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Christ Centered Gamer Blog

This blog contains non-gaming related reviews and random ramblings

My Little Pony Equetsria Girls Combo DVD Pack

Thank you Shout Factory for sending us this DVD to review!

We have previously reviewed My Little Pony Rainbow Rocks and Equestria Girls and my kids thoroughly enjoyed those movies.  Surprisingly, my son enjoyed them all as well. Along with those two movies, Friendship Games is included in a 3 movie combo pack that will list for less than $25.  This is quite a bargain for My Little Pony fans.

Since this is our first time watching Friendship Games here’s our review of it: 

Rainbow Dash sent out an emergency text gathering all of the members in the band in fear of Canterlot High School being in danger.  As it turns out, it was a false alarm since Rainbow Dash only needed a replacement guitar string.  Instead of heading home right away Sunset Shimmer hangs around the portal for a little bit and catches a mysterious figure scanning the statue/portal.  Could it be someone from Crystal Prep Academy pranking their school for the upcoming Friendship Games competition?  Canterlot High School has never won a competition against Crystal Prep so their morale is pretty low until Rainbow Dash rallies everyone up with a stellar performance.  Could magic be involved in her performance?  Sunset Shimmer has been tasked to get to the bottom of it to avoid their school from being disqualified for magic use.  Twilight Sparkle is also looking into this phenomenon.  

The Twilight Sparkle in this show doesn’t know anyone in Canterlot High School since she is a Crystal Prep student.  However, they all know who she is and don’t know why she doesn’t recognize them and suddenly wears glasses.  They also discover that she has the ability to steal magic.  Will the Friendship Games go on without a hitch?  Watch to find out because I’m not going to spoil it for you!

Like most My Little Pony shows, the power of friendship overcomes any misdeeds.  I like how they emphasize forgiveness and promote kindness to one another.  I highly recommend this show for kids of all ages.  While the target audience is girls, many boys enjoy this show as well.  My son included.


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Ozwald Bozwald - Transformed

Thank you SMT Entertainment for sending us a digital copy of this CD!

Ozwald Bozwald is a Harlem, New York City based recording artist, producer, and DJ.  He's been in the music industry for nearly fifteen years and most of his music was hip-hop and rap based.  In his new album, Transformed, he changes his music style to dance; and it's awesome!  It's not just his music style that has changed, but his whole life has been transformed from when he started making music.  

Ozwald is a full-fledged vegan, Christian, and a husband though he never planned on being any of those.  While the songs are pretty neutral without any scripture or praising of Jesus, Ozwald isn't shy about his faith on his social media sites.  In fact, his single 'Only One' is about being monogamous and the singer offers to break the law if needed for his love interest.  While that song isn't exactly teaching good values, it's not promoting sleeping around like many popular dance songs these days.

There are four tracks on this EP and they can be listened to freely on Sound Cloud.  If you like the music, you can buy it digitally on iTunes for $3.99.      His latest single 'Only One' is available on Amazon, but the rest of the album is not there yet.  Some of his older rap music is though. I'm definitely a fan of his newer music versus his hip-hop roots.

My favorite song on Transformed is Radar; it's one of the two songs that has lyrics and is performed by Kevin Singleton.  The title song only has the word Transformed spoken a couple of times and Heaven is completely instrumental.  The whole CD is solid and I recommend it for any dance music fan.  If you're looking for music praising God, you'll want to look elsewhere, but if you want to dance to some "clean" music, Transformed will fit the bill nicely.

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It's been one year since we got involved in #GamerGate

It’s been a year since we were pulled into #GamerGate.  A lot has happened since then.  We’ve been around since 2000 and were quite accustomed with people poking fun at our reviews and sharing them on various forums for a laugh.  Parents and Christians still found them useful, so we pressed on and grew thicker skin over the years.  Throughout our existence on the internet, we have received a lot of good constructive criticism to which we have taken to heart and have implemented into our current review standard and quality of reviews.  While some people still poke fun at the moral score or objectionable content we point out, the quality of the reviews are often noted and praised.

With that being said, on October 15th I woke up to ten or more people tweeting about us (@divinegames) and suggesting that Intel consider advertising with us. At first I thought it was sarcasm until I read more comments where people were actually PRAISING our review standard that so many have poked fun at in the past.  In fact, Kotaku once re-posted a blog post about how our Portal 2 review lacked references to Jesus.  People were also comparing our Red Dead Redemption score to Bayonetta 2 (we own the discs but have yet to play and review this game BTW) and liked how we did not dock the game’s score if we did not agree with it in a political or religious manner. 

Our goal always has been and will be to point out objectionable content in a neutral manner to allow our readers to know what is in a game.   We want them to make their own buying decisions without talking down to them.    We respect that our readers have different convictions and gaming preferences. 

My gaming horizons were expanded a little bit this year as #GamerGate arranged for us to review games like HuniePop and Hatred.  That HuniePop review was tough to write, but very well received so despite my eyes needing some bleach afterward, I guess it was worth it.  #GamerGate was also generous enough to help fund a Snowball microphone after some negative feedback on the mic I was using for the Hatred gameplay video we did.  The new microphone works great, so thanks again for that!

