Category Archives: Reviews

Review: ICR’s New Creation Video Series

Homeschooling? Part of a church? Know some young people? You won’t want to miss this!

icr-home2A few weeks ago I saw ICR’s invitation to preview a brand new series explaining creation for everyday people. I expected a nice, high quality video page (to see what I mean, check out That’s a Fact). They do indeed have one on the new site, but it was just the beginning.

Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis

is the title of the series. It’s designed to present to groups over 12 half hour (or less) sessions. Here’s the heart of what ICR is seeking:

Click to read more at your Origins Matter

“…to reach beyond our faithful constituency to the millions in evangelical churches who are unaware of the full extent of information revealed in the early chapters of Genesis. One of our goals is to guide the millennials to God’s Word and equip them with truth.”

You’ll enjoy reading the rest of the article, especially the behind the scenes photos along side.

Things really get exciting when you find out how they’re getting the word out. If you are a homeschooler or pastor, they’ll send you the first episode free. I signed up to check things out, plugged in my address, and a few days later a package with the DVD showed up in the mail.

Right after lunch today I sat down with my kids to see what the show was like. The whole thing took just under 22 minutes. Here are our thoughts:

5 year old, “It was silly.”

I spotted at least four points that made us laugh.

7 year old, “That was so cool!”ICR-DNA

The footage and graphics are not just professional, they are stunning. I particularly enjoyed the fastforward overview of Creation Week.

8 year old, “I loved what he had to say about it. Especially how he showed the missing links in the hay.”

The host was great: warm, positive, with a great sense of timing.

10 year old, “I like the car. The car was so funny. I love all the creation pictures.”Junkyard

My favorite bit was at the junkyard, too, but I’ll leave that and the “missing links” for you to discover yourself.  🙂

ICR has set up a website just for this series. The 12 part set will be available for purchase in May, 2014. You can go straight there to find out more, but….

It would be great if you’d comment below so I can add you to my referral list. As soon as I have three names/email addresses to send in I qualify for a 50% discount to purchase the whole series for myself. You’ll get notified nearly as fast anyway! Technically, you’re supposed to be homeschooling, too, but I don’t think ICR will mind if you’re a pastor since they have a whole section for them. 😀

Now present yourselves, that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did for you and for your fathers. I Samuel 12:7
Amplified Bible

PS, I’m saving ICR a little money by passing on my DVD to my pastor. I have the feeling it’ll be just what he’s looking for.

Astronomy Book Review: The Work of His Hands

 

by Colonel Jeffrey N. Williams published by Concordia Publishing House

Click to see the publisher’s page

My dad is really hard to shop for. It’s not that he “has everything”, but he does have everything he wants. In fact, what he really wants can’t be bought, especially grandchildren!

So, last Fall, when Grandpa asked me what I thought would make a good present, I felt for him. But, this time I had the answer. Dad loves astronomy and Jesus. I’d just heard about this book and thought of buying it for him myself. How much more special coming from his father!

Sure enough, Dad loved his present. He’s even let me borrow it for a while so I could read it and tell you about it.

Have you ever wanted to be an astronaut? Ever imagined being strapped into a rocket shooting towards outer space? What would it be like floating around in a spacecraft and having to strap everything down to keep it from drifting away?

What  about being stuck in the International Space Station (ISS) for months on end?

Colonel Williams does an amazing job letting us know what it feels like being an astronaut. He doesn’t cover the years of training much, but from the weeks leading up to the launch he gives us an insider view of the emotions they go through. The text is easy to read and more about the relationships and thoughts he experienced than the “techie” stuff he was doing.

Of course, the highlight of the book is its photographs. The book is a smaller sized coffee table book with glossy pages and a hardbound cover displaying them to full advantage. Things are divided into subjects so you can look at amazing cloud formations one time and city-scapes another. Whole sections are just pictures with just enough captioning to know what you’re looking at and where.

Most of the photos were taken by Col. Williams himself. There aren’t any pictures of the stars or nebula in here, Col. Williams kept his focus on our home, the “spacecraft” Earth. If you’ve ever had a window seat on an airplane, you already know how fascinating earth can be from up above. It’s only better from the ISS!

Colonel Williams is bold in his confidence in God as Creator. Except when he’s describing the events of his mission to the ISS in 2006, his focus is always on God. He pulls in Scripture often and is unapologetic about his acceptance of the Bible’s testimony.

