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  • Believe Randy Frazee

Family Christian

  • Stand Strong from Nick Vujicic

    Posted on March 31, 2014 by Family Christian

    Nick

    I am a bully’s dream, no doubt about it.

    No arms. No legs. No defense.

    Born without limbs for reasons never determined, I was blessed in so many other ways. My greatest blessing was a loving and supportive family. They sheltered and encouraged me for the first years of my life. But once I left the protective shelter
    of family for the hallways and playgrounds of elementary school, I felt like I had a target on my chest that said, “Bullies, aim here.”

    I felt alone in my fear of bullies, but I wasn’t alone. And neither are you.

    If you’ve been bullied, the first thing you need to understand is that their attacks, taunts, and mean acts aren’t really about you, any flaws you might have, or anything you might have done. Bullies have their own issues. They pick on you to make themselves feel better, to vent their anger, to feel more powerful, or even because they can’t think of anything else to do.

    I know it’s lame, but it’s true.

    When I was a teenager, I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out why bullies picked on me. There was one guy in particular who really got inside my head. He bullied everybody, but for some reason I took it personally. I obsessed over his motives.
    Finally I realized that his bullying wasn’t about my problems. It was about his.

    You may have a bully who has had the same impact on you, getting inside your head, knotting your stomach with stress, and tormenting your dreams because you can’t figure out why you are the target. I’m here to ease your mind and lighten that burden.
    Your bully’s motives don’t matter. You do.

    Your safety and your happiness are important to me and everyone else who loves and cares about you; so instead of focusing on why a bully is picking on you, let’s focus on helping you feel secure and happy again.

    Does that sound like a plan? I think so!

    But before we move on, I want you to know that there is no single infallible strategy for dealing one-on-one with bullies. And I certainly don’t recommend you resort to violence if you can help it! Don’t ever let a bully lure you into a fight. If a bully attacks you, defend yourself but get away as fast as you can. If you have any reason to think a bully is going to harm you physically, you need to talk to an adult who can help you before that happens.

    The Bullying Epidemic

    It’s important to understand from the beginning that many people share your pain in dealing with this problem. Being bullied, sadly, is as common as catching a cold or stubbing your toe. I travel all over the world talking to young people about this issue. No matter where I go, bullying is a major topic of concern. Teens in every school in every town and every country tell me they have mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual pain because of being bullied.

    A teen in China told me that he’d tried to commit suicide eight times because of being bullied at school. A cute little Korean girl in Boise, Idaho, came up to me crying after I gave a speech on bullying. She said, “I get teased every day about being Korean because I’m the only Asian in the whole school.” I hear similar stories from bullying victims in Chile, Brazil, Australia, Russia, Serbia, and around the world. Bullying is everywhere, and it takes many forms. Most of us are familiar with childhood bullies who threaten to beat us up, make fun of us, or turn friends against us. Adults may experience bullying in the form of sexual harassment or as discrimination based on race, religion, sexual identity, or disabilities. Bullies can be your boss, coworkers, teachers, coaches, boyfriends, or girlfriends—anyone who abuses his power or position.

    It’s sad to say, but parents can be bullies too. Suicides are a major problem among young people in Asia, and part of the problem is that many teens are under incredible pressure to earn top grades so they can make it into the best schools and get the best jobs for the most pay. Parents naturally want their children to do well, but when a mother and father give love and support only if their child is successful in their eyes, it is a form of bullying. There was one case in which the parents burned their child with cigarettes because her grades were not up to their standards. That’s an extreme case to be sure, but I’ve encountered similar stories around the world.

    The most common bullying experience is being taunted or ridiculed for being “different” in some way. I’m the poster child for this. For most of my life, I’ve been a bully magnet. I’ve heard every imaginable nasty comment about my lack of limbs. Cruel jokes. Even physical threats.

