Timothy 3:16; Romans 12:2)  There is a multitude of resources and tools available to assist us with the understanding of the Scriptures.  Sorting through the numerous resources and tools to obtain the basic knowledge of Bible can be a daunting task and disheartening to some who are new to Bible Study.

Christopher D. Hudson has written a plain, user-friendly companion resource book entitled, “Self-Guided Tour of the Bible.” This book is designed to be used with the Bible.  As the name implies, it allows one to study at his/her own pace. It is written using real-world scenarios and modern day examples to illustrate different concepts in the Bible.  It features maps, timelines, overviews, and charts all full-colored and reproducible for classrooms or small group studies.  There are 242 pages. Hudson cleverly uses a museum analogy to feature and highlight the various components of this companion guide.  Each chapter acts as an “Exhibit Hall.” Each “Exhibit Hall” provides a description of content featured.

This book serves well as a quick reference guide with multiple maps, charts, overviews, and timelines at your fingertips.  It would be great for new theologians beginning the journey of discovery of God’s Word. It is ideal for teaching biblical foundation training and teaching in a small group setting and for individual study.  I would definitely recommend this as a resource that should be a part of your arsenal.

Five Keys to Dealing with Depression

Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D., author of “Five Keys to Dealing with Depression,” creates a framework for the reader to identify the key indicators of depression in laymen’s terms.   He also provides a list along with an explanation of how certain medical and health conditions can make one susceptible to depression or depression-like symptoms.  Jantz employs a “whole person” approach recovery methodology. This approach consist of five aspects: intellectual, emotional, relational, spiritual, and physical.  As each aspect of the “whole person” approach is explored, the contrast between balance and unbalance is emphasized.

Throughout this publication, there are sidebars that contain Bible passages with an insert of reassurance of God’s love and promises.  Some of these sidebars are used to remind the reader of God’s commandments regarding our conduct as Christians.  Scenario based examples are utilized to illuminate patterns, behaviors, frequency, and severity.  Jantz suggests a variety of activities to counteract the imbalances.  He does not suggest that medication is not an option, but remarks that studies reveal the healing process improves significantly when therapy is accompanied with medication.

I believe the book serves well from a self-awareness perspective.  I was disappointed that the sidebars were not expounded upon more.  This book is primarily focused on depression and its symptoms with common suggestions to counteract negative behavior.  It is not a book on how to deal with depression from a scriptural viewpoint. Any spiritual content utilized is more of a sidebar or afterthought.  I believe I would appreciate the book more if there was a marriage of godly principles and common counteractive methods interwoven throughout the book.

This book is ideal for those who may show signs of depression and is useful in identifying key indicators of depression.  Because it offers helpful insight it could be used as a resource for supporting those exhibiting behavioral patterns of depression.

Product Review: Finding Hope in Jesus – Comfort for Loss

In life, we all experience levels of successes and failures, gains and losses. It is easy to bask in the afterglow of our successes and celebrate triumphantly.  However, failures and losses are challenging to endure.  “Finding Hope in Jesus – Comfort for the Loss” is a Rose Publishing publication that addresses the heart of loss from a biblical perspective. 

This pamphlet addresses the five stages of grief, myths about grief, and finding the meaning in loss.  Psalm 34:19 (KJV) states, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”  Christians are not exempt from loss.  In fact, Psalm 34:19 indicates that we are subject to several of them.  However, we have the comfort in knowing that God will deliver us out of them all. 

We experience loss in various ways from the tangible to the intangible.  Regardless of the type of loss, the stages of grief are the same.  In the Bible, there is a numerous accounts of loss experienced by people of God.  When we examine the Scriptures, we can identify with the feelings of hopelessness and stages of grief through their responses.  In the pamphlet, the lives of David, Job, Jeremiah, and Jesus are used to illustrate their times of loss. 

We have a tendency to question God and His sovereignty during our times of grief.  Why? Why do we have to experience the hardship?  Why did my love one have to die? Why God did you allow this to happen?  The reasons for our adversity may vary; however, there is comfort in the Scriptures that remind us that we do not fight for victory but from victory.  

I would encourage all to add this pamphlet to your collection.  During our times of loss, this pamphlet would be an encouragement.  It can be used as an aid to help encourage someone else who is experience different stages of grief.  It would definitely a valuable tool for a Bible Study, Small Group, or Sunday School lesson.

