Archive for category: Book Reviews (Page 7)

Where to find video clip illustrations

21 Apr
April 21, 2008

I happen to be one of those guys who love to incorporate video illustrations in sermons and youth talks and over the last few years I’ve built up a list of places I go to for ideas.  I used to just come up with them on my own, but that takes a lot of time and why reinvent the wheel?  There are several great options out there that have clip ideas that are searchable by title, scripture reference, topic, and more.  Great stuff!  Here are my favorites:

Videos that Teach book series – Eddie James & Doug Fields have put together a great series of books with video clip ideas from popular movies.  Each book has 75 different clip ideas.  The books are indexed by scripture tie-ins, topics, and movie titles.  Not only do they include a clip idea, they also have suggested scriptures and discussion questions.  I have all the books and ended up scanning through them for ideas just about every week; here are what they’ve come up with so far:  Videos that Teach; Videos that Teach 2; Videos that Teach 3; Videos that Teach 4.

Blockbuster Movie Illustrations – Bryan Belknap has created three video clip ideas books similar to the Videos that Teach series.  His books have 150 clip ideas in each one and are also indexed by movie title, scripture references and topics.  There are scripture suggestions and discussion questions for each clip idea which makes it a great resource as well!  Here are the books he has come up with so far: Blockbuster Movie Illustrations; Blockbuster Movie Illustrations – the Sequel; Blockbuster Movie Illustrations- the Return.

Wingclips – Wingclips is a website with free low-res clips from movies currently in theaters or recently released on DVD.  You can pay to get the higher quality versions, but the low-res are still good enough for a presentation in my opinion.  While they don’t have a massive list of movies, I love that they have clips from movies currently in megaplexes, making it VERY relevant.

Bluefish TV – Bluefish produces their own clips, so they are specifically aimed at a church or youth audience and are intended to be illustrations to a Bible based message (as opposed to clips taken from popular movies).  What’s cool is their price: $1.99 per download.  While they’re not my favorite download site, there isn’t a site out there selling downloadable clips for less!

Worship House Media – This is my favorite site.  While the cost is higher (anywhere from $6-$20 per download), the quality is absolutely the best.  They have a massive selection of videos specifically created to be ministry related illustrations.  They are easily searchable, and there is stuff for every audience.  This is where I usually end up getting clips.  Usually they have something for free as well, so that’s another plus for checking in every once and a while.

So, what’s your favorite video clip resource?  I’d love to have some more ideas!

Velvet Elvis (book review)

18 Apr
April 18, 2008

By Rob Bell
Zondervan, 2005, 208 pp., $19.99 (hard cover), $14.99 (paperback)

Go buy, borrow, or steal this book immediately. Maybe not steal it, that’s not cool. But definitely get it. Bell’s Velvet Elvis inspired more reaction and conviction than anything I have read in a long time. Through his extensive knowledge of Jewish culture and language, Bell is able to draw more depth out of the New Testament than I thought previously possible. He calls into question many long standing thoughts and attitudes, brings to light new questions, and saturates the work with a love of God and awe of the thoroughness of His wisdom and plan. His unique writing style captures his speaking style perfectly; as I read the book it felt as though I was listening to him. This book captured me, and I would have finished it in record time if I didn’t have to put it down so often just so I could sit back and process what I was learning. Buy two copies, one for you and one to pass around.

This review, by me, originally appeared in the Youthworker Journal.

It's Not About Me: Live Like You Mean It (book review)

15 Apr
April 15, 2008

IT’S NOT ABOUT ME: LIVE LIKE YOU MEAN IT (teen edition and leader’s guide)
By Max Lucado
Integrity Publishers, 2005, 166 pp. (teen edition), 122 pp. (leader’s guide), $10.99 (teen edition), $14.99 (leader’s guide)

This is the best I have read from Lucado! Very challenging, very thought provoking, and very relevant. While it’s aimed at teens, he does not talk down to them whatsoever. Through Lucado’s writing, and the stories of young people throughout the world, he exposes the self-centeredness we often times live in and what we can do about it through knowing God, our message, our salvation, our body, our struggles and our successes. With the discussion guides included, it is also easy to bridge the gap between head knowledge and actual application. I would love for every teen in my group to read this book. The Leader’s Guide is also a great resource, providing many activities, games, further illustrations and lesson plans to help take the students through the message of the book.. My one frustration is the cost of the teen edition; at eleven bucks a pop, it would be a challenge for this small church youth pastor to provide copies for my youth group.

This review, by me, was originally published in Youthworker Journal.

HELP! I'm a Student Leader! (book review)

11 Apr
April 11, 2008

Help! I’m a Student Leader

By Doug Fields, 2005, 138 pp., $9.99 on sale – $7.99!

All right, I admit it: I’m a Doug Fields groupie. But it’s because of books like this one! Fields conveys a great love and passion for student leaders throughout the book; it’s obvious that he wants to see them grow and develop into the leaders God calls them to be. He covers topics such as Christ’s leadership style, service, getting friends involved, listening, being a leader at home, and deepening one’s own faith. The book is easy to read, and a reasonable length for students who are already saturated with homework, jobs and extracurricular activities. He also includes thoughts and input from student leaders in the book which further helps connect it to its intended audience. This is a great resource to give to your students who are leaders, or that you want to challenge to leadership. Go through it with your student leadership team, or one on one. Just watch, you’ll become a groupie, too!

