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FICTION FILE April 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 11:59 AM EDT

BridgeToHavenASK THE AUTHOR: Francine Rivers

LATEST PROJECT: Bridge to Haven (9781414368184, $25.99, April 22)

PUBLISHER: Tyndale House Publishers

You have often said that each of your novels is inspired by a question. Is there a particular question that inspired Bridge to Haven?  I wanted to know more about the character of God. I spent more than a year reading through the Bible and filling pages with His attributes. He is the Creator, the Spirit that moved over the earth, the One who walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. He is our Deliverer, Father, Savior, Friend, Healer, Banner, Almighty, the Alpha and Omega. He loves His children and hates sin. And the questions kept coming: Why do people continually “fall in love” with man-made or conceived idols when He is the only One worthy of devotion and worship? Why did it take me so long to come to Him? And how can I be like Jesus when He is love personified, perfection, the perfect representation of Father God?

Sometimes the questions are too big to flesh out in a story. How do you create a character like God when He is too marvelous to behold, or His Son who is perfect and the Spirit who moves and breathes life through His Word into our lives, even translating our prayers in order to align them with God’s will? How does one live [out] God’s love for the sake of others? What does that look like in day-to-day life? How do people survive the pain that comes with rejection? How do we arrive at the happy ending we all crave? Those are the questions that drive the story.

Did some scripture inform this story?  I kept coming back to Ezekiel 16 in which God tells the story of the baby girl abandoned at birth and left to die alongside the road. He lifted her in His arms and loved her. He gave her gifts suitable for a queen, intending one day to make her His bride. It is a story of Israel, but it is also the story of each child born on this planet, each with the potential to belong to God. That story from Scripture became the foundation for Bridge to Haven. God is still the central “character,” but He is unseen, always working. The story is about pastor Ezekiel Freeman and his son, Joshua, and Abra, a baby abandoned under the bridge who grows into a beautiful rebellious teenager seduced and carried away by Dylan, a boy given over to living for self and the destruction of others. She is lost, and only God can find her and bring her home again.

Why did you choose Hollywood in the 1950s as the setting?  The Golden Years of Hollywood offered hope to countless young people who flocked to California to be discovered and made into movie stars. It still happens. From the true stories I’ve read, those who did make it were still broken people who never found happiness. Money and fame didn’t fulfill them, and sadly, some of the brightest “stars” burned out through suicide. It still happens. How many young stars do we see crashing and burning? Hollywood in the ’50s had all the glitz and glamor Satan might offer to a hurting, lost soul who yearns to be somebody who matters. It takes God to bring true light into the neon darkness and fill us with the assurance that God loves us so much He sent Jesus to make the bridge home.

What else you would like to share with Christian retailers?  Christian retailers are on the frontlines in the spiritual battle that rages around all of us and will continue until Jesus returns. Without people who place books in the hands of readers, what I do would end up being words on paper that end up tossed in a waste bin. We are all members of a team with the same goal—to promote Jesus and the gospel of our Lord. We live in a time like Judges when every man seems to be doing what is right in his own eyes. Any way we can share truth needs to be employed for the sake of the lost.

Read more of Ask the Author at christianretailing.com/francinerivers.

 
CLOSE UP: Sarah Jakes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 11:51 AM EDT

LostAndFoundLatest project: Lost and Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life (9780764212093, $24.99, Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group).

What prompted you to tell your story in Lost & Found? I never set out to write a book. When I first started writing my blog, I started it as a source of healing for me … as a place to release the pain I was going through dealing with infidelity and still fighting for my marriage … as a place I could just tell my truth. And the more I blogged, the more people responded. I then realized that by being transparent and sharing my struggles, I was able to inspire other people, and together we all started to dream again.

What have been some of the detours in your life? Having my son at the age of 14, getting married and divorcing young, even some of the choices that I have made. But what I learned through it all is that the detours may make things more difficult, but they don’t make things impossible. I thought that I couldn’t achieve success in my life because of past mistakes. I thought that I had to create a perfect picture to present to God in order for Him to use me, but what I found out was exactly opposite. God is using my life as an example to others [showing] that no matter how “lost” they may be, they can still be “found.”

How did living in the public eye as the daughter of T.D. and Serita Jakes affect you? It was certainly challenging. ... My father was continually rising. He was one of the most influential pastors in the country, so it certainly made it more difficult to be his daughter, 14 and pregnant. I still remember the murmurs of the people in the church and the shame I felt as they would talk about me as they passed by. For the most part, the church was very supportive, but when we’re only searching for negativity to brace ourselves for, that’s all we see. It was even more challenging to go through a divorce with the public spotlight once again on my personal life. 

What are some of the ways God is using you today? I oversee the women’s ministry at The Potter’s House of Dallas, which is the church led by my parents. I also serve as the senior editor of eMotions, our digital magazine. I occasionally serve as a television host on The Potter’s Touch and a speaker at our conferences. It is amazing how God works because I also wanted to work with and support my parents, but I didn’t think I could because of my past mistakes. I also regularly blog at sarahjakes.com, I travel the world sharing my story as a featured speaker and with my first book, Lost and Found, set for release on April 1, I am now an author!

 
Amway leader shares ‘joyful life’ in memoir PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 11:50 AM EDT

SimplyRichRich DeVos, co-founder of Amway, a multibillion-dollar global company, has achieved more than most people do in a lifetime. In his new memoir from Howard Books, Simply Rich: Life and Lessons From the Cofounder of Amway (9781476751771, $25, April 1), he details the experiences that have shaped the outward focus that drives his business acumen and far-reaching philanthropy. 

In the business world, he is known as a self-made billionaire. Listed by Forbes magazine as the 60th wealthiest person in America, DeVos is also owner of the Orlando Magic NBA team and is board member for several organizations. 

In his charitable endeavors, he has helped build several sites, including the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, a sports arena for Hope College and an exhibit hall in the National Constitution Center—all since undergoing a risky heart transplant that saved his life 16 years ago.

Despite his accomplishments, DeVos often introduces himself simply as “a sinner, saved by grace.”

“I cannot remember a time when I did not believe in God,” he writes. 

As a child during the Great Depression, he attended the Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

DeVos has also never forgotten where he came from, crediting his Dutch heritage for “a love of freedom, a solid work ethic, an entrepreneurial spirit, and strong faith,” he writes.  

In high school, he met Jay Van Andel, and the two became lifelong business partners. In their first business arrangement, DeVos paid 25 cents per week for a ride to school in Van Andel’s car. They soon discovered they made a good team. With complementary strengths, they started a handful of enterprises, including a flight service and restaurant, before founding Amway, which has enabled millions worldwide to own their own business.

In Simply Rich, DeVos tells of Amway’s growth from a basement startup to an international success. He also writes about his marriage of more than 60 years, challenges he faced from government regulators and critics, and his philanthropic and political endeavors. 

Throughout his 87 years, his beliefs have remained the same. 

“These are simply the principles that have proven over time to be my foundation for a successful, fulfilling, and joyful life—a life that not only has been rewarding to me but has resulted in rewards for others,” he writes.

To order Simply Rich, call Howard Books at 800-858-4109.

 
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