Christian Retailing

CLOSE UP: R.T. Kendall Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 23 December 2013 11:55 AM America/New_York

HolyFireLatest project: Holy Fire: A Balanced, Biblical Look at the Holy Spirit’s Work in our Lives ($15.99, 9781621366041 Charisma House, Jan. 7).

Why did you write Holy Fire at this time? My publisher, Charisma House, got word that a leading noncharismatic evangelical was writing a book that would almost certainly be a broadside attack against Pentecostals and charismatics generally. They knew this man would particularly try to discredit the view that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to the church today. They asked me to respond, although there would be no opportunity to read his book. I did my best to write Holy Fire in a manner that would anticipate what I thought he would say. I was pretty sure he would defend the cessationist perspective, that is, the view that the miraculous ceased after the first century of the Christian church. I devote two chapters to expose the folly of cessationism and to demonstrate the contemporary relevance of holy Scripture regarding this issue.

Who is this book for? Because it addresses the heart as well as the mind, I would honestly say it is written for every single believer on the planet—the conservative, non-charismatic evangelical, the anti-charismatic, the Roman Catholic, any Protestant, the preacher, the layman, the teacher, the Pentecostal and the charismatic. I also kept the young student and new Christian in mind, and someone preparing for ministry. And yet, as I say in the preface, I wanted to make people “hungry for the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, it is not merely a cerebral book.

What do you mean in the book by  “a silent divorce in the Church”? It is my view that there has been a silent divorce in the church, speaking generally, between the Word and the Spirit. When there is a divorce, sometimes the children stay with the mother, sometimes with the father. In this divorce, you have those on the Word side (calling for sound doctrine, earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints, Reformation teaching [justification by faith, sovereignty of God], expository preaching and the need for people to be saved) and those on the Spirit side (urging people to get the same power demonstrated in the book of Acts and to experience signs, wonders, miracles, healings, prayer meetings where the place is shaken and even seeing people being struck dead for lying to the Spirit). Both emphases are exactly right. But they talk past each other, and neither side seems to deeply respect the other. We need both. The simultaneous combination will result in spontaneous combustion and bring the Great Awakening so desperately needed.

What exactly is “strange fire”? Taken from Lev. 10:1 (KJV) and also translated “unauthorized fire” (NIV, ESV), it is what Nadab and Abihu produced on their own. [Both] were consequently destroyed by God. The author of the book Strange Fire applies this to all Pentecostals and charismatics today, claiming that their manifestations, including speaking in tongues, are demonic. I include a chapter called “Strange Fire” in my book.

What motivates you to be frank about the various types of strange fire? I was compelled to point out that too much that has taken place in the modern Pentecostal and charismatic movement is strange fire. False. Counterfeit. I warn against false healings, false teaching, sheer showmanship, hyper-grace teaching, open theism, universalism, so many songs that are shallow theologically and the notion that gifts are more important than character. I also lament the fact that prosperity teaching has taken a front seat where the traditional emphasis had been on signs, wonders and gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

You speak of a time when “the Word and Spirit come together.” To what are you referring? My final chapter in Holy Fire forecasts the next (and in my opinion, final) great move of the Holy Spirit before the Second Coming. It is the cry in the middle of the night (Matt.25:6), when the church is awakened from its slumber. I call it “Isaac,” the true coming together of the Word and Spirit. I liken it to the ancient promise to Abraham. For 13 years, Abraham sincerely believed that Ishmael, son of Hagar, was the promised child; likewise, so have many Pentecostals and charismatics assumed that their movement of the past 100 years was the ultimate “last days ministries” before the Second Coming. It was Ishmael (in my opinion), although Ishmael was a major part of the sovereign purpose of God. But the best is yet to come, as prophesied, too, by Smith Wigglesworth in 1947, when the Word and Spirit would at last come together—which I call “Isaac.” This awakening is coming soon.

How can retailers promote Holy Fire? I would like to think that every person who reads Strange Fire will also read Holy Fire. ... Who am I to give advice to these retailers? I realize they cannot take sides. I suppose I would like them to challenge the buyer to read both books and let the reader decide. I would also hope they could somehow make available an open letter I have written to the author of Strange Fire, which I wrote after I read his book and heard all his talks at his Strange Fire Conference. I have asked him to pray about having a civil debate—presidential style—on the issue of cessationism. Everybody tells me he won’t do it, but let us hope he will.

Helping women find their life’s purpose Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 23 December 2013 11:54 AM America/New_York

RestlessAs Jennie Allen’s newborn son slept nearby some years ago, she stared at the ceiling feeling restless. She longed for a sense of purpose and wondered about the nature of her restlessness. Was there supposed to be more to her life than what she was currently experiencing, or was she simply not valuing the life she had been given?