Besides indiegogo, we have set up a patreon site which has some nice folks helping us out monthly.  We’re thankful for that too.  This year we became a 501 C 3 non-profit and record all of our earnings and expenses on our www.christcenteredgamer.org site.  

So what’s in our future?  We’d like to continue to grow.  To do that churches and gamers have to continue to hear about us.  Sadly, whenever I call a church to introduce myself and our site, I have yet to get a call back.  After talking with a marketing person (that we can’t afford to hire), I was told that this is pretty commonplace.  In order to reach out to churches we’ll need to save our funds and hopefully attend a big conference where pastors will come to our booth to reach out to us instead of the other way around.  That’s one goal that will cost us a few thousand dollars to achieve. 

In order to be considered for review aggregation sites like OpenCritic we’ll need over 50,000 followers on any given social network which we are nowhere close to achieving anytime soon.   We have grown a lot in that aspect in the past year though.  Many of our followers are #GamerGate supporters and we’re thankful for them.

When we get enough traffic and support to cover our minimal operating costs, we hope to hire other reviewers to eliminate our review backlog and ensure timelier reviews.  Until then, I think we’re doing great with where we’re at and I couldn’t have done it without you fine people.  Thanks for the love, kindness, and support to everyone who we have interacted with in #GamerGate, on twitter, reddit, 4chan, 8chan and everywhere else on the interwebs.  God bless you all!

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Cheryl Gress
Thanks!
Sunday, 25 October 2015 15:16
Cheryl Gress
Thanks for the support!
Sunday, 25 October 2015 15:16
Cheryl Gress
I have tried contacting youth pastors hoping that they would be more receptive. Will have to make another round of phone calls no... Read More
Sunday, 25 October 2015 19:54
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Dear Sofia: A Royal Collection

Thank you Disney for Sending us this DVD to review!

Dear Sofia: A Royal Collection DVD features six episodes with wonderful life lessons and special appearances from popular Disney princesses to aide Sofia in times of trouble.  This 114-minute DVD is available on Amazon for less than $13 and is well worth it for any princess loving girls out there.  

Here’s a breakdown of the six episodes on this disc:

  • The Amulet and the Anthem – Sofia is randomly picked to sing the Enchancia Anthem and the privileges that go with it get to her head.    Her friends that were hoping to get picked get tired of her bragging and leave Sofia to her duties.  The only problem is that Sofia suddenly becomes cursed to randomly ribbit!  She discovers that this curse is from her special amulet.  Despite apologizing to her friends, the curse is not lifted.  Admirably, Sofia does not disobey her father to give the amulet to Cedric to undo the curse.  Instead, Belle comes to the rescue and helps Sofia and her friends feel better.  
  • Princesses to the Rescue – Princes James and Jin stumble upon a treasure map of the Jade Jaguar.  They set off to locate the treasure doubting the existence of the Jade Jaguar.  When the kings find out, they set off immediately to stop the young boys.  Unfortunately, they all get caught in the same trap together.  With the advice of the mage, the princesses set out to rescue them by taking a side entrance into the jaguar’s cave.  The path is perilous and all but Sofia want to give up.  Mulan shows up and encourages them to keep going and to think outside of the box to solve many obstacles in their way.
  • Winter’s Gift – Sofia made a wand holder for Cedric, but after hearing him complain about the useless gifts he had received in the past she doesn’t deem her gift worthy and sets off to find another.  On her journey with her rabbit, Clover, they meet a fawn named Winter who is cursed.  Whatever or whomever Winter touches, becomes frozen in enchanted ice.  In order to undo this curse, Winter must appease the mountain witch with a nice gift.  After failing at offering a gift, princess Tiana appears and teaches them that gifts from the heart are worth more than any material thing.
  • Two to Tangu – The princesses are heading to a party and risk taking a magic carpet instead of their royal carriage.  Unfortunately, they get lost on the way and end up in the town’s marketplace instead.  A fortune teller there gives them directions but the two princesses still manage to get stranded because their magic carpet has yet to be tamed.  Jasmine appears and teaches them how to tame their carpet and the princesses discover that some risks are worth taking.
  • Minimus is Missing – Princess Amber is struggling to learn how to ride a flying horse and is on the verge of giving up.  After a lunch break they discover that all of the flying horses have gone missing!  While searching for their horses, Amber learns how to fly a gryphon and learns that sometimes it takes a few tries to learn something, but it’s always worthwhile in the end.
  • Cool Hand Fluke (bonus episode) - Sofia visits and offers to throw a party for the merpeople.  However, Fluke is jealous of Sofia  and tries to one up her and her friends.  In an attempt to get a pearl, he winds up stuck in a giant clam.  When Sofia and Flip rescue him, he is ungrateful and doesn't care that Flip was injured during the process.    Upon learning that mantacorns shed their horns once a year, Fluke gets the (bad) idea to take an old horn to replace Flip's broken one.  Again, Fluke gets trapped and upon rescuing him, everyone learns that jealousy is bad and that asking is always better than taking.


I like how each episode teaches one or more valuable lessons.  Better yet, they're not overly preachy either.   As an added bonus, there is some stationary bundled with this DVD collection.  My daughters, despite getting older,  enjoyed the stationery as well as the episodes.


