Monday, August 31, 2015

War Room Movie Supplemental Materials

War Room Movie Supplemental Materials

Two days ago, I posted my review of the War Room movie.  I want to take a minute to let you know about a few supplemental materials that are already available.  These materials are great resources for building upon Bible Study discussions, aiding Leadership, promoting the War Room movie, and planning outreach.  For more personal use, the Battle Plan for Prayer teaches us how to pray effectively and then you can track your personal prayer life with the Battle Plan Prayer Journal.

If you are not yet familiar with the War Room movie, learn more and watch the trailer here.

War Room Movie Supplemental Materials

War Room Movie Supplemental Materials

Yes, War Room is in book form! Get it here.

Battle Plan for Prayer
The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies

This book is designed to help you build a strong prayer life and deeper relationship with God.

War Room Bible Study Book

This short Bible Study series includes 5 lessons:

Dealing with Spiritual Lukewarmness

Christian Accountability

Grasping Grace and the Gospel

Engaging in Spiritual Warfare

Trusting God in Prayer

Get the War Room Bible Study Book here.

War Room Bible Study
War Room Leader Kit

The War Room Leader Kit is designed to aid those who lead the War Room Bible Study. Get it here

The Battle Plan Prayer Journal

The Battle Plan Prayer Journal measures 3.7in. X 0.6in. X 5.7in. You can carry it in your purse or pocket. Inside, you will find guided prayer prompts, prayer request organization, scripture reminders, answered prayer tracking, and more. Get it here.

War Room Church Campaign Kit

The War Room Church Campaign Kit is designed to help churches promote the movie and plan outreach efforts. This kit includes the War Room Bible Study Leader Kit and other helpful resources. To learn about the complete contents of the campaign kit and to get it for your church, click here.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

War Room Movie Review: Prayer is Powerful

War Room Movie Review: Prayer is Powerful
Image Used by Permission via The War Room Media Room

We saw War Room last night and it was one of the Kendrick Brothers’ best films yet.  The movie stars Priscilla Shirer, T.C. Stallings, and Karen Abercrombie with appearances from Beth Moore, Michael Jr., Alena Pitts, Jadin Alexis Harris, Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick, and Gary Wheeler.

War Room Movie Review: Prayer is Powerful

War Room is a powerful movie with a powerful message.  Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have great jobs, a nice home, and a lovely young daughter.  They seem to be living a dream life, but their marriage is failing.  Then, Elizabeth meets Miss Clara.  Elizabeth is a real estate agent and Clara is one of her clients.  Elizabeth visits Miss Clara to settle the details about selling Miss Clara’s home.  While there, Miss Clara shows Elizabeth her favorite rooms.  She reveals to Elizabeth her most favorite room, her War Room.  Miss Clara had turned a closet in to a War Room.  Her War Room is where Miss Clara fights spiritual battles for her family in prayer.  In her War Room is a chair, her Bible, and notes taped to her closet War Room wall.
But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:6
Elizabeth occasionally attends church but she admits to Miss Clara that her prayer life is neither hot nor cold, but rather luke-warm.
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. ~ Revelation 3:16
Miss Clara shows Elizabeth in a clever demonstration that luke-warm isn’t good enough.  She helps Elizabeth improve her prayer life and Elizabeth resolves to go into her own War Room and fight a raging battle to save her marriage.

War Room is not only a movie about saving a marriage and strengthening the home but also a movie about the power of prayer.  The movie demonstrates the value of an intentional prayer life which is just as powerful in any area of battle.

I was so inspired by the message of War Room that I got up this morning and immediately began working on my own War Room.  I have a few more things to add, but my War Room is ready, my prayer strategy is in place, and this warrior woman is ready for battle. 

I highly recommend War Room and I hope that if you are reading this post, you will make plans to see this movie as soon as you can.  Get your tickets early.  Our theater was sold out and I’m receiving reports that theaters are sold our all over our area.  If War Room is not playing in your area, call your theaters and tell them you want War Room to come to your area.

Watch the Trailer here.


Learn more about War Room here.

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Friday, August 7, 2015

BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio

BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio
Image Used by Permission from the Author, Gene Del Vecchio

BetterNot And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio

BetterNot:  Teaching Morals and Manners

*BetterNot And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio was provided for me in exchange for my honest review.

