Friday, January 29, 2016

A View from Barbara Lachance's Window - Saying Yes to God! Be encouraged!

Through my many illnesses, I have learned over and over again that It’s not circumstances that determine my response.  I learned that it’s not feeling that make up my mind.  I say yes to God, even when he doesn’t say yes to me.  – p,19

What would you say to someone suffering chronic illness – to encourage them NOT to give way to depression and despair?

When I say that it’s not feelings that make up my mind, it is because feelings lie to us.  So when I sense that God isn’t saying yes to me, my feelings will often take control. So I need to be in control of my feelings.  I wasn’t always able to do this.  It came with practice. 

One of the principles that I learned when I first received Jesus into my life was to rejoice in all circumstances.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  I practiced this.  Whenever anything went wrong I would immediately start “Praising the Lord!”  Consequently this turned into a lifestyle. 

But, we just can’t tell someone who has chronic illness that if they would just pray more, praise the Lord, or have more faith, or any of the platitudes we often tell people who are in physical and emotional pain, but expressing genuine comfort, building a trusting relationship by listening and praying for the individual will open the door for us to speak into their life.  So often we think we need to tell rather than listen.  Jesus was a great listener.  What I would tell a person is this; I will listen to you, and love you with unconditional love. And I will pray for and with you.   Let us be open to the Holy Spirit and what He wants to do in your life.

Forgiveness is certainly one of those ways in which saying yes to God makes little sense and crushes our flesh. – p. 42

It is so much easier to cling to unforgiveness than to forgive someone who has hurt us deeply. Yet this one thing alone makes saying, “yes” to God impossible.  How were you able to forgive those who had hurt you so deeply?

I once went to a workshop for women who had been abused.  The room was filled with victims.  One lady had actually killed her husband and spent time in jail. 
The leader of the workshop told everyone that they should never forgive for if they do they will let the perpetrator back into their lives.  The room was full of bitter women.  When I looked at the sadness in the eyes of these women, I realized how important it was to forgive.  I realized Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient for all of my pain. 
I once heard it said, “That unforgiveness is like someone drinking poison thinking the other person is going to die.”  Yet, we struggle with forgiveness because we want to hold on thinking if we release those who hurt us he is getting away with what they did.  We don’t forgive based on how we feel but we forgive because God commanded us to do so.  And, this forgiveness is a decision not based on how we feel, it is a process.  I forgave those who hurt me deeply but it took several years of constantly making a strong effort, I became relentless and it worked.  I was set free!

If we remain in bondage to the opinions of other people, we will be limited in our power to say yes to God. – p. 67

Again, this is a form of bondage that grips us from an early age!  How would you encourage young folks not to begin the practice of listening to the opinion of others?  Especially when you KNOW what God has asked you to do and you want to walk in obedience to HIM?

If we could teach young people who they are in Christ, that they are blessed, have an inheritance, adopted into the Kingdom, then I think listening to God would become more important than listening to the opinions of others.

Listening to the opinions of others in my opinion is really having fear of man.  This is a tough concept for young people but it is true.  They are subject to so much peer pressure.  When my children were growing up, I tried to build confidence in each one.  Young people are so vulnerable and need affirmation but the right kind of affirmation.  I will tell them to trust their ability to hear God and not worry about making a mistake.  God is more interested in their obedience than how successful they are.

And continually dredging it up for “healing” is just like ripping off a fresh scab. You are a new creation in Christ.  As a new creation, you don’t have any scabs.  You don’t have any wounds.  You were made brand new by His extraordinary love and sacrifice. – p 69

This seems to be the toxic combination that forms when unforgiveness meets the opinions of others!  How do you lead someone to embrace their identity in Christ?  Forgiven and made new?  Why is this so hard?

It is hard because we make it hard.  We like our self-pity, it gives us attention.  When we seek attention from the brokenness within, it is extremely toxic.  If we wallow in our self-pity, we allow the enemy to fill our minds with negativity about the person who hurt us and ourselves. We speak 2500 words to ourselves per minute.  If this is negative talk, then imagine the outcome.   

One of the biggest mistakes I made was convening with others who were hurt and we had a field day just being critical of all those who hurt us.  Bitterness grew and it caused me a lot of physical pain as well as spiritual pain. 

Jesus said to pick up our cross and follow Him.  He was our example when He embraced the cross; we often have to embrace our crosses in life in order to receive healing.   My questions to those who came for pastoral counseling “Are you willing to face the pain in order to get well?”  Most people answer “Of Course.” But I found they don’t always follow through.

Repentance always brings healing, when someone we should forgive, repent of our own bitter reactions, and bless the person who hurt us hurts us. Finally we need to forgive ourselves.  This is something we often over look.

Know you are in Christ. Own who you are in Christ.  Be who He believes you are – a beautiful, spectacular, radiant creation with one of a kind gifts. Be who you are in Him.  A powerful, faith-filled, determined giver of life to everyone you meet.  As you fully discover your true identity in Christ, the journey of saying yes to God truly begins. – p70

Renewing your mind starts by humbling yourself, trusting God, and obeying Him. P. 73

Renewing your mind seems as difficult for believers that have been in faith for years as it is for brand new believers!  Why?