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Trimillennialism: Revelation 20 and the Final Judgment

Trimillennialism: Revelation 20 and the Final Judgment 
Author: Ritchie Way

Thank you Bohlsen Group for sending us this book to review!

In Revelation 20, there is a passage that has been debated for thousands of years. Here it is, in full:

"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

Having read this, it's understandable that it would require significant study to truly understand what is being said here.  There are two major camps in Biblical scholarship around this passage: the Amillennialists and the Premillennialists. Premillennialists believe that it is literally describing a future event. Amillennialists believe that there will not be a literal future thousand years as described, but instead that it is symbolic of a current reality.  Both viewpoints have had major supporters, including whole denominations.  Ritchie Way believes that he has cracked this ages long issue in perhaps the simplest way possible:  

Why not both?

The author spends nearly half of the book making the case for amillennialism, explaining how the spiritual reality that we now live in very much mirrors the patterns set in Revelation 20.  After he has made his case, he goes on to explain why the more obvious reading that premillennialists believe is also true.  He then sums most of it up in this excerpt on page 154:

"Are the aillennialists right when they claim that Revelation 19 applies to this present era of gospel outreach into the entire world?  They certainly are!  Are premillennialists right when they claim that Revelation 19 "depicts the events of the consummation: the marriage of the Lamb, and the coming of Christ"?  Of course they are!  What they don't seem to realize is that their particular view does not necessarily exclude the other…"

He also covers related topics, including a few other examples of patterns in Scripture being duplicated in both other passages and in history.  He also goes on to explain his view of the ultimate destiny of the ungodly, which he believes is annihilation rather than eternal torment.

I feel that the title of this book does the author and his work a disservice.  Putting 'Tri' in the title because it's Trinitarian means that anyone else who has a similar idea would never find this book while doing research because it is not an obvious name given the subject matter.  So it will likely fall into obscurity, which is a shame.  Titles should reflect their content.  When I read this title, I wonder if the author thinks there are three millenniums, which is not the case here.

Despite this, the author does a decent job of making his case, and some of what he says has merit.  My major complaint is that there is a lot of filler and segues that make it difficult to follow at times.  He often uses these in an attempt to give God glory, and in that sense, I found the book inspiring.  But, at the same time, taking so long to get to the point means that I had many unplanned augmentations to my rest schedule.  As a result, it took me much longer to get through this relatively short 192 page book than I anticipated.


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Golden Shoes

Thank you MPRM Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

While my kids and I were not necessarily looking forward to watching a sports related movie, we're all glad we gave it a shot.  Golden Shoes is about an eight year old boy named Christian Larou who lives and breathes soccer.   He wants to be like the professional footballer Christiano Ronaldo.   Christian's dad is on active duty in Afghanistan and his mother is working long hours and struggles taking her son to soccer practice.  

For some reason their neighbor, Frank, has a chip on his shoulder and is blackmailing the coach to put his twin boys on the playing field more than Christian. As a result, Christian's athletic abilities are suffering.  Instead of catching a break, Christian's life gets more difficult when his mother is bed-ridden in the hospital for a while.  Since Christian has no relatives and his dad is MIA, he is forced to live in Frank's basement until his mother recuperates.

Much like Cinderella, Christian is treated very poorly compared to Frank's sons and is given some golden soccer shoes that unlock his hidden talent that propels his team into the play-offs.  Not only does Christian become an inspiration to his teammates, he becomes a local hero that attracts the attention of talent scouts, and even the president of the United States.       

As inspiring as this story is, it does falter a bit morally.  I like how Christian obeys his mom's advice by succeeding instead of taking revenge on those who mistreat him.    There is one (poorly acted) scene where Christian talks a teammate out of getting into a fist fight.  While those are great lessons for my kids to learn, I was disappointed by the language they were subjected to in this Dove endorsed film.  Besides hell, my kids got to hear the worse form of "Dang it" and S.O.B. pronounced in its entirety.

If it wasn't for the language, I would encourage families to watch it without hesitation.  While it has a good message and story, it's not a big budget film and it shows at times.  The acting talent is pretty good and includes Eric Roberts, Montel Williams, and John Rhys-Davies.  In the end, Golden Shoes is worth renting and can be added to your DVD collection for less than $10 on Amazon.


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Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles

Thank you Disney for sending us this DVD to review!

Almost everyone likes Star Wars and kids love Legos.  So mixing them together is a match made in heaven.  Add in everyone's favorite characters with their famous lines, a solid script, and it'll be 92 minutes well spent.   The humor in this series had both kids and adults cracking up.

Darth Vader had many funny moments with his voice getting messed up due to a short in his wiring.  His cape also got in his way often and choked him while flying his pod racer.  Another great moment was when he scolded a storm trooper for being clumsy and then tripped over him!  I dare say that these episodes are more entertaining than the original movies.

