January 2016 Posts

Love Kindness Giveaway

Kindness is not what we have been taught it is. It isn’t a soft virtue, expressed only by sweet grandmothers or nice Boy Scouts. Kindness is neither timid nor frail. Instead, it is brave and daring, willing to be vulnerable with those with whom we disagree.

Everyone has the ability to spread kindness.

Sometimes we forget that the essence of what God requires of us is to “love kindness.” Love Kindness by Barry Corey is filled with stories from his travels around the globe, Barry shows us the forgotten way of kindness.












You can spread Love Kindness  using simple, everyday objects. Just how creative can you get? Show or tell us your ingenuity and share about the book for a chance to win an advanced copy of Barry Corey’s new book Love Kindness!











Fill out the form below to share your photo, or share about the book. We’ll chose six winners at random from all the entries on 2/7/2016.



Love Kindness Giveaway

6 Indoor Winter Activities for Moms + GIVEAWAY

All the snow keeping you and your kids indoors? Acquisitions Director, Linda Howard, shares some fun activities the entire family can enjoy together! To top it all off, we have an exciting giveaway for you all! See below for details.

photo-1452626212852-811d58933caeImagine a beautiful snowy day with a fire burning in the fireplace while you are completely engrossed in a great book for hours on end. How often does that happen for moms with young children at home? Stop laughing, we all know that is a dream – a nice one – but one that probably won’t come true until the kids are out of the house!

Winter can be absolutely beautiful, but at the same time it can make any mom’s life much more challenging. Snow, ice, and below freezing weather all combine to trap families inside for days at a time. Don’t let these days turn into a time of survival training. Instead, plan some fun activities that will build stronger familial relationships and create hours of fun for you and your kids. View these times as gifts that will allow you to get to know your kids better, and embrace the joy of spending time together.

Below are a few ideas for inside activities that are fun, will create lifelong memories, and offer creative opportunities for family bonding.

  1. Create your own Memory/Matching game. Glue pictures of your family or your kid’s favorite items onto poster board squares. Make two of each and get ready for hours of fun! Children love to see pictures of themselves and they will enjoy finding the pictures that match.
  2. Write your own stories and illustrate them. Have your kids dictate a story to you and then have them draw pictures for each page.
  3. Have an indoor picnic for lunch. Make hotdogs or sandwiches, add some chips, and fruit to the mix. Spread a blanket on the floor and pretend you are picnicking in the park. Have the kids take turns telling stories about their favorite times at the park.
  4. Play hide-and-seek. One of my grandkids favorite indoor games is hide-and-seek. We take turns counting to 10, and then look for each other. I have to say, though that the little ones don’t quite get the game yet. The minute I say “10”, they come running out giggling and looking for hugs. That’s my kind of game!
  5. Set up a “stage” and act out your favorite Bible Stories. Use bathrobes and other things around the house to create costumes. Feel free to join in – I’m sure you would make a great lost sheep!
  6. Make homemade ice cream in a bag together. See recipe below!

Homemade Ice Cream…in a Bag!

Makes 1 servingphoto-1447195047884-0f014b0d9288


  • 12 cup half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 14 teaspoon vanilla
  • Flavorings of your choice (chocolate syrup, vanilla, fruit)
  • 1 sandwich ziploc bag
  • 1 gallon ziploc bag
  • 3 cups crushed ice
  • 13 cup rock salt


  1. Put first 4 ingredients in the smaller Ziplock bag and seal bag (Make sure it is tightly closed!). Put ice and rock salt in the larger bag and then add the filled small bag. Seal the large bag.
  2. Squeeze bag until ice cream is thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove small bag, unseal, and eat with spoon.
  4. No need to even dirty a bowl!

Most importantly, remember to have fun with your kids. You blink, and they are headed out of the house on their way to college. Treasure these times together and build memories that will sustain you both for a lifetime!


Be 1 of 5 lucky winners to receive a copy of Love, Lexi by Sherry Kyle!

Love, Lexi Giveaway
Linda Howard 2

Linda Howard is the Acquisitions Director of Children & Youth at Tyndale House Publishers.

The Arc #10: Rediscovering The Bible with The Message

We’re excited to release the first episode of The Arc podcast for 2016!

On this episode Joy and Adam talk with Adam Graber, brand manager for The Message Bible. Adam tells us about his job, what he likes about The Message, and the time he met Eugene Peterson.


Learn more about The Message 100 at TheMessage100.com.

