Did you know?
    All of our earnings go to Christian charities.
    Click to learn more about us!
  • SHOP
    View the latest sales and promotions going on now!
    When you shop, you give.
  • GIVE
    See our latest Giving Challenge.
  • GROW
    Our blog shares devotionals, interviews, contests & more—all to help you grow in your faith.

  • 1:27 Rewards

Family Christian

  • Spirit-Filled Leaders Love

    Posted on April 20, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.” Acts 6:3


    Leaders, full of the Spirit of God, represent the Lord well in how they serve others. A leader led by the Lord loves well. They look beyond what a person can do for them, and seek to understand what they can do for their colleagues. Love asks what motivates others to feel appreciated. Is it time off, a kind word, an unexpected bonus, or just knowing they are cared about? A spirit-filled servant of the Lord loves well, as a boss under God’s authority. 

    Furthermore, we may find ourselves in a position of responsibility to choose leaders at our church, in our community or for civic duties. This process of wisely qualifying a leader cannot become a popularity contest concerning charisma, charm, and who communicates the best. We are wise to prayerfully select those who serve for the pleasure of the customers or the constituents. Look for leaders who lovingly look out for others first.

    “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.” James 2:8-9

    How are you doing as a leader who loves well? Yes, creating job opportunities is a good first step, but what about creating a culture of love? Not a workplace of mediocrity, but one of loving accountability. Team members are not made to believe in Jesus, but everyone is expected to behave like Jesus. As a leader do you model treating everyone with dignity? Janitors and Junior Associates alike receive your same respectful response.

    So, how do you remain consistent in leading a Spirit-filled life? It is a daily surrender to your Savior Jesus and death to self. You are a leaky vessel that needs the Lord’s infusion of grace to fill you back up to the brim. Yesterday’s filling cannot compensate for today’s empty feeling. Engage your faith in humble confession for the Spirit’s fullness and He will fill you to overflowing. Like a sprinkler refreshes grass, the Spirit waters your soul, so seek His fullness. Spirit-filled leaders love in the power of the Lord’s love.

    “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” John 6:63

    Prayer: Lord whom are you calling me to love and serve in Your name?

    Related Readings: Job 32:18; Ezekiel 37:1; Luke 10:21; Acts 11:24

    Post/Tweet this today: Yesterday’s filling cannot compensate for today’s empty feeling. #Spirit #filled

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Eternal Examination

    Posted on April 19, 2012 by Family Christian

    “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.” Proverbs 5:21


    There is an eternal eye that watches our every move. Almighty God is not exhausted from examination, because He knows we need the accountability of His watchful eye. We do better when we know Deity is watching. This is why you train your children to be accountable to God, so when they move out and move on, they fear God, and they are motivated to love and obey Him. You can’t follow your teenagers and young adult children around but the Lord does. 

    This is how the Holy Spirit is able to check a woman’s conscience, or prick a man’s pride. Every good or bad deed is in full view of your Heavenly Father for your benefit. He sees what a situation will bring, and seeks to guide you in the right direction. This is why prayer is imperative to gain God’s perspective. An eternally examined life is a gateway to knowing God. Live your life ever mindful you are under your Master’s microscope of concern, and you are freed by faith in Him.

    “For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

    God’s accountability is not bondage, but freedom. You live within God’s guidelines, but with tremendous freedom and creativity on the playing field of Providence. It’s those who stray into sin who are snared by its seduction. There are no secrets with your Savior.  Every action will be weighed and brought into judgment.

    Therefore, come clean with Christ in confession, and claim a clear conscious. Do not let pride keep you from pronouncing your blind spots to friends who will lovingly yet boldly bring them to your attention. There is no such thing as an unexamined life, as the Lord is looking. Behave in a way that makes Him smile, as He gazes on your life with humble holiness. Indeed, the Lord looks on for your blessing and benefit.

    “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:13, NASB

    Prayer: Which of my blind spots do I need to invite a friend to ask me about with regularity?

    Related Readings: 2 Samuel 22:25; Job 31:4-9; Psalm 139:1-12; Revelation 2:18-23

    Post/Tweet this today: An eternally examined life is a gateway to knowing God. #examined #life

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Source of Grief

    Posted on April 18, 2012 by Family Christian

    “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah. Genesis 26:34-35


    Sometimes a child becomes a source of grief because they choose to marry someone who does not meet their parent’s approval. In fact, the more the mom and dad express their disapproval the more adamant the child becomes in dismissing his parent’s wishes. When relational equity is overdrawn the opportunity to influence another vanishes for a season. This season of distress and disagreement can permanently scar a family. 

    So, someone has to be mature in the face of immaturity. Even when we are insulted and rejected by an impetuous young adult with our same last name, we are obligated by God’s grace to rise above demanding our own way. Disowning (real or perceived) is not an option for a family full of love and forgiveness. Yes, rejection is painful—in the same way the Holy Spirit grieves over our unwise choices, so we grieve over our foolish child.

    “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.” Hebrews 12:16-17

    Furthermore, here is a tender word of wisdom to adult children: honor your parents by asking their concerns over the person you love, whom you may desire to marry. Yes, you have the power to fill their hearts with joy by including them in your prayerful process, or you can drive a dagger into their hearts by rejecting their advice, just to spite them. Marriage is your decision under God and under the authority of your father and mother. Grief generated out of youthful foolishness is a relational plague to people bound by blood.

