The Big Idea of Biblical Worship
People have come to expect the best artists and instruments when it comes to music in churches. In some places it’s almost like a mini-concert – the people in front performing and people in the audience barely engaged. And the links between the message and the worship are often uncoordinated or out of synch. Currie says we reduce worship to singing and this is a big mistake. “Biblical worship should flow out of the central idea the Bible. Preaching is worship.” Biblical worship involves the whole person. Mostly what Currie wants to convey is that to divorce worship from preaching is tragic and harmful (Boston, MA).
Waking Up Dead
A touring musician & vocalist, he has performed with artists including EmmyLou Harris, Dolly Parton, Phil Keaggy, Percy Sledge, Steven Curtis Chapman, Johnny Rivers, Amy Grant, Lenny LeBlanc, and others. His story is one of suicide, divine intervention and a life transformed. Anders recalls his dark night of the soul when life seemed too hard to continue. It looked as if he had it all. At age 50, after more than thirty years of ministry, he checked into a Minneapolis hotel, consumed a massive amount of Ambien, Dramamine and Phenergan with the full intention of taking his own life. Rescued, healed and reinvented . . . Eddie has discovered all the fullness of a brand new life. He recounts what led to a decade of self-destruction and the process of overcoming depression (Nashville, TN).
Historical and Theological Foundations of Law
Can anyone say that anything is absolutely right or wrong? Eidsmoe argues that human laws must reflect a higher Divine law. Societies that depart from Divinely-inspired laws do so at their own peril. This is exactly what he sees happening in western civilization, a rejection of time-tested rules for living given to us for our good. He goes back to past civilizations and explains how erring from Divine law impacted these people and the civilizations. Finally, he looks at the Judeo-Christian laws and explains in detail how vital these are to life, marriage; trust (Montgomery, AL).
Depression is growing to epidemic proportions and few experts really understand why. Hunt says depression often runs in families. She describes depression as feeling “pressed down.” For some, depression leads to substance abuse or even suicide. It can feel like hopelessness and despair. But depression is nothing new, people in the Bible, like Elijah, suffered from depression even after accomplishing great things. And depression is not a sin; it is a condition that left unchecked can become debilitating. But Hunt offers what she calls “Steps to a Solution” (Dallas, TX).
“Forgiveness is not an emotion, it is an act of the will, says June Hunt. And she reminds us that just because we forgive someone who has hurt us does not mean that we don’t still want justice to prevail. She says that forgiveness is an ongoing process but one that is necessary for our own healing and peace of mind. Letting go of past hurts is often one of the most difficult choices we make but also on of the most freeing. Hunt tells us exactly what forgiveness is, or is not, but she also tells us how to start the process that leads to freedom (Dallas, TX).
Man of the House: Building a shelter that will last in a world that is falling apart
What does it take to have a successful house or family in a day when people can’t even define what a family is? Wiley pulls no punches about how men have become wimps and women have capitulated to the zeitgeist of feminism and “you can have it all.” Wiley starts where it matters most – the family and God’s intention for marriage and children. He branches out from there – property, work, justice, graciousness, friendship, and legacy – to name a few. “Marriage makes a shelter,” he says “it establishes a household.” And perhaps at no time in history are the family and all that it entails, more under scrutiny or attack (Manchester, CT).
Shaping Your Family Story: How Imperfect Parents Create Hope and Promise for their Children
We have all heard the comment, “There are no perfect parents.” Every parent at times feels overwhelmed and convinced they are wrecking their kids. Some feel that way all the time. And some kids want to blame their parents for every bad turn as they get older and this just heaps more guilt on parents. Parents need help, not judgment and a list of more things to do. We watch the stories of our children unfold so quickly. We wonder if we are doing enough. Are we making a difference in their lives? Welday provides encouragement and help that will give your kids hope and promise – without stressing yourself crazy (Orlando, FL).
Crazy Life: Navigating Through Life’s Disruptions without Losing Your Faith
“Disruptions are the ‘stuff’’ of which successful leaders, spouses, parents, children and neighbors are made,” says Nelson. Few men or women ascend to greatness without their nights of loneliness, pain, frustration, and doubt. He shares his own struggles as a successful pastor at a large church in the Northwest. From marriage difficulties, depression, doubts and betrayal, he helps us see these disruptions are often part of God’s plan. “Disruption can be difficult, Disruption can be downright overwhelming. “Be the kind of person God can call for a great adventure. God finds you and invites you to join Him where He’s working; you want to be ready to say yes” (Hayden, Idaho).
