Reviews/Resources

When You Walk Through the Valley It’s Nice to Have Someone Go With You

I don’t personally know Kelly Minter, but I will be forever grateful to her.

In the months following my brother’s death, I did one of her Bible studies with my Sunday school class. I wasn’t in a place to really come up with my own lessons, and I had done several of Minter’s studies in the past. All of them had been excellent.

Minter is a quietly intense teacher, and her studies have space for both digging deep and quiet reflection. Stepping into I, II and III John was just what my tattered soul needed during that valley time.

It is always amazing to me that God brings what we need when we need it. In Psalms 119, it says over and over that His Word is our strength and our help. I know, for me personally, it was a deep balm that helped to heal the deep wound in my heart.

The Bible study came with videos that I showed in class, but you certainly do not need them to do the study (although they are very good!).

Minter spends the bulk of her time in I John which is the longest of the three epistles. I John can be a bit convoluted, so walking through the book with Kelly was a great way to dive deep and really get a lot out of it.

I have also really loved Minter’s other studies which include Ruth: Loss, Love and Legacy; No Other Gods: Confronting Our Modern Day Idols; and Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break.

She has a new study that came out this fall that I am looking forward to doing called All Things New which is a study of 2 Corinthians.

So, what are some Bible studies you’ve loved? I’d love to hear about them!

A Review of The Real God

I’ve always wondered if you visit what is now Israel and surrounding countryside, if you’ll find piles of stones scattered in odd spots. I don’t know about you, but whenever I read about the Israelites, it seems like every time God delivered them from something, He told them to build a memorial by piling up stones which I always found a bit odd.

I mean, how do you forget that God parted the Red Sea? How do you forget that He changed bitter waters into sweet or defeated an enemy? It’s always seemed strange to me that the Israelites seemed to have such short attention spans.

But I’m the same way. Chip Ingram’s latest book, The Real God: How He Longs for You to See Him, has been like those piles of memorial stones for me.

While the book is well-written and engaging, if you have been a believer for any length of time, nothing in it should be new.  After a few introductory chapters – mostly on how important it is to have a clear view of who God actually is and not how we imagine Him to be – the book hits seven main characteristics of God.

These characteristics include God’s goodness, sovereignty, holiness, wisdom, justice, love and faithfulness. These are not new concepts to me, and they aren’t even just head knowledge either.

I have personally experienced God’s goodness. I’ve witnessed His faithfulness firsthand when my brother died almost two years ago (you can read about it HERE). I’ve been blown away when I glimpse just how big and holy God is, and I remember being weepy for a week when I truly understood just how much God loved me – not the whole world but me.

Yet, my memory is short. Daily life intrudes and the amazing grows familiar. The loud voices of this world shout down the quiet truths. My heart knowledge drifts back to head knowledge.

I took my time reading Ingram’s book, devoting a week to each chapter on God’s character. I read through the verses in those chapters and wrote them out. I looked up original meanings and meditated on what God’s Word had to say about Him.

You see, this book was very timely for me. One of the things I want to really explore this year is what is truly means to be God’s daughter. So often, I think we, as believers, don’t step fully into the role God has for us. When we don’t do that, we miss out on so much

I know not everyone will want to spend that long on this book, but it was a huge blessing to me. The Real God brought me face to face again with just who God is. The book pressed His reality more deeply into my heart – my own little stone pile memorial in book form.

The thing is, before I can truly step into what it means to be God’s child, I have to know the Father. It makes all the difference! I think Ingram says it best.

“Nothing in all your life will impact your relationship with God , your relationship with people, your self-view, your decisions, and your purpose like the way you think of God.”  ~Chip Ingram

 

It’s Almost 2017 – Are You Ready for a New Year?

I’m going to let you in on my dirty, little secret – despite being somewhat of a free spirit, and naturally unorganized, I really love this time of year with all the planners and checklists and spreadsheets and goal-making series. It makes me giddy with the possibility that this year I’ll find the perfect planner or system and suddenly become a productive whirlwind!

