Written by Christine D. Johnson
Friday, 05 December 2014 02:41 PM EST
Lighthouse Christian Products introduces the new “Devoted Sculpture Series” this month. The sculptures are themed on Acts 2:4 where the believers devoted themselves to teaching, fellowship, sharing and prayer.
Made of cast stone, the Devoted pieces are laser-engraved and handpainted.
Each of the collection’s three pieces also bears another scripture. Praying Couple (667665201809) focuses on Ephesians 4:2-3; Praying Man (667665201816) on Jeremiah 29:13 and Praying Woman (667665201823) on Psalm 17:6.
Each piece includes the We All Need Hope booklet and retails for $24.99.
In God’s Got an Answer for That (9780736959858, $12.99), author Jon Nappa sets out to help kids ages 8-12 realize that God cares about their challenges and fears—from bullying to battles with siblings, loneliness and guilt—and has given them practical help in His Word. With the help of a parent, young readers become “truth sleuths,” uncovering the root of their problem and looking to the Bible for the ultimate solution. Through a simple, straightforward process, kids will develop the ability to seek biblical wisdom for their real-world problems.
Harvest House Publishers releases the 96-page softcover book Jan. 1. An activity book (9780736961257, $6.99) and devotional (9780736961233, $9.99) are also available. Learn more at harvesthousepublishers.com.
Written by DeWayne Hamby
Friday, 05 December 2014 02:12 PM EST
New releases feature mountaintop worship and a Southern gospel tribute
Worth Fighting For
Brian Courtney Wilson
Motown Gospel (Capitol Christian Distribution)
602537845101 Jan. 6
With his first recording since signing with Motown Gospel, Wilson mixes mostly live recording with some studio tracks for a contemporary gospel release that will inspire and energize listeners.
Produced by the company’s vice president of A&R, Aaron Lindsey, the songs aim to encourage listeners and draw them into worship. They include the title track, “The Promise,” “Hope Saved My Life,” “I’ll Just Say Yes,” “The Medley (All I Need, Already Here)” and “Our God Is Good.”
PRAISE & WORSHIP
I Am They
I Am They
Essential Records (Provident)
New Essential Records group I Am They releases its self-titled debut project this month. Comprised of Adam Palmer (lead vocals and guitar), Matthew Hein (lead vocals and guitar), Stephanie Kulla (lead vocals), Justin Shinn (keys), Bobby Stiehler (bass) and Sara Palmer (drums), the modern-worship group hails from Carson City, Nevada.
Songs on the release include “We Are Yours,” “Awake My Love,” “Your Love Is Mine,” “Over & Over,” “Again,” “King of Love,” “Even Me,” “From the Day, Make a Way,” “Here’s My Heart” and “Amen.”
We Will Not Be Shaken
Bethel Music (Provident)
Recorded live at a mountaintop retreat near Redding, California, this release from Bethel Music presents 11 new songs from the group’s artist collective, including several debut singers.
Songs include “Ever Be,” “Who Can Compare to You,” “In Over My Head (Crash Over Me),” “You Are My One Thing,” “Jesus We Love You,” “Seas of Crimson,” “You Don’t Miss a Thing,” “Home,” “No Longer Slaves,” “Nearness” and the title track, the result of a spontaneous moment of worship.
Along with the music, a film chronicling the creation of the worship event from which the album came is also available.
Songs in the Key of Happy
Gaither Music Group (Capitol Christian Distribution)
Paying tribute to one of gospel’s classic groups, The Happy Goodmans, a newly formed trio offers Songs in the Key of Happy. Goodman Revival—with members Tanya Goodman Sykes, Michael Sykes and Happy Goodmans singer Johnny Minick—continue the Goodman gospel legacy.
Songs include Southern gospel favorites and Goodman classics such as “What a Happy Time,” “This Is Just What Heaven Means to Me” and “I Don’t Want to Get Adjusted.” The disc also features guest appearances by the Gaither Vocal Band and Russ Taff.
Written by DeWayne Hamby
Friday, 05 December 2014 02:05 PM EST
‘The Identical’ explores the power of calling
Twin musical prodigies separated at birth find common ground in the new feature film The Identical (City of Peace Films/Capitol Christian Distribution, $19.99), which released theatrically in the fall and is making its way to home video Jan. 13.