I believe this is because we don’t believe Jesus when he says who He is.  He is our redeemer, savior, His dying on the cross brought about our salvation.  That word for salvation is “sozo.”  You are healed and being healed.  Having trust, belief, equals FAITH.  I spell faith “risk.  Taking risk is fearful, we are not sure of the results.  But risk that equals faith that is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1).  If we believed what the word says, and took God at His word I think renewing our minds would be easier.

 We think it is difficult, and convince ourselves that it is difficult.  But that is a lie.  If we truly sought after transforming our minds, wouldn’t the Holy Spirit give us what we need? 

There is everything we need in Scripture for the transformation of our mind.  For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12
This verse speaks for itself.

Our healing doesn’t come from regurgitating the broken trust and the assaults we’ve suffered at the hands of others, but from meditation on the truth and affirmation we find in His word and the blesses unspeakable peace we feel in his presence. P 82
When we constantly rehearse and rehash our pains, we won’t move past them.  We won’t experience God’s healing and we are unable to become agents of His live in our communities. P. 83

When I read these two quotes, my heart leapt within me!! “YES!”  This is so incredibly true!!  Can you tell us how you arrived at this truth in your own life? I have a feeling it has all to do with this statement:  Forgive the injury.  Release the offence.  Bless the offender. P.84

When I was very ill, I received a lot of attention.  People were constantly asking how I felt.  They were always telling me that I had such courage; they admired me because I wouldn’t give up.  I didn’t realize at the time, I really liked hearing what they were saying.  After I had a liver transplant I was feeling wonderful.  I actually looked 10 years younger.  But, people were not asking me how I felt.  I missed the attention, and I had to learn how to live as a healthy person. 

When we go through a healing process, and walk through forgiveness we need to learn how to walk in freedom.  Accept the healing and move on.

Whatever we speak out will become true.  We are to pray for our enemies because God knows that’s the only way change will come.  Be a person that forgives and speaks blessings into painful situations. P.84

Can you elaborate on speaking the truth of God’s Word over a situation? How has this changed your own life?

Each morning I speak out loud (most of the time) that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, a new creation in Christ and no weapon formed against me will prosper.  I say it until I believe it.

People have a really difficult time with this, but it is really accepting who God says I am and what He will do.  I often tell people when I go out to speak that they should stand in front of the mirror naked and say, “I praise you God because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  This always brings up a strong reaction from people.  It is about accepting self. 

When we reach the point where we desire only to be in the place He desires us to be, I believe we are completely able to say yes to God. P.113

Realistically, how long does it take to arrive at this point with God?  Is this different for every believer? What makes the difference?

Realistically, I have desired this for a many years, and I am still working on it.  Desiring something doesn’t necessarily mean we have accomplished it.  Everyone is at a different place in his or her relationship to God. Actually we are always going to have new challenges to do new work that will require us to say yes. 

So we will always have an opportunity to say Yes to God.  I have a saying that I put in my book Saying Yes To God discipline turns to desire, desire turns to delight.  I find that discipline, saying yes, turns to desire, I want to do it, then it becomes delight. 
I often think we try so hard in the natural to do something, but God wants our desire to come from the spiritual realm, the Holy Spirit.  If we surrender to the Holy Spirit’s we will find this much easier than we think.

I find that when I am grateful instead of fearful, I see the world as Jesus does.

Fear has altered human perspective since the Garden of Eden!  How do we combat fear effectively?

We need to stand up to our fears.  Look them right in the face.  Believe what the Scriptures say and live a lifestyle based on Ephesians 6:10-18.  This isn’t a prayer we say by rote but something we live.

…on the other side of my “yes God” is someone else’s “please God.” P 121

This was a POWERFUL statement to me!! To know that someone is praying for me to find direction and the strength to walk in obedience is amazing!  How did you see this displayed in your own life?

Many times I found that what I was doing was the result of other’s praying.  Someone needed to do the job, and I was available to say yes.

The story I told in the book regarding the pastor’s prayers has resulted in my teaching at that church every week.  I am having a wonderful time, teaching and enjoying the fellowship.  My husband and I have decided to make this our home church.  And, the beauty of my relationship with the leadership is awesome.  They are supportive of my calling, and bless my comings and goings.  It is a wonderful Spirit Filled Church that allows me to have a refuge to be who I am.

What closing words of encouragement would you like to leave with readers?

I read all of the questions before beginning to answer.  None of them can be answered in just a few sentences.  Each question is unique to each individual.  And each of us learns how to walk in relationship with God in a different way.  I attempted to answer the questions in a way that each individual felt their unique calling from God. I hope the reader will understand that God’s love for them will lead them to a place of healing, and it might just be different from individual to individual.  And, they have a purpose “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  When we say “Yes” to God, we are saying yes to fulfilling our divine purpose.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Peacock Throne by Lisa Karon Richardson - REVIEWED

About the Book:
A mysterious throne holds the key to two murders; an epic adventure steeped in treachery and romance

When Miss Lydia Garrett's guardian is murdered, and the authorities refuse to investigate the odd circumstances, she vows to catch the culprit. The same night the Earl of Danbury is murdered in his bed. Against all odds it appears that the murders are related--and Anthony Douglas, the new Lord Danbury, is bent on revenge.

