Book Recommendation: Jackson Jones – The Tale of a Boy, an Elf and a Very Stinky Fish

Back cover blurb:

Sometimes you have to get lost to figure out where you’re going. All Jackson wants is to be the hero, just for once in his life. The hero who steps in at the last minute to save the universe. The hero who saves the entire village from a raging fire. Great Aunt Harriett is always telling him find his own story, but so far his story doesn’t seem very exciting. Until he falls into Great Aunt Harriett’s hair, that is. There Jackson will encounter a world of elves, trap doors, bubblegum-blowing birds, hairy-backed spiders, kangaroo meat, and perilous danger which requires … a hero.

Narelle: I really enjoyed reading this book and I asked my daughter to provide her thoughts on the story.

Jackson Jones is a good book because it has got a lot of imagination in it. It has lots of cool but weird things like: elfs, stinky fish, beet risotto, and bean burgers. And other things. Jackson Jones is a funny book because Jackson falls into Great Aunt Harriett’s hair and has the most exciting adventure ever. I can’t wait to read Book 2!”

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Jackson Jones, Book 1: The Tale of a Boy, an Elf, and a Very Stinky Fish at

Live light in 25 words – update

by Narelle Atkins

During the month of October on our 30 Minute Bible Studies Facebook Page we have participated in Bible Society Australia’s ‘Live light in 25 words’ challenge. The goal is to read 25 words or more every day in October to establish a regular Bible reading habit. If you’ve been following our progress on our Facebook page, you’ll know we’re reading the whole Gospel of Matthew in October.

Today we are reading Matthew 24:29-51.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:29)

The first verse in this passage sets the scene for Jesus’ illustration of our need to be aware that He could return at any time, with no warning. This leads us to a challenging question: How we can live in a way that ensures we are prepared for Jesus’ return, which may or may not happen during our lifetime?

Book Recommendation: The Covering by Dana Pratola

Back cover blurb:

What do a woman of faith and a heathen biker have in common? The devil, of course.

Tessa is moved to intercede for a man she’s never met. When they do meet, she’s stunned. Gunnar is gorgeous, charismatic, and driven. He’s also hostile, self-destructive, and an unbeliever…and she’s drawn to him like no other. The temptation she feels is as dangerous as it is alluring. She wants to stay away, but God has other plans. He reveals the devil’s intent to destroy Gunnar, and commissions Tessa to keep him covered in prayer. Can she rely on God to keep her from falling…in love, and into temptation? Or will the devil claim them both?

Narelle: I read the back cover blurb and I wasn’t sure if I would like this book. But, after the reading the first chapter I was hooked. There is an underlying spiritual warfare theme but the main focus of the story is on the fascinating relationship between Tessa and Gunnar.

It has the ‘good girl/bad boy’ romance dynamic and the way the characters are drawn together is not sugar coated and could be considered edgy for an inspirational romance. The attraction between Tessa and Gunnar is not hidden or downplayed and contains a level of realism that may not be to the taste of more conservative Christian fiction readers. I recommend this book to those looking for an exciting and different inspirational romance that explores faith issues.

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DVD Recommendation: Veggie Tales – King George and the Ducky

Deborah: If you have never watched a Veggie Tales DVD, then you have been missing some of the cleverest, funniest, most poignant and silliest cartoons ever. Many of the “Tales” are based on familiar Bible stories, packaged to be memorable and fun for children and adults alike.

This medieval-style tale of a selfish king (played by Larry the cucumber) is the “G” rated version of David and Bathsheba. Like David, King George is not at war (the Great Pie War) but instead spends all his time in the bathtub. One day King George sees someone else having a bath singing lovingly to their rubber ducky, and he is overcome with the desire to take the ducky, despite having a whole cupboard full of duckies of his own. He sends the ducky owner to war, puts him in the frontline and steals the ducky. When “Melvin the wise man” (played by Pa Grape) confronts him with the same story Nathan tells in the Bible, of the poor man and his lamb, King George is outraged and condemns himself. In this cartoon version he is able to “make it right” and it all turns out well, but the point is still made.

