Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Between Heaven and Earth by Eric Walters

Recommendation: **** (4 stars)

The story unfolds as DJ (the eldest) and his cousins learn about the interesting clause their grandfather has put in his will. All seven grandsons have been given a task to complete, unfinished business that their grandfathers requests of them from beyond the grave. DJ's task is to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and scatter his grandfathers ashes at the top.  As the eldest grandson he is proud his grandfather has chosen this task for him and he is very confident that he will complete it without any problems.  After all, he is young and fit and determined, what could stop him? Fortunately for young DJ his grandfather knew this would be the perfect task to teach him some life lessons, the hard way. This story provides a bit of everything - danger, adventure, relational and personal challenges and connects with the reader on an emotional level as well. I'll admit it, I cried at the end!  But that's just me....my boys just thought it was very cool.

Positives: The characters in this story were fabulous!  I so enjoyed reading it as the relationships developed and intentions were revealed.  I also enjoyed the personal battles that DJ struggled through as his character struggled to complete his grandfather's request and become a man.

Negatives: None

Talking Points: DJ's fierce independence really struck me in this story and made me think about myself and my kids. We often hear in parenting circles that we want our kids to grow up to be independent. While there is some truth to that, I find myself more and more trying to teach my kids to be dependent.  The independent attitude comes much more naturally - who hasn't heard a toddler say "I do it!" And while I don't want my kids to be lazy, I want them to know that they need help. The gospel is all about how badly we need help. Read Titus 3:3-7.  Verse 5 tells us, "He saved us..."  Plain and simple, it was the goodness and lovingkindness of God that brought us salvation - not anything we had or have or could ever do.  We need Christ to help us. And this goes beyond salvation to our everyday walk with Christ - we need help! John 14 and 15 refer to the Holy Spirit as our Helper. We can never exhibit the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) without the help of the Holy Spirit. This lesson also spreads to the church.  The church is called to help one another - to use the spiritual gifts we are given to build up the body of Christ - all to the glory of God (Eph. 4:11-16)! When someone in the body has a need, we are to help fulfill that need! Talk to your kids about how DJ learned that he needed help to climb the mountain and that climbing together was important and teach them to swallow their pride and ask for help!  And teach them to be helpers, willing to fulfill a need when others need help.

Age Level: 10 years of age and up

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