Christian Retailing

Shining the light of Christ in stormy seasons Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 05:04 PM America/New_York

Brooklyn Tabernacle pastor Jim Cymbala urges refocus on early church practices and spiritual renewal

StormWhen Hurricane Sandy swept through New York City one October evening in 2012, Jim Cymbala, pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle, saw the lights of Lower Manhattan go dark. When he saw the devastation Sandy left behind, he felt the storm was a relevant metaphor for the current state of the Christian church.

Based on several warning signs, Cymbala believes the church is in the early stages of a big storm.

“Our light in the world is flickering and we must face that reality,” he writes.

In Storm: Hearing Jesus for the Times We Live In (Zondervan), written with Jennifer Schuchmann, Cymbala discusses what he calls “calamitous” signs: the shrinking number of evangelicals, the lack of personal transformation and the decline in biblical literacy.

Believers are tempted to blame forces outside the church for these problems, Cymbala says, because our culture is increasingly antagonistic to biblical faith. Yet, the New Testament church thrived in worse conditions. Rather than blaming external targets, members of the early church concentrated on “the simple instructions Christ gave them and expected his grace to help them,” he writes.

While he acknowledges that some churches are fruitful, Cymbala adds, “on the whole we are not seeing anywhere near the fruit in our churches that we read about in the New Testament.” He draws readers back to these early church principles: devotion to prayer, focus on Christ and reliance on the Holy Spirit.

Hannah’s Old Testament prayers are the model Cymbala suggests for today. He describes them as desperate, but also filled with deep faith.

Cymbala also reminds readers that the New Testament church was a powerful witness only because of God’s Spirit.

“We can still experience the stirring power of his presence today,” he writes.
Cymbala shares inspiring stories of people he has encountered in his ministry whose lives demonstrate the power of God.

The author also beseeches the church to remain salt and light in the world.

“A Holy Spirit renewal with a return to the New Testament as our authoritative guide is the only hope,” he writes.

Learn more at

FICTION FILE [ ASK THE AUTHOR ] Gina Holmes Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 11 August 2014 01:00 PM America/New_York

GinaHolmesLATEST PROJECT: Driftwood Tides (9781414366425, $14.99, September).
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House Publishers.

What is the premise of your new book, Driftwood Tides?

Libby Slater gets the shock of a lifetime when she receives the results from her premarital genetic testing and learns her blood type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is given the name of her biological mother. Libby isn’t able to locate her, but is able to track down her husband, Holton Creary, who knows nothing of the child his wife gave up for adoption. Together the two try to find out the truth about Libby’s mother and the place they fit in each other’s lives and hearts.

What type of character is Libby Slater?

Libby is a seeker. She’s always known she didn’t quite fit in with her family, so besides it being a shock to learn she’s not who she thought she was, she learns no one in her life really is. In many ways she’s been dealt a tough hand in life, but she realizes she’s also been given many blessings—although it takes her the majority of the story to come to that conclusion.

What is Holton Creary like at the start of the story?

Holton is a temperamental artist through and through, but also a sheep posing in wolves’ clothing. He drinks to numb the pain and guilt of losing his wife and tries to be as standoffish as he can to keep others at bay so he doesn’t hurt anyone else or get hurt.

Why is forgiveness such an important theme for you?

I’ve had an interesting life and have needed to offer a lot of forgiveness to the people I love the most. Being just as human as they, I’ve needed to ask for quite a bit as well. I think Christianity at its core is about forgiveness. God gives so much grace, but in return, He asks us to extend it to others. There seems to me to be so much difficulty with not just the world, but the church also, being willing to forgive others. I have a hard time understanding how we can think we are any less wretched than those who’ve hurt us. Surely we’ve hurt others just as often. Surely we’ve hurt God’s heart.

Are there other themes in this novel?DriftwoodTides

The question of what makes someone a parent. I was raised for a vast part of my life by a parent of no biological relation. I struggled with who was really mom and dad and have come to the conclusion that biology, to me, is far less important than commitment and love.

What is one thing you want readers of this book to take away?

That no one is perfect. The person sitting in the pew on Sunday every week and doing their daily devotions each morning is no less a sinner than the alcoholic down the street who has fallen into a pit of despair. God longs for both of them, and no one is beyond the reach of Jesus.

Did your background in nursing help in writing this book?

It always does. Being a nurse has allowed me to see people in the most vulnerable situations without the mask we all put on to face the world. It’s given me an incredible opportunity for insight into what makes people really tick when they’re scared, mourning, witnessing the miracle of birth or the (worldly) finality of death. It’s been such a gift.

How would you describe your style as a writer?

I try my best to write the way I really think. Friends would describe me as down to earth, and I hope that shows in my writing. I don’t want to be fancy or throw out big words that readers have to stop every other page to look up. I want to speak in a way that most will understand. I’ve always assumed I’m pretty common, so if I struggle with something or have thoughts that may seem off the wall, I assume others do, too. Some of the stuff I write is a little quirky.

What else should Christian retailers know about Driftwood Tides?