Here's a synopsis of the four episodes in this DVD:

  • Escape From The Jedi Temple - Luke and his friends are nearly captured by Darth Vader and after they escape, Yoda and Obi-Wan's ghost believe that further training with the help of the Holocrons is required.
  • Race For The Holocrons - Luke Skywalker needs to retrieve the Holocrons that Obi-Wan hid to complete his Jedi training.  Darth Vader is looking for them as well.  Who will get to them first?
  • Raid On Coruscant - With the Holocrons in their possession, the Sith empire can locate and root out the Rebel Alliance.  The Rebel Alliance must fight back to re-claim the Holocrons.
  • Clash Of The Skywalkers - After the Sith's defeat, the Sith set out on a mission to put an end to Luke Skywalker for once and for all.

My kids and I are now officially fans of this series and highly recommend checking it out on TV or in its DVD form.  The DVD sells for less than $13 on Amazon and is worth every penny.


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Heaven Is for Animals Too: Hope and Comfort for Believers and Skeptics

Thank you Bohlsen Group for sending us this book to review!

When Melinda Cerisano, the author of Heaven Is For Animal Too, was ten years old she asked a Methodist minister if animals go to heaven.  He told her that they did not since they lacked souls and were not made in the likeness of God.  As a certified animal trainer, behaviorist, and accomplished equestrian, she was not satisfied with that answer and  set out on a seven year journey to prove that animals do indeed go to heaven when they die.

This 257 page book began as eight verses in the Bible that comforted Melinda and several of her friends when they suffered the loss of their pets.  After seeing how these verses (Gen 1:30, Hos 2:18-19, Pro 12:!0, Ecc 3:21, Joel 1:18,20, 2:22, Rom 8:20-21) affected her friends and even brought some of them closer to God, she embarked on her journey to write a book. While she doesn't claim to be a theologian, she does cite and reference various Bible translations, texts, and scrolls in their original language.  

The Bible translations used include the New King James Version, the Darby New Translation, the New Living Translation, the New International Version, the New American Standard Bible,  and the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The Interlinear Bible is used for translating between Greek, Hebrew, and English.

I found it fascinating that most of the modern day translations replace the word "soul" for "creature" instead.  With the word soul in place, verses like Genesis 1:29-30 give animals more hope of joining us in heaven one day.  There is an entire chapter dedicated to explaining the word for word translation and its significance.  

In the chapter discussing the True Meaning of Dominion, Melinda interviewed a man with a PhD in Hebrew who shed some light on Judaism's take on Genesis 3:21.  This PhD suggested that instead of making skin garments for Adam and Eve, he clothed them with skins/ bodies that will now age and deteriorate over time.  It's certainly an interesting theory.  Animal sacrifices were required as a result regardless until Jesus became The Last Sacrificial Lamb which is the name of another chapter in this book. 

I have no doubt that God loves and cares for all of His creation as it is demonstrated in verses like Matt: 10:29 and saving animals along with humans in Noah's ark. However, I have no problems eating meat as many people in Bible times have done so.  Jesus fed his thousands of followers fish and bread in Luke 9:16.    Some of his followers were fishermen as stated in Mark 1:16.  While some of the hunters in the past (Nimrod and Ishmael) were not the best people, that certainly doesn't speak for the majority of them.  The author makes it clear that she's a vegetarian and approves of the Daniel diet (Dan 1:12) over most everyone else's.  

Despite some opinions that I don't agree with,  Heaven Is For Animals Too was an interesting read that was fairly easy to follow along with.  The paperback edition sells for less than $18 and the kindle edition is $9.99 on Amazon.  This would be a comforting book for anyone who lost a pet that was dear to them.  You might not want to give it to hunters though.


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Living The Christian Life

Thank you Bohlsen Group for sending us this book to review!

John F. Hunter, the author of Living The Christian Life is a pastor, evangelist, chaplain, and a missionary.  He put together an eighty-eight page book that nicely summarizes the basics of Christianity without going over people's heads.  There are plenty of life stories, analogies, and scripture references to back up the fundamentals of living a God honoring life. 

There are thirteen chapters  discussing salvation, baptism, communion, praying, serving, and reaching out to others.  I like the analogy of the hub, spokes, and rim being all part of a tire much like God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all integrated into one God.  The author recommends spending some alone time with God and listening to what his purpose for your life is.  Though I'm not sure if I would spend a couple of weeks in the wilderness like he did and deal with ticks, raccoons, and thunderstorms.  To each their own.  

Some of the other life stories are fascinating as well including a vivid dream he had about his unborn daughter and got to meet her nine months later and the mysterious person/potential angel that helped his family out when their truck's engine threw a rod in the desert.  When they got their truck looked at, nobody knew of anyone by the helpful person's name.  

Since I was raised Christian, I can't really say that this book has changed my life much.  I have put into practice many of its teachings including: prayer, fellowship, Bible study, witnessing, worship, and giving.  However, I do recommend this book to new believers and those who are curious to what Christianity is all about.  The language is pretty easy to understand and the concepts are straightforward and easy to follow.  Because this book is so short and I was able to finish it in two sittings, I recommend getting the $3.99 digital version as opposed to the $15.99 paperback.  Unless of course, you're getting it as a gift for someone you love.


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Mickey's Monster Musical

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD to review!

This 115 minute DVD features three problem solving and singing episodes that involve ghosts, pirates, and your favorite Disney characters. Included in the DVD is a trick or treat bag that is more of a novelty than useful given its small size.  Thankfully, my kids still enjoyed the DVD regardless. 

