Thankfulness Challenge – Week 2

With 7 New (and FREE) Images

I was going to write a post about the election, but honestly, I feel like God is reminding me (and so I am reminding you!) that He is sovereign, He is good, He is not surprised, He is faithful, and I should spend way more time giving thanks than whining. So….

A Thankfulness Challenge

Last week, I invited you to join me in spending 5 minutes a day, for 3 weeks, being thankful in 5 different categories. If you haven’t read that post – or joined the challenge – here’s the link to find out all about it. And remember, if you’re going to share or tweet about it, make sure to use #ThankfulnessChallenge so I can follow along!

Today, I want to share seven more verses that remind of us some of the why, what for, and how of being thankful. Maybe you should take one of these each day and weave it into your 5-Minute Thankfulness Challenge.

A Thankfulness Challenge: 5-Minutes, 5 Categories, 3 Weeks

With Free Images Every Day Until Thanksgiving

Last November, I shared 14 images with Bible verses about thankfulness and gratitude. People told me they shared them, printed them, and posted them. Two years ago, I challenged you to five minutes a day of thankfulness. This year, I’m combining the two and adding an extra week’s worth of images!

A Thankfulness Challenge

I have included the first seven images at the bottom of this post. However, I will also be sharing one each day on my Facebook Page. Certainly the easiest way to share them is to like my page and share them right from your news feed.

Frequently, it’s difficult to be thankful. In fact, it is pretty easy to find reasons to not be thankful.

We should all take this thankfulness challenge not because we want to do it. We should take the challenge because we need to do it. That’s why I’m doing it.

When I look at much of what’s happening around me, I don’t feel thankful. There are many, many things that are not “thankfulness-worthy.” And not just small things. Big, important, really hard things as well.

For example…

  • Friends whose newborn is still in the hospital…after four months.
  • Continued racial tension around our country…and the world.
  • A good friend who recently lost his job…after two decades with the company.
  • Two presidential candidates that have forced me to apologize to my own kids for leaders I don’t want them to be like.


I want to complain. I want to whine. I want to gripe. I don’t want to be thankful.

That’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I need this thankfulness challenge. Will you join me?

The Top 41 Christian Movies for Families

Do you like movies? If not, well, I’ll write something different next week. If so, read on, my friend, because Christian movies have gotten heaps better in the last decade or so. Below is a list of 41 you’ll want to check out. Many of them I have seen. The ones I haven’t seen were recommended by fellow movie lovers.

The Top 41 Christian Movies for Families

NOTE: The movies are arranged in order from most-recent to oldest. I’ve included the release year and the rating, and a short description of the movie. Oh, and if I’ve done a review or interviewed someone from the movie, you’ll find a link. Enjoy!

1. Priceless (2016) PG-13

A man stands at the crossroads of his life. Angry after the death of his wife and losing custody of his daughter, James is unable to hold down a job. Out of desperation he agrees to drive a truck across the country for cash. When he discovers what his cargo is, he goes all out to save two sisters who will be sold into the sex slave trade. Here is a review I posted about this movie.

2. God’s Not Dead 2 (2016) PG

A sequel to God’s Not Dead, this film is about a high school history teacher, Grace Wesley who faces disciplinary action, administrative leave and a lawsuit when someone claims that Grace has been preaching in class because she quoted a verse from the Bible.

“I’m Not Ashamed” – Columbine on the Big Screen (and So Much More)

Video Interview with Masey McLain

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the shooting at Columbine High School? I was at home in Tacoma. Three days later I was on a plane to Denver, CO.  That Saturday night I was speaking at a local church, processing and grieving with confused students (and parents) who wanted to worship a God who was present in this tragedy.

Masey Mclain Inteview - "I'm Not Ashamed"

Tomorrow – October 21, 2016 – a terrific movie comes out about the life of Rachel Joy Scott, the first student killed in the shooting at Columbine. I’m Not Ashamed is much, much more than simply a here’s-what-led-up-to-a-school-shooting. This a a well-told, honest story about a young woman, trying to do the right thing (many times failing…just like you and me). She is ultimately striving to live a life that honors Jesus.

largememe13My guess is Rachel Joy Scott was a very different person from the picture you have painted in your head.

This week I got to sit down (via the wonder of technology) with Masey McLain – the fantastic actress who played Rachel in I’m Not Ashamed. We were scheduled to chat for 15 minutes and ended up recording 23 minutes (and then talked for another 10 after). Masey is not only a terrific actress, she’s a cool, authentic, fun person.


The Interview

Priceless: A Sometimes Hard-to-Watch Movie That Takes Sex-Trafficking Head On

Sex-Trafficking. Horrific words we don’t like to say. So we ignore them. You might even be tempted to stop reading because you either think it’s not happening near you (it is) or you know it is but don’t want to deal with it. But when we’re talking about something that is affecting at least 2.5 million people and has been reported in every one of the 50 states, we can’t ignore it. Period.

Priceless Movie- Poster

Friday (10/14), a new movie comes out that goes head on into a topic most of us never discuss. Priceless is not a documentary. It is a based-on-real-events story of one man’s discovery, involvement, transformation, and sacrifice to do something about it.

Simply put: See it. And as uncomfortable as it will be…ask others to join you.

meme07_worthI thought about writing a “review,” but I can’t. Yes, it’s a very good movie. Yes, it’s gritty. No, it’s not a “perfectly made” movie (though better than most faith-based films I’ve seen).

Voiceless Movie (with Interview)

Video Interview with Stuart Migdon - Producer, Executive Producer, and Actor

Over the next three Fridays, there are three terrific Christian movies coming out back-to-back-to-back. Tomorrow’s movie is called Voiceless and deals head-on with the issue of abortion.

