Tag Archives: VeggieTales
Posted on February 11, 2014 by John van der Veen
The middle of February brings out some great new releases. New books, new music and new DVDs. There is enough here for your whole family to enjoy, for personal growth or to give as a gift of encouragement.
Filled with songs that lived at the top of the gospel radio charts in 2013, this double CD set is chock full of hits, including songs from Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Tasha Cobbs, Deitrick Haddon, Lecrae and more. WOW Gospel 2014 is a must-have for fans of modern worship music, and it's perfect for singing along to all year!
Don't forget the companion DVD as well.
In Grace Unplugged, Grace Trey aspires to more than just singing at her church, where the worship leader is her former pop-star father. With the help of Mossy, her dad's former manager, Grace records a cover version of her dad's old Top-10 hit, runs off to Los Angeles and begins to experience the kind of fame she's always dreamed about.
Stardom offers Grace a hit song - but will the fame be too much for Grace to handle and blind her faith? Or will she rediscover it? Starring actress and musician A. J. Michalka, Grace Unplugged is an inspiring story about chasing your dreams.
Soundtrack for the movie can be found here.
The chaos of life can be overwhelming, and women seem to get a heavier dose. Each day comes with its own pressures, heartaches and disappointments that slowly erode the joy, peace and closeness to God every woman needs. Chaos always feels like the enemy as it rages around us and inside us.
In The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are, bestselling author and Women of Faith speaker Sheila Walsh invites you into ten life-changing, hope-filled transformations where hurt and heartache are divinely redeemed into joy and faith.
In The Storm Inside, you will find strength in the most profound truths - that you are always a child of God no matter how you feel. This simple teaching will be the difference between a life of joy and one of despair. Sheila powerfully reminds us that God offers no guarantee of a life without storms, but He does provide the strength and grace to make it through them.
When a band’s first priority is to declare God’s glory through song, it doesn’t worry too much about fitting into one particular genre of music. Perhaps that’s why some fans have alternating definitions of Kutless, the best-selling rock . . . , no, worship . . . no, rock/worship hit makers from Portland, OR. On the inspiring new studio album Glory, its eighth with BEC Recordings, a perfect balance is struck as lead singer Jon Micah Sumrall, guitarists James Mead and Nick de Partee, and drummer Kyle Peek celebrate with electrifying abandon not their collective identity but the mighty name of Jesus.
“Our goal with Glory was simply to worship louder and clearer than ever before,” de Partee says of the amped up and sometimes stripped down set. “We felt led to create original songs that could be sung on an acoustic guitar in a Bible study or in an arena with the masses shouting God’s praises.”
Kutless kicks off 2014 with Glory, featuring the single "You Alone." Continuing their transformation from "new band" to established act that began with 2012's Believer, the album showcases the band's massive range, featuring a more mature tone and stunning performances.
Inside your head and heart is a chatterbox. Its lies are keeping you from realizing your God-given potential. What can you do about it? In Crash the Chatterbox: Hearing God's Voice Above All Others, Pastor Steven Furtick focuses on four key areas in which negative thoughts are most debilitating: insecurity, fear, condemnation and discouragement. He asks, "What great deeds are in danger of remaining undone in your life because of lies that were planted in your past or fears that are looming in your future?"
With personal stories, inspiring examples, and practical strategies, Pastor Furtick shows you how to silence the lies and embrace the freeing affirmation of God. You'll learn how to crash the chatterbox - and hear God’s voice above all others.
City Harbor presents their debut, self-titled album, featuring their first radio single, "Come However You Are." The duo of Molly Reed and Robby Earle brings a unique creative, organic pop sound, which skillfully showcases their songwriting, dual lead vocals and playing. The songs on City Harbor come from a desire to know Christ and to make Christ known to the world around.
Besides the new releases, there are plenty of prebuy opportunities as well. New music from MercyMe and Francesca Battistelli. New DVD from VeggieTales and a new movie from Kirk Cameron. Click here to see them all.
Posted on January 28, 2014 by John van der Veen
Ahhh, the doldrums of mid-winter are over. At least that's what it seems like in our stores today. There are a slew of new releases available. Many people of all ages have been waiting for these. From Casting Crowns to Kirk Cameron. From a modern day parable of the story of Joseph to a Bible that points to Jesus throughout the whole book.
Here are the new releases for today, January 28, 2014.
So many of us today are simply surviving. But we were not made to survive, we were made to Thrive! We should be digging into God's word to know Him and know who He has made us to be. We should be reaching out to the world and showing others who He is through our lives and our stories - knowing Him and making Him known.