    It didn’t help that my family moved a couple of times when I was in school. We went from one side of Australia to the other, then we moved to the United States and back again. At each new school, I wasn’t just the only kid with no arms and no legs; I was usually the only kid in a wheelchair. When we moved to the United States, I hit the bully-target trifecta: I was the only kid in my school with no arms and no legs, the only kid in a wheelchair, and the only kid with an Australian accent! Different? Me, mate?

    Sure, I stood out from the crowd, and the fact that I was often the new kid without friends made me an even easier target. But I realized early on that bullies would find a reason to pick on anyone. They called the smart kids “nerds,” the tall kids “bird legs,” and the short kids “runts.” If perfect people existed, bullies probably would mock them for being “too perfect.”

    Still, if you are being bullied, it hurts. It’s a terrible experience that often seems like it will never end. As someone who endured it throughout my teenage years and still runs into it from time to time, I want to give you hope and peace. You can rise above and beyond it.


    Excerpted from Stand Strong by Nick Vujicic Copyright © 2014 by Nick Vujicic. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • Easter Fun for Kids

    Posted on March 31, 2014 by Family Christian

    Resurrection Eggs
    The Sparkle Egg by Jill Hardie
    He Is Risen Plush Bunny
  • Free Wallpaper for Your Mobile, Tablet or Computer - April

    Posted on March 31, 2014 by Family Christian

    The month of April. Many of us are going to ask the question - "Will April showers... be rain or snow?"

    This past winter has been brutal for many of us. Snow. Ice. Cold. Yikes. It reminded me of the story in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe from C.S. Lewis, where the White Witch has put a curse on the land of Narnia. It was always winter, but never Christmas. Thankfully, Christmas did come for the people of Narnia and in our case, Spring is coming as well.

    This month we also will be celebrating Resurrection Sunday. We really should be celebrating it every Sunday. What a glorious day that is. The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthian 15:

    "If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead!"

    Our hearts are filled with gladness! Let us declare to a wearisome world that there is great Hope found in the resurrection!

    Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

    As our tradition, look below for some free wallpaper to decorate your desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. These are completely free to download. Just right click on the size that you need and you will be all set. To find out which size you need, click here.

    Both images are taking from our Coupon Calendars that we sell online and in our stores. Click here to find the Growth in Faith Calendar and the He Refreshes My Soul Calendar.

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  • Trials Come So That...

    Posted on March 31, 2014 by Wendy Blight

    Wendy

    "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4, NIV, emphasis added)

    [Editor's Note: Today's devotional might serve as a trigger for some. If that's you, we pray this story encourages you and brings you hope. Please see our note at the end for additional resources.]

    Screams from my living room startled me. Walking into the room, I realized the noises came from the television. On the screen, a man viciously attacked a woman. My instinct normally would have been to grab the remote and change the channel. Instead I stood frozen, my eyes locked onto the scene.

    It took me back 26 years to my little college apartment. To the terrifying moment I found an armed, masked man hiding at the top of my stairs. Without warning, I returned to the feelings and fear I felt that day.

    Something was drawing me back to that moment reminding me of where I once had been and how far I had come.

    Watching the violation on the screen was like watching myself all those years ago.

    My mind snapped back to the present reality of the TV show, where the screen now showed the victim returning home to find a crime scene.

    Another flashback. I, too, had arrived home to find investigators everywhere, dusting for prints, bagging and tagging items, and methodically removing my personal belongings one by one. First, physical, replaceable things ... my bathing suit, sheets, comforter, and towel. And then, personal, seemingly irreplaceable things ... my dignity, security, value and self-worth.

    Following the day I was attacked, fear locked me in a prison and held me captive for nearly 15 years.

    But thankfully that day watching that TV show, fear NEVER took hold!

    In the past when those emotions rushed through me, terror came and I ran wherever I could to avoid being alone with the paralyzing fear. But not that day. After turning the TV off, I boldly and confidently marched up my stairs, jumped in the shower and scrubbed off every one of those emotions.