Voiceless Movie

Voiceless is a very powerful movie. It is honest and gritty. After having the opportunity to watch it last month, there are two things that are really sticking with me.

First, its “honesty” covers those inside the church as well as those outside. The temptation with a movie like this is to have one character stand up for what is right, and then have the whole church get behind him and make a difference. I won’t give away the latter part of the movie, but all throughout you see various characters display apathy, fear, tension, and downright opposition to the main character’s desire to fight an increasingly challenging battle.

How About a Little Context (Part 3 of 3)

Discovering What Was Happening When the Bible Was Written

Two weeks ago we looked at getting to know the 40 people God inspired to write the 66 books of the Bible. (Check out Part 1 if you didn’t read it yet.) Last week we shifted our focus from authors to the audience? (Here’s the link to Part 2.) In this final, installment, we’ll shift one last time and look at the atmosphere. It’s time to answer the question What was the setting when this author wrote to this audience?

How about a little context? - Part 3

This 3-part series is adapted from the chapter ‘How about a little context?’ in my book Falling in Love with God’s Word: Discovering What God Always Intended Bible Study to Be. You can read reviews or a grab a copy on Amazon. I also cover background studies in my 8-week, online video course Relational Bible Study.

You’ve heard it said many times… Context is king. Nowhere is that more true than when you are reading the Bible.

How About A Little Context? (Part 2 of 3)

Discovering the people who first RECEIVED the Bible.

Last week’s post was devoted to discovering the 40 people God inspired to write the 66 books of the Bible. But what about the people who first read what those 40 people wrote down? (Check out Part 1 if you didn’t read it yet.)

How about a little context? - Part 1

This 3-part series is adapted from the chapter ‘How about a little context?’ in my book Falling in Love with God’s Word: Discovering What God Always Intended Bible Study to Be. You can read reviews or a grab a copy on Amazon. I also cover background studies in my 8-week, online video course Relational Bible Study.

We frequently miss out on some pretty cool stuff if we never think about the different audiences – sometimes vastly different – who were the first readers of what we have as the Bible. For example…

How About A Little Context? (Part 1 of 3)

Discovering the people who WROTE the Bible.

How much thought do you give to the author of a particular book or letter when you are reading the Bible? How about the first readers of that book or letter? Do you put any thought into what they were facing or the surrounding social and political climate?

How about a little context? - Part 2

This 3-part series is adapted from the chapter ‘How about a little context?’ in my book Falling in Love with God’s Word: Discovering What God Always Intended Bible Study to Be. You can read reviews or a grab a copy on Amazon. I also cover background studies in my 8-week, online video course Relational Bible Study.

Instinctively we know the importance of context in other areas of our lives.

For example, think about the sentence “I’ll be back before you know it.” If the person saying it is running to the refrigerator at halftime of the football game, it carries very different meaning than if it was spoken by your child as she boarded a plane bound for her freshman year of college.

It is impossible for us to grasp the big picture for any situation or idea – let alone accurately interpret the details – unless we first know the context. Understanding context can make that same kind of difference when you read a book of the Bible.

When we discover personal details and characteristics of the book’s author, the situations and challenges the author and recipients were facing at the time, and the events occurring in the world around them, we gain an entirely new perspective and depth of understanding for the book.

Taking even ten minutes (or a lot longer if you’d like) to do a background study will provide the necessary context for correctly interpreting and applying a passage to our lives.

There are three basic questions that background studies answer:

  • Who wrote the book? (Author)
  • To whom was the book written? (Audience)
  • What was happening at the time the book was written? (Atmosphere)

Most study Bibles have information at the beginning of each book or in the back of the Bible that provides some context. While this is certainly helpful, I have found this is rarely all the information I want.

Fortunately, you don’t have to own a massive, 300-volume library to do extremely thorough background studies. Do you have access to the internet? (I thought so. After all, you’re reading this.) I won’t go into every resource I use in this post, but you can find lots of amazing – and free! – resources at

The wonderful thing about background studies is that you can dig as deeply as you want to, or simply skim over a few items to bring a general sense of context to the book you are reading. Background studies also don’t need to be done every day. Think of them as “seasoning” rather than the main dish.

This week – and the next two – I’m going to tackle one of the three types of background studies: Author, Audience and Atmosphere.

5 Simple Ways to Connect Your Kids With the Bible As School Starts

With TWO Free Downloads!

Are your kids in school yet? Some of you started almost a month ago. (Sorry.) Our kids started yesterday.

The start of school is always hectic. Here are some simple ideas for making sure the Bible doesn't get lost in the craziness.

NOTE: I have updated and re-posted this each of the last two years. This year, I have included a free PDF – Click Here – that takes these principles and put them into an applicable-all-year-round format so you can use it and share it anytime. I’ve also included a link to my eBook – 49 Identity Messages Your Kids Need to Know – that goes along with #1. I’d love to hear how you’re making the connection between your kids, the Bible, and school in the comments below. Enjoy!

Grab your “5 Simple Ways” Download for FREE!

If I had to choose one word to describe the first month of the school year it would be: HECTIC.

The pace is insane, isn’t it? Here’s a glimpse at life with the Ferrin Five:

  • Two kids in middle school.
  • A third in elementary school (with a different start/end time of course).
  • Three soccer teams.
  • A wife who teaches kindergarten.
  • My busiest travel season of the year.
  • Squeezed in between we all have to eat, clean, do laundry, etc., etc.

As I said…HECTIC. Where does the Bible fit into all this? Especially for our kids?! For me, I can get up early and grab some coffee, my Bible, and a corner of the couch. But I want my kids to connect with God and His Word as well. So…what can we do?