Christian Retailing

Close Up: Mike Nappa Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 08 July 2013 02:35 PM America/New_York

MikeNappa-WebLatest project: God in Slow Motion: Reflections on Jesus and the 10 Unexpected Lessons You Can See in His Life (9781400204625, $15.99, Thomas

Why do you begin God in Slow Motion with the story of photographer Eadweard Muybridge? [While writing this book,] I was also reading a biography of Eadweard Muybridge and the beginnings of the motion picture industry. I was fascinated by his story and thought I might include it somewhere in my book. One night, after prayer, I was unable to sleep and was thinking through what I wanted to write the next morning. Muybridge kept coming to mind, and his photographic attempts to slow active life into still images that could be closely examined. I realized I was trying to do (spiritually speaking) the same kind of thing with my book. Mentally, I wanted to take a few still photographs of Jesus in action and see what I had missed in the blur of my own spiritual life and studies.

How did Muybridge’s story inspire you? Muybridge’s story was inspiration for me not to let Christ’s life (as recorded in the Gospels) simply run by me through the pages of the Bible. Instead, I wanted to linger on the scenes included there. To examine them. To ask out loud the difficult questions I’d normally hide from others. To find out, at least a little bit, what I’ve been missing in my understanding of Jesus and His intimate power in my life. To get a glimpse of the bigger, better faith—and its consequences—that I find too hard to see on most days.

What was your purpose in writing God in Slow Motion? It’s all about Jesus, about deepening intimacy with Christ. To see what discoveries God has for me when I look for Him deep in the underneath things of Christ’s life and my own. To risk seeing God as He has actually revealed Himself to our world through the Bible, regardless of how that challenges my preconceived notions of who He ought to be or why He ought to do what I expect Him to do. This book actually grew out of my own private times with God.

GodInSlowMotionThe book’s 10 chapters are based on 10 key events in Christ’s life. Which was the most personally challenging? The hardest chapter for me to write was “Insulting Greatness,” where I looked at the image of Christ washing His disciples’ feet. Interestingly enough, because I am of Middle Eastern descent, frequently in my life people have asked me to portray Jesus (in stage plays or VBS events or photo shoots or whatever). I have always turned them down. This picture of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet is the reason why: I could never even pretend to be that kind of selfless person. I am way too far away from this ideal … so digging into Christ’s selflessness and degrading service to others was hard for me … but I had to deal with that in the book—both Christ’s ideal and my failures to live up to His beautiful example. 

You include stories from contemporary culture and history. How did you choose which stories to tell? I’m a total pop-culture nerd. I collect comics. I watch too much TV. I love movies and books and history and all that nerdy stuff. I am always reading several things at once. … When it comes time to choose stories for my own books, I typically just pull them from whatever I’m reading/watching/listening to at the time. 

What else would you like Christian retailers know? I am very grateful to them for including my work in their retail ministries. In my career, my books have sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide, and I’ve had three books chart on Christian best-seller lists. The success of each of those books was a direct result of efforts by Christian retailers in their local communities. I’ve heard from readers all over the world who have shared with me how Christ met them—and changed them—through the words of my books. Where did those people get my books? Christian bookstores. I’ve needed help and encouragement myself. I’ve found what I needed in the smiles and service and products of Christian booksellers all across the nation. So, [I’d like to] just say this: Thanks!

Bible Beat August 2013 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 08 July 2013 02:40 PM America/New_York

SpiritualWarfareBible-BlackLeatherCharisma House releases a black imitation leather edition of the best-selling Spiritual Warfare Bible on Aug. 20. Featuring the New King James Bible text, the Spiritual Warfare Bible includes declarations, prayers, interactive study elements, Bible character profiles and articles from Christian leaders and authors to help readers understand and engage in spiritual warfare. The leather edition retails for $59.99.

NIVHomeschoolMomsBibleThe New Inductive Study Bible is now available in the English Standard Version. The inductive edition includes an 18-page explanation of the inductive method, full-color instructions for studying and marking the text, and 23 pages of charts, maps and other study aids. Developed by Precepts Ministries International and releasing this month from Harvest House Publishers, the new edition comes in hardcover for $49.99.

Harvest House is releasing a large print edition of The Daily Bible, which has sold more than 1 million copies. Using the New International Version, the 365 readings in The Daily Bible are arranged chronologically. Devotional commentaries provide historical and spiritual insights into the text. Available in hardcover, it retails for $44.99.

With the start of school, Zondervan is releasing the Homeschool Mom’s Bible in the King James Version (KJV) this month. The $34.99 hardcover edition includes a topical index and 365 devotions. Veteran home educator Janet Tatman wrote the meditations, with the foreword by Vickie Farris, a homeschool mom, author and wife of Michael Farris, founder of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Fiction File August 2013 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 08 July 2013 02:44 PM America/New_York

ReneGutteridgeASK THE AUTHOR: Rene Gutteridge
LATEST PROJECT: Misery Loves Company (9781414349336, $12.99, August).
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House Publishers.

