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Books

  • Soak Up the Sun: 5 Beach Reads for Summer 2016

    Who doesn’t love getting lost in a good book at the beach? Your toes in the sand, salt in the air and the sun on your skin – few things are more relaxing. Whether you’re planning a summer getaway or aiming your sprinkler at the patio, kick back and relax with these popular beach reads.

    All books are Buy One Get One 50% Off at Family Christian now through August 25 making it the perfect time to stock your beach bag with these Christian fiction favorites.

    The Things We Knew by Catherine J. West After her mother's death, Lynette Carlisle watched her family unravel. All her siblings eventually left Nantucket, silently blaming their father. Nobody will tell Lynette about that day that she can't remember. But when Dad's failing health and financial concerns bring everybody home, secrets begin to surface that will either restore lost relationships---or separate the Carlisles forever.

    The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry In the summer of 1972, Matt Plumley forms a friendship with Jesse Woods, a tough-as-nails girl. But one night the wrath of the prominent Blackwoods and the secrets of Jesse's family will collide and destroy the promise she and Matt make to each other. Will he ever learn the truth behind the only pledge Jesse ever broke?

    The Second Half by Lauraine Snelling Ken and Mona are looking forward to their retirement, but then they receive a call from their son, a Special Forces officer. Announcing that he's been deployed overseas, he asks them to care for his kids. They find parenting a challenge, but it's even harder when Steig stops contacting them. Can they trust God to bring him home?

    Close to You by Kara Isaac Allison Shire is done with love and travels to New Zealand to work as a tour guide for Lord of the Rings movie sites. But she doesn't expect to meet Jackson Gregory, a would-be entrepreneur who's pretending to be a Tolkien aficionado. Will the know-it-all guide and fake fan take a chance on romance?

    Fading Starlight by Kathryn Cushman A high-profile fashion internship should have launched Lauren Summers's career---but instead, a red carpet accident left her blackballed. Working for a former Hollywood star in return for free lodging in a seaside cottage, she sets out to salvage her reputation. But will the old woman's secrets raise new questions---and knock her off balance again?

    What great beach read would you add to the list?

  • Preparing for Marriage: 4 Must-Read Books for Newly Engaged Couples

    Love

    You’re engaged! Excitement sets in and your head spins just thinking about all of the details to work out – the dress, the venue, the invites. But what about your marriage? Planning for your life together after your big day is an important and often overlooked step. Set yourselves up for a relationship rooted in Christ with these must-read engagement and marriage preparation books.

    All books are Buy One Get One 50% Off at Family Christian now through August 25. Buy one for yourself and one for your soon-to-be spouse! Then discuss what you learned together.

    Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Got Married Bestselling author and marriage counselor, Gary Chapman, put together this practical book to help couples prepare for marriage and learn the skills of working together as intimate teammates. This book is packed with wisdom and tips that will help you develop the loving, supportive and mutually beneficial marriage both men and women long for.

    Preparing for Marriage Begin the lifelong task of building a strong Christian marriage with eight sessions of fun, romantic study that will help you target areas for growth in your relationship. You can work through the book as a couple, with a pastor, with a premarital counselor or with a small group. Don't just plan your wedding, prepare for your marriage!

    Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts Relationship experts Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott offer time-tested marriage principles to help couples debunk myths, establish lines of communication, fight a good fight, master money management, and become true soul mates with seven questions to ask before and after you marry.

    Before You Say "I Do" This popular and helpful interactive workbook is designed to strengthen your love relationship and deepen your bond. You'll find all you need for fun and thoughtful discussions as you explore what the Bible teaches about marriage, what makes you feel loved and how to handle conflict.

    What’s the best marital advice you received before tying the knot?

  • What Is It About Small Children?

    Have you noticed the super powers small children wield?

    I was riding the NYC subway one morning, when the doors opened and into the car walked a little child.

    She was maybe 2.

    Instantly, all of us—these defended New Yorkers, all avoiding eye contact, all guarding our space—were transformed. We smiled at her. At her mother. At each other.

    Her gentleness disarmed us. Barriers of race and age and status vanished.

    She changed everything.

    When people asked Jesus, “Who’s the greatest in your Kingdom?” Jesus showed them a little child and said, “Become like this little child.”

    It’s not always all about what we teach children.

    It’s about what they teach us.

