March 2016 Posts

GIVEAWAY: Sit for a Bit Series – Unique & Fun Bible Memorization for Kids

Just Released! 

We’re so excited about the release of our Sit for a Bit series that we’re going to give one lucky winner all three!
Enter now below!

Be Still, Give Thanks, and I Can turn Bible memorization from a duty to a delight for children, using the author’s unique teaching strategy. This purposeful presentation of Scripture will help children memorize, understand, and absorb passages as the author presents this powerful verse one word at a time, teaching the meaning of each individual word before presenting the entire passage. Each book builds a meaningful connection between God’s Word and a child’s life experiences, laying a foundation for a love and comprehension of Scripture. Parents and children will enjoy interacting together over the passage.

Sit for a Bit

Sit for a Bit Giveaway

The Arc 14: Restore My Soul with Ann-Margret Hovsepian

On this episode Joy and Adam talk with

Ann-Margret Hovsepian about Restore My Soul, a new devotional adult coloring book.

978-1-4964-1406-9

Grab your colored pencils and get ready to refresh your spirit with this coloring book devotional journey!

For lovers of the Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest coloring books, Restore My Soul is a beautiful, interactive devotional designed to celebrate our unique creativity and connect us with the ultimate Creator. Find refreshment in short reflections on Scripture and be inspired as you color accompanying intricate illustrations created for meditation and prayer. Both contemplative and imaginative, Restore My Soul is the perfect space for the artist in us all.

Click here to learn more or to purchase.

Burning Proof iPad Mini and Gift Card Giveaway

To celebrate the release of the newest novel in the Cold Case Justice series, Burning Proof, Janice Cantore is offering one lucky winner an iPad mini and a complete library of Janice’s novels!  There are still a few other chances to win – 2nd prize receives a $50 gift card to christianbook.com plus a copy of Burning Proof and another lucky 20 winners will receive a copy of Burning Proof!

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To enter all you have to do is sign up for Janice’s newsletter and you’re entered to win!  Fill out the Gleam form below to enter.  Follow the directions for sharing to earn extra entries.  One grand prize winner, one second prize winner and 20 third prize winners will be chosen at Random on April 5th.

 

About the Cold Case Justice Series

Burning Proof

After months of investigating the brutal homicide of a young girl, Detective Abby Hart finally has the evidence she needs. But when the arrest goes terribly wrong, Abby begins to doubt her future as a police officer. As she wrestles with conflicting emotions, old questions about the fire that took her parents’ lives come back to haunt her.

“There is proof.” PI Luke Murphy can’t stop thinking about what Abby’s former partner, Asa Foster, mumbled just before he died. When he uncovers a clue to the murder of Abby’s parents and his uncle, he’s reluctant to tell Abby, despite his growing feelings for the beautiful detective.

A decade-old abduction case brings Luke and Abby together, but will his secret tear them apart?

 

Drawing Fire

One case from her past defines homicide detective Abby Hart.

With a possible serial killer stalking elderly women in Long Beach, California, Abby’s best lead is Luke Murphy, an irritating private investigator who saw a suspect flee the scene of the latest homicide. When Abby discovers that the most recent victim is related to the governor, she’s anxious to talk to him about a cold case that’s personal to her—one Luke is interested in as well.

As she learns more about the restaurant fire that took her parents’ lives years ago, Abby discovers why Luke is so invested in finding the ones responsible. The more they uncover, though, the more questions they have. Can Abby find peace without having all the answers?

 

Burning Proof Giveaway

Who Can You Trust These Days? by Beth Moore

Trust

If we can’t count on God, for crying out loud, who can we count on?

What frightens you?

Whenever you get hit by a wave of insecurity, the wind driving it is always fear. This is true whether the flare-up is monumental or comparatively mild. The moment you’re cognizant of an outbreak of insecurity, learn to check your heart for what you’re afraid of. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll rarely come away from that diagnostic test empty-handed. No need to make this complicated. Imagine two simple scenarios.