She sensed there might be a little of both at work in her heart and set about seeking God for direction. He led her to discover her life’s purpose, and now she wants to help other women do the same.

Allen and her husband, Zac, have four children and serve in ministry together. Allen is a Bible teacher, author and founder of the If Gathering, a conference for women. Her first book, Anything, urged believers to completely surrender to God, to be willing to do anything for Him. 

Since the publication of that book, she hears from women who say they are all in, but want to know what to do next. Her new book from Thomas Nelson, Restless: Because You Were Made for More (9780849947063, $15.99, Jan. 7), is a response to that question.

In Restless, Allen invites women to dream again. She writes: “I want you to dare to believe that God has a vision for how you are to spend your life. Because finding and accomplishing this vision is quite possibly the greatest responsibility we have as a generation, second only to knowing and loving God.”

The author is careful to point out that sometimes a feeling of restlessness comes from a view that our lives are small and insignificant when that is not true. She argues that finding one’s purpose begins with identifying the unique threads of one’s life—experiences, gifts, passions, even sufferings. She leads women to lay out before God all the threads that might seem random, but which He weaves into a beautiful tapestry.

Thomas Nelson is simultaneously releasing several ancillary products, including a DVD, study guide, leader’s guide, discussion cards and a DVD-based study kit.

To order, call 800-251-4000, or visit

Gary Chapman helps couples bolster marriages Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 23 December 2013 11:42 AM America/New_York

Mega-selling author of The Five Love Languages describes ‘the kind of marriage God intended’

NowYoureSpeakingMyLanguageSix months after their wedding more than 35 years ago, Gary Chapman and his wife, Karolyn, were not happy as a couple. Their problem, Chapman asserts, was a lack of understanding about how to complement and support each other despite the fact that they are different. Without an instruction manual, they pressed on with much confusion and frustration, but eventually attained the type of relationship they both desired. Now Chapman offers a new book “with the hope that it will help couples learn the lessons it took us so long to discover,” he writes.

Chapman is the author of many titles, including The Five Love Languages, which sold more than 5 million copies and was translated 38 times. In Now You’re Speaking My Language: Honest Communication and Deeper Intimacy for a Stronger Marriage, available this month from B&H Books, he focuses on ways couples can enhance the five types of intimacy in marriage.

Drawing on his years of pastoral experience in counseling couples, Chapman begins the new book by examining unhealthy communication patterns and showing ways to establish healthy ones. He claims that 86% of divorced people name deficient communication as their main marital problem.

Better communication fosters deeper intimacy, Chapman argues, and whereas biblical oneness does involve sex, the other types of intimacy—intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual—are equally important. He writes that when these four are strong in a marriage, “they lead naturally to sexual intimacy.”

Chapman also points out the differences between contracts and covenants. While contracts are conditional, often short-term, agreements, covenants are permanent and based on steadfast love and unconditional promises. He says the Bible presents marriage as a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, yet many couples today practice only contractual marriage, where the give-and-take is conditional. 

The author confesses a time in his own marriage when he didn’t think covenantal marriage was possible. But then God directed him to study the life of Christ yet again, and he came to understand the principle of servanthood in a way that finally began to transform his relationship into a covenant marriage. Chapman writes: “I’m convinced that this is the kind of marriage God intended His children to have.”

And yet he often hears people lamenting that they had not learned these principles of marriage sooner. Chapman longs for every local church to have a staff or lay couple dedicated to the enrichment of marriages and urges all couples to do two things: participate in one marriage-strengthening event and share one book on marriage every year.

To order, call B&H at 800-251-3225 or visit

ASK THE AUTHOR: William Sirls Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 11 November 2013 10:30 AM America/New_York

TheSinnersGardenWilliamSirlsLATEST PROJECT: The Sinners’ Garden (9781401687380, $12.99, Dec. 17).

PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson.

How would you describe The Sinner’s Garden?  Nowhere is it written that God was going to quit doing His miracles 2,000 years ago. Moses had his staff. Fourteen-year-old Andy Kemp has his iPod.

Who really is Gerald Ripley?  “Rip” reminds me quite a bit of a guy named William Sirls. Both have spent time in prison, and they are each unfortunate examples of what can happen when we use the gifts God has given us for our own good instead of for His glory. Fortunately, these two are also examples of God’s unending grace and forgiveness, and both are extremely anxious to share their stories and talk to people about it.

How have your life experiences contributed to this book?  God must be in prison, because that’s where so many people seem to meet him.” I sort of felt like I’d be doing both myself and Rip’s character a disservice if I didn’t mention that quote somewhere in the book, mostly because it’s partially true. Prison gave me both the opportunity and the time, a word I now respect more than ever, to slow down and realize what’s important. And as my faith grew, I became increasingly anxious to share life lessons I learned in terms of faith, forgiveness, patience and, most importantly, grace, so I figured what better way to do that than to sprinkle these things amongst characters in my writing? 