The clues point to the former earl’s first naval command. In 1758 the earl spirited away and hid the magnificent Peacock Throne at the behest of the Indian royal family. To draw out the murderer, Anthony and Lydia agree that they must locate the throne.

They are not the only ones interested in the Peacock Throne, however. Marcus Wiltshire, a British intelligence, has received hints that Bonaparte intends to return the throne to India and leverage its mystical significance to foment rebellion and cut England off from her most important trading partner.

When the amateur sleuths join forces with the professional agent, the quest for the throne leads them around the globe on an adventure steeped in danger, treachery, and romance.

My Thoughts:

Idiotic.  It was the only word that fit.  He was idiotic.”  (p. 97)

Well, this sentiment is one that is bounced around at a frantic pace in Lisa Karon Richardson’s book, The Peacock Throne!  I haven’t been this thoroughly entertained in so many genres-all-at-once in a while!!  This story begins with a double homicide that morphs into domestic violence, that morphs into a type of espionage that morphs into a full scale treasure hunt for pirates’ loot – Hint! Hint! This throne is some kind of wonderful!

Lydia Garrett winds up in betwixt and between situations and people that the reader has to sort out time and time again!  Who is the good guy?  Who is the bad guy?  And more than that, Lydia’s heart gets the better of her, and her judgement isn’t so sound sometimes…and that becomes dangerous!

I’m telling you now…there is SO MUCH to like about this book!  It doesn’t matter what genre you prefer, this book has got it!  But the best part is…all of is well-written and keeps your imagination fully captive from first to last page!!  A rip-roaring good time will be had between the covers of this novel!  I highly recommend it to everyone!!

And you won’t BELIEVE how it ends!!!  You have to read this!!!

About the Author:

Lisa Karon Richardson is the author of several novels including Diamond in the Rough, Vanishing Act, and Curtain Call. Her novella, Impressed by Love, was a Carol Award finalist. Lisa and her husband are currently planting a home missions church in the USA, having previously been missionaries to the Seychelles and Gabon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016



Los Angeles, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2016)—As a follow up to their celebrated EP Lean On Me, released last year, rising artist Consumed By Fire is excited to reveal its debut full-length album with Inpop Records titled Giving Over on March 25.

Music listeners are being introduced to the Ward brothers, Caleb (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Josh (Guitar, Harmony Vocals) and Jordan (Drums, Harmony Vocals), through their rising hit single “Lean On Me.” The song is quickly becoming a fan favorite as it climbs the charts attracting listeners of all ages. Additionally, the single can be heard in Hallmark’s original movie The Ultimate Legacy set to premiere on January 31 at 9pm EDT. 

“We are extremely excited about this band,” shares Mark Lusk, President of Inpop Records. “With the immense nearly immediate success of their debut single and now it being featured inThe Ultimate Legacy, we couldn’t be more proud to be a part of Consumed By Fire’s journey. They are a group of strong brothers with a passionate heart for God and His people. We believe this album will truly encourage listeners and become a staple in their music collection.”

With a theme of ultimate surrender, the band’s lyrics were inspired from personal experiences that challenged them to cast aside their own fears and plans and give into the path God paved for them.

“Even when you don’t feel like it, that gift and that calling isn’t going anywhere so we’ve learned to just surrender to it, give over to it,” explains frontman Caleb Ward, the youngest sibling.

Discovered by producer Scotty Wilbanks via YouTube, together they developed 11 tracks that showcase the brothers’ church roots combined with their varied musical influences that are also anchored lyrically in the deep faith that fuels them, giving them a sound that is uniquely their own.

Together, their goal is to continue spreading the gospel through honest, authentic music.

“There’s the struggle in this record, and there’s victory at the same time,” Jordan shares. “You’re not just left in the valley. We do talk about the mountain too. We’re just being honest and saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve been both places.’ And we’re moving on and moving forward.”

For more information on Consumed By Fire, please go to

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Saying Yes To God by Barbara LaChance - REVIEWED (just go buy the book today!!)

About the Book:
Saying Yes to God is about one family’s decision to obey God’s call, no matter the cost, no matter the comfort. This incredible true story reminds us all that life if meant to be lived for others, not only in word, but in deed. Love is only fully realized through sacrifice. Few families demonstrate the love and sacrifice of a lifetime like the Lachances. Every reader will be inspired by the beautiful surrender of love through the lives of Barbara Lachance, her family, and the community of severe special needs children that no one wanted until the Lachance family said “yes” to God.

My Thoughts:
When we reach the point where we desire only to be in the place He desires us to be, I believe we are completely able to say yes to God.”  (p. 113)
But what if you aren’t in that place, what if unforgiveness, illness or tragedy lie between you and your relationship with God?  I’m glad you asked! And Barbara LaChance, author of Saying Yes To God is too!! In her book, she addresses all of these issues and more!  In a very intimate, forthright manner of a dear friend, she tells her story.  That alone is an encouragement and inspiration, but she also is transparent enough to be vulnerable enough to tell you how she has grown and changed in her own faith walk that has spanned decades.  She is honest and shares her pursuit of physical healing, and how, still suffering chronic illness, she has developed an attitude of thankfulness and how God has used her illness to position her to be able to minister the gospel to others who died within hours of accepting Christ.
Honestly, this book has had a very powerful impact on my life!  Barbara hasn’t had an easy life, and, in fact, she and her husband have lived so sacrificially through their lifetime, that countless lives have been impacted for all eternity!  I even found some of my own healing in the pages of this book!  When she shares her heart about inner healing, about letting the past be the past and embracing  true forgiveness…it has changed my life!!  I find myself taking my thoughts captive and speaking forgiveness and blessing over the situation!!