Product Review: God in Real Life

Rose Publishing’s book entitled, “God in Real Life,” is a compilation of previously published pamphlets by Rose Publishing focusing on a teen audience.  The book in its entirety is a 130 pages in length with a 125 pages of actual content. A Study Guide is included. The questions are designed to promote an in depth discussion while fortifying essential doctrine relating to the aforementioned topics. The Study Guide starts from pages 112 to page 127.  This book is designed to act as a six week guide addressing topics such as:

Tough Questions about Christianity

This segment explores the questions that most adolescence begin to have after encountering scientific facts, people who practice different belief systems, and the behavior of proclaimed Christians.  This section asks the questions then examines the assumptions, challenges, and encourages teens to reflect.

Worldwide Views and Religions

This unit surveys the various belief systems and their differing viewpoints regarding the nature of God and humanity.  It explains the significance of the worldwide views and how these views can shape a person’s character and behavior. 

Who is Jesus and Why does He Matter

This section provides a comprehensible clarification and description about Jesus as the second person of the Godhead, as a man, and as our Savior. It further explains Jesus’ mission was not about religion by relationship.

Knowing God’s Will for Your Life

This component provides guidelines for learning what God’s will. While there is no easy answers to respond to the question, Rose Publishing provides four points of power to assist in identifying God’s will. Additionally, it reminds the reader of God’s promises, desires, and faithfulness.

 Answers to Evolution

This chapter of the book highlights the scientific theories that challenges the Scriptures relating to creation.  It provides compelling arguments refuting scientific claims and actual statements made by world renowned scientist.  It offers additional resources for further inquiry.

This book also includes chapters regarding sex and the occult.  I believe this is a great resource to utilize for small group, Sunday School, or Bible Study with the teens or new Believers without any previous Christian experience. The Study Guide is a bonus benefit allowing for an assessment of what the student learned and what subject matter may require further discussion.  The layout of the book is intended to be aesthetically appealing to the teens; however, some of the font utilized makes it difficult to read.   Despite the problematic fonts, I would recommend this to teachers and leaders.

Product Review: Christ in the Passover

The pamphlet entitled, “Christ in the Passover,” issued by Rose Publishing provides the Old Testament account of the Israelites enslavement in Egypt.  God heard their cries for mercy and responded through Moses.  Moses sought the freedom of the Israelites and demanding their freedom from Pharaoh.  Pharaoh being stubborn refused choosing to continue to increase the mistreatment of the Israelites.  God punished Egypt with ten plagues due to Pharaoh’s harden heart.

During the last plague, God provided His people with a means to escape the destruction – the blood of a perfect lamb in exchange for the first born of the family.  Not only does this pamphlet provides the origins of Passover within the Old Testament but the Passover celebration, Passover symbolism with the anticipation of Jesus’ works, the Passover celebration significance in modern day, and a comparison between Jesus and the Passover lamb.  

The Passover celebration is explained in depth and provides a modified version of the celebration for Christians.  Traditional recipes used in the Passover celebration are included.  I believe this pamphlet provides a fundamental understanding of the Passover.  It would be great for Bible Study, small group, or Sunday School. I would like to try the recipes and share it with my Sunday School class as we discuss the importance of celebrating the Passover.

Product Review: Evidence for the Resurrection

Rose Publishing has distributed a pamphlet entitled, “Evidence for the Resurrection.”  It is a 14 page pamphlet (with 12 pages of actual content) that responds to seven objections and addresses four theories raised by skeptics.  Skeptics question the deity of Jesus Christ and produce arguments that the accounts of Jesus Christ is that of a mythological figure or a mortal man and His ministry is folklore.  

This publication denotes prominent Scriptures to illustrate biblical truths relating to Jesus’ resurrection.  However, it also identifies archaeology and historical discoveries that supports the reliability of the Bible.  Although I appreciate the attempt, I believe that there needs to be more information provided from the archaeology and historical points that coincide with the Scriptures.  If this document acts as an apologetic writing then there needs to be more balance. Typically, skeptics will reject biblical truths because the Bible is the source.  

I believe those that have questions relating to the resurrection but believe that Jesus is God would find the information compelling read. Also, I believe that Christians who are actively evangelizing would benefit from the information in this publication.  It would also be a conversation opening for small groups, Bible Study, or Sunday school. 

Product Review: Samson

The newly release pamphlet entitled, “Life of Samson” published by Rose Publishing is a “must-have.” As the title suggest, this pamphlet provides an account of Samson’s life. It provides a vivid image of how God operates in the darkest of times, shows God’s love for His people, and illustrates God’s mercy and redeeming power.

