Christian Retailing

Close Up: Kevin DeYoung Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 05 August 2013 03:03 PM America/New_York

KevinDeYoungLatest project: Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem (9781433533389, $11.99, Crossway).

How is Crazy Busy different than other books about living busy lives?

I hope Crazy Busy hits that sweet spot between theological and practical. Some books do well at the macro-level and remind Christians about pride, idolatry and the need for rest. These are helpful reminders, but sometimes they don’t get down to the nitty-gritty of our busy lives. On the other hand, and the greater danger, I think, is that a book on busyness ends up being nothing but common-sense suggestions for time management. I hope Crazy Busy can take the important truths of the Christian faith—sin, salvation, Sabbath, childrearing, mission, vocation—and show how the Bible has a lot to say about our busyness.

Could you explain why you describe yourself as “the worst possible person to write this book. And maybe the best”?

In most of my books I’m writing about something I’ve seen that I hope others can see. I’m often trying to correct misunderstandings or misguided theology. I’ve written this book, however, more out of my sense of need than out of my sense of having arrived. Busyness is something I’ve struggled with since I was a teenager. For that reason, this is a very personal book. I’m not writing for the vantage point of semi-retirement in a quiet cove somewhere in the mountains. I have five kids, a 600-person church and more responsibilities than I know how to handle. I wrote this book first of all to help my own soul.

Why is being “crazy busy” a problem?

On one level, it’s not a problem. We are meant to be busy. We are meant to work, to “spend and be spent,” as the Apostle Paul put it [2 Cor. 12:15]. And yet, there are huge dangers with being crazy busy. Busyness can ruin our joy, it can rob the seed of the Word, and it can cover up the rot in our hearts. The biggest dangers are not physical, financial or even relational. The biggest concerns are spiritual.

What is the structure of your book?

The outline is as simple as three numbers: three, seven and one. In this short book, I unpack three dangers of being crazy busy. Then in the bulk of the book I look at seven diagnoses for the bane of busyness in our lives. These seven chapters cover topics like pride, mission, priorities, parenting, technology, rest and expectations. In the final chapter I turn to Luke 10 and look at the one thing we need to do most: sit at the feet of Jesus. As quaint as it may sound, I’m convinced that when we make daily time with the Lord our first priority, so much of what ails us as busy people can drastically improve.

CrazyBusyWhy do we end up doing so much?

It’s hard to say whether people work harder than they used to. On the face of it, that seems like an absurd conclusion. Most of us don’t plow or push or build or church or write by candlelight. Our lives have more conveniences than ever before. But at least two factors are unique in our modern world: complexity and opportunity. Our world is terribly complex. We may not write with parchment and quill, but now we have to manage insurance policies, bank accounts, home repairs, technological innovations, heightened parenting demands and a gaggle of other responsibilities. On top of that, we suffer from never-ending opportunities. Part of the reason we do so much is because we can do so much. The results, though, are not good. We are working more, sleeping less and paying little attention to our souls.

Do you think Christians carry unnecessary expectations? If so, why? 

Absolutely. Many of us suffer from the terror of universal obligation. Every world crisis, every unevangelized person, every unreached people, every un-dug well, every un-adopted orphan, every new Bible study feels like our responsibility. Well-meaning pastors, writers, parents and friends communicate the not-so-subtle message that nothing is ever enough. We can never give enough, never pray enough, never study enough, never share our faith enough. Most of us live with low-level guilt year after year. We can scarcely believe that a faithful, obedient, normal life is even possible.

What else would help Christian retailers to promote Crazy Busy?

The chapter on parenting where I encourage us all to relax a bit will be eye-opening to many parents. ... It should work well as a graduation gift, [for] a church small group, a book for pastors and even a non-threatening Christian book we can give our non-Christian friends.

Bible Beat September 2013 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 05 August 2013 03:43 PM America/New_York

GospelTransformationBibleThe ESV Gospel Transformation Bible releasing from Crossway this month is a new tool helping readers see the entire Bible as the message of God’s grace culminating in Christ. Written by 50 pastors and scholars, the study notes and application points focus on heart transformation. The introduction is written by General Editor Bryan Chapell, President Emeritus of Covenant Theological Seminary. Features include all-new book introductions, a concordance, 80,000 cross-references and free access to the Online Gospel Transformation Bible. Available in black or white hardcover editions, the new Bible retails for $39.99.