  1. You’re standing at a coworker’s desk. A simple conversation ensues. “Did you hear about . . . ?” No, you hadn’t heard. Suddenly, a wave of insecurity wells up inside of you. A fear of some kind is driving it. Learn to instantly identify it. Trade it in for trust.
  2. You’re at a crowded restaurant with your man. While waiting for an available table, he and a woman you’ve never met greet each other enthusiastically. She turns out to be a coworker you’ve heard him mention here and there. You had no idea she looked like that. Suddenly, a wave of insecurity wells up inside of you. A fear of some kind is driving it. Learn to instantly identify it. Trade it in for trust.

If you and I were at a sidewalk café having this conversation over cappuccinos, you might be in a position to respond to the second scenario like this: “But Beth, I don’t know if I can trust my man or not. What if I’ve seen red flags and something really is up?”

I’m not talking about trusting your man in the middle of that wave of insecurity, although I deeply hope you can and do. I’m talking about something much less reliant on frail flesh and blood: trusting God. Trusting God with yourself. With your husband. With your job. With your health. With your family. With your friends. With your threat. I’m talking about entering into a transforming, two-sentence dialogue with a very real, very active God who sees all things and is intimately acquainted with everything concerning you:

You: Lord, I don’t know if I can trust ____________________ or not.

God: But can you trust Me?

Any time insecurity hits, you can be sure that you are afraid of something. The question is, what? The answer could be one of many possibilities depending on our present vulnerabilities, but it can get subtly ignored behind the upheaval of insecurity. You have to look beyond the obvious to see the wind driving the wave. Maybe you could use a jump start so you’ll know the kinds of things you’re looking for. Beneath that sudden outbreak of insecurity:

You may fear proving stupid.

You may fear rejection.

You may fear anonymity.

You may fear being alone.

You may fear being unimportant.

You may fear betrayal.

You may fear being replaced.

You may fear disrespect.

You may fear being hurt.

You may fear pain of any sort.

Valley

Nothing has come more naturally to me than fear. I understand the insanity of some of it and the sheer normalcy of most of it. I’m often afraid because the world proves over and over to be a scary place. Like yours, the majority of my fears have been unfounded, but some of them have been almost prophetic—as if my rehearsals did anything at all to make the reality easier. Listen carefully: either way, whether founded or fictional, our fears will never do us a single favor. If fright would somehow insulate us from specific outcomes, I’d say let’s jump out from behind a door and scare ourselves half to death every morning for good measure. If imagining it would keep us from living it, let’s all quit our jobs and spend our days transfixed on the couch in a mental horror flick of our own making. The fact is, fearing something doesn’t jinx it—even though we wish it would. Neither does it prepare us for it. Fear consumes massive amounts of energy and focus and can chew a hole through our intestines, our relationships, and countless great opportunities. At the risk of oversimplifying, the kind of fear we’re talking about is a colossal waste of time.

I used to think that the essence of trusting God was trusting that He wouldn’t allow my fears to become realities. Without realizing it, I mostly trusted God to do what I told Him. If He didn’t, I was thrown for a total loop. Over more time than should have been necessary, a couple of realizations finally dawned on me about this thing I was calling trust: (1) It wasn’t the real thing. (2) It constantly failed to treat the core issue. Trusting God to never let our fears come to fruition doesn’t get to the bottom of where insecurity lurks. It’s too conditional. It suggests that if any of our terrors come to pass, God is not trustworthy after all. If, like me, you tend to think that the essence of trust is counting on God to obey you, go ahead and wave bye-bye from a country mile to any semblance of lasting stability. If we can’t count on God, for crying out loud, who can we count on? In the words of Isaiah 33:6, “He is your constant source of stability” (NET).

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m stating that if we want to be secure people, this mind-set is a necessity. Sometimes trusting God means taking no further action. That’s when a verse like Psalm 46:10 speaks loudest: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Other times trusting God means regrouping with Him until the fog clears so we know how to take the next step. Nothing can mislead us or make us jump the gun faster than fear. For times like these when action is necessary but not obvious, Proverbs 3:5-6 hits the nail on the head: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT). I love the succinct way Psalm 37:3 says something similar: “Trust in the LORD and do good” (NLT).