I work with preschoolers in my home.  Teaching children good morals and the value of using good manners is important to me and even more important to the children’s parents.  BetterNot And the Tale of Bratsville by Gene Del Vecchio is a children’s book which helps children learn the importance of practicing good morals and manners.

The story takes place in an imaginary town called Bratsville where little children cannot behave themselves.  Their parents have tried to teach their children good morals and manners, but their children keep misbehaving.

Children are introduced to characters who pick their noses, use bad table manners, shout, hit, steal, and lie.  One day, “Old Doctor John” tells the children about a creature who will punish them for their bad behavior.

But the children continue to misbehave.

The creature from the magical swamp visits each child and causes each one to experience “uncomfortable” circumstances due to their behavior.  Each child learns a valuable lesson about how using bad manners and morals affects not only other children, but also themselves.

The children learn that the creature called BetterNot acted out of love.  He loved them enough to teach them the consequences of their behavior.  At the end of the book, children are encouraged to listen to their parents and to treat others as they would want to be treated.

As a parent and educator, I found this book helpful for teaching morals and manners.  I read this book to a group of children ranging in ages from 2 to 10.  The two year old children were mostly interested in the photos.  The book is well illustrated by Roderick Fong.  It is an attractive book which appeals to children.  The older children were interested in the story, especially the ways in which BetterNot the creature taught the children their lessons.  Children between the ages of 3 and 5 quickly picked up on the rhyming nature of the story.  Occasionally, I would pause to see if they would correctly fill in the rhyming word.  Most of the time, they did.

I love that this book appeals to different age groups.  It is a great tool to begin conversations about behavior.

Now, let’s hear from the experts!  Here is what my little group of kids thought about BetterNot And the Tale of Bratsville.

Alex (age 6):  This book is good!  I like the part where the boy’s eyes got captured by the TV.

Katie Beth (age 5):  I like the part where all the kids started acting like angels. 

Camden (age 10):  I liked the part when the kid turned into a cupcake and when the kids started being good.

Maeve (age 8):  I like the whole book!

Martin (age 5):  I thought it was funny when the kid turned into a cupcake and when the kids became nice.

Braden (age 3):  There was a monster in it.

Hadley (age 2):  I really liked the cupcake.

The children enjoyed the consequences the child characters endured because of their behavior and they realized the reasons the children needed to be nice, use good manners, and practice good morals.

This book provides parents, teachers, and caregivers several opportunities to discuss behavior with children of all ages.

I love reading a book to my kids and then developing educational materials to go along with the book.  After reading BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville to your kids, consider using some of the items in the book to teach letters.  For example, read the book and then help children associate the letter C with cupcake, D with dinosaur, M with mirror, T with toy, etc.  Have the children choose their favorite characters and draw pictures.  Ask the children to talk about some of their own behaviors and ask them what BetterNot might do to them.  Have younger children draw a picture and have the older children write a short story.  The educational possibilities are endless with this book.

If you would like a sneak peak at BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville, you can view sample pages here:  BetterNot SAMPLE PAGES 

Gene Del Vecchio is a husband, father, consultant, and educator at USC. 

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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Called for Life by Kent and Amber Brantly

Called for Life by Kent Brantly
Image Used With Permission via Family Christian Bloggers

*Called for Life by Kent and Amber Brantley was given to me for free by Family Christian Bookstores (via Family Christian Bloggers)  in exchange for an honest review.  My review of this book is purely my own.  I was in no way encouraged to write a positive review.

Called for Life recounts the weeks during July and August of 2014 when Samaritan’s Purse missionary to Liberia, Kent Brantly, contracted the Ebola virus.  This inspiring book attributes a personality to the name, to the face, to the patient we all watched, prayed for, and in some degree, feared.