    Afterward, the Lord impressed these words on my heart: Remember My promise. You have persevered, My child. Perseverance is finishing its work!

    God was speaking His own Word to me from today's key verse, James 1:2-4. Sometimes, God allows trials to test our faith. Our trials, though incredibly confusing and painful, initiate a process that teaches perseverance which deepens and matures our faith in a way nothing else can.

    My life is proof. Not only has God healed me from that horrific day many years ago, but He has turned it into a powerful testimony to bring hope to others and point them to Him.

    If you're in the midst of a trial, be encouraged, sweet friend. Our key verse teaches that God promises to mature and complete you through it. He also promises that you will be more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you. Pay attention to those words. Not a mere conqueror...but more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).

    As God washed these truths over me, He spoke this message into my heart:

    Not only can this trial not separate you from Me, Wendy, but with Me ... if you continue to look to Me and trust Me ... I will use it to mold you into the woman I created you to be. Wendy, you will be more than a conqueror so that I can mature you and use you to encourage and help others.

    Before you read further, reread the paragraph above and replace my name with yours. Let God's promises seep deep into your heart. Your trial has purpose. It forces dependence on God. It tests you. It molds you, eventually creating you into an overcomer, with a powerful testimony.

    Trials come so that God can work in and through them to transform us and then use us to bring hope and healing to His hurting people.

    Heavenly Father, thank You for having a purpose in my trials. Open my eyes to see Your hand at work and give me the courage to persevere so that You can mold me into the woman You created me to be. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Are you facing a trial in your own life? What has been your response?

    Spend time reading Romans 8:37 (below) and James 1:2-4 (key verse). What truths do they speak into your trial?

    Power Verse:
    Romans 8:37, "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.

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

  • Eternal Optimist

    Posted on March 30, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

    Eternal optimists base their optimism on the eternal, not the temporal. The temporal is consumed with current circumstances, while the eternal experiences eternal security. The temporal is anxious about another adverse event, while the eternal is at peace with Providence. The temporal trusts what it can see, while the eternal trusts in the unseen. Do you glance at the temporal and gaze on the eternal? If so, you are an eternal optimist.

    By faith we see the Lord, who is unseen, and this compels us to obey Christ. Moses experienced this during a time of transition. “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). Your eternal optimism is what gives you the courage to carry on; so do not let temporal pessimists persuade you to lose heart. Stay fixed on your Savior, the author of your faith.

    Eternal optimism exits when fear gets the upper hand. Fear seeks to flush out your faith as irresponsible and irrelevant. However, it is faith that keeps you grounded in God, the definer of reality. The righteous learn to live in the reality of the Lord’s love and leadership. Pain and striving are temporary, but healing and peace are eternal. You can be optimistic, knowing by faith you can be certain of the unseen.

    “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

    Lastly, are you a temporal pessimist or an eternal optimist? Are you striving to survive or thriving to succeed? Look to the unseen, and you will one day understand. Engage with the Almighty’s agenda, and your focus will be forever and your results eternally significant. Can your family and friends depend on you to be an eternal optimist? Your hopeful attitude in the eternal gives them reason to be optimists.

    Live and exclaim out loud: “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18).

    Prayer: Where is God calling me to see, with eyes of faith, the unseen, eternal optimism of Jesus?

    Related Readings: Psalm 73:26; Isaiah 51:10–11; Matthew 6:21; John 6:27

    Taken from the March 30th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: The temporal trusts what it can see, while the eternal trusts in the unseen. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Best for Last

    Posted on March 29, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.   John 2:10

    Jesus sometimes saves the best for last. He delights in delivering the unexpected to the unsuspecting. He waits until there is opportunity to show up where the needs are rampant but the solutions are few. Then He meets the need unconventionally and boldly. Many times, this is His method because Christ is counter-intuitive. He wants others to ask “Why?”  Why did Jesus save the best for last? One reason the Lord saves the best for last is to honor the recipients. Those who persevere deserve the best. For example, in relationships, the fruit of long-term commitment produces the best experience. Trust, contentment, and fulfillment all earn their right in relationships that resolve to remain true.