Please start us off with a brief summary of your latest suspense novel.

Misery Loves Company involves Juliet Belleno, recently widowed when her husband is killed in the line of duty as a police officer. With her grief, she retreats inside her home, cutting herself off from the rest of the world except through the small window of her computer. She writes reviews of books and keeps up with her blog, but does little else that involves contact with people other than brief outings to the nearby grocery store. When Chris Downey, her late husband’s best friend, receives a call from Jules’ father explaining that Jules is missing, he at first thinks perhaps she’s taken a long weekend. But as he searches deeper, more and more evidence is pointing toward something more sinister. As it turns out, he may be right. The last thing Jules remembers was running into her favorite author at the store. Now she has awoken in a dark room, is tied up and her own words from her latest book review are scrawled in red across the ceiling above her. Everything she believed about her life, her husband and her faith is about to change.

What kind of character is Jules?

Jules is the epitome of all a person can become when life unravels in the way you fear the most. Her very heart is ripped from her when Jason dies, and she has no way to deal with her grief. Her husband was full of faith, but Jules is less sure of a God who seems unable to keep her safe, secure and happy, so she retreats into herself, into her home and into her own life.

MiseryLovesCompanyWhat is Patrick Reagan like?

There is the Patrick Reagan on the book jacket of all his novels. He’s handsome. Regal. The library behind him looks massive, expensive and showcases every book you’ve always intended to read. You think, Man, just to have an hour to chat with him! Then there is the Patrick Reagan who is quietly losing his mind. Jules believes she knows this man from his books. She’s read every one he’s written. But she does not know the man he has become since facing his own devastating loss.

There are many thought-provoking themes threaded throughout the novel. One is the idea of not always knowing the good guys from the bad. Will you expand on that?

When I teach writing, I often remind writers that the scariest bad guys aren’t the dark monsters in the closets, but more the ones that, on some level, you can relate to. Right from wrong is fairly easy to navigate. More frightening for people, I believe, is when they’re having a hard time discerning what is good and what is bad. In a world that seldom holds the Bible as absolute truth, those lines can be blurred very easily. Even in my personal life, there have been times when I have had to pray through situations because what seemed right to me at the time was proved later not to be the right thing at all. Proverbs 14:12 comes to mind: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” I rarely trust my own instincts when there are shades of gray. I have to go in prayer and seek God and search His Word. As I get older, I am learning to be more patient with this process. I don’t always have to know. I have to trust the One who does.

What else should Christian retailers know about Misery Loves Company?

First and foremost, I think it’s an unusual and entertaining tale, even with some of the deeper themes it explores, such as grief and loss and a God of suffering. I think readers will have a lot of fun imagining what they would do if their favorite author kidnapped them. ... But, as I try to do with all my books, this story points to some ways we can all search our own hearts and what we believe about a God who does not stop tragedy. These are the things my characters wrestle with. It is the thing we must all come to terms with at some point in our lives. Just this year, my beloved town of Moore, Okla., had to confront this tremendously heavy question as we buried friends and family and children after the May 20 tornado. Why does a loving God allow His children to face such grueling misery? Jules Belleno and Patrick Reagan must search for their answers together in what has become the heartbreak of their own lives.

Pastor’s wife is forced to face her fear of the dark Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 04:45 PM America/New_York

AWalkThroughTheDarkEva Piper shares her personal story after husband Don’s popularity rose with his trip-to-heaven testimony 

One split second was all it took. In 1989, Eva Piper’s life changed forever when her pastor-husband, Don, was pronounced dead at the scene of a car accident. A semi had crossed the center line and hit his car head-on. A pastor who was driving behind Don stopped, laid hands on him and prayed. 

As told in 90 Minutes in Heaven (Revell/Baker Publishing Group), Eva’s husband returned to life 90 minutes later, and he says that in that time, he had gone to heaven. Told with the help of Cecil Murphey, Don’s story stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for nearly four years.

Now Eva has also collaborated with Murphey to explain her experiences at her husband’s side during recovery, including his 34 surgeries and severe depression. Releasing this month from Thomas Nelson, A Walk Through the Dark: How My Husband’s 90 Minutes in Heaven Deepened My Faith for a Lifetime recounts how her journey strengthened her faith and revealed abilities she didn’t realize she had.

For 15 years, Eva had relied on her husband for decision-making. With the accident, however, she had to make all the decisions. One of the most difficult was whether to authorize either the amputation of her husband’s leg or the use of a device to stimulate bone growth.

Since childhood, Eva had feared the dark. She also feared figurative darkness and yet she faced many dark days after the accident. Eva tells how God caused her to grow  as she became more assertive and her prayer life intensified.

Eva’s decision to allow the use of the device on Don’s leg resulted in success. In time, his major injuries healed, although he still deals with pain and some long-term challenges. The book also provides helpful information to caregivers. 

