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BibleBeat November 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 09:13 AM EDT

ReformationHeritageKJVStudyBible

Emphasizing the revival of the 16th and 17th centuries, Reformation Heritage Books releases The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible this month. Articles are included about the faith, some of which were written by Reformers, Puritans and modern theologians in the reformed tradition. Each chapter offers thoughts for personal and family devotions. Introductions to each book of the Bible incorporate an overview of church history, creeds and catechisms. Study notes, cross-references, maps and a daily reading plan are some of the additional features. The hardcover retails for $40. Several leather and leatherlike editions are also available at various prices.

SpiritLedWomanBible-leatherlike

To help women grow stronger spiritually and be better prepared for spiritual warfare, Passio, an imprint of Charisma House, has published the MEV SpiritLed Woman Bible. The Modern English Version (MEV) is a word-for-word translation in the tradition of the King James Version that aims to maintain the beauty of the past while providing clarity for modern readers. Key features include daily inspirational thoughts, character profiles of biblical women, interactive study tools and deeper teaching on spiritual battle. This edition releases Nov. 4 in hardcover ($44.99) and leather-like ($64.99).

TheLifeRecoveryBible-KJV

The Life Recovery Bible from Tyndale House Publishers is available in the King James Version this month (hardcover, $39.99). Based on the Twelve Steps of recovery, more than 2 million copies have been sold in the New Living Translation. Recovery notes, devotionals and profiles are placed throughout from author Stephen Arterburn, founder of New Life Ministries, and David Stoop, author and director of The Center for Family Therapy in Newport Beach, California. Other features include a 12-step comparison chart.

 
Bookbeat November 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 09:04 AM EDT

LearningFromTheGiants

Learning From the Giants: Life and Leadership Lessons From the Bible (hardcover, $16) is the newest book from No.1 New York Times best-selling author John C. Maxwell. In this FaithWords title releasing Nov. 11, Maxwell draws on more than 50 years of Scripture study to deliver wisdom from biblical figures about leadership and one’s relationship with God. With more than 24 million books sold, Maxwell speaks worldwide on leadership, and his nonprofit, EQUIP, has trained more than 5 million leaders in 180 countries.

WhatAmISupposedToDoWithMyLife

Liberty University Vice President and Campus Pastor Johnnie Moore debunks the idea that God’s will is hard to find in What Am I Supposed To Do With My Life?: God’s Will Demystified. The book addresses the question Moore hears more than any other and shows that God’s will isn’t as difficult to discern as many think it is. Thomas Nelson’s W Publishing Group releases this softcover book ($15.99) Nov. 4.

PowerfulPrayers

By examining 10 examples of biblical prayers that produced miraculous answers from God, Mike Shreve encourages readers to expect the miraculous when they pray. His book, Powerful Prayers for Supernatural Results: How to Pray Like Moses, Elijah, Hannah, and Other Biblical Heroes Did (softcover, $11.99), releases Nov. 4 from Charisma House. Shreve is pastor at the Triumphant Living Ministry Center in Cleveland, Tennessee, and has authored 11 books, including 65 Promises From God for Your Child.

MountainMan

Duck Dynasty’s Mountain Man, Tim Guraedy, has written Mountain Man: Keepin’ a Slow Profile (Broadstreet Publishing). With his typical humor and references to sports, music and the Bible, Guraedy advocates slowing down and focusing on what is truly valuable and important rather than speeding up to squeeze more into each day. His book releases this month in hardcover ($14.99).

PrayersForPeople

In Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray (softcover, $16.99), Donna Schaper offers new ways to think about prayer in order to remove obstacles such as disbelief and disappointment. Her book is targeted to both believers and those who have yet to believe, and is available in stores this month from Abingdon Press. Schaper is senior minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City and a principal at Bricks Without Straw, a consulting firm assisting nonprofits.