This review, by me, originally appeared in Youthworker Journal.

Conversations with Jesus (book review)

30 Mar
March 30, 2008


Editted by Jay Alsdorf, Lauren Conner, Trevor Conner, Emily Donder, Brandon Harrigan, Julie Krogh, Gina Krogh, Alex Krohn, Brittany Poyer, Corinn Rotter and Daniel Schlereth.  Youth Specialties, 2006, 133 pp., $10.99

Put together by Youth For Christ, this is a devotional book created to provide 60 days of study. Each two page devotional includes a topic summary, key scriptures written out, as well as references for additional scripture study, a devotional written from the perspective of Jesus, a summary challenge and space for journaling. There are a wide variety of topics addressed through the various devotions, all very current and relevant to young people today. I was surprised with just how am impressed with this resource I am. It’s well written, thought out and very applicable. This is a tool that I would very happily give to my teens – and it’s one that they would enjoy using.

This review, by me, was originally printed in the Journal of Student Ministries.

Marked for life (book review)

24 Mar
March 24, 2008


By Crystal Woodman Miller with Ashley Wiersma; TH1NK Books, 2006, 167 pp., $12.99

A survivor from the horrifying killing spree in the Columbine library, Crystal shares her powerful story and transformation that God has worked in her life through as a result of tragedy. To be honest, my initial reaction was wondering if we really needed another book about Colubine? However, I was thoroughly drawn in by her great writing, powerful story telling and focus on how God has been able to give her beauty from the ashes of Columbine. Hearing her message of hope in the midst of current tragedies and the ways in which God has used her experience to help so many others in similar situations is truly inspiring. As it turns out, Crystal’s story is very relevant to young people today and a great tool for starting discussion on God’s presence in suffering.

This review, by me, was originally printed in the Journal of Student Ministries.

Serving with eyes wide open (book review)

19 Mar
March 19, 2008


By David A Livermore; Baker Books, 2006, 188 pp., $12.99

Every Christian traveling abroad, whether missionary, short term missionary or even as a tourist, should read this book. One of my greatest frustrations growing up a missionary kid in South America was seeing the damage well meaning, but culturally unaware, believers caused during their brief stays. Livermore has written a great resource for believers who want to leave the right kind of legacy in their travels. He gives glimpses of the global church, new understanding on interpreting other cultures, and thinking through the purpose of short term mission trips. However, the greatest asset in this book is the discussion on the conflicting responses to short term mission teams; more specifically, the impression Americans think they are giving as opposed to what the locals actually think. This is not a condemnation of American missionaries, though – rather, it is a great tool for being better prepared and more equipped to communicate the right messages and be more intentional in being culturally aware. This book should be on every mission team’s required reading list.

This review, by me, originally appeared in the Journal of Student Ministries.

Inside a Cutter's Mind (book review)

13 Mar
March 13, 2008


By Jerusha Clark with Dr. Earl Henslin; TH1NK Books, 2007, 240 pp., $12.99

Clark and Henslin have put together an incredible book on the topic of self-injury. This is an issue where it seems many have very little knowledge and a great deal of confusion, yet at the same time, if statistics are at all accurate, we all most likely have teens and adults in our lives impacted by this very issue. What the authors have put together is a thorough exploration of self injury; they deal with the psychology, the underlying issues, the triggers and shame, and they do it all in such a way that it is very understandable and eye opening. They deal with the myths and misunderstandings that are so common, and also provide great wisdom in how to respond, how to play a role in a self-injurer’s recovery, and what methods of treatment are out there. This is a must have for anyone working with young people today. It is well written, thoroughly researched and very relevant.

This review, by me, was originally published in the Journal of Student Ministries.

Best Of Try This One (book review)

09 Mar
March 9, 2008

Best of Try This One

Editor: E. Paul Allen; 2006, 120 pp., $17.99 $12.49 (sale!)

This book is the latest addition to the short stack of go-to resources I keep handy for quick, but good ideas! This collection of hundreds of ideas have been selected from the best of the thousands of “Try This One” ideas that have appeared in issues of Group Magazine over the years. There are Bible studies, crowdbreakers, discussion starters, group builders, games, fundraisers and outreach programs. I have to say, I love every part of this resource – the wide variety of topics, the sheer number of ideas, how easy and practical they are, and the price – for what you get, it is a deal! Definitely a must have!

This review, by me, was originally printed in the Journal of Student Ministries.

Underwear Do's and Don'ts

05 Mar
March 5, 2008

Well, my boys are pumped.  This is what happens when Caleb goes to the library with Grandma McNutt … he comes home with a book about underwear.  Underwear Do’s and Don’ts, to be exact, by Todd Parr.  It contains such pearls of wisdom as “do go shopping for underwear with a hippo, don’t let her try it on,” and “do have lots of different kinds of underwear, don’t wear it all at once,” and, of course, “do wear striped underwear if you’re a zebra, don’t wear polka-dotted ones.”  Basically, after a day, all three of them had it memorized.  Now they just sit around reading it and giggling about all the underwear stuff.  Sheesh!

Thanks, Mom!