For many years, I would sit down on or around New Year’s and write out detailed resolutions – usually with main categories and subcategories. Looking back now, it’s kind of laughable that I thought it was possible to accomplish two pages full of goals. Nevertheless, each year,  I’d carefully record them in a pretty notebook. Then I’d tuck the notebook away on my bedside bookshelf, and promptly forget about them. I don’t think I ever opened those notebooks up again all year. I had dreams, but no plan to reach them. Because I had no plan, the urgent often muscled out the important.

Over the past few years, I’ve been slowly learning narrow down my goals and then figuring out the steps that make those dreams a reality while still doing the daily stuff -like cleaning my house once in a while and making sure my family doesn’t have to wear dirty clothes or go naked.  As a dreamer, an idealist and an optimist, I have a very bad habit of underestimating how much time things take and am notorious for overbooking myself. Practical has never been my strong suit. It’s taken me a long time to understand that focus is my friend when it comes to accomplishing my goals – not trying to do ALL the things.

But before I ever sit down and work on my goals and the steps towards achieving them, I’ve found it’s important to look at five things. Whether you use a fancy planner (I bought PowerSheets for the first time this year and am in love!!!), or you just pull out a single subject notebook and jot things down, the whole reason to even have goals is to live the one life God has given you with intention – not just do more stuff.

Look Behind You

It’s really hard to know where you are heading, if you have no idea where you’ve been. Take a morning or afternoon to really assess this past year. What worked? What didn’t work? What’s weighing on you and what has brought you joy? Make a list of things you feel proud to have accomplished. Make a list of things you said yes to, but wished you hadn’t. Really evaluate what worked and what didn’t. This isn’t an exercise in beating yourself up. This is an exercise in simply seeing what worked and what didn’t, so you can better craft your days this year. Pray that God would open your eyes to things you need to let go of or move on from. You might be surprised at what He shows you!

Look at Your Commitments.

I am a somewhat visual person, so it helps me to visually see how my hours, days and weeks are spent. Since I tend to not have a realistic grasp on time (always the optimist!), it really helps me to time block a typical week and month which gives me a visual idea of how much free time I actually have. First, I take a blank weekly grid that has an hourly agenda for each day. I use markers to color off the time blocks that are taken up by my current commitments. For instance, I teach every morning, so I would block off and color each day from 8:30 to 11:30, with a longer time block on Fridays which I use as my planning/prep day. Then, I take a blank monthly calendar and fill in the monthly/weekly commitments. By having this visual map of my weekly and monthly commitments, it is much easier for me to tell people no, rather than continuing to add to an already busy schedule. I have a really hard time telling people no. That’s why I do the exercise above. I also have a quote from Arabah Joy up by my computer to remind me to not say yes so much, that I end up inadvertently telling God no.

 

Look at Your Relationships

Are you so busy that you rarely have any uninterrupted time with your spouse? Do you always have good intentions to visit your parents or siblings, but can’t seem to get around to it? When was the last time you and a friend had an adventure together? When was the last time you just enjoyed a free evening with your family? While it is great to be productive, that is not an end unto itself.  No matter how good your intentions (you know the saying about what the road to hell is paved with, right?), if you don’t clear out some space for the people in your life, your relationships will suffer. God created us for community. If you never have time for community (or even the people in your own immediate family), that is a red flag that something needs to change.

Look at How You Want to Spend Your Days

I actually got this idea from Amy Lynn Andrews. (If you are at all involved with anything online, you NEED to sign up for her Useletter – awesome stuff and the one email I read every single week).  Instead of looking at these big, giant goals or dreams, (which can be overwhelming) look at how you want to spend your days. How are you wired? I’m not saying God isn’t going to ask you to ever step out of your comfort zone, but how has He wired you? There are clues to God’s calling in your life in how you are made and what brings you joy. For example, if you think you want to start a photography business, but you dread having to meet new people and make small talk, you might want to rethink those goals. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be a photographer, but maybe instead of booking senior sessions and weddings, you need to focus on fine art or landscape photography that you can sell. By really looking at how you enjoy spending your time, it makes it easier to give yourself permission to pursue the dreams that God has planted in your heart.