GetYourJoyBack

Laurie Wallin’s book Get Your Joy Back: Banishing Resentment and Reclaiming Confidence in Your Special Needs Family (softcover, $13.99) addresses the concerns of special-needs families and releases Nov. 27 from Kregel Publications. A speaker and certified life coach, Wallin is the author of Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful. She is also mom to four girls, two of whom have special needs. From firsthand experience she offers hope to the weary and explains how forgiveness is the key to restoring joy.

TheWayOfGrace

Glandion Carney (with Marjean Brooks) tells of God’s amazing grace following Carney’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in The Way of Grace: Finding God on the Path of Surrender (IVP Books/InterVarsity Press). With transparency about his own difficulties, Carney, an Anglican priest and speaker with Renovaré, discusses the benefits of spiritual practices and the abundance of God’s grace. The Way of Grace is available in stores this month (softcover, $15).

Vainglory

In Vainglory: The Forgotten Vice (softcover, $14) Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung defines vainglory, considers its modern expressions and explains how a desire for attention and acknowledgement can damage one’s relationships with God and others. DeYoung, a professor of philosophy at Calvin College, also explores practices that can help individuals and communities resist this vice and handle glory well. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing releases Vainglory this month.

 
Close up J.D. Greear PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 09:01 AM EDT

JDGreearLatest project:
Jesus, Continued: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better Than Jesus Beside You (9780310337768, $15.99, Zondervan).

What does the title Jesus, Continued refer to?

That the work Jesus commenced in His incarnation He now continues through His Spirit in the church. It’s not that in the Gospels Jesus worked, and now we, in His absence, work for Him. For 33 years Jesus worked through His earthly body and now He works through us. In Acts 1, Luke says that in his former book—the Gospel of Luke—he “wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day he was taken up” (Acts 1:1). The implication is that Acts is what He is continuing to do. That’s why there are so many parallels between the ministry of Jesus in Luke and the ministry of the church in Acts.

Who is this book for?

This is a book for any Christian who has asked himself, “Shouldn’t there be more to my Christian life than this?” Even after I had gotten a Ph.D. in theology and pastored a growing, “successful” church, I sensed a relational disconnect with God. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand that God had reconciled me to Himself in Christ. I just didn’t know how to have an active relationship with God. This is a book for anyone who shares that feeling.

Why do you say your book is “perhaps not a typical one”?

Most books about the Holy Spirit focus on describing who the Holy Spirit is and answering theological questions about Him. This book is not so much “about” the Holy Spirit as it is “for” the purpose of being filled by the Spirit and discovering His guidance in your life.

JesusContinuedWhat is the difference between Jesus beside us and the Spirit in us?

Jesus told His disciples that if they understood what was being offered to them in the Holy Spirit, they would have been glad he was returning to heaven if that meant getting the Spirit (John 16:7). Having the Holy Spirit in them would be better than having him beside them. When the disciples had Jesus beside them, He wasn’t just a force or a principle. He was a person, someone they interacted with, someone who spoke into their lives. The Holy Spirit is to be the same for us. He is to be the power for our ministry, but He also desires to have fellowship with us (1 John 1:3). And He is to be our guide.

What do you want readers to take away from reading this book?

That personal, interactive relationship has always been God’s plan for His people. This book exists to lead people to that experience if they’ve never had it, and help clarify it for them if they have. God has always been a God who is close and present with His people—but only since Jesus returned to heaven has He taken up residence inside of us. I also want to help readers understand how closely the Spirit connects to the gospel. Many Christians today talk about the gospel and the Word; others talk all about the Spirit. But these connect at the deepest levels. The deeper you go in the gospel, the more alive you become in the Spirit. By believing the gospel message, Paul says, you are filled with the Spirit (Gal 3:1–3), and if you want to grow more full with the Spirit, you must keep plunging deeper into the gospel message.

What else would assist retailers in selling this book?