Called for Life by Kent and Amber Brantly

Last year, I remember hearing the news about a couple of Samaritan’s Purse missionaries in Liberia who had contracted the Ebola virus.  The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa had been in the news headlines.  I remember feeling saddened by the news.  I also remember feeling concerned at the thought of the virus being brought into the United States.  Rumors spread that at least one of the Liberian missionaries might be flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.  Like most everyone I knew, I felt compassion for these sick missionaries, but also concern for our own welfare.  I wanted these missionaries to receive the care they needed, but I also did not want this deadly virus inside our US borders.  I remember watching the plane land at Dobbins Air Force BaseIt was here.  We had Ebola in the United States.  I remember watching the ambulance pull into the parking lot of the hospital.  I watched as Kent Brantly emerged from the ambulance and walked inside.  I was glad to see him walk.  I wanted him to recover in a safe environment, but I did not want this virus close to my family.  The mother of one of my in-home preschool children was a triage nurse at another Atlanta hospital.  If the disease were to spread, the likelihood of the virus coming inside my own home became a real possibility.  I was compassionate, but also somewhat frightened.

When presented with the possibility of reviewing Called for Life, compliments of Family Christian Books, I jumped at the chance.  I watched Kent Brantley’s story as it had unfolded in real time.  I had prayed for this missionary but I had also feared him – not him, but the virus he carried.  Then, when he was released from the hospital, I watched his statement to the press.  I remember feeling grateful that his life had been spared, but as I listened to his statement, I realized this man who had battled this deadly virus is also blessed by God.  As he spoke, I felt that God’s healing hands had been on him and that his arrival at Emory University Hospital, only an hour from my home, had been orchestrated by God so that this man’s story would go on to glorify Him.  I wanted to read his story.

Called for Life did not disappoint.

Dr. Brantly begins by describing the conditions in West Africa which led to the Ebola virus outbreak.  He describes the virus so that those of us with little or no medical background can understand the symptoms, the dangers, the way the virus spreads, and the proper protocol for safely treating the disease.

Kent and Amber were medical missionaries who had been called to Liberia, not to treat Ebola specifically, but to minister to the Liberian people.  The Ebola outbreak was not on the horizon when they responded to their calling, but the Brantlys say that if the disease had already spread to that area, it would not have changed their decision.  They were called to serve in Liberia, period.

A few months after they arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, Kent Brantly treated his first Ebola patient and news of the Outbreak became their reality.
During difficult times, Kent and I had learned to reflect on what God had done in our lives and the calling that He had given us, because doing so put everything into perspective.  We’d heard older missionaries say that the work of missions is not safe.  There are no promises that we will always be free of danger.  The next day is never guaranteed.  However, the missionaries could speak from their experiences and assure us of this:  the safest place that we can be is in the center of God’s will.” – Amber Brantly, Called for Life

In Called for Life, Kent and Amber Brantly describe their journey through their battle in detail. Dr. Brantly describes his experience with such detail that as I read through the pages, I felt as if I were there at ELWA hospital, following the doctors and nurses around as they treated patients and took care of one another.

Kent and Amber give Called for Life readers  a glimpse inside their personal and professional lives so that you feel you have visited with them in Monrovia as they served.

Called for Life allows readers to get to know the Brantly family.  The missionary becomes a person.  The sick patient who carried a deadly disease becomes a man who has nothing but compassion for others and sought compassion from others when he needed it most.

By the time I finished the last page of this book, I knew it was God-orchestrated for Kent Brantly to arrive in Atlanta, Georgia.  Would I have the same degree of fear if it happens again?  Yes.  By Dr. Brantly’s own admission inside Called for Life, the means by which he contracted the disease remains a mystery.  He thinks he knows how he caught it, but he will never be sure.  So, yes, I will still be concerned, but after learning about the conditions on the medical mission fields of countries like Liberia, I know he had to come home in order to survive.  I believe God orchestrated his circumstances so that he could come to Atlanta, survive the disease, and tell his story in order to further the Kingdom of God.

To learn more about the Brantly family and understand in greater detail the circumstances surrounding medical missions, the country of Liberia, the needs of nations less prepared than our own, and how God uses tragic circumstances to bring others closer to Him, I highly recommend that you read Called for Life by Kent and Amber Brantly.
When I knelt next to Felicia (Kent’s first Ebola patient) on that rainy June night outside our hospital, I told myself that everything was about to change. I had no idea how true that was. But one thing has not changed: our desire to live faithful to God’s calling. Our calling is to be faithful wherever we are, to be good stewards of opportunities, to be responsible with what we have been given, to try to do good, and to serve those whose paths we cross. For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” – Kent Brantly, Called for Life
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