There are an estimated 150 million orphans in the world. In the U.S. alone, the average waiting period for an adoption is 7.7 years. As war in the Middle East continues to displace families, children are most often the casualties of these conflicts. “God often pushes us out of a place of security so we can learn how to trust Him,” says Merrill. But trust Him for what exactly? “I believed that God had a plan for my life . . . and I knew that caring for widows and orphans in distress were what the Bible called ‘pure religion.’” Meadow and her husband, Dana, would adopt a premature child with cerebral palsy from a Ugandan orphanage; naively or divinely predestined to be part of their own growing family. The end of the story is both inspiring and heart-wrenching (Portland, Maine).
Wisdom: Life’s Great Treasure
For centuries, the Judeo-Christian view of morality was predominant in the western world. Moral truth was an objective outer reality rather than an ever-changing truth based on convenience, special interests, or subjectivity. Simmons argues that Christianity leads to lower rates of almost every kind of social pathology – crime, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, marital breakdown, sexually transmitted disease, bankruptcy, and suicide. He looks at the burgeoning rates of depression and suicide and ties these to false premises regarding truth, happiness, and self discipline. “Secularism does not have much to offer human beings when it comes to purpose in life,” he explains. He suggests there is a question few people ask themselves, a question that is paramount to living a life of purpose; “What do you want to be remembered for? (Birmingham, Alabama).
While the mainline churches across America are losing followers, cults throughout the world are gaining them. With endorsements from Dinesh D’ Souza and Josh McDowell, the Stengler’s offer practical steps for engaging those who are in a cult. The number one question is: “What is the truth?” In our postmodern world many people believe in a relativistic version of truth. And with cults, they often fabricated their own doctrines. The book deals with the reality of the God of the Bible and answers tough questions about Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The real Jesus matters,” they say (San Diego).
Wackos Thugs & Perverts: Clintonian Decadence in Academia
“One can only imagine the vastness and corruption poisoning higher education countrywide . . . they are mad, dangerous, and beyond self-correction,” says Lopez. A whopping 99.5% of campaign donations from professors at the fifty highest ranked liberal arts colleges went to Democrats. The impact is a disturbing “breakdown of free speech and honest pursuit of the truth.” Lopez knows firsthand what happens when a Christian professor speaks up for truth in an academic setting; they get ostracized and then fired. “It is about fixing the entirety of the corruption and restructuring higher education so nobody can repeat the takeover and racketeering the left pulled off in the last 35 years.” His book is a warning sign that the Clinton and Obama era policies further entrench left-leaning academicians but also a blueprint for undoing the damage. “Sunlight is always the best disinfectant,” says Lopez (Dallas, Texas).
Teaching for Change: Eight Keys for Transformational Bible Study with Teens
It’s no surprise that this generation of young people is the least churched and lacks much of an interest in Christianity. Busy parents rely on churches, youth groups or camps but are they enough? Coley says many youth today have no foundation for truth, values or morality. He believes effective teaching leads to change in knowledge, in perspective, in attitudes, and ultimately in behavior. But parents have to engage their children regardless of age. Today’s youth learn differently than past generations and Coley gives help for this important journey (Raleigh, North Carolina).
How You Always Meant to Parent
Parents often try so hard to remove the difficulties from their kid’s lives that kids grow up not knowing how to handle disappointment, rejection, or failure. Nor do they learn how to solve simple everyday problems, apply for a job, or make good moral choices under pressure. Parenting specialist and national speaker, Brian Housman, says all parents have parenting regrets but many are frustrated about how to raise children to become successful adults. “We aren’t trying to raise good kids or productive citizens, we are preparing our children to live in the real world and to know how all of the parts of life work together as they pursue a deepening relationship with Christ. This is the core of being both whole and holy.” Housman says that children are far more willing to obey and cooperate with parents if they know you love them and have their best interests at heart (Memphis, Tennessee).