Thrive, the seventh studio album from Casting Crowns, is packed with the band’s signature style of songs about real life that redefine our identity in Christ, pointing us to our purpose from Him so that we may carry it out through Him. Featuring 12 brand new songs, including the lead single "All You've Ever wanted," the album centers on the themes of "Reaching Out" and "Digging Deep."
In 2012, Jamie Grace received her first GMA Dove Award - for New Artist of the Year - and now she returns with her second album, Ready to Fly. The record's first single, "Beautiful Day," continues her message of staying strong and experiencing life to the fullest. Ready to Fly is about waiting, yet while you’re waiting being ready to move - ready to fly - when the timing is right.
Jesus isn’t just found in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. His presence can be felt throughout the whole Bible, even in Genesis. The Jesus Bible contains the complete New International Version (NIV) with daily study helps that point to Jesus and show how he fulfilled the prophecies for the Messiah found in the Old Testament.
Kirk Cameron presents the follow-up to his bestselling film, Monumental. In Unstoppable, Kirk takes you on a personal and inspiring journey to better understand the biggest doubt-raiser in faith: Why? He goes back to the beginning - literally - as he investigates the origins of good and evil and how they impact our lives and our eternities.
Reminding us that there is great hope, Unstoppable creatively asks and answers the age-old question: Where is God in the midst of tragedy and suffering?
Seasons of Gray is a modern day retelling of the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. This uplifting feature film is quality family entertainment with strong morals and an enduring message of hope.
What man intends for evil, God intends for good . This simple, yet powerful, message is all Brady Gray has left. His brothers, driven by jealousy, cast away their own flesh and blood in the same way that Joseph was sold into slavery by his siblings. Heartbroken and separated from his family, Brady holds tightly to his faith and begins to build a new life for himself - but there are more challenges in store for this servant of God.
False accusations land Brady in prison, where his God-given gift of interpreting dreams helps him forge friendships that will play an important role in his ultimate salvation. Upon his miraculous release from prison, Brady discovers, as his dreams predicted, that his brothers direly need his help. Despite the pain and suffering caused by his betrayal, Brady must find the strength to embrace one of the Bible’s most important messages: We forgive because we are forgiven.
Girls of Grace: Live Love Lead is an in-depth look at God’s grace and how it marks our daily lives. Simply put, a Girl of Grace is a girl who lives freely, loves fiercely and leads fearlessly. To live freely means to live in the light of the Gospel of Grace; to love fiercely is to actively demonstrate Christ’s love to the world around us; and to lead fearlessly is a charge to be brave and to take a stand.
A soundtrack to the "Girls of Grace" conferences held nationwide, Girls of Grace: Live Love Lead is full of chart-topping hits that will inspire and encourage teenage girls everywhere. With popular songs from top Christian artists, this compilation is the perfect soundtrack for her life as she finds her way in the world through faith.
Posted on April 29, 2013 by Family Christian
Phil Vischer made his first animated film when he was nine years old; by the age of fourteen,
he was convinced he would be a filmmaker when he grew up. After a brief stint at a Bible college, Phil struck out on his own, looking for a way to integrate his faith with his film making.
In the video below, Phil talks about Jesus being the Good News. He also explains the hardest part about telling kids the story of what Jesus did and why the cross matters.
Posted on July 12, 2012 by Family Christian
Oh those beautiful summer days... how they seem to last forever!
Oh those beautiful summer days... how hot can it get???
We thought that we would share a few ideas on what your family can do to keep cool this summer.
Here is the perfect Sweet Tea recipe shared from a friend:
- Bring approximately 2 quarts of water to a boil.
- Add 2 family size tea bags and remove from the heat.
- Let sit for at least 15 minutes, but if you forget about it for a while it will still be fine.
- Add 2 1/4 cups of sugar to a 1 gallon container, stir in tea, add water to fill. Chill. Enjoy.
- Want some variety? Add a regular tea bag in the flavor of your choice. DEE LISH!
Here is the perfect cool down plan for the kiddos!
- Grab a kiddie pool
- Fill with water from the garden hose
- Grab a sprinkler or two
- Everyone put on a bathing suit
- GET WET!!!
So get out there!
Enjoy the summer!
After all it provides a great way to interact with your family.