In a culture where the media is busy telling everyone that they are the most important person in the world, we need to hear that being selfish hurts other people. The “Silly Song” on this episode is my favourite – called “Endangered Love”, where Larry is watching a Manatee soap opera and doing the tango with a toy manatee. It contains the immortal line “Manatee from Heaven”. I guess it has to be seen to be understood. (For Australians: a manatee is like a dugong or sea cow. These ones are called Bill and Barbara.)

Check out VeggieTales – King George and the Ducky at

2012 CALEB Prize winners

Omega Writers Inc. have announced the winners of the 2012 Caleb Prize:


Cameron Semmens (ed.), for The Zoo in You


Shan Joseph for The Easter Story


Andrew Lansdown for Allsorts

Reviewer’s Choice

Henry McElligott for The Broken Restored

Bookseller’s Choice

Rose Dee for Back to Resolution

CALEB Unpublished Manuscript Winner

Song of the Outback by Susan Timpani


No award was made

Fiction finalists:

Ellenvale Gold by Amanda Deed

A Simple Mistake by Andrea Grigg

Against the Unknown by Graham Carter

Broken Pottery by Jennifer Ann


Congratulations to all the winners!

You can learn more about Omega Writers Inc. and the CALEB Prize here.

Community Day: Meet R.J. Faulkner from Canberra, Australia

I’d like to welcome R.J. Faulkner to our blog today. R.J.’s group is from Canberra, Australia and has 13 group members.

Narelle: Please share with us something unique about your group.

R.J.: This is a difficult question to answer, as it’s the only such group I’ve been involved in, but if I had to think of something unique it could be that at one point, when the group consisted of just six members, half of the group were from the same family. I quite liked that!

Narelle: Where does your group meet?

R.J.: Usually in the family home of a member, but we try and keep things interesting by changing locations every year.

Narelle: What is your group currently studying?

R.J.: Our Bible studies are usually a “follow-up” look at the sermon that was preached the previous Sunday. They can focus on a particular book of the Bible, or perhaps a Bible character and their life lessons and how we can apply them to our own lives.

Narelle: What do you like about your group?

Dave: A large range of ages in the group.

Hannah M: That we’re really supportive and encouraging of each other. I like that we pray for each other, and that we’re able to tell each other what’s going on in our lives.

Narelle: Does your group have a favourite food or activity?

Gee: Cheezels.

R.J.: I love the socializing and meal-sharing in general, and I’m always keen for the loungeroom karaoke that we sometimes partake in before a holiday break.

Narelle: Why do you think it is important to belong to a Bible Study group?

Dee: The different atmosphere outside church.

Emma: Having mid-week time with other Christians, as well as Sunday.

Hannah D: It’s about caring for each other.

Thank you R.J. for visiting with us today and giving us an insight into your group.

R.J. FAULKNER was born in Canberra, Australia. Health reasons saw him resign from the retail and hospitality enterprises in 2004. It was around this time that he began studying self development, leading him to the conclusion that the best self-help material was often biblically inspired. He then began studying the Bible more seriously and gleaned much wisdom and strategy from it, as he continued to face significant health challenges. He now wishes to share his life experience with others in his ebook 31 Ways You Can Fight and Beat Back Pain. This is the first title in his “31 Ways” series of books, aimed at those who wish to enjoy an improved quality of life, particularly in the area of health. Now combining his retail experience and passion for music, Rodwell is also the owner of RJ Music and Collectables, selling new and pre-loved CDs, books, toys, and music memorabilia.

For more information about the ebook 31 Ways You Can Fight and Beat Back Pain visit

We hope you’ve been encouraged by hearing about R.J.’s group. If you’d like your group to be featured in a Community Day post, please contact us at: community [at] 30minutebiblestudies [dot] com

Spring in Australia: Floriade

by Narelle Atkins

Spring and autumn (fall) are my two favourite seasons. The autumn leaves are pretty but the spring tulips in Canberra are stunning. I live in the nation’s capital and Canberra is known for Floriade, an annual tulip festival held in September and October.

We chose a beautiful Spring morning to visit and had a lovely time wandering around the flower displays before it became crowded.

And checked out the hand painted garden gnomes.

