GOOD SUCCESS: Learning Good Lessons from Bad Leaders
“There are no bad lessons, only hard lessons derived from bad events, bad results and bad leaders. A good lesson is one of high, lasting value” says Self. Most people read books on leadership advice from those who have been successful. But sometimes the best lessons can come from failure – even those in the Bible who blew it. “The basic trust people have for organizational and political leadership has diminished due to perceptions of increased incompetence,” says Self. He believes good lessons can be learned from good leaders who are comfortable in uncomfortable circumstances. Leaders are under scrutiny as never before. “Be a problem solver but understand some folks won’t like it.” (Tucson, AZ).
NOT YET HEALED: Finding Peace after a Suicide Loss
Elaine lost an 18-year-old son to suicide. In fact, suicide is our nation’s silent pandemic. It is a worldwide problem with over 800,000 suicide deaths each year and it is rising. She says, “Suicide is still rooted in the shame and guilt of the survivors. It is still a hushed conversation or, worse yet, no conversation at all.” In her book she covers all the questions and issues surrounding suicide and breaks these down into The Death, The Battle and Hope and Healing. She takes us through the loss, the inability to find closure, the many questions, the blame and always in the background the question of “why.” But as she ends, the book on a positive note; there is always healing in spite of the pain (Loveland, CO).
Soul Hunger: Satisfy Your Heart’s Deepest Longing
The World is filled with people trying to find happiness or fill an internal need they barely understand. Ledbetter explains that everyone has a deep hunger and most of us clamor to fill our souls with things that satisfy only for a short while – sex, a trophy wife or husband, money, a new job, vacation, or purchase. “In trying to satisfy our hungers, we realize something eludes us, something we haven’t clearly understood,” he explains. “Everyone hungers for something.” He highlights the major driving forces – intimacy, happiness, justice, control, respect, truth, achievement, pleasure. In the end, the only place we find true satisfaction is feeding the hunger within our souls (Clovis, CA).
Job: The Faith to Challenge God
No one is a stranger to pain, loss or disappointment. It comes to each of us, often at a time we least expect it. The hardest part is that in our own lives we can’t see the ending, the lessons, or understand why God hasn’t stepped in to help. Well-known Messianic Jewish apologist, Dr. Michael Brown, examines the life and book of Job; looking at the implications of a God who seems silent or detached but is anything but that. “The problem of suffering looms large for every generation and every culture” Brown reminds us. We are victims of brokenness. We are victims of sin. Brown meticulously dissects the problem of pain and suffering. He looks at the implications surrounding God’s providence, human suffering, our assumptions, and how we can minister to those who are hurting (Harrisburg, NC).
Reflections of Love: Therapy for Grief & Loss
We all suffer from loss at some time in our lives. How do we cope? What’s the best way to navigate grief whether it’s from the loss of a child, a job, broken marriage, or distressing medical diagnosis? McCallum creates “therapeutic experiences” designed to offer relief in the time of pain and uncertainty. God’s grace and direction often come in times of quietness and reflection. She suggests creativity is a way we can come to grips with the healing process, find peace and reflection that leads to ultimate healing (Rogers, AR).
Interview with the Antichrist: His Hour has Come
Few people question that the world is changing dramatically. From political and geopolitical fighting many keep looking to governments to provide answers to impossible problems. The Bible prophesies that a lone individual will arise in the last days and be the catalyst for global change. Scripture describes him as being both delightful and deceptive. Diplomatic, yet diabolical. He will be charismatic and charming, but corrupt to the core. Intelligent, cunning, and deceptively delusional, this unparalleled opportunist will position himself to be in the right place at the right time. But his true character will eventually be revealed. Exuding egotistical self- adoration and armed with a satanic agenda, he will propagate pure evil like no human before him. Kinley describes the end-time scenario as well as the attributes of the antichrist (Little Rock, AR).
My Fame, His Fame: Aiming Your Life and Influence toward the Glory of God
The Director of Government Affairs for the American Center for Law and Justice, Thann’s work focuses on the U.S. Congress and the United Nations. He is a regular on-air contributor to the daily syndicated radio broadcast, Jay Sekulow Live! He says, “We desperately need God’s fame to roll through the land.” The recent chaos throughout the land needs to be met with holiness, order and the power of God. In a world clambering to be noticed, Bennett suggests all our social media work, platform building, branding, and debate is misplaced. “A proclamation of God’s fame is the first step toward the goal of being a catalyst for His mighty works in our generation” (Washington D.C.).
