Community Day: DVD recommendation – The Reason for God DVD Pack by Timothy Keller

Narelle: My Bible study group recently decided to do something different and use The Reason for God DVD study series. There were six sessions that looked at issues people find difficult to deal with when exploring Christianity.

It was fascinating to hear the views held by the panelists and to learn why they struggled with various issues. At times we were a little frustrated because the conversations were edited to fit into the DVD time schedule, although we appreciated the fact that the DVD sessions were relatively short and concise. We would have liked to have heard more details from a few of the panelists on certain discussion points.

Timothy Keller did a great job in moderating the panel and drawing out the essence of each discussion topic. After we watched each session, we worked through the discussion points in the study guide and learned a lot through our conversations. I recommend this DVD study series to groups looking to learn how to answer many of the tough questions asked by people interested in exploring the Christian faith.

Back cover blurb:

In the New York Times bestselling book The Reason for God, Timothy Keller established himself as a modern-day C. S. Lewis who brings together faith and intellect, theology and popular culture, modern-day objections and historic Christian beliefs. Now fans of the book will find resources to help them engage with those same objections, drawing on recent scholarship and debates.

The Reason for God curriculum can be used individually, in groups, or by any believer who is engaging with friends who don’t share his or her beliefs. Christians will be challenged to wrestle with their friends and neighbors’ hardest questions, and to engage those questions in ways that will spark an honest, enriching, and humbling dialogue.

The Reason for God DVD captures a live and unscripted conversation between Timothy Keller and six panelists discussing their objections to Christianity. The discussion guide will help small groups and individuals dig deeper into these objections and learn about both sides of the issues.

Curriculum Details: Session Titles and Descriptions: 1. Isn’t the Bible a Myth? 2. How Can You Say There Is Only One Way to God? 3. What Gives You the Right to Tell Me How to Live My Life? 4. Why Does God Allow Suffering? 5. Why Is the Church Responsible for So Much Injustice? 6. How Can God Be Full of Love and Wrath at the Same Time?

Awards: 2011 Christian Retailers Choice award for Curriculum (Nontraditional) 2011 Outreach Magazine Resources of the Year for Small Group (Curricula)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Reason for God Pack, Includes One DVD and One Discussion Guide from

Book Recommendation: My Emily by Matt Patterson

Back cover blurb:

This book tells the story of a hurting family, an amazing little girl and a mysteriously faithful God. Emily wasn’t born perfect – so one might think. She was born with Down Syndrome and many would jump to the conclusion that she would have very little hope for a life with any significance. Two years later came the diagnosis of leukemia. What little hope remaining turned to no hope whatsoever – or so one might think.

The life of this little girl, with all its perceived imperfections, had great meaning. Her loving nature and courage touched the hearts of everyone she met. She also taught them how to value their own lives – even with their many “imperfections.”

Note: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help families with special needs children, those who are battling pediatric cancers, as well as parents grieving the loss of a little one.

Narelle: One evening I started reading this true story on my Kindle, intent on reading only a couple of pages because my alarm was set for 5.30am. Instead, I read My Emily in one sitting, transfixed by the narrative story of Emily’s short life brought to us from her father’s perspective.

We walk in Matt’s shoes as he faces Emily’s Down Syndrome diagnosis when she’s a newborn and her leukemia diagnosis only a few short years later. This beautiful little girl suffered so much. We experience the gamut of her father’s emotions as he tries to make sense of what is happening to his precious Emily. He questions why God allowed this to happen to his daughter. We gain an understanding of the anguish and grief mixed in with love and blessings as a  brave little girl touches the lives of many people.

This story provided me with an insight into the grief and heartache experienced by parents who lose a child. My mother’s younger sister passed away at a similar age to Emily from a sudden illness. After reading My Emily, I have a greater understanding of how this devastating loss impacted the lives of my grandparents and the whole family.

I highly recommend this book, especially to those looking to support a grieving friend or loved one.

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June Quiz answers: Quiz champion and eBook giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Jessie who has won an eBook copy of People of the Old Testament: Judah and Tamar, Rahab and is our June 2012 Bible Quiz Champion! Jessie is now listed in our Bible Quiz Honour Roll.