    Lastly, look to your own heart and consider how you may have hurt your parents or wounded your son or daughter. Be intentional in building conversational bridges by seeking to understand and value their interests. Pray more and judge less, lest love gets lost in the confusing equation of shame plus blame. Forgiveness is the fuel that reignites a family’s love for one another. Humble yourself first and watch the grace of God work wonders!

    “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14-15

    Prayer: How can I honor my parents in my decision-making process? How can I relationally invest in my adult child?

    Related Readings: 1 Samuel 20:34; Isaiah 63:10; Romans 9:13; Hebrews 11:20

    Post/Tweet this today: When relational equity is overdrawn the opportunity to influence another vanishes. #invest #relationally

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Midlife Crisis

    Posted on April 17, 2012 by Family Christian

    “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love”. Proverbs 5:18-19


    A midlife crisis means you are most likely discontent. Your may be discontent with your wife, your work, and your car. However, the Bible is very clear about being content with what or who God has blessed you with, especially your spouse. His desire is for you to want what you have, and not obsess over what you don’t have. Remember the bride of your youth, and celebrate her coming out party.
    Perhaps you married her because she was cute, cuddly, cared about you, and she loved Christ. Those are compelling characteristics that hopefully have grown over the years. Be joyful in Jesus, and grateful to God that He has given you a woman who walks with Him, and wants to be with you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth, as she keeps you young and yearning for Yahweh.

    “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11
    Moreover, be captivated by the love of your wife. Her capacity and willingness to love you will grow, as you consistently and unconditionally love her. What wife will not embrace her husband, who serves her like His Savior Jesus serves? Love and respect creates love and respect, as it is a Christ-like cycle. Be captivated by the love of your wife, knowing she was given to you by God. You chose her, so be pleased with your choice; in His providence He pronounced you “husband and wife”.

    Lastly, a wife captivates her husband with her kind character, and attractive looks. You wooed the husband of your youth by your sweet spirit, your delightful smell, and your inviting beauty. Be very intentional to make your love interesting to your man who may easily get bored in the bedroom. Let the distractions of life, and the activities of raising children rank second to your captivating love for each other. The “grass is greener” is the will of God, which means remaining faithful to one another.
    “And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:5b

    Prayer: How can I love my wife in a way that brings alive her captivating love?

    Related Readings: Song of Songs 4:5; Ecclesiastes 9:9; I Corinthians 7:2; Ephesians 5:28

    Post/Tweet this today: Men and women miss a mid-life crisis when they find the Lord and each other.

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Spiritual Labor

    Posted on April 16, 2012 by Family Christian

    "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58


    What is spiritual labor? It is work done with the Lord and for the Lord. It is a new mother rocking her baby, while she prays God's blessing over her little one. It is a blue-collar laborer, who, in Jesus name, is diligent in his or her duties. They are punctual when others are late and they are eager to work more, when others look for ways to work less. Spiritual labor sets high standards of service for the Lord. 

    Spiritual labor is an executive, a manager or administrative assistant who will not compromise their character to make more cash. Their word is their bond and their behavior points other people to Jesus. We are spiritual laborers when we do our work first and foremost for our heavenly Father. We stand firm in faith-motivated work and when we wake up every day grateful to represent Jesus in our job.

    "We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:3

    This describes your public spiritual labor, but you are also called to be consistent in your private spiritual labor. Your personal empowerment by the Holy Spirit gives you courage for Christ and gumption for God. Your quieted soul quietly influences your noisy world. You go deep with Jesus in prayer and He expands your influence at home, in your community, and at your workplace.

    Indeed, your spiritual labor is laborious. Thus, as you perspire for the Lord, pray to persevere through rejection and do not be surprised if your integrity irritates others. You continue to toil in trust, even when results are not immediately evident. Your higher calling from Christ fuels your service for Him. Let nothing move you from moving forward with God. Your spiritual labor in the Lord is not in vain, as it brings joy and satisfaction to you, Him, and friends!

    "This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things." 1 Timothy 4:9-11

    Prayer: Lord, by Your grace, I pray I will stand firm in my spiritual service for You and others.

    Related Readings: 1 Corinthians 3:8; Philippians 1:21-23; 2:15-17; Revelation 14:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Your quieted soul quietly influences your noisy world. #spiritual #labor

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Peace of Mind

    Posted on April 15, 2012 by Family Christian

    I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me. I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side. Psalm 3:5-6


    Peace of mind comes from our Master, Jesus. He is the master of putting our mind at ease with His eternal perspective. It is trust in Him that gives us tranquil thoughts. Without His peace we worry and fret. A peace-less mind is paralyzed by the thought of everything going awry. What can go wrong will go wrong because the odds are stacked against us. Without the peace of Christ we find ourselves with an overwhelming sense of dread, even despair. However, His peace transcends our tentative trust. It bolsters our belief in God. Our Savior extends a sweet sense of peace. In Christ we have peace of mind like a bee in a hive or a dove in the ark. His helmet of salvation protects our peaceful thoughts. 