In the first episode Mickey has a surprise picnic planned for Minnie and hopes that she will say yes. She does and they start on their way. The weather starts out beautiful, but that soon changes.  Upon trying to turn around, their car breaks down and gets two flat tires.  A creepy castle is just up ahead; they or course they go there seeking help.  

Once inside, they meet the flying Count Mickula who is very helpful and offers to help fix their car while they stay at his castle. The only downside is that Count Mickula believes that his castle is haunted. In return for helping them fix their car, Minnie and Mickey offer to help explore the castle to confirm or deny that suspicion.  

Along the way Mickey and Minnie will gather various tools used to solve riddles throughout the show.  The kids are encouraged to deduce which tool will solve each dilemma presented to them.  There is also plenty of singing and dancing they're asked to participate in as well.  The songs and atmosphere reminds me of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with much cleaner lyrics and characters of course!  

In the second episode Mickey and his friends want to go to the beach to do some surfing.  They have fun surfing, building sand castles and playing volleyball until a sailor drops off a tuba for Goofy that was found at sea.  The tuba has a note from his grandfather talking about a treasure that will save his home.  Goofy's friend's and the pirate, Peg Leg Pete offer to assist in the treasure hunt.  They will have to work together quickly to retrieve the treasure before the island sinks into the sea.

The third episode takes place at the farm fair and the mouseketeers compete in various challenges to see which team is the most nimble.  I truly hope that younger kids don't imitate the egg and spoon race from this episode.

Other than a potential egg mess, I highly recommend this DVD for younger children that don't mind talking back to the television.  Though my kids didn't talk back to the TV, they did enjoy the show.   The DVD sells for less than $15 on Amazon and is worth it for Mickey Mouse Club fans.


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What Is Salvation

Thank you Bohlsen Group for sending us a copy of this book!

Many Christians often wonder if they are truly saved and many non-believers wonder what salvation is all about.  Is it simply praying a prayer and apologizing for your sins, or is there more to it?  Can a person lose their salvation?  Pastor Bill Parker has spent over thirty years studying the Bible and has put together a comprehensive guide for true salvation.

The book What is Salvation contains eight chapters and is 101 pages long.  It looks at salvation from the eternal realm,  legal realm, spiritual realm, and from the glorified realm.  Each of these realms have four common truths.  All four of them are of the Lord, all of them are necessary for the salvation of God's people, and they are all founded upon the Lord Jesus Christ as the salvation of His people.  According to this book "...Salvation, including faith, is a free gift that comes by the sovereign will, power, mercy, and grace of God, not by the sinner's will." (page 60)    The passage this statement is based on is Romans 9:15-16.  

There are many bold statements made by this book and each one of them is backed by scripture.  Many believers debate about the possibility of losing one's salvation.  The stance this book takes is that "Truly saved people can never be condemned or lost again" and that "the reason so many believe salvation can be lost is because they believe salvation can be gained/and or maintained by some condition(s) sinners meet, at least in some way, at some stage, to some degree."  (page 68)  Those quotes are based on passages like John 6:37-40, John 10:27-30, and Romans 8:31-39.  The whole passages are displayed which makes this book a little easier to read without having to crack open the Bible every five paragraphs to look up the reference verse.  

With that said, this book is very thorough and I could only read a chapter or two a day to have enough time to let the information absorb into my non-seminary student brain.   While it wasn't exactly a page turner for me, I did find it well written and relatively easy to follow.  The asking price is a reasonable $7.99 on Amazon and I recommend looking into it if you have any questions about your or any loved one's salvation.


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Miles From Tomorrowland - Let's Rocket!

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this DVD!

Miles From Tomorrowland is a futuristic space themed animated series on Disney Junior.  It came out in February of 2015 and has some recurring characters with famous voice actors including Bill Nye, Alton Brown, Wil Wheaton, George Takei, and Mark Hamill.  The main character, Miles, is an enthusiastic and curious kid that often finds himself in and out of trouble.  His sister, Loretta, is the complete opposite and follows the rules and is the smarter of the two kids.  Their mother, Phoebe, is the spaceship's captain with their father, Leo, as the ship's engineer.  The parents work for Tomorrowland's Transit Authority and undertake many missions to keep outer space safe for all of its travelers.

The Let's Rocket DVD contains ten episodes including:

  • Runaway Shuttle -There's an out of control ice cream truck heading to one of Jupiter's smoldering moons, Io.  The Callistos have been summoned to assist their former schoolmate, Lucky, who is trapped in the ice cream vehicle.   

  • Surfing the Whirlpool - Miles wants to go surfing with his dad where he used to hang out as a younger surfer dude.  While the mother and daughter stay behind, they learn of a huge gamma ray burst heading straight for Miles and his dad.

  • Ocean in Motion - The Callistos have been summoned to figure out why a probe has received water damage.  The most unusual part of this mystery is the planet that the probe is on, doesn't have any water.  Or does it?

  • Explorer Exchange - Blodger Blopp visits the Callisto family as part of a Cosmic Explorers exchange program.  