Jessie, please contact us at info [at] 30minutebiblestudies [dot] com to claim your prize.

The June Quiz questions and answers are:

1. Who were Tamar’s first two husbands?

Answer: Er and Onan.

2. Which city did Rahab live in before it was destroyed by the Israelites?

Answer: Jericho.

3. What was Joshua’s original name before Moses changed it?

Answer: Hoshea.

4. Name Judah’s sister who was mentioned in Genesis.

Answer: Dinah.

5. Name two sets of twin boys and their parents who were mentioned in Genesis.

Answer: Esau and Jacob (sons of Isaac and Rebekah), Perez and Zerah (sons of Judah and Tamar).

6. List all the tribes of Israel, including the priestly tribe and the tribes who received allotments of land in Canaan.

Answer: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Napthali, Gad, Asher, Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim.

Our featured eBook Bible Study of the month in June will be People of the Old Testament: Deborah, Ruth.

Book Recommendation: A Lineage of Grace (Unashamed) by Francine Rivers

Back cover blurb:

2009 Retailer’s Choice Award winner! In this compilation of the five books in the best-selling Lineage of Grace series by Francine Rivers, we meet the five women whom God chose – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. Each was faced with extraordinary – even scandalous – challenges. Each took great personal risk to fulfill her calling. Each was destined to play a key role in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World.

Narelle:  In Francine River’s fictionalised account of Rahab’s story, she casts Salmon, Rahab’s future husband, in the role of one of the Israelite spies who Rahab hides in her home from the king of Jericho. We journey with Rahab and Salmon as the Israelites conquer the mighty city of Jericho.

Rahab is a harlot who rejects the Canaanite gods of her family and homeland. Instead, she chooses to embrace the God of the Israelites and turn her life around. Rahab’s story is one of incredible courage and faith and I recommend this novella collection to those looking for exciting and insightful Biblical fiction stories.

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by Deborah Horscroft

Rahab does not seem like the type of person to be included in the genealogy of God’s son, or the book of Hebrews list of the faithful, but she is mentioned in both.

The first thing we learn about Rahab in Joshua chapter 2 is that she is a prostitute. The next few things are that she is a traitor and a liar. But as the story unfolds we realise that Rahab has heard of the true God who is the “God of Heaven and Earth”. Like all the people of Jericho, Rahab has come to fear the God of the Israelites. But alone among these Canaanite people living in Jericho, Rahab asks to be saved from the coming destruction and puts her faith in the Lord, risking her life to defy her own king and hide the Israelite spies.

The sign chosen by the spies is a scarlet cord, not to show Rahab lives in a “red-light district”, but as a symbol of the Passover which the men celebrate as they prepare for battle. Like the slaves in Egypt, the cord in Rahab’s window marks her as one who will be passed over on the day of destruction, to be redeemed when salvation comes. In his first letter, Peter reminds his readers that they, like Rahab, are to see themselves as “strangers in the world”.

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:17-19)


The deadline to enter our June Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway is midnight on JUNE 25 AEST.

The June 20 Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway post can be found here: Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway

Community Day: How can you get involved?

Narelle here. Friday is our Community Day on the blog and each Friday we’d like to focus our posts on small groups. Our goal is to feature groups from all around the world. Each group is different and we’d like to know what it is that you love about your group. What makes your group unique and why do you think it’s important to meet together to study the Bible?

We’d love to hear from you and learn more about your group. Please contact us at: community [at] 30minutebiblestudies [dot] com if you’d like more information on how your group could be featured in one of our Community Day posts.


The deadline to enter our June Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway is midnight on JUNE 25 AEST.

The June 20 Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway post can be found here: Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway

Winner of Ray Hawkins’ book and Bible Quiz giveaway

Congratulations to Heidi who is the winner of Ray Hawkins’ devotion book Children: God’s Special Interest.

You all have until midnight on Monday, June 25 (AEST) to enter our June Bible Quiz. We’re giving away two copies of our People of the Old Testament: Judah and Tamar, Rahab eBook leader’s guide. One copy to the quiz winner and a second copy to someone who comments on the June 20 Bible Quiz post and attempts to answer at least one of the quiz questions. More information can be found on our June 20 Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway  post .