Marcos Pontes, Brazil, Col. Williams, Pavel Vinogradov, Russia

He also gives us a great example of what it looks like to see all people as God’s creatures. The multi-cultural nature of the International Space program is brought out with no hint of superiority. There’s plenty of pride in who he is and acknowledgment of comfort in the familiar. At the same time there is acceptance of the unique dignity other cultures have. We see this in both the text and the fascinating pictures of farming and other elements across the globe.

Everything about the book is top quality. The reading level is within reach for a sixth grader and the concepts even younger than that. I will probably add this to my Summer reading time with my kids as it fits into science, geography, meteorology, and culture so beautifully.

For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18 

Is Your Family Watching the Cosmos Series?

My family doesn’t have time to watch anything on Sundays, so we aren’t keeping up with this program, but that doesn’t mean you all aren’t!

In fact, if you have kids 12+, I recommend watching shows like this. Eventually, one way or another, your kids are going to hear the kinds of ideas presented in the series. The last thing you want to do is leave them ignorant until they’re out on their own, never having thought through the worldview, logic, and assumptions presented as facts by the world.

If you sit down with your kids and examine things like this carefully, they will develop the spiritual muscles they need to discern the difference between fact and fiction. But, this doesn’t mean you have to get a degree in science to help your kids. Others have already, and they love to share with us!

Since I can’t tell you what I think, I’ve looked around for those who have already put up reviews. There aren’t too many yet, but here’s what I’ve found:

Answers in Genesis has a lengthy article just on Episode 1

Creation Evolution Headlines has one that’s not so long. As usual, the editor’s thoughts are in green toward the end.

Then the other day I listened to a podcast on Challenging Cosmos (it doesn’t matter if your kids are in a school system instead). Starting just after the 12 minute mark, the host talks with Jay Ryan of Classical Astronomy, about the first episode of Cosmos. Ryan likes to ramble, so the show is almost an hour long, but you’ll learn a lot if you have the time! You’ll also see not all creationists walk in lock step. In fact, I don’t know too many who do. It’s a science community after all. 😀

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16 

Book Review: The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith

by Mike Berenstain, published by Zonderkidz

Every once in a while, I’ll run into a book to check out on a general Christian review list. This one looked extra interesting because it’s a kids’ book and the preview mentioned science. So, I asked my 5 year old if he’d like to read it with me and we ordered it. Here’s what I think:

The book is a great way to get kids thinking about why they believe in God while others around them don’t. I was especially pleased that they recognized many non-believers use science to say there is no God.

First, we are introduced to many of the bear cubs’ friends, leading us to a special friend, Ferdy. His dad runs the science museum and they’ve learned all kinds of cool things from him, but then they find he doesn’t give God the credit for the things they see:

“I don’t believe that God created the world,” said Ferdy. “In fact, I don’t believe in God, at all.”

“You don’t believe in God?” asked Brother, surprised.

“No,” said Ferdy, “I believe in science–in things you can see and test and prove.”

Well done! Mike caught a big part of the issue we face. For this alone I‘m glad to have the book around.

Naturally, the bear cubs don’t know what to say to their friend, and soon Mama Bear finds out what’s bugging them. She explains we believe in God because of the Bible and choose to have faith. We also experience God for ourselves in our hearts. Again, kudos to the author!

From this point on I got more annoyed at the book. Unfortunately, I bet it’s all too realistic. When the cubs want to know what faith means, both Mama and Papa pass the buck. At least they know where to take the cubs: the pastor.

The pastor does something wise and gives them a Bible example, telling them the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. That’s fine, the author of Hebrews does the same thing.

But the book gets to the thought: faith = trust and stops.

In fact, Sister’s practical use of her new understanding of faith is rather scary. The family walks home in a thunderstorm and she decides not to be scared.

What was Mama thinking taking her family for a stroll with lightning around?

Plus, neither Sister or Brother do any actual talking to God to strengthen their faith. Prayer wasn’t once mentioned.

So, if you can fit this book in your budget (it retails for $3.99) or run across it somewhere, get it. Your kids will have their appetite whetted to think about this super important question. Then, take the time as their mom and dad to develop answers to questions like theirs.

If you’re a pastor, please give your flock more substance than just saying Daniel had faith and trusted in God’s love!

So, how do we teach our kids about faith?

Looks like I could (and should) write a whole post on this, but here are some resources to get you started:

A great article for parents by Eric Hovind starting with his experience growing up in a Christian home and guiding parents in what to focus on with the next generation.

Answers in Genesis has a set of books for students and leaders. I found the list of topics on the Student Workbook helpful to know where to start.

Apologetics Press has a bunch of articles on Faith and Reason

Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8b

Disclosure: I received a free review copy of The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith from the publisher in exchange for my review. All thoughts are my own.

