We had a great time with family, but shared a nasty gift.
pray for us!!
A 366-day devotional with inspiring stories from the front lines of faith.
"A willingness to go is all they have in common," says Beth Moore, speaking of her friends on the front lines who are spreading the gospel around the world and with whom she collaborated to create this book. This brilliant, 366-day devotional features incredible stories of God's faithfulness in the face of uncertainty and danger, written by hundreds of missionaries worldwide.
With a foreword by International Mission Board president Jerry Rankin and an introduction by Beth, this volume also includes advice on how to hear God's voice, pray for missionaries, and understand the church's and individual's role in missions.
Beth Moore loves missionaries and mission work with the same enthusiasm with which she teaches and loves serving the Lord. Her childhood enabled her to know missionaries on a personal level, and that love for those who give up their lives to serve the Lord in foreign lands has impacted Moore's life in a powerful way. She wants others to know and love missionaries as she does, so this book, Voices of the Faithful, gives daily devotionals from people serving God around the globe. Their hearts reflect on God's love and grace through the lens of the land and people where they have been called to serve.
This book is a powerful reminder that all Christians are called to spread the good news. Even though we may never be called to serve on a foreign mission field, we can pray for and support those who do. Voices of the Faithful is a beautiful and inspiring reminder to serve the Lord with all our hearts and to pray for and support those who are called to serve on foreign soil. I am happy to recommend this book!
About the Author:
“That sense of challenge is also a major reason that I pray – not because I lock confidence but because I am realistic about what I am able to do and confident about what God is able to do.” (p. 14)
Dr. David Levy’s statement on page 14 beautifully encapsulates the humble servant’s heart with which he serves his patients and his Lord. Gray Matter is one of the most interesting, encouraging and thoughtful books that I have read in a very long while. Dr. Levy’s obedience to God in the matter of praying with his patients has had far-reaching benefits in physical, spiritual and emotional ways that far surpass what Dr. Levy ever imagined possible! Isn’t that just like God? He is so awesome!!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this account of what God is doing in Dr. Levy’s life as his ministers to his patients! He is very candid about his personal fears and reservations that plagued him as he began the practice of praying with his patients. He shares accounts with people from all walks of life, and the fact that most of his patients have experienced profound effects from inviting God into this critical moment in their lives. Dr. Levy has also experienced both personal and professional blessings from his obedience to God’s direction to pray for his patients. It is touching and humbling to read such a personal account of one man’s devout obedience to God in a very challenging professional setting.
I’m pleased to share that I know first hand what it’s like to have a doctor who prays. My family has a doctor that we see twice a year. Each time we share prayer requests and then a time of prayer together. I know that God has blessed all of us through trusting Him with both our health and the doctor’s skill. Dr. Levy’s life is an inspiring example of the power of prayer in the believer’s life. He may never know the eternal effect of his efforts here on earth, but I’m quite sure there will be a lot of folks thanking him in eternity for taking the time to care for their spiritual needs as carefully as he took care of their physical needs.
Please visit Tyndale's website to learn more about this fabulous book!
New Free Media Diet Calculator Planned to Launch Dec. 26
Aims to Bring Awareness of Family Media Intake Versus Real Life Interaction
Nashville, Tenn. Dec. 15, 2010… After a season filled with record-setting cell phone and gaming gifts to teens and tweens, iShine is announcing the upcoming Dec. 26 release of the Family Media Diet Calculator. The calculator is a new tool providing customized awareness to families in regards to how much time they spend connected to media in comparison to the amount of hours they spend plugged in with real life interaction and content consumption.
By visiting http://www.familymediadiet.com, parents nationwide will be able to plug in amounts of time their families spend texting, browsing online, consuming television and more. They will then be able to print a free custom analysis of where their families are spending their time in comparison to their involvement in recreational and faith-based activities along with family time and reading. The campaign is not an anti-technology movement. It is about use awareness and being intentional about the content.
It is estimated that the 20 million tweens in this country spend 25 hours a week watching television and playing video games and only one hour in church. George Barna (The Barna Group), a pioneer in research on Christian culture, recently noted that kids spend more time absorbing media than anything else in their lives, except sleeping. A recent article in The New York Times titled “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction” (insert link - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technology/21brain.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=technology) also discussed the effects of technology compared to focusing and learning.