The movie stars Golden Globe nominees Ray Liotta (The Place Beyond the Pines, Goodfellas, Field of Dreams) and Ashley Judd (Divergent, Olympus Has Fallen, Dolphin Tale) along with newcomer music sensation Blake Rayne and Emmy-winning Seth Green (The Italian Job, Austin Powers).
Inspired by an original story from Wade Cummins and with the screenplay by Howard Klausner (Space Cowboys, The Grace Card), The Identical follows identical twin brothers (both played by Rayne) who are separated at birth during the Great Depression. Despite their different upbringings, the boys share a similar passion for music, causing their lives to intersect as they experience the powerful and mysterious connection often felt by twins.
Adopted by a preacher (Liotta) and his wife (Judd), Ryan Wade has a different vision for his life than his parents do; they want him to become a preacher. Instead, he chooses a music career, performing the music of Drexel Hemsley, an iconic 1950s’ rock star who resembles Elvis Presley. What Ryan doesn’t realize at the time is that Drexel is his twin brother.
Directed by Dustin Marcellino, the feature is produced by Mark G. Mathis (Precious), Yochanan Marcellino of City of Peace Films, Matthew Dean Russell, Coke Sams and Clarke Gallivan, along with Liotta, Michael Edious Johnson, and Yochanan Marcellino serving as executive producers.
Rayne’s film debut includes his performance of many of the original songs in the movie. The film’s soundtrack from City of Peace Media highlights more than 20 original songs by legendary Motown record producer Jerry Marcellino (Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Bobby Darin, Frankie Valli) and Yochanan Marcellino. In addition to Rayne, the soundtrack also features a stellar lineup of City of Peace Record’s recording artists, including The Morph Kings, Darcey and Mo, and the Ricky Reece Band. The music from the film represents three decades of pop, rock, R&B and bluegrass.
With the theme of fulfilling one’s life calling, the film received five Doves from The Dove Foundation and is approved for audiences aged 12 and up.
For more information or to order, visit capitolchristiandistribution.com.
Written by Leslie Santamaria
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:24 PM EST
LATEST work: The Third Target (9781414336275, $26.99, January).
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House Publishers.
What is the premise of your new novel, The Third Target?
The premise is very simply, but also—to me, at least—terrifying: What if ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] acquires chemical weapons? Today we know that ISIS leaders are currently trying to bring down two governments in the Middle East—that of Iraq and Syria. I wanted to explore this question: Whom might ISIS go after next? What is the third target? The United States, Israel or some other country altogether?
What type of character is J.B. Collins?
J.B. Collins in an award-winning and highly respected New York Times correspondent. Primarily focused on national security affairs, he covers terrorism and has reported from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s in his mid-40s. Single. Hard-charging. Very competitive. Cultivates great sources. And for all those reasons, he’s willing to take enormous personal risks to pursue a story.
Why is Tyndale releasing this novel three months earlier than planned?
I began developing the idea for The Third Target in the winter of 2013. ... I remembered Tom Clancy once saying that the New York Times, for all its flaws, is one of the world’s most effective intelligence-gathering agencies. That intrigued me, and I began playing with the idea of creating a new series around an American foreign correspondent who is essentially an intelligence operative, but one who openly publishes what he learns for the world to read and doesn’t write top-secret reports that remain within the intelligence community.
The challenge was that when I first began writing, no one at Tyndale had ever heard of ISIS. Actually, most people in the world hadn’t heard of ISIS at that time. But by the time the manuscript was finished, ISIS was the number-one story in the Middle East. They were gaining so much territory in Syria and Iraq and becoming such an enormous threat that everyone was talking about ISIS. President Obama, who only months before had said ISIS was a “jayvee”-level terrorist group, was now declaring war on ISIS. And given how fast ISIS was moving, the executives at Tyndale thought maybe we’d better get the book out before the events I wrote about fictionally were overtaken by real life.
Whom did you interview for this book?