I’m telling you now – EVERYONE needs to read this book!! It is powerful, practical, honest, true to God’s Word and gives God all the glory for everything!!  I am so blessed to have had this God appointment touch my life so profoundly!!  AMEN!! And AMEN!! And AMEN!!!
About the Author:
Barbara Lachance is an ordained Anglican Minister, a Certified Life Coach, and a Master Life Strategist. Seeing each person as a unique gift of God she and her husband Gerry founded the second Community Training Home in Connecticut and later expanded to New Covenant Inc., a Group Home for people with Developmental Disabilities. She is the founder of Connecticut House of Prayer and Spirit Wind Center two successful non-profit organizations. She has taught internationally on the subject of Pastoral Counseling and Prayer. Having a passion for teaching people how to have a closer relationship with God through intimate prayer, she has seen lives transformed all over the world by helping people unite with God in prayer as they plan their personal and professional lives. Discovering a talent for painting later in life and is now using her artistic ability as another tool to help individuals discover their divine calling. She is the author of two successful books, The Bland Canvass and Prayer for the Workplace. Barbara and her husband Gerry live on their farm in Connecticut where they own and operate Generational Solutions LLC. There they share their talents and successes with others who are searching for the tools to operate a successful, Christ based business. Fans can contact Barbara Lachance at, connect with her through her facebook page or reach her via email

Monday, January 18, 2016

I Hope You Dance by Beth Moran - REVIEWED

About the Book:  (from Kregel)
Ruth Henderson has moved back in with her parents--something she swore she would never do, especially not at the age of thirty-three. But in the face of the mountain of debt left by her late partner, and the fact that her teenage daughter, Maggie, is expressing her grief through acts of delinquency, there was really only one option. Returning to a house Ruth swore never to set foot in again is...

My Thoughts:
Thanks for friends who see us differently than to how we see ourselves and aren’t  afraid to tell us when we’re being pitiful. Thanks for love in dark places, for hope …”  (p. 311)

These words, uttered from Ruth Henderson’s heart to God’s ears in prayer, represent some difficult battles that have been won….some foundational truths that have been learned…and a faith community composed of everyday people whose mess had been redeemed by God alone!  I have to say that I Hope You Dance has been a rare gem in my book discovery!  I don’t know what I really expected to find, but what I did find was a cast of characters that were fully fleshed out into an accurate picture of how I’m sure we look to God….broken people, stumbling through our messes in search of redemption.  And what does our Heavenly Father do?  He sets us among others who point the way to our redemption!

Ruth has come through so much when we meet her!  She and her daughter Maggie are reeling from loss, and then have to face being uprooted and set down in a place that they never wanted to be.  As they meet the folks in their new hometown, they begin to realize that all is not well within the relationship between Ruth’s mom and dad. (the only folks able to give them a home at the time) Add to that a church family that is busy meeting the needs of those in their community, a school setting that Maggie is resistant to and an old flame from Ruth’s past and you have an intriguing, heart tugging story that will keep you r imagination completely  entranced!! Oh, and did I mention that there is a very unsettling character that inserts an insidious danger into the plot as well!!

Honestly, this is one of the best written, most tender, realistic love stories – but it’s so much more!! It is friendship, and fellowship and family and just plain ‘ole life!! I LOVE IT!!!  I am excited to recommend this to readers one and all!!  And I hope you dance!!!

About the Author:
Beth Moran grew up in a Nottinghamshire before studying biochemistry at Leeds, working as a scientist in Liverpool, and then as an antenatal educator back in Nottinghamshire.

Following some deep soul searching, Beth embarked on her next adventure. By the time she’d tapped out the first chapter she knew she’d found what she was born to do, and suddenly all those hours spent daydreaming made sense.

When not writing novels, Beth works as a bid writer, and is part a church leadership team, running a youth club and the annual ladies’ night where she gets to dig out her dancing shoes.

Having overcome childhood selective mutism, Beth regularly speaks at conferences and on BBC Radio Nottingham’s Pause for Thought. She is a trustee of Free Range Chicks, a women’s network, and I still living in Nottinghamshire with her husband and three children.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Q&A with Elizabeth Oates Author of If You Could See as Jesus Sees Part 2

From the outside, she has it all together. She’s committed to her family, her friends, and her church. Her Instagram account is an inspiration. But behind every carefully worded post and perfectly posed picture is a woman tormented by the voice in her head: Am I pretty enough? Smart enough? Thin enough? Good enough? Success­ful enough? Am I ever enough? Author and speaker Elizabeth Oates knows that voice all too well.

Q: According to statistics you quote in If You Could See as Jesus Sees, only 2% of women believe they are beautiful. What is God’s view of beauty? What are some helpful exercises women can do to banish their negative self-talk regarding their appearance?