    God blesses those who wait: “Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land.” (Psalm 37:34a). You experience the best God has to offer when you save yourself for marriage. Sex within the bonds of marriage exceeds exponentially the settlement of premarital capitulation to hormonally-driven sex. Otherwise, you risk disease and a lifetime of disrespect and regret. Waiting on the best brings out the best, for trust in God fosters hope that there must be something better to look forward to in the future. It protects you from impatient impulses that can instantly implode.

    Waiting for the best is difficult at times, because it means depending on others to accomplish the goal. The outcome is out of your direct control. You have to trust that others can execute the project better than you can by yourself. Your sphere of influence will remain stunted if you try to do everything yourself. You will be limited by your time, energy, and intellect. Your capacity is a drop in the bucket, compared to the resources of an aligned team; you need each other’s gifts and skills (Romans 12:4-5). It is your best that brings out the best in others. Therefore, be the best at what you do, and expect others to do their very best. Excellence attracts excellence, as mediocrity attracts mediocrity. Be the best that you can be and see to it that others do the same. Best breeds best.

    Lastly, trust Jesus to take people and circumstances under your influence and bring out His best. Let go, and let the Lord run with the opportunity. He may surprise you with joy. The best is yet to come if you look to the Lord for His best outcome. Your humble request of God will result in much more than you thought you were capable of, for Christ has no capacity issues. He is looking for those in whom He can trust with His best. He wants those whose faithfulness to Him far exceeds their earthly ambitions. Do whatever He says, and watch Him carry out His very best because obedience leads to His best. Believe the best is yet to come, and don’t settle for less. Believe the best in others. Trust Him for the very best. Expect the best, and be your best. Pray and ask God for His best. Be patient, wait on Him, and remind yourself often: He saves the best for last.

    Taken from the March 29th reading in Boyd’s 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God vol. 1”

    Post/Tweet today: Waiting on the best can bring out the best, so it can protect us from impatient impulses. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Love Gives

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

    Love gives. It gives intentionally and indiscriminately. Love gives. It gives individually and internationally. Love gives. It gives bountifully and without bias. Love gives because generosity is its nature. A soldier who gives for love of country, or a mother who gives for love of her child, reveals their character. A husband who loves his wife gives her emotional attention. A wife who loves her husband gives him physical affection. Love gives as a matter of course. It’s natural.

    God’s love is the gold standard. His banner of love is raised high above the most hideous criminal to the most innocent child. God gave the ultimate gift of His son Jesus, because He loved all of us; each one of us. Just as rays of sunlight warm all of us and each of us, so the love of the Lord is for the world, and each one. We are individually loved by Jesus. Since God is love, His love is effortless. His loving offer of forgiveness comes to us by belief in Jesus.

    “Who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

    How can we intentionally love the Lord, people, and ourselves? Love begins by being loved by the One who is love. Once we receive Christ into our life by faith, His very nature of love resides within us. The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our souls, the greater our capacity to love. His love gives us peace, so we are able to offer calm in the middle of conflict. His love gives us patience, so we are able to extend a compassionate ear to a fearful foe. His love gives us forgiveness, so we are able to offer total forgiveness to a friend or family member. Love gives.

    Lastly, how can we love ourselves by giving to ourselves? We love when we give ourselves the gift of margin. Margin is time for prayer, exercise, thinking, reading, hobbies and being creative. We can love ourselves by having more or less time with people. Nonetheless, we love ourselves, so we are better prepared to love God and others. An unloved self is a loveless self. Not narcissism of course, but a healthy love of self, like Jesus loves us. Our soul care, emotional fitness, mental refreshment, spiritual nurture and physical rest all contribute to a loving life. Love gives. So, receive God’s love in Christ and from an overflowing heart of love--love generously.