I’ve, to date, written about some really tough subjects: death, abandonment, infidelity, abuse and alcoholism, and although I again take on alcoholism to some extent, this book, I’d say, is less issue-driven than my others and quite a bit lighter. The setting is my favorite part. Who doesn’t want to spend the time it takes to read a novel digging their toes into the soft sands of the Outer Banks and counting their blessings? That’s what I think the biggest takeaway from Driftwood Tides is. It was for me in writing it at least.

Close up: Jonathan Cahn Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 11 August 2014 12:53 PM America/New_York

Cahn-Jonathan-PhotoLatest project: The Mystery of the Shemitah: The 3000-Year-Old Mystery That Holds the Secret of America’s Future, The World’s Future…and Your Future (9781629981932, $16.99, FrontLine/Charisma House).

Your book The Harbinger has sold 1.8 million copies and has been a New York Times best-seller for more than 110 weeks. How do you explain that?

Part of the reason, I think, is that The Harbinger is very different. Its nature has caused it to stand out and be noticed from the beginning. On top of that, everyone is interested in what the future holds. The Harbinger doesn’t give a general or theoretical idea of the future, but a very precise and specific revelation of what lies ahead. Beyond all that, and probably most important, is the same reason I can take no credit for anything about The Harbinger. … God wanted the message to go forth and made sure to send it. Before He judges, He sends warning.

How is The Mystery of the Shemitah related to The Harbinger?TheMysteryOfTheShemitah

The Harbinger contains 14 central mysteries. One of these is the “Shemitah.” Most people had never heard [the word], yet it comes from the second book of the Bible. As with The Harbinger, I didn’t plan to write [The Mystery of the Shemitah]. The Shemitah is not only an ancient mystery, but an event that will soon be upon us. Because of that, there’s been an explosion of speculation and concern for what it will bring. Charisma Media felt there should be at least a booklet to help people prepare in light of it. I wasn’t intending to write another book until I heard from the Lord that it was time—as with The Harbinger. I offered to help [write the booklet], but as I started, I was flooded with new and unexpected revelations concerning the mystery and how it’s manifesting even now and what it reveals about the future. There was no way a booklet could contain it. The same way the writing of The Harbinger just flowed onto the pages, so too did The Mystery of the Shemitah.

What exactly is the Shemitah?

The Shemitah is something that came from the mind of God and was given to Israel on Mount Sinai. It was the seventh year, the Sabbath year, a year of rest, release, cessation and a nullifying or wiping clean of the nation’s financial realm. But that’s just the beginning. Later on, the Shemitah becomes a prophetic sign against a nation that once knew God, but now has driven Him out of its national life and culture, a sign that strikes the nation’s financial realm and a sign linked to national judgment. That sign has now appeared in America. It holds the secret of America’s future, the world’s future and the future of everyone living.

When is the next Shemitah?

The next Shemitah will begin on Sept. 25, 2014. It will come to its conclusion and climactic day on Sept. 13, 2015.

The Harbinger was written as a narrative, so why did you choose a nonfiction format for this book?

Writing it in a nonfiction form allowed me to do things I couldn’t otherwise do. For example, The Mystery of the Shemitah includes many visuals, illustrations, charts, graphs … things which would not be possible if it were in narrative form.

What else would you like Christian retailers to know about your new book?

I was recently at an event with Mike Huckabee, and he used the word “stunning” to describe The Harbinger. That’s probably the most common word I’ve heard people use to describe it. So I would say this: What is contained in The Mystery of the Shemitah is no less stunning. The mystery is bigger than anyone had imagined, including myself. The Shemitah has affected all of our lives from the beginning of our lives. It is affecting American history, world history, even now. ... And it reveals the future, what will be coming to America and nations, and what lies in store for our lives. The mystery is truly mind-boggling.

Bookbeat September 2014 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 11 August 2014 12:45 PM America/New_York


Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson (with Mark Schlabach) shares his views on faith, family and ducks in unPHILtered: The Way I See It. He also expounds his opinions on topics such as gun control, taxes and prayer in school, with an emphasis on home and family mingled with his signature off-the-wall comments. Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, releases the book in hardcover ($25.99) Sept. 2.


In Wanting to Believe: Faith, Family, and Finding an Exceptional Life (B&H Books), Ryan Dobson, son of child and family psychologist Dr. James Dobson, discloses the principles his parents sought to impart to him on topics such as marriage, finances and identity. Ryan tells how as an adolescent, he tested the limits of his parents’ boundaries and questioned their faith, ultimately embracing their faith as his own. Wanting to Believe is available Sept. 1 for $14.99 (softcover).



The love of God is the topic of Stormie Omartian’s Choose Love: The Three Simple Choices That Will Alter the Course of Your Life (softcover, $14.99). Omartian explains how Christians can reflect God most clearly and transform their relationships by choosing to show God’s love in all situations. Harvest House Publishers releases Choose Love this month. Omartian is the best-selling author of “The Power of a Praying” series with more than 28 million books sold.


