Christian Retailing

Keith and Kristyn Getty play to sold-out venues on Christmas tour Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 10:40 AM America/New_York

GettyChristmas.WebKeith and Kristyn Getty’s Joy—An Irish Christmas tour played to a packed house in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 15. The couple—modern hymn writers and recording artists who originally hail from Ireland—are visiting 18 cities with their holiday tour, presented in partnership with Compassion International and Redeemer Seminary in Texas.

Launched in Louisville, Ky., the concert of carols, modern hymns and Irish reels and jigs performed by the couple and an ensemble of top Irish and American folk musicians is set to culminate for the second consecutive year at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Dec. 23. The ensemble features Fionán de Barra of Broadway’s Riverdance; Jeff Taylor (Vince Gill, The Chieftains); and Uilleann piper Patrick D’Arcy, among other acclaimed artists.

Christian resources again made available in Liberia Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 17 December 2012 11:00 PM America/New_York

CLC International has re-opened a Christian bookstore in Monrovia, Liberia, at the historic Providence Baptist Church.

CLC operated a Christian store in the West African country from 1948 until 1996 when the bookstore became a target for the violence that engulfed Monrovia during the country's lengthy civil war.

Twice the store was looted and destroyed. After the second time, CLC workers were forced to flee for their lives and become refugees in other countries. As a result, CLC's work in Liberia was "temporarily suspended," and it was not clear when a Christian store would ever be able to open again.

Two years after the 2006 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president in all of Africa, and the ceasing of hostilities between warring parties, CLC sent a research team to Liberia to explore the opening of a new store, but much of the infrastructure of the country was still inadequate.

In February, another CLC team went to Liberia and discovered that conditions had improved greatly and a plan was put in place to re-open by year's end. CLC USA helped to arrange for the shipment of a 20-foot container filled with start-up inventory, including used books that were donated by individuals and churches across America through CLC's Christian Book Link program.

Opened in the fall, the new store is located inside Providence Baptist Church, the site of the founding of the country by returning American slaves in 1847, and the founding documents still reside in the church.

this fall, the new store is located inside Providence Baptist Church, the site of the founding of the country by returning American slaves in 1847, and the founding documents still reside in the church.

Christian authors react to Connecticut shooting Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 17 December 2012 12:01 PM America/New_York

A number of Christian authors have offered prayers and commentary in the aftermath of the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, behind only the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech that left 32 people dead.

Author Clive Calver, senior pastor of Walnut Hill Community Church, a network of five charismatic churches in western Connecticut, lives in Newtown, Conn., where a masked gunman killed more than 26 people—including 20 children—Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"We prayed for the families of those who perished—including two mothers who attend our weekday women's ministry and lost children," said Calver, who wrote Alive in the Spirit (Charisma House) and Dying to Live (Authentic Media). "We prayed for those who were in that school and saw horrible things; we prayed for the greater Newtown community.

"Our prayer is that this evil, this unspeakable horror, would be the turning point for what God is doing in New England," he added. "We've spent the last nearly eight years here, breaking up the land and laying seed for a harvest—or revival in New England. Maybe, just maybe, this is the wake-up call. Maybe, just maybe, this is when the church springs into action, being the hands and feet of Jesus and shining His light in this darkness."

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., and author of Lost Boy (Regal Books), wrote a blog in which he called the shooting the "worst imaginable scenario."

"I know from personal experience that the pain of losing a child is a fate worse than death for a parent," said Laurie, whose 33-year-old son, Christopher, was killed in a car crash in 2008. "At times like this we must reflect on the essential message of Christmas which is Immanuel has come. Immanuel means God is with us. I know God is there ready to bring His comfort to those grieving right now in Connecticut."

Max Lucado, whose latest book is Grace (Thomas Nelson), offered a Christmas prayer tied to the tragedy.

"These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated," Lucado said in his prayer on the website of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, where he serves as minister of preaching. "Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won't you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger. This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us."

Ray Comfort, producer of the online movie Genius, which has gone viral since it was released Dec. 7, believes he knows why people are willing to take innocent life.

"Genius points to what every murderer has in common, something the 'experts' either don't recognize or avoid talking about. But it's there," said Comfort, whose movie was produced as a companion to his latest book, The Beatles, God, and the Bible (WND Books).