About every 30 years, evangelicals have a conversation about the Holy Spirit. The last really significant one was in the 1970s, and it led to the Jesus Movement. There’s been a lot of talk recently among the more Reformed Christians about being gospel-centered. This book will show how the fullness of the Spirit is intimately connected to gospel-centeredness, and how the power of gospel-centeredness is found only in the Spirit. It can bring the more charismatic and the more Reformed communities together—both have something to bring to the conversation. Tim Keller says that revival is doing the “ordinary things” of Christian ministry with extraordinary Spirit power. We desperately need a national and worldwide gospel awakening. That will only come by the Spirit. So, it’s time for another conversation about the Holy Spirit.

 
Worship leader finds power in gaze on Christ PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 08:58 AM EDT

LookAndLiveRecording artist and worship leader Matt Papa was once busy full-time, doing the work of God—going on mission trips, leading Bible studies and the like—and yet he was depressed, driven by the need for approval and addicted to pornography.

Then he gained a deeper understanding of the glory of God and everything changed.

Papa explains his transformation in Look and Live: Behold the Soul-Thrilling, Sin-Destroying Glory of Christ (9780764212512, $15.99). His goal for the book, which releases this month from Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group, is to “revive a glory-hungry giant and then point it to its proper and necessary Object. To point it away from the empty wells that cannot satisfy and toward the Fountain of infinite Satisfaction.”

Papa’s change did not come through working or striving. Nor did it happen overnight. In a three-year period, he changed by setting his gaze on Christ and starting each day lingering over God’s Word, praying and meditating.

“Beauty began coming into view,” he writes. “I began to feel something I had never felt before. A satisfaction, an incomparable thrill, and a displacing of all lesser ones.”
Papa begins his book by defining glory and worship. Everyone is a worshipper, he asserts. He calls worship “the truest condition of our souls,” and even says, “We are worship machines.”

The problem, he adds, is that we often worship things that cannot withstand the weight of our worship.

“The triune God is the only thing large enough and interesting enough to bear the weight of glory, and ultimately worship,” he writes.

Papa uses the phrase “cultural A.D.D.,” saying that because we have a wealth of information and options at our fingertips, focusing is difficult. Yet he calls readers to rise to the task.

“The most important thing for you to do is to fight to get a real vision of God,” he writes.

Now a minister at The Summit Church in Durham, North Carolina, Papa says that although the fight continues, he is living in victory.

“Make your life one unflinching gaze at the glory of God,” he writes. “This is the only addiction that can finally set you free. Look and live!”

To order or learn more, visit Baker’s website at bakerpublishinggroup.com.

 
Famed couple shares their unusual love story PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 08:28 AM EDT

Life Without Limbs founder Nick Vujicic and wife Kanae offer observations on marriage in new book

LoveWithoutLimitsNick Vujicic was born without arms or legs, and although he says his life is not easy, through his faith and family’s love he lives a vibrant, joy-filled life. Beginning his career as a motivational speaker at age 19, Vujicic has spoken worldwide about overcoming adversity and living with faith and hope. His reach is far, with many of his YouTube videos garnering millions of views and sales of his books reaching over 1 million in 30 languages.

Vujicic, a New York Times best-selling author, directs the nonprofit organization Life Without Limbs and wrote a number of books, including Unstoppable, Stand Strong and Life Without Limits. Yet despite his well-known optimism, he wondered if he would ever find a wife.

In Love Without Limits, releasing this month from WaterBrook Press, Vujicic and his wife, Kanae, tell their love story.

The two met at a speaking engagement in 2012 and were immediately attracted to each other. However, they compare their start to a romantic comedy, with now-humorous misunderstandings and language barriers.

Theirs is a multicultural tale. Vujicic is Serbian-Australian; Kanae is Japanese-Mexican. That their paths crossed is amazing in itself, considering that they grew up on different continents and lived 9,000 miles apart when they met.

Early on, they also dealt with their own hesitations and the skepticism of others. Loved ones wondered how Nick’s daily care needs would affect their relationship. Nick had doubts about his “fitness as both a husband and father,” he writes.

Kanae added that she brought challenges to the mix as well.