  • Game On - While a new highway is being setup in an uncharted quadrant, the Callistos are sent to introduce themselves to the alien races in that sector to start an alliance.  They get captured as prisoners instead.

  • How I saved My Summer Vacation - The Callisto family is on vacation, but the vacant planet they visit is nothing like the pamphlets describe it.    

  • Who Stole The Stellosphere?  While Miles is left behind to clean his room, his family's spaceship is stolen.  Can Miles stall the thief to help his uncle and family reclaim their ship?

  • Rock N' Roll - Miles is finally big enough to use the Exoflex.  His whole family is certified to use it, and it adds pressure for Miles to learn how to use it quickly.  Unfortunately, he's not the natural he had hoped he would be.  Miles will have to overcome his doubts and save his family from a rock slide on the moon using the Exoflex.

  • The Goldilocks Zone - Miles gets reunited with a former skating buddy of his. As sweet at the reunion is, the situation could have been better since his friend's home planet was destroyed.

  • Hiccup In The Plan - The Callistos accept a mission to locate a missing beacon.  However, the mission would be a lot easier to accomplish if Merc, the robotic ostrich, didn't have ship shaking hiccups.


My kids enjoyed this two hour DVD and are new fans of the Miles From Tomorrowland series.  My son liked the bundled blastboard flashlight.    The DVD sells for a little over $12 on Amazon and is worth buying for any kid that likes outer space.


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Where Hope Grows

Thank you Rogers and Cowen for sending us this DVD to review!

Calvin Campbell is a former professional baseball player who would rather go drinking with his friends than spend time with his seventeen year old daughter who needs him in her life.  She is dating a guy that is older than her and has a one track mind.  She knows her father doesn't approve of him, but when he doesn't spend time with her,  she's running into her boyfriend's arms instead.  

While shopping at the local grocery store for some food and alcohol, Calvin Campbell meets an employee there with Down syndrome.  He goes by the name Produce and just so happens to work in the produce department.  Produce is a good employee that knows the SKU numbers for every fruit and vegetable in the store.  As much as he longs for the employee of the month recognition, the honor always seems to elude him.  Despite the lack of recognition, Produce is very friendly and makes many friends at the store.  One of those friendships is with Calvin who can use a good friend to help him get his life back in order.  

Where Hope Grows tells a good story about redemption and spending more time with your loved ones.  Because of the language, heavy drinking, and sexual situations, I don't recommend this movie for young children.  It's accurately rated PG-13.  With that said, I highly recommend it for everyone else.  The picture quality and acting is well done.  I recognized the actors Alan Powell from The Song and William Zabka from Karate Kid.  Sometimes the actor for Produce, David DeSanctis, was a little hard to understand, but he still did an excellent job and made his character lovable.  I like how the movie and cast vowed to stop using the "R" word to describe people with Down syndrome.   The message of not under-estimating or giving up on people is clear and needs to be shared.  The DVD sells for less than $13 and the Blu-Ray goes for $18 on Amazon.


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Descendants

Thank you Disney for sending us this movie to review!

Unlike previous Disney movies, Descendants opens up with a story from a tablet instead of a book.  When Belle and Beast married they rounded up all of the villains and cast them away on an island with no Wifi and no escape.  That is until Belle and Beast's son, Ben, is crowned king of Auradon and gives the offspring of the most notorious villains a chance to live a normal life in his kingdom.  Their parents Evil Queen (Snow White), Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Jafar (Aladdin), and Cruella De Vil (101 Dalmations) eagerly await their kids efforts to reclaim the fairy godmother's wand to undo the protection magic on the Isle of the Lost. 

Getting their hands on the wand is no easy task since it is locked down in a museum.  The misfits will have to make friends at the boarding school and become acquainted with the offspring of Dopey, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and the fairy godmother.  Sadly many of the friendships are one sided as the descendants are using their social engineering skills and magic to get what they want.  

They're not all bad once they step away from their parent's shadows though.  I like how this movie teaches about forgiveness and redemption.  Each of the descendants learns to accomplish things on their own and they become well aware of good and evil and its consequences.  Some of the treatment the descendants get is well deserved, but not all of it is.

Without spoiling the story I'll refrain from going into more detail.  I do however, highly recommend this film for anyone who enjoys Disney's animated classics.  The characters are well developed and the songs (though obviously lip synched) and costumes are vibrant and well done.  I enjoyed the rap remake of Be Our Guest.   All three of my kids liked this film and  I'm sure other families will enjoy it as well.


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Patterns of Evidence

Thank you Rogers and Cowan for sending us this DVD to review!

Skepticism is on the rise and Christianity has been under attack from scientists, scholars, and archaeologists.  Many consider the Bible to be nothing more than a history book or just a bunch of fairy tales.  For more than fifty years, many prominent archaeologists believe that there is no solid evidence for the events in Exodus taking place as the Bible claims.  This view is so widespread that prominent rabbis like David Wolpe consider the book of Exodus to be "historical fiction."

If the book of Exodus is myth then the rest of the Bible loses its credibility and purpose.  Director Timothy Mahoney sets out to validate or disprove the Bible's account of Exodus in a twelve year archaeological journey to Egypt and around the world. Throughout this documentary (narrated by Kevin Sorbo) there are interviews with prominent Egyptologists, historians, archaeologists, authors, and even the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Shimon Peres, the president of Israel.