Two former directors of the CIA, a former director of the Mossad—Israel’s intelligence agency—as well as several very senior officials in an Arab government.
What helped you to be able to communicate the thinking of radical Islamists?
I talked to a lot of experts who have spent their lives hunting down, arresting and even killing radical Islamic terrorists. I specifically met with people who know ISIS, who knew its forerunner, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). In addition, I interviewed people who used to be terrorists and have since had dramatic conversions and have become followers of Jesus Christ. My conclusion is that ISIS is far more dangerous than al Qaeda ever was. This is not just an evil band of men. These are Satanists. They are genocidal, and God forbid they ever get their hands on weapons of mass destruction.
This story seems chillingly plausible. Do you sense you have a gift of prophecy at work in your fiction?
It could really happen. And I think that’s what draws people to my novels, that sense that these stories could be ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. That said, I don’t ascribe to a gift of prophecy. I write about geopolitical events and how they could lead to the fulfillment of biblical prophecies, and I do a lot of research to try to make each book as realistic and as plausible as possible.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I’m trying to use fiction to get people to focus on the truth, spiritual truth like in a world of evil and terrorism: Do you know where you are going when you die? And geopolitical truth, like the fact that ISIS poses a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States and our allies in the Middle East, and if we don’t take decisive action to crush them, they will hit us with genocidal force.
Too many leaders in Washington are exhausted by all this talk of war and terrorism in the epicenter. They want it to all be over. But Bible prophecy tells us wars and rumors of war and revolutions in the Middle East won’t end until Christ returns. Instead, they will get worse and worse. So we must stay on guard against great evil, lest we be blindsided by it. I’m deeply concerned that the president and his national security team are in over their heads. I don’t think they understand just how serious a threat we face.
Will you continue this story?
Lord willing, The Third Target is the first of a series. As far as I am aware, this will be the first novel about ISIS ever published. Let’s just pray none of it comes true.
Written by Leslie Santamaria
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:17 PM EST
Latest project: America: Turning a Nation to God (9780802412676, $19.99, Moody Publishers).
What is at the core of so many of America’s problems?
It is the departure from how God has designed government to function in terms of it needing to limit itself to its scope of responsibility and not invading the other arenas God has established.
Why did you write America?
To show Christians how we have helped create the problems in our nation and how we are the key to its cure. Also to call for America to turn to God in hopes that He will reverse our course and restore our nation to His definition of what a nation is to be when it operates under His rule.
In what ways is the future of America in the hands of Christians?
It is up to Christians to be the conscience of the nation from God’s perspective and draw God’s engagement back into the culture. The church as a whole can have a positive influence for good in our nation by advancing God’s kingdom and principles.
What will transform the culture?
We begin with a solemn assembly where we corporately humble ourselves before God. Also, we Christians need to be comprehensively kingdom minded.
What is a solemn assembly?
A solemn assembly is a sacred gathering designed to restore God’s place in the culture. It is a time where God’s people, during a specific time of fasting and prayer, seek the renewal of their relationship with Him through repentance of sin and the passionate pursuit of the return of His presence in their midst. In the Scripture, this was something often called by those in leadership—whether a priest, prophet or king. It was something that would first be called for a specific, smaller leadership sphere before spreading to the entire nation. Even in America, historical records show that prior to every national awakening, the spiritual leadership of the day put a heavy emphasis on fasting and gathering for time of solemn assemblies.
What do you mean by “A Declaration of Dependence”?
America was born out of a desire for independence from the tyranny of England. Spiritual revival calls for just the opposite. God has not called us to be independent from Him but rather to exercise a verbal and visible dependence on Him. In making a declaration of dependence, God’s people dedicate their allegiance to Him in four spheres: personal, familial, the church and national. Personally, every Christian must decide to no longer serve two masters. Heads of households must declare like Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Local churches must recommit to making disciples and not simply increasing membership. The church must commit to become the conscience of the government.
What does it mean for Christians to “kingdomize” their skills, as you suggest?
Kingdomizing our skills means that we use our skills, talents and abilities to advance God’s purposes in the world and not merely our own goals or agendas. It means aligning our attitudes and actions with Matthew 6:33, which tells us to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,” trusting that all the things we need will be given to us.