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Beth Moore has written many best–selling books and Bible studies, including So Long, Insecurity, and Breaking Free. She is a dynamic teacher whose public speaking engagements take her across the United States to challenge tens of thousands. A dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters, Beth lives in Houston, Texas, where she leads Living Proof Ministries and teaches an adult Sunday school class.                 

Hypocrisy, Humility, and a Hasidic Jew by Barry Corey

American AirlinesNothing invalidates the way of kindness more than the way of arrogance and hypocrisy. When our religious trappings do not sync with our actions, we’ve got a problem. After a flight from Chicago to New York City where I met an Orthodox Jew, I began to see this problem starkly in me.

My seat assignment, 29D, was on the aisle near the back of the plane. As I boarded, I noticed a handful of Orthodox Jewish men, distinctive by their clothes and beards. Just before the doors closed, one last passenger hurried aboard, bespectacled and disheveled. From the black suit, white shirt, fedora on his head, and tassels on his belt, the latecomer was obviously Jewish. He took the last open seat on the plane, the middle seat beside me. I turned my legs sideways so he could slide by.

The moment he sat down in 29E, he took out his cell phone to make a call. As he dialed, the flight attendant began her intercom drill. “Ladies and gentlemen, at this time we request that all mobile phones and electronic devices be turned off . . .”

As the voice rolled on, another flight attendant dutifully patrolled the aisle as part of her FAA checklist. Politely, she told my neighbor to turn off his phone, as by now we were pushing back from the gate.

He wasn’t done.

A few minutes later she came by again, downgrading her politeness to borderline scolding, insisting he get off the phone. He quickly clicked off the screen but didn’t hang up—a trick. She passed by. He kept talking, discreetly facing the window seat and hiding the phone behind his beard’s bushiness and his fedora’s rim.

As we taxied down the tarmac toward the runway, the flight attendant settled across the aisle from me in the jump seat by the galley, oblivious that my neighbor was still on his phone, now speaking in hushed tones. I felt a peculiar urge of justice to point out his indiscretion. So I did. Holding my pinky to my mouth and my thumb to my ear, I gestured to her that 29E was still on his phone.

Phone

At that moment, hell had no fury like a flight attendant disobeyed.

In a matter of seconds, she unclicked her shoulder straps, jumped up, and confronted my seatmate. He didn’t see it coming.

“Sir, this is the third time I’ve told you to get off the phone! I will have the pilot return to the gate and the police escort you off the plane if you don’t get off now!” Her voice must have hit 100 decibels, somewhere between raised and roaring.

Passengers from rows in front and behind whiplashed their necks to look. He frantically closed his flip phone and put it in his pocket, looking away and saying nothing. The in-flight rubberneckers went back to their reading or chatting. As the flight attendant left, my Hasidic neighbor glanced my way. I sheepishly shrugged as if to say, “Can you believe her? Bad luck for you.”

Not long after we took off, my Jewish seatmate stood up. Squeezing by me once more, he crossed the aisle into the galley and opened the pouch he was carrying. I discerned it was public prayer time, though he was the only one praying among the smattering of Jewish men on American Airlines flight 358.

His routine was religious. He removed his fedora, revealing his yarmulke, and draped a prayer shawl over his shoul- ders. Taking the phylacteries from his case, he wrapped them first around his arm and then around his head. For the next ten minutes he prayed with all the earnestness of the devout. From my view across the aisle, he seemed to do everything just right, affixing the band to his left forearm and the Scriptures to his forehead, kissing the shawl and gently nodding. Throughout, this religious man lipped the words of prayers and blessings he’d learned as a child.

When he said his final amen, I tucked in my legs sideways once more so he could return to his seat. He straight- away began reading a Hebrew text, continuing his holy task. Seeing his actions on the phone and then in the galley, I was honestly flummoxed. A few times my lips began to form the words to ask him about what seemed like two starkly different ethics, but I inhaled them before they were spoken.

Not long before we landed, and shortly after he put away his text, I could hold my question no longer. “Excuse me, sir,” I said, exhaling the words. “May I ask you something?”

He looked up.