    “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37-39).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, by faith I receive Your love into my life in Christ, so I am able to love like Jesus loves.

    Related Readings: Genesis 22:12; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 5:8, 8:32; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:9

    Post/Tweet today: The deeper we fall in love with the Lover of our soul, the greater our capacity to love. #wisdomhunters

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com

  • Blog Summary for March 2014

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Family Christian

    Here are the most popular blog posts as read by you. Thank you for following us!

    Redeeming Love from Francine Rivers

    Alex Stafford was just like Mama said. He was tall and dark, and Sarah had never seen anyone so beautiful. Even dressed in dusty riding clothes, his hair damp with perspiration, he was like the princes in the stories Mama read. Sarah’s heart beat with wild joy and pride. None of the other fathers she saw at Mass compared to him.

    He looked at her with his dark eyes, and her heart sang. She was wearing her best blue frock and white pinafore, and Mama had braided her hair with pink and blue ribbons. Did Papa like the way she looked? Mama said blue was his favorite color, but why didn’t he smile? Was she fidgeting? Mama said to stand straight and still and act like a lady. She said he would like that. But he didn’t look pleased at all.

    “Isn’t she beautiful, Alex?” Mama said. Her voice sounded strange…tight, like she was choking. “Isn’t she the most beautiful little girl you’ve ever seen?”

    Read the whole book excerpt here.

    The Unstoppable Kirk Cameron

    Kirk Cameron wrote, "It's easy to get excited about your faith when things are going well in your life. But when your whole world comes crashing down on you, the questions start: 'Where is God when I need him most? Why do bad things happen to good people?' Unstoppable is a journey, based on a true story, that has become the most personal and transparent project I have ever made regarding my faith."

    I recently had a video chat with the man-formally-known-as Mike Seaver. I wanted to know what was behind his latest DVD, Unstoppable. What follows are his honest answers.

    Read the whole interview here.

    The Life, Legacy and Music of Bill Gaither

    The pages of history have been written by ordinary people who had something extraordinary to say with their lives. Bill Gaither is just such an individual… an Indiana-born kid with an insatiable love for music who grew to become an industry leader who would change the course of gospel music history through the songs he has written and through his influence as a mentor for other artists.

    An avid fan of gospel quartets throughout his childhood, Bill founded his first group, The Bill Gaither Trio, in 1956, while he was a college student. He began teaching English in 1959 because his musical aspirations couldn’t support him full-time… yet. In 1962, Bill did one of the best things he has ever done. He married Gloria Sickal, who became the best writing partner Bill could have found anywhere. The couple spent the first five years of their married life juggling full-time teaching jobs, writing, singing, recording and publishing until music became their full-time career in 1967.

    That's where it all started.

    Read the full interview here.

    Pulling No Punches - an interview with Lecrae

    From “latch-key kid” to key player in the Man Up movement, Lecrae’s life is an example of God’s transformative power – and he’s not quiet about it. In his signature straight-shoot approach, new album Gravity calls Christians to open their eyes to the weight of need in their world and share the love of Jesus as never before.

    I was born in Houston, Texas to essentially a single parent household. We moved from Houston to Denver, and then, just because my mother was single and was just kind of struggling to make ends meet, I would stay with my grandmother quite often in San Diego, California. So between Texas, California, and Denver, those were the places I bounced around. I was just a sponge. I picked up so much in all that time. Obviously not having a strong male influence or role model, I gravitated to anyone who would pay attention. Most of the time those were terrible influences [who] influenced me to run in the wrong direction quite often. I grew up with a great sense of insecurity in figuring out what I was and where I belonged. Not growing up in church didn’t make it any easier. So I pretty much wrestled through that my whole life until my senior summer in high school. I got into a lot of trouble and [things] really exploded. I had to say “God, I need your help.” That’s really when I began to sense that God was drawing me and [I] later became a Christian after hearing the Gospel.