Book Review: Questions God Asks

by Israel Wayne, published by New Leaf PressCS4K-Questions

Have you ever wondered why the God Who Knows Everything asks people so many questions? Or, maybe, like me, you never stopped to think about this much at all. You will be amazed by the wealth of wisdom we can learn from slowing down and thinking through what God is really doing.

A few weeks back, I saw this title come up for blog reviewers and for once wished my own blog had a wider subject because it looked so interesting. Then, through the miracle of social media communication, I was able to ask Israel Wayne himself if there was enough in his book for me to be able to share about it here. He assured me there was plenty- and he was right.

First of all, the book is an easy read. The ideas are big, the vocabulary and style aren’t. So, you could hand this book to your older kids (about 10 or so) without trouble [Warning: there is a bare bones description of the Assyrians’ cruelty in the Jonah chapter]. Better yet, you could use it for family study time with the everyone.

Then there are the subjects covered. Do you know the first time God asked a person a question? Yes, indeed, it was when He asked Adam where he was. Why did He ask Adam that? So Adam would have a chance to ‘fess up and face what he’d done and the consequences. Most importantly, God wanted Adam to turn to Him for help rather than trying to fix things himself. All of Adam’s children have needed to face these issues for themselves, including each of us. It’s the starting point for our relationship with our Creator and Savior.

Actually, Wayne doesn’t even start his book with Genesis, so this is the 2nd question he covers. The first chapter of his book opens with this bedrock question:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” Job 38:4

How many people get their whole way Processed with MaxIm DLof looking at the world wrong because they think they should be the ones asking the questions and making God prove Himself?

The whole book is this practical for helping us to think God’s thoughts after Him.

Each chapter is like listening to a well-done mini sermon, or even a workshop on how to live the Christian life. From one of the many personal examples Israel Wayne presents, this isn’t surprising since he’s been speaking at conference workshops since he was a young man.

Oh, yes, there was one chapter I’d never seen in the light Wayne shines on it. Do you remember God asking, “why did Sarah laugh?” when announcing Isaac was coming? I’d always imagined it was God’s way of talking to Sarah when she’s behind the tent door. I’d never thought of God actually addressing Abraham (and through him, husbands) with that question.

Origins science is directly covered in the book as well. It’s even part of the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon so you can check it out right away (starting with page 10).

Is any thing too hard for the LORD? Genesis 18:14

Find more reviews at New Leaf Publishing Group’s blog post: Questions God Asks

Disclaimer: I received a free electronic version of Questions God Asks from the publisher in return for this review. The thoughts are my own; no one made me write nice things about it.

And, congrats to Israel Wayne and his wife. They had their 8th child a few days before my own daughter was born!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryJvlcqHnm0

Kids’ Book Review: Exploring Geology with Mr Hibb

by Michael J. Oard, Tara Wolfe, and illustrated by Chris Turbuck

Huzzah, a serious Creationist kids’ book to review!

Click to go to CMI’s product page

Just after the New Year, we had a small order to get from CBD. To qualify for the free shipping deal, we had to purchase a bit more. I’d been wanting to get a copy of this book for a while and, sure enough, they had it! Thank you, Lord. 😀

The book is a nice sized hardcover with fun illustrations decorating it. Even better, every page inside has similar drawings to hold your interest as well.

I was a little worried when reading the vocabulary in the preface that the whole thing would go over kids’ heads. That didn’t end up being a problem at all. The writing does have a tendency to slip into school textbook style, except when the authors remembered it was supposed to be about Mr. Hibb, but it’s always a quality textbook!

I’ve been rather hogging the book for myself until writing this, but have no doubt my 10 year old can handle this on her own. An 8 year old who likes geology and can read well is going to have no problem either. The best part is all the pictures. They match what’s being talked about in the text and are really well done. Even my 3 year old wants me to snuggle with him and look at Mr. Hibb and his crazy adventures!CS4K-Mr-Hibb-Interior

.OK, I took a break to do just that. My 3 year old sat for over 15 minutes as I ad-libbed what the illustrations showed. Now, my 10 year old is hogging the book: “whoever made this did a really good job.” And my take, “the illustrator is genius.”

Besides the illustrations, the best feature of this book is the Hands On Activities. A dozen times throughout, there are simple things for kids to do picturing what they’re learning or even recreating a process. Since I like to keep my hands clean, I just read about them, but next Summer I’ll hand the book to the kids to do them for themselves!