Seven Answers for Anxiety
“Anxiety is produced not by what you actually experience but by what you tell yourself; your thoughts determine your reality” says Dr. Jantz. He provides specific ways people can change the way they think by altering their thought patterns and aligning them with a more realistic view of the world rather than one based on fear. People with extreme anxiety find they struggle to function in a world that looks dangerous. They adopt a negative worldview that keeps them locked in a world where happiness is fleeting. Jantz suggests spiritual, emotional, psychological, and practical exercises that can help set sufferer free (Seattle, WA).
The Respect Dare
There is no perfect formula for a happy marriage. But, according to Roesner, if such a formula existed it would begin with respect. She offers 40 dares for women who frustrated and feeling lost in their marriage. “If you learn to trust, you will no longer respond to your life and events from a place of fear, but rather from a firm foundation of strength and dignity,” she explains. She covers the big issues like expectations, sex, hurtful words, conflict, respect, time, and other key areas that often get in the way of our happiness. She encourages women to “Stay out of the way when God is teaching your spouse,” and resting in contentment that God wants our marriages to be vibrant (Cincinnati, OH).
What Do We Stand for?
The saying goes: If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. Do Americans stand for anything?
Or is America helpless in the face of the radical beliefs of others? America has been challenged to a war with Islamic jihadists abroad and within our own borders. Our military and law enforcement resources are vital in this fight, but inadequate to fully counter an ideological threat. There are philosophical and even spiritual dimensions to the conflict where the issue will have to be ultimately decided. Jihadists have demonstrated their willingness to strive for their goals for as long as it takes and to die for them if necessary. Is there anything so compelling for Americans? Spivey encourages us to examine our own beliefs in the midst of political and ideological turmoil (Myrtle Beach, S. Carolina).
52 Weekly Devotions for Busy Families
A busy military mother for many years, Whiting looked for creative ways to help her five children in faith and values. She uses the acronym SIMPLE (Schedule, Involve, Mix, Plan, Legacy, End each in prayer). Looking back she says, “I realize that our family devotions were the foundation of our family and the glue that held us together. It strengthened us as a family.” She says family time doesn’t need to be boring or formal. At a time when children are assaulted by values that are at odds with their health or beliefs, Whiting offers simple solutions for nurturing faith (Grasonville, Maryland).
Transgender Confusion: A Biblical Based Q & A For Families
The transgender rush for acceptance is just another step in the process of desensitizing Americans. The restroom controversy may be a step too far, creating new problems (voyeurism or pedophilia) and leaves parents with few options. “No studies have proven anyone to have been born transgender,” says Shick. “The ‘born that way’ theories are nothing more than propaganda to gain public sympathy and approval.” She knows firsthand the damage done having grown up with a father who declared himself a female. In trying to connect with a member of the opposite sex, some opt for surgery. “The person may resemble the opposite gender, due to cosmetic surgeries, but it is ‘reality’ only within that person’s confused thoughts” She has given expert testimony as to the causes of Gender Identity Disorder, shared the damage done within families, and offered help for those who feel confused (Ashland, KY).
Lasting Love: Enduring Secrets for Marital Success
Marriage has been redefined, reduced, manipulated, and increasingly ignored. Younger generations are waiting or opting out altogether. What’s happened? Since the 1960s, says attorney Charles Crismier, marriage has come under fire through the no-fault divorce decrees that hold no one accountable and leave kids hurting, in poverty, or vulnerable.
“We live in a disastrously broken world,” says Crismier. A million children each year are left as virtual orphans, fatherless, and floundering. With so much research that shows how children of divorce suffer – higher rates of precocious sexuality and substance abuse, poor grades, weak relationships of their own – the Crismiers suggest solutions for a lasting and vibrant marriage where children and grandchildren will be (Richmond, VA).