The Not So Perfect Mom
A new study shows the result of feminism which promised women greater freedom has come with a cost. The idea of a life-long career and devotion to children places many moms in a position of feeling like a failure. Add to the mix the fast-paced world, needing to raise so-called perfect kids, and keep up with the demands of extracurricular activities and it’s easy to see why moms feel fragile and frayed. “Good moms do great things and raise great—not perfect—kids,” says Rienow. “Many of us moms feel we are letting down our families.” Perfectionism saps the life out of good relationships. Her solution is to focus on what matters most. And for Rienow, this includes accepting and even enjoying the imperfections. “Imperfection is a reality of the world we live in every day. You cannot have a life-long, heart-connected relationship with someone if they feel like a failure” (Chicago, IL).
Leading from Your Knees
Those who can learn from “crushing lessons or defeat, failure, as well as the accolades of success,” develop character says Joe Turnham. In today’s political climate the gap between success and failure can be measured by how one handles the heat of scrutiny. Police, teachers, politicians; all are under close examination. News cycles rip and tear at every misspoken word and clips are edited to fit one’s perspective. It is little wonder more people don’t enter public service. The odds of a bad past decision or faux paus can bring embarrassment or ridicule or even destroy a life or career. Turnham says healthy leaders not only understand their call, they understand how to manage their own expectations and ignore their detractors while remaining committed to accountability (Auburn, AL).
PLAY NICE: In Your Sandbox at Home
“Far too many couples have a false image of marriage—either that it will be a grin-and-bear-it ordeal, or that it will be non-stop bliss and contentment. Each of these extremes misses the mark,” says Ron Price, a court-appointed mediator and marriage coach. He provides clearly defined guidelines for how to resolve conflict in marriage. He talks about the value of playing together, investing in one another, in dealing with anger, showing appreciation and seeing marriage as a “team sport.” In his “Random Tips for Healthy Marriage,” Price explains, “Most marriages start off with high hopes that their love ill remain exactly as it is at the beginning.” This rarely ever happens. He encourages couples to keep their marriage from stagnation by reminding your spouse of their importance, speaking words of encouragement, devoting time for one another, communicating, and resolving conflict respectfully (Farmington, NM).
The Journey into the Divided Heart
“A defense mechanism is like a well-fortified castle. The problem is that when you are inside this protective stronghold you may feel safe but you are unable to interact openly outside the walls.” According to therapist, Steve Fair, most people use defense mechanisms to avoid pain but pain is often a warning sign that something needs to change. He unpacks the mechanisms we use, often without even knowing what we are doing — anger, avoidance, denial, addictions, minimizing, intellectualizing, victimization and others. Fair says “there is great relief in exposure” but many of us also have great fear since our defenses keep us feeling protected from pain or exposure. Fair aims to identify these patterns and help readers see how remaining stuck in them is unhealthy (Port Huron, MI).
Hope for the Laid Off / Help for the Laid Off / Prayers for the Laid Off
As many as forty million people were out of work, downsized, laid off or simply fired shortly after the economy shut down due to COVID-19. Once thriving business, small and large, are struggling to survive. Kaarto, understands what it feels like to go from happily employed to finding herself out of work, not once, but twice. She says, “I did not see it coming.” Most don’t. Kaarto provides help for preparing for an interview, ways to land an interview, and how to refine your household budget to adapt to a new reality. She mentions the top 10 steps every person should take immediately when they lose a job. Not only should they pray for God’s guidance, but radically reduce expenses, change lifestyle, and look for alternative sources of income (Houston, TX).
Counterattack: Why Evangelicals are Losing the Culture War and How They Can Win
Practically every negative symptom currently confronting America took root in the 1960s when our society began the transition from Christian to post-Christian culture according to Brownback. In our Subjective-driven society such objective facts and related rational analysis are irrelevant. Only feelings count. “If we do not maintain morality as the required foundation for agape (love), instead of displacing grace at the expense of morality, our individual lives and society will quickly descend into chaos.” He believes Evangelicals are losing the culture war because we have become infiltrated by elements of the secular culture that have sapped us of our spiritual health (Greensboro, NC).