Posted on May 13, 2011 by John van der Veen
It’s rare to cross paths with someone whom you could consider a modern-day John the Baptist. But even casual conversation with Eric Metaxas quickly turns into a compelling, stirring call to holiness. Just like Bonhoeffer – the bestselling biography that Eric wrote about the revolutionary German pastor during Nazi Germany – his words ring with the passion of a man solely devoted to obedience and a desire to live righteously. We recently caught up with Eric about his take on the church, society and his newest book Socrates in the City.
Family Christian: Before you became an author, you were involved in media and the arts community to some extent. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Eric Metaxas: Ever since I graduated from Yale in 1984 I have known that I wanted to be a writer and that’s what the Lord had for me. The only question was what was I going to write? I knew that I was a writer, one who hadn’t yet written anything that people would care or know about too much.
FC: In Bonhoeffer we see a man filled with passion for Christ; even in how he interacted with the culture around him. Looking back at the time you were researching his life to write the book, do you feel like your life and relationship with Christ changed in the process?
Eric: Well, I think yes and no, but I’ll explain. I was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church – my dad is Greek, my mom’s German. So I grew up in the church but never really heard the Gospel. It was mostly a kind of cultural Christianity. I then went to Yale – an aggressively secular university – and lost whatever modicum of faith that I had brought with me. I was dramatically born again in the summer of 1988. And really, ever since then I have had a deep passion to serve God with my gifts as a writer and speaker. That’s always been a constant, [I think] because I came to faith later in life (I was saved around my 25th birthday). I’ve had this incredible passion ever since. The only thing that changed by writing Bonhoeffer is that in some ways it accelerated that and gave me a greater sense of urgency about speaking the truth, standing up for Christ in the culture, being less shy about it. I’ve never been particularly shy about it but it made me more bold and courageous because this is true, not just something I hope is true. It’s true! So it’s not that it awakened so much in me, but as I was writing it I realized there was no question, this [book] is going to speak to a lot of people who need to be affirmed, encouraged and inspired. There’s something about this man’s life that is profoundly inspiring to Christians. The funny thing is that I didn’t know so much that that would happen, but through the course of writing it became clear to me that that’s what God was doing.
FC: So this type of passion was certainly sparked within you before the book, but did seeing someone who had similar passion make it resonate even stronger in you?
Eric: There’s no doubt about that. Writing the book was a personal agony on a number of levels for me. I had a keen sense that God had created and called me to write this book. I had a very (how do I put it…?) palpable feeling that this was part of what God had created me to do and He was with me while I was doing it. I really sensed His presence, very, very strong in writing it.
FC: You’ve commented before about that ‘sense of agony’ you felt in writing the book – what exactly does that mean? We’re also curious about what you think a revolutionary like Dietrich Bonhoeffer might have to say to the church today…
Eric: Well I think Bonhoeffer would have the same thing to say to the church today that the Lord would have to say to the church. Because, let’s face it, either the Lord is speaking through people like Bonhoeffer or who cares what Bonhoeffer has to say. While writing the book, what Bonhoeffer really helped me see is that, we the church will always get it wrong both ways. Not just one way. The liberal church is screwing up one way and the conservative church is screwing up another way. We’re all messing up. When I was writing it and still now, I’m stunned at the parallels. For example you think, how did the Holocaust happen, how did this German Christian nation allow this to happen? Part of it was because of liberal theology and then part of it was a kind of hyper-religious, pious, separatist Christian theology. I was amazed to see in Germany that the mainline protestant churches had pretty much stopped proclaiming the historical Gospel and that compromised them fundamentally. That’s a big part of what happened to the church in Germany then, and it’s a big part of what is happening in the church here today. It’s not that they’re just not preaching this, but we see that it cripples them from actually calling evil evil and dealing with [sin] in a Biblical way. But then, of course, are people on the other end of the theological spectrum who are religious but not disciples of Jesus Christ. In other words, they’re excited about having the right theology, but they can almost make an idol of it, neglecting the loving and gracious Gospel of Jesus. They’re almost worshiping theology more than worshiping Jesus Himself. You see this back to almost the first century. There was something about the nature of things then with the aggressive secular culture of national socialism trying to take over the church. And I think we see a parallel of that today, that the mainstream culture has become increasingly secular and increasingly bold in stepping onto territory that absolutely belongs to the church. The church has to see that and the church has to do something about it. I think that either the church doesn’t see or accommodate itself to that or just doesn’t respond in a Biblical way. The story of Bonhoeffer gives us a Biblical model of ‘how are we going to be disciples of Jesus Christ in the middle of a culture that is very counter to that idea?’
FC: Without persecution here in the West, can we as followers of Jesus strive to pay the same cost of discipleship that Dietrich did?
