Christian Retailing

Pastor's 'missing person' alert for Holy Spirit Print Email
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Tuesday, 01 September 2009 04:04 PM America/New_York

'Crazy Love' author returns with a strong, new challenge to churches

forgotten godFrancis Chan searches for the missing ingredient in many modern churches in Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, releasing this month. The best-selling author and pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., was prompted to tackle the issue after noticing the success of programs in churches he visited and wondering if the same results could be achieved without the Spirit's help.

"I know there's some that's supernatural, but a lot of the things we do are the result of human effort that would have happened at a business meeting, a rally, a feel-good meeting we can create," Chan said. "There are so many different venues to where what we're doing in church really looks the same as what they're doing in the world."

Chan writes that the Holy Spirit brings about a different type of result, one evidenced by spiritual fruit such as love, joy, patience—traits that are missing in many churches.

"When the Holy Spirit comes on us, there'll be a noticeable difference between us and the unbelievers around us or the cult members around us," he said. "We're not seeing that difference. In many ways, we're seeing unbelievers with more joy than we see in the churches nowadays and more life than we see in the church."

Chan believes the Christian life calls believers to what some may see as "crazy," but is a life truly guided by biblical principles. Regarding the concern about spiritual abuse and excess, he said: "Let's not let the fear of what we might become guard us. Let's let the biblical boundaries guard us from messing up our lives."

The author and pastor is known to not just talk the talk. When Chan and his wife decided to donate the proceeds from his Crazy Love best-seller, some of his friends wondered if giving away all of the money was too extreme of a step.

"I know my own tendencies and spending what I'll regret rather than giving it away and enjoying the blessings of giving and enjoying the rewards for eternity," he said. "It's not like this noble thing we've done, but knowing my own sinful tendencies, we'll be happier for eternity."

Forgotten God will be promoted through a high-profile national publicity campaign, including print, online and broadcast media as well as street team promotion.

To order, call 800-323-7543, or visit For an extended audio interview with Chan, visit

'Makeover' family lives in new 'normal' state Print Email
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Monday, 07 September 2009 03:44 PM America/New_York
woodhouse famKimberley Woodhouse, mother of a family profiled in an emotional episode of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, gives her account of the family's "journey to extreme joy" in Woodhouse Family: Welcome Home! (978-1-589-97573-6, $13.99), releasing this month from Tyndale House Publishers.

Woodhouse's daughter, Kayla, suffers from a rare nerve disorder—hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy (HSAN)—which causes her to feel no pain. In the book, the author details the steps taken to give Kayla, whose body temperature must be regulated in a cold home, as normal a life as possible—which frequently plunged the family into difficult financial straits.

In the midst of tough circumstances, however, Woodhouse says that God gives grace to her family. "Life can be full of joy," she writes. "God is there, even in the hardest circumstances. Learning how to grab on to God's joy has made running the distance easier for me and my family, and it will for you as well."

The book features a foreword by recording artist David Phelps and offers a detailed account of the encounter with the reality TV team that constructed a house safe for Kayla.

"Sunday, September 30, 2007, is a day none of us will easily forget," Woodhouse writes. "It was mid-morning when we heard Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition shout through his megaphone, 'Good morning, Woodhouse family!' "

Woodhouse also confronts the idea of what is normal. Faced with the constant question in TV interviews of whether or not daughter Kayla will "ever have a chance at a normal life," Woodhouse replies, "I'm quick to share that God made Kayla just the way she is, and she has an abundant, overflowing life ahead. But it's not like everyone else's normal."

The author continues: "I learned a long time ago that my life would never be anyone else's 'normal,' and I'm okay with that."

For more information or to order Woodhouse Family: Welcome Home!, call Tyndale House at 800-323-9400, or visit


Author tackles age-old question of suffering Print Email
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Monday, 07 September 2009 03:43 PM America/New_York
Randy Alcorn delivers another detailed treatise on the nature of God

if God is goodRandy Alcorn, the best-selling author of Heaven, addresses one of Christianity's most frequently asked questions in If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil.

"It's a question many people have—mostly from a distance—regarding evil others endure and commit," he told Christian Retailing. "But then there's a point in everyone's life when it's a question they have to face on a personal level—now it's their spouse crippled as a result of a stroke, they've undergone a divorce, abandonment, abuse—and their life is crumbled."

The book was somewhat inspired as a response to some of the arguments proposed in books by the so-called "New Atheists," such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, regarding not only the existence of God but also His nature. Alcorn writes about Antony Flew, the British atheist who converted to theism.

"He really felt the arguments for atheism had been effectively rebutted by arguments of Intelligent Design," Alcorn said. "But that's not the whole story—he hadn't come to faith in Christ. He had simply become someone who believed there was a God, but it's the problem of evil that kept him from believing in Christ."

Alcorn doesn't target ardent atheists; instead, his book is aimed more toward Christians who struggle with understanding God's ways.

"To some people, there's a God who says He simply doesn't have the power, and some Open Theists think God doesn't have the knowledge (to overcome evil), that He doesn’t know the future," he said. "It's an attempt to take God off the hook."

After reading more than 100 books that dealt with the problem of evil and suffering, Alcorn said he found "remarkable" the number of Christians who profess faith, yet embrace "viewpoints that offer a solution that is dependent on limiting God."

Although the book addresses the problem of suffering and will appeal to those who are experiencing pain, Alcorn suggests it's also a good read for believers who want to help those struggling with such questions. It also discusses truths that are important to hold onto in crisis moments.

"We need to learn before we get into situations," he said. "You need to be more prepared because it's inevitable that it's coming."

For more information, visit, or to order, call Random House Customer Service at 800-733-3000.