You outline a plan to impact America that begins in churches and communities. What is an example of such an outreach strategy for the local church?
One of the local programs with which our church has had success is The National Church Adopt-a-School Initiative (churchadoptaschool.org). The program is designed to prepare urban and suburban churches across America to forge partnerships with public schools to improve the lives of urban youth and families. Through this program, church and community leaders, as well as lay leaders and church members, learn how to address human needs effectively while at the same time modeling spiritual principles in a context of love, acceptance and accountability.
How do you suggest Christian retailers promote America?
On websites, retailers can create a cause-related area focused on revival and highlight America as well as other resources on the same topic. Also on the website, they can include America in their new and noteworthy releases and provide links to download the “Declaration of Dependence” documents and find out more about the call to a National Solemn Assembly scheduled to take place in 2016. In-store they can create a display or endcap focused on the state of the nation and include America; include America in the new-and-noteworthy releases section; have an employee read the book and write a recommendation to be displayed; and place copies in various sections of the store such as Church Resources, Christian Living, Politics, Contemporary Issues and Revival.
Written by Production
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:11 PM EST
Star of ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Sean Lowe reveals the story behind his reality TV experiences in For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage and Why Nice Guys Finish First. With Nancy French, Lowe chronicles the challenges he faced in trying to honor his Christian convictions during the taping of the shows. Nelson Books releases this $24.99 hardcover book Jan. 27.
In The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating (softcover, $14.99), pastor and author Andy Stanley examines the challenges of modern dating and offers a practical, Bible-based approach. He debunks what he calls the myth of “Mr. Right,” speaks frankly about premarital sex and shows readers how to find a lasting relationship. Stanley founded North Point Ministries, which includes six churches in the Atlanta area and a global network of 30 partner churches. Zondervan releases his new book Jan. 6.
Co-authors Suzanne Mayernick and Gwen Oatsvall, who are raising 13 children between their two families, have written One: Impossible Starts Here (softcover, $15.99), releasing this month from B&H Books. One tells how God built something bigger than these two women could have ever imagined, as they took one simple step of obedience after another. The authors are the founders of 147 Million Orphans, which provides orphans around the world with basic needs.
Howard Books releases the newest title from Robert J. Morgan on Jan. 6. Mastering Life Before It’s Too Late: Biblical Strategies for a Lifetime of Purpose (hardcover, $19.99) draws from the author’s lifelong study of the Bible and provides 10 biblical patterns for productivity and maximizing each day. Morgan is the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for 35 years.
Based on Nelson Searcy’s most-requested audio resources, Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live explains the power of words and shows readers how to choose them wisely to build a better life. Searcy is author of 10 best-selling books, as well as founder and lead pastor of The Journey Church, with locations in many cities, including Boca Raton, Florida. Written with Jennifer Dykes Henson, Tongue Pierced retails for $15.99 and releases from David C Cook on Jan. 1.
InterVarsity Press appeals to women with True You: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Using Your Voice (IVP Crescendo), available this month. Co-authors Adele Ahlberg Calhoun and Tracey Bianchi draw on their diverse experiences and voices to guide readers into a deeper relationship with God and a greater sense that every woman’s story matters. Bianchi serves as pastor for worship and women at Christ Church of Oak Brook, Illinois. Calhoun co-pastors at Redeemer Community Church in Needham, Massachusetts. True You retails for $16 in softcover.
In Stay on Top: Building a Life That Never Falls Apart, Larry Hutton draws from Scripture to help believers position themselves to stay strong and stable through life’s trials. Hutton is the author of several books and president/CEO of Larry Hutton Ministries based in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Releasing Jan. 15 from Harrison House Publishers, this softcover book retails for $12.99.
While atheists claim science and faith are incompatible, 20 contributors to True Scientists, True Faith (softcover, $16.99) show how science enriches their faith. From a variety of scientific fields and faith backgrounds, all the contributors are Christians. Contributors include astronomer Joan Centrella, Francis Collins of the human genome project and Alister McGrath, professor of science and theology at Oxford University. The Monarch Books title is available Jan. 27 through Kregel Publications.