    Read the full interview here.

    Question and Answers with Nick Vujicic

    Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

    Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

    Nick took some time out of his busy schedule to do a little Q&A with us.

    Read the full q&a here.

    A Q&A with Capital Kings

    There’s no denying much of today’s music has the power to move the masses

    physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now

    enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and

    rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet

    there’s a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine

    style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.

    Jon White and Cole Walowac have parlayed a long-term friendship and shared passion for music into one of the hottest careers in the industry. Despite their young age, the duo’s

    history is a lengthy one. “We were in the nursery in the same church,” Jon says.

    “We moved away to Massachusetts for a few years, Cole and I met back up in

    the same middle school and we started playing in the youth group band. Cole

    would play drums and I would sing and that’s how we started making music.”

    Read all the q&a's here.

    In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day from Mark Batterson

    Locking Eyes with Your Lion

    You are responsible forever for what you have tamed.

    --Antoinede Saint-Exubery

    There is an obscure passage in Scripture that I doubt any Sunday school teacher has ever assigned as a memory verse. It wasn’t exegeted in any of the systematic theology classes I took in seminary. It has absolutely no bearing on any major biblical doctrines. You may have read it a few times in a one-year Bible, but it probably didn’t even make a blip on your radar screen.

    Buried in the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel, the twenty-third chapter, the twentieth and twenty-first verses, is one of the most inconceivable and inspirational passages in Scripture:

    Read the full book excerpt here.

    Skillet. The Rock Band That Doesn't Quit

    Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

    As soon as the master was turned in to the studio to finish post production on the new album, I sat down with John Cooper (lead singer) to talk through what was behind Rise. As you will see, while reading this, John is a passionate man. He is passionate about his music. His wife. His family. About Christ.

    Read the full interview here.

    Shane Harper on Living Out the Gospel

    Shane Harper established himself as an artist with a quadruple threat—singer, actor, dancer, and songwriter. He began working as a professional dancer in the entertainment industry when he was just 13, appearing as a principal dancer in High School Musical 2, and in Nickelodeon's show, "Dance on Sunset".

    Shane transitioned easily into acting, and is recurring on the hit Disney Channel show, "Good Luck Charlie", for all 4 seasons. He guest starred on "Wizards of Waverly Place", and "So Random". He also guest starred in a 4 episode arc for the scripted MTV series, "Awkward."

    Shane has a principal role in the feature film, GOD'S NOT DEAD and recently, I sat down with him to talk about faith, Hollywood, books music and coffee.

    Read the full interview here.

    Francesca Battistelli - A Girl. A Voice. A Mission.

    The more you walk in relationship with the Lord, the more you learn to trust him. I'm learning not to focus so much on the issues I think are so big right now—our bus has broken down, or someone said something that frustrated me. I'm learning to slowly let things roll off my back, to say, 'Hey, God knew about this before it happened and He's got a way out or a plan better than mine.' I've learned to stop freaking out and just trust that God knows what he's doing. He's not going to leave me in a bad place because He never has before.

    Such it is with Francesca Battistelli. Honest. Simple. Beautiful. Intentional.

    We have all been exposed to her music. Starting with "I'm Letting Go," or "Free to Be Me." "This is the Stuff" or "Strangely Dim." It doesn't matter. For every time that "Franny" opens her mouth to sing, she is opening her heart.

    There is a vulnerable side to this young lady. And if you didn't know it already, you will be able to hear it by reading the interview below. Franny came to our corporate Christmas party to bring encouragement and holiday greetings. After I sat down with her, I was reminded again about her passion.

    Read the full interview here.

    So which blog post was your favorite? Is there an author or an artist that you would like us to interview? Leave a comment below and let us know.

  • Godonomics from Chad Hovind

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Family Christian

    Chad

    Introduction

    What Does God Say About Economics?