    I’ve learned that from writing for children. Writing for children keeps you honest. You have to dig deeper. Work harder. Understand it better. Your job is to distill—to take the profound and make it simple enough for a child to understand.

    When I was writing THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE, I couldn’t rely on jargon. A little child has no concept of what sin is, for instance. I had to find other ways to describe it. I wrote that: sin is not just about breaking the rules, it’s breaking God’s heart; it’s like poison that makes your heart sick and stops it from working properly; it’s like running away from God and hiding in the shadows.

    Writing for children demands nothing short of excellence.

    The funny thing is—if you write with the excellence that children deserve you reach everyone. C S Lewis said: “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.”

    Excellence, it turns out, is the most inclusive thing.

    THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE has broken out of the boundaries typical for a children’s bible storybook—read by college students, theologians, pastors, couples; read in schools, prisons, old people’s homes. (It’s so popular with adults that we have published their own edition: THE STORY OF GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU.)

    I think it has something to do with that place inside of us all that remains a child still, the place God loves to speak to us—the place where we are undefended, humble, open to wonder. Open him. The place that tiny child spoke to us all, in that NYC subway car that morning.

    In THE JESUS STORYBOOK BIBLE I captured the plotline of the Bible. As adults when do we ever hear that plotline? Even if we go to church regularly, we may never hear the whole story in one sitting.

    But when you distill the story down so that you can read it in one sitting, immediately it is startling. Because most of us think we know what the Bible is about—and it’s not good. We think it’s a book of rules you follow so God will love you. Or a book of heroes you copy so God will love you.

    But it’s none of those things.

    It’s most of all a Story.

    The Story Of a God who breaks into History and comes down to rescue his children. A God who moves heaven and earth to be near them, to love them—though it would cost him everything.

    The Story of a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. The Story of a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne—everything—to rescue the one he loves.

    The Bible is simply this: THE STORY OF GOD’S LOVE FOR YOU.

    And I don’t know anyone—young or old—who doesn’t need to hear that story.

    Sally Lloyd-Jones is a New York Times bestselling author whose books include: Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing, a children’s devotional which won the ECPA Christian Book of The Year award in adult inspiration, and The Jesus Storybook Bible, now available in a format for adults with a new design and title, The Story of God's Love for You. Sally also has a new picture book coming this spring, Baby Wren and the Great Gift.

  • Q & A with Logan Wolfram

    FC: Your life has taken you from wife, to mom, to blogger, to CEO and Host of Allume and now to author! What has that journey been like for you?

    LW: Um….pretty nuts actually. If ever there was a person qualified to write about following God curiously into the unknown it’s me! And funny enough I’ve felt completely UNqualified for pretty much all of the tasks…but God, He makes his own set of qualifications for where He takes us and the first one is just “Will you follow me into the unknown?”

    But also, to really answer the question practically, it has taken a lot of shifting within my family and friends to accommodate the changes in pace. I’ve had to ask for lots of grace as I learn to balance new responsibilities that pile on top of the ones that were already there. Some days it means being ok with chicken nuggets for dinner and falling asleep putting my kids to bed at 8pm too. Honestly I’m just trying to steward the moments and the opportunities well so that when I stand before the Lord in the end he says “well done my good and faithful servant.”

    FC: Curious Faith. That is a curious title! How did you land on that for a title and theme of your book?

    LW: I talk about it in the book, but mostly the thought of curiosity as a theme of faith occurred to me when I was watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory one night with my kids. I was looking at these kids in Wonka’s factory and the thought struck me that in these 5 children I saw pieces of myself. Throughout the movie they were disqualified from the tour because of pride, selfishness, gluttony, impatience, etc, and the kid who won the whole kit and caboodle in the end was the one who was humble and curious and trusted the vision of the creator. Once that thought occurred to me, I realized that it totally applies to the Kingdom of God. God calls us to have a childlike faith, and by my estimation, that lands us squarely in the middle of a curious one too!

    FC: Writing a book like this often causes the author to deeply examine their own faith/life. What surprising thing(s) did you learn about yourself while writing Curious Faith?