In the movie, which is about John Lennon and why he was killed, 15 youths were asked if they would murder for money and said yes because they didn't value a person's life, Comfort said.

'Christmas hiber-nation' gains ground, says retail expert Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 17 December 2012 11:57 AM America/New_York

Only 17.1% of Americans are done shopping—12 million more were finished this time last year—as "Christmas hiber-nation" gains ground, according to a new survey by America's Research Group (ARG). Consumers "hibernate" until the last few days before Christmas for deals they expect will beat Black Friday's offerings—50%, 60% and 70% off, ARG said.

Britt Beemer, the chairman and founder of ARG who is known for his Christian retail channel studies, estimated that far fewer Americans shopped the weekends of Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 than at any time in the last decade—42.6% this year with the previous low being 43.1% in 2002.

Of those who did shop Dec. 8, a far greater number said they were seeing fewer discounts at 24.7%—the lowest since 2008, which was 27.5%. Self-gifting, a major trend last season, is way down to its lowest since 2008 at 33.6%, ARG said.

Additionally, 49.1% of shoppers are waiting for 60% to 70% this year compared to 38.4% of people surveyed looking for the same markdowns in 2011; and 52.4% are waiting for 50% to 60% off discounts compared to 41.6% markdowns last year. More shoppers are also going to fewer stores this year, with those visiting to just one to three stores at 27.5% this year versus 23% in 2011.

"The numbers shopping fewer stores represents a dramatic shift, and it is indicative of what is shaping up to be the most cautious season in a decade," Beemer said. "A lot more people went to six to 10 stores last year then are going this year at 28.8% now compared to 32.7% last year. It's simple, if you are saving money, you look at the ads and only shop the stores with the hottest deals.

"This research builds on [ARG's] last study showing that the number of Americans waiting to the last three days before Christmas to finish shopping was at a 25-year-high," he added.

Gabby Douglas biography becomes best-seller Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 17 December 2012 11:12 AM America/New_York

Gabby Douglas' Grace, Gold & Glory (Zondervan) debuted at No. 15 on the General best-sellers from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), tracking sales for the week ending Dec. 8, according to Pubtrack Christian data. Co-written by Michelle Burford, the book by the gymnast who won gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics was released Dec. 4.

The Top 20 General best-sellers were: 1. Nearing Home, Billy Graham (Thomas Nelson); 2. Jesus Calling, Sarah Young, hardcover (Thomas Nelson); 3. Who Is This Man?, John Ortberg (Zondervan); 4. Jesus Calling, Young, large print deluxe (Thomas Nelson); 5. Jesus Today, Young, hardcover (Thomas Nelson); 6. Jesus Calling, Young, deluxe (Thomas Nelson); 7. The Purpose of Christmas, Rick Warren (Howard Books); 8. I Declare, Joel Osteen (FaithWords); 9. Heaven Is for Real, Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson); 10. Praying God's Word, Beth Moore (B&H Books); 11. The Harbinger, Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine/Charisma House Book Group); 12. Trusting God Day by Day, Joyce Meyer (FaithWords); 13. Grace, Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson); 14. One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp (Zondervan); 15. Grace, Gold & Glory; 16. The Bridge, Karen Kingsbury (Howard Books); 17. Cross Roads, William P. Young (FaithWords); 18. Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman (Zondervan); 19. Crazy Love, Francis Chan (David C Cook); and 20. One Thousand Gifts Devotional Journal, Ann Voskamp (Zondervan).

The Top 10 Fiction best-sellers were: 1. The Harbinger; 2. The Bridge; 3. Cross Roads, William P. Young (FaithWords); 4. Tidewater Inn, "Hope Beach" No. 1, Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson); 5. The Choice, Robert Whitlow (Thomas Nelson); 6. Blue Moon Promise, "Under Texas Stars" No. 1, Colleen Coble (Thomas Nelson); 7. A Wreath of Snow, Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Press); 8. The Wedding Dress, Rachel Hauck (Thomas Nelson); 9. Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers (Multnomah Books); and 10. The Bridesmaid, "Home to Hickory Hollow" No. 2, Beverly Lewis (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group).