A: Beauty is not what we look like, but who we look like. The more we look like Jesus, the more beautiful we are. True beauty comes from living out our faith and living out the plans God has for us. Just as a mother dotes on her newborn baby’s pink, wrinkly, soft, squishy flesh, God delights in us. God knows you are the most beautiful, radiant, flawless, creature He has ever created.

So the question we need to ask ourselves is, “Do I believe God is a truth teller? Or do I believe God is a liar?” If you believe God is truthful, then you must believe Him when He says you are beautiful. Why? Because the Bible tells us we are “wonderfully made” unique creations. Every time someone—whether our husband, our friend, or our parent—gives us a compliment and we turn it down, we call that person a liar. Every time we criticize ourselves, we call God a liar. To really understand the devastating effects of negative self-talk, try this exercise:
Make a list of the negative things you tell yourself about the way you look. For example, “My thighs are huge. I really hate them.” Then replace “my” with the name of a close friend: “Kate’s thighs are huge. I really hate them.” You would never say such cruel things to someone else. It’s just as hurtful—and sinful—when you say them to yourself.

Q: You identify shame as one of the factors that keeps women trapped in their negative self-image. What are some common reasons women feel ashamed? How can they break free from the shame trap?

A: Shame is the feeling that because there is something wrong with us, we don’t deserve to be loved. It is almost always tied to an element of secrecy. We try to hide those flaws, so we won’t be rejected. We feel shame for things both big and small, both past and present, both within and beyond our control. Some common reasons include: missed opportunities, poor choices, sexual impurity, eating disorders, sexual abuse/sexual assault, addictions, family dysfunction, failure, and socioeconomic status. Sadly, the church has sometimes contributed to that sense of shame, particularly concerning the issue of purity. Women who have made the wrong choice in the past feel like “damaged goods.” Hopefully, we will do a better job with my daughter’s generation.
The only way I know to move past those feelings of shame is to find someone you can trust and talk about your story. Shame’s power depends on secrecy and darkness. When we step into the light, we can experience life through God’s lens of redemption.

Q: In If You Could See As Jesus Sees, you contrast our feelings of discontentment with God’s character of generosity. Why do you think we so often struggle in this area? What does our lack of contentment cost us?

A: A popular quote flooding Instagram and Pinterest reads, “Her suc­cess is not your failure.” What wise words for today’s woman. Have you watched someone in your own life receive something you wanted, something you thought you de­served and allowed your greed to run your life? Maybe a coworker received that sought-after promotion. Maybe a friend moved into your dream home. Maybe you have played the part of the bridesmaid but never the bride. When we look at life through Jesus’ lens of generosity, we realize the many blessings He bestows on you and me and everyone else who doesn’t deserve them. Anytime we are left feeling slighted, upstaged, or empty-handed, we have a choice to make: give ourselves over to our discontentment, or submit to a spirit of generosity, knowing that all we have received is an open-handed gift from our Savior.

When discontentment wells up in our hearts, it eclipses all the good­ness and beauty that used to reside there. We live in darkness, suffering from temporary memory loss and forgetting the many ways in which God has met our needs—and wants—in the past.

About the Author:
Elizabeth Oates is an author and speaker who encourages, inspires, and equips a new generation of women seeking a deeper relationship with Christ. She is a cliché Generation Xer from a broken home who once searched for purpose and significance apart from Jesus Christ. Today she devotes her life to spreading the message that we are not defined by our past; our God is bigger than our broken family trees and stronger than the sins that weigh us down.

Elizabeth lives out her faith and passion not only through her writing but in hands-on ministry as well. She and her husband offer pre-marital education to engaged couples through Legacy Family Ministries and also founded Project Restoration Ministry, which offers affordable Christian counseling and mentoring for married couples in Central Texas.

Elizabeth’s writing includes a Bible study for teens, Dealing with Divorce: Finding Direction When Your Parents Split Up. Since 2008 she has written a monthly faith column for Waco Today Magazine, and she regularly blogs about life and faith. Elizabeth is among the experts featured in the DivorceCare DVD curriculum along with Dave Ramsey, Anne Graham Lotz, and others. She earned a B.A. from Baylor University and received her M.A. in Christian Education with a focus in Marriage and Family Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


NASHVILLE—In an extraordinary start to 2016, Sydney Lane Press has inked a deal with Stephen and Ross Lawhead to publish the Hero Trilogy, a retelling of the Gospel story set in a chilling, dystopian future America.

The project was conceived through a collaboration of Stephen and Ross Lawhead with Grammynominated songwriter and performer, Eddie DeGarmo. DeGarmo and co-writer Bob Farrell created Hero: The Rock Opera. The live event opened with Michael Tait, Mark Stuart, and Rebecca St. James in lead roles. Hero was performed theatrically 21 times. The bestselling soundtrack won two Dove Awards.

DeGarmo turned to the Lawheads, who have garnered numerous literary awards and sold millions of books, to bring Hero to life in book form. The three books imaginatively capture the coming of the Messiah in an age controlled by a One World Government that parallels the brutal Roman World of Jesus’ life and ministry.