    Jesus is not stingy with His peace. He gives it liberally and lovingly (John 14:27). Beware of the fleeting peace the world offers. It is a very cheap substitute. The world’s peace is circumstantial; His peace transcends circumstances. The world’s peace is temporal; His peace is eternal. The world’s peace leads you to escape from God and reality; His peace leads you to engage with both. The world’s peace produces a limited perspective; His peace results in a robust and real view of life. The world’s peace leaves a residue of guilt and bondage; His peace leaves you forgiven and free. The world’s
    peace cannot remove fear; His peace overcomes fear with hope. The world’s peace is based on feelings; His peace is grounded in faith. Therefore, the man or woman of wisdom receives His peace.

    Once you apply the peace of Christ, you have peace of mind. Peace of mind gives you a platform for living purposively. Because you live purposively and peacefully you garner influence with others. People are attracted to the peaceful. They want to learn how to find and apply peace to their life circumstances. Your friends or family may not acknowledge it, but your peace is proof of God’s existence. Peace is a powerful apologetic for the Almighty. Only Christ can explain your calm during a crisis. Because you lean on Him, others want to lean on you. You are a lean-to for your Lord. So use prayerfully this platform of peace for ministry. People will line up for peace of mind.

    Lastly, use your peace of mind as a gauge for God’s will. If you have peace, proceed. But if you lack peace, heed. God’s peace is a green light to go forward. The absence of His peace is a red light to refrain. Therefore be sensitive to the Spirit’s peaceful prodding to go or stay. Either way, you are OK as long as the Lord’s peace is preeminent. Peace gives you a state of mind that thinks clearly and wisely. Peace positions you for right thinking. Do not impulsively barrel ahead without peace of mind. Emotions can play tricks on our trust and good sense.

    Therefore, check your feelings with faith. Slow down and make sure you have a peace about moving forward. Stand up to the pressure of people. They do not have to live with your decision; you do. Peace is God’s protection from unwise choices. His peace is a prescription for success. So slow down and pray. Pray for the peace of God, which transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Peace reveals His will. Peace of mind does not fear, but hopes in Him.

    Taken from Reading #2 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: If you have peace, proceed. If you lack peace, heed. #peace

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Pure Joy

    Posted on April 14, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  James 1:2-3


    Pure joy is the position and privilege of the person who follows Jesus Christ. Ironically, Jesus-generated joy is discovered and developed in the face of trials. Trials are designed to bring out God’s best and, consequently, your best as well. You’re going through your current trial by fire so that your faith can become more sincere and real during adversity’s affliction. This is your time to experience God’s faithfulness, for His joy and contentment are calming. The presence of Christ gives you reassurance and peace. He is the joy-giver, while Satan is the joy-killer. 

    Therefore, you can smile, because your smile, while enduring a trial, is the result of pure joy. It’s pure joy because God can be trusted. It’s pure joy because your faith is real and robust and Christ is faithful. It’s pure joy because you will persevere by faith. Indeed, untested faith is a naïve faith. Until your faith has been refined through various trials, it will remain immature and judgmental. You can understand others’ perspectives and respect them more when you have been broken over your own inadequacies and sins. Trials slow you down enough to allow you to look into the mirror and ask what needs to change. How can you lead and serve your family and friends during this time of unprecedented turmoil and tentativeness? Pure joy comes as a result of your faith changing and growing.

    God is your agent of change. The work of God in and through your life produces pure joy. Change can be painful, but God administers pure joy at the point of your pain. It is the result of the Holy Spirit’s fullness: “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52). Therefore, learn how to accept the pure joy of the Lord. It is available for you to receive. Do not see your present predicament as a setback. Instead, see your current condition as an opportunity—an opportunity to engage more deeply and more fully with your heavenly Father. Sometimes, it takes trials and tests to slow you down enough to look into the joyful face of Jesus. He is the personification of pure joy.

    Jesus understood pure joy because He was focused on following the will of His Father (John 17:4). His heart was full of joy because He knew He was about His Father’s business. Yes, His heart broke at times but He suffered out of joyful obedience (Hebrews 12:2). In the middle of His most adverse circumstance, Jesus still cried out to His heavenly Father. His intimacy with the Father was strengthened during difficulty. No person or circumstance, not even the devil, kept Him from pure joy.

    Invite the pure joy of God to reign over your anxious heart as well. You can smile and place your refined faith in Him. He is building your faith capacity for the long run. The Bible says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Pure joy does not depend on good circumstances; it thrives during trials and tribulations. Unleash the pure joy that already lives within, for He is faithful. Above all, promote pure joy and persevere in its promise.

    Taken from April 20th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Untested faith is naïve faith. #mature #faith

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

  • Fiction writer – True Believer

    Posted on April 13, 2012 by John van der Veen

    Take a heaping dose of the ability to twist a tale of intrigue and suspense, infuse it with the Gospel and cram it into one sweet, petite frame. That’s Terri Blackstock: part Novel-Writing-Powerhouse, all Dedicated Believer. Terri’s no stranger to the realities of living out authentic faith in a fallen world, but she’s learned the art of drawing on her own experiences to connect real people with a real Jesus. We chatted with her recently about all-things-Terri.


    Family Christian: From your bio we know that you grew up in a Christian home and eventually started writing romance novels. How did you get into that genre, and what eventually led to your transition into suspense?