Eric: That’s a great question. I don’t know… It doesn’t seem so. I think we’re on the verge of real persecution. Because I think that today, for example, if you hold a Biblical view of sexuality, you are now being branded as a bigot. Just a few years ago, you could still say I’m a Christian and this is what I believe, but now, that’s becoming more difficult. I think that serious Christians, as they were in Hitler’s time, are being marginalized. If you are willing to bow the knee to Baal, well, we’ll still pat you on the head and let you go to church, but if you seriously believe these things and are proclaiming these things even in a loving way, you’re going to be marginalized. It is going to become increasingly more difficult to function. And that seems to be happening with the same sex marriage issue, and it’s a bit startling to see it happening that way in our culture which has been so traditionally Christian in so many ways.
FC: You talked a little about how government is encroaching on the church in the US and also how the American church is handing over certain areas of its functionality to the government. When you look at the church, what peeves you the most?
Eric: Well, I think there’s a kind of gutlessness. We’re quick to agree with all kinds of things that we should not agree with. We’re so afraid of being branded as intolerant that we’ve made too much peace. We haven’t been bold. There are people around the world suffering for their faith and we don’t even seem to be able to put up with people sneering at us. It gets our noses so out of joint that we just somehow cease to be salt and light. That level of gutlessness, cowardice (unfortunately nothing less than that) is the death of the church. You saw it in spades in Nazi Germany, people wanted to be a good national socialist and a Christian. They were uncomfortable realizing ‘national socialism is forcing me to choose between itself and being an actual Christian.’ Many people never made that choice, and if you don’t make that choice, you’ve made the choice. I see that happening here. People are afraid to take a stand on issues because they’re simply afraid of what people will think or what the New York Times will think. I think that’s why Bonhoeffer gives me hope, because he calls us to wake up and be the church. He says, if you don’t, terrible things will happen. In his day, terrible things did happen and in our day terrible things will too unless we repent and do what God called us to. It’s always what God has called His prophets to do, which is to speak His truth, to call the people of God to be the people of God. I have this crazy idea that in the story of Bonhoeffer, God would give us a second chance. He would say, the church did not heed the cry of my servant in the 1930s but maybe now you’ll hear his voice. In the same way, we applaud Isaiah and Jeremiah today but in their own day the people of God did not applaud them. I have a funny feeling that Bonhoeffer’s voice is crying out to our generation and that it really does hang in the balance. I would like to think that the church would be the Church and that somehow his story is an encouragement to us along those lines.
FC: So on that note, if we, the church were faced with another Holocaust, do you think we would act in cowardice today?
Eric: Oh I think we’re acting in cowardice already. Any kind of tragedy is a holocaust. The abortion industry over the last 30 years is a kind of holocaust. You’ll never see the same thing twice because you’ll be smart enough to recognize it. It will always be different, it will always fool you. And that’s exactly what has happened. The breakdown of the family has led to a different kind of holocaust. How many Steven Jobs have been aborted? I mean, he himself was born to an unwed mother who gave him up for adoption. How many people like that don’t exist because we’ve fundamentally changed our view of these kinds of things? Yeah, I don’t see how we’re ever any different. People are people, but God asks every generation to step up, and to the extent that we do, we try to avoid it. We’re no different than the Germans in those days, we fool ourselves if we think we’re somehow morally superior to them.
FC: Do you think that the church has lost its credibility on some of the most important topics?
Eric: I think we have allowed ourselves to be politicized to the point where we can sometimes sound shrill. I think that many have been cowed into silence and other people have been goaded into shrillness. Both are unbiblical. So you take your pick. We’re speaking up on important issues, but again I think it’s both. If you hate shrill political conservatives, it’s very easy to point the finger at them while you’re bowing your knee to Baal except in a different direction. I think it’s just easy to get it wrong either way. I don’t think that the devil really cares how we get it wrong, as long as we get it wrong, or keep our mouth shut. [The problem is] agreeing with our friends on everything, or being so shrill, partisan and uncivil that we marginalize ourselves, making it very easy for people to ignore what we have to say.
FC: Ok so transitioning to a lighter note, Socrates in the City (laughs). Tell us a little bit about this book and how it relates to the public forum that it grew out of.