Look In Front of You

Where do you want to be a year from now? How do you want your life to look? Nothing is more frustrating than feeling stuck and like you are spinning your wheels. Just as we can’t know where we’re going until we look where we are, we also can’t reach our destinations unless we decide where it is we want to go. (Say that 10 times fast!) We would think someone was crazy if they left for vacation but didn’t have any directions on how to reach that destination. Many of us, though, head into the New Year without a clue of where we are headed. As someone once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” While God often doesn’t give us a detailed map, we usually can see the big idea of where He is point us. Look at what the steps are to go from where you are and where God is pointing you and starting heading in that direction.

It’s  NOT About Doing More

This post isn’t about adding more to an already full plate. This isn’t about squeezing one more thing into your already busy day. This is about living life on purpose.

So, how do you prepare for the New Year? I’d love to hear about it, so please share your favorite ways you are gearing up for 2017 in the comments!

Blessings, Rosanne

 

The Triggers Study Guide is HERE!


I distinctly remember the day when my oldest son, then about 3 years old, protectively put his arm around his younger 1-year-old brother, and looked up at me with fear in his eyes. I, you know the person who was supposed to be the adult, was completely out of control. I’m sure if I had had a mirror it would have shown a screaming, red-face, wild-eyed woman who was, well, scary – especially if you were 3 years old.

Seeing my oldest son trying to protect his brother from my anger, I knew things had to change. Honestly, nobody was more stunned than I was that I had an anger problem. If you would have asked people who knew me at the time, they would have described me as easy-going and laid back.

So, imagine my surprise when the very little people who I loved more than life could push every button I never knew I had.

After that realization, I did make the effort to change, but I still messed up and I had to back and apologize so many times. It’s humbling how forgiving a child can be. I had to learn the hard way about the things that triggered that volcanic anger that had the ability to bruise and hurt my children’s hearts.

That’s why I wish I had this book when my kids were little. Written by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake, Triggers: Exchanging Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses  is the parenting manual to understanding your own triggers and how to replace them with better, Biblical responses. And now, the study guide is available!

** Disclaimer – I did receive a copy of this book to review, but I would never recommend a book if I didn’t find it valuable to my readers.**

This book is a great resource for moms who who want to model Biblical behavior but struggle with controlling their own responses.

I mean, we’ve all been there right? For whatever reason, our child is getting on very last nerve. Triggers addresses both external and internal triggers by highlighting 31 different behaviors and circumstances. These triggers include everything from backtalk and whining (can I get an amen?) to exhaustion and depression.

Each trigger has its own chapter that discusses the triggers and what God has to say about them, and then offers suggestions to help exchange the old, angry response with something that is gentler and more Biblically based. Each chapter ends with a prayer for moms to overcome that first, often angry, response.

While Amber and Wendy offer lots of empathy for overwhelmed moms, they also don’t pull punches about the long-term consequences of out-of-control parenting.

You can purchase this book here as a pdf, Kindle book or paperback. Just so you know, I am an affiliate for this book which means I get a percentage of the purchase price (it doesn’t cost you anything though!).

If we are honest, even though we would probably give our very lives for our children, we’ve all had days when our reactions were anything but loving. But the good news is that we don’t have to live in bondage to just reacting and the fallout of shame and guilt that brings.  Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses is a great first step to getting intentional in the way we parent.

Blessings, Rosanne

3 Books That Changed Me

3 Books You Probably Haven't Read but Should

I have always loved to read. When I was a kid, I would get so involved in a book, I’d try to walk and read at the same time, which resulted in quite a few bumps, bruises and unfortunate falls.  I would hide my book under my napkin on my lap, thinking I could it wasn’t obvious my mind was a million miles away.