    What you don’t know can hurt you. We ignore the power of ideas at our own peril. All ideas, right or wrong, have spiritual, practical, or economic consequences.

    Economics is an inexact science at best. Economists draw from the study of mathematics, statistics and probability, past economic trends, and a guiding philosophy that a particular school of economic theory provides the brightest light to follow. It’s a little like weather forecasting, except that meteorology doesn’t affect your retirement by getting mixed up in political skirmishes and power struggles at the highest levels of government. Not to mention that a faulty weather forecast will never destroy your family’s finances or blot out a secure economic future. Don’t dismiss these possibilities as things that  happen only in other countries or to other people. You and your family, your friends and neighbors, and the country you love can all be caught in the aftermath of a financial hurricane if America continues on its irresponsible and unsustainable economic path.

    Here is what our leaders in both major parties do not seem to understand: political solutions can never put us on a sound economic footing. Politics is not interested primarily in the good of the nation. Instead, politics has to do with gaining and exercising power over your opponents, rewarding your biggest donors, and benefitting the priority constituencies of your party. If, in doing these things, you also accomplish something that is good for the country at large, that’s great. But such an outcome is more an afterthought in the political process than it is a primary focus.

    That might sound cynical, but if you fear I have cast my lot with the naysayers rather than choosing to work for a solution, keep reading. Recognizing why things are not working is the first step toward correcting the things that have gone terribly wrong.

    The problem is that our nation’s leaders look to deals and compromise to determine policy and enact legislation, and they are guided by political and economic ideologies that shape their values and priorities. They need, instead, the guidance of a fixed standard and a voice that speaks outside of our time and culture. In a world filled with donkeys, elephants, and rhinos, we need a lion that can roar timeless, common-sense principles that are not beholden to any party, time period, or cultural shift.

    What our nation’s leaders have missed is the one reliable, unfailing source of direction and wisdom that is available to us. If we continue to ignore God’s guidance in the economic realm—at the levels of individuals, families, and the nation—we can be sure we’ll end up losing even more of our freedom and personal wealth. We will be living in a country weakened by economic failure and wondering how the greatest nation in history could have been brought to such a depressing state of financial and ethical bankruptcy.

    But that doesn’t have to happen. The voice of the people can still carry the day. I am not suggesting a new Reformation that takes on a political identity. Nor am I calling for a theocracy in which Americans would be required to adhere to the doctrines of Christianity. In our republic, the voice and will of a majority of the citizens still possess the power to move our nation in a different direction—if we are united.

    Why Godonomics?

    What is Godonomics, and why is it the best way to solve the deepening economic dilemma we face as a nation, as families, and as individuals? Godonomics is, as the name suggests, God’s teachings and wisdom in the realm of
    finance and economics. When you study the Bible, you find that God’s agenda for nations, families, and individuals is not hard to understand. But it is not easy to apply, either. It requires commitment, restraint, godly priorities, hard work, and generosity, among other virtues. These words are not used a lot in political campaigns, because candidates for office prefer to paint their policies in terms of solutions that won’t require hardship, sacrifice, or major shifts in priorities. God, of course, is not swayed by the results of opinion polls or the planks in a party platform.

    And here is what is so refreshing in the principles of Godonomics: they make perfect sense. Speaking to us today through the scribes who recorded God’s message over millenniums, God’s plan for economic sanity, financial responsibility, and prosperity apply directly to the mess we are in today. Americans need to know that the options are not limited to Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, Tea Party, and all other groups working to gain influence and power. While each one claims to have the secret to solving our broken economy, only God’s principles will lead us out of the quagmire we’re in. I believe that when Godonomics becomes widely known, and more and more people begin to apply God’s principles at home, in their businesses, and in their communities, they will see for themselves that this is the solution we’ve been looking for.