LifeAppSBLargePrintFor the first time in four years, the standard-size edition of The Message from NavPress releases in a new cover this month. In brown leather-look, the cover sports a harvest wheat design across the center and retails for $49.99. 

From Zondervan this month comes a large print edition of the NIV Single-Column Bible in brown hardcover for $39.99. The New International Version text is presented in a single column. A concordance is included as well as a bookmark ribbon. 

Building the popular Life Application Study Bible line,
Tyndale House Publishers expands its offerings with a new large print New King James Version edition. Retailing for $69.99, this hardcover also has large print thumb-indexing and includes nearly 10,000 notes and features that explain difficult passages, provide information about Bible life and times and help readers apply God’s Word to everyday life.

Tyndale House Publishers releases an affordable softcover of the Holy Bible Text Edition NLT this month. This plain-text Bible in the New Living Translation retails for $14.99. Features include a 33-page Tyndale Bible Verse Finder and eight pages of full-color maps. 

Fiction File September 2013 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 05 August 2013 03:48 PM America/New_York

Pamela Binnings EwenASK THE AUTHOR: Pamela Binnings Ewen
LATEST PROJECT: An Accidental Life (9780805464320, $14.99, Sept. 1).

How would you briefly describe An Accidental Life to Christian retailers?

New Orleans. 1982. She’s a new partner in a prestigious law firm. He’s a prosecutor facing the trial of a lifetime. They’re married and their jet-set lives are about to change. The question they must answer: What happens to infants born alive during an abortion? And why? This courtroom drama exposes one of the best-kept secrets in the world.

What inspired this novel?

The story was first inspired by testimony during a hearing before Congress in 2001. Witnesses testified that at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., and around the country, medical assistance was being withheld from infants born alive during abortions. The testimony resulted in federal law protecting such babies, but not state law. I learned about this for the first time in 2011 and then and there resolved to write this book. 

Your 25 years of experience as an attorney qualifies you to write a courtroom drama. What research did you do for this project?

Besides the usual newspapers, online and other reading, I interviewed
prosecutors and sat in on murder trials, taking detailed notes. I interviewed our
Louisiana Parish coroner (the equivalent of other states’ medical examiners) and a nurse who testified at the 2001 hearings. I interviewed Melissa Ohden, an “accidental life” herself (as she puts it). I read the detailed Congressional Report on the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act and studies and cases cited in that report, and interviewed doctors and other pediatric nurses to check my conclusions. Dorinda Bordley, a decades-long legal, pro-life advocate assisted in digging into the development of case law following Roe v. Wade, as did Robert Winn, founder of Louisiana Right to Life and a former partner in a major New Orleans law firm. I also read numerous briefs and pleadings, both pro-life and pro-choice, filed in real cases.

AnAccidentalLifeWas it challenging to write both sides of the trial arguments?

When I began writing, I was determined to let the chips fall where they may in the verdict. So that was very difficult, because morally I believed the murder charge was justified. But the law doesn’t always take us where we want to go, and my primary goal was to tell it like it is. I wanted readers to know what’s happening. So it wasn’t until I actually began writing the closing arguments in the trial and put all the evidence together that I knew the verdict. Here’s something new: I came across an odd statement by the Supremes in Roe v. Wade, and by linking that with reasoning from other cases and new understandings of how medical advances have changed the concept of viability, I realized that a murder conviction of the doctor would really stand up in court.

How is this novel similar to or different from your previous works of fiction?

This was the most difficult to write. I am passionate about getting the word out that this is really happening—that infants are sometimes born alive, and some are left to die. All of my novels are what some might call issue-driven stories, but I think this one is most important. More detail was required to show that the evidence is real and that it’s still going on—tough to do without crossing the line and boring readers. I hope that I’ve succeeded!  

An Accidental Life is also about Rebecca’s faith journey. What type of character is she? 

