Monday, March 30, 2015

Does Christianity have a place in today’s world? Against the Flow by John C. Lennox

Professor and seasoned debater brings important discussion about God and the public square.

Seattle: The concepts of tolerance and political correctness are having a chilling effect on the public practice of Christianity. That’s why readers will find Dr. John C. Lennox’s new book Against the Flow: The Inspiration of Daniel in an Age of Relativism (Monarch Books/March 27, 2015/ISBN: 978-0857216212/$19.99) incredibly timely. Lennox, who has defended the Christian faith in debates against the likes of Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, gives every follower of Christ the intellectual foundation they will need to argue the role their faith should have in the public discourse.

While anyone who has spent time in a Sunday-school classroom is familiar with the biblical story of Daniel, Lennox mines this classic historical account to encourage cultural bravery in Christians trying to find their place in a postmodern society. The story of these four young men born in the tiny state of Judah around 500 B.C. and captured by Nebuchadnezzar, the emperor of Babylon, is one of extraordinary faith in God lived out at the pinnacle of executive power. The book of Daniel describes in detail how each of them eventually rose to senior positions of administration.

Yet despite their lucrative positions, Daniel and his friends were not content simply to maintain their private devotion to God. Instead they maintained a high-profile witness in a pluralistic society that was highly antagonistic to their faith, and they would eventually be forced to face the possibility of paying the ultimate price for their religious bravery. Lennox proposes their story carries a powerful message for us today as Christians living in a society that tolerates the practice of Christianity in private homes and in church services, but increasingly deprecates and in some cases even punishes public witness.

“Strong currents of pluralism and secularism in contemporary Western society, reinforced by a paralyzing political correctness, increasingly push expression of faith in God to the margins, confining it if possible to the private sphere,” Lennox says. “It is becoming less and less the ‘done thing’ to mention God in public, let alone to confess to believing in anything exclusive and absolute, such as the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as Son of God and Savior.” Lennox believes if Daniel and his compatriots were with us today they would be in the vanguard of public debate.

Against the Flow is a truly fascinating examination of the life of Daniel from a leading expert on faith and science. In his first biblical work, Dr. Lennox provides a unique perspective on both Western society and biblical exegesis that will make Against the Flow an instant classic encouraging Christians to speak out in our modern Babylon. Learn more about John C. Lennox and Against the Flow at

About the Author:
Dr. John C. Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College. He studied at the Royal School Armagh, Northern Ireland, and was Exhibitioner and Senior Scholar at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University from which he took his MA, MMath and PhD. He also holds an MA and DPhil from Oxford University and an MA in Bioethics from the University of Surrey.

Lennox lectures on faith and science for the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics and has traveled throughout North America, Eastern and Western Europe and Australasia lecturing on mathematics, the philosophy of science and the intellectual defense of Christianity. He has debated Richard Dawkins at the University of Alabama (2007) and the Oxford Museum of Natural History (2008), as well as Christopher Hitchens at the Edinburgh Festival (2008) and at Samford University (2010), among others.

 Lennox’s hobbies include amateur astronomy, bird-watching and walking. He and his wife, Sally, have three grown children and seven grandchildren. They make their home near Oxford.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Halo Found Hope: a memoir by Helo Matzelle - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Machines beeping, the blur of medical staff running, a crash cart whizzing into an ICU room---was there any hope? 

A young woman lay, packed in ice, as doctors attempted to somehow stop the swelling in her brain that threatened to take her life... and her family waited. 

Six days turned into eight weeks. She awoke to discover that she was not the same. She saw two of everything, couldn't feel half of her face, couldn't hear from one ear, and could not speak. She couldn't even tell anyone that she felt hopeless... or could she? 

Halo Found Hope is the story of a beautiful, busy wife, and mother of three whose life changes instantly with the diagnosis of a rare brain tumor. An exceptional ENT, a brilliant neurosurgeon and a dedicated medical team tackle the tumor, setting off a series of unbelievable miracles. Helo's story is not one of survival, or of salvaging a life through a broken body. It is not about endurance through pain, but victory because of it. While the family heard her silence, God heard her prayer. Helo's story is simply this: Wherever you are and whatever you are going through, God is right there. He doesn't need to be recognized by you, to be there for you. He can replace fear with courage and discouragement with determination, if you let Him. Helo did, and that is how she found hope. 