    Today’s failed economic policies are nothing new. In the chapters that follow, we will look at ancient kings who seem to have taken their cues straight from John Maynard Keynes—except that Keynes would not be born for another three thousand years. We will look at the words and thinking of God-inspired leaders from Israel who recorded wisdom on leadership, government, citizenship, and personal responsibility—all of which helped guide the founders of the United States as they created our nation’s legal and constitutional foundation. The same ancient wisdom undergirded the economic system that helped establish America as the most secure and prosperous country on earth.

    Beyond that, the first Christ-followers applied these principles as individuals and families, and in congregations and fellowships. God’s instructions are not vague or hard to understand. They simply require single-mindedness, hard work, generosity, and steadfast commitment. But following His instructions brings unmatched freedom, opportunity, and self-directed prosperity.

    Godonomics seeks to bring God’s economic principles to the forefront, so we can set our lives, our families’ futures, and our nation on a sound financial footing—now and for the future. But there is a second—even more important—reason why Godonomics is so crucial. A rapidly growing movement has lured believers away from God’s principles on finances and convinced them that socialism is, according to Scripture, the economic system that is most consistent with God’s will.

    Younger Christians, especially, are intrigued by persuasive Christian authors, speakers, and bloggers who emphasize giving priority to helping the poor by taking from others or empowering intrusive governments. They use the term social justice to advocate a shift of the economic balance in favor of those who are not producing wealth. They justify this stance with verses from the Bible, primarily from the Sermon on the Mount, the book of Acts, or selections from the Old Testament, without seeing the broader contexts.

    Growing numbers of younger Christians, who are largely unaware of the divine wisdom behind Godonomics, now consider socialism to be the economic system that God endorses. Advocates of this teaching do not call it
    socialism, of course. They use words such as compassion, justice, even gospel, to legitimize their goal of shifting wealth away from those who are productive and creating opportunities for others, and toward those who are said to be
    disadvantaged and marginalized.

    I have pastored inner-city congregations that aggressively addressed the challenge and harm of generational poverty. I also have pastored suburban churches that are insulated from the plight of starving neighbors. I’ve been humbled to lead people from a variety of perspectives: One church was racially diverse while others were lily white. Some congregations were predominantly “blue state,” while others were much more politically conservative. I’ve learned that people of all backgrounds and perspectives love our country, have a common-sense approach to life, and are not nearly as divided personally as the leaders they elect portray.

    It is time for Christians and all Americans to join together to protect our heritage and to restore strength, stability, and prosperity to our nation. At the same time, it is essential that this be done from the bottom up, generated by individuals and families who take seriously God’s wisdom on managing and stewarding their finances. Change will begin to take place only when citizens—both Christian and otherwise—act on the framework and guidelines upon which our nation was built. That is when we will see families prosper and our nation regain economic strength.

    In the chapters that follow, we will look at the ideas and outcomes of leading thinkers and practitioners. We will examine policies based on economic theories that produced wealth and elevated the standard of living across the board, as well as those that weakened capitalism and, as a result, our nation. We will take a close look at capitalism’s most influential foe, Karl Marx, and the current American spokesman for the rechristened social gospel, Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners.

    There is nothing more personal than your next paycheck, your financial future, and your family’s freedom, security, and well-being. So let’s see what God would say if He were talking individually to the economic thinkers and political leaders who shape and enact the policies that govern our country. These are the policies that have an impact in your town, in your home, and on your wallet. Let’s get started.

    Godonomics.


    Excerpted from Godonomics by Chad Hovind Copyright © 2013 by Chad Hovind. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

  • The Next Book on Your List if Half Off

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Family Christian

    Family Values 50% off select Books
    Jesus Calling by Sarah Young Jesus Calling: Devotional Journal by Sarah Young The Reason for My Hope by Billy Graham
    You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado Four Blood Moons by John Hagee Break Out! by Joel Osteen
    The Power of Right Believing by Joseph Prince The Screwtape Letters 4-CD set with DVD by C. S. Lewis (audiobook) God Girl by Hayley DiMarco
    Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas AHA by Kyle Idleman
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