“I’d had my own ups and downs in relationships, and I had a little baggage because my parents had divorced when I was very young.

But they kept Christ at the center of their courtship and married in 2013 with the blessing of both of their families. Their son, Kiyoshi, was born one day after their first anniversary.

“What a gift the love of another person is,” Nick writes. “And the love of a child is beyond priceless.”

As newlyweds, the Vujicics acknowledge they are on their own journey to building a lasting relationship, and they don’t claim to be experts.

“This book is meant to share our love story with you and also to offer what we have observed and learned so far,” the pair writes.

Intermingled with the narrative is advice on searching for love, wedding planning and keeping a marriage strong. Lists woven into the chapters include, “Nick and Kanae’s Five Rookie Tips to Working at Marriage” and the “Ten Point Survival Guide for the First Year of Life With a Child.”

To order, visit the publisher’s website, waterbookmultnomah.com.

 
Let us entertain you PDF Print E-mail
Written by Natalie Gillespie   
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 08:13 AM EDT

Personal experience and special packages help drive sales in a digital world

LeftBehind-MovieJust a few years ago, music was a significant category for Christian retailers. But what about DVDs? Except for VeggieTales, not so much. Now, entertainment sales have flip-flopped, with 2014 being called the “Year of the Bible” by Hollywood insiders and bloggers while stores struggle to sell in the music category.

“We do books quite well, but the music side has diminished,” said Rick Lewis, owner of Logos Bookstore in Dallas. “CDs—they just don’t work for us.”

Steve Pickering, owner of the Lemstone Parable Christian Store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has had a similar experience.

“Music is pretty dead for us,” Pickering said. “A few years ago, music exceeded 20% of our sales. Now it’s down to less than five. We carry the new releases and a few oldies.”

Hallelujah-NewsboysThankfully, that’s not the end of the story. With recent box-office and television hits like God’s Not Dead, Son of God, Heaven Is for Real and History Channel miniseries The Bible now on DVD and Blu-ray, many stores have seen home-video sales pick up.

“DVDs are continuing to sell because there has been so much good stuff coming out on the big screen,” said Martha Brangenberg, manager of Charis Christian Books & Gifts in Largo, Florida. “I keep placing orders. I am down to three God’s Not Dead again. People are wanting to own that movie rather than just watch it once.”

RunWild-ForKingAndCountryIndeed, God’s Not Dead and Heaven Is for Real have set the new Christian entertainment gold standard. With a budget of about $2 million, God’s Not Dead brought in more than $62.6 million worldwide at the box office, while DVD and Blu-ray sales landed the movie at No. 2 on Variety magazine’s sales chart in both categories in August. Heaven Is for Real had a larger production budget of $12 million and took in just over $100 million at the box office worldwide, according to boxofficemojo.com.

“I am constantly amazed when I look at the numbers,” Brangenberg said of her DVD sales. “It is very encouraging.”BeautyAndTheBeet

REACHING MUSIC FANS

While DVDs still have some brick-and-mortar sales life, it is anybody’s guess whether physical music sales can ever be recaptured. The June 6 headline on the Generation-Y website Elite Daily was shockingly accurate. Accompanied by a photo of a forearm with an IV line, it read: “How One Generation Was Single-Handedly Able To Kill The Music Industry.”

Songwriter and entrepreneur Thomas Honeyman assessed the situation.

“The old music industry clung desperately to sales to survive, but that model is long gone,” he said.

In the past few years, CD sales have given way to digital downloads, which now have largely fallen to streaming.

Jimmy Wheeler, vice president of sales and national promotion at Provident Label Group, is in his 25th year in the music business and has seen significant change.

“We went from stacking dollars from CD sales to stacking quarters on digital downloads to stacking pennies now on streaming revenue,” Wheeler said.

Does that mean consumers no longer care about music? Quite the opposite. A recent Nielsen study found that 40% of U.S. consumers—those classified as fans—are responsible for 75% of music spending. These fans would be willing to spend an additional $450 million to $2.6 billion annually if they could participate in behind-the-scenes perks or get exclusive extras like in-studio updates, real-time emails, limited editions, autographed copies, vinyl records and lyric sheets handwritten by the artist.