My Thoughts:

Resilience followed by encouragement inspires us to press on when challenges surround us.”  (p.82)

Resilient is most certainly the word I would choose to describe Helo Matzelle.  The strength, the perseverance and faith it took for her to overcome the devastation of a very invasive brain surgery  was inspiring to read!  It really struck home with me, because I am very close to her age, and her story makes me very aware of how thankful I should be every single day I enjoy good health.  Even after years of hard work, Helo still faces daily challenges.  She speaks honestly about those challenges.  Doubt, fear, exhaustion  and a host of other challenges face Helo every single day, and she has learned to turn completely and quickly to God alone for everything she needs.  She has learned to cherish each day and to be genuinely thankful for her many blessings.

I love the way God has given her so many, many opportunities to share her story everywhere she goes.  I love how tenderly and specifically God answered her deepest heart cry by using complete strangers to give her just the words she needed to hear at that specific moment.  Her entire story is truly incredible, and I am very thankful to have the opportunity to recommend it to everyone!  This has intersected my life in a difficult place, and has given me hope and strength to go forward when I needed a special touch from God in my own spirit.  What an amazing, tender God we serve!! How He loves us!!

Thank you Helo for sharing your story with the world!

About the Author:

Helouise "Halo" Matzelle led a charmed life until receiving a shocking diagnosis in 2011 of a rare brain tumor sitting over the main artery in her brain. Matzelle's passion is helping those who face various challenges and afflictions discover where true hope is found. She resides in Redmond, WA, with her husband and their three children.

Find Halo online HERE, HERE and HERE

Purchase your copy of the book HERE

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly - REVEIWED

About the Book:
They say that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. They’re wrong.

Colom had the perfect childhood, the much-loved only child of a church pastor. Yet he wakes screaming from dreams in which his sister is drowning and he can’t save her.

Fiona turns to her husband, desperate to help their son. But David will not acknowledge that help is needed—and certainly not help from beyond the church.

Then they find the suicide pledge.

Fiona, in panic, takes Colom and flees… but when will she acknowledge that the unnamed demons Colom faces might be of her and David’s own creation?

This beautifully written and searching novel by poet Gerard Kelly explores the toxicity of secrets, the nature of healing, and the ever-present power of rain.

My Thoughts:
Yes,” she said, knowing that her world, in that one word, would be unraveled.  (p. 189)

The circumstances that lead Fiona to say “yes” to releasing the hold of a lifetime of secrets on her heart and mind, does, indeed unravel quite a bit.  This story is about a family held in bondage to secrets that almost destroy them.  In each instance, it seems, the truth was deferred in an effort to protect the ones they love.  Yet, each time, the harm done by hidden truth is far greater and farther reaching than if the truth had been confronted originally.

This book was filled with surprises and hair pin emotional turns.  This is not a book for the faint of heart, because it deals with very delicate emotional situations that, unfortunately, are probably not that unfamiliar.  Colom bears the brunt of this emotional pain, and his actions escalate enough that his parents, particularly his mother, becomes desperate to find the root cause and deal with it no matter the cost.  It is a brutal battle emotionally.

There is not a strong, constant thread of faith throughout the story, but, like everything else, faith becomes something to be wrestled with and, sometimes, against.  Tragedy, injustice and cruelty cause every character of this story to stop and consider everything from a variety of very painful standpoints.  In the end, the battle is worth the pain and effort involved to fight.

This was a rather dark read, but it is told with honesty and sensitivity.  There is much to be learned if you allow yourself a time of looking inward to your own well-kept secrets.  What will the ultimate cost be to you and those you love?  Isn’t truth the only real way to live life?  I think Colum would tell you it is a much lighter load to bear than a life lived in the shadows of secrets. 

This is a good, but difficult book to read.  I will recommend it to those who are not afraid of some honest introspection.

About the Author:
Gerard Kelly is a well-known speaker and author of fourteen books. He and his wife live and work in France and co-founded the Blessed Network, a movement of young leaders committed to God’s mission on mainland Europe.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Tomb by Septhanie Landsem - REVEIWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing

 The Tomb 
by Stephanie Landsem

About the Book:
In this captivating retelling of a classic biblical story, Jesus shocks the town of Bethany with Lazarus’s resurrection from the dead, leading Martha—a seemingly perfect woman trapped by the secrets of her past—to hope and a new life.

