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Max Lucado explores the miraculous in holiday film PDF Print E-mail
Written by DeWayne Hamby   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 01:34 PM EDT

Cotswolds-based ‘The Christmas Candle’ story finds new life in EchoLight Studios home video

CC16 LD -089As the world becomes more complex, will modern technological advances cause miracles to cease to exist? That’s a question explored in the film version of Max Lucado’s The Christmas Candle (848957000281, $14.99, EchoLight Studios/Capitol Christian Distribution), which released to theaters last year and debuts on home video Nov. 11.

Set in the fictional 19th-century English village of Gladbury, the story centers on David Richmond, played by Hans Matheson (Clash of the Titans, Sherlock Holmes), a progressive young minister who arrives in the village and begins a quest of modernization. This puts him at odds with an old-world candlemaker, but Richmond finds an unlikely ally in local skeptic Emily Barstow, played by Samantha Barks (Les Miserables).

Legend has it that every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle. Whoever lights this candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve.

The Christmas Candle also features the acting debut of popular singer Susan Boyle (Britain’s Got Talent), who also contributes a song to the film, “Miracle Hymn.”

Directed by John Stephenson, The Christmas Candle was produced by Tom Newman of Impact Productions and Hannah Leader of Big Book Media. EchoLight Studios is the new venture of former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who serves the company as CEO.

“Surprisingly, a Christmas movie releasing for the holidays is a unique event, as there have been very few in recent years,” Santorum said. “This film hearkens back to the heartwarming and uplifting movies of yesteryear. The story inspires renewed hope in the miracle of Christmas and illustrates that this holiday is not just about reindeer and receiving gifts. The Christmas Candle will remind audiences of the spirit and sense of wonder of the season—something that is often lost in our modern era.”

Lucado is excited about the new life the film has given his holiday story.TheChristmasCandle

“This tale about a 19th-century village of simple people in the English Cotswolds in need of a miracle has lifted spirits for seven Christmases and now, thanks to producer Tom Newman and EchoLight Studios, the Candle story will touch a whole new generation,” he said. “I couldn’t be more pleased. What an honor to be a part of capturing a slice of this golden era of British history … the light of the candle still flickers.”

The Christmas Candle received a five-star recommendation from The Dove Foundation.

Learn more about the new DVD at

FICTION FILE November 2014 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 09:17 AM EDT

RonieKendig[ ASK THE AUTHOR ]Ronie Kendig

Latest Project: Hawk (9781624163180, $13.99, Nov. 1).

Shiloh Run Press (Barbour Publishing).

How do you summarize the story of Hawk and how it relates to Raptor 6, the first book in this series?

Continuing the mission with Raptor team, Hawk pits these heroic special operators against the same terrorist who haunted their moves in Raptor 6—but he has since turned the game into a personal vendetta. Raptor’s communications expert, Staff Sergeant Brian “Hawk” Bledsoe, is struggling with his inner demons, leaving him on the verge of an “other than honorable” discharge. Plagued with corrupted Intel, Raptor team continues to track down the terrorist playing chess with their lives. Afghan pilot Fekiria Haidary is devastated when a systems glitch on her aircraft forces a weapons launch on a safe target. And when the deadly bombing separates Brian from the team, he must make an impossible choice: save his brothers-in-arms or save the woman and children depending on him to survive a brutal snowstorm.

What is the meaning of the series name, “The Quiet Professionals”?

It’s a nickname given to the soldiers of the U.S. Special Forces—the Green Berets. They’re known as the “quiet professionals” because they work mostly in secret. Often they go unnoticed and unrecognized as the best soldiers America has. But it is a well-earned moniker because, as the 20th Special Forces Group puts it, “the quiet men of Special Forces have no need to broadcast their deeds. Their record speaks for itself.”

Should readers read the first book of the series to understand Hawk?

Hawk“The Quiet Professionals” is unique to “Rapid-Fire Fiction” readers in that the books are continuous. A reader would be better prepared to enjoy Hawk if they have read its predecessor, Raptor 6, first. However, readers can read Hawk and after a little disorientation at the beginning, would probably survive the mission and help save the team by the story’s close.

What is Rapid-Fire Fiction?

Rapid-Fire Fiction has become my brand because across books and genres, I am a “tomboy” of a writer—while my stories have romance threads, my passion comes out writing action and fast-paced adventures. I’m not sure if I have a little bit of A.D.D. or what, but I bore easily, so in order to keep myself intrigued in my story, I keep things moving along at a pretty quick pace.

How do you ensure the military aspects of your stories are authentic?

With the ever-evolving nature of combat, it’s quite difficult to make sure what happens in my story is both relevant and accurate. Since writing Raptor 6 more than a year ago, one of the bases used in the series has been largely closed down, so I’ve had to adjust for that within the story. Writing military fiction for the last six years, I’ve developed contacts and resources that I keep close to my heart. They’ve shown me respect by helping me, and I will continue to respect their need and desire for privacy. It’s hard to be a female author who hasn’t served and asking for the help of these seasoned veterans. But they see my attempts to respect and honor their sacrifices and hard work, and that has opened doors.

What research did you do for this book?

Hawk explores many adventures—one of the most exciting was that my heroine is also a female Afghan pilot, inspired by 2nd Lieutenant Niloofar Rhmani, who in 2013 became Afghanistan’s first female pilot in three decades! So, I had to research the trek pilots took to earn their wings, then their advanced flight certification. Also, as with Raptor, the element of cyber terrorism continues to wreak havoc with the team, so I did some more digging into that field.

What else should Christian retailers know about Hawk?

One thing I am most proud of and pleased about regarding not only Hawk, but the whole “Quiet Professionals” series is that I campaigned and succeeded in making sure each guy featured on the cover wasn’t “just another pretty face”—they are all legitimate heroes who have served in our Armed Forces. The model for Raptor 6 has actually served as a Special Forces operator, just like the character he portrays. Hawk’s cover model is an Air Force veteran, and the model for Falcon (May 2015) is a Marine—and Purple Heart recipient!

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


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.


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).


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


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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).


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

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