Gary Wilkerson, son of David Wilkerson, founder of Times Square Church and Teen Challenge, has penned with R.S.B. Sawyer the story of his father’s life and ministry in an upcoming Zondervan release, David Wilkerson: The Cross, The Switchblade, and the Man Who Believed. Gary Wilkerson, president of World Challenge and lead pastor of The Springs Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was also his father’s ministry partner before David’s death in 2011. This hardcover ($22.99) is available Sept. 2.



Living Courageously: You Can Face Anything, Just Do It Afraid (hardcover, $24) is the newest book from No. 1 New York Times best-selling author Joyce Meyer. In this FaithWords title releasing Sept. 16, Meyer shows how Christians can use strength from God to overcome fear and achieve joy and fulfillment. She argues it is the inherited right of a child of God to enjoy life and teaches readers how to start living to the fullest.


Gary Chapman, Paul White and Harold Myra partnered to offer hope and guidance to employees in Rising Above a Toxic Workplace: Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment (Northfield Publishing/Moody Publishers, Sept. 1). The book includes true stories from workers who share what they learned and how they coped, as well as a survival guide of strategies and insights. Chapman is the No. 1 New York Times best-selling author of The 5 Love Languages; White is a licensed psychologist; and Myra served as CEO of Christianity Today International for 32 years. Their hardcover book retails for $19.99.


By examining the seven miracles Jesus performed in the book of John, Mark Batterson, New York Times best-selling author of The Circle Maker, reminds readers that God still does miracles today. In The Grave Robber: How Jesus Can Make Your Impossible Possible (hardcover, $22.99), Batterson urges readers to seek not the miracles, but God, the miracle-worker. Sept. 2 is the release date for this Baker Books (Baker Publishing Group) title.


Lance Ford tells the stories of evangelicals who are transcending negative stereotypes and joyfully living out the good news in Revangelical: Becoming the Good News People We’re Meant to Be (Tyndale Momentum/Tyndale House Publishers). Ford is an author and cofounder of KC Sentral, a missional training agency in Kansas City. Revangelical retails in softcover for $15.99 and releases Sept. 1.

Military memoir shows power of God’s love Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 11 August 2014 12:42 PM America/New_York

SteelWillWhile Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris ran reconnaissance in Iraq in 2007, a roadside bomb exploded his Humvee. Three of Harris’ best friends died in the blast. Harris lost his ears, three fingers and part of his nose, and one-third of his body was burned, leading doctors to give him just a 2% chance of survival.

With Robin Overby Cox, Harris tells of God’s faithfulness in his journey to recovery in Steel Will: My Journey Through Hell to Become the Man I Was Meant To Be (9780801016554, $21.99, Baker Books). Releasing this month from Baker Publishing Group, the book is meant “to demonstrate what it means to live fearlessly, with a clear understanding of the Grace that can redeem mayhem,” Harris writes.

He recounts his troubled childhood as the son of a military father struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and his years as a young adult trying to understand manhood. When he met Kathreyn, who was full of strength and faith, he fell in love and they were married.

During his second deployment, Harris was nearly fatally injured. He endured PTSD and 50 surgeries and skin grafts.

ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, along with Helping a Hero, built a home for his family in 2012.

Along the journey, Harris found his faith deepening by layers. He writes: “I found in faith a Father of infinite love.”

To order, call 800-877-2665.

Dr. James Dobson pens capstone to life work Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 11 August 2014 12:37 PM America/New_York

Founder of Family Talk and Focus on the Family helps parents bequeath ‘heritage of faith’ to their children

YourLegacyThe preservation of the family has been the life work of Dr. James Dobson, well-known child and family psychologist and founder of the nonprofit organizations Family Talk and Focus on the Family. Dobson has worked through radio, video and print media, and advised three U.S. presidents in family matters. This month, FaithWords releases his new work, Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift.

“I have written dozens of books in the past forty years, but this one is the capstone,” Dobson said.

Rather than financial, the legacy he urges families to pass on is “an unshakable heritage of faith.” Dobson describes Your Legacy as “a compendium of my thoughts about winning your children—and others—to Jesus Christ, because nothing comes close to it in significance.”

Dobson begins by briefly tracing his family history from his great-grandfather, George Washington McCluskey, to present day. McCluskey was an evangelist and pastor, who said the Lord made a promise to him late in life—that all his descendants for four generations would be Christians. This promise, Dobson writes, “manifested itself through the next eighty years and continues to this day.”

The backstory reveals a connection between Dobson’s life work and the prophecy of his great-grandfather and spotlights the importance of passing on an inheritance of faith.

Much of the book discusses the spiritual training of children at all ages. For parents, Dobson argues, there is no higher priority in life.

“Fortunately, we are not alone in this assignment,” he writes. “God loves our children even more than we do, and He is faithful to hear and answer our prayers.”

The release precedes the simulcast of a documentary, also titled Your Legacy, in more than 10,000 churches nationwide Oct. 1-5. The film is an updated version of Dobson’s documentary from the late 1970s, which 100 million people viewed.

Dobson also discusses how to reach family members with the gospel and devotes a chapter to the power of words in relationships. He answers some tough questions from parents as well.

To order the book, call 800-759-0190.