The kids went on a couple of rides and we enjoyed a coffee overlooking the flower beds.

Spring is a great time of year to visit Canberra and, if you like tulips, you won’t want to miss Floriade.

For more information on Floriade, please visit

Miracles of Jesus: Feeding the people

by Deborah Horscroft

The miracles that Jesus performed have long been held by Christians as a proof of his identity as the Son of God, indeed Jesus condemns the teachers of the law for calling God’s miracle of casting out demons, performed through Jesus, an act of “evil”.

In his book “Miracles”, C.S. Lewis eloquently explains the “nature” of Jesus’ miracles. “…the Incarnate God does suddenly and locally something that God has and will do in general. Each miracle writes for us in small letters something that God has already written, or will write, in letters almost too large to be noticed, across the whole canvas of nature… Their authenticity is attested by the style.” (pp138-9)

C.S.Lewis goes on to state that in the case of the miraculous feedings as recorded in Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ miracle involves “the multiplication of a little bread and a little fish into much bread and much fish. Once in the desert Satan had tempted Him to make bread of stones: He refused the suggestion. “The Son does nothing except what He sees the Father do”… Every year God makes a little corn into much corn: the seed is sown and there is an increase… It was He who at the beginning commanded all species “to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” And now, that day, at the feeding of the thousands, incarnate God does the same: does close and small under His human hands, a workman’s hands, what He has always been doing in the seas, the lakes and the little brooks.” (pp140-1)

Source: Like Father, Like Son. Miracles: A Preliminary Study by CS Lewis (Fount 1974)

Book Recommendation: Catching Moondrops by Jennifer Erin Valent

Back cover blurb:

Jessilyn Lassiter no longer has to convince people she’s not a child. Having just turned 19 in the summer of 1938, her love for Luke Talley has never been more real. And Luke is finally beginning to care for her in the way she’s always dreamed of. But their budding romance is interrupted when Tal Pritchett—a young, black doctor—comes to Calloway, stealing the heart of Jessilyn’s best friend, Gemma, and stirring up the racial prejudice that has been simmering just beneath the town’s surface. The tension starts to bubble over when Jessie’s elderly neighbor Miss Cleta becomes the first white townsperson to accept Tal’s treatment. And when a young black man is lynched, Calloway is brought to its knees once again as Jessilyn realizes that her anger can make her heart as full of hate as the klan members who have terrorized her town and her family.

Narelle: Catching Moondrops is the third book in Jennifer Erin Valent’s Summer series.  A confronting and heart wrenching love story set in a small town in Virginia.

Jessilyn Lassiter lives in a town with a dark history. It’s 1938 and racial prejudices resurface after Tal Pritchett, a young black doctor, moves to town. Jessilyn’s best friend, Gemma, starts working for Tal as his assistant. Gemma falls in love with the kind hearted doctor, despite the danger she may face by working with him.

Nineteen year old Jessilyn has loved Luke Talley for many years, and it seems like Luke may soon be ready to act on his feelings. As Jessilyn dreams of a future with Luke, the townsfolk are divided over Tal’s presence. Klan members pursue their hateful agenda and Jessilyn is forced to deal with her own anger and faith issues.

Catching Moondrops provides an insightful and hard hitting perspective into the hearts of those who are full of anger, hate and prejudice. The harsh reality of racial prejudice and injustice, and the devastating consequences for all involved, is brought together in a brilliant climax with a page turning ending. I recommend this book to those looking for a compelling and honest historical romance that deals with the tough issue of racial prejudice.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Read a FREE sample at

Luis Palau is visiting Australia

by Narelle Atkins

CityFest with Luis Palau will be held in Newcastle (Hunter Region) on November 17-18, 2012. The festival will feature a number of free events including live concerts by top artists, a Kids Fun Zone and extreme sports demonstrations.

​Luis Palau has preached the Gospel for over 50 years to more than one billion people around the world. In September he preached the Gospel in Albania and you can follow his ministry on Facebook.

Check out this video on You Tube to learn more about the vision for CityFest in Newcastle.

If you live in or near the Hunter Region, mark the date on your calendar now. And let your family and friends know about this great event that will transform lives.