Thomas Nelson released the perfect gift item for the men on your Christmas list. Available in stores October 28, this Duck Dynasty classic boasts Phil and Alan Robertson as the executive editors. This New King James Version of the Bible has a unique format, and is, according to Alan, “a broad way” to study. The five Robertson family principles—faith, family, fellowship, forgiveness, and freedom—provide a topical framework throughout with personal stories that illustrate the timeless truths from scripture. There are real 21st century applications that will grab the attention of the student and the non-student alike!
Along with about 30 stories of lives transformed included in a section called “Lifechangers,” and a subsequent concordance-like section providing additional resources on a given topic, the Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible, promises to be a great way to open up the Bible to people who may not have known where to start before.
Alan, the oldest and the only beardless son of Phil and Kay, was 10 years old when his raucous father accepted Christ and made a 180-degree lifestyle change. He well remembers the struggles of a new Christian trying to leave a lifetime of bad habits. The first year or two seemed to be a series of “two steps forward and one step back,” but ultimately the authenticity of Phil’s transformation set the Robertson clan on a path that God has used in ways they never dreamed. As Al recounts, “I remember him [Phil] at his worst, and I have seen what God can do.”
Since Duck Dynasty premiered in 2012, the Robertson’s have lived with celebrity status, but they have been amazingly unfazed by stardom. Their uncompromising outspoken belief in the Bible and its truth has made them fair game for a large dose of criticism from the politically correct. Even so, they have struck a chord with Middle America that has made them heroes to many.
Al has his own ideas as to why that is so. “I think there’s been a void in Middle America. We aren’t just a caricature of the South or of what some perceive as ‘redneck,’ but there is a lot more to us. I think many identify with what we believe and what is the very solution to our culture’s—as well as our nation’s—ills. Even though we were attacked head on by the people we worked for, the fact that we stood firm in what we believe—I think people identified with that.”
And when it comes down to it, as Al says, “We never felt like we could stop standing up for what we know is truth even if a lot of people don’t agree with us.”
Well said. The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible is a keeper. Their message is the gospel. Their insights and stories show how God works in the lives of people regardless of the situation or circumstance. A gift full of hope and comfort in the season of hope and comfort.
With Christmas approaching, music begins to fill the air and welcome the season. From secular to sacred to just plain silly, Christmas music has it all. One traditional favorite, Handel’s Messiah, stands out above others as a masterpiece. Now Douglas Connelly and InterVarsity Press offer a LifeGuideR Bible Study on the Scriptures that inspired Handel’s great work.
Handel used mostly Old Testament prophetic texts, and the study focuses on these, while including some New Testament references for the prophecies’ fulfillment. Rather than Handel’s three parts, the study takes eight weeks to cover themes from the entire work.
Like other LifeGuide studies, you can use The Messiah for yourself or as part of a group. You’ll find an inductive approach that combines discussion questions with those for personal thought, as well as fill-in-the-blank questions. If you plan to lead a group, you’ll find the leader’s guide in the back.
If you already have plans for an Advent/Christmas study, keep The Messiah in mind for Lent/Easter next year. As Connelly says in the introduction, “If you work through this study near the time of Advent or Easter, it will prepare your heart in a fresh way for those celebrations. But any time of the year, these studies will draw you closer to Jesus in adoration and appreciation.”
InterVarsity Press offers over 100 LifeGuide studies, some focusing on a book of the Bible and others on characters or topics. You’ll find something for nearly any group study need among the choices.
The Straightest Way
By Maura McIntosh
A fresh fall offering is this new album by my friend, Maura McIntosh. A mix of five traditional favorites, like “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “Balm of Gilead,” and “Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet,” along with six originals by Maura, this one is easy on the ears. With Maura’s pure voice and wonderful acoustic guitar, the music will go straight to your heart. Maura can take the jumble of ordinary life experiences, weave them into the fabric of a song, and inspire you to examine your own journey with new eyes and ears! There is a redemption theme that runs throughout—appropriate timing in this season of Thanksgiving!
“I’d rather walk with you through the wilderness than on the straightest way by myself,” are a few of the stick-with-you lyrics from the title song. As Maura says, “Many times our wilderness experiences lead us to God’s straightest way for our lives. I thank Him for my times in the wilderness.”
Maura has a special gift of music. Enjoy, and by all means, buy two—one for you and one for a friend! Look for Maura at Mistletoe Marketplace in the Olde Tyme Commissary booth! Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org