Throughout the Book of Judges, there is a cyclical pattern of behavior that Israel demonstrates. From their disobedience to oppression followed by their cries for mercy, God provides a liberator that delivers Israel bring the nation to peaceful state. The peaceful states is short-lived and the cycle begins again. The pattern is broken in Chapter 13 because Israel has resolved to their state of oppression and are hopeless. God intervenes and shows compassion by consecrating Samson from the womb to be Israel’s liberator from the Philistines.

This account of Samson’s life allows us to see how God is able to use us despite our shortcomings. In this story, God’s grace, forgiveness, and empathy are evident. God used Samson’s weaknesses and selfish acts to His benefit. This story provides a perfect example of how God can use “perfectly imperfect” people to fulfill a divine purpose. God not only uses our talents, gifts, and strengths. God utilizes our weaknesses, and our limitations.

I believe that you will be inspired and enlighten. This is an incredible resource for personal, Sunday School, or Bible Study.

Product Review: What the Bible Says About Fasting?

The purpose of practicing spiritual disciplines is to increase the development of our inner being as Christians. When we employ the practice of spiritual disciplines we are engaging in training to produce spiritual patterns of behavior. It allows us to draw closer to God, rely on His provision, and seek His guidance. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that requires abstaining something essential in our daily lives for spiritual purpose.

This pamphlet highlights the four spiritual benefits for fasting. Fasting facilitates deeper intimacy with God. (Matthew 5:6, Hebrews 11:6) Fasting reveals our weaknesses resulting in more reliance on God. (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:19) Fasting is another form of worship. (Acts 13:2) Fasting is another method we can employ to ask God to move more powerfully in our lives. (Ezra 8:23) It emphasizes the importance of prayer, proper attitude, and behaviors to avoid while fasting.

This publication also explores four different types of fasting. Three of these types involve sustaining from food including the Daniel Fast, total no food or drink fast, or simply no food. The fourth fast is non-food fast explained as withdrawing from other things or activities. There are additional biblical fasting methods that are not mentioned in this publication. For example, marital sex (1 Corinthians 7:1-5) and refraining from sleep (2 Corinthians 11:27).

Overall, I believe that this pamphlet provides a comprehensible outline of fasting and the proper way to do it. I would recommend this pamphlet for small group, Sunday School, or personal study.

Product Review: What’s So Great about Heaven?

Rose Publishing has produced a pamphlet entitled, “What’s So Great About Heaven?” This pamphlet answers some of the most frequently asked questions about heaven, the afterlife, and clarifies erroneous ideologies relating to heaven.

 

Our knowledge of heaven is provided through only one true source which is the Bible. Our ability to understand heaven, it ambience or atmosphere, culture, and sociology is what we are able to identify within the Scriptures. There are limitations in our ability to understand heaven in part because all is not revealed to us in the Scriptures about heaven. We are also limited in our understanding of eternal concepts. However, publication provides a comprehensible synopsis of what is found in the Bible and provides a snapshot of what we can expect in heaven.

 

The pamphlet is well-written. It is not an exhausted source on heaven, but covers the important biblical truths about heaven. There are “myth busters” that the pamphlet addresses. For example, the belief that all people go to heaven. True salvation is key to eternal life. It addresses the ideology of heaven being the “ultimate great escape.” There are many who practice religion to escape the possibility of going to hell. However, if they never cultivate a true relationship with God their habitual rituals will not save them.

 

I would recommend this for Sunday School, Bible Studies, or small group discussions.

Product Review: The Easter Story

The greatest love story to me is the recount of how Jesus paid the ultimate price and sacrificing His life for all. “The Easter Story” provides a well-written account exploring the week leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection.   “The Easter Story” provides the well-known events such as the Last Supper, Jesus predictions of Peter’s denial and the disciples’ weakness, and Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

What I would love to see added to “The Easter Story” are the miracles associated with both the death and resurrection of Christ. For example, when Jesus died darkness covered the land, the veil in the temple was torn in two, and the earth shook and the rocks were split. Upon the resurrection of Christ the tombs of the sleep Saints were opened and those Saints were resurrected as well. Often the accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrections fail to highlight the additional miracles that are associate with God’s great love. These additional miracles are significant yet often go unmentioned.

With the exception of not exploring the additional miracles, “The Easter Story” provides a beautiful overview of the greatest love story ever told. This pamphlet can be used in multiple ways. It is great to read for individuals before partaking in a Communion service, New Believers classes, and Sunday School teachings.