    LW: Oh mercy! SO MUCH! Writing a book is so hard because I think throughout it’s such a clarifying process too. Not only do I have to wrestle with the Lord on things in my own life, but I have to do it to such a point that I can turn around and sufficiently explain the process and lessons to others. I have to REALLY REALLY learn what I’m talking about, otherwise I just won’t make sense. And also, after writing the book when life just started to get overwhelming, I’ll be honest and say pieces of me started to lose my own curious faith (which feels practically blasphemous to say that I lost my own curiosity after writing about it), but I went back and reread my own book and God used the testimony of my own words to reignite my own faith. It’s sort of like you write all this and then the enemy comes after you and the Lord allows it as if to say, “Did you mean what you wrote?” So the rubber of faith means the road of living and in the end what I can tell you is that “YES…I meant every word and still do!”

    FC: You say you want to help readers to “rescue your now”? What exactly does that look like?

    LW: It means that there is manna for today. There are blessings of God to uncover NOW. That even in the midst of not knowing where we are going, we can still be curious about what God has for us right where we are. In the book I wrote it this way and I think it sums it up, but “The certainty of our faith isn’t found in where we are going, but in the ONE we are following.” When you know WHOM you’re following, your now…your today…and even your unknown tomorrow can be rescued and given new hope!

    FC: If there is one idea you really want your readers to grasp from reading Curious Faith, what would that be?

    LW: Ack…that’s so hard! I wrote nearly 250 pages and I hope lots of it sticks! But the biggest thing I hope is that people fall in love with the Lord all over again. I pray that they remember who He is to us and who we are to Him…because it’s from that place of security that we walk in the freedom of a curious and open-handed life. When we remember that, and we apply it throughout different circumstances, we really do rediscover hope and possibility.

    FC: Speaking of reading, we would love to know what you are reading right now?

    LW: Right now I’m actually doing the Open Your Bible study from my sweet friends Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams of SheReadsTruth and I love it! Also as an author I get lots of books in the mail so I have a big stack that I’m desperate to get through faster than I have time to do! I got a book in the mail recently called Praying Upside Down by Kelly O’Dell Stanley and honestly I have a huge heart for prayer and was intrigued by it. It’s really good so far!

    FC: So…..Curious Faith is releasing on 3/1. Do you have any plans after that? Another book in the making? Big family vacation?

    LW: Oh heavens I actually hope to sit still for a little bit. I’ll be returning from CHINA on the night of March 1 because my little brother is getting married on Feb 27th! He has been living and working in China for a few years and is marrying a precious gal who is Chinese, so we are loading up the whole crew and heading to China. I’m contracted for another book but plan to take a good while before diving into that. I always want to write out of the overflow, so I plan to be intentional about taking time to fill back up after all this book fun too!

    FC: We are so excited about Curious Faith and appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today. In closing, we’d love to ask how we can be praying for you and your family?

    LW: You know, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that the enemy doesn’t like when people follow hard after God. And if you’re following hard and being super public and inviting others to do the same, it just about puts a target on your back. When I feel the fiery arrows I figure I must be doing something right for the Kingdom of Heaven, but it can sure make the day to day messier and harder. And my family has seen that increase significantly since I started writing this book. And the closer it has gotten to launching, the more complicated things all around us have gotten too. Mostly I’d love to ask you to pray that our faith would continue to increase, that our family would grow stronger through the things the Lord asks us to walk into together, and that Jesus would be magnified even in our messy moments! And for stewardship of this all. It is my heart’s desire that I steward this opportunity in such a way that I honor the Lord and that the Kingdom expands because of my obedience in doing the small part God is asking me to do.

  • A Place to Begin When You Don’t Know Where to Begin

    Liz Curtis Higgs FEBRUARY 19, 2016

    A Place to Begin When You Don’t Know Where to Begin LIZ CURTIS HIGGS

    "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1 (NIV)

    A cold February night many winters ago. Snow was falling thick and fast, blowing across my windshield. Not far ahead I saw the glowing lights of a bookstore.

    Liz, you drove through a snowstorm to buy a book? I did. But it wasn’t just any book.

    Minutes earlier, seated in a toasty warm office, I’d confessed my sins (well, most of them) to the pastor of the church I’d started attending. I told him enough to get my point across, to convince him I was a "Bad Girl."

    The pastor gently said, "So, you lived a worldly life."

    I was confused. "No, I did all that stuff in America."

    He smiled. Then he prayed and encouraged me to read the book of John.