Everyone in Bethany admires Martha—the perfect Jewish woman. She feeds and clothes her loved ones, looks after the family farm, and meticulously follows every precept of the Pharisees’ strict laws. But Martha is hiding a secret. At her sister’s marriage feast, she gave her heart and her innocence to a young musician who promised to return and marry her, but instead betrayed her love and abandoned her.

Seven years later, only two people in Bethany know of Martha’s secret sin: her brother, Lazarus, and Simon, the righteous Pharisee to whom Martha is betrothed. When Lazarus falls ill, Martha is faced with a choice: send for Jesus to save her dying brother—risking the wrath of Simon who threatens to betray her—or deny Jesus’ healing power and remain trapped in her tomb of secrecy and lies.

Meanwhile, on the shores of Galilee, Isa roams the wilderness, tortured by demons and knowing only that someone is waiting for him. When he is healed by Jesus, he finds that seven years have passed since his descent into madness. Isa journeys home to Bethany only to find he is too late to win back Martha’s love. 

When Martha risks all to heal Lazarus, will Jesus arrive in time, or will he—like Isa—come too late?

My Thoughts:
The Messiah, the Holy One of God, had come.  And it changed everything.”  (p.291)

Mary and Martha….you rarely say one name without the other.  Yet in Stephanie Landsen’s novel, The Tomb,  you learn to know Martha and her family very intimately.  I was intrigued that Landsen chose to start so early in their family’s history.  Lazarus was but a child when the book began, and I couldn’t begin to imagine how the author would take us to his death and resurrection.  The journey was important, and well completed within the pages of this novel, and the reader gets a glimpse into the ancient world that these biblical characters would have lived in and the customs of daily living that would have defined their day to day existence.

Because we begin so early in this family’s history, you are able to better understand both Mary and Martha’s personality traits that are revealed in Scripture.  You are better able to grasp the true salvation experiences that they went through when Lazarus died and was risen again to life.  There is quite a bit of liberty taken with the Biblical account of Martha’s life and her life choices that made me quite uncomfortable.  But this is fiction, and the story was told in historical context, and the details of the biblical account were adhered to…so my stress abated somewhat when I reminded myself that I wasn’t reading fact..but fiction.

This is a well-written story with well-developed characters that you come to care about in a meaningful way.   You will identify with their heartache and their joy….their salvation….it’s quite touching!!  For me, I had to ask myself what my relationship with Christ would have been had I walked the earth when he walked the earth and witnessed this miracle?  A very thought-provoking read!!

About the Author:
Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Rasmus and the Vagabond by Astrid Lindgren - REVIEWED

About the Book:
After running away from an orphanage, nine-year-old Rasmus finds the world a cold and unfriendly place until he befriends an extraordinary tramp called Paradise Oscar. Together they meet more adventure than they ever imagined, solve a mystery, and catch the culprits. Rasmus dreams of finding a family and a home someday. But when he does, will he be able to part with his new friend and life on the road?

My Thoughts:
These were summer smells and all his life they would bring back to him this summer day on the road.”  (p. 49)

Astrid Lindgren wrote the story of Rasmus and the Vagabond decades ago, but she has captured the timelessness of youthful adventure!  Young hearts will be captured by Rasmus and his adventures with Oscar for years to come!  I’m decades past the intended target age for this book, and I was spellbound from beginning to end.

I think what I appreciate most about this book is its honesty.  Rasmus has experienced a lot of hardships in his very brief time on earth, but the hopefulness of a young, innocent heart enables him to be brave enough to escape his fear and enter the open road with a virtual stranger.  Oscar and Rasmus become quick friends, and when they face danger, they do it together.  Not everyone is as fine and trustworthy as they appear, and although Oscar’s vagabond existence casts doubt his way. However, his constant honesty stands him in good stead and enables him to aide those who truly need help.

Rasmus comes to care a great deal about Oscar, and it turns out, Oscar has a few secrets of his own to reveal!  This is a tender, honest look at youthful innocence and adventure at its finest.  As many hardships as Rasmus had faced, his life was spared in the truest sense of the word.  I highly recommend this book for every young adult library!!

