The Berenstain Bears’ Please & Thank You Book

61d5ckhuMeL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Since 1962, Stan and Jan Berenstain’s Bear Family have ben introducing children and their families to the typical issues that face them every day. In the latest Berenstain Bears story, toddlers and preschoolers are introduced to the importance of saying, “Please,” and “Thank you.”

The author of this brand-new Berenstain Bear book, is Mike Berenstain. Mike grew up watching his parents together write and draw the Bear family. At one point he started drawing and writing with them too. After his father died in 2005 and his mother in 2012, Mike continues their love of these Bears and continues telling their stories.

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Giveaway: Berenstain Bears’ Book

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Enter for a chance to win the new board book "The Berenstain Bears' Please and Thank You Book."  Share on social media to increase your chances of winning! One week only! Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for a review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
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Guest Post: Pain and Praise

by Rev. Daniel Wray

washing_3262c-2Read Psalm 22:23-31.

My freshman year of college was a year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast. Conditions in these areas were still desperate, and my home church in Richmond decided to go to Gulfport, Mississippi to help in the recovery. While there we worked on the house of a wonderful man named Leo.

Each day as we worked Leo and his brother would be there with us telling us stories about their family, their community, and about the hurricane. There were some stories of joy and praise, but a majority of the stories were simply heartbreaking. I remember one story in particular of a family climbing to the roof to escape the rising waters. After making sure the rest of his family was securely on the roof, the husband was the last to attempt and climb. As he climbed, the waters surged, sweeping him away, and his mother watching from the roof, was so overcome with grief that she had heart attack and died as well.

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CNN Finds Jesus

unnamedThis Sunday, March 1, CNN premieres a new six-week documentary series, “Finding Jesus.” This new series blends science and archaeology as it attempts to discern what is fact, what is faith, and what is forgery. Part documentary, interviewing academics and theologians, part drama, the series explores the value and authenticity of six objects which could bear light on the historical Jesus.

For the last 2,000 years, humanity has been fascinated by the figure of Jesus – the historical man and the divine Christ. Images of Jesus have appeared on icons, stained glass windows, painting, sculptures, television, and film. Jesus has influenced music, politics, education, and philosophy.

But, what is fact and what is forgery? And, what is just simply faith?

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Guest Post: Withstanding Temptation

by Camille Z. Roddy

washing_3262c-2At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness,  and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[a] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:9-15)

As a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I along with fellow alumni have mourned the recent loss of two icons in the Tar Heel family: my classmate, ESPN Sports Center anchor, Stuart Scott and Coach Dean Smith. Both were men of great integrity, stemming from a faith exemplified in their conduct behind and in front of the spot light. Stories shared about each man by friends and family provide evidence these stallworth sport figures lived out their baptisms by showing and giving love to their fellow man.

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Guest Post: ‘Patience is a Virtue’

by Rev. Lindsey Baynham

washing_3262c-2Read 1 Peter 3:18-22 

Piers Plowman, a poem about finding faith coined the well-known phrase, “Patience is a virtue”. Patience, something that is a good and desired piece of one’s character, I’m convinced, is in some ways a lifestyle. It is something learned, developed and ultimately lived. Patience models endurance in all things. Patience is a virtue…but let’s be clear, that does not mean it is easy. I find myself often praying…pleading for this virtue and quality as I walk the path of faith. Whether it is patience in a specific task or with an individual, the practice of patience is one piece that grounds and strengthens a faithful life.

And so with this notion of patience, we begin a season that is often attributed with characteristics such as that of wilderness, the dryness of a desert, testing, difficulty, the desperate feeling of thirst, and elongated fasting. Lent, is a span of forty days that tries our patience. Not to the point of annoyance, but we are tried because it equips us for endurance. And endurance is seen in Christ’s passionate suffering. We can endure because Christ endured.

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Guest Post: “I’m sorry. How Can I Help?”

by Rev. Lyndsie Blakely

washing_3262c-2“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be shamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long. Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.” (Psalm 25:1-10)

My two-year-old son has a new favorite show called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” which is a spin off from “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.” It does a fantastic job of teaching morals and life lessons using little jingles that are sung over and over throughout the episode.

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Read Genesis 9:8-17.

washing_3262c-2“When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:16)

The rains came. The waters rose. The ark floated. The sun appeared. The dove flew. The ark landed. Noah worshiped. The rainbow appeared.

The story of Noah’s Ark is well known and well filmed. From Russell Crowe to VeggieTales, we have seen Noah depicted in a wide range of ways.

I imagine the flood as a massive time-out for humanity. God the Parent had had enough, and it was time for humanity to have a time-out. As an educator, whenever time-out is used, the general rule of thumb has always been one minute for each year of life. So a three-year-old, for example, would sit in time-out for three minutes.

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Guest Post: A Deeper Journey

by Morgan Stafford

washing_3262c-2Read 2 Corinthians 5:20b – 6:10

As I prepare and review lessons for this season of Lent, I find great wisdom in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Paul aims to encourage and motivate his fellow followers of Christ to deepen their inner faith despite a myriad of outer circumstances which could easily prevent this aspiration. As a youth minister in an urban setting, I witness the challenges which young people must deal with on a daily basis.

Just as Paul must acknowledge the difficulties facing the Corinthians, I must consider the context in which these young people live. How can I teach reconciliation and righteousness without acknowledging stress and suffering? Just as the Corinthians received both “honor and dishonor,” I must equip my youth to live out their faith in a world which may reward this faith in some settings while punishing them in others.

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Guest Post: A Genuine Heart

by Latrice Mallard

washing_3262c-2“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need don’t do as the hypocrites do-blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-6 NLT)

The gospel of Matthew provides clear evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and our Eternal King. As our Eternal King, Messiah, and Lord; He is also our best example of the way to live as a faithful servant. We are not left to guess how this should be done, especially as we learn from the Sermon on the Mount. We are provided with the very directions for living as His followers.

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