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As we all know, life is a tangled web. Poor judgment, ill-chosen colleagues, and giving in to reckless impulses can lead to a world of problems. Operating from this shaky foundation, our actions can be the ruin of ourselves and others, leading us down roads to economic ruin, substance addiction, and prison time—for the most unfortunate.

These are the kinds of dire straits that The Journey Home, an upcoming Bible study resource from Lutheran Hour Ministries, addresses. Written in large part using Jesus' parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32 as its backdrop, The Journey Home brings to the forefront the idea that we're all prodigals in need of divine forgiveness and redemption. Drilling down to life issues that negatively impact people in general (conceit, greed, apathy, sex) to issues that hit some more than others (drugs, aggression, alcohol, rejection of God), this study tackles a wide range of issues head-on.

In multiple sessions, the author, Rev. Leroy Johnson, moves from biblical instances of moral and spiritual failure to examples of similar downturns our lives may take. In each set of circumstances—both ancient and modern—it's often the choices we make, the ill-conceived plans we hatch for ourselves, that do us in. He writes, "Many people tend to say when bad things happen in their lives it's God's will, or they want to blame God, family, the system, and everyone else for their misfortune, but we can clearly see from the lessons of life and the Scriptures that what happens in our lives is often a direct result of our choices."

Johnson doesn't sugar-coat the situation. Using examples, he shows the reader how the place he or she is at in life is pretty much due to their own actions—either sensible or irresponsible. To assist readers, lessons are prefaced with an introduction, followed by an outline of what's to come. Questions targeting info from the text reinforce the material covered, and a brief summary concludes each of the 12 lessons.

The Journey Home works well as a study for those who have been, or are, incarcerated, as well as those who may be heading that way by destructive life choices. As one reviewer said, "This is an outstanding study. I believe it does a good job of achieving its goal. I can even think of a particular person recently released from prison with whom I have been ministering that I would like to share this with. ... It addresses the area of sanctification, especially with teaching and guiding new Christians, in a very real and practical way."

The Journey Home will be available soon. Look for details about its release in the coming weeks at

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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