Christian Retailing

Bookbeat January 2015 Print Email
Written by Production   
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:11 PM America/New_York



Star of ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette Sean Lowe reveals the story behind his reality TV experiences in For the Right Reasons: America’s Favorite Bachelor on Faith, Love, Marriage and Why Nice Guys Finish First. With Nancy French, Lowe chronicles the challenges he faced in trying to honor his Christian convictions during the taping of the shows. Nelson Books releases this $24.99 hardcover book Jan. 27.


In The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating (softcover, $14.99), pastor and author Andy Stanley examines the challenges of modern dating and offers a practical, Bible-based approach. He debunks what he calls the myth of “Mr. Right,” speaks frankly about premarital sex and shows readers how to find a lasting relationship. Stanley founded North Point Ministries, which includes six churches in the Atlanta area and a global network of 30 partner churches. Zondervan releases his new book Jan. 6.


Co-authors Suzanne Mayernick and Gwen Oatsvall, who are raising 13 children between their two families, have written One: Impossible Starts Here (softcover, $15.99), releasing this month from B&H Books. One tells how God built something bigger than these two women could have ever imagined, as they took one simple step of obedience after another. The authors are the founders of 147 Million Orphans, which provides orphans around the world with basic needs.


Howard Books releases the newest title from Robert J. Morgan on Jan. 6. Mastering Life Before It’s Too Late: Biblical Strategies for a Lifetime of Purpose (hardcover, $19.99) draws from the author’s lifelong study of the Bible and provides 10 biblical patterns for productivity and maximizing each day. Morgan is the pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has served for 35 years.


Based on Nelson Searcy’s most-requested audio resources, Tongue Pierced: How the Words You Speak Transform the Life You Live explains the power of words and shows readers how to choose them wisely to build a better life. Searcy is author of 10 best-selling books, as well as founder and lead pastor of The Journey Church, with locations in many cities, including Boca Raton, Florida. Written with Jennifer Dykes Henson, Tongue Pierced retails for $15.99 and releases from David C Cook on Jan. 1.


InterVarsity Press appeals to women with True You: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Using Your Voice (IVP Crescendo), available this month. Co-authors Adele Ahlberg Calhoun and Tracey Bianchi draw on their diverse experiences and voices to guide readers into a deeper relationship with God and a greater sense that every woman’s story matters. Bianchi serves as pastor for worship and women at Christ Church of Oak Brook, Illinois. Calhoun co-pastors at Redeemer Community Church in Needham, Massachusetts. True You retails for $16 in softcover.


In Stay on Top: Building a Life That Never Falls Apart, Larry Hutton draws from Scripture to help believers position themselves to stay strong and stable through life’s trials. Hutton is the author of several books and president/CEO of Larry Hutton Ministries based in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Releasing Jan. 15 from Harrison House Publishers, this softcover book retails for $12.99.


While atheists claim science and faith are incompatible, 20 contributors to True Scientists, True Faith (softcover, $16.99) show how science enriches their faith. From a variety of scientific fields and faith backgrounds, all the contributors are Christians. Contributors include astronomer Joan Centrella, Francis Collins of the human genome project and Alister McGrath, professor of science and theology at Oxford University. The Monarch Books title is available Jan. 27 through Kregel Publications.

Following God’s script for the family Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Friday, 05 December 2014 12:07 PM America/New_York

BecomingAHaving counseled families for more than 25 years, Michelle Anthony is well-acquainted with a variety of parenting methods. The author of several books, Anthony is also vice president of learning resources at David C Cook, which releases her new book, Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family: Avoiding the 6 Dysfunctional Parenting Styles (9780781411394, $15.99), this month.

The book opens by comparing life to filmmaking. Anthony asserts that while God is the writer and director of each life, people often want to control their own destinies rather than follow God’s script—which leads to parental dysfunction.

Anthony uses stories from the Scriptures and modern families to illustrate six unhealthy parenting styles, including “The Driver Parent” and “The Double-Minded Parent.” But in a spiritually healthy family, parents extend grace and help their children see God’s path. They see beyond their children’s immediate behaviors to the goal of faith formation.

Spiritually healthy families are “families working together as loving cast members, discovering the intimate beauty of watching the character development of each person unfold—in the midst of the  messiness,” she writes.

Anthony said changing one’s parenting style is “a process in which the Holy Spirit will work on you (and with you) ‘deep down’ over time.”

To order Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Family, visit

FICTION FILE December 2014 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 11:15 AM America/New_York


[ ASK THE AUTHOR ] Dorothy Love

Latest project: The Bracelet (9781401687601, $15.99, Dec. 9).