About the Author:
Astrid Lindgren, the creator of Pippi Longstocking, Emil, and dozens of other world-famous characters, has thrilled three generations of children with her storytelling. She is the only children’s author with a literary prize, a theme park, a museum, a satellite, and a minor planet named in her honor. (After this last honor, she suggested changing her name to “Asteroid Lindgren.”) A jury appointed by Swedish Radio’s Culture Department to elect the “Author of the Millennium” voted Astrid Lindgren second after William Shakespeare. She was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and heaps of other awards and honors.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 18, 2015) - World class baritone and Shadowlands Music recording artist David Britton recently attended the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention held Feb. 23-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. During the event Britton met with media and industry leaders to discuss his upcoming CD, The Stormwhich is slated for a summer 2015 release.
The classically trained vocalist, who effortlessly merges the often disparate worlds of classical, pop and rock music, has been compared to Josh Groban, but with more of a rock edge. Britton was kept busy during the 4-day event with interviews and meetings with CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ), MRG Media, World Christian Broadcasting and more.

The Storm brings together Britton's diverse influences to create a pop-classical flair with a twist of anthemic rock. The result is a poignant blend of powerful yet intimate moments.
"In a world that is full of so much turmoil and pain, it is my goal to use music to shed a glimmer of light; to bring comfort to those that grieve, peace to those at war, hope to those that fail, encouragement to those that feel alone, joy to those in despair," Britton says. "I am grateful for the opportunity to create music that does not fit within any specific genre, that allows me to leverage the unorthodox musical influences of my life, that people of all generations and tastes may find something that speaks to them. Above all else it is my desire that those who listen may see past me to the One who created all things."

About David Britton:
Growing up in a missionary family afforded David Britton the unique opportunity to experience a broad range of cultures, to gain language skills in English, Italian, French and German, and to sing in churches around the world. The experience fostered a love for classical music and spurred him to study classical voice and vocal performance at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. This led to David receiving his Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. 
Britton has performed with Opera San Jose, Opera Santa Barbara, Festival Opera, Intermountain Opera, Livermore Valley Opera, and the North Bay Opera. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in New York as Townsend Harris in The Dawn of Japan by Toroku Takagi with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. 
His upcoming inspirational project, The Storm, is slated for release in the summer of 2015.For more information about David Britton or The Storm, visit

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rise of the Fallen by Chuck Black - REVEIWED

About the Book:
A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way.Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity's fate – and the fate of his defeated brothers.

Eventually called to be an earth-bound warrior, Validus rises to a position of power and respect, commanding legions of angels through impossible battles and overwhelming odds. But when orders arrive from the Creator's most elite Messenger, he finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen – the covert protection of one unbelieving man. 

Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them. 

As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity's survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him? 

My Thoughts:
My mission is to protect him until he is won.”  (p. 259)

You will never think the same way about spiritual warfare again after reading Chuck Black’s latest novel, Rise of the Fallen.  This is much more than an action packed thriller!  The action never ends as you  watch the ages unfold observing angelic battles throughout creation  - all the while having that rich history woven into a present day story line.  I’ve never read anything quite like it!  Black takes it to an even deeper level as he has characters speak words straight from Scripture into the story.  You get to observe God’s divine plan for mankind unfold as though you were observing through the eyes of an angel.  Totally brilliant!

Black does even more that that!  He takes each chapter and provides a Reader’s Guide that gives deep insight through Scripture into the creation of this particular fictional storyline.  It’s as though you are getting a very personal look into the heart of the author as he carefully explains the background of the novel’s creation and what he hopes to covey to readers.  Black has offered us a rare gift into the heart of one of God’s obedient servants.  Black is pulling back the veil – as it were – to give us a glimpse into the sovereign heart of God toward his beloved creation – the reason Christ went to the cross.  It is a very humbling, exciting experience!

Rise of the Fallen begins the Wars of the Realm series, and it’s far more than an action-packed thriller!  It is ALL OF THAT!!  I cannot recommend this highly enough! Thank you Chuck Black for such a thrilling experience!

About the Author:

CHUCK BLACK, a former F-16 fighter pilot and tactical combat communications engineer, is the author of thirteen novels, including the popular Kingdom Series and The Knights of Arrethtrae series. Chuck and his wife, Andrea, have six children and live in North Dakota.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 16, 2015) - Dynamic Rock band and new Cul De Sac Records
recording artist Above The Fall recently attended the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention, which was held Feb. 23-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn. During the event, Above the Fall's Jesse Fryson and Zach MacGorman met with media and industry leaders to discuss their upcoming debut Rock EP, Rise & Fall, while celebrating the release of their first radio single, "Hands in the Air," which went for adds on February 9, 2015.