    I bolted out of his office, intent on buying a Bible right then and there, snow or no snow. The bookstore was deserted. The cashier was freaked out about the weather. But I found what I was looking for: the biggest, thickest study Bible in stock.

    Safely back home, I opened my new Bible and read today’s key verse: "In the beginning was the Word …" (John 1:1a, NIV). Um … did this mean back when God created the earth? No, even before that. "Before the world began, the Word was there" (John 1:1a, ERV).

    So, God wasn’t talking about a printed book filled with words. He was talking about His Son.

    I kept reading. "And the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1b, NIV). Father and Son, together with the Holy Spirit, bound throughout eternity. Three in one, like water in three forms: liquid, vapor and ice.

    I couldn’t believe so much mind-boggling truth was packed into a single verse. Is the whole Bible like this? I wondered.

    Sitting there in my drafty old apartment, where central heat was little more than a rumor, I let the truth of John 1:1 sink in, warmed by the words and what they revealed about this God I was only beginning to understand.

    Then I read the next verse. And the next. I inhaled the book of John, then the Psalms, then the letters of Paul. I couldn’t get enough, didn’t want to stop.

    As the months went by, I feared my enthusiasm for the Bible might wear thin. That once I’d read each page, the words wouldn’t be as exciting the second time, let alone the tenth time.

    Seriously, Liz? Nothing could be further from the truth! Every time I read a familiar verse, God reveals a richer, deeper meaning. And when I find a new-to-me passage? Pure joy.

    Beloved, is that how reading the Bible is for you? An ongoing journey of discovery, an endless adventure? Or has it become a duty, a task, something to be checked off on your daily to-do list?

    Maybe it’s time to change that.

    All over the world, Bibles are waiting to be opened. On shelves and under beds, on top of coffee tables and inside dresser drawers. Waiting, waiting. In your house. In my house. In lots of people’s houses.

    When we finally dive into God’s Word, a light comes on. Things inside us fall into place. Our hearts begin to heal from years of brokenness. We have a new reason to get out of bed in the morning. We’re drawn to a place of worship where we can serve and to a body of people we can love.

    One book can do all that? It can. It will. Just begin. Go slowly. One verse a day, maybe two. Break each verse into phrases, then into individual words. What is God saying? What does it mean? How could you apply it to your life right now, this very day?

    Heavenly Father, help me keep my Bible close at hand and foremost in my thoughts. Prompt me to reach for Your timeless Word every day and open it with joyful anticipation of what You will show me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY: Psalm 130:5, "I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope." (NIV)

    Deuteronomy 30:14, "… the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it." (NIV)

    1 John 2:5a, "… if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them." (NIV)

    RELATED RESOURCES: Liz Curtis Higgs’ latest Bible study, It’s Good to Be Queen, explores the queen of Sheba’s journey to Jerusalem in search of something rare and precious: wisdom.

    REFLECT AND RESPOND: Most of us really want to spend more time in God’s Word. Is finding a moment to yourself your greatest challenge? Choosing a Bible translation? Figuring out where to begin? Suppose you started with just five minutes, get the First 5 app or use a Bible you already own and opened it to the book of John. What might happen?

    © 2016 by Liz Curtis Higgs. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries 630 Team Rd., Suite 100 Matthews, NC 28105 www.Proverbs31.org

  • Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson

    Many parents want to see positive character traits in their children but wonder how to instill them. As stars of the hit reality show "Duck Dynasty", Korie and Willie Robertson receive loads of letters and messages from fans asking how did they raise such good kids. As Korie will tell you, it wasn't easy, but it is possible. A straightforward approach to parenting, Strong and Kind helps parents identify the character traits they want to see in their children along with the tools for putting them in place.

    Strong and Kind by Korie Robertson

    At Family Christian, we believe strongly in the power of Godly parents who place God first in their lives and strive to raise their children to have a personal relationship with Jesus as well.  To help you along in your journey, we would like to offer four of our customers the chance to win their own copy of Strong and Kind.  Entering is easy...just use the form below.

  • Interview with Alex Kendrick & Stephen Kendrick

    Below is an interview with Stephen and Alex Kendrick regarding their recent book, The Battle Plan for Prayer, which was written as a supplement to the hit movie, War Room.

    What is the intent of the new book?