In the beginning, ambitious Rebecca is a secular humanist who, thinking this life is all there is, gets on that treadmill and starts to run. Her Christian faith evolves during the story through the power of the Holy Spirit. First, as she comes to understand the beauty and complexity of God’s creation, especially human life. And second, through the sanctification of love for her husband, who is a man of faith.  

What do you hope readers take away from this story?

My prayer is that when a reader finishes An Accidental Life, he or she will understand that human life is not determined by mankind’s definitions and timelines, regardless of emotions or politics. I pray that readers will understand that the horrors recently unveiled in the Kermit Gosnell trial are not an aberration, and that this is real.

What other information should Christian retailers know about An Accidental Life?

Those who have read my earlier novels Dancing on Glass and Chasing the Wind will recognize Rebecca. All three books are related through the characters and the time period, although each can be read on a stand-alone basis. All describe what it was like for young women in those days (the 1970s and early ’80s) struggling to find success in what was then a man’s world, while maintaining balance between families and careers. 

New book helps women discover their true value Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 08 July 2013 02:19 PM America/New_York

BecomingMyselfStasi Eldredge encourages readers to realize who God created them to be—‘embracing God’s dream of you’

Stasi Eldredge has felt like a failure many a time—in her past, in her struggles with weight, in her role as a mother. And she’s not alone. She believes that many women see themselves as failures in some area of life.

But she now understands that while she fails, she is not a failure. This freeing revelation is rooted in a biblical understanding of her identity and God’s love. In Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You, Eldredge guides women toward becoming who God always wanted them to be.

The best-selling author, who teamed up with her husband, John, to write the best-seller Captivating, is also leader of the women’s ministry at Ransomed Heart. In Becoming Myself, she shares personal stories of pain and joy—her mother’s pressuring her to lose weight, mistakes she made in relationships, abuse she suffered from a stranger. With a personal touch, she addresses the reader as “my sister.”

With God’s help, people can truly change, Eldredge says, but it’s not a matter of shaming or disciplining ourselves into it. Rather, it’s a process God invites us to, one that requires time and surrender, but which results in a “beautiful paradox.”

“The more God’s we become,” she writes, “the more ourselves we become—the ‘self’ he had in mind when he thought of you before the creation of the world.”

Eldredge emphasizes the importance of honestly reflecting on the past in order to heal and move forward. Her own past included tension and alcohol in her childhood home, plus the pressure to be athletic. She writes that at her core she felt “the tangible ache of wanting to be accepted, approved of, and enjoyed.”

She believes healing begins with God’s view of women, who are image-bearers of God and co-heirs with Christ, who are “valued, worthy, powerful, and needed.”

Two chapters address the effects of a woman’s mother on her life. Others urge women to not only accept themselves, but also to embrace who they are and to become women of faith and worship. 

“Love is always the highest goal,” Eldredge writes, referring to a love of God, of others and of “the woman God has created us to be.”

For more information, visit To order, call at 800-743-2514.

Ex-Mormon tells story of finding true biblical faith Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 08 July 2013 02:27 PM America/New_York

UnveilingGraceWhen Lynn and Mike Wilder moved to Utah in 1999, they thought they had arrived in Zion on Earth. Now, after 30 years, the Wilders have left the Mormon church and their old life behind.

Lynn was a tenured professor at Brigham Young University (BYU), and Mike was a high priest co-chairing the redeem-the-dead committee. Their four children served as youth leaders and on foreign missions. While still in Utah, God began showing them the truth, and in 2006, a simple request by their youngest son changed everything.

Lynn shares her family’s journey out of Mormonism and into biblical Christianity in Unveiling Grace: The True Story of How We Found Our Way Out of the Mormon Church (9780310331124, $15.99), which Zondervan releases this month.

Lynn and Mike were raised in Protestant homes, but neither had much Bible knowledge. When Mormons knocked on their door in 1977, they were a young married couple without children and hungry for mentorship and family. They listened to the missionaries and consented to more meetings. Ten weeks later, the Wilders accepted the gospel according to Joseph Smith and were baptized as Latter-Day Saints. 

They grew to love their church and plunged right in to doing what they thought was right, believing that they pleased their heavenly Father with “our callings and our works,” Lynn writes.