“We wanted to re-introduce the incredible power of the Gospel narrative by placing it in a world of danger and intrigue the modern reader will immediately relate to,” said DeGarmo. “There was no one better than the Lawheads to pull off that incredible writing feat. The storyline they created from our musical still amazes me.”

“I’ve always loved to write about real and imaginary worlds that are steeped in meaning,” said Stephen Lawhead. “To faithfully retell the Gospel in a future where truth and life is dictated by a tyrannical bureaucracy was a challenge, a delight, and a labor of love.”

"I was honored to work on Hero,” said Ross Lawhead. “Eddie originally approached me to illustrate a graphic novel, with my dad writing the script. I couldn't help pitching my own ideas and so I became co-author. It was a thrill to then be asked to co-author the novels, which allowed us to fully expand the story's themes, plots, and characters. The Gospel is truly the greatest story ever told—I believe we've managed to put an exciting spin on it in retelling it this way.”

“I was introduced to Stephen Lawhead’s writings with the Pendragon Cycle,” said Mark Gilroy, president and publisher of Sydney Lane Press. “There is a reason Stephen’s works are compared to those of literary giants like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. The parallels Stephen and Ross draw to the four Gospels are brilliant. We are pleased and proud to publish this amazing work.”

City of Dreams releases in August 2016. New and existing fans of the Lawheads will be pleased to learn that Rogue Nation and World Without End will follow in four-month intervals.

Sydney Lane Press of Nashville, Tenn., is a new publishing company founded by veteran book publishing executives Mark Gilroy and Brian Henson in the fall of 2015. The Sydney Lane catalog will have twenty titles by the end of 2016. Visit for more information.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Philippians - Discovering Joy Through Relationship by Sue Edwards - REVEIWED

About the Book:
A "how-to" study for finding joy in authentic relationships and community 

Women long for healthy, deep relationships with those around them. Knowing what those look like can be tricky, however. Where do we go to seek them? How can we approach them? How can we maintain those relationships, despite our own weaknesses? 

Sue Edwards is happy to lead the way through Scripture to discover and maintain beloved, organic friendships. Paul's letter to early Christians is an ideal place to find these answers. This short letter highlights the skills that strengthen authentic connections— skills like trust, humility, healthy self-sacrifice, a generous spirit, and more. It also sheds light on how to overcome toxic connection-killers like envy, comparison, and critical attitudes. 

Philippians: Discovering Joy Through Relationship works its way through Paul's words as a model for deep, authentic community and healthy relationships between believers. When readers reach the end, they’ll have a thorough sense of the content of this ancient letter, and of its relevance for today. Although Paul was under house arrest, he was able to draw joy from his relationships, and we can do the same, no matter our circumstances. Edwards strives to ensure that this Bible study will do more than transfer intellectual information; it will also transform hearts and inspire practice and application. 
My Thoughts:
Phillipians is, indeed, a book rich in relationships.  This church had humble beginnings in Lydia’s household, but grew to be a church dear to Paul and a congregation that kept a close relationship and helped him physically and financially as he was persecuted and jailed for the sake of the gospel. Sue Edwards has created a powerful, in-depth study of this book of the Bible. 

Going through a chapter verse at a time gives you time to really consider both the content and context of the message.  Edwards offers many other notes, quotes and deeper reference to all of Scripture to make sure full understanding is available to everyone who goes through this study.

This study was intended for a group, but can be done individually as well. I worked through this by myself, and the study gave me lots of opportunity to take fresh insight of God’s Word and share it with my friends. I enjoyed the opportunity to make practical application to my own life and consider how Paul’s relationship with and encouragement to the people of Phillipi could teach me how to have deeper and richer relationships within my own friendship circles.

This study also challenged me to stay more in tune with my own spiritual leaders.  What I face is the challenge of being a member of a large congregation, but the people of Phillipi stayed in touch with Paul and his circumstances no matter where he was.  To me, that was an encouragement that I can find a way to know how to pray for the leaders of my church even though I am only one in a very large congregation.
I am eager to recommend this study to anyone who really wants to dig deep into God’s Word and learn the truths God has for each of us throughout Scripture.

About the Author:
Sue Edwards (MA, Dallas Theological Seminary; D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) teaches full-time in the Christian Education Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has more than twenty-five years of experience teaching, pastoring, and directing women's ministries. In addition, Sue speaks at retreats, conferences, and seminars across the country, and is author of the Discover Together Bible Study Series.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


To Premiere This Valentine’s Day
February 14 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST


Based on the Popular Book by Irene Brand, Movie is Third Installment in UP’s Highly Rated “Loves Find You” Movie Franchise

Pasadena, CA / Television Critics Association - January 5, 2016  – Building on its successful “Love Finds You” movie franchise, the original UP Premiere movie Love Finds You In Valentine (#LoveFindsYou), a sweeping romantic drama set in scenic Nebraska, will premiere on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14 at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST. Based on the popular book by Irene Brand, the movie stars Diogo Morgado (Son Of God, “The Messengers”), Michaela McManus (“Aquarius,” “One Tree Hill”), Lindsay Wagner (The Paper Chase, “The Bionic Woman”) and Ed Asner (Up, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”).