    The Battle Plan for Prayer is meant to inspire, engage, and call the reader to an active, strategic, and passionate prayer life. We urgently need the church to pray in unity in these crucial days. (Alex)

    To inspire people with the importance of being devoted to prayer, equip them with Biblically training to help them pray more faithfully and effectively, and call them to unite with other believers and ask God to move mightily in our generations and bring healing to our families, churches, and nation. (Stephen)

    What is the single most important reason to have a prayer strategy?

    The book of James tells us that the “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much”. It’s our daily connection and communication with Almighty God. We would say that it’s a lifeline to the Father in our spiritual life.

    You can’t hit what you are not aiming at! When we pray Biblically, strategically, and specifically, we position ourselves to maximize the impact of our praying and to more readily see God glorified through the answers. (Stephen)

    How does the book teach preparing a prayer battle plan?

    The book will walk the reader through “boot camp” for an understanding of what prayer is, and how we are meant to use it. Then, we teach applications of biblical prayer with a focus on praying strategically in our various areas of life. In this manner, we learn to “fight” in prayer. (Alex)

    We inspire people with the stories and scriptures of answered prayer, train them in the fundamental locks and keys of effective prayer, then we give them 6 different tools they can use to help them pray. (Stephen)

    What scripture was the catalyst for the project?

    In Matthew 6:6, Jesus teaches us to go into our inner room and to pray to our Father in secret. Then, God rewards what is done in secret. So He desires for us to draw closer to Him in our secret place, and not just when people are watching us. (Alex)

    Matthew 6:6, James 5:16, Colossians 4:2, 1 Timothy 2:1-5 (Stephen)

    How has creating War Room the movie and the book projects impacted your prayer life?

    The more we study prayer, the more we are driven to make it a larger part of our life. It’s meant to go along with the Word of God in maturing us in our faith and making us bold in our calling. Both Stephen and myself have increased our time with the Lord in prayer. We’re also helping our families to do the same thing. We want to be warriors ready for His orders, not lukewarm believers that spend most of our time on the bench. (Alex)

    I have learned much more about prayer and have truly been inspired and challenged working on this movie and book. It has caused me to pray more joyfully, specifically, and with a greater faith - trusting that my Heavenly Father will answer in His timing.

    We serve a mighty God who answers prayer. He is not unaware, unable, uncaring, unwilling, or unlikely to answer the prayers of His children.

    Writing The Battle Plan for Prayer has caused me to pray with greater freedom and confidence in the Lord.

    Ephesians 3:12 - In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (NIV) (Stephen)

    2016BookOfYear
  • Q&A with Steven Furtick

    In our interview with Steven Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina, we talked about his upcoming book (Un)Qualified—asking why he chose to write on this topic now and how it is possible that he feels unqualified with the success he has had.

    (Un)Qualified

    1. You lead one of the country’s fastest growing churches with more than 20,000 attendees and you’ve now written your fourth book. Why are you addressing the topic of feeling unqualified now?

    I’m writing on this now because it doesn’t matter if you're preaching to a group of 10 sweaty middle schoolers at a youth group lock-in or if you’re preaching to an arena of people at a church leadership conference – the feeling of being unqualified and inadequate is something you can’t ever really outrun. At one point or another, we all feel ridiculously unqualified for what God has called us to do. That‘s okay. Actually, to be used by God, it’s essential. God loves to work with unqualified people.

    2. Why is it that we often misunderstand what it means to be qualified?

    I think it goes back to our earliest form of qualification – grade school. Pass, fail. A-plus, C-minus, F. These letters mean something to us. They were our first measurement of success, and this whole business of judging and assessing and qualifying is deeply ingrained in our culture and psyche. We constantly analyze and summarize each other. We develop our own secret, subjective ways of determining whether people measure up, and we do the same to ourselves. The problem is we will never be perfect enough or fail proof enough to be at peace with ourselves on this basis of qualification alone.

    3. You preach every week in front of large crowds, how is it possible that you question your ability to fulfill your calling?

    I question it because I know me. I think we all secretly fight feelings of inadequacy, insufficiency, and incompetence. We fear we are not enough – whatever that means in our particular situations. I heard once that most people, particularly men, go through life wondering how long it will be before everyone realizes they’re a fraud. Not in the sense that they’re insincere, but just that they have no idea what they’re doing. I relate to that more than I can explain.