Thomas Nelson.

How would you summarize your new novel, The Bracelet?

When newly engaged Celia Browning receives a bracelet that spells out a deadly message, she sets out to uncover the truth about her family’s tragic past before long-buried secrets ruin her brilliant future.

What is the setting of the story?

The story takes place in Savannah, Georgia, in 1858-1859.

What are some of the actual events that inspired this book?

In Victorian times, gentlemen would sometimes send messages to their sweethearts through precious jewels. This charming custom first inspired the story. Later, I learned of the tragic death by suicide of a young Savannah matron and of the myths surrounding her death that still persist in Savannah today. Combining the two gave me the complete story of a young woman about to become engaged who finds her happiness threatened by old secrets she does not understand.

Tell us about your main character, Celia Browning.

Celia is privileged, but far from spoiled. She lost her mother at a young age and adores her father, who is a prominent shipping magnate in Savannah. She is highly loyal to her city and to those she loves. She is generous, sometimes impulsive, but unwavering in her quest to protect her family’s name from an unscrupulous newspaper reporter.

What are some of the themes you explore in this story?

I was interested in writing about the limits of loyalty, the effects of secrets, the way in which secrets change us, how little we sometimes know the people we think we know best, the pressures of notoriety and the power of forgiveness.

What topics did you research to write The Bracelet?

TheBraceletI read at least a dozen books on various aspects of Savannah’s history, both antebellum and postbellum. I studied the history of the Sorrel-Weed House, which served as the model for Celia’s fictional home. I studied dressmaking, ship building, blockade runners, 19th-century medicine, antique weapons, the Chatham Artillery, shipping routes, the transatlantic cable, baseball, the slave ship Wanderer and horse breeding in Jamaica, among other topics. That’s one reason I love writing historical fiction. I love learning about this stuff and sharing it with my readers.

Is this novel similar to and/or different from your previous works?

All of my novels are about strong fictional women inspired by real-life events or real-life women. Last year’s novel, for example, was inspired by the life of Elizabeth Allston Pringle, a woman rice planter in the South Carolina low country. I relied on her journals and numerous biographies of her family to tell my story. The Bracelet is inspired by actual events in the Sorrel family of Savannah and by the custom of the jewels described above.

The Bracelet is a stand-alone novel, but will readers have an opportunity to see the main character, Celia, again?

Celia has an important secondary role in my 2015 novel tentatively titled Indigo Point. In Indigo Point, Celia comes to the aid of my lead character, India Hartley, a beautiful young actress unjustly accused of shooting her leading man during a performance at a Savannah theater. I had so much fun reuniting with Celia. I grew to love her during the writing of The Bracelet.

What else should Christian retailers know about The Bracelet?

In the 19th century, a large number of the most prominent families throughout the South belonged to the Episcopal Church. Church members were highly engaged with their communities and involved in numerous charitable activities. In Savannah, many Episcopal ladies supported orphanages, hospitals, libraries and the arts, just as I have described them in The Bracelet. Faith was considered personal and private. Though some wrote about their faith in private diaries, journals and letters, they didn’t often speak of it in public.

As an author of historical fiction I take seriously my responsibility to portray the past as accurately as I can. This includes matters of faith and the way faith was expressed in that time. To insert overt messages into the mouths of these characters would not be accurate. Instead I have created characters who, when confronted with moral decisions, choose to act in ways consistent with their religious values and consistent with their understanding of what it meant to be Christian. This is the context in which the story should be read and, I hope, enjoyed.

Bookbeat December 2014 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 10:47 AM America/New_York


Former U.S. Army Green Berets Jerry Boykin and Stu Weber teamed up to write The Warrior’s Soul: 5 Powerful Principles to Make You a Stronger Man of God ($15.99, softcover). Among the five principles, the authors propound the reasons to engage in spiritual battle and the personal intensity needed to do battle. Weber is also an author and founding pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring, Oregon, and Boykin is founder of Kingdom Warriors Ministry and executive vice president of Family Research Council. Charisma House releases their book Jan. 6.



Chosen (Baker Publishing Group) releases Kris Vallotton’s guide to the prophetic next month entitled School of the Prophets: Advanced Training for Prophetic Ministry ($15.99, softcover). The best-selling author of Spirit Wars and The Supernatural Ways, Vallotton has served with Bill Johnson at Bethel Church in Redding, California, for 30 years. School of the Prophets outlines foundational truths about prophecy, including how to discern a calling and grow in the gift.