In Love Finds You In Valentine, law student Kennedy Blaine (Michaela McManus) inherits a ranch in the smalltown of Valentine, Nebraska. She travels to Valentine with the intentof selling the ranch, but is drawn to the areas beauty  and to the ranch foreman, Derek Sterling (Diogo Morgado).  Putting her life in L.A. on hold, she decides to spend some time ather ancestral home and, despite a long-standing feud, to reconnectwith family members, including her grandfather, Gabriel Morgan (Ed Asner). But soon Kennedy is subjected to harassment by someone who clearly wants her to leave Valentine. Depending on Derek and his mother Junes (Lindsay Wagner) assistance, she sets out to discover who is behind the offenses.  But when her search reveals painful details about her family and raises questions about Dereks own past, will Kennedy still want to know the truth?

We are excited to bring viewers the third movie in our highly successful Love Finds You franchise this Valentines Day, said Barbara Fisher, svp, original programming, UP. The tremendously talented cast shines in this picturesque movie about finding yourself and finding love.

The first movie in UPLove Finds You franchise was the hit Love Finds You In Sugarcreek, a romantic mystery/suspense drama set in Amish country, starring Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do!, Southland), Sarah Lancaster (Chuck,” “Everwood) and Golden Globe®- and BAFTA-nominated actress Kelly McGillis (WitnessTop Gun). The second movie in the franchise, Love Finds You In Charm, debuted on UP last summer and starred Trevor Donovan (Texas Rising90210), Danielle Chuchran (Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat, UPNowhere Safe), Drew Fuller (Army Wives,” “Charmed) and Tiffany Dupont (Born to Race: Fast TrackGreek).  Leading into the premiere on February 14, UP will be airing Love Finds You in Sugarcreek at 3 p.m. EST and Love Finds You in Charm at 5 p.m. EST.

Author Irene Brandgoal of being a writer was conceived at an early age in her rural home in West Virginia. In the early 70's, she started publishing in historical, religious, and general magazines.  During that time, she also edited and compiled two church histories. She has written Sunday school curriculum, edited a two-year series of mission curriculum, and her works have appeared in five program-material anthologies.  She has written 43 works of fiction and has had four non-fiction books published.  Her first inspirational romance was published in 1984.

The Love Finds You™” book series was launched in October 2008 by Guideposts imprint Summerside Press with the goal to give readers a taste of local life across America.  Each of the almost 60 novels to date  by revolving authors -  draws on the compelling history or unique character of a real place. Learn more at

UP presents Love Finds You In Valentine, a George Shamieh production.  Starring Diogo Morgado, Michaela McManus, Lindsay Wagner and Ed Asner.  Produced by George Shamieh.  Executive produced by Chevonne OShaughnessy and Cindy Bond.  Directed by Curtis Grey.  Casting by Lillian Pyles.  Director of Photography is Adam White.  Editor is Brett Hedlund.  Adapted screenplay by Bryar Freed-Golden, based on the book by Irene Brand.

Follow our cast and author at:    
·         Diogo Morgado on Twitter @D_Morgado
·         Michaela McManus on Twitter @MichaelaMcManus
·         Lindsay Wagner on Twitter @mslindsaywagner and online at 
·         Ed Asner on Twitter @TheOnlyEdAsner
·         Irene Brand online at

About UP
UP is television's trusted entertainment brand dedicated to providing viewers with "feel good TV for you and your family."  UP uplifts viewers every day with premiere movies, original reality, dramatic and comedy series filled with compelling stories and characters with character. In keeping with its brand promise, UP’s pro-social initiative, Uplift Someone,” inspires people to do simple, everyday acts of kindness.  UP can be seen in 70 million homes on cable systems and satellite providers across the United States. Based in Atlanta, UP is a division of UP Entertainment, LLC.

Follow UP on the Web at, on Facebook at, Twitter on @UPtv and Instagram at UP_TV.

Mission Pictures
Mission Pictures is a worldwide sales, finance, and distribution company that specializes in high quality family and faith-based entertainment for mainstream audiences worldwide.  Founded in 2008 by Cindy Bond and Chevonne O’Shaughnessy, MP’s primary focus and commitment is to create and build a trusted and vibrant brand of entertaining and life-affirming feature film and television programming. With our unique vision, passion and expertise we are able to strategically and effectively maximize our brand within the global marketplace.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Q&A with Elizabeth Oates Author of If You Could See as Jesus Sees Part 1

From the outside, she has it all together. She’s committed to her family, her friends, and her church. Her Instagram account is an inspiration. But behind every carefully worded post and perfectly posed picture is a woman tormented by the voice in her head: Am I pretty enough? Smart enough? Thin enough? Good enough? Success­ful enough? Am I ever enough? Author and speaker Elizabeth Oates knows that voice all too well.

Q: If You Could See as Jesus Sees was written to reach women who struggle with self-worth. How common is this problem?