So how can retailers persuade consumers to buy music at brick-and-mortar stores? Try the following four tips:

1. Consider the season. Christmas is coming, and it’s pretty tough to gift-wrap a download. Try creating tabletop displays with CDs, books and small gifts that complement the music, like Casting Crowns’ Thrive CD with singer Mark Hall’s book of the same title.

“Casting Crowns’ Thrive came out in January, and it has been in the top five every week since it came out,” Wheeler said. “We have not seen a Christmas with this record yet, so I am treating it almost like a brand-new release.”

Wheeler said Tenth Avenue North’s November release, Cathedrals, also should be good for the season. And he added that retailers can get customers excited about first quarter 2015, which will see new recordings from Third Day, Matt Maher, Red and Brandon Heath. For King & Country also released Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong on Sept. 16, with T-shirts, necklace, bracelet, drumsticks and a poster at retail.

Other ways to make it a musical Christmas include hanging CDs on a Christmas tree, looking at concert schedules to see who will be coming your way and playing music in the store.

Michael W. Smith teamed up with a bunch of A-list artists, including Amy Grant and Vince Gill, Bono, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride, to create Michael W. Smith & Friends: The Spirit of Christmas, in stores Sept. 30. This fall Smith will launch The Spirit of Christmas Tour, including co-billed shows with Amy Grant in Dallas, Minneapolis and Atlanta.

Aaron Shust releases his first Christmas album, Unto Us, on Oct. 14. Relient K also has a new Christmas offering, Let It Snow, Baby. Let it Reindeer, on CD and vinyl. Newsboys will release a collection of hymns Nov. 4. Hallelujah for the Cross features 10 hymns, including the title track.

At Logos of Dallas, owner Lewis said he does see some sales generated from in-store play. Logos chooses hymns and instrumental music to create a soothing atmosphere.

“We play in-store music that is peaceful, that lends itself to that whole atmosphere of peace,” he said. “We play Chris Rice’s CD of hymns and things like that.”

2. Give customers a gift. Think of creative ways to give customers a bonus with purchase. Make signage offering a special coupon on future purchases with each CD sale. Create a “Buy 10, Get 1 Free” punch card or try a music club or CD-of-the-month subscription card where customers who pay a certain dollar amount each month receive a new CD of their choice.

Wheeler said Provident is seeking ways to connect customers with CDs, and is considering tying physical-music purchases to special giveaway experiences, such as offering concert meet-and-greets, a personal phone call from an artist or other artist connection to customers who purchase a CD with a winning ticket or online code.

Try tying two CDs together at a buy-one-get-one price or package an artist’s CD with the same album for one price. CDs may be struggling, but vinyl records are coming back. The retro factor has customers of all ages looking for LPs. According to the Nielsen SoundScan mid-year sales report, overall CD sales were down almost 20%, but LP/vinyl sales were up more than 40% compared with last year’s sales.

3. Stay savvy. Keep up on trends and technology. Visit newreleasetuesday.com and Jesusfreakhideout.com to keep track of new releases, concerts, reviews and news.

“It’s tough for busy retail managers to wade through the flood of new releases that hit every week,” said Marcus Hathcock, executive editor of newreleasetuesday.com. “We’re already doing the hard work, and we’re trusted for our read of the scene. We can provide the expertise for special displays or endcaps.”

Connections with local radio stations, concert promoters, big churches and social media are also a must. Brangenberg said she recently saw music sales spike somewhat when she switched signage and displays from the national Top 20 charts to her local radio station’s Top 20.

“We have the Top 20 CDs on our wall,” Brangenberg said. “We recently switched to JOY-FM’s Top 20 because that is what our customers are hearing. We have moved some CDs through that.”

If you are not connecting on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, it’s time to get started. Not only can you get up close and personal with artists, but also you can catch customers’ attention.