Bible Beat CR Aug 24 Print Email
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Tuesday, 11 August 2009 02:13 PM America/New_York

word of promise bibleSeinfeld star Jason Alexander is one of more than 300 actors featured in The Word of Promise Old Testament, a 62-CD set releasing Sept. 15 from Thomas Nelson. Others include Jim Caviezel, Richard Dreyfuss, Jon Voight, Marcia Gay Harden and Gary Sinise in the follow-up to 2007’s The Word of Promise New Testament, named “Christian Book of the Year” by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. The Bible is presented with sound effects and orchestration, using the New King James Version. The new release completes The Word of Promise Audio Bible, a 72-CD set that involved 20,000-30,000 man hours and 1,000 distinct acting roles. A bonus features DVD will accompany all of the products, which include The Word of Promise Old Testament for $84.99, The Word of Promise Audio Bible for $124.99 and the 11-CD set The Word of Promise MP3 Audio Bible for $69.99.


Warren Wiersbe, author of the popular "Be" devotional series, served as general editor for The Transformation Study Bible, which will release Sept. 1 from David C. Cook. The study Bible includes Catalyst notes—about 150 words for each book—discussing important themes of Scripture, along with approximately 13,200 Be Transformed notes, book overviews, book outlines, cross references, charts and maps, a concordance and approximately 10,000 expository notes. It will release in a personal edition softcover for $24.99, hardcover for $39.99, bonded leather in black or dark brown for $69.99 each, and bonded leather in black or dark brown with thumb indexing for $79.99 each.


GoBibleA travel edition of the GoBible is to release next month. The GoBible Traveler is a lightweight, hand-held portable device preloaded with the entire Bible in more than 70 hours of audio. The Bible features an interactive on-screen menu allowing users to scroll through the Old and New Testaments while selecting which book and chapter to play. It can support up to 36 bookmarks to flag passages to return to as well as a "Bible-in-a-year," dividing the Bible into 365 listening sessions of 12-15 minutes each. The GoBible is offered in English in either the King James Version read by Alexander Scourby or the New International Version read by Charles Taylor. Each version will retail for $59.95.

Casting Crowns singer offers a spiritual checkup Print Email
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Monday, 24 August 2009 02:11 PM America/New_York
your own Jesus bookMark Hall, lead singer and songwriter for the music group Casting Crowns, presents a message of responsibility in Your Own Jesus (978-0-310-29332-3, $16.99), releasing this month from Zondervan. Hall, a veteran youth worker and speaker, along with co-author Tim Luke, challenges readers to resist the tendency to survive on the faith of others and encourages them to instead own their faith.

Hall asks in the book's introduction: "Is your walk with Jesus Christ characterized by personal faith, personal prayer, personal study, and personal disciplines? Or do you get by with the overflow from more mature Christians?"

He confronts issues such as apathy and immaturity with Scripture and his own observations. Lyrics from his group's popular songs introduce spiritual concepts.

Although Hall stresses the importance of spiritual disciplines, he insists that the book is "about more than reinforcing" them.

"I want us to avoid something that will short-circuit our time with God," he writes. "I want us to learn to recognize and overcome the seemingly incessant opportunities for compromise, great and small, that neutralize so many believers."

"Since God made us in his image to glorify him, our job is to be a reflection of that spotlight," he said. "What this world needs is for us to stop hiding behind our relevance, blending in so well that people can't see the difference. The difference is what sets the world free."

In the chapter titled "Stuck," Hall relates a personal story of accountability while stressing his own need for Jesus.

"It is crucial to have a pastor pour into me, and a worship leader teach me to worship, and a small group leader help me learn to open up—but I still need my own walk with Jesus," he writes. "Unless I rent a room in my church and never step foot into the world, those folks aren’t going home with me."

Zondervan is supporting the release with a national print, online and broadcast campaign and with promotion during Casting Crowns' concert dates.

To order, call Zondervan at 800-727-1309, or visit

Offering hope and comfort for troubled times Print Email
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Monday, 24 August 2009 02:09 PM America/New_York
Daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham explores a God worth trusting

fear not tormorrow bookRuth Graham, daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham, brings a message of hope for troubled times in Fear Not Tomorrow, God Is Already There, releasing next month. Based on a Bible study she presented at her local church titled "Enjoying God," the book aims to expose misconceptions about the Creator through a series of biblical encounters.

"If we want to know if God can be trusted, let's look at how Jesus dealt with people," she told Christian Retailing. "What was it about Him that calmed whatever situation He was in?

One such encounter that stuck with Graham was the account of the woman caught in adultery.

"Certainly there was a woman who had no future," she said. "She is dragged before the Lord full of fear and anxiety. It's interesting to note Jesus' posture. They threw her on the ground. Jesus stoops. Her Creator, the God of the universe, stoops to her level. Isn't that what the story of the incarnation is?"

Graham said she believes too many people have the idea that God doesn’t care, that "He's waiting to zap them." Instead, she proposes that God is the Abba Father.

Graham said that many Christians struggle with performance in trying to please God, but she presents the idea for a God whose love isn't based on what they do.

"We are so consumed with doing," she said. " 'If I'm nicer to my neighbor, then God will be happy with me.' It really has nothing to do with that. God loves us anyway."

Graham hopes the book will help readers sharpen their focus, no matter what the situation is in their lives.

"God is our comfort and our strength," she said. "When everything else is changing, we have to focus on that. When we keep our eyes on Jesus and His character, we can be calm. We don’t have to be anxious and fretting."

Fear Not Tomorrow, God Is Already There will be supported with a national media campaign, including promotions at Graham's conferences.

To order, call 800-858-4109, or visit