Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: Triple Dog Dare Devotional by Jeremy V. Jones

Dinner - Tuna Surprise!
In recent weeks, I've been making a concerted effort to have home-cooked meals for dinner, with everyone eating together at the table.  In years past it's been a challenge, as my husband frequently has an odd work schedule as a pilot, and my two boys have had many extracurricular activities that have kept us from the dinner table.  Meals have frequently been eaten on the fly, in shifts and at odd hours. After moving to Georgia a few months ago, we now have a cleaner slate than before.  So on nights when my husband is home, I like to have dinners together as a family. And in addition to this, we’ve been reading family devotionals as well.

A devotional book we’ve been using lately is Triple Dog Dare by Jeremy V. Jones.  This book offers a year of dynamic devotions, aimed at boys ages 9 and up.  While my younger son is only 6 years old, I thought he would still enjoy these reflections almost as my elder son, age 11.

Many devotional books begin with January 1st and run through December 31st, but this one follows a numbered weekly format, beginning with Week 1 and running through Week 52. The weekday devotions follow a particular layout, and the weekend entries offer something slightly different.  This gives flexibility in the use of this book regardless of what year you’re reading it, but as we started it in mid-October, it took a bit of calculating to figure out which entry would be the one to begin with.  The start of the book really is for January, as it references a “new year”, and the Christmas holidays are mentioned in the latter weeks as well.  So readers should be prepared to calculate which week they are in before beginning.

From author Jeremy V. Jones, here’s a description of how the book is structured:

Every weekday of the year you get…
  • one Bible verse or passage.
  • some short thoughts about a real-life situation or connection to God.
  • three Triple Dog Dares – ideas to put the theme into action.
  • Two Mission Accomplished questions so you can write down your results from yesterday’s dares.

Each weekend you get something a little different.

  • Make Triple Dog Tracks sections give ideas to make something cool, like a movie, comic strip, life list, or Noah’s ark out of Legos.
  • From the Triple Dog Pound sections deliver short stories about guys in the Bible who accomplished God’s Triple Dog Dares—plus ideas of how you can do the same.

As we’ve been going through the Triple Dog Dare devotions, my boys have been enjoying them.  I have my elder son read the Bible verses at the beginning, and I read the rest of the devotion while the boys are eating.  Then we discuss ideas, if the boys have anything to say (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t).  Jeremy has a lighthearted, fun approach to the Christian faith, and he especially takes an interest in faith in action, encouraging readers to apply what they’ve learned to their daily lives and to come back and chronicle those events within blank, lined spaces in the devotional.

My only quibble with the book comes in the first entry (which would be January 2, 2012 if reading it soon).  Jones opens with a paragraph that’s designed to “wake up” his young readers, addressing irritations that middle-grade students may have with the church:

“Are you bored with the Bible?  Does church put you to sleep?  Do you think Christians are wimps? Do you feel like following Jesus is only about following rules? Then it’s time to wake up.”

I understand that Jones is reaching out to kids who are struggling with these issues, but given the current age and experience of my boys, they don’t have many of those thoughts in their heads yet.  I would allow that they might agree that church can be boring for them, but I don’t need a devotional book validating these notions or implanting them, even though it’s ultimately decrying them.  This January entry has caused me to read over the devotionals quickly before sharing them with my boys, just in case.  So far none others have raised any concern, however.  The Triple Dog Dare entries are fun and really do offer a platform to applying our faith to our everyday lives.

Despite my one, minor hesitation with the book, I do recommend this title to parents and loved ones of pre-teen and young teenage boys.  In this day and age, I feel it’s incredibly important to help kids see that the Christian faith should not be about religion, but it should be about a vibrant relationship that affects every decision we make.  I tell my son Matthew all the time—one day he’s going to be on his own, and his faith in Christ should not be just about what Mommy and Daddy told him.  He needs to believe it for himself, and act it out through Christ living in him, not because we’re looking over his shoulder.  The world is already offering him so many false reasons to disregard what we believe.  I applaud Jeremy V. Jones’ work in showing kids God’s love for us and in our world at large.  If our children can come away with that message tucked into their hearts, they will be very blessed indeed.

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For your next sit-down dinner with your family, I recommend the Tuna Surprise pictured above.  It's easy to make and quite delicious.  Check out the video and recipe on Rachael Ray's site:


  1. Nice review! Tourists in Zambia, née, the entire southern hemisphere agree!

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog while on your trip to Africa, honey! (Hubby is a pilot)

  3. Great review! I'm so happy to see authors doing devotionals for younger students. They need the Word to challenge the stuff they are learning in school that aren't Christian values.

    If interested in a girl's devotion, try Truth & Dare my Ann-Margret Hovsepian.

  4. Linda:

    Thanks for your comment, and the tip!




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