    Terri Blackstock: I became a Christian at age 14 and walked with Christ through my teen years. But when I was in my early 20s I started writing and was really trying to break into the publishing market. At the time, the market was really opening up for romance novels. I told myself going in that I would not write anything that would hurt my Christian conscience – I would write clean love stories. But what happened was that those stories didn’t sell. So eventually in order to sell, I compromised and began writing wrote more and more stuff I had said I would never write. Finally over 13 years and (I think) 32 titles, I came to a place where I was spiritually bankrupt. I was very miserable and almost hoping that the publisher wouldn’t buy my next book (laughs) because I just felt this void. I knew that I wasn’t walking with Christ because what I was doing was pulling me away from Him and pulling other people away because I was creating stumbling blocks for them. I came to a place when I started praying about that and over a number of weeks and months I just felt very convicted to give this up. There was one day when I got down on my knees, repented of what I was writing and asked God to help me to never write anything else that didn’t glorify Him. So from that moment on I have been writing books with a Christian message and, I believe, using my gifts the way God intended me to use them in the first place.


    FC: So did you walk away from romance at that point?


    Terri: I did. I had some outstanding contracts I had to buy back – but that was a problem because I didn’t have the money at the time to pay the publishers back, but it turned out that they owed me more than I owed them, so it all worked out beautifully! It was almost like the moment that I made the decision and told God that I was going to surrender this last aspect of my life to Him, it’s as if He took me by the hand and led me the rest of the way, because doors started opening up into the Christian market. At that time I didn’t know anything about the Christian market, but what I did know was that I was tired of writing romance. I just wanted a clean break from that, so I didn’t want to write Christian romance. I was reading mostly suspense novels at the time so I thought, why don’t I try to write suspense and just see if the Christian readers like it? And they did. So Zondervan gave me a four book contract before I knew it and I’ve been writing for them ever since.


    FC: So you wrote over 30 romance novels, wow. How many Christian novels have you written?


    Terri: I think I’ve written about 40. I’m [somewhere] over 70 – sometimes I lose count because I have taken some of those earlier books and rewritten them, so I never know whether to count them a second time or not. I did extensive rewriting on those. Any of the books that you see from me that are romance novels; those are usually rewritten from my earlier days, but the suspense novels are all since I came to the Christian market.


    FC: What a wonderful story. We’re wondering if you could talk a little about your book, Intervention, as it was particularly close to you. And were there any other books that were especially personal to you?


    Terri: Well, the thing about Intervention is that it’s really about a mother who is trying to save her daughter from drugs. And that came out of my life because I have a daughter who has been struggling for years with drug addiction. When we got to a place where she felt that it was fine for me to write about it, I did. That was SO personal because I poured a lot of my experiences into that book and into the rest of that series… Vicious Cycle is the second book and Downfall, the 3rd book will be out March 6th I believe. I really think that there’s a little of me in every one of my books, because what I find happening when I’m writing is that I will come up with a plot and a story line and then God will do something in my life during the writing of that book, or He’ll deal with me in some way that I learn something and then I think that maybe I’m supposed to pass that on to my readers. Almost every book has that sort of event happen. I can’t say it’s always pleasant but sometimes I just really believe that God is working in a certain way in my life, so I wind up incorporating all that it into the plot. Then I know that the Holy Spirit uses [it] because I hear from readers that those books touch them in a personal way. So it’s not just me being smart enough to do that, it’s the Holy Spirit using what I give Him, multiplying it and making it into something He can use.


    FC: Have you ever felt the need or had an opportunity to move outside of the book realm and share your testimony in a speaking venue?


    Terri: I have done some speaking about it but she is still struggling – she has her ups and downs like any person with addiction. Until I know that we have had this in our rear view for many years I just don’t think I would want to go on a speaking circuit. Ya know, my dream is to do that with her someday – to have her give her testimony would really give hope to families. But at this point we’re just not far enough out of it to be able to do that and I don’t want that kind of thing to wind up being her destruction – so I have been very protective about that. I do speak about it sometimes. It was a very hard thing to write about, it drags up all those memories. It was fiction, but very much of what is in the book really happened in our lives. So it’s a painful thing to write and talk about.


    FC: Of course and it’s good that you’re sensitive to what she needs first and foremost. Switching gears a little, your suspense books certainly have the ability to pull people in. Have you ever been so caught up in one of your own stories that you felt frightened? Did you ever scare yourself?


    Terri: (laughs) Yes that does happen. Ya know, I think one of the reasons I love writing suspense is because I am so easily frightened, and my mind always goes to the worst possible thing (laughs). Like, if I’m letting the cat out I’m thinking someone could grab the door – I’m always on alert for that kinda thing. When I was writing my book Predator, I was just learning social networking and I was alarmed at the number of people who were dumping so much personal information onto their Facebook and Twitter pages. So I wrote a book that would deliberately scare them to death and understand how dangerous this is. But I do have to say it scared me too (laughs), so I did make changes to the way I was posting things and pictures – the kinds of things that would give more information than I wanted to.


    When I really decided to write [the book], I had been working in prison ministry for many years. And one of the girls from jail got out and posted on my Facebook wall how to reach her, what her number was, where she was living. And I just almost had a heart attack. Of all of the people who are so vulnerable – someone who just got out of jail. I quickly deleted it and sent her a message to please be careful and then I thought, ya know I’m just going to have to write a book about this (laughs), because that is really my way of communicating with people. When I’m passionate about something I’m able to convey it in a story and people really seem to get it. I did get lots of mail from people telling me that they’ve changed their habits. So hopefully it will save some lives.


    FC: So are your family members fans of your books?


