Jesus Conversations: Effective Everyday Engagement
“Don’t think you have to wait until you have all the answers and conversational tactics down before talking about Jesus,” writes Sterrett, who hold s a graduate degree in apologetics. How much do we really love the lost, he asks? During an era where truth and religion are seen as questionable, Sterrett helps steer readers toward asking penetrating questions and developing a heart for those who are resistant. He talks about how to start conversations, apologetics, reasons for God’s existence, engaging other religions, and asking better questions (Lynchburg, VA).
Get Set: A Spiritual Preparation for Short-Term Missions
Most Christians know about the Great Commission, but few actually engage in active evangelism. Going on a short-term mission trip can be scary and stretching but also exhilarating. Heiland, a graduate of Wake Forest, shares her own experiences and encourages believers to engage, explore, and experience the thrill of reaching out to those who have never heard the good news. She is the founder and president of Beautiful Feet, an organization that creates crisis pregnancy centers around the world (Daytona Beach, FL).
Afterwork: an honest discussion about the retirement lie . . .
While working with numerous clients over the years, financial advisors Malick and Lippert began to see a pattern; many people were well-prepared financially but ill-prepared in other critical ways. “Purpose is central,” they say. Many people work their entire lives longing for retirement. Once they arrive, they find something missing. The cornerstone habits offset what they refer to as the “sugar rush of retirement.” “The retirement lie is to think that a selfish retirement is a good one,” say the authors. No wonder the rate of gray divorces has doubled for those over 50 and more than tripled for those 65 and older in recent years. The lasting values and impact we leave behind as we experience life with others will be what matters (Colorado Springs, Colorado).
The Family Ministry Playbook
“What draws people to most churches is crisis and kids,” says Bell. A family is willing to tolerate a mediocre church service as long as their kids a thriving in youth group. Bell believes it is the job of the local church to connect with parents as well as their kids. Many parents pass off the spiritual and moral growth of their children to youth workers and that’s never the best formula for growth. Research shows that parents have the greatest influence on the spiritual development of their children. When churches and parents work together, the results are profound (North Carolina).
From Transgender to Transformed
The gay and transgender lifestyles are touted as people embracing reality, being true to self, and finding genuine peace. These are lies says Perry. Born a female, she went through hormone treatments and mutilation to become a man. Instead, she found deep depression, unhappiness, and misery. After coming to faith in Christ, she de-transitioned and lives today as God designed her. Her story is a wake-up call to a culture pushing an anti-science ideal that produces misery and despair and leads to depression and high rates of suicide (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma).
Realms Beyond the Gate: 7 Principles that Govern God’s Kingdom
With less than half of all professing Christians reading their Bible three to four times a year, something is off with the state of the Church. Even those who do attend church weekly, less than a third think it is the most vital part of their week. Denominations are struggling and younger generations are disengaged. According to Dr. Means, we have tried so hard to become relevant to the world that we cease to grasp what faith is all about. Though many western Christians believe salvation is repeating a simple prayer, Means says this doesn’t do justice to the meaning of Jesus’ teaching about striving to enter by the straight gate. “It is not a simple matter to get into the kingdom of God,” he says. “Jesus is telling us this salvation thing is not so easy to obtain (Ft. Smith, Arkansas).
The Book of Revelation: Unveiling God's Plan for Humanity
The world has changed dramatically in just sixteen months. Massive heat, drought, COVID (pestilence), riots, and blatant perversion being touted as PRIDE. In the Middle East, missiles rained down on Jewish cities and the conflict between Israel and Iran is a footstep away. Dr. Rosa is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (DMin) who served on staff with Dr. David Jeremiah who explains in detail what we can expect in the days ahead. Like in the days of Noah, people are going about their business as usual, the Book of Revelation is God’s warning about what is ahead. “God increases the power of the weak, and decreases the power of the wicked,” says Rosa. “He exposes the Church and equips the Church to deal with sin (Salem, Oregon).
Christians in a Cancel Culture: Speaking with Truth and Grace in a Hostile World
We are living in a post-Christian culture where ideas of absolute morality are scoffed at and Christians are demonized for not accepting the new normal. From LGBTQ to Critical Race Theory, BLM, abortion and transgenderism, Dallas lays out the challenges we face and how to respond with grace and truth. Much of what mainstream media is parroting is wrong, he says. Christians must draw a line in the sand and be the salt and light the world desperately needs in an ever-changing culture (Orange, California).
Well Done, Mom & Dad
Young people raised in a Christian family that attended church are leaving the church if they don’t find connection. Just ten percent of 18-29-year-olds are considered “resilient believers”. Many young people have their hand on the door, ready to leave. Alba says that raising and educating our kids is a parental responsibility. He says most of us end up parenting by default rather than by intention. “Most parents are good parents with good intentions who want simple solutions and quick fixes for today’s problems.” His book lays out the vision, encourages parents to adopt a specific approach that helps them arrive at a singular purpose. “Your job isn’t to get your children to copy you. It’s to align their godly treasures with God.” (Dallas, Texas).
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).
Happy Now: Let Joyfulness Life Your Load and Renew Your Spirit
We are bombarded by the negative, surrounded by bad news, and looking for peace in the midst of it all. Ellis reminds us that God wants us to be both holy and happy. That playfulness and humor are good medicine. “We engage in whimsy not because life is easy,” says Ellis but “because life is difficult.” In a world where we find ourselves in fear or running from one task to the next, she reminds us that relentless seriousness is wearing us down (Mission Viejo, California).
When a Loved One is Addicted
Addictions are not decreasing in the U.S.; they are on the rise. From food to prescription drugs to social media, many people can seem to say no to the things that harm themselves or their loved ones. Dr. Jantz says living with an addict means trust is next to impossible, you will always be second place in their lives, they are crazy-makers, and their friends are often just like them. There is hope, explains Jantz, “God is much bigger than any addiction” (Seattle, WA).
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).
100 Days to Freedom from Fear and Anxiety
The levels of anxiety and depression are high. Most people don’t know what the future holds and this creates added pressure. Steve Arterburn says, “Sometimes our anxiety can keep us from moving forward. It’s like an invisible barrier that prevents us from doing what we need to do.” Fear locks us up and keeps us from making sound decisions, or any decisions at all, for fear it they will be wrong. His book is designed to bring hope and help provide simple anecdotes to life’s inevitable anxiety which he says is born out of a sense of loss of control (Carmel, Indiana).
Freedom Realized: Finding Freedom from Homosexuality
Born gay? Gay Christian? Not so fast. A new study shows that an astonishing 72 percent of same sex attracted people who want help and commit a year toward freedom from their sexual brokenness and addiction find it. An unprecedented survey conducted by Stephen Black and his colleagues included an initial 1,200 client files compiled over twenty-five years. The 185 respondents (main focus group of responders) came to First Stone Ministries as sexually broken (88 to 92 percent). According to Black, “There are tens of thousands of people across the United States who have permanently left a homosexual or gay identity” (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma).
The Big Government We Love to Hate: Exploring the Roots of Political Malaise
The trend of confidence in the Federal Government is at an all time low and yet most people still believe it can fix everything from healthcare to education and end a pandemic. Payne, a political scientist, says “failurism is not a thought-out position” but rather an “emotional impulse that makes us want to worship government, put it on a pedestal.” He argues that anytime government gets involved in “solving problems” it ends up costing nearly twice as much as private provision of the same service (Sandpoint, Idaho).