What Tim discovers is that many people assume the Biblical Exodus took place during the New Kingdom era of Rameses II.  There is no evidence of a famine, infanticide, or vacating and destruction of Biblical cites in that time period.  However, if you examine the previous era, the Middle Kingdom, there is evidence that matches up perfectly with the Bible time frame and historical accounts.  The problem with these findings is that it would mean that all of the dating to this point would be inaccurate and this is a tough pill to swallow for  Egyptologists, historians, and archaeologists.  

The evidence is pretty compelling and this DVD is extremely well thought out and goes about this process from a scientific approach.  The arguments made are logical and validated by the Bible and archaeological evidence taken from the Middle kingdom era.  I highly recommend watching this $20 DVD/$25 Blu-Ray and seeing this journey unfold for yourself.   

 

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Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

Thank you Click Communications for sending us this Blu-Ray to review!

The Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection contains twelve short films that are bound to make you and your family laugh, cry, and stay on the edge of your seat.  Even though my family owns several Disney movies, we have only seen two of the short films beforehand.  The collection includes:

 

  • Frozen Fever - Elsa wants to make up for lost time and throw her sister a birthday party that she'll never forget.  The only problem is that Elsa isn't feeling that well.
  • Feast - A dog is enjoying the bachelor life style with his owner and all of the junk food that goes along with it.  Things change when the owner gets a health conscious girlfriend and hilarity ensues.  
  • Get a Horse - The classic black and white Disney characters get a 3D CGI-makeover in this silly short.
  • Paperman - A couple falls in love at first sight and suddenly get separated - can paper airplanes reunite them?
  • Tangled Ever After - Pascal and Maximus lose the rings for Rapunzel and  Flynn Rider's wedding.  They go through a lot of effort and humiliation to retrieve them.
  • The Ballad Of Nessie - The origin of Loch Ness is explained in this story about a dragon who was kicked out of her happy pond when a mini golf course took over the region.
  • Prep & Landing - Operation: Secret Santa - Christmas is just around the corner and Mrs. Claus needs the help of some tech savvy elves to put together a gift for Santa.
  • Tick Tock Tale - Clocks can live an exciting life too, especially when the owner of a clock shop leaves for the day.
  • How To Hook Up Your Home Theater - Goofy just wants to watch a football game on a good sized television in the comfort of his own home.  Little does he know how complicated setting up a home theater can be!
  • The Little Match Girl - In the dead of winter a poor girl is trying to sustain herself by selling matches.  Unfortunately nobody seems to be interested in buying them or helping her stay warm.  Perhaps her matches can comfort her?  
  • Lorenzo - A gluttonous cat enjoys eating in front of starving cats starting at him from his window.  As a tail-less cat walks by, Lorenzo makes fun of it.  He is then cursed with a tail that has a mind of its own that likes to dance the Tango.  
  • John Henry - Recently freed slaves are promised land for helping construct rail road tracks. The deadline is quickly looming and they may lose this opportunity.  The legendary John Henry with his super strength gives it his all to  help secure better lives for his family and friends. 

 

All of the shorts are entertaining and fun to watch for young and old alike.  Like many cartoons there is some silly violence and a couple of the shorts end with the death of the main character.  Fortunately, most of them are lighthearted.  The Blu-Ray/DVD combo sells for $20 on Amazon and is well worth the price if you don't own the shorts already on other Disney movies.


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That Sugar Film

Thank you Sunshine Sachs for sending us a DVD screener of this film!

Thanks to his girlfriend of five years, Damon Gameau has been eating a healthy diet with very little sugar in it. With a baby on the way he wants to see firsthand what impact seemingly healthy foods would have on his trim body. His goal is to eat the national average of forty-four teaspoons of sugar a day for two months and to record the negative changes his body goes through as a result. Instead of indulging on known sugary food like candy and ice cream, his new diet will include food with hidden forms of sugars in food such such as yogurt, granola, and fruit juices. 

To document his journey, Damon enlists the help of several doctors and a nutritionalist. While they monitor his calorie intake and the deterioration of his liver, Damon still exercises as he did before this experiment. Not surprisingly Damon started to develop fatty liver disease, mood swings, and loss of energy throughout this documentary. His abdomen and rear end grew in size as well.

That Sugar Film is not just about Damon - he travels across Australia and to the United states to interview Aborigines and other people impacted by sugary sodas like Mountain Dew. Soda addiction has put many Aborigines in the grave or on dialysis and there was a seventeen year old in the US with such badly rotten teeth that he needed to have them pulled and get dentures. The dental procedure is a little graphic and there are some images of naked Aborigines. 

Other than those scenes, there are some light hearted skits and silly songs featuring famous actors like Stephen Fry and Hugh Jackman. Most of the film is as serious as the issue at hand. People have to learn to read the labels on all of their food items; many foods look innocent, but contain the daily suggested amount of sugar by themselves! After seeing That Sugar Film and Fed Up, our family has been paying closer attention to how much sugar is in the food we are eating and have eliminated sugary cereals from our pantry. Thankfully we have never been big soda drinkers, but we have been fooled by seemingly healthy food. I highly recommend watching this movie, and if you don't please pay more attention to the amount of sugar (in all of its forms) in the foods you are eating.