Love’s Way: Living Peacefully with Your Family as Your Parents Age
For the first time in U.S. history older people are projected to outnumber children. By 2030, 1 in 5 residents will be retirement age. Meanwhile, the median age (38) is expected to increase to 43 in the next four decades. What do these impending trends mean? Former judge, Parr says the biggest impacts are not just demographic or economic; they are practical and emotional too. Today’s seniors, they say, care more about maintaining freedom to make their own decisions. Love’s Way is a practical handbook that helps us understand the importance of heartfelt communication.
Five Keys to Health and Healing
“Most of us spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about things we can’t influence without taking charge of the things we can influence,” says Jantz. He identifies the core areas that tend to upend most people. These are learning to harnesses our thoughts, healing our emotions, nurture relationships, nourishing body, and deepening our spirit (faith). There are no failsafe answers but there are patterns of behavior that lead to life and health.
Seven Answers for Anxiety
“Anxiety is produced not by what you actually experience but by what you tell yourself; your thoughts determine your reality.” We live in a new normal where fear and anxiety cause people to do irrational things. Dr. Jantz offers ideas for reducing stress and anxiety and keeping a sense of calm in the midst of chaos (Seattle, WA).
Generations: Following Jesus as a Family
The family is under enormous pressure as divorce and alternative configurations of “family” have supplanted the traditional family. Dr. Rienow acknowledges that parenting is a daily struggle and pressure to give up and move on prevails in a throw-away culture. But, he says, kids fare better and are more successful as adults when they are raised by a mother and father in an intact home. No other configuration is close to providing stability and nurturing. His 8-session journey explores marriage, forgiveness, trust, repentance, and the Creator’s plan for the family. Solid family, parenting and marriages don’t happen accidentally; they happen with purposeful planning (Wheaton, IL).
I'm Glad God Made Me a Girl
Denise grew up with a father who decided he wanted to be a woman. As devastating as this was to her, she has written about her experiences and encourages people with gender confusion to seek help, not acceptance for their feelings. God has designed male and female and coming to accept the reality of our God-given gender is paramount toward one’s healing. She has written a series of booklets, What’s Up with Cousin Stacy? which addresses a family member coming out as gay and The Boy Who Liked Tea Parties, a story about a boy who, with the help of his father, learns to value both male and female friends.
ENVY & JEALOUSY: Taming the Terrible Twins
Every human craves Love, Significance and Security. What happens when these are missing? In a broken family, in a broken world, jealousy and envy can wreak havoc. Depression and anger are often present when jealousy rears its ugly head. Hunt explains “worldly jealousy is not based on love, but on wrong desires.” With envy comes ingratitude and sense of entitlement. She helps us see that life is not always fair, that gratitude is an antidote for complaining and discontentment, and that God’s desire for us is wholeness. She includes checklists that help us see where we stand on envy and jealousy (Dallas, TX).
12 Truths to Change Your Marriage & The Respect Dare
During an era where many marriages are marked by conflict, even within the church, couples get a steady stream of messages like “Seek your own happiness” or “Life is too short to live in an unhappy marriage.” Some couples give up the fight only to find a next relationship is no different than the one they left. Roesner says this unending cycle is not only wearisome; it is physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually exhausting. “Many of the conflicts in relationships begin with misunderstandings and are based on lies,” she explains. Others, she says, are based on misguided expectations about roles and responsibilities within the marriage. She looks at building friendship, faith, forgiveness, gender distinctions, submission, respect and more. She identifies the pitfalls that occur in relationships and how to navigate through and around these (Cincinnati, OH).