Fryson and MacGorman made the rounds at the four-day event, being interviewed by such influential outlets as BYOBB, MRG Media, On Faith's Edge and World Christian Broadcasting, among others.

Known for their energetic and creative live shows, Above The Fall called on Grammy and Dove Award-nominated producer Billy Smiley to help capture that energy on their debut EP. The project is expected to impact retail in Spring 2015. 

Above the Fall's Zach MacGorman and Jesse Fryson recently met with the host of The Shaun Tabatt Show at NRB 2015 in Nashville. Pictured (L to R): MacGorman, Tabatt and Fryson. (Above the Fall photo) 

About Above The Fall:
Above The Fall was birthed from the collaboration of Jesse Fryson and Zach MacGorman. Based in Tom's River, New Jersey, the band plays music that is undeniably Rock and unashamedly Christian. For more information about Above The Fall and
Rise & Fall, visit

About NRB:
The annual National Religious Broadcasters Convention & Exposition (NRB) is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assisting those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic exposition consists of nearly 200 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their ministries. NRB 2015 was held Feb. 23-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. For more information, visit

Monday, March 16, 2015

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
by Dina L. Sleiman

About the Book:
Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

My Thoughts:
The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.  Oft as not, his is just another enemy waiting to be discovered.”  (p. 336)

There are a lot of friends and enemies to sort out in Dina Sleiman’s  Dauntless, but you will be so totally absorbed in the adventure that when revelation comes to you,  you will be truly delighted or truly aghast!  This is a perfect blend of Robinhood and Peter Pan set in an historically accurate medieval England.  I have never been so thoroughly entertained!  The main characters may be adolescent, but given the age within which the story is set, you don’t get the feel of an adolescent novel.  This story is for anyone of any age that enjoys a well-written adventure that successfully navigates the social mores of the time period within which the story line is set.  You will fall in love with Merry and her band of “Ghosts”, and you will eventually come to love some of the gentry in the story as well. 

There is a bit of everything to draw you into the story!  Sibling rivalry, parent-child relationship and all of the dynamics that accompany those relationships over a lifetime, the rivalry between classes…this story has it all!  There is also a very real element of faith and struggle with faith in the face of hardship that will cause you to examine your own heart as you enjoy the story.

I am super-excited to recommend this story to readers of all ages!  There is much to be enjoyed! Go ahead, be Dauntless and pick up your copy today!

About the Author:
Dina Sleiman writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion with Whitefire Publishing, won an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Selah Awards. Also look for her novels, Love in Three-Quarter Time and Dance from Deep Within, and her Valiant Hearts series coming with Bethany House Publishers in 2015. Dina serves as an acquisitions editor for WhiteFire as well, and she loves to represent them at writers conferences throughout the US. Join her as she discovers the unforced rhythms of grace. For more info visit her at (Photo by Silly Little Sparrow.)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mercy's Rain by Cindy by Cindy K. Sproles - REVEIEWED

About the Book:
When your life is built around a father's wrath, how can you trust in the love of Father God?

Mercy Roller knows her name is a lie: there has never been any mercy in her young life. Raised by a twisted and abusive father who called himself the Pastor, she was abandoned by the church community that should have stood together to protect her from his evil. Her mother, consumed by her own fear and hate, won't stand her ground to save Mercy either.
The Pastor has robbed Mercy of innocence and love, a husband and her child. Not a single person seems capable of standing up to the Pastor's unrestrained evil. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands.

Her heart was hardened to love long before she took on the role of judge, jury, and executioner of the Pastor. She just didn't realize the retribution she thought would save her, might turn her into the very thing she hated most.

Sent away by her angry and grieving mother, Mercy's path is unclear until she meets a young preacher headed to counsel a pregnant couple. Sure that her calling is to protect the family, Mercy is drawn into a different life on the other side of the mountain where she slowly discovers true righteousness has nothing evil about it--and that there might be room for her own stained and shattered soul to find shelter. . . and even love.

Mercy's Rain is a remarkable historical novel set in 19th century Appalachia that traces the thorny path from bitterness to forgiveness and reveals the victory and strength that comes from simple faith.