Eric: I have had the privilege of knowing some of the greatest thinkers and speakers in my time. I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing to bring some of these people [here] to New York to opine on the big questions? (Because this is not a place where you typically hear people talk from a Biblical world view.) But not in a church-y environment – in a fun environment, an expensive private club where there’s wine and hors d’oeuvres and piano music, so it’s a social event. What would happen if you brought Os Guiness or Chuck Colson or any number of brilliant, wonderful speakers into that environment? I thought it would bless the church because we need to have our minds fed and it would bless the unchurched because they’d have a safe place to hear about something from a different point of view – so [I thought] let’s see what happens. Frankly, we’ve been doing it now for 11 years – it’s been a smashing success. I can hardly tell you what these evenings are like, but most of them are really terrific. For years I’ve thought, we’ve got to get this into a book, some of these talks are just so great, how can we not put them in a book? My introductions [of the speakers] are intentionally fun and silly because I don’t want it to feel like an intellectual exercise, I want it to be fun exploring these big questions. And it really has been fun! The book, for me, is a dream come true because I get to share these evenings with anybody who can buy a book at the bookstore. They can suddenly participate in what we’ve been doing. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. The reviews I’ve gotten so far from friends have been beyond what I really had hoped. I never meant for [the events] to be just for Manhattan or the people who come to them, but as the time passed I felt more and more like it was a crime that people couldn’t listen in on these things because some of them were so magical. So we picked 10 or 11 of the most representative ones and put them in a book. To me the event does translate onto the page, we edited it lightly so that you really kinda feel like you’re there as opposed to just reading a book. That to me is a big achievement. I’m really excited about it - it’s time for Socrates to go public. We’ve done events in Chicago and Dallas/Ft. Worth and we’re refurbishing our website so folks can actually watch the events on video. So it’s a new day for us. I really can’t contain my enthusiasm for this because I feel like we’ve been hiding it under a bushel.
FC: In doing these interviews, do you find yourself disagreeing with any of the speakers?
Eric: Well I don’t normally do interviews, mostly it’s a lecture. I introduce them, they give a talk and then we have Q & A, which is a lot of fun. Absolutely most of the speakers would differ from me in one way or the other but it’s not about having people who agree with me on everything, it’s about having people bring a fresh perspective that’s generally something that you’re not going to hear in a place like Manhattan or on TV. So sure, we’ve had some, but never anything terribly significant. That’s kind of the nature of the open-ended aspect of it, where people can ask questions and argue, but it’s always done in a civil environment so that’s the fun of it. People can come up to the microphone and say ‘I disagree with this’ then force the speaker to defend him or herself.
FC: On your own website you describe this book as including humor. You’ve participated in comedy throughout your life – even voicing a VeggieTales character. How do you transition from something that has more comedic value to something weighty like Bonhoeffer or these great ethical points of philosophy in Socrates? Is this all who Eric is?
Eric: Humor has always been a major part of my life, it’s how the Lord made me. We are all strange, complicated creatures. I was the editor of the humor magazine at Yale University when I was there, I’ve written humor for the New York Times, the Atlantic Monthly, obviously working for VeggieTales humor’s involved, it’s always both – it’s never either or. I think it’s the nature of life generally, but it’s also the nature of my life (laughs), such as it is.
FC: So what do you do to unplug?
Eric: (Pause) …That’s a good question. I don’t know… um, crash? Burn? Yeah, crash and burn would be the answer. I don’t think I’m really good at unwinding or unplugging. I think if you’re doing something you enjoy you don’t really need to, I mean, it’s fun in and of itself. I don’t collect stamps if that’s what you’re asking.
FC: Family? Married?
Eric: My wife and I just celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary. Our daughter is 12 and goes to a tremendous Christian school right here in Manhattan, the Geneva Christian School. Without the school I don’t know if we’d be able to live here, it’s just fantastic. My wife runs the only evangelical crisis pregnancy center in New York City and they just celebrated their 15th anniversary also. So, I’m a family man living in New York City and I really do believe God called us to be here.
FC: Eric, we are in awe that you took a few moments to talk with us today. We’re so grateful for Bonhoeffer. It is a great read.
Eric: Nothing pleases me more – you can only imagine how much that just blesses me. The Lord was with me and really had spoken to me that this was His book and that He would use it, I clung to that. It was really tough to write, then I had to switch publishers [in the process which] was a really horrible experience, but by God’s grace I found my way to Thomas Nelson and they have been tremendous. I don’t have time to tell you the details but trust me when I tell you there were really, genuinely miraculous aspects to the whole thing, so the fact that God is using it this way, it’s only proof that it is His book and nothing could really make me happier.
Eric Metaxas 2012 National Prayer Breakfast
To learn more about Eric, his books or the Socrates in the City forum, visit ericmetaxas.com.