This book by Angela Hunt is based on the major motion picture that is currently in theaters. The original story is by Paul Aiello and screenplay by Kevin Reynolds and Paul Aiello. Roman Tribune Clavius is responsible for squelching the zealots in Jerusalem. When the body of the recently crucified Nazarene goes missing, Pilate gives Clavius the task of investigating, tracking down the radical followers, and finding the body. Rachel is a widowed Jewish woman who makes a living baking bread. After the death of her husband, she and Clavius enter a forbidden relationship. If her secret was made known, she would surely be stoned. Clavius searches for the missing body, questions possible followers, and gathers information but the questions out way the answers. When tragedy strikes in a personal manner, Clavius questions the Roman gods that he has spent his life praying to and serving. Will Clavius find the answers that he seeks? Will Rachel be able to truly love a man who is not her husband?

I was transported into this story within the first few pages. The author did an excellent job of making me feel like I was in the midst of Clavius’ investigation and Rachel’s searching. The story is mainly told from Clavius’ perspective which is unique from most post resurrection stories. He searches for the truth based on facts and learns about faith along the way. I really liked the explanations of Isaiah’s prophesies and Jewish Passover and how they relate to the Messiah. The relationship between Clavius and Rachel was outside of marriage but I felt that it was tastefully described. As both Clavius and Rachel search for the truth about Yeshua, their relationship resolves in an unexpected way that allows Rachel to show Clavius the love of Christ. This is a historical fiction so some liberties are taken with the story line. The author explains that Clavius and Rachel are fiction characters and would not have been present during some of the scenes she portrayed them in. There are other liberties that she explains at the end of the book. I did not find these liberties to be a deterrent and I felt that the gospel was explained well with an emphasis on God’s love. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes biblical historical fiction.

It is important to note that the author states at the end of the book that although Rachel’s character was created by Paul Aiello, her character did not make the cut for the movie. I am looking forward to seeing the movie, but I am glad to have read the book first so that I know Rachel’s side of the story. I have heard really good things about the movie and based on this book, I am sure that I will not be disappointed. Due to the Roman soldier violence in the movie, Plugged In review suggests that it is not suitable for younger children. You can read their detailed movie review HERE.

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission I am required to disclose that Bethany House provided this book for free in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.



Order at Christian Book Distributors through the following link!

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Risen, paperback
By Angela Hunt / Baker Books


Liar, Lunatic, or LORD

As we enter the Easter season, we reflect on the greatest sacrifice ever made since the beginning of time! Jesus came to us; both God and human. He lived a sinless life, showed us by example how to love and minster to others, became our sin as he died on the cross, and conquered the grave when he was resurrected. Unfortunately, there are many who still have not experienced the life-changing gift of salvation that God has offered. Most people recognize that Jesus lived as a teacher and prophet but many deny that Jesus is God. One of my favorite authors is C. S. Lewis. In his book, Mere Christianity, he states the following:

41w67GRujWL“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him; ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic… or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”


May we remember who Jesus truly is! May we honor Him as Lord and Savior of our lives! May the Fruit of the Spirit grow and thrive in us so that the world will see Jesus in everything we say and do! Jesus is Alive!


Resurrection Cookies

Last year, I posted recipes for two types of Resurrection Cookies and how to teach your children the resurrection story through baking. You can read that post here. This year we are only going to make the following recipe which is the less complicated of the two types. This is a great & unique way to teach your children about the resurrection!



Large Marshmallows

Crescent Rolls (uncooked)

Sugar/Cinnamon Mixture

1. Wrap an uncooked crescent roll  around most of the marshmallow–leaving one side of the marshmallow exposed.

~~The crescent roll represents the tomb and the marshmallow shows that the tomb is not empty.

2. Roll the crescent roll/marshmallow tomb in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

3. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake according to crescent roll directions.

~~Read the resurrection story (using a Children’s Bible or book on your child’s level).

5. As they bake; the marshmallow will melt. Remove them from the oven according to directions.

~~You will have an empty tomb!


My Redeemer Lives!

HAPPY (belated) EASTER Everyone! Yesterday was a completely full and busy day; so I went to bed early instead of staying up to write. I hope that you all had a wonderful holy weekend! Since I shared with you the service that we had on Good Friday; I thought that today I would share Sunday’s service with you as well.

On Friday we left the darkened sanctuary with black fabric, the wooden cross, and burned out candle displayed in front of the tomb on the platform…

Sunday morning; the set up was pretty much the same (although there was sunlight coming in through the windows). The service started with someone (same guy from Friday) singing “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord”; then Pastor Brian greeted the congregation. The worship team (which I am apart of) along with the congregation sang a hymn melody of “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today” and “Crown Him”. While we sang; two of our teens came to the platform dressed in white. They laid the cross on its side in front of the candle, covered the black cloth with a white cloth, and placed several flowers on the tomb display. Finally, as we were finishing our songs, the teens simultaneously lit the candle and turned on a light inside of the tomb.