I still find myself staying up too late, engrossed in a book, telling myself, “Just one more chapter.” Last year, I read over 150 books.

So, when I say these three books made a huge impact on my life, I don’t say that flippantly. While the Bible is still the ultimate source for me, these books were transformative in many ways – even the fiction one. I hope you’ll add them to your reading pile, and they bless you as much as they have blessed me!

Mary in Martha world Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding Intimacy With God in the Busyness of Life
by Joanna Weave

As someone who often feels overwhelmed by my list of to-dos, this book was a breath of fresh air for me when I first read it probably 10 years ago. The book is based on a short passage that is only recorded in Luke 10:38-42.  Jesus came to the home of Lazarus who lived with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha is the doer. She welcomes Jesus into their home while busy with preparations. She gets annoyed, however, to find her sister Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet. When she says something to Jesus about it, expecting Him to maybe rebuke Mary, Jesus surprises Martha by say, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” I love this book because in a culture (even church culture) that emphasizes doing over being, Joanna Weaver shows how important intimacy with God really is. Without it, we lose the why for our do which leaves us burnt out. When I first read this book, I was heavily involved in women’s ministry in my church, but I felt God asking me to step away because I had some heart issues with which I needed to deal. This book felt kind of like a heavenly blessing to step away, and the result was growth I couldn’t have experienced if I had stayed so busy.

 

 

 

Follow Me BookFollow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.
by David Platt

Unlike the previous book, I first read this book a year ago this month. I remember being so incredibly convicted after reading this that I spent the entire day sobbing, repenting and praying. While I have always known in my head the importance of evangelism, this book opened my eyes to some truths that I was missing – even as a Sunday school teacher and someone who volunteers in the community. It put into words the restlessness I had been feeling with “church life.” To say, I have not been the same since is an understatement. The bottom line is that being a “good” Christian involves way more than attending church and reading your Bible. Those things are supposed to equip you to follow Jesus – not be the sum total of your Christian life. As someone who has grown up in the church, I had kind of bought into the whole church bubble life. This book opened my eyes to the reality that Christianity is so much more in every sense. If you are feeling like  your Christian life is a bit stale or  you feel like there should be more to it,  read this book! I promise that you will not be the same when you finish the last page!

 

 

Yada Yada Prayer Group The Yada Yada Prayer Group: Value Edition (Yada Yada Series)
by Netta Jackson

This is actually the first in a series of books about a group of women who call themselves the Yada Yada Prayer Group. The story starts out from the viewpoint of Jody, an elementary school teacher, who attends a women’s conference. She is randomly put into a group of women to pray. During their prayer time, one of the women’s sons is shot. From there, the group goes to the hospital and a bond is formed. The group starts to meet after the conference and the book follows Jody as this prayer group of vary diverse women changes her life. This book, even though it is fiction, really transformed  my prayer life.  It made me want to learn to pray Scripture and about the importance of praying together. I also really connected with Jody grew up as a “good Christian girl,” and saw everyone else’s needs but her own. I have read the entire series which each deal with different topics.  The books are now available in Kindle format, as well as, the original paperbacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a book that has transformed your life in some way? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings, Rosanne

 

p.s. (Just so you know, there are affiliate links in this post. This means that, at no cost to you, I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price if you would happen to hop over to Amazon and buy one of these books.)

Part 4: 5 Parenting Books I Love – Plus One

Top Parenting Books

While I do think you can read too many parenting books, there are also a lot of great resources out there. Out of the many, many books I have read on the subject of parenting, these five were my top picks in no particular order. Today through March 31st, I will be holding a give away for the book Triggers. You’ll find the sign-up for the give away at the bottom of this post. I hope you find these books as helpful as I did! 

Cynthia Tobias BookYou Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), Revised and Updated Edition: Strategies for Bringing Out the Best in Your Strong-Willed Child by Cynthia Tobias

My second son, Brody, was the definition of a strong-willed child. To say I found his toddler and preschool years challenging would be a bit of an understatement. Part of the problem is that I am NOT strong-willed, and I just didn’t get what motivated him.