    4. You make the statement,  “God can’t bless who you pretend to be.” What do you mean by that?

    It was a thought that hit me while I was preparing a series of sermons on Jacob. I mean, Jacob was a con, a liar and a manipulator – you know, the model citizen for Sunday school stories – and yet God chose him to be one of the pillars of our faith and one of the fathers of the nation of Israel. He was simultaneously one of the most important figures in scripture and one of the most screwed up.

    I was reading the scene in the Bible where Jacob dressed up like his brother Esau to get blessed by his father Isaac. And it worked. Kind of. He spent the next twenty-one years on the run – from his family, his homeland, and ultimately, himself.

    It wasn’t until Jacob admitted his true identity while wrestling at the Jabbok that God was able to bless Jacob the way he wanted to. And that’s when God changed his name, on the basis of his true identity, not his persona or construct.

    And as I’m sitting there studying this, I realized that we’re all like Jacob. We find ourselves pretending to be someone we’re not. We’re thinking if we manipulate our image just right, it will bring the accomplishments or acceptance we’re so desperate to receive. We think our weaknesses are the problem and faking it till we make it is the answer. But God sees it so differently. He longs to bless us. The real us, with all our ups and downs. The version of us that limps and loses, but refuses to lie about it. Once we come to him in that way, His truth begins to set us free to become who we really are.

    5. You ask readers to fill in the blank to the statement “I am ­____. What word or phrase do you use to fill in that blank and why?

    Oh man. It depends on the day or even the minute, honestly. I know the answer I’m supposed to say is “I am chosen” or “I am loved” or something super pastoral, but the reality is I’m schizophrenic when it comes to the word I fill in the blank with. The words I find myself saying cover the whole spectrum too: I am unqualified. I am stupid. I am strong. I am driven. Screwed up. Loyal. Stuck. Hurting. Overwhelmed. Blessed. Capable. Disappointed. Hopeful. Jaded. Content. So many of my words circle around my weaknesses, but at the same time, I know God has equipped me, and remembering that helps shift my thinking. Making that choice, moment to moment, is what the book is all about!

    6. What is your recommendation for someone who is struggling to come to terms with his or her weaknesses and ability to change?

    The more I study the Bible the more convinced I am that we need a fuller understanding – not just of God – but of ourselves. And we need to give less weight to our opinion of our weaknesses and problems. Don’t give up. Keep showing up. I truly believe the key to change isn’t always doing something new, but often in doing the right things over and over again. Change isn’t something that happens overnight. There are the exceptions, sure. But for the rest of us, change is a long, messy process. But if we don’t show up every day, and decide that today is going to build on the success we had yesterday, and so on, then our change will never last. And at the same time, when it comes to maturing us, God has His own timetable, and the Christian walk isn’t really about a finish line. Faith can’t be reduced to a goal or an achievement. It‘s an ongoing relationship with Jesus. It‘s a progression of growing and changing, of embracing and replacing, of listening to God‘s voice and living out who he says we are. It‘s a process, and it will last the rest of our lives.

    7. What patterns do you see in the Bible of God using those who don’t outwardly appear to be qualified for what he has asked them to do?

    Well, just think about how many of our Bible heroes were tortured souls with marked pasts that would label them unqualified by our standards. You’ve probably heard a version of this before: Noah was a drunk. Moses was a coward and a murderer. David was an adulterer. Paul was chief proponent in the killing of many Christians. Yet, these are some of the men God used. Don’t even get me started on Rahab!

    Look, God has a habit of picking people who have been passed over. It’s just proof that God’s qualification system is totally different than ours. The very people we’re so quick to discount and disqualify are often the earthen vessels in whom God pours the greatest measure of His glory.

    You can order your copy of (Un)Qualified from Family Christian today!

  • Exclusive Interview with Mark Batterson

    Mark Batterson

    Family Christian: We are excited about your new book “If”. The idea of using your worries as a springboard to a new future is an intriguing idea.   What was your inspiration for this book?

    Mark: Everybody has a favorite chapter in the Bible. Romans 8 is mine. It’s got everything! It starts with no condemnation in Christ. It ends with nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. And right in the middle it says all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose! But the key verse to me is Romans 8:31—If God is for us, who can be against us. That’s the game-changer! There are 1,784 ifs in the Bible, but that’s my favorite.

    Family Christian: “If” is filled with great content, but if you could condense this down to one primary thought for readers to take away what would it be?