    Terri: Well, my husband is one of those people that loves to read non-fiction, but when he reads fiction he falls asleep (laughs), so he only ‘reads’ my books through audio. That’s a good medium for him and he enjoys them that way. Two of my three kids don’t read anything I write (laughs), but one of them does so, ya know, what can you do? I think they grew up watching me do it and it’s kinda like knowing how the sausage is made. You just don’t have an appetite for it when you saw it all your life! (laughs)


    FC: That’s a great – and painfully true – analogy. Haha. So what do you do when you want a break from writing?

    Terri: Well, I am very active at church – I teach a precept class, Kay Arthur courses. I love that – I’ve been involved in that for years. I also lead a support group for parents of prodigals, so I’m busy at church a couple nights a week. I [also] love home decorating. When I have time and want to do something different it’s usually something related to my house or watching something on TV related to decorating, so I guess that would be my hobby.


    FC: So you’re a Martha Stewart junkie?

    Terri: Well, I like to watch what she does, but I’m not really that organized. I can’t pull it off myself, but I like to watch other people do it.


    FC: So do you read?

    Terri: I do read. It depends on what I’m writing at the time. When I’m writing a book I usually try not to read fiction because it interferes with my voice. I find myself writing the way that the other author is writing, so I mostly just read when I travel. But I love Christian fiction and I have favorites that I like to read. While I’m writing a book I’m usually reading non-fiction and doing research for that book.


    FC: Do you want to recommend any authors you like?


    Terri: Yeah! In the suspense genre for the Christian market, I love Brandilyn Collins, James Scott Bell, Bill Myers, Colleen Coble, authors like that. In women’s fiction I love writers like Robin Lee Hatcher, Tamera Alexander, Angela Hunt, Mindy Clark – just a ton of them. You can find anything in the Christian market today that you can find in the general market. If you like science fiction you can find that in the Christian stores. We’ve come a long way in the last 15 or 16 years that I’ve been in this market.


    FC: For sure. Alright, really hard question next… Is it pumpkin spice latte or peppermint mocha that you most go for this time of year?


    Terri: Ya know what, neither one! I am a tea drinker. So I would probably go with an English breakfast tea or a hot chocolate, but I am not a coffee drinker. Anything that even tastes of coffee I am not interested in.


    FC: Would you consider yourself to be a Southern belle?

    Terri: Yeah definitely. Anyone who knows me I think would say that.


    FC: There’s a lot of people in this building who are huge fans of Terri Blackstock. You could probably come out with your own version of the Yellow Pages and I’m sure people would be ecstatic over it. You do a fantastic job and we’re excited about what you’re doing. Is there anything else you wanted to say before we let you go today?


    Terri: I just want to thank Family. They were really instrumental in getting me started. We had a big promotion with my first novel and we sent postcards from the character to the Family employees, and then we surprised them later with the manuscript. They created a lot of word of mouth buzz which really helped me because I was coming from a different market and had been using a pseudonym. Family really helped me get the word out.


    FC: Thanks Terri! We’re so happy to know that and grateful to have been a part.


    *Congratulations to Terri for earning a spot on the Library Journal’s Top Ten Best Books List of 2011 for Shadow in Serenity. What a great honor for a great author!

    This post was posted in Books, Interviews and was tagged with Terri Blackstock, Fiction

  • Taking the Road Less Traveled

    Posted on April 13, 2012 by John van der Veen

    If the mark of authentic faith is being a light in the darkness, filmmakers Will Bakke, Michael Allen and Alex Carroll have flipped on a searchlight. When these twenty-something friends decided that what they “knew” about Jesus just wasn’t enough anymore, they set out to find answers to some tough questions, documenting the journey as they went. We caught up with Beware of Christians director Will Bakke to discuss their two illuminating films, how Riot Studios came to be, and what he believes is the hope for America…

    Family Christian: To start us out, could you give us a brief synopsis about (your production company) Riot Studios?

    Will Bakke: We actually formed Riot Studios shortly after completion of our film Beware of Christians. Once we finished the film we didn’t really know where it was going to take us – we [had actually] made it just for our friends and families, the community we’d grown up in and the colleges we were at, not having [realized] that there was such a unique voice in the movie – something that we were kind of gaining ground with. So we decided to start a production company called Riot Studios to basically funnel all of our projects through and to have a brand name behind it all. Riot was kinda the brainchild of Alex Carroll, Michael Allen and myself. We really wanted to create a platform where all different types of media could be showcased and people could see what Jesus was doing in our hearts; what He was bringing out of that passion for Him, whether it be in film making or music or whatever it was that we were doing. That all kind of came out of our relationship with Christ.

    Beware of Christians trailer:

    FC: That’s fantastic. So now, what led to your decision to make this film?

    Will: It all started the summer before that actually with our first film that we made called One Nation Under God. So [that movie] was really the launch point for us to realize, “hey, OK, Will has the skill set to actually be able to make a film” and “I think we have an interesting enough topic to discuss” and really, we’d never seen a film like the one we wanted to make. We’d never seen a movie that didn’t try to paint the way life should be but rather painted life the way that it is. And so that’s kind of what we wanted to do, just put all of these topics that we struggled with in college and [in] following Christ out on the table and say, “what can we learn? How can we get past our own justifications to the way we want to live, and really look at Biblically how Jesus is calling us to live?”

    FC: So how did you decide to take this journey in Europe?