Too Many to Jail: The Story of Iran’s New Christians ($14.99, softcover) chronicles the growth of Christianity in Iran—despite persecution. The author, Mark Bradley, is a researcher specializing in Middle Eastern Christianity. Releasing Jan. 27 from Kregel Publications, Too Many to Jail focuses on the years of Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s reign, showing how the religious violence of his tenure actually opened doors for faiths other than Islam. Bradley includes individual stories of faith that show God at work in Iran.



Perry Stone’s Deciphering End-Time Prophetic Codes: Cyclical and Historical Biblical Patterns Reveal America’s Past, Present, and Future Events, Including Warnings and Patterns to Leaders (Charisma House) releases Jan. 6. The author of more than 40 books and director of Voice of Evangelism, Stone appears weekly on his television broadcast Manna-Fest, shown internationally via cable and satellite systems. In this release, he lays out the end-times events unfolding in the world today and the historical patterns leading to them. Available in softcover, the book retails for $16.99.


LifeTogetherInChristExamining the story of the two disciples who met Christ on the Emmaus Road, Ruth Haley Barton offers an interactive guide for small groups ready to experience life change in the context of community. Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community (Formatio/IVP Books/InterVarsity Press) releases this month in hardcover ($18). Barton is the author of several books, including Sacred Rhythms, and founder and president of the Transforming Center, a ministry equipping church leaders to cultivate communities of spiritual transformation.


SkinInTheGameBy posing eight key questions and reflecting on how Jesus related to people in the Bible, Rick Lawrence explores the idea that risk is required in the believer’s walk of faith. In Skin in the Game: Living an Epic, Jesus-Centered Life (Kregel Publications), Lawrence encourages readers to give their all for Christ, thereby finding the lives they really want. This title releases in softcover ($13.99) Jan. 27. Lawrence is executive editor of Group Magazine.


MotheringFromScratchMothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family shows moms how to set aside fear, allow for grace in their mothering and develop their own optimal parenting style. Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group) releases this softcover ($14.99) in January. The authors, Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo, founded the Mothering From Scratch blog and co-led an online group of moms on DaySpring’s (in)courage website.


TheGrandParadoxKen Wytsma, president of Kilns College and founder of The Justice Conference, addresses the issue of paradoxes in the Bible and in living out one’s faith in The Grand Paradox: The Messiness of Life, the Mystery of God and the Necessity of Faith. Drawing on the work of Soren Kierkegaard, the author explains how the unknown and uncertainty are essential parts of the faith journey. Thomas Nelson releases Wytsma’s book in hardcover ($22.99) Jan. 27.

Pastor advocates ‘ordinary Christianity’ Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 10:43 AM America/New_York

Tony Merida became a Christian in college, went to seminary, led a church in New Orleans and then joined the faculty of the seminary he had attended. Occasionally he ministered to the poor, but he identified most with his roles as pastor, preacher and professor.

It wasn’t until later that he became passionate about mercy-and-justice ministries. At a student camp, he was asked to lead a daily Bible study on the poor. Merida tells how that experience changed his life in Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down (9781433684166, $12.99), releasing Jan. 1 from B&H Books (B&H Publishing Group).

Ordinary“I began to see afresh God’s concern for the poor,” he writes. The Bible’s repeated emphasis on what he calls the “trio of the vulnerable: the widow, the orphan and the sojourner” particularly captured his attention.

Merida then considered how his life might better reflect what God’s Word says about mercy and justice. Soon he and his wife made great changes in their lives, including adopting five children and joining the fight against human trafficking.

Merida is founding pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, as well as author of Faithful Preaching, co-author of Orphanology and general editor of the “Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary” series along with David Platt and Danny Akin.

His new book is a call to care about what God cares about, and highlights ordinary actions that “can make an extraordinary impact.”

“I want to push back against sensationalism and ‘rock-star Christianity,’ and help people understand that they can make a powerful impact by practicing ordinary Christianity,” Merida writes.

The chapters examine how to love one’s neighbor, show hospitality, care for the fatherless, advocate for the voiceless, and walk with God in humility. Merida points out the motivations for doing justice as a Christian: We are made in the image of God, we have been redeemed, and our Redeemer will return to restore this world.

Positing love as the basis for service, Merida insists that love always includes action.

“To embrace mercy ministry under the shadow of the cross means to get involved personally,” he writes.

He also emphasizes prayer, referring to it as not merely preparation for the work, but often the work itself.

Throughout the book, Merida examines the life of abolitionist William Wilberforce, whom he finds worthy of emulation. Along with various Scripture passages, Wilberforce’s example is a reminder of God’s delight in using ordinary people to reflect His justice in the world.

Merida tells readers: “You are a great candidate for such usefulness.”

To order, visit