First Aid for Emotional Hurts: Helping People Through Difficult Times
“A person’s thoughts and beliefs, as well as his or her support system, influences how well that individual will recover from a terrible event” says Dr. Moody. Today we live in unprecedented times as fear outruns wisdom. Coronavirus, school shootings, bullying, broken families. There is no shortage of people who are hurting – either from self-inflicted wounds, contagion, and addiction or from trauma caused by others. Dr. Moody helps leaders, parents, teachers and professionals by giving them the tools they need to deal with emotional hurts, addiction, crisis, mental health challenges or rejection. He encourages us to step up to the challenge when people are hurting. “Hurting people desperately need someone to talk to.” The place to start is by learning to listen (Nashville, TN).
Reflections on the Existence of God
“We have become morally confused,” says Simmons. This confusion stems from our worldviews that are based on removing God from our lives. But Christianity leads to lower rates of almost every social pathology from crime to drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and family breakdown. Atheism and humanism lead to despair which explains the tenfold increase in suicide and depression in five decades. Simmons includes dozens of essays on topics like morality, evil, unbelief, science, evolution and the existence of God. His conclusion? Life without God offers no hope and little happiness. A life of faith provides meaning. “All philosophical problems are, at the heart, moral problems,” he says. “It comes down to how you intend to live your life” (Birmingham, AL).
100 Days of Healing & 7 Ways to Choose Healing
Counseling doesn’t always work; at least not so well during a pandemic. It is not a panacea for solving some of life’s most complex problems with marriage, bad habits, or myriad life issues. For men, going to counseling is hard because it means opening up about feelings or pain that most of them feel they need to keep neatly stuffed inside. There are many reasons people don’t get well. But there are other reasons we don’t heal. An addict might not want to get well, a wife may not want to reconcile, or a husband may prefer the attention he gets from playing the victim. Arterburn helps us understand how to break free from fear and accept the healing God wants to give (Carmel, IN).
The Service Master Story: Navigating Tension between People and Profit
There are no perfect leaders. No flawless companies or organizations. Neither are there perfect parents, pastors, companies, or politicians. “It has always been true that even great people are prone to mistakes, but that doesn’t need to define a person in the real world” explains Erisman, former Director of Technology for Boeing. He underscores the importance of building on a solid foundation rooted in value and dignity of front-line workers. “The success of these leaders was rooted in a set of principles that centered on serving God in the marketplace, on integrity, and on the dignity and worth of every worker.” Likewise he makes it clear that employees are motivated when they feel valued. Erisman says good leadership is often born from hardship. “Hardships can defeat some people, or can make them stronger . . . learning and growth take place through struggle” (Seattle, WA).
Freedom Realized: Finding Freedom from Homosexuality & Living a Life Free From Labels
Black, ex-gay himself but happily married for more than 30 years now, says more than 70% of those seeking help with same-sex attraction through First Stone Ministry and Counseling have been set free. His ground-breaking book is based on years of research and meticulously compiling the results of those who sought freedom. “Humanity is fallen,” says Black. “Heterosexuality is an innate created biological fact and therefore cannot change.” He says any other “orientations” are not part of God’s design. “The grace of God is transformational,” even if one feels an inclination to the opposite sex. Truth, not feelings, should be the guide for our sexuality (Oklahoma City, OK).
“Life can be messy but in our messes God often does His finest work,” says Howe. She explains how the entire nation is reeling in a state of collective depression and feeling “adrift and untethered.” Anger has supplanted wisdom and hate replaced truth. Howe encourages readers not to give in to a slow descent into paralyzing fear or to lose hope. “God is always in control and whatever difficulties, challenges, trials He allows in our lives are for our ultimate good and His glory.” She encourages us not to be so fixated on circumstances that we lose our purpose and hope (Monroe, MI).
ANTICHRIST: How to Identify the Coming Imposter
There is a growing sense among some evangelicals that we may be on the precipice of divine judgment in America. In this year alone we have watched as unemployment suddenly skyrocketed, markets fell, pandemic hit, basic commodities were in short supply, and riots filled our streets. Many are asking, what next? Attorney and radio host, Crismier says, “The unholy trinity of political correctness, multiculturalism and religious pluralism” are only part of the problem. He says the very idea of truth, or what is true, is coming under scrutiny in our cancel culture. He doesn’t make predictions. Instead, he clearly identifies the characteristics of the antichrist. “The false becomes real progressively,” he suggests. “All viewpoints determine destiny.” False worldviews lead to false ideas which lead to action (Richmond, VA).