What do you hope readers will take away from this story?  I think any author wants to entertain readers, but as a Christian author with a checkered past, it’s particularly important to me that readers come away from the story feeling closer to God. There are many ways for us to feel closer to Him, but to me, forgiveness is the key and is arguably the biggest aspect of our short time here on Earth. I want readers to understand that in order to truly live free, we need to offer our best forgiveness to others and to ourselves, because God offers perfect forgiveness to us. 

How would you suggest Christian retailers promote The Sinners’ Garden?  I get a tremendous amount of feedback from readers who seem to be interested in the fact that I spent three years in federal prison. The bad guy that was saved by God’s grace seems to be grabbing people’s attention because at the end of the day, we’ve all experienced some form of prison in our lives—things like addiction, abuse, depression, fear, resentment—the list goes on and on. And whether we ourselves [are] or someone else is responsible for the terrible things that can happen to us in life, the only true healing that can take place from these events can be found in The Sinners’ Garden. 

Close Up: Tommy Barnett Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 11 November 2013 10:28 AM America/New_York

ThePowerOfAHalfHourLatest project: The Power of a Half Hour: Take Back Your Life Thirty Minutes at a Time (9780307731845, $22.99, WaterBrook Press), which releases Dec. 17. 

What is the half-hour power principle? You can tell what a man’s or woman’s life is like by how they spend their half-hours. Are they wasting time? Waiting at the airport for a plane? Or waiting for a half-hour at the doctor’s office?  

How did you come to understand the power of a half-hour? As my church and sphere of influence began to grow and I needed more time, I discovered there was a whole new world of additional time in the wasted half-hours.

Why does how we use our time matter so much? Because time is a gift that only God can give and is not a gift to be wasted. God has given us this precious jewel in a coffer that we call life and we can’t waste it. ... A half hour can determine the course of a person’s life.

You write that your day is “built on half-hour modules.” What are some of the ways you spend your half-hours? Several years ago I made a promise to God that before I spent any time of my day talking to people, I would first talk to God for 30 minutes, then listen for Him to talk to me for 30 minutes. I program in my day a half-hour for a counseling session, conduct a staff meeting for 30 minutes, [use a] 30-minute segment in preparing a sermon [and] write thank-you and encouragement notes [in half-hours]. Even this book was written in half-hour increments. Half-hours can be achieving moments.

Could you explain how The Power of a Half Hour is organized? Every chapter is written so you can read it in about a half-hour. There is a study guide in the back that is also made for half-hour small group meetings. It’s designed so readers can use it for prayer meetings, mentorship meetings, mentoring kids, men’s meetings and women’s meetings. 

How do you handle tough problems that you can’t solve in 30 minutes? Rarely do I have a tough problem that can’t be solved in a 30-minute period. I meditate on it prayerfully on the mountain behind my church. And if there is no immediate answer, I put it on hold and then later give it another half-hour. Usually by the time I get to the next half-hour, the problem has taken care of itself.  

Is there anything else retailers should know about The Power of a Half Hour? This is the secret of being able to pastor two of America’s largest churches while turning the large Queen of Angels hospital into a Christian Rehabilitation Center and serving as chancellor of a Christian university. Because I spend many hours on planes traveling to speak, with many pressures, challenges and financial hurdles, I have learned how to face my days and times without sacrificing my health and family. This book will enable and change the life of the person who is busy, including overwhelmed leaders, entrepreneurs, families and anyone who feels occupied by life challenges. In addition to the ministry and the Dream Center, the half-hours have been the secret to having three children lead successful ministries. Because of the half-hour principle, I have time to talk with them, play a game together, go out for ice cream, listen and show interest in their interests.

Activist calls Americans to worship through action Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 11 November 2013 10:19 AM America/New_York

10DaysWithoutDaniel Ryan Day asked his wife three years ago a question that turned his world upside down: “What if making a difference in the world is as easy as walking into a business meeting without shoes?”

Working at a summer camp for orphans in Romania in 2005 sparked Day’s desire to make a difference. As a result, he decided to go without shoes for 10 days and blog about the experience to increase awareness about children going without shoes throughout the world. 

The blog struck a chord, receiving more than 2,000 views in the first month alone. Soon people began joining Day in giving up things such as coats, media and waste. 

Today, Day is director of content for Axis, an organization that aims to reach the next generation for Christ. His 10 Days Without: Daring Adventures in Discomfort That Will Change Your World and You (97814601424679, $13.99, Multnomah Books) chronicles his adventures going without certain things and serves as a handbook for others to act similarly, growing closer to God as a result.

Day says being born in America is more than a blessing, but “also a responsibility,” he writes. “Those of us with voices have an obligation, a duty, a charge to stand up for those who don’t.”

To learn more about the book, visit To order, call 800-733-3000.