My Thoughts:
But the caress of someone who loved me opened up a wound that bled for days.  What bled out of the wound wasn’t blood, but anger and hate.  What healed it was love.”  (p. 128)

Mercy’s Rain is the most difficult, painful book I’ve ever read.  Yet, at the same time, it was the most compassionate, tender story of grace – and yes, mercy – I’ve ever read!  I really can’t put into words the raw pain that this story evoked in my heart.  I won’t give anything away, but I will say that I had a hard time understanding Mercy’s guilt over what she had done.  At the point that she made her decision, I was ready to cheer.

But God….He convicted me right along with Mercy.  God alone is our righteous judge.  To find strength enough to forgive those who wrong us, that is where we find mercy and grace enough to heal our wounds.

This book deals with the harsh realities of a fallen, sin-filled world.  I can’t say I fully understand all of it, because I did want to cheer when the Pastor went his way.  But God has tender mercy toward my hard heart.  Just like He showed Mercy through the long-suffering and loving patience of those God brought into her life after leaving her childhood home.

This book is necessary, but it’s pretty brutal to read.  You will be glad when you endure to the end, but it takes work to get there.  Worth the effort, but it does take effort.  I recommend this book to those who want to look full in the face of depravity and the glorious grace of our Heavenly Father.

About the Author:
 Cindy K. Sproles is the author of devotions published in newspapers across the country and a teacher at Christian writers conferences. She spent her formative years showing off her beloved Appalachian Mountains to others, and she and her family still live in the mountains of East Tennessee. Visit Cindy at

Thursday, March 12, 2015


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 11, 2015) -Internationally acclaimed Shadowlands recording artist Jean Watson recently attended the 2015 National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention, which was held Feb. 23-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN. 

During the event, Watson met with media and industry leaders to discuss her upcoming CD, Overcome. The award-winning artist connected with longtime friends as well as new ones, including
Saturday Night Live
alumnus Victoria 
Jackson. Watson interviewed and met with such influential outlets as CRU (Campus Crusade For Christ), New Life FM and The Babbie Mason Show, among others.

"I am so thankful I was able to attend NRB this year," says Watson. "What a blessing to connect with so many people who have a heart to communicate the love of God to the world! It was great to be able to share my story and music with people from all over the country in one place."
Overcome, Watson's 7th full-length album, is slated to release this summer. The new project features an abundance of Celtic-infused violin, Watson's signature haunting vocals, and the special treat of stellar fret-work from master guitarist Phil Keaggy.

"I chose Overcome as the title of my new CD because it truly reflects the joyful place I'm in right now in life," explains Watson. "The songs on this project speak of overcoming through the power of God's love. The arrangements are energetic and fresh, and Phil Keaggy's guitar playing is simply amazing! I hope this new music is as encouraging and fun to listen to as it was for me to make!"

For more information about Watson and Overcome, visit
Jean Watson interviewed with Shaun Tabatt of The Shaun Tabatt Show while at NRB 2015. Pictured (L to R): Watson and Tabatt. (McCain & Co. Public Relations photo) 
About Jean Watson:
Classically trained violinist Jean Watson began her career as a Christian recording artist after having experienced the depths of brokenness and depression, and it was her own brokenness that has infused her music with such beauty and compassion. 

Overcome will be her seventh album since 2003. She has been honored four times as the Best Female Praise and Worship Artist USA by the UK Christian Music Alliance. 

Watson can be heard worldwide on UCB Radio Ireland where she hosts a daily inspirational radio program,Jean Watson, which she records from her Michigan home studio. Watson has logged thousands of miles traveling to perform in churches, prisons, coffee houses, homeless shelters and concert halls. When she is not on the road, she plays violin in the Kalamazoo, Mich., Symphony.