    Will: It all kind of came about when we were first talking about doing this movie (I forget which one of us said), “ya know, it’s hard to solve a problem when you’re sitting right in the middle of it.” And so that was kind of the idea: getting out of our comfort zone, getting out of our Christian routines, taking a step outside of that in order to look back and really see it from a new perspective. The movie was about the study of Christian habit and the way that we might have been saying one thing and then acting out a way that was completely contrary to the Gospel we were claiming. So Europe just happened to be our choice because (as the director) there was that journey aspect – we were going to be traveling from country to country. It really could have been anywhere in the world but Europe stuck out to us because they have a great train system. It’s very accessible to get through multiple countries, and that’s something that we wanted for the film, to experience a lot of different cultures and different perspectives. So Europe was the obvious choice in that sense.

    FC: Some would say that the sort of post-modern Christian culture in Europe is kind of the parent of Christian culture in the U.S. As followers of Jesus, how did you adjust to the differences in the way they approach or live out faith?

    Will: I think the word that sticks out to me (to be very honest) is refreshing. I had grown up in a Christian culture where everyone tends to stay comfortable on the surface-level of conversation when it comes to Jesus. No one likes to have the tough issues put in their face for them to deal with. So going to Europe, I mean, it’s like you said – it’s very post-Christian. People are much more willing to tell you flat-out that you’re an idiot for believing in Jesus if that’s what they believe. So we didn’t have try so hard to get past the layers down to what someone believed, they were very up-front about it from the beginning. Yeah, it’s scary how many people are not following Christ over there – a lot of them do not believe Jesus. But at the same time, the people we met who were claiming to follow Christ, you could see it in all parts of their lives because there was nothing in it for them to say that unless they truly meant it. So it’s scary at one point and then at the other it’s just very refreshing to see people be very honest about what they believe. I think it’s just easy for us in America to say one thing and maybe convince ourselves that that’s enough and totally live the opposite of the Gospel that we’re claiming. Then at the end of our lives we die and then, ya know, we never really got it. We’ve got this empty shell of a faith that doesn’t really cut it… isn’t very substantial.

    FC: In the trailer for Beware of Christians there is a phrase that flashes across the screen that says “we are churched out.” What did you mean with that statement?

    Will: I think church for us at that point in our lives had become almost another source of entertainment, or just an event. And I think especially in this culture with so many amazing speakers and authors, it’s like we go in order to be entertained or just to be fed information. For a lot of us, it all [just] stays up in our heads. We can think one thing, but the biggest problem in America is that we aren’t doing anything about it. We’re simply going to hear a nice sermon, agree with it, maybe feel some sort of conviction that day but we don’t ever put it into practice. So when we made this movie that’s how we felt, like we were being poured into mentally and had all these great questions, but our lives and our actions didn’t reflect that. And so I think that was the moment that we said we need to do something about that, we don’t want to just hear about Jesus but let it have zero effect on the way that we live out our lives.

    FC: As a result of making this film you guys are now traveling around the U.S. to churches and universities playing this documentary for people. How are they responding to it?

    Will: I think one of the coolest quotes is by a writer/activist named Ann Lamont who said “the most powerful sermon in the world is two words: me too.” And what’s cool about that is I feel like we share this movie with a lot of people who have never heard about it, what it’s about. They come in, they watch the film and it’s almost like this deep-exhale-breath-of-fresh-air at the very end where a lot of times they say, thank you so much, you put on film what I feel like I’ve been thinking for such a long time – as if it was frowned upon to ask these tough questions and to admit that we don’t have all the answers. And so with college students especially, we meet others just like us who were raised with the answers without ever really asking the questions themselves. So what’s cool is we begin a discussion with them to say, these are the most important questions you’ll ask yourself in your lifetime. We should be willing to seek after those answers and be willing to figure out what we truly believe about Jesus. So I think the words real, raw and refreshing all come to mind because they’re just seeing honesty and truth in a way that hasn’t been presented before. It’s somewhat because of the unique medium. Ya know, documentaries tend to not do so well at the box office or on DVD, but I feel like because the subject matter is so crucial, so serious, [and it’s] taken in sort of a light-hearted comedic way, I think people just love grabbing on to that because they realize that it is a discussion. It is tough, but there’s so much grace that’s extended when you’re willing to ask those questions. So the response has been overwhelming and incredible.

    FC: When you guys are at a secular college or university, what would you say is the percentage of believers versus unbelievers in the audience?

    Will: I would say probably somewhere around 75-85% are believers. I mean, obviously I can’t have any idea, but just from the amount of conversations that I’ve been able to have it seems about like that. I think most Christians are drawn to [the film] because of the subject matter whereas maybe a lot of non-Christians may be drawn to it by the title alone (laughs) or by the discussion they see coming afterward. We have plenty of atheist groups that come out to our screenings who want to debate with us and it’s actually kind of fun because I think they all have this perception of what we’re going to be like, then they see the movie and realize that we’re probably not the people they’re most mad at. We’re just willing to have a conversation; we don’t want to have an argument. We refuse to be enemies with anybody. Our calling is just to love other people and I think they see that through this film. That’s our agenda. Not to win an argument or force any sort of doctrine down anyone’s throats. We’re just simply here to talk about Jesus.

    FC: So as Riot Studios, what is your end goal? What do you hope to accomplish through this?