The top five Bibles were: 1. The Story, NIV, deluxe, hardcover, New International Version (Zondervan); 2. The Daily Bible, softcover, New International Version (Harvest House Publishers); 3. NKJV Chronological Study Bible, genuine leather, black, New King James Version (Thomas Nelson); 4. NIV Adventure Bible, Italian Duo-Tone, chocolate/hot pink (Zonderkidz); and 5. The Story: Teen Edition, NIV, softcover (Zondervan).

Logos Bible Software makes Fast 500 tech list Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Friday, 14 December 2012 02:31 PM America/New_York

Logos Bible Software has made 2012 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list, which recognizes the fastest-growing high-tech companies in North America based on five-year growth.

The Bellingham, Wash.-based digital Bible study company joins Facebook, Google, Pandora and Linked In on the list, considered North America's preeminent technology awards program.

"The 2012 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 winners have demonstrated remarkable innovation and spectacular growth," said Deloitte Vice Chairman Eric Openshaw. "Some of the most exciting and useful developments of the future are being created by the companies on this list."

The Fast 500 was created to recognize companies that are "on the cutting edge and are transforming the way we do business today" in the industry sectors of hardware, software, telecommunication, semiconductors, life sciences, clean technology and other emerging areas.

Logos, cited for its 134% growth from 2007 to 2011, was in not only the most competitive industry segment of the competition—software, which made up 40% of the 500—but also the most competitive regional segment: the West, home to 39% of the winners.

Besides Logos 5, the company has launched several other initiatives in the past year. Tied to the Faithlife Study Bible, the Faithlife social network brings together friends, family, colleagues and churches through shared reading plans, notes and prayer requests.

Logos also recently launched Kirkdale Press, an all-digital publisher. Logos' Proclaim church presentation software is a cloud-synced technology that allows pastors and worship leaders to collaborate on multimedia worship services. Additionally, Vyrso Christian ebooks, introduced a year ago, offers one-touch Bible references to readers' favorite Christian fiction and nonfiction titles.

Click here for more information on Logos Bible Software.

Lincoln Brewster, Bob Siemon Designs support overseas efforts Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Friday, 14 December 2012 10:35 AM America/New_York

LincolnBrewsterOverseas missions will benefit this Christmas from the efforts of Integrity Music artist Lincoln Brewster and Christian jewelry maker Bob Siemon Designs.

Proceeds from Brewster’s Joy to the World best-selling debut Christmas recording and his Christmas tour will be donated to the Covenant Kids Congo initiative. In addition, a limited-edition Fender Stratocaster guitar, played in concert by Brewster and featuring artwork by performance painter David Garibaldi, was auctioned at each tour date to further aid the outreach effort.

Publisher seeks to prevent election violence in Kenya Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 13 December 2012 11:00 PM America/New_York

A Christian publisher in Kenya has launched a campaign to prepare Christians for the East African country's March elections.

Five years ago, post-election violence in Kenya almost plunged the country into civil war. The violence, which lasted two months, killed 1,500 and displaced 250,000, BBC News reported.

"We need the prayers, goodwill and support of Christian Trade members worldwide as we carry out the 'Spread Love in Kenya' campaign," said Martin Karanja, managing director of Arba Publications, a Nairobi, Kenya-based member of Christian Trade Association International (CTAI). "This initiative is geared to ensuring that Christians in Kenya practice the greatest commandment so that we never have a repeat of what happened in 2007 and 2008."

The campaign is focused around Love: The Christian Signature, an Arba-published book released in 2011, with a seven-minute DVD of the same name. The book by Edward Buri—a Princeton graduate, youth pastor and adjunct professor—has sold more than 6,000 copies and is in its third printing.

Working with churches, retailers and schools, Karanja has organized events in a dozen cities, including Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru and Naivasha. The campaign, which has reached more than 50,000 people via radio, TV, print and events, has also crossed national borders, with the most recent public meeting in Kampala, Uganda.

"We have 19 active members," said Jackie Ojiambo, owner of Wells Books and Gifts and chairperson of CTAI in Kenya. "We meet to pray, fellowship, encourage one another and address issues that affect our industry and nation."