June Bible Quiz and eBook giveaway!

Narelle here. Today we’re holding our second Bible Quiz. The first person to correctly answer all six questions in a comment on this post before the deadline of midnight on Monday, June 25 (Australian Eastern Standard time) will win a copy of our June eBook Bible Study of the month People of the Old Testament: Judah and Tamar, Rahab from Smashwords and they will be named our June 2012 Bible Quiz Champion.

The winner will be announced in our post on Wednesday, June 27 and they will be listed in our Honour Roll on the blog.

We are also giving away a second copy of our June eBook Bible Study of the month People of the Old Testament: Judah and Tamar, Rahab from Smashwords to a reader who comments on this blog post and attempts to answer at least one question in our quiz before the deadline of midnight on Monday, June 25 (Australian Eastern Standard time). You don’t even have to provide a correct answer to enter the drawing!

And you can comment more than once to answer the quiz, although you must be the first person to include all six correct answers in the one comment to become our June 2012 Bible Quiz  Champion. Only one entry per person will be included in the eBook drawing.

Please include your name with your comment and leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached or remember to check our Wednesday blog post. You can follow our blog by email, Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page to receive notifications of new blog posts. We will do a redraw if we are unable to contact the giveaway winner within the next week.

“Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.”

The June Quiz Questions:

1. Who were Tamar’s first two husbands?

2. Which city did Rahab live in before it was destroyed by the Israelites?

3. What was Joshua’s original name before Moses changed it?

4. Name Judah’s sister who was mentioned in Genesis.

5. Name two sets of twin boys and their parents who were mentioned in Genesis.

6. List all the tribes of Israel, including the priestly tribe and the tribes who received allotments of land in Canaan.

Good luck!

Book Recommendation: Asenath by Anna Patricio

Back cover blurb:

Two Destinies…One Journey of Love

In a humble fishing village on the shores of the Nile lives Asenath, a fisherman’s daughter who has everything she could want. Until her perfect world is shattered.

When a warring jungle tribe ransacks the village and kidnaps her, separating her from her parents, she is forced to live as a slave. And she begins a journey that will culminate in the meeting of a handsome and kind steward named Joseph.

Like her, Joseph was taken away from his home, and it is in him that Asenath comes to find solace…and love. But just as they are beginning to form a bond, Joseph is betrayed by his master’s wife and thrown into prison.

Is Asenath doomed to a lifetime of losing everything and everyone she loves?

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading Asenath and I gained many insights into life in Ancient Egypt. I find it fascinating to read books set during Biblical times from the perspective of other cultures. The Egyptians feared the God of the Israelites for many reasons.

The fictionalised account of Asenath and Joseph’s journey to love revealed their strength of character as they endured many hardships. He was sold into slavery by his brothers and was later imprisoned due to the false testimony from his Egyptian master’s wife. Joseph is a beloved hero of the Bible who provided food and shelter for his family in Egypt during the famine. I recommend this book, by an Australian author, to those looking for an exciting historical romance set during Biblical times.

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Rahab and the fall of Jericho

by Narelle Atkins

Joshua sent two spies into Jericho who were hidden from the king of Jericho by Rahab. Rahab understood that the Lord of the Israelites had given Jericho to the Israelites. She feared for her life and pleaded with the spies to show kindness to her family. She made an oath with the spies and tied a scarlet cord in her window so the Israelites would know to pass over her household and save her family.

In Joshua 6 the Lord spoke with Joshua and told him how Jericho would be delivered into his hands. For six days the Israelites marched one lap around the city of Jericho. Seven priests carrying seven trumpets marched before the ark of the Lord. Armed men went ahead of the ark and a rear guard followed behind.

On the seventh day they arose at dawn and marched around the city seven times. At Joshua’s command during the seventh lap, the trumpet sounded, the people shouted and the wall of Jericho collapsed. The Israelites charged straight into Jericho and took the city. The spies rescued Rahab and her family before the Israelites burned the city.

Rahab and her family were spared in the destruction of Jericho. They joined the Israelites and Rahab became an ancestor of King David and Jesus.