Watson is a newlywed, having recently married Mark Roberts, a chaplain in the United States Air Force. She lives in Lawton, Mich., and has four children: Charlie, Andrew, Grace, Katharine, daughter-in-law Emily, and grandson Chase. 
For more information on Watson and Overcome, visit or like on Facebook
About NRB:
The annual National Religious Broadcasters Convention & Exposition (NRB) is the largest nationally and internationally recognized event dedicated solely to assisting those in the field of Christian communications. The dynamic exposition consists of nearly 200 companies and is an active marketplace for those seeking tools and services to expand their ministries. NRB 2015 was held Feb. 23-26 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Spy of Richmond
River North (March 1, 2015)
Jocelyn Green


Jocelyn Green is a child of God, wife and mom living in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She is also an award-winning journalist, author, editor and blogger. Though she has written nonfiction on a variety of topics, her name is most widely recognized for her ministry to military wives: Faith Deployed. Her passion for the military family was fueled by her own experience as a military wife, and by the dozens of interviews she has conducted with members of the military for her articles and books, Faith Deployed: Daily Encouragement for Military Wives and its sequel, Faith Deployed...Again: More Daily Encouragement for Military Wives. She is also co-author of both Stories of Faith and Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan and Stories of Faith and Courage from the Home Front (forthcoming, May 2012). Her Faith Deployed Web site and Facebook page continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and resources for military wives worldwide.


Trust none. Risk all. Richmond, Virginia, 1863. Compelled to atone for the sins of her slaveholding father, Union loyalist Sophie Kent risks everything to help end the war from within the Confederate capital and abolish slavery forever. But she can't do it alone. Former slave Bella Jamison sacrifices her freedom to come to Richmond, where her Union soldier husband is imprisoned, and her twin sister still lives in bondage in Sophie's home. Though it may cost them their lives, they work with Sophie to betray Rebel authorities. Harrison Caldwell, a Northern freelance journalist who escorts Bella to Richmond, infiltrates the War Department as a clerk-but is conscripted to defend the city's fortifications.

As Sophie's spy network grows, she walks a tightrope of deception, using her father's position as newspaper editor and a suitor's position in the ordnance bureau for the advantage of the Union. One misstep could land her in prison, or worse. Suspicion hounds her until she barely even trusts herself. When her espionage endangers the people she loves, she makes a life-and-death gamble.

Will she follow her convictions even though it costs her everything-and everyone-she holds dear?

My Thoughts:
Soldiers who had endured four years of privation and battle died in a moat, at the hands of an enemy they could not see, for a cause that they could now win.  The living stumbled and scrambled over those who fell, searching  frantically for a place to get into the fort.”  (p. 389)

The Civil War was so very, very brutal.  Jocelyn Green captures the nuance of the loyalties that caused families to rip asunder in violence.  Sophie Kent chooses to become a spy, and her choice costs her greatly.  Being courted by a Confederate soldier doesn’t simplify anything – at all.  And the lives of the slaves…so  very horrific….and yet they risk everything for their freedom! 

Jocelyn doesn’t miss any detail in this story, and time and time again, your heart pounds in anticipation of being discovered, of being betrayed, of hurting those you have come to care about.  You literally see this War from every conceivable angle.  And you see FAITH at in its most raw form.  A faith that had to hang on with there was nothing to hang onto!!

This is a powerful look into the double edged sword that was the Civil War.  May our faith be strengthened with the example of our forefathers?  May we be ever as faithful!!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Spy of Richmond, go HERE.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pentatonix - On My Way Home Tour

 3/9/15 – Chicago, IL | Chicago Theater
 3/11/15 – Toronto, ON | The Sound Academy
3/12/15 – Toronto, ON | The Sound Academy  ;
3/14/15 – Atlantic City, NJ | Event Center at the Borgata
3/15/15 – Wallingford, CT | Oakdale Theater
3/16/15 – Boston, MA | Agganis Arena
3/18/15 – New York, NY | The Theater at Madison Square Garden
3/19/15 – Fairfax, VA | Patriot Center
3/21/15 – Atlanta, GA | The Tabernacle | More info >
 3/22/15 – Tampa, FL | Busch Gardens Park (Open To Park) | FREE SHOW with park admission 3/25/15 – Houston, TX | Bayou Music Center |
3/26/15 – Austin, TX | Moody Theater
3/28/15 – Tulsa, OK | Brady Theater
3/29/15 – Grand Prairie, TX | Verizon Wireless Theater

Monday, March 9, 2015

You're Loved No Matter What by Holly Gerth - REVIEWED

About the Book:
As women, we tend to think that if we could only get our act together, life would be perfect. But you're not supposed to be perfect. You're supposed to be human. And humans are messy, flawed, glorious, and deeply loved.

It's time to lay down those unrealistic expectations that exhaust you.
It's time to embrace who you are--even the messy parts.
It's time to start living fully instead of just trying not to fail.