“You know, I’m not religious like you are,” I began somewhat truthfully. I am religious, but not like he is.

“I’m not judging or anything,” I went on, trying to soften the defensiveness I anticipated might follow. “But I find it a bit interesting if not ironic how careful you were to obey all the rules when you prayed, but you didn’t seem to care about the FAA rules the flight attendant was trying to enforce.” As the words were coming out of my mouth, I wondered what had come over me. But the words kept rolling. “How do you reconcile obeying religious rules but not federal airline rules?”

His retort was quick and protective. “I turned off the phone as soon as she told me to turn off the phone.” But it didn’t happen that way, as I—along with the three rows before and behind us—could testify from the flight attendant’s third and harshest warning.

He kept talking, and once his defenses relaxed, he told me about the 613 Levitical laws he attempts to follow.

“It must be hard to keep up with that many rules,” I said. He insisted it was possible.

Our conversation continued about law and freedom and what God had in mind with the laws. By now, he’d picked up that I was more religious than I had at first led him to believe. We kept talking until we separated in the LaGuardia terminal. He ceded little, and I blessed him as we split. He headed off to his neighborhood in Brooklyn. I took a cab to Manhattan to meet a friend for dinner.

Plane Wing

…As I’ve thought about the religious man in seat 29E, the story is no longer about him. This story is not to stereotype the Orthodox Jew next to me. It’s not to stigmatize devout Jews or Muslims or Orthodox Christians who employ rituals and symbols as part of their public prayer. As I sat there in the restaurant, cutting bite-size pieces off my steak, it occurred to me that we followers of Jesus are also being scrutinized more than ever by an increasingly skeptical culture. John pushed me to think about my in-flight confrontation with the Jewish man as more than a “gotcha.” He pondered aloud whether the conversation between 29D and 29E wasn’t a lesson on our own hypocrisy as Christians, not the Jewish man’s. If so, then anything that smacks of hypocrisy will become a lethal barrier to living the way of true kindness.

The vice of hypocrisy is the evil one’s tool for squeezing lifeless the virtue of kindness.

One of the first things I said to the pious man on the plane was, “I’m not religious like you are.” But that’s not completely true. I am a religious man. Maybe it’s not obvious by what I wear, but it is by what I do. My phylacteries are the title I bear and the stage I stand on. My shawl is the Bible I carry and my license-plate frame. My yarmulke is the public blessing over the Manhattan restaurant meal. The more evident it is that I’m a Christian, the more others will scrutinize me to see if my life as a religious man—by which I mean a disciple of Jesus—is consistent, whether I’m doing “religious things” or “secular things.” And if my Jesus is not real in what they see, they probably don’t want to hear what we have to say about him. Hypocrisy spoils kindheartedness and authenticity, the very virtues that point people toward Christ.

…The lesson from American Airlines flight 358 has lingered. Today more than ever, our high and holy calling must be a low and humble calling. We need to increase our diligence to love generously as we live out our faith sincerely. We will do well to model winsome voices of conviction for the many who are watching us, whether from the church pews or the office cubicles or the campus yard or airline seat 29E. Otherwise, we communicate that our faith is a charade. The way of kindness is not cosmetic. It is from the soul. It’s not performance. It’s purpose. It’s not mechanics. It’s motive. It’s not pretense. It’s candor.

And when we mess up, which we inevitably will, defaulting to denial only pours kerosene on the flames of hypocrisy. People of piety must be seen acknowledging and owning our mistakes rather than spinning them away. We are name bearers, and the name we bear is Jesus. Whenever we separate our religious image from the rest of our life, we are living a double life, and this inhibits the way of kindness.

Love Kindness

 

 

This is an excerpt from Love, Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue pp. 124 – 133. 

 

 

2010 08 16 - President Barry H. Corey with BeardBarry Corey has been president of Biola University since 2007. He previously served as vice president for education at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Corey received a BA in English and biblical studies from Evangel university, an MA in American studies, and a PhD in education from Boston College. As a Fulbright scholar, he lived in Bangladesh, where he research education programs for children of the landless poor. He and his wide Paula live in Southern California and have three children.