    Will: I think for us we want to begin the discussion and the thought-process that maybe the way Jesus called us to live our lives does not look like the American Christianity that we’ve been raised to know and maybe even love. I think that’s the biggest point that we can get out there, that Jesus calls us to something that’s so much bigger and so much better. And to be willing to ask those questions. I think that would probably be the second thing we would say is that we really, really just encourage kids to ask the tough questions and make those decisions for themselves. Don’t let this faith be your mom’s or your dad’s or pastor’s or anybody else’s other than your own because it’s just not going to mean as much (if anything at all) if you’re just believing it for any other reason than to truly yearn for that.

    FC: Will, do you personally think that the church here in the West is in trouble?

    Will: (sigh) Man that’s a good question. I… I think if I were to look at the trends of what has happened in Europe and then what happens in the United States… Well, I’ll say this, because the United States has seemed to take a similar path to Europe we’re just some years behind it, decades behind it, I’d say based on the evidence, yes – we’re in trouble. But I think especially from this generation with the amount of communication and connectivity there’s a different path that America’s churches are going to take. I think the word is going to get out fast enough that says, hey we’re not about a religion, we’re simply not about routine, we’re about a relationship with Jesus – and that’s what is going to turn the tide. I think in Europe it became so much about religion and routines that when life didn’t work out at times people were just giving up on religion because it didn’t follow through on what it promised – happiness or security or comfort or whatever. I think this generation and churches today, especially in America, are starting to learn how to push that it’s about Jesus and not about our own level of comfort. I hope that’s not too vague of an answer, but it’s a tough question so… (laughs).

    FC: That’s what we’re here to do Will, make you cry and sweat. Kidding. So based on that (and maybe this question will help you summarize your last thought), in your estimation, what is the hope for our churches in the West?

    Will: The hope is Jesus. In summing up that last question I’m not as worried about it because I believe that based on this generation and the new level of communication and connectivity, I think there’s so much hope – the name of Jesus and the grace of Jesus is spreading at a much faster rate than in generations before…

    FC: That’s a great answer – actually both of them. So we’d like to talk a little about your other film, One Nation Under God. But let’s back up a second, just for reference, when did you create these films?

    Will: We shot One Nation Under God in the summer of 2008 and premiered it just in Texas (just a couple showings) in the spring of 2009. And then we immediately left to film Beware of Christians in the summer of 2009 and premiered/released it in 2010.

    FC: OK that helps. So, One Nation Under God sounds like it could be a political film. Is it?

    Will: I don’t think it’s a political film. The idea was to say we’re one nation under God, but which “god” are we talking about here? Let’s go see what other people believe, and see which god they would say it was. In that film, four of us (Michael Allen and myself from Beware of Christians are in it and actually two other buddies of ours) road trip around the United States in order to ask people just two basic questions: “What do you think happens when you die?” And, “who do you think Jesus Christ was?” And so those questions ultimately lead to more questions… but a lot of it was about trying to figure out what do people believe in, (because everyone puts their faith in something) and that’s what we really wanted to get to. Is it the Christian God that we’ve been told is the God of America? And so the movie is pretty funny (laughs), we’re obviously more immature at this point (I think only 20 at the time we made this movie) and we end up crashing on peoples’ couches all over the country, which is amazing because it lends us to staying with Mormons, with Muslims, atheists, some hippies out in Portland, plenty of different religions and plenty of different people that put their faith in something other than what we have put our faith in. And so it debunks some stereotypes and gets the conversation rolling about why we believe the things we believe.

    FC: So who is the god of the United States, or do we need to watch the film to find out?

    Will: (laughs) I think by the end of the film you begin to realize the importance of asking the questions. Because as you see the movie go on, there are plenty of people that say that they believe in Jesus and then when we ask “how do you get to Heaven?” they say “I don’t really know, just be a good person and you get there.” So the movie kind of turns into this open discussion about the importance of asking those tough questions. If I had to answer your question about the god of America, I honestly couldn’t tell you (laugh). The interesting thing about the movie is, there wasn’t one person that we interviewed around the United States that didn’t know who Jesus claimed to have been – which is pretty cool. The bummer part about that is when asked how we get to Heaven, about 95% of those people said “just be a good person.” So there’s this disconnect about what people claim to believe, and then at the core what they actually believe and live out. So, not sure who the “god” is actually.

    FC: OK, three part question: In either one of these adventures, did you ever feel like you were in a risky situation – physically, spiritually or potentially embarrassing?

    Will: Wow, great question. OK, physical harm – ya know, we were driving my buddy’s Tahoe across the country and crossed 100,000 miles in it (laughs), so there was always an element of harm to our safety. Also, we used this website to basically find the place we were going to stay at every night. Real quick story, the first night we ended up staying with a stranger – this guy out of Huntington Beach who was Mormon. He gave us surfboards to go surfing that day, bought us pizza that night and that whole experience was amazing. The next night in Long Beach (and this is all in the movie) we ended up finding this lady who let us stay at her house. Turns out she was a sadomasochist and also a lesbian, so when we got into her house there was pornography all over the walls and it was like all this inappropriate stuff that freaked us out – so we really did fear for our safety at that point, what we just walked into. So that is probably the only moment we feared for our physical safety.