A: I think most women—from ages ten to one hundred—wrestle with feelings of inadequacy, doubt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and even self-loathing at some point in their lives. We scorn our bodies, our faces, or our hair. Maybe we even dislike ourselves at our core: our personalities, our gifts, our talents, and our souls. So we spend days, if not years, comparing ourselves to our friends or media celebrities and daydreaming about a different life. Eventually, we morph into an existence vaguely similar to ourselves, yet not quite us. We alter our behavior to please others. We dress like our friends or emulate what we see in InStyle magazine. We may even change our appearance through plastic surgery. Before we know it, we are just an empty shell of our true selves, mere imposters of the women God created.
The details vary from woman to woman. Yet, for each of us, a common thread weaves through our stories: the grand story of the fall. Think back to Eve in the Garden of Eden. She lived in paradise with her loving husband, Adam, and her devoted God. They enjoyed constant fellowship with their Creator. Then the deceitful serpent entered the stage. Listening to his empty promises and twisted propaganda, Eve succumbed to his lies, and women have been believing those lies ever since. We view ourselves through our own distorted lenses of self-loathing, ugliness, shame, and discontentment instead of Jesus’ lenses of love, beauty, redemption, and generosity.

Q: The topic of social media comes up often in this book. How do Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites negatively affect some women?

A: Have you ever mindlessly surfed Facebook, only to shut your lap­top, feeling lonely, useless, and discouraged? It’s tough not to succumb to jealousy, envy, greed—and even despair—when we are inundated with our friends’ vacation photos, dream homes, new cars, job promotions, and all the other exciting things people want to celebrate. We are left feeling as if we are living a less-than-stellar life. For the woman who already struggles with a negative self-image, those posts are a constant reminder of the many ways she doesn’t measure up. Social media has become a driving force in our culture, but it doesn’t reflect reality. It’s the highlight reel. We see people living life seamlessly—the perfect family, the perfect house, the perfect job, the perfect faith—and we wonder, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not married yet? Why am I not pregnant yet? Why don’t I live in my dream home?”  What we don’t see underneath those beaming Facebook posts is the crumbling marriage, the house in foreclosure, the credit card debt, and the I’ll-show-up-for-church-on-Sunday-morning-but-don’t-you-dare-ask-me-do-to-anything-riskier kind of faith.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Oates is an author and speaker who encourages, inspires, and equips a new generation of women seeking a deeper relationship with Christ. She is a cliché Generation Xer from a broken home who once searched for purpose and significance apart from Jesus Christ. Today she devotes her life to spreading the message that we are not defined by our past; our God is bigger than our broken family trees and stronger than the sins that weigh us down.

Elizabeth lives out her faith and passion not only through her writing but in hands-on ministry as well. She and her husband offer pre-marital education to engaged couples through Legacy Family Ministries and also founded Project Restoration Ministry, which offers affordable Christian counseling and mentoring for married couples in Central Texas.

Elizabeth’s writing includes a Bible study for teens, Dealing with Divorce: Finding Direction When Your Parents Split Up. Since 2008 she has written a monthly faith column for Waco Today Magazine, and she regularly blogs about life and faith. Elizabeth is among the experts featured in the DivorceCare DVD curriculum along with Dave Ramsey, Anne Graham Lotz, and others. She earned a B.A. from Baylor University and received her M.A. in Christian Education with a focus in Marriage and Family Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary.

Monday, January 4, 2016

A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker - REVIEWED

About the Book:

They call her the Queen of the Outcasts. Maviah, a woman whose fate was sealed on her birth by this world-unwanted, illegitimate, female, a slave-subject to the whims of all. But then she met a man named Yeshua who opened her eyes. She found strength in his words, peace from the brutal world around her. Because of what he taught her, she has gathered her own traveling kingdom of outcasts deep in the desert, wielding an authority few have seen. But when her growing power threatens the rulers around her, they set out to crush all she loves, leaving her reeling as a slave once more. She must find Yeshua to save her people, but when she does, she will be horrified to discover that he faces his own death.

Enter a story full of intrigue, heart-wrenching defeat, uncompromising love and staggering victory…one that re-examines everything you thought you knew about the heart of Jesus’s stunning message and the power that follows for those who follow his easily forgotten way.

My Thoughts:

"Oh that everyone would know the Father!  Oh that all would see what I saw and know as I knew such boundless rivers of love for all who were weary and downtrodden in this life!  that they would taste the fruit of Yeshua and see that He is good.  That this taste would forever wash away the bitter taste of the fruit that had opened their eyes to darkness and grievance."  (p. 351)

This is the essence of the journey you will walk with Maviah as she experiences the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ.  The events that lead up to the events in Jerusalem are enough to turn most hearts from the truth that Maviah has already experienced in A.D. 30.  Now, as she witnesses the crucifixion, you too will understand the price that was paid for sin and the power of serving a resurrected Savior!

I've underlined. I've wept.  I've rejoiced.  These two books are an answer to prayer in my life, and I will be forever grateful that Ted Dekker wrote these novels and shared them with the world.  God is going to bless his socks off for his obedience!  Lives will be eternally transformed by these novels!  I am rejoicing today after reading this novel!  I cannot begin to recommend this highly enough!!

About the Author:

Ted Dekker (born October 24, 1962) is a New York Times best-selling author of over thirty five novels. He is best known for stories which could be broadly described as suspense thrillers with major twists and unforgettable characters, though he has also made a name for himself among fantasy fans. Ted’s latest work, a historical fiction based on the teachings of Jesus, is a radical departure from previous outings and is receiving critical acclaim.