However, they saw problems in Mormon culture, including racism and polygamy. They determined to stay and be part of the solution, but God used events to change their minds.

The turning point happened on their youngest son’s two-year obligatory Mormon mission, where two Christian pastors he tried to convert introduced him to biblical faith. Their son gave his life to Jesus and urged his family to study the New Testament, which they did.

Within two years, Lynn and Mike accepted the gospel of grace. Lynn resigned from BYU, and she and Mike resigned from the church. The process of untangling themselves from the church they had loved and served was difficult, but they are grateful God sent their family searching for truth.

Looking back, Lynn sees glimpses of God drawing her. 

“God allured me, drew me, unveiled portions of his grace at crucial moments,” she writes.

To help others, the Wilders have formed an organization called Ex-Mormon Christians United for Jesus, and their children are involved with the Adam’s Road ministry. 

To order, call 800-727-1309.

Book Beat August 2013 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 08 July 2013 02:28 PM America/New_York

HomelessAtHarvardHomeless at Harvard: Finding Faith and Friendship on the Streets of Harvard Square tells of the 10 weeks John Christopher Frame spent among the homeless during his final studies at Harvard Divinity School. Frame shares his experiences and the stories of those he came to know who lived on the streets, helping readers better understand the problems of the homeless. Zondervan releases this book in softcover for $14.99 Aug. 6.

FiveStonesPastor and author Shane Stanford, along with former CEO and member of the Tennessee House of Representatives R. Brad Martin, offer a series of lessons on slaying “giants” in life and business in Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants. Using the story of David and Goliath as a framework, the authors show how ordinary people can overcome challenges in all areas of life. One giant Stanford has had to face is an HIV-positive diagnosis, which he contracted after receiving infected blood. Releasing this month from Abingdon Press, this title retails for $18.99 in hardcover.

LeadingAndLovingItLeading and Loving It: Encouragement for Pastors’ Wives and Women in Leadership by Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson releases from FaithWords on Aug. 6 (softcover, $15). Revealing their own personal stories as pastors’ wives, the authors give readers tools for handling the pressures and expectations of their roles and tips for dealing with criticism, burnout and more. Wilhite founded Leading and Loving It, a community that supports women in ministry, where Wilson is a co-leader.

YouAreAnointedForThisThis month Charisma House releases You Are Anointed for This!: Walk in Confidence, Boldness and Authority (softcover, $16.99), in which author Judy Jacobs defines anointing and helps readers see that God’s power is not only for pastors, evangelists and ministry leaders, but also for every Christian. Jacobs, host of the television program Judy Jacobs Now!, is also founder of His Song Ministries and the International Institute of Mentoring.

LoveToStayDrawing upon Scripture and the latest research, including a large survey of couples and singles, pastor and best-selling author Adam Hamilton looks at how to sustain healthy romantic relationships for the course of a lifetime in Love to Stay: Sex, Grace, and Commitment. Abingdon Press releases this title in hardcover this month for $18.99. A companion DVD study and a leader’s guide are also available. 

GrayMattersBrett McCracken examines some gray areas of Christian cultural consumption in Gray Matters: Navigating the Space Between Legalism and Liberty. McCracken, managing editor of Biola Magazine and a journalism instructor at Biola University, leads Christians to refine their discernment of truth, goodness and beauty and to adopt a more thoughtful approach to engagement with culture. This book releases for $14.99 in softcover from Baker Books/Baker Publishing Group this month.

SettingBoundariesForWomenThe latest title in Allison Bottke’s “Setting Boundaries” series is releasing from Harvest House Publishers this month. Setting Boundaries for Women: Six Steps to Saying No, Taking Control, and Finding Peace is designed to inspire and equip women with the tools they need to set and enforce appropriate boundaries with the people in their lives. In softcover, the book retails for $12.99.

MySoCalledLifeasaSubmissiveWifeIn My So-Called Life as a Submissive Wife: A One-Year Experiment … and Its Liberating Results, Sara Horn shares her personal account of examining the concept of submission in marriage and challenges women to do the same—without preconceived ideas and with openness. Horn is founder of Wives of Faith, a military wives’ ministry and author of My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife. Harvest House Publishers releases this title in softcover ($12.99) this month.