To order, call 800-251-4000 or visit

Evangelist issues a spiritual battle cry Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 04:53 PM America/New_York

TheDevilHasNoMotherGang-member-turned-evangelist Nicky Cruz has noticed what he calls a disturbing trend in the church. As he preaches worldwide, he sees an increasing unawareness of the devil and the threat he poses. In his latest book, Cruz exposes the unrelenting attacks of Satan and issues a battle cry. 

In The Devil Has No Mother: Why He’s Worse Than You Think—But God is Greater (9781617951893, $14.99), releasing from Worthy Publishing this month, Cruz writes that he has had “more experience with the evil one than most.” 

Growing up in Puerto Rico, Cruz was victimized by his parents’ occult activity. People began to say about him, “Ese hombre no tiene madre.” Translated, this old Spanish saying is, “This guy has no mother,” and it refers to boys who seem bent on evil and destruction.

In the 1950s, a teenaged Cruz moved to New York City and became warlord of a gang involved in drug use and crime. But, through David Wilkerson’s efforts, Cruz came to Christ and later became an evangelist. His dramatic testimony was told in The Cross and the Switchblade (Chosen/Baker Publishing Group), a book that has sold more than 15 million copies and was made into a film.

Cruz says Satan’s greatest trick is deceiving people into believing he doesn’t exist. 

“The devil is real and active in this world. ... We need a knowledge of his power, as well as of the even greater power for good that is available to us,” he writes. 

But Cruz emphasizes the superior power of God. 

“The overriding message of this book is one of confidence and reassurance,” he writes, reminding readers that “the end of the story has already been written.” 

To order, call Capitol Christian Distribution at 800-877-4443.

Book Beat July 2013 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Tuesday, 28 May 2013 04:55 PM America/New_York

AngelsInTheFireAngels in the Fire: The Dramatic True Story of an Impossible Rescue by Dann Stadler tells of a miraculous rescue from a horrific auto accident. Dann and his wife, Tracey, survived the crash after Tracey was saved by a powerful angel. The book encourages believers and reveals that God still intervenes in lives today. Stadler blogs at, which focuses on living in the promises of the resurrection. Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group) releases the book this month in softcover for $14.99.


DeathByLivingBest-selling author and managing editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine, N.D. Wilson has penned a set of poetic meditations designed to encourage readers to live each day by viewing life through the lens of mortality. Thomas Nelson releases Death by Living: Life is Meant to be Spent this month in hardcover for $19.99. In the book, Wilson reminds readers to pause and remember that we are all authors of the books that will be our lives.


FreedomFromDepression FCharisma House releases Freedom From Depression: Emotional Healing Through Spiritual Health and Wholeness (softcover, $14.99) this month. Author Jenny Swindall writes from experience following her own battle with depression and the suicide of her brother. Reporting that 10% of Americans are on an anti-depressant, she offers a biblical plan based on two principles—ownership and abandonment—to bring emotional healing. Each chapter includes questions, prayers and assignments for application.


RelentlessA call for compassion for the poor is the focus of Relentless: Pursuing a Life That Matters by Dave Donaldson and Terry Glaspey. Donaldson is co-founder of Convoy of Hope, an international relief agency. His book examines the problems faced by the poor and oppressed around the world and showcases examples of many Christians who have already accepted the task of caring for those in need. Influence Resources releases this title in softcover for $12.99 this month. 


GodonomicsGodonomics: How to Save our Country—and Protect Your Wallet—Through Biblical Principles of Finance by Chad Hovind releases this month from Multnomah Books (hardcover, $12.99). The author is pastor of the 2,000-member Horizon Community Church in Cincinnati and author of the Godonomics DVD series. While a left-leaning critique of America’s economic system is gaining in volume, Hovind offers a defense of capitalism by showing that, like America’s system of government, its economic system is also rooted in the Bible.


WoundedWomenIn Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope When Life Hurts, Dena Dyer and Tina Samples use stories from wounded women in biblical and contemporary times to explore the emotions and hurts women of all ages share—and spotlight the healing only God can provide. Dyer is author of several books, including Mothers of the Bible, and Samples is a worship leader and devotional writer. This month Kregel Publications releases their book, which includes a Bible study guide, for $12.99 in softcover.


StarCrossedScreenwriter and TV producer Ron Austin recounts the three major threads of his life in Star Crossed: A Hollywood Love Story in Three Acts (softcover, $24). Releasing this month from Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Austin’s memoir covers his early life and career in Hollywood working with stars such as Charlie Chaplin and Farrah Fawcett, his conversion at age 50 from atheism to Catholicism, with the support of his Jewish wife, and a discussion of how Jews and Catholics can find common ground. 


YouWereBornForMoreYou Were Born for More: Six Steps to Breaking Through to Your Destiny by Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. outlines a six-step pathway to help believers draw on God’s mercy and grace to rise above their circumstances, discover their destiny and achieve lasting change. Jackson is pastor of Hope Christian Church, a 3,000-member congregation outside Washington, D.C. This month, Chosen Books (Baker Publishing Group) releases this softcover book for $13.99.