“We as parents must be deliberate of what media our kids consume, understanding that it is forming the way our kids look at everything – self image, friends, parents, leaders, themselves,” remarks iShine Founder and Chief Creative Officer Robert Beeson. “If we as parents aren’t actively forming the person our kid’s are becoming – make no mistake – someone else is.”
iShine, known for bringing family-friendly media options through tours, music, television and radio mediums, is sponsoring the free Media Diet Calculator. The organization will also be releasing a new interactive Bible for tweens with Tyndale House Publishers in Feb. of 2011.
iShine is a Christian media group dedicated to ministering to “tweens” and their families. Tweens are defined as children between the ages of 7 and 13, and represent the single most influential age group in the world today. Mainstream media and consumer marketing groups focus their messages of identity, popularity and value predominately to the “tween” marketplace for a reason. iShine reaches today’s “tweens” through Biblically-based live concerts events (iShineLIVE!), unique television programming seen weekly on TBN (iShine KNECT), iShine artist releases to CD and DVD, interactive websites and coming in 2011, an entire line of books and Bibles all specifically designed to be relevant to this vital audience.
Once again I have been transported back in time to the land of Jerusalem, Tiberius and Damascus. I have met Julia and her heartbroken mother as they anxiously await the arrival of Julia’s father, Jamal as he visits between caravan routes. The Damascus Way takes the reader deep into the heart of the ancient trade routes and the dangers, risks and vigilant lifestyle of those who spend their lives transporting valuable trade goods throughout the ancient Middle East. Alongside the merchant trade routes and all of its mystery, danger and adventure, the readers also experience anew the persecution of the early church. As the followers of The Way increase in number after Jesus’ resurrection, the Temple guards and Roman soldiers become ever more intent on destroying this threat to their power. Leading the persecution efforts is none other than Saul.
My heart alternately soared and ached as I lived life alongside the early believers. Julia, Zoe, Abigail, Jacob, and Linux are but a few of the characters that you will spend time with during this very special time in history. The followers of Christ are busy transforming lives, performing miracles and growing the early church as they try to meet together in safety. Couriers operate in stealth among the followers to make sure that the Word of God is spread to everyone regardless of ethnic or social background. Truly, Christ’s ministry transformed the world in miraculous ways!
Truly, much is to be learned as we are called to remember the persecution of the early church and the work of the apostles and early disciples. The Acts of Faith series is one of the most powerful and special biblical history series I’ve ever read, and I can’t begin to recommend it highly enough!!
Janette Oke (pronounced "oak") pioneered inspirational fiction and is the leading author in the category today. Love Comes Softly, her first novel, has sold over one million copies. Janette is now the bestselling author of over 70 books, 32 of which have been translated into fourteen languages. Her books have sold over 22 million copies.
Janette receives fan mail from all over the world and answers each letter personally. She received the 1992 President's Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association for her significant contribution to Christian fiction, the 1999 CBA Life Impact Award and has been awarded the Gold Medallion Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, have four grown children and enjoy their many grandchildren. They make their home in Canada.
When did you open Christmas presents when you were growing up? Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? If you traveled, did your parents take the gifts, or did you open them early or late? Did your parents have Santa leave presents? Were they wrapped or unwrapped? Did you have stockings? What was generally in those? Were gifts simple and practical or more extravagant? Did you give presents to your parents and siblings? Were they homemade or purchased? If purchased, did you pay with your own money or did your parents pay? What are memories of special gifts you received? Did you ever peek and find out what your gifts were ahead of time? Did presents gradually appear under the tree in the days leading up to Christmas and were you allowed to touch/shake them?
As long as I can remember, presents were always in a grand display beneath the Christmas tree. It was the only time that the hallway door to the den was closed. We all had to stand at the door while mom or dad went around into the den and got ready to let us in to see our gifts. I guess they enjoyed the expressions of delight as we discovered what had been left for each of us. I don’t recall anything being wrapped, but instead it looked like a really neat store display window. It was the most exciting morning of the year to say the least!