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Project Afterlife

Thank you Destination America for sending us a screener of the first episode!

People often ponder what happens after we die.  Do the lights simply fade out, or is there more to it than that?  The Bible says that Jesus is the resurrection and the life. He who believes in him, though he may die, he shall live. (John 11:25)  The team of Project Afterlife set out to talk to various people who have clinically died and have miraculously come back.  Their stories thus far indicate that there is indeed more to come after we die.  Are you ready for that day?

Each of the six-part series will look at two extraordinary cases.  The team consists of an investigative filmmaker, a paramedic, an ordained minister, and a retired state trooper.   A camera man and another teammate (who has some expertise on the case at hand) will interrogate the resurrected person and those involved with their death and resuscitation.    

The first episode has a case about a non-believer in his fifties that had a massive heart attack and died at a hospital shortly after his arrival.  He was pronounced dead and was unresponsive for forty minutes.  Despite all of the doctors' efforts, they cleared the room with the exception of one nurse.  The doctor in charge left the room and was audibly told to pray for the man and to try reviving him again.  The doctor obeyed after being told twice by this voice in his head (whom he believed to be the Lord's).  Even though his actions were questioned by the nurse and another doctor who entered the room, he prayed for the deceased man and shocked him one more time.  After putting his reputation and possible career on the line, the once dead man came back to life despite his body darkening after the massive heart attack he suffered.   

While that man was not a believer at his death, this experience changed his views and he lives a completely different life now as a result.   The doctor who obeyed and saved him was greatly impacted by this experience as well.  I won't go into too much more detail as this show is worth seeing firsthand.

Project Afterlife re-enacts the experiences of the people who have died and their experiences in the afterlife.  The deaths are sometimes dramatic and will keep you at the edge of your seat.  The experiences afterward are certainly eye opening and reveal that we may indeed have free will after our death too.   The minister came to that conclusion after hearing about the case of the newlywed wife who chose to come back to her husband after drowning in a fatal scuba diving accident.

If you find these cases and this show intriguing, tune into Destination America this August for the season premier coming on the 9th.  I'm looking forward to seeing more episodes.

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I'm Your Bride - Donna Allen

Thank you Jones & O'Malley for sending us this CD to review!

Donna Allen has been making R&B music since the eighties and released a couple of CDs, "Perfect Timing" in 1986 and "Heaven on Earth" in 1988.  She released some singles in the '90s and her song "He is the Joy" appeared on the Precious soundtrack.  In 2010 she released the single "He's Got the Power" which is the final track in her latest CD: I'm Your Bride.

Those who watch the show, The Voice, may have seen her singing "You Are So Beautiful" and blowing away Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera.  

After seeing her performance, there's no denying that she has a powerful and great voice.  It's even more inspiring that she uses it to glorify God in her latest album.

There are ten songs with a variety of styles from R&B to dance, rock and some gospel/soul tracks.  I'm not a fan of the bride theme of the CD cover or the title song, but the CD itself is pretty solid.  The messages are spiritual and uplifting and many of them have catchy tunes. Though I haven't managed to sing to any of them or get any of the songs in my head.  My favorite song from the CD is Get Yo Bless'in which is very upbeat and talks about God's grace.  I think that song would be a good one to listen to while cleaning the house.  

The least inspiring song is Music is My Religion and I think the title pretty much says it all.  Music can definitely make us dance and sing and it can bring us closer or further away from God depending on what we're listening to. Thankfully most of the tracks on this CD are inspiring and God honoring.   If you like Christian gospel music, I'm You're Bride is worth checking out.


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Brother's Keeper

Thank you Falco Ink for sending us this blu-ray to review!

Brother's Keeper tells the compelling story of identical twins, Andy and Pete Goodwyn who tragically lost their parents at a young age.  As a result, they rely on each other and go in completely opposite directions with their lives.  With their high school graduation drawing near, Pete is planning for his future by making arrangements to marry his girlfriend and attending a seminary to become a preacher.  His brother on the other hand, has no plans other than picking fights with those that look at him the wrong way.  

Both of their lives are forever changed when Pete is framed for a murder that he did not commit.  To complicate matters further, the town's police and witnesses are bribed to pursue the death penalty for Pete.  As a devout Christian, Pete's faith is greatly challenged as his situation is getting more and more dire.

Though he doesn't notice it right away, Pete does make a positive impact on the people he interacts with in prison.  Not to mention the transformation that his brother, Andy goes through.  Pete does have his dark moments and a fellow believing inmate (played by Travis Tritt), offers him some solid and Biblical advice.  

While Brother's Keeper tells a powerful story about forgiveness, it's best enjoyed by a mature audience.  There are adult themes including murder, adultery, drinking/drunkenness, and smoking.  The story is engaging,  but predictable at times.  Some things still caught me by surprise though.  

Brother's Keeper is one of the better Christian movies I have seen and I highly recommend renting it at the very least.  It sells for less than $13 on DVD and the blu-ray version goes for $25.  


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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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