    Spiritually, I think for me the night that sticks out (and it might be different for the guys) was this one night in North Carolina were we stayed with a family that was Muslim. When we got there (this is in the film as well), they ended up cooking us dinner and then we sat around their living room for about 4-5 hours just talking about the differences of what they believed and the Christian faith. At this point all I really knew about Jesus was what was told me growing up in the church so I had all these “ready-to-fire answers to some of life’s tough questions” but when I was actually put on the spot about how I knew they were true, I really didn’t have a response for them. It was great because they just totally debunked what the Muslims believe and what they stand for. At that point in my life (laughs sheepishly) the only exposure I had to them were the events of 9/11. So [in the film you see] their compassion as they walk us through what their beliefs are, just so kind and hospitable that I couldn’t help but honestly be shaken a little bit in what I believed. They seemed to have so much more knowledge about what they believed and seemed to have asked those tough questions for themselves, whereas I was at a point in my life where I hadn’t. So that was a moment for me. I don’t think that it really shook my faith enough to be able to leave God, but it definitely encouraged me to ask those tough questions for myself and really take my faith more seriously.

    So embarrassing moment… I guess that it was that same time. When they asked me why I believed Jesus did all those things He said He did and I didn’t have any evidence for them other than the Bible – that was somewhat embarrassing – because I hadn’t really studied Scripture or what other religions even believed.

    FC: Will, we really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us… one last question for you… How much coffee did it take for you to pull these adventures off? Didn’t you have a train ride in the movie that was like 17 days or something…?

    Will: Oh, well none of us were really obsessed with coffee at that point but we really did consider calling up Red Bull to tell them how thankful we were that they existed. We’re the biggest Red Bull supporters solely because they got us through Europe (laughs). Even in the studio footage in Beware of Christians, when we’re sitting there with coffee mugs I’m pretty sure we’re drinking either Red Bull or Dr. Pepper, just to keep ourselves awake.

    FC: Will, thank you again for your time, we really appreciate it a lot. We’re looking forward to seeing how Beware of Christians continues to do at Family Christian and obviously One Nation Under God as well.

    Will: Thank you so much, we love you guys, what you’re doing. Anytime we can connect we really do appreciate it - it means a lot to us.

    You can check out the team’s films here and here.

    This post was posted in Movies, Interviews and was tagged with Featured, Beware of Christians, Will Bakke, Movies

  • Gift of Wisdom

    Posted on April 13, 2012 by Family Christian


    Dear Fellow Wisdom Hunter,

    We are extremely grateful to God for your faithful readership of the daily devotional, your prayers, and your financial support. Wisdom Hunters is a non-profit, Christ-centered, 501 c 3 ministry, blessed with a prayerful Board of Directors, who steward well this—the Lord’s work. After much prayer and planning with our 19-member Advisory Board, we believe the Lord is leading us in the following ways in 2012 and beyond:

    Connect people to Christ through God’s Word.

    Applying unchanging truth to a changing world.

    By the end of 2012 trusting God for 200,000 daily devotional readers (currently-75,547) globally and in the U.S.

    Testimony (click here for more: http://bit.ly/ggJzWk)
    Thank you for writing this wonderful inspiration. I don’t know how I ever lived one day without reading this. This is changing my thought process and I just love reading it daily. Drawing me closer to the One and Only Jesus. Thank you again for sharing, Memory… “He Cares” devo- http://bit.ly/AuTq6j

    Needs for 2012

    By God’s Grace Wisdom Hunters 2012 Objectives
    • Increase countries that read the daily email devotional from 73 to 125
    • Continue to reduce costs per reader to just over $1.00 per reader.
    • Chinese and Spanish translations of the daily email devotional posted on web site
    • Write and publish eBooks Wisdom for Life, Wisdom for Marriage, Wisdom for Work
    • Write and publish 90-day devotional book Seeking God in the Proverbs
    • Write and publish 365-day devotional book Seeking Daily the Heart of God, vol. 2
    • Begin “Wisdom Minute” radio spots and video blogs
    • Update the Wisdom Hunters web site for an ease of searching by topics and Scripture
    • Create and distribute Wisdom Hunters app for iPhone, iPad and Android
    • Increase eBook and book sales to 25,000 units

    Total financial costs for 2012- $225,000 / given year-to-date: $65,846

    If you have been a regular reader for six months or longer, please prayerfully join us in how the Lord might lead you to participate financially. If you are being blessed by the daily writings and could help us reach others for Jesus Christ then you can give online (monthly’s help most, start at $2) by clicking http://bit.ly/fPxiWr or mail your check to:

    Wisdom Hunters
    PO Box 800062
    Roswell, GA 30075

    Thanks so much for your prayerful consideration.

    In Christ,

    Boyd Bailey
    President, Wisdom Hunters

    “I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ” (Philemon 1:6).

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion

Items 1811 to 1820 of 2010 total

Helping you find, grow, share and celebrate your faith
Who doesn't love free shipping!? At Family Christian, you can qualify TWO ways:

1. To your door (just $50 minimum)*

No coupon required! Simply add $50 worth of merchandise to your cart and select the "Free Shipping" option under "Shipping Method." Easy as pie.

* Valid on merchandise totaling $50 or more before taxes. Please keep in mind this is valid on domestic ground shipping to addresses within the U.S. only, not valid toward international delivery. Additional charges apply for express shipping. Terms subject to change without notice.

2. To your store (no minimum order required!)*

At checkout, select "Ship to your local Family Christian store" and enter your zip code to find our closest location. Not sure if there is a Family Christian nearby? Find your local store now.

* Valid on select merchandise only
Loading... Loading...