Restored Hope Network
Anne Paulk is the director for the newly established Restored Hope Network, a coalition of agencies and counseling centers aimed at helping educate, counsel and encourage those struggling with same-sex attractions. Anne has been interviewed on Oprah Winfrey, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, 700 Club, D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministry, and appeared in People magazine. She is the author of Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction (Portland, OR)
Few Call It War
Hicks provides an historical overview of religiously-oriented terrorism but concludes that none are more dangerous than Islamic extremists. A whopping 70 percent of all terrorism is committed by Sunni Muslims which make this branch of Islam the most vicious. According to Hicks, the west still refuses to admit this. “We don’t connect the thought of religion with the experience of violence. In fact, the two not only coexist today, but have always coexisted.” A born-again Christian, Hicks says we need to start looking at terrorism for exactly what it is; a faulty view of the world. The Bible, however, teaches the opposite; that mankind is not his own rescuer but desperately needs rescuing. “Hatred, as a condition of the human heart, can only be changed from within” (Orlando, Florida).
Live Free in Christ
More than any previous generation Millennials are stepping away from any kind of faith. These children of the Baby Boomer generation are marrying later (if they marry at all), doing work differently, and simply opting out of faith. Thirty-five percent consider themselves religious “nones” – atheists, agnostics, or unaffiliated. “The wave of secular humanism is largely to blame” says Wright. A church planter who has also been a mechanical engineer for Dell Computing, Wright says he has worked with many Millennials on the job – they need to be committed to something bigger than themselves. “It is possible to live new lives, free from our past identity and perspective. We no longer have to live in the past or be defined by our mistakes, emotional scars, or personal baggage” (Houston, Texas).
Self-Guided Tour of the Bible
American culture is increasingly moving toward a post-Christian era. The growth of religious skepticism is on the rise and many young people no longer see the Bible as having any authority over their lives. It is increasingly hard to believe an assortment of ancient stories, poems, sermons, prophecies and letters, written and compiled over 3,000 years, is the sacred “word of God.” Hudson says this cultural transformation has no basis in the truth. He says only forty of the twenty-thousand lines of the New Testament are in dispute and none of these undermine the basic teachings of the Bible. Further, with more than 5,000 portions of the Bible that have survived, there is little argument the Bible is remarkably well-preserved considering it was written by as many as forty contributors from all walks of life. “Once we really understand the implications of this story, our lives are never the same.” (Chicago, Illinois).
Practical Family Ministry
Many church dropouts leave the church between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two explain Jones and Trentham. In fact the church is the only institution that emerging adults leave in mass. The authors are advocates for the “Faith-at-home” movement; a growing sense within some circles that the world is becoming more antagonistic to a biblical worldview and needs daily attention to keep children growing in their faith and values. They explain that parents, not the church, are most responsible for their child’s spiritual development. The unspoken message in many churches has been that discipleship of children is best left to trained professionals. Yet God specifically calls not only the community of faith but also parents to engage personally in the Christian formation of their children (Louisville, Kentucky).
I Want You to Know Me: Love Mom & Dad
We live in a fast paced world where families are divided like no generation before. Yet, we long for connections and for finding our place in the world. God created us for relationship, with Him and with one another. And in recent generations the family has been redefined, split up, broken, and disconnected. Mullins tries to bring the family back into focus by giving parents and children a simple way of learning more about each other. A perfect way to pass along details – both serious and funny – that will passed along to future generations (Phoenix, Arizona).
Chasing Thoreau: An Adventure in Paddling and Philosophy
Thoreau was known as a nature-lover, rebel, an abolitionist, and proponent of less government. “Thoreau had a mind that naturally and instinctively ignored social environment,” says Payne. But his book is not so much about Thoreau as it is to share his own experiences on the Concord River. At 57, Payne began a quest to kayak America’s waterways – Mississippi, Columbia, Hudson, Ohio, Concord as well as rivers in England, Holland, and Chile – alone. These solo trips built in him a spirit of adventure, something lost on modern culture. A political scientist, Payne finds his faith and mind are stirred when his senses are tested (Sandpoint, Idaho).
Preoccupied with Promise: Reclaim the Contagious Joy You Were Meant to Experience Now
The world is an increasingly complex place. Many people find simply navigating the vagaries of daily life a chore that causes stress and anxiety. A counselor and teacher, Strong helps us look at life through a different set of lenses, living in anticipation, overcoming worry, and safeguarding our minds and heart. She claims that freedom from worry and fear is a byproduct of reclaiming the joy God brings. This is not the power of positive thinking but rather the power of claiming the promise that God offers – for a worry-free life. With stress-related illness on the rise, Strong encourages us to embrace a life that overcomes the complexities of modern life (Houston, Texas).