I have memories of trying to sneak around to the den as my parents and older siblings worked to display our gifts when we were very young. We always got caught and sent back to bed! We did have stockings, but for the life of me I can’t remember what was put in them at this moment. I just know that mom must have paid really close attention throughout the year, because we usually found things that we really wanted on Christmas morning! I’ll never forget the Barbiedoll pool, the year I got an 8-track tape player, or the HUGE teddy bear my brother gave me one year. It’s funny really, because I don’t remember so many details as I remember that we were all really happy and having a good time. I had an aunt and uncle that didn’t have any children, and they usually popped by to see what Santa had brought us.
Christmas night was always spent with that same aunt and uncle (just as it still is today!) so as soon as things settled down (we always started really early!) we had a great breakfast and then headed off to my visit my mom’s mom and sister who lived nearby. We usually had lunch with them, and then left there and went down the road to my aunt and uncle’s house. (my dad’s youngest sister and husband and also my grandparents lived there) We always took gifts to them, and the young kids got gifts from them, we ate a ton and then gathered around the piano and sang hymns. We still do that today!!
My favorite Christmas memory hasn’t changed much. The year I was a Junior in college I spent a week with my oldest sister who had been put to bed with toxemia. It was the first time in my life I’d been away from my parents on Christmas morning, and I remember sitting on the bed with my sister and her husband and talking on the phone with all of my family. We then went to her in-laws for their Christmas celebration and had a really good time. My sister went into labor that night, and I got to be there when my first niece was born on December 26th. That year we didn’t get individual presents, but the family got a video camera to record the family’s newest edition. It was a very special time for me, and one I’ll never forget.
“The church smelled of paraffin and my mother’s tears and my own shame.” (p. 304)
The clouds roll away is my second Raleigh Harmon novel, and it was as satisfying, exciting, and spiritually melancholy as the first. Raleigh is an FBI agent who has a LOT to deal with when you consider what she does for a living! Combined with a mother who lives in a very fragile emotional state, Raleigh tries to do the right thing in every situation. But sometimes she has to choose between bad and worse. I think her heart is pretty fragile too, but she buries a lot of her own hurt and confusion about the depravity in her world beneath a mountain of really unhealthy food choices!
Well…she doesn’t bury them entirely with food…but she sure has the ability to put away some serious takeout! Raleigh also has an insatiable appetite for the truth, and that takes her to some very scary and dangerous places in this novel! Gangs, drugs, rap music stars and international smuggling are only a few of the things this terrific gal has to deal with!
And you know what I love the most about Giorello’s stories? She doesn’t reveal a SINGLE THING until the very last pages of the book!! She throws a lot of red herrings in the path of the reader, but you have to hang on through some pretty intense stuff before the answers come to light!
I really love the character of Raleigh Harmon. She’s strong, weak, brave, intelligent, and such a hero in her heart – but she doesn’t know it! If you like a great suspenseful story crafted of words spun together like gold…you don’t want to miss the clouds roll away!
Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Clouds Roll Away by giving away a KINDLE prize pack worth over $150.00!
“Stubborn grace, it turned out, came in various forms, straight from the hand of God and in the form of a cranky old lady in a bonnet.” (p.262)
Operation Bonnet it the most original, funny, delightful tale that I have read in a very long time! The characters were such an eclectic group of people – each of them struggling with a private issue that ultimately led them to a very unexpected point of grace. Nellie is the protagonist of the story, and her twenty-year-old life makes about as much sense to her as the wild and unruly mane of red (excuse me, orange) curls that adorns her head. Born to a couple of people who’d rather play golf and spend money rather than raise their only daughter, Nellie finds herself caring for her grandmother and desperately trying to pursue the closest thing she has ever had to a dream – the life of a private detective.