Let's do this. Together.


How would your life be different if you truly believed you're loved just as you are? Bestselling author Holley Gerth shares how God wants to set our hearts free by revealing the lies we believe as well as the scandalous grace and acceptance offered to us instead. She helps us lay down our unrealistic expectations so we can embrace who God created us to be, pursue his purpose for our lives, and offer others the love we've been freely given.

My Thoughts:
Sometimes You Will Forget All of This – And It’s Okay”  (heading on p. 186)

This is the grace and truth with which Holly Gerth writes her books.  Even after the final draft of the book was turned in, she admitted to a friend that her exhaustion stemmed from the fact that, “I’d switched from being a worshiper to a worker.”  (p. 186)  Grace.  Again.  Truth.  Again.  To me, this is the Holy work of God through His obedient servant.  She always gives God the glory for her work. That is why she is able to write such thought provoking, healing words.  That is why readers like me answer the hard questions at the end of each chapter and rejoice in our discovery.

You’re Loved No Matter What deals with a very personal, common struggle with the desire for perfection in our lives.  When we realize the source of this desire,  we recognize perfection is found only in God through Jesus Christ, and accept the life-long journey of being transformed by the renewing of our minds will we be able to lay this burden down and be free to be the person God created us to be.  Sometimes that means saying “no”.  Always it means that God is in control.  And the guilt and shame and depression and all of that other trash is the lie of the enemy to keep us in bondage to a wrong view of the relationship we have with God through Jesus.

Readers, this book has been a powerful tool of God in my life.  I humbly, fervently, boldly recommend this to every daughter of God.  It will change your life.

About the Author:

Holley Gerth is a bestselling writer, certified life coach, and speaker. She loves connecting with the hearts of women through her popular blog and books like You're Already AmazingYou're Made for a God-Sized Dream,You're Going to Be Okay, and more. She's also cofounder of the popular website (in)courage and a partner with DaySpring. Learn more at

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Los Angeles, Calif. (March 5, 2015)—Mat Kearney has delivered another landmark album with his latest release Just Kids through Inpop/Republic/Aware Records. His fifth studio album debuted in the Top 20 on Billboard’s Top 200 and took the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s Christian Chart.

In conjunction with the release, Mat’s recently performed his current single “Billion” on the Today show and graced the cover of CCM’s March issue, available now.

As fans have been showing their support of Just Kids, critics also are sharing their excitement of Kearney’s work: 

“If Just Kids proves anything, it is that Kearney is still crafting albums that are unrelenting in their charisma.” –

“Mat Kearney delivers nostalgia perfection on Just Kids. His lyrics are intimate, his emotions are infectious and his feel-good pop will make you dance.”
“Lyrical depth, clever production, and Kearney's impeccable sense of melody and hook all combine to make Just Kids an excellent example of a pop album done the right way, and it may be Kearney's best work since he first burst onto the scene.”-

“Experimenting with a cacophony of sounds from 80s-pop to rustic folk to contemporary EDM to 90s-soul-rap, there isn't a dull moment on this record.  And to add further zest to already a spicy record are the vivid images and picturesque descriptions.  All of these thus make Just Kids a gorgeous three-dimensional sonic autobiography.”
Just Kids is the follow up album to his 2011′s Young Love record that debuted at #1 on the Billboard Digital Chart and #4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Known for ubiquitous anthems such as “Nothing Left to Lose”, “Hey Mama”, and “Ships in the Night”, with over a million albums sold, his music has been featured in countless television shows and films ranging from Soul Surfer and Parenthood to The CloserNCIS30 Rock, and Vampire Diaries. His 2006 major label debut Nothing Left to Lose has sold over 450,000 copies, while 2009’s City of Black & White hit #13 on the Billboard Top 200. In between it all, he supported everybody from John Mayer to Keane on the road.
For more information on Mat Kearney, visit
InPop Records:
Facebook/Twitter: @matkearney
About Inpop:
Inpop Records is an independent entertainment company based in Nashville, TN and home to some of today's most vibrant artists and brands. Distributed by Capital Christian Music Group, Inpop is passionate about using music and film to inspire popular culture.  Inpop's roster includes Mat Kearney, V.Rose, Newsboys, The God's Not Dead Soundtrack, Superchick and the Four Blood Moons Soundtrack.  Visit us online at