Friday, December 23, 2011

I recently went back to the Discovery Museum's Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit to view the oldest surviving parchment copy of the Ten Commandments. Totally awesome. Don't miss it.
--Lauren Yarger

The oldest and best preserved parchment manuscript of the Ten Commandments – the rules that are the pillars of morality and law in the Western world and which 3,500 years later were written into the civil and criminal codes of 12 of the original 13 US colonies – will be exhibited in New York City for the first time during the holiday season. 

Written in Hebrew around 50 BCE on a parchment that measuresjust over 18 inches by 3 inches, the Ten Commandments Scroll will be on view in the exhibition Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times at Discovery Times Square through Jan. 2 (the rest of the exhibit continues through continues through April 15 in New York, then moves to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia).  The narrow strip of  parchment encapsulates and defines how men and women should work and live with each other and their faith in a civil and collaborative society. 

The scroll contains text from Deuteronomy 5 and is among the trove of early documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, a group ofapproximately 900 manuscripts discovered in a series of caves in the Judeandesert in the late 1940s and 1950s. 

The 15-day exhibition period of the Ten Commandments scroll is the longest that the Israel Antiquities Authority has allowed outside Israel because of the scroll’s immeasurable importance, its fragility, and its age.  Following the exhibition, the Ten Commandments scroll will be returned to Israel. 

Discovery Times Square (DTS) is New York City’s first large-scale exhibition center presenting visitors with limited-run, educational and immersive exhibit experiences It is located at 226 West 44th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Notes December 2011: Good Reads from Bob Hamer, Rory Noland, Richard Paul Evans, Eric Metaxas

Here are some books you might be interested in:

Targets Down
By Bob Hamer
From the publisher:
"Targets Down" is the follow-up to retired FBI agent Bob Hamer's "Enemies Among Us," which Publishers Weekly hailed as "a page-turning roller coaster that feels like Jack Bauer’s 24 without sailing over the top."
When an FBI wife is critically wounded and two people are found dead on a mountain pass, special agent Matt Hogan is tasked with identifying those responsible. The undercover assignment takes him into the shadow world of Russian organized crime, neo-Nazis, and the sex-slave industry. Matt's cover is almost blown twice—once by accident, once by incompetence within the FBI ranks—making violence appear to be his only solution. As he confronts evil, Hogan relies not only on the strength of his wife's faith but his own quest to find God. He also finds terror and terrorism on this heart-pounding journey.
Note: I have read this book and found it an enjoyable read. I also have read Hamer's nonfiction book "The Last Undercover," which is an account of his time in the FBI where for 26 years, he was an undercover agent where he posed as a drug dealer, pedophile and contract killer among other things to bring some of the toughest criminals to justice. I never walk by a certain store in New York City without remembering his account and saying a prayer for the victims.
-- Lauren Yarger
Visit for more information and to order.
Worship on Earth as It Is in Heaven: Exploring Worship as a Spiritual DisciplineBy Rory Noland
From the publisher:
Rory Noland addresses the challenges of Christian worship head-on, offering practical suggestions gleaned from Scripture on understanding and experiencing vibrant worship.

The first half of Worship on Earth as It Is in Heaven explores what it means to grow as a private worshiper. The practices of the psalmist David provide insight to help people worship God on their own. Second, Noland discusses corporate worship by exploring the glorious gatherings in heaven, as described in the book of Revelation. He presents immediately applicable ideas for becoming a better corporate worshiper.

 This book includes:
• Slice-of-church-life scenarios. Every chapter begins with a brief scenario that presents a worship-related issue or a conflict corresponding to the chapter topic.
• Group discussion questions. Based on the opening scenario, these questions help readers think about and discuss worship-related topics from different perspectives.
• Issue-by-issue practical guidance from a biblical perspective.
• “Ponder and Apply” application questions. Each chapter ends with a series of discussion questions and action steps to help readers identify key insights and make personal applications.

More information and purchase at
Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25
By Richard Paul Evans
Parents, teachers and community leaders concerned with the dark and violent content in today's popular young adult novels are enthusiastically embracing the new best-selling book, Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25. With its highly entertaining and morally uplifting themes, the book quickly landed on the NY Times Best Seller list and is already in its 6th printing.
Michael Vey tells a story of an unlikely teen hero who, despite struggling with Tourette Syndrome, has special gifts and powers that help him overcome evil forces threatening to take over the world. The book's "good story, good values" approach has both adults and youth applauding.
"The message of Michael Vey is one every parent, teacher and administrator will want their children to read," said Ann Harkins, CEO of the National Crime Prevention Council.
"Our students went nuts over Michael Vey. I'm not exaggerating to say that Michael Vey is the most popular reading we've ever assigned," said Bill Glisson, principal of Miami Valley Middle School in Dayton, Ohio.
Michael Vey is the first in a new series by best-selling author Richard Paul Evans (The Christmas Box), published by Simon and Schuster in partnership with Mercury Radio Arts, a multi-media production company started by popular talk show host Glenn Beck.

WEBSITE: Visit the official site to watch the trailer, sign up for updates and download a discussion guide at:
BUY THE BOOK: At Amazon ( or Barnes and Noble (

Socrates in the City: Conversations on 'Life, God, and Other Small Topics'
By Eric Metaxas
From the publisher:
Following the extraordinary success of the New York Times bestseller "Bonhoeffer," Eric Metaxas's latest book offers inspirational and intellectually rigorous thought about the great questions surrounding us all today.

The Greek philosopher Socrates famously said that "the unexamined life is not worth living." Taking this as a starting point, Eric Metaxas founded a speaking series that encouraged busy and successful professionals to attend forums and think actively about the bigger questions in life. Thus Socrates in the City: Conversations on "Life, God, and Other Small Topics" was born.

This book is for the seeker in all of us, the collector of wisdom, and the person who asks "What if?" Within this collection of original essays that were first given to standing-room-only crowds in New York City are serious thinkers taking on Life, God, Evil, Redemption, and other small topics.

Luminaries such as Dr. Francis Collins, Sir John Polkinghorne, Charles Colson, N.T. Wright, Os Guinness, Peter Kreeft, and Jean Bethke Elshatin have written about extraordinary topics vital to both secular and Christian thinking, such as "Making Sense Out of Suffering," "How Good Confronts Evil," and "Belief in God in an Age of Science." No question is too big-in fact, the bigger, the harder, the more complex, the better. These essays are both thought-provoking and entertaining, because nowhere is it written that finding answers to life's biggest questions shouldn't be exciting and even, perhaps, fun.

For information and to purchase, visit

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."



Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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