    Mark: God is for you every day, in every way!

    Family Christian: Same question Mark, but this time for Pastors. What do you hope Pastors, or those serving in ministry will take away from “If”?

     Mark: Pastors set the tone, set the standard. When you create a culture where people actually believe that God is for them, the church turns into a faith-filled atmosphere where anything can happen!

    Family Christian: Speaking of pastors, this is Clergy Appreciation Month. Do you have a suggestion for how lay people can show appreciation for their pastors/ministry leaders?

    Mark: I love gift cards! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

    Family Christian: Could you share with us one encouraging verses for Pastors to focus on during Clergy Appreciation month?

    Mark: Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Emphasis on I and my. It’s His church, not ours. And if we can stay out of the way of what God wants to do, some amazing things can happen! We say it this way at NCC: if you stay humble and stay hungry, there is nothing God cannot do in you or through you.

    Family Christian: We know you are a talented author, so we have to ask…what are YOU reading right now?

    Mark: I had a little sabbatical this summer, first one in nineteen years of pastoring. So I had the chance to do lots of reading! I love biographies—helps me put my story in perspective. So I read biographies on George Washington, the Wright Brothers, and Andrew Jackson to name a few. I’m also at a place where I’m really trying to manage priorities and establish boundaries that are healthy and holy. I loved Essentialism by Greg McKeown and the classic book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries.

    Family Christian: Finally, we’d love to know how we can be praying for you and your family Mark.

    Mark: I have the joy and privilege of pastoring a church in the nation’s capital. Frankly, we’re praying for revival to start here. Why not? As we head into a presidential election year, I know all eyes will be on DC. I also know that our hope is not in the government, but in the King of Kings.

    "If" by Mark Batterson

    Order your copy of "If" today or pick this title up in your local Family Christian store.   You may visit our website to find other books by Mark Batterson as well.

  • Interview with author Irene Hannon

    Here at Family Christian we were fortunate enough to score an interview with Irene Hannon and discuss her newest book, Buried Secrets.

     

     Family Christian: We are excited about your new book Buried Secrets.  This book has quite a bit of medical content.  Our readers would like to know who you bounced your medical ideas off of?

    I spend HUGE amounts of time on the Net researching my suspense books. That’s how I found most of the medical information in this book. However, I always vet technical subject matter with real-life experts. Through the years I’ve developed a great list of medical sources who provide answers that elude me on online. For this book, I also consulted a forensic anthropologist and a botanist, as well as law-enforcement sources.

    Family Christian:  This book is the first in a series.  Do you know how many will be in this series?

    There will be three books in the Men of Valor series. Each of the brothers will have his own story. Lance will be up next in Thin Ice, which will be out in January. Lance is the middle brother, and during his first week on the job with the FBI after leaving Delta Force, a bizarre case hits his desk. Fortunately, he’s ably assisted by FBI veteran Mark Sanders (the hero of An Eye for an Eye in my Heroes of Quantico series). So those readers who’ve been following me for a while will see a familiar face!

    Family Christian: Buried Secrets is very intense.  Was it hard for you to step out of the writing mode, and go back to normal life, after your book was published?

    Actually, I finished the book long before it was released (manuscripts are due at the publisher about a year before publication). But yes, when I finish an intense suspense book it can be difficult to decompress. Ideally, I like to work on one of my contemporary romances next. Those are emotionally intense, but not as adrenaline laced. Depending on my publication schedule, however, I sometimes have to plunge right back into suspense. One thing I should point out—while the suspense books can be very intense, as you noted, there are definitely touches of humor. Often it springs from the relationship between the characters that tie the series together—in this case, the three brothers, all of whom have special forces backgrounds. They’re very close…but also very competitive. I had a lot of fun writing their dialogue.

    Family Christian:  What is the heart and soul behind this new series?  What do you hope readers take away?

    Each of the stories, of course, is different, and each sends different message. But the thread running through all of the books is the importance of strong family bonds. The McGregor men might be super competitive and engage in lots of good-natured teasing, but when the heat is on or one of them is in trouble, they’re one hundred percent there for each other. More broadly, I tried to infuse these books with hope, which is a key component of my stories. I want to assure readers that no matter how bad things get, there’s always the possibility of a happy ending. And I also try to give them a better appreciation for the tremendous power of love…in all its form…to transform lives.

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