Sounds like a hodge-podge of issues, huh? Well, once you meet Nona, Matt and Amos – oh, and don’t forget Tank! – this story takes on the characteristics of adventure, light romance, and contemporary, realistic issues that every man and woman have had to face at some point in time. Kimberly Stuart develops each character with their own, unique blend of quirkiness, and then intertwines their lives in such creative ways that the reader must keep the pages turning at a rather rapid clip to discover what becomes of their lives. There are Amish characters in the book, by the way, but not in any role that you’ve ever seen them placed within. That fact alone adds a bold, unique feel to this story amid everything I’ve been reading lately. I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I laughed out loud, giggled, cried and just simply sighed when I read the truth of the human condition so creatively captured in this story.
The truth in this story? Well, there are many truths about the human heart that will touch you. My favorite? Probably this one on page 213: “You cry or pout or laugh or whatever you must about what needs to be let go. And then let go. Never try to run the world. Only a God of bottomless grace can pull off a feat like that.” The journey that the reader takes until this point is one you won’t soon forget. This tender, funny story will linger in your heart for a very long time.
Bravo! Kimberly Stuart! Bravo!!
About the Author:
Kimberly Stuart holds degrees from St. Olaf College and the University of Iowa. After teaching Spanish and English as a second language in Chicago, Minneapolis, Costa Rica, and eastern Iowa, she took a huge increase in pay to be a full-time mom. She makes her home in Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband and two young children.
and the book:
WaterBrook Press (December 14, 2010)
INSPY Winners Announced
December 13, 2010—The INSPY Advisory Board announced today that the following books have been awarded the inaugural INSPYs in their categories. Recognizing the need for a new kind of book award, the INSPYs — http://inspys.com — were created by bloggers to discover and highlight the very best in literature that grapples with expressions of the Christian faith.
The INSPY Award winners are:
Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes, General & Literary Fiction (Tyndale House)
Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans, Creative Nonfiction (Zondervan)
She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell, Historical Fiction (Bethany House)
The Knight by Steven James, Thriller/Suspense/Crime Fiction (Revell)
Green by Ted Dekker, Speculative Fiction (Thomas Nelson)
Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman, Amish Fiction (Thomas Nelson)
Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren, Romance/Romantic Suspense (Summerside)
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr, Young Adult Fiction (Little, Brown)
The 2010 INSPY Awards cover books published from July 2009 through June 2010.
"We on the Advisory Board are really pleased with this year's winners," said Amy Riley, who spearheaded the INSPY's creation. "We're looking forward to building on this year's success in the future." The winner in each category was collectively chosen by a panel of blogger-judges, who were working from a short list of five books.
The Advisory Board collectively expressed their appreciation for the volunteer judges. "We really want to thank our judges for all their time and hard work," Riley said.
The judges in each category explained why they chose the winner they did:
• "Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes focuses on issues we all must face, such as life, death, relationships, and the choices we make when faced with our mortality.… Holmes leaves her characters flawed and human, which makes them extremely relatable."
• In Evolving in Monkey Town, "[Rachel Held] Evans' honesty in telling her faith journey impressed us along with how much her love of the Lord imbued the entire narrative. Interweaving her own tale with the views of people she meets, Evans juxtaposes all of the voices about God in her life."
• In She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell, "a steadfast faith is embedded into the plot seamlessly and not, instead, centered out as a forceful plot device. The novel's inspirational resonance will reach Christian and non-Christian readers alike."
• "The literary skill employed by Steven James creates a story" — The Knight — "that steals the reader’s sleep while also stealing their breath. Creating an unforgettable set of characters who face an unimaginable and escalating series of terrifying crimes, James captures both the imagination and heart of the reader as he spins his tale."
• "The brilliance of Green by Ted Dekker is the fact that it is both the beginning and the end of the series. He did something completely unexpected with the ending of his book, while tackling the Christian faith from a different angle."
• Plain Paradise by Beth Wiseman "is perfect for people who have never read Amish fiction before. The story line was interesting and it was easy to get involved with the characters. This book dealt with subject matter not normally found in Amish fiction, which made it a refreshing change."
• "Sons of Thunder by Susan May Warren is an epic story that spans a couple decades and takes place on several continents. Warren took us from the Greek Isles to Prohibition-era Chicago, and back again, with enough description to make us feel like we'd lived in both places; she filled the book with rich detail, multi-layered characters, and plot twists we never saw coming."