Pastor Brian then did what we call a “Children’s Chat.” All of the kids went to the platform and Pastor Brian and a man dressed as Jesus had a brief conversation about how Jesus is now alive!

After the children went back to their seats; the worship team & congregation sang “He Reigns”. Pastor Brian preached a short but powerful sermon. Following the sermon; I gave a very short testimony about how God is working in my life (I was asked ahead of time if I would do this and even though I practiced; I still teared up). Someone else gave their testimony also. Then the people who will be going to the Philippines on a short term mission trip went up to the altar so that the congregation could pray for them (they are going over spring break next week).

Finally we recited the “Apostle’s Creed”* as a congregation then sang “My Savior My God” to close the service.

Throughout the service Matthew 28 was read as well. I have included it here in story form as told by The Message Bible (in the service it was read in a different version).

Matthew 28

Risen from the Dead

1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move.

5-6The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.

7“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”

8-10The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. Jesus said, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I’ll meet them there.”

11-15Meanwhile, the guards had scattered, but a few of them went into the city and told the high priests everything that had happened. They called a meeting of the religious leaders and came up with a plan: They took a large sum of money and gave it to the soldiers, bribing them to say, “His disciples came in the night and stole the body while we were sleeping.” They assured them, “If the governor hears about your sleeping on duty, we will make sure you don’t get blamed.” The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. That story, cooked up in the Jewish High Council, is still going around.

16-17Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.

18-20Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”


(The goal of The Message is to engage people in the reading process and help them understand what they read. This is not a study Bible, but rather “a reading Bible.”)


*The Apostle’s Creed states:

“I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:

The third day he rose again from the dead:

He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

I believe in the Holy Ghost:

I believe in the universal** church: the communion of saints:

The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting. Amen.”

**(The traditional Apostle’s Creed says “holy catholic church”)

Teach Your Children About The Resurrection-Through Baking!

[Update: I did make both types of cookies last Easter weekend! I have posted a picture of each under each recipe listed below. Personally, I didn’t care for the taste of the Type 1 cookie and they were very fragile (they crumbled easily). Type 2 was a lot easier and much more yummy 🙂 Next year, I may try dipping the rolls into butter and brown sugar instead of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. I also think that the correlation to the resurrection was little above my daughter’s head (age 3). But, when a friend’s daughter (age 5) saw them; she was really excited about it!]


Have you ever though about how to teach your children the Resurrection Story? I have! In fact, I have been thinking about it all week. My oldest daughter is to the age where I think she will be able to understand it but I have not really known the best way of teaching it to her.

This morning I received an e-mail from my friend Amber (Thanks Amber!); which included a recipe for Resurrection Cookies! I think that this would be a perfect way to teach Kendal this year (and years to come)! In this blog, I have included two types of Resurrection Cookies along with scripture that will help you explain the Resurrection story. The first type of cookie must be started the evening before Easter and finished on Easter morning. The second type of cookie is much more simple and can be made anytime. I have never made either type; so I don’t have any pictures (but you can find pictures online). These would make great family time activities!

Have you made either of these Resurrection Cookies before? Or are you going to try them this week? Be sure to comment and let us know your experiences with them and how your children reacted!



***To be made the Saturday evening before Easter***

Ingredients & Supplies:

1 Cup Whole Pecans

1 teaspoon Vinegar

3 Egg Whites

Pinch of Salt

1 Cup Sugar

Electric Mixer

Zipper Baggie

Wooden Spoon



1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (This is IMPORTANT-don’t wait until you’re done with the recipe!)

2. Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into small pieces.

***Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read:

“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.” John 19:1-3

3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Put vinegar into the mixing bowl.

***Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read:

“Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:28-30

4. Add egg whites to vinegar.

***Explain that the eggs represent life. Jesus gave His life in order to give us life. Read:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:10-11

5. Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.

***Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read:

“A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.” Luke 23:27

6. So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add the sugar to the bowl.

***Explain that the sweetness part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know Him and belong to Him. Read:

“Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34:8

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

7. Beat the ingredients in the bowl with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.

***Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes and those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read:

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:1-3

8. Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto a wax covered cookie sheet.

***Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read

“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” Matthew 27:57-60

9. Put cookie sheet in the oven, close the door, and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.

***Explain that Jesus’s tomb was sealed. Read:

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.” Matthew 27:65-66

10. GO TO BED!!!

***Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read:

“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:20-22


Open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. THE COOKIES ARE HOLLOW!!!

***Explain that on the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read:

“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.” Matthew 28:1-9




Large Marshmallows

Crescent Rolls (uncooked)

Sugar/Cinnamon Mixture

1. Wrap an uncooked crescent roll  around most of the marshmallow–leaving one side of the marshmallow exposed.

***The crescent roll represents the tomb and the marshmallow shows that the tomb is not empty.

2. Roll the crescent roll/marshmallow tomb in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

3. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake according to crescent roll directions.

***Read the resurrection story (using the verses in the above recipe).

5. As they bake; the marshmallow will melt. Remove them from the oven according to directions.

***You will have an empty tomb!