Written by DeWayne Hamby
Monday, 11 August 2014 10:57 AM EDT
‘The Middle’ actress Patricia Heaton’s role spotlights challenges of the pastor’s wife
A night featuring a series of unfortunate events played to hilarious results is the basis for the faith-based comedy Mom’s Night Out, starring Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle); Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy); Sean Astin (The Goonies, “Lord of the Rings”); and country singer Trace Adkins.
Directed by the Erwin brothers (October Baby), the film from Affirm Films and Provident Films released to theaters in time for Mother’s Day and will be available for home viewing Sept. 2. The DVD is being promoted with a series of retailer exclusives, such as Blu-ray/DVD combo packs exclusive to Christian retail with bonus content such as blooper reels and special featurettes.
Heaton and her husband, David Hunt, served as executive producers of the film and offered script suggestions based on her research on the life of a pastor’s wife.
“When I did my research, one of the words that came up often to describe themselves is ‘lonely’,” she said. “It makes perfect sense because although they’re surrounded by people, they have to be careful about who they can confide in as a friend. So, we started finding places in the script to illustrate where we can spotlight pastor’s wife’s challenges.”
Heaton said the chance to “humanize” church goers was one of the concepts that drew her to the part of Sondra, the pastor’s wife.
“I think it was the first comedy in the faith-friendly area of movies,” she said. “I am a big believer in comedy. People talk about music breaking barriers and uniting people. I think comedy does the same thing. I was very excited that there was a comedy about people going to church. It makes them more human.”
The actress, who admitted that of all the moms she’s played in her roles, she’s the most like her current television persona, Frankie Heck from ABC’s The Middle, believes the ability for the church to show its softer side is a really good thing.
“I think G.K. Chesterton said, ‘Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly,’ ” Heaton said. “We should be able to laugh at our own unfortunate attempts at living a pious life. I think the world needs to see Christians having fun and laughing at themselves.”
To order the Mom’s Night Out DVD, visit thep.com.
Written by Leslie Santamaria
Monday, 07 July 2014 03:11 PM EDT
LATEST PROJECT: The Confession (9781401688868, $15.99, softcover, Aug. 5).
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson.
As a practicing attorney and best-selling author, how are you able to manage both professions?
I compartmentalize my time to fulfill competing responsibilities. Mothers do this on a daily basis! At this point in my legal career, I avoid cases that sap all my energy. I often leave the office early.
What type of law do you practice?
I am a disability lawyer and mediator. My mediator work involves assisting Christians in conflicts and disputes. This work is through a nonprofit organization called PeacePoint at PeacePoint.com. We offer a lot of free information via our website.
What sparked the idea for your new work, The Confession?
After writing several novels from the perspective of a defense lawyer, I wanted to explore the life of a prosecutor. And I thought it would be interesting to write about a prosecutor with a troubled past.
Your writing is often compared to that of John Grisham. How would you describe your writing, and who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?
Like Grisham, I strive for realism in portraying the legal world. I’ve met so many interesting people during 35 years of law practice that it’s not hard to populate my novels with intriguing characters. My writing is influenced by the thousands of depositions I’ve taken and hundreds of trial transcripts I’ve read. Also, like many modern writers, I’m influenced by Hemingway and his spare type of prose.
What type of character is Holt Douglas at the beginning of the novel?
Holt is an earnest young assistant [district attorney] performing public service law to assuage guilt over the death of a friend. He’s buried the past, but it is about to come out of the grave to confront him.
What topics do you explore in The Confession?
Obviously, the main theme relates to confession on several levels with more than one character. Confession is also connected with forgiveness.
Did you do any research for this title, or were you able to write completely from your law experience?
There was minimal research required for this book, mostly just a few legal nuances.
What message do you hope readers will take away from this book?
God will make a way for anyone willing to be honest and humble with him and others.
What else should Christian retailers know about The Confession?
This is a book in my wheelhouse—a legal suspense novel with plot twists and turns involving characters readers will care about.
Written by Leslie Santamaria
Monday, 07 July 2014 03:02 PM EDT
Latest project: When Heaven Seems Silent: How to Wait on God’s Promises Through Pain, Disappointment, and Doubt (9781621366614, $14.99, softcover, Charisma House).
In Randy Clark’s foreword to this book, he writes that you have been waiting “in faith for a promised creative miracle that has been twenty years in the making.” What was that creative miracle?
I (Mark) was born with a partially formed left shoulder, arm and only a small bud for a hand. We believe that God has promised to create a fully developed and functioning arm and hand.
You explain this miracle has been “persistently confirmed.” How so?