How to Create a Lifegiving Home with Sally Clarkson

1. What life experiences prompted you to write The Lifegiving HomeLifegiving Home

Over 34 years of marriage, having raised 4 children to adulthood and moving 17 times, I have observed that everyone has a longing for home. Each of us want to have a sanctuary for our lives where we can be loved as we are, feel a part of a community that supports us, and enjoy a place where life is celebrated, feasts are enjoyed and one can always find goodness and hope for refueling to go back into the world. Our home has a story of such a place over all the years. Sarah and I wanted to write a book that would encourage, inspire, give ideas and help women of all walks of life cultivate such a place for themselves and for those in their homes.

2. Your book is not just about “home” as it relates to family, but to all who enter and need a “home”. Can you explain?

As a young single woman, I lived in Communist Eastern Europe many years ago and began to realize that I could cultivate a life-giving home wherever I was, in a tiny apartment, a dorm room or a full-fledged home. During those years, I would invite young students over for tea, coffee or simple meals. Sometimes over 30 women would show up and say how much it meant to be invited into a place of generous hospitality. Now that Sarah is a student in Oxford, she has practiced all traditions we celebrated over the years in her own dorm room and now cottage as a single woman. People are the same everywhere—they long for a space that says welcome. Through our many years of living all over the world, we have been welcomed into homes of students, single parents, single men and women, families, and in every place where someone purposes to “make home” we have felt welcome.

3. You say “when you invite people in to your home, the Lord shows up”, what do you mean by this?

In this time of Pinterest and elaborate photographs of house beautiful, sometimes we become intimidated by a vision of perfectionistic sort of hospitality and feel we cannot have people in our home unless it is picture perfect. However, we have learned over the years, if we have an open heart to welcome whoever God brings our way, and gather around a bit to eat or something soothing to drink, it seems hearts begin to open, and we very much feel God’s blessing on our time together. Simple love, simple hospitality, simply divine!

4. Creating a Lifegiving Home can be especially important in providing children with confidence, deep roots, faith, and security. How is this so?Lifegiving Home Experience

Home life most often becomes the foundation of forming a child’s heart, mind, soul, values and appetites for their whole life. When we have a home that is safe from the storms of the world, a place of beauty, fun, love, the incarnated life and truth of Jesus, our children will flourish and learn personally of the love of God which is the oxygen breathed into all their days in such a home. Home is the best place to pass on a godly legacy that will sustain through all the years of adulthood. Yet, to craft such a place requires one who is willing to plan and conduct the life of Christ through out all the seasons of the year. Children thrive when they have a secure sense of place, a sense of their part in a bigger story of family and a haven where they can find joy and love.

5. In our isolationist culture where we feel anxious and afraid, it is more important now
than ever before to provide a safe place that nurtures and restores the soul. Can you explain?

Through all the ups and downs of life, we long to have a friend, a parent, a sibling, a spouse who can meet us every day and say, “I am committed to you. I love you. I will be here for you. I will make time for you.” We were created to thrive in a community of people that invest love, affirmation and encouragement in our lives on a daily basis. Yet, with the mobility of family and jobs, the isolation from our neighbors, and the anonymity we feel when we are but a tiny person amongst hundreds or thousands in mega churches, we have become accustomed to a lonely life that we were never created to have. Redeeming a vision of home, where real people embrace, love, play and pray with each other invests deeply in our emotional lives. Often when we feel so very isolated from any real friendships, we can also feel far from God. More than ever, home can provide a haven in the storms of life, an outpost for life where our real and deep longings can be met. Reviving a vision for home is one of our main purposes in writing this book. Our desire is that people all over the world will find place to belong, a place to grow, a place to be comforted, a place to belong, a place to be loved.

About the Author

Sally Clarkson

Sally Clarkson is the women’s ministry director of Whole Heart Ministries, which she cofounded in 1994 with her husband, Clay. The author of many popular books, including Desperate (with Sarah Mae) and Own Your Life, Sally inspires thousands of mothers through her Mom Heart Conferences and small groups. She is a very popular blogger, and a mother of 4 grown children.


The Rise of Churchless in America

Man in Church

Churchless people are all around us: among our closest loved ones, at our workplaces, in our neighborhoods.

And more and more, they are becoming the norm: The number of churchless adults in the US has grown by nearly one-third in the past decade.

Yet the startling truth is that many of these people claim they are looking for a genuine, powerful encounter with God-but they just don’t find it in church.

What are they (or we) missing?

How can we better reach out to them?

What can we say or do that would inspire them to want to join a community of faith?

Containing groundbreaking new research from the Barna Group, and edited by bestselling authors George Barna (Revolution) and David Kinnaman (You Lost Me), Churchless reveals the results of a five-year study based on interviews with thousands of churchless men and women.

Looking past the surface of church attendance to deeper spiritual realities, Barna and Kinnaman show us how we can understand those who choose not to be part of a church, build trust-based relationships with them, and be empowered to successfully invite them to engage.

To learn more, click on this infographic to download several others about America’s churches.