To me, his penchant for fighting me about Every. Little. Thing. left me baffled. I couldn’t understand what the point was to make a big issue over what color spoon you used for your breakfast. I mean, honestly, who cared?

It wasn’t until I read this book that I really started to understand my strong-willed child. Cynthia Tobias (who was a strong-willed child herself) wrote this book with her adult strong-willed son. If you have a “powerful” child, I strongly suggest reading this book. James Dobson has a book called The Strong-willed Child, and it is also good. But as far as making a difference in my parenting, this one was, hands-down, the winner for me.

 

 

The Birth Order Book: Why You Are the Way You Arebirth order book by Kevin Leman

I love books that explain why people do what they do. The Birth Order Book offers a unique look at how birth order influences the behavior of your children (and yourself, too!).  I not only found this book fascinating because of the subject matter, but it helped me to navigate my children’s behavior and my reactions to it. Turns out, the birth order of both children and their parents can really influence how we interact with each other.

Since I have read this book, I’ve also had a lot of fun guessing (usually in my head and not out loud) what birth order someone falls under. The information Leman offers is amazingly accurate, too, and I can usually tell when meeting someone if they are a first born or last born or something in-between (you’ll have to read the book to know what I mean!). 😉

So, if you want a deeper of understanding of why your kid does what he does, get a copy of this book. While I found it helpful for my parenting, I also found it helpful in understanding why I do some of the things I do, too.

 

 

Strong-Willed Child or Dreamer?dreamer child by Dana Spears and Ron Braund

When my oldest son Brock was a toddler and preschooler, his behavior was a bit puzzling to me. On the one hand, he seemed eager to please, but at other times, he could dig his heels in like a mule (still does, come to think of it!). I often referred to him as strong-willed, even though I never felt as though that completely fit the bill.

When my second son, Brody, was born I realized exactly what a strong-willed child really was, and my first born definitely was not it!

It wasn’t until a friend of mine suggested this book that I realized my first born was a dreamer. I really should have recognized the signs sooner since I am a classic dreamer myself.

This is an excellent book for parents to read to understand the dreamer child personality – especially if you are not a dreamer because they really do think differently than non-dreamers. It’s also a great read for anyone who works with children because dreamers tend to do most things differently – including learning.

Now that my oldest is ready to graduate, he still thinks outside the box, but again, not too surprising. My mom has always said I march to the beat of my own drum, too.

 

Triggers: : Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responsestriggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake

This is that book I wished I had when my kids were little, but I still found it relevant and helpful, even at this stage of my life (I know you are shocked that my teens can sometimes still push my buttons!). I received a copy of of this book to review and you can find that more in-depth review of this book HERE.

In a nutshell, this book talks about the external and internal triggers that cause us to react in anger to our children.

Each chapter highlights a trigger and how to deal with it Biblically. The authors offer grace to the burnt out mom, but still don’t excuse the behavior. And let’s be honest, we live in a pretty angry culture. Maybe it’s because we are so busy and burnt out ourselves, but a lot of moms I know struggle with this issue of anger toward their children.

What I love about this book is it doesn’t just identify a problem, but it offers real solutions to address that problem. If you struggle with reacting to your children in anger, this is a must-read. While some of the triggers very obviously apply only to parents, there is a lot to be gleaned from this book on managing anger no matter who it is directed at.

 

What Every Mom Needsmom needs by Elise Morgan and Carol Kuykendall

This was one of those books that was a life saver when I was a new mom. I had almost made it through the first year of my baby’s life. As I came up for air, I realized that my life had changed irrevocably, and it was never returning to what it was like pre-baby. I know – kind of obvious – but I was so taken up in feeding cycles and getting the baby to sleep through the night, it came as a bit of a shock that things were never going to “get back to normal,” or at least what was normal before kids.