Through Scripture, through words of knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8) from various people, voice of the Holy Spirit, dreams and visions (mental impressions). There were three separate occasions that I (Mark) told God I wanted to give the promise back to Him because I was struggling intellectually and emotionally. After all, I didn’t need it in order to love Him and serve Him. Each of these three times, God dramatically intervened and graciously let me know He understood my struggle, but I was not to let His promise be surrendered.
What is the difference between a healing miracle and a creative miracle?
We define “creative miracles” as: God making or forming something that is missing or that was never there. We define “healing miracles” as: God fixing what is already there by restoring what is broken or not functioning properly.
Why did you choose to write this book?
One night I (Tammy) was asking the Lord what I could do to further contribute to our ministry, handofjesus.org. I heard in my mind, “Write a book.” That excited me because I enjoy writing. I then asked what I should write about. I felt the answer was, “Write about your promised creative miracle.” I didn’t feel excited about that reply. It felt way too vulnerable, too transparent, too exposing. I told Mark about this conversation, and he humbly agreed to pray with me about it. Eventually we decided we needed to be obedient to what we felt God spoke.
What are some of the challenges for the believer who is waiting on God?
To not be offended at God during the process. To maintain Him as first love. To not give up, trusting there is purpose in delay. Wrongly putting life on hold until “it” happens rather than moving forward.
What is one lesson you learned while waiting for God to fulfill His promise?
Running ahead of God’s timing comes from an incorrect confidence we have in ourselves that we are ready for the next step. This confidence arises from the fact that we’ve done our homework; we’ve prepared. If we have accomplished A, B and C, then it should logically follow that D, E and F will occur. And besides, our time here on Earth is limited and we need to get moving. It has become increasingly obvious in the 20 years we have been waiting for our promise that God does not buy in to our formulas. In fact, if we are of the opinion that we’ve accomplished anything apart from Him, then we have proven that we are not ready for the next step. We are setting ourselves up for disappointment or, even worse, for failure that could hurt the ones we love. We must trust His timing. God, our Heavenly Father, desires to walk with us through the process of receiving His promises!
Who would benefit from this book?
Those who are finding it difficult to hold onto hope as they wait for answers [and] individuals and couples who are navigating through their thoughts and emotions as they try to remain faithful to God.
How can Christian retailers promote this book?
When Heaven Seems Silent will leave readers saying, “Wow, did that really happen?” on some pages and, “That happens to me and now I understand why” on other pages. While most books are written after the promise is fulfilled, When Heaven Seems Silent is written in the midst of the wait. It is heart-wrenchingly honest about the process and difficulties of waiting while leaving you encouraged and restoring hope. We also can provide a four-minute video.
Written by Leslie Santamaria
Monday, 07 July 2014 02:54 PM EDT
One lesson God taught author and human trafficking activist Christine Caine was a dozen years in the making.
As a fan of the Olympic women’s relay race, Caine watched her favorite team, the Americans, lose in 2000, 2004 and 2008 after failing to pass batons well. When the American team won gold in 2012, Caine realized God wanted her to see something—that Christians worldwide run the most important race every day, “the divine relay,” and the exchange zones are critical for success.
Caine explains this lesson using stories from her life and the ministry she cofounded, The A21 Campaign, in her new book from Zondervan, Unstoppable: Running the Race You Were Born to Win (9780310341178, $15.99), releasing Aug. 26.
A21 fights human trafficking around the world, including sexual exploitation and forced slave labor. The examples in Unstoppable come from the frontlines of that battle. They show how each believer, regardless of present and past circumstances and limitations, when empowered by the Holy Spirit, can serve God in this generation. The book focuses on rallying believers to join the race and then to pass on batons effectively to others.
“The church needs champion runners who never give up, who persevere no matter what they encounter, who run to win—unstoppable, no matter the cost,” writes Caine. She debunks the things that threaten to hold back Christians, including fear, apathy, unforgiveness, shame and opposition from the devil. Referring to the seeming impossibilities biblical figures Moses, David and Mary faced, she writes: “Impossible is God’s starting point.”
While believers are tempted to falsely believe they cannot make a difference, Caine points out that as Christians put the broken pieces of their lives into God’s hands, He uses them to work wonders.
Caine refers to the race of faith not as an individual journey, but a team event. Mastering the handoff of responsibilities to fellow Christians means letting go of one thing to grasp another.
“Hand off the baton well and we represent God as big to the world around us,” Caine writes. “Hand off poorly (or worse yet, stop handing off at all) and we represent God as small to the world.”
