Book Recommendation: Red Ink by Kathi Macias

Back cover blurb:

A young Chinese woman, Zhen-Li—raised to observe the party line, including its one-child-per-family doctrine—falls in love with and marries a Christian, and adopts his faith. Though the couple downplays their Christianity in an effort to survive, Zhen-Li’s family is appalled, and she and her husband are ostracized. When she becomes pregnant for the second time and refuses to have an abortion, the persecution begins in earnest. Zhen-Li’s parents, under pressure from the government, pay to have Zhen-Li kidnapped and the baby aborted.

It is then Zhen-Li decides she must live up to her name—”Truth”—and take a firm stand for her faith, regardless of the consequences, and so she begins to regularly teach children about Zhu Yesu (“Lord Jesus”) and to distribute Christian literature every chance she gets.

Based loosely on the life of Christian magazine editor Li Ying, currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in China, the story of Yang Zhen-Li tells the desperate tale of her incarceration and separation from her family, as she continues to minister to other prisoners, and even to her guards.

Narelle: Red Ink is one of those books you will remember long after you finish reading. Zhen-Li’s story will stir your emotions as you journey with this courageous young woman who faces extreme persecution and pressure to recant her faith.

Kathi Macias has written an inspiring and challenging story. The true state of the hearts of the characters is exposed in an honest portrayal of the lengths people will go to achieve their selfish agendas. The power of intercessory prayer is masterfully shown as characters stand firm in the face of evil.

I highly recommend Red Ink to those looking for a story that will touch that place deep inside them and lead them to question how much suffering and hardship they would be prepared to endure when standing up for their beliefs.

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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)

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