It’s interesting how God works because at the time, I was suffering from a horrible case of post-partum depression. This did not endear me to my husband who couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to be with the baby 24/7 or why I still wanted to realize some of my non-baby-related dreams.

The Coach actually heard about this book on a Focus on the Family radio show, and went out to buy it. He read it and then gave it to me. If you know my husband at all, you will know that this was definitely a God-thing.

This book gave me permission to admit that I still had a few needs of my own, even as a mom, and it made my husband realize that, too. If you need a bit of encouragement, check this book out, and if your husband doesn’t get it, this is a great read to help him understand parenting from a mom’s perspective. It has been updated since I first read it.

 

Disclaimer – I only have boys, so I have never read a book about parenting girls. There may be some wonderful books on that topic, but since I have two sons, I’ve never read them. This is the “plus one” book since I knew it wouldn’t apply to everyone.

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Menboys adrift 2 by Leonard Sax

I actually read this book as a teacher. I had a English classroom that had a much higher percentage of boys than girls, and I was having trouble getting the boys to engage in books we were supposed to be reading and discussing. Ever ask a teenage boy how he feels about Ethan Frome?

This book gave me a much deeper look into the teenage male psyche, and while I read it to help me be a better teacher, it has also helped me parent two boys who are now teenagers themselves.

If you can’t seem to motivate your son, or you can’t quite figure out why his primary goal in life seems to be to reach the highest level in Halo, this book will give you a fresh perspective.

I think this book should be passed out at the hospital to every mom of a boy. It really is an enlightening read. If you have girls, but you work with boys at all, it’s also worthwhile to check out.

 

There are other parenting books that I have loved, as well, but I wanted to keep this list to books that made the biggest impact in my parenting, and also not overwhelm you with a huge, long list.

What are some of your favorite parenting books? I’d love to hear about them!

Blessings, Rosanne

 

P.S. If you are just catching up with us, here are the links to the other posts in this series, along with a couple more you might also enjoy.

Part 1: Parenting Has Changed Me More Than Any Ministry

Part 2: 9 Principles of Parenting That Transcend Parenting Style

Part 3: 10 Myths of Parenting

Is God Enough for Your Kids, Too?

There Are No Guarantees in Parenting

P.S.S. Don’t forget: sign up to win Triggers: Exchanging Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses! Don’t you just love give aways?? 🙂

 

What Are Your Triggers: The Book Every Parent Needs

I distinctly remember the day when my oldest son, then about 3 years old, protectively put his arm around his younger 1-yea-old brother, and looked up at me with fear in his eyes. I, you know the person who was supposed to be the adult, was completely out of control. I’m sure if I had had a mirror it would have shown a screaming, red-face, wild-eyed woman who was, well, scary – especially if you were 3 years old.

Seeing my oldest son trying to protect his brother from my anger, I knew things had to change. Honestly, nobody was more stunned than I was that I had an anger problem. If you would have asked people who knew me at the time, they would have described me as easy-going and laid back.

So, imagine my surprise when the very little people who I loved more than life could push every button I never knew I had.

After that realization, I did make the effort to change, but I still messed up and I had to back and apologize so many times. It’s humbling how forgiving a child can be. I had to learn the hard way about the things that triggered that volcanic anger that had the ability to bruise and hurt my children’s hearts.

That’s why I wish I had this book when my kids were little. Written by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake, Triggers: Exchanging Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses  is the parenting manual to understanding your own triggers and how to replace them with better, Biblical responses.

** Disclaimer – I did receive a copy of this book to review, but I would never recommend a book if I didn’t find it valuable to my readers.**

This book is a great resource for moms who who want to model Biblical behavior but struggle with controlling their own responses.

I mean, we’ve all been there right? For whatever reason, our child is getting on very last nerve. Triggers addresses both external and internal triggers by highlighting 31 different behaviors and circumstances. These triggers include everything from backtalk and whining (can I get an amen?) to exhaustion and depression.