4. Initiate an experience. One successful way bands have been launching new projects is through crowdfunding sites like kickstarter.com, indiegogo.com and pledgemusic.com. Artists ask fans to pledge toward a new recording and offer “incentives” for different levels of donations. For example, a $20 donation might get the donor a T-shirt or CD, while a $5,000 donation might get a donor a trip with the band or a private concert in the fan’s living room. Christian music crowdfunding has been successful overall. For instance, Haste the Day’s August IndieGoGo campaign reached 124% of its $65,000 goal in the first 12 days (with $80,906 pledged).

Retailers can learn a lesson from crowdfunding. Fans want a personal experience.
“Stores need to find ways to make the Christian store shopping experience just that—an experience,” Hathcock said. “In my opinion, it needs to be almost like being at the merch tent at a Christian summer festival—that excitement, that atmosphere.“

He also suggests asking local artists to play in store.

“Create a venue, and you’ll create a scene. Create a scene, and you’ll have a movement. And that movement will be loyal to you, and you’ll see sales increase.”

Hathcock recommends hosting in-store, live online chats with artists, hosting Dove Awards watch parties and keeping YouTube playing in the store.

CAPTURING DVD SALES

On the film front, most retailers say their 2014 sales were on the rise. Several theatrical releases should keep DVD sales spiking, including the City on a Hill Productions’ The Song (having opened in theaters Sept. 26); Left Behind (due in theaters Oct. 3) starring Nicolas Cage; Exodus: Gods and Kings (Dec. 12); and the final installment of The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (Dec. 17).

“I prescreened The Song and loved it. It was so very different,” Brangenberg said. “The intentionality of the curriculum is very helpful.”

Mary—a film that speculates on Jesus’ mother Mary’s life as a girl and young woman, including her marriage to Joseph and struggles to raise Jesus under the reign of Herod—is expected to land in April. An as-yet-untitled fifth movie from the Kendrick Brothers (Fireproof, Courageous) is also due out next year. For family fun, VeggieTales’ Beauty and the Beet releases Oct. 11, featuring songs by country artist Kellie Pickler.

New to DVD is Mom’s Night Out (Sept. 2) and Holy Ghost (Sept. 16). Holy Ghost was created after a crowdfunding campaign brought in more than $300,000 to fund the project. It included a digital premiere in August, a two-day live stream in early September and a Holy Ghost tour running Sept. 6 through Oct. 10.

“We threw out everything we thought we knew about releasing a movie and recreated a film release from the ground up,” said Braden Heckman, CEO of Wanderlust. “What we came up with looks very different from traditional DVD releases, but we hope this will become a new model for other independent filmmakers in a world where all the rules are changing.”

On Oct. 17, Creation Ministries hosts a premiere in Atlanta to celebrate the in-store release of its documentary and companion book Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels. It features commentary from 15 Ph.D. scientists aiming to expose evolution’s weaknesses.

Fans of prairie novelist Janette Oke and the Hallmark Channel TV series based on her “When Calls the Heart” series can expect the fifth (Change of Heart) and sixth DVD (Rules of Engagement) to hit stores Oct. 14 and Nov. 11, respectively. A 10-DVD boxed set will release in November as well.

To capture sales, connecting with fans is important, with church congregations an easy place to pitch small-group studies and congregation-wide viewing events. Consider partnering with churches to sell out a showing of an upcoming Christian film, and gather contact information for future marketing e-blasts when the DVD releases. Pitch DVDs for small-group studies and churchwide focus to pastors, and host in-store movie nights. Check for book tie-ins, and invite authors to sign the book at a movie party. Find film trends, upcoming releases and box office numbers at christianfilmdatabase.com and imdb.com.

A Nielsen study revealed in April suggests that retailers display DVDs prominently during the Easter season, when sales of faith-based DVD/Blu-ray titles spike. In 2013, stores reported sales were up 61% in the three weeks prior to the holiday and remained positive for seven weeks following Easter.

 
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