Christian Retailing

‘Jesus Is Greater Than Religion’ author Jefferson Bethke speaks at CPE Murfreesboro Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Monday, 23 September 2013 08:50 AM America/New_York

JeffersonBethkeMunce2013-CropChristian retailers gathered Sunday for the start of Christian Product Expo (CPE) Murfreesboro outside of Nashville. New group City Harbor performed songs from their upcoming CD, and author Jefferson Bethke preached on the Parable of the Prodigal Son during the Bible Conference that was a key part of events kicking off the Sept. 22-24 show hosted by Munce Group.

City Harbor presented songs from their forthcoming Sparrow Records (Capital Christian Distribution) project. Mikeschair is also performing at the event, and retailers who were not familiar with City Harbor learned that City Harbor’s female lead singer is married to frontman Mike Grayson of Mikeschair, which performed later Sunday at the Night of Worship.

Munce Group President Kirk Blank introduced Seattle-based author Jefferson Bethke, known for his viral YouTube video “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus,” as one of the next-generation faith leaders. With Bethke’s debut book, Jesus Is Greater Than Religion, releasing next month from Thomas Nelson, he reminded retailers that the story is really about “two sons, two distortions.”

But before Bethke launched into his message, he confessed that he loves to read and said his wife has put him on a book budget. With a smile, he told retailers: “You will be the reason I will go broke!”

The youthful Bethke challenged retailers not to misrepresent God, but rather to show that He is the One “on the porch of heaven saying, ‘Where is my son? Where is my daughter?’ ” just as the father did in the parable looking for his lost son.

He encouraged retailers to remember that they are the source of the answers that people need and pointed out that people need answers. Bethke asked retailers, “Where are they going to get them?”

“When people are in your store, do they feel like they’re in the shadow the kingdom?” he continued.

After a Personality Party with a number of authors signing their books for retailers, Munce’s Blank interviewed Stasi Eldredge (David C Cook) also at a Family Style Dinner on her latest book, Becoming Myself. Dinner also featured a performance by the King’s Heralds, a gospel group that started more than 80 years ago.

Pete Wilson, author of Let Hope In (Thomas Nelson, October), spoke at the Night of Worship, and Ken Barun, chief of staff to Franklin Graham, promoted the evangelistic My Hope America with Billy Graham campaign.

The evening ended with a showing of the Lionsgate film Grace Unplugged, which opens in theaters Oct. 4.