• In Once Was Lost Sara Zarr "authentically portrays Sam, a pastor’s daughter, grappling with her faith in the midst of personal upheaval and uncertainty. Teens will relate to this excellent and very real book that goes beyond a surface-level exploration of what it means to follow God."
The innovative INSPY Award is designed to help readers in their search for the preeminent faith-inspired literature of today. The INSPYs were created to select and showcase books with the highest literary standards that grapple with the Christian faith. To find these works, the INSPYs net is cast wide, accepting nominations of books aimed at the Christian bookstore market as well as those from the general market.
Hannah Nielsen, WordLily@gmail.comOR: InspyAwards@gmail.com
Cultures clash and emotions soar as Arab researcher Mohammed Atareek and American professor Angela Hall race away from death towards discovery. Will they succeed in their journey to expose the truth, or will the opposition terminate them first?
On display within the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul lies the Topkapi Codex—an ancient manuscript of the Koran involved in the murder that split Shiite from Sunni. What’s the truth about the Topkapi Codex? Is there blood on it? Are its contents the same as the modern Koran’s? No one knows because the Topkapi Codex is off limits to research.
Mohammed Atareek is obsessed with getting his hands on this mysterious manuscript. His research has convinced him that the Koran has been changed many times, and the text of the famous codex could prove it. But other scholars are turning up dead. Did they share his conviction? Should he expose himself to their risk?
Angela, a UC Berkeley English professor, married money and kept it; but lost the marriage, most of her family, and a friend under traumatic circumstances. On top of that, she makes a career move that puts her in the Middle East and in Mohammed’s path. His overconfident, witty, and impulsive personality is both puzzling and refreshing to Angela. But when Mohammed tries to engage her in his quest, he finds she has an agenda of her own. Cat and mouse games, heated discussions, and sparks of romance inevitably ensue.
Based on solid historical research, this exciting debut novel features a page-turning plot, a startling conclusion, and many eye-opening facts about the origins of the Koran.
About The Author:
Terry Kelhawk is an award-wining speaker, writer, and teacher with significant personal and professional experience with Islam and the Middle East.
In Terry’s words, “I love peoples and cultures. We have so much to learn from each other, and this makes the world a richer place. Yet when I come across a misunderstanding or deception which adversely impacts a culture or people group, for the sake of those people I believe it should be exposed.”
Terry Kelhawk holds a doctorate degree, but believes people should keep on learning through life. Her areas of interest are culture, religion, and women’s rights – especially of Middle East. She blogs on huffingtonpost.com, foxnews.com, and politicalmavens.com, and likes travel, reading, and asking questions.
Terry believes we should, as Honey Jean of Atlanta in The Topkapi Secret would say, “Make the world a better place, or y’all just taking up space!”
Let me begin by saying that this book is not my normal fare. Actually, I failed to notice some of the disclaimers on the announcement for this tour. That said, I found this book to be written in a style that was very, very distracting. Each chapter began with the location of the action and the date on which it was occurring. Good thing, because the chapters ranged in length from one page (there were several of these little disrupters) to six to ten pages. None of the chapters were very long, which is not bad in itself, but most were 1-5 pages and they blurted out some piece of information that sometimes felt very unnecessary, and then moved on to some other place and time. I read one chapter and all in the world I learned that had anything to do with the plot was that the guy outran (outrode actually) a bull! (don’t ask!) This author could have told a much more effective story without so many short chapters.
That said, this story deals with the pursuit of the truth about the publication of the Koran. I’m sure I can’t begin to understand the significance of that fact in the grand scope of the Muslim faith. I understand the danger involved because of the main character’s occupation and the fact that there are those who want the secret kept, but overall, I did not find this to be a compelling tale. The conversations were stilted, a lot of the historic background read like a textbook, and poor old Mohammed couldn’t decide whether to say ‘sister’ or ‘seester’. This story needed a good editor.
And, there was some foul language that could have skillfully been avoided when the author portrayed an abusive character. But, this is not a Christian publishing house, so I guess anything goes. The overall premise of the story is good, but the skill with which it is told leaves a lot to be desired.