There’s a fair amount of worldview thrown into the book. It’s not designed for teens and adults, rather more than less presuming the Bible is completely trustworthy. But, there are whole books written about those topics for later.

The main points of the book are:

  • Introduction to rocks with later descriptions of metamorphic and sedimentary rocks
  • The World-Wide Flood:
      • a. Noah’s ark
      • b. The power of rushing water
      • c. Sedimentation processes
      • 1. Making sense of fossil formation (some of the best i‘ve seen on dinosaurs, their tracks, and eggs)
      • d. Late flood runoff processes
      • The Ice Age

That last section is particularly well done since Michael Oard is the author. He’s spent vast quantities of time studying the Ice Age and written other books on it. His viewpoint comes through quite strongly and this book makes a great case for him.

The one area I wish they’d been more careful to address is the Geologic Column. Without it, Evolutionists don’t have a leg to stand on. So, you’ll have to supplement there, but it’s not too hard. 🙂

Altogether, I’m putting this at the top of my “suggested resources” list. Geology is the strongest area the Evolutionist and Uniformitarian has. Even Bible believers who understand the problems with Evolution are often deceived by the case geologists make for slow, gradual changes in the rocks.

This book gets things down to a 10 year old’s level clearly and attractively.

In fact, any person who doesn’t feel silly having the main character be a four-legged grasshopper (picky, picky, I know) is going to learn a lot from this book. I’d heard a tiny bit about sea mounts and water gaps before this. The book lets you “see” how things can happen.

Oh, yes, part of why I’d not handed the book over to my kids yet is I need to get out some tape to reattach the glossary at the back. The book is published by Creation Book Publishers and whatever stitching machine they used let a whole section fall out.

Now, I can’t wait to get my hands on The Case of the Missing Mountain also produced for Creation Ministries International. 😀

Review: Transformed by the Evidence

Click to visit product page

Edited by Doug Sharp, B.S. and Jerry Bergman Ph.D. Published by Leafcutter Press

A year ago I told you about one of the most delightful creation books I’d ever read (after the one on Mount St. Helens). Persuaded by the Evidence is a book it would be wonderful for every family with older kids to have in their home library.

I was excited to hear the editors had just published a second book of testimonies and I could even get a review copy straight from them! 🙂

As in Persuaded, Transformed by the Evidence is a collection of stories by over 20 people somehow connected with the Creation movement. Some of the authors get rather eye-crossing with their science speak. A few turn their section into a display of the scientific evidence rather than personal experience. Plus, the book wasn’t published by Master Books and could have used a bit more editing in spots.

But, none of these dampen the impact of the accounts of people who have found Jesus as their Savior and had their lives turned upside down by recognizing God as Creator.

Several of the writers were superb in their ability to express what their lives were like before and after finding their Creator, drawing us into the process. A couple weeks after finishing the book, one lady’s transformation (they picked the right title) is still incredible to me. A missionary kid’s testimony of his parents warning him to stay away from science completely is a wake up call for us parents.

I was especially pleased by those who had gone some distance down the path towards destruction. None of them did any glorying in their sin. Usually, you were left guessing just what was so awful about their behavior. The focus was always on God and His power.

There is one account where the author is serving a life sentence for what he did. Nothing graphic, but the barest of facts are sad enough. It will be important for my kids to understand just how far evolutionary, godless thinking can take a person when they hit their teens, but I’m not going to hand them this book before then.

Many of the stories in both books would make great family reading. Dad or Mom could read through them first to find appropriate ones for their family. This would naturally lead to questions and opportunities to discuss what happened in each life and the kinds of worldview issues our kids need preparation for.

Some of the stories are just awesome reminders of the power God has to draw people to Himself.

There were several authors whose names I’d run into online but didn’t know anything about until now. The testimony of the guy who started (Grand) Canyon Ministries, Tom Vail, is amazing. I’d met Karl Priest online a while back and now know a lot more about him. I’d heard of Dr. Jean Lightner a tiny bit through Answers in Genesis and Creation Today. Now I wish I had a couple hours with her to ask questions about chromosomes and homeschooling!

If I were just building my creation library, this would be in the 2nd set of books I’d get. Like Persuaded, it is a book about people. People Jesus interacts with and draws to Himself using His natural world as a major tool.

As mentioned, I received a free review copy of Transformed by the Evidence from the editor/author. He didn’t tell me what to say, just to let you all know what I thought about it. Thanks, Dr. Bergman!

To get your own copy, check out the Revolution Against Evolution, which is run by the other editor, Doug Sharp. You can even get it cheaper as a set of both books. Or, find it at any number of places, except Christian Book Distributors- yet.