Additionally, Caine stresses that the goal of the race is not to earn God’s favor, but to become more like Christ. The baton is the work of Christ in individuals and the world. And the finish line might not be visible on this side of eternity.
To order, call 800-727-1309.
Written by Leslie Santamaria
Monday, 07 July 2014 02:50 PM EDT
Excerpts from three decades of conversations plus Frost’s insights called ‘more relevant now than ever’
Late journalist Sir David Frost interviewed evangelist Billy Graham many times over the course of 30 years, beginning in 1964. The recurring themes of their televised conversations were finding God and how to live out the Christian faith in a changing culture.
Now portions of the Frost/Graham interviews appear in Billy Graham: Candid Conversations With a Public Man (David C Cook), which releases Aug. 1. Frost believed Graham’s spoken words merited “additional study that is easiest in book form.”
Yet the book is more than a printing of transcripts. The excerpts Frost chose are arranged by topic and interspersed with his insights. In addition to the evangelist’s comments on faith, the book includes his thoughts on topics such as presidents, politics—and himself.
The publishing team at David C Cook found the taped interviews “more relevant now than ever” and decided to print the book to give the material “historical permanence,” as stated in the introduction.
Frost was known for his conversations with top political figures, being the only person to interview all the British prime ministers in office between 1964 and 2010 and all American presidents serving between 1969 and 2008. His discussions with Richard Nixon led to the Oscar-nominated film Frost/Nixon.
As a teen, Frost had attended a Graham crusade in London, which ignited his interest in faith.
“I find interviewing Billy Graham endlessly fascinating,” Frost wrote. “We never have enough time to cover all of the subjects that I’d like to ask him about.”
Frost pointed out that Graham was always quick to mention how important Ruth was to him and their ministry. Frost was “touched by the depth of the relationship between Billy and Ruth,” he wrote.
In their last interview in May 1997, Frost asked Graham: “If this were to be our last interview, what is the message you would most want to communicate at the end of it?” Graham’s reply started with, “That God loves you…. No matter what you’ve done or what you’ve said or been, He loves you.”
The book includes photographs from the interviews and a chronology of events.
To order, call 800-323-7543, or visit bookstores.cookministries.com.
Written by DeWayne Hamby
Monday, 07 July 2014 02:39 PM EDT
Lincoln Brewster and Thousand Foot Krutch share different takes on same theme
My Only Answer
Adamec delivers his unique brand of adult contemporary music with debut release My Only Answer. The Florida native honed his craft as a worship leader for YouthQuake and Campus Crusade for Christ (CrU).
Tracks include debut single “My Only Answer,” “Chains Break” and “I Wouldn’t Trade.”
Reflecting the style of artists Brandon Heath, Hillsong, OneRepublic and One Sonic Society, Adamec’s music should appeal to fans of worship and modern pop styles.
Integrity Music (Provident Distribution)
Before the rock-worship genre hit its peak, Brewster was paving the way, delivering anthems like “Let the Praises Ring,” “Everlasting God” and “Today Is the Day.” Oxygen showcases a new collection of contemporary praise tracks by the California-based singer-songwriter. Songs include “Made New,” “Live to Praise You,” “Whole Again (Come Alive),” “Oxygen.” “You Never Stop,” “Over All,” “23” and “Let It Be Known.”
Thousand Foot Krutch
(New Day Christian Distributors)
Modern rock’s Thousand Foot Krutch returns with the group’s first new studio release in two years, Oxygen: Inhale. Produced by the band’s frontman, Trevor McNevan, and Aaron Sprinkle (One Republic, Anberlin, Pedro the Lion), the album features the high-energy “Let the Sparks Fly” and melodic “War of Change,” among others.
Reflecting on the album’s title, McNevan said: “Most of us spend our entire lives taking half breaths when we were created to take full breaths. To live life to its fullest, to treat every day like it might be our last, and treat other people the same way. We can’t see it, but we need it. It exists. It fuels everything we are.”
Time Stands Still
Family Force 5
Family Force 5—comprised of Derek Mount (nicknamed “Chap Stique”), Jacob Olds (“Crouton”), Joshua Olds (“Fatty”), Nathan Currin (“Nadaddy”) and Teddy Boldt (“Hollywood”)—releases the 15-song Time Stands Still.
“BZRK,” the first video from the album, garnered more than 250,000 views and 2,400 likes on YouTube in just eight days. Songs include “Let It Be Love” and “Walk on Water,” featuring Melodie Wagner of Hillsong Young & Free.
The disc was produced by Riley Friesen (Vota, Staggerford) and Seth Mosley (Newsboys, For King & Country).