Each trigger has its own chapter that discusses the triggers and what God has to say about them, and then offers suggestions to help exchange the old, angry response with something that is gentler and more Biblically based. Each chapter ends with a prayer for moms to overcome that first, often angry, response.

While Amber and Wendy offer lots of empathy for overwhelmed moms, they also don’t pull punches about the long-term consequences of out-of-control parenting.

You can purchase this book here as a pdf, Kindle book or paperback. Just so you know, I am an affiliate for this book which means I get a percentage of the purchase price (it doesn’t cost you anything though!).

If we are honest, even though we would probably give our very lives for our children, we’ve all had days when our reactions were anything but loving. But the good news is that we don’t have to live in bondage to just reacting and the fallout of shame and guilt that brings.  Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses is a great first step to getting intentional in the way we parent.

Blessings, Rosanne

P.S. Stay tuned for my upcoming series on parenting, a challenge and a giveaway! Sign up to get new posts right in your inbox so you don’t miss out! 🙂

Why I Don’t Care if You See Noah or Not

If you are on social media at all, you know that this weekend the internet was blowing up about a movie called Noah. On my Facebook feed, probably 10 reviews were posted. This will not be one of them, in case you are wondering.

People argued both sides of the fence – pretty passionately. I even chimed in a few times over the absurdity of holding this film to a biblical standard even though it is a remake of Brian Godawa’s graphic novel Noah Primeval. I had a few people get rather cranky with me about it.

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I actually don’t care if you go see Noah. I probably won’t see it at all, and if I do, it will be with a free redbox coupon. I’m not much for those movies where everything is in a sort of gritty realism that makes you feel like nobody has ever showered. I don’t really like watching things that are disturbing and the story of Noah, at it’s core IS disturbing because EVERYONE but Noah and his family dies. Every. Single. Person.

I can’t imagine how that would have felt to be sealed in the ark and hear the cries and pleas and screams of the people outside, knowing they were dying. It makes me shudder, and I know watching it on the big screen would probably give me nightmares. After all, I am the person who after seeing the Titanic, dreamed about it over and over until I had dreamed a happy ending. Yet, numerous people were surprised that the movie was disturbing.

There are arguments – from good people – on both side of the fence about why you should or shouldn’t see Noah. Since I assume most of you are adults and can think critically, I’ll leave it to you whether you choose to go or not.

What I am bothered by is WHY we feel the need to spend so much time and energy on Noah. It’s a movie. Entertainment. Yet, believers are spending time, energy and emotion on something that in a month or two won’t even matter.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I get why faith-based films are a great thing. I get that wonderful people work hard to bring them to the big screen so people can have quality entertainment, and I understand the importance of that because I am a big believer in the power of stories (even fictitious ones) to impact people.

But bringing faith-based films to the big screen really won’t do anything if our actions send a different message.

The fact is, the unbelieving world is watching us. They are watching us argue with each other and treat each other unkindly. They are watching us cut down and harshly criticize a director that at least is curious about Biblical narratives. They are watching us act hypocritically (after all, how many believers loved Evan Almighty or let their kids watch Veggie Tales – both of which were less than Biblically accurate)

They are watching us expend energy on something that, ultimately, does not matter, while ignoring things that desperately do. It makes believers appear small-minded, petty and in many cases, uninformed. A movie that is based on a book written by an atheist and directed by an atheist whose last film was The Black Swan, is not a faith-based film. It’s just a movie.

Each day we argue about Noah, thousands of people die and go to hell.

Each day we argue about Noah, thousands of children die of starvation.

Each day we argue about Noah. thousands of women and children are enslaved.

Each day we argue about Noah, thousands of hurting people despair of going on.

We have the answer. We have the Good News – and it’s not that Noah is or isn’t a good movie to see.

Maybe instead of spending all our time shouting to the world and at each other, what we don’t stand for and what we are against, we should spend more time sharing what we DO believe in and what we DO stand for.

Imagine what would happen if we expended as much energy sharing the Gospel as we have spent debating the merits of a movie.

Blessings, Rosanne

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