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Josh Harrison, a contemporary Christian singer, and his wife Bethany face a difficult decision that also tests their faith. A rupture in Beth's carotid artery leaves her on the brink of death even as she's pregnant with their first child. While Dr. Ben Abrams urges her to terminate the pregnancy to save her own life, she and Josh step out on faith and decide to carry the baby to full termDuring the next few months, Josh struggles with his faith, Beth hides a secret that may destroy their marriage. She also discovers a decades-old connection to Dr. Abrams that could change his life forever."As an avid Christian fiction reader myself, I found Kathy Harris' book a powerful one, with themes that engage both the heart and mind. Kathy handles the sensitive topic of abortion both realistically and graciously. The Road to Mercy is a blessing wrapped up in a novel--a reminder of the kindness of God." - Rebecca St. James, singer, author, actress"Exquisite writing, wonderful characters, and a captivating story left me devouring this book. I couldn't put it down. Novel Rocket and I highly recommend it." - Ane Mulligan, Sr. editor Novel Rocket"The Road to Mercy is captivating from the very beginning, and no matter how many roads Ms. Harris provides for her characters to walk upon, the end results and final destination will leave you a better person for having taken the journey. Great, great writing!" - Joseph S. Bonsall, author and member of the Oak Ridge Boys"The Road to Mercy is a touchingly beautiful story of finding and holding onto God when the dark shadows of the past and the messiness of everyday life conspire to pry our hands from Him. Kathy Harris is a welcome new voice in women's fiction." - Tamara Leigh, author of Restless in Carolina and Dreamspell"Kathy Harris' debut novel, The Road to Mercy, is a heartfelt journey through life, where bad things happen to good people--people who not only survive, but come shining through with faith, hope, and love. Harris is a writer to watch!" - Alice K. Arenz, author of Mirrored Image and The Bouncing Grandma Mysteries "As a post-abortive woman, reading The Road to Mercy brought back many memories of my abortion experience--some good, some bad--but I couldn't put the book down. Men and women who have had an abortion experience will see the healing and redemptive power of God through this story. Others will come away with a better understanding of people's struggles when pro-choice forces tell them that abortion is the only solution to an unwanted pregnancy. The Road to Mercy is an eye-opening and healing novel!" - Christine Mize, Counselor & Social Worker"The Road To Mercy is a story of not only mercy but redemption, forgiveness and God's amazing faithfulness in our lives. It sheds light on the popular question "Where is God in the midst of pain?" I recommend The Road To Mercy to those who are struggling with their faith or believing God is good in a world of pain. I recommend it for those who are struggling with the issues surrounding a crisis pregnancy. I recommend it for those of faith and those of conscience. The Road To Mercy will take you down a road that will change your life for the better." - Claire Culwell; abortion survivor, National speaker and soon-to-be author"The Road To Mercy is an intricately, movingly crafted novel highlighting the power of forgiveness. A terrific read beautifully trumpeting the exquisite worth of every human life. Kathy Harris has undeniable talent. Heartily recommended!" -- Rusty Whitener, A Season Of Miracles, 2011 Christy Award Finalist"Fiction has a new star! In The Road To Mercy Kathy Harris weaves a tale that crosses generations while drawing readers into a dramatic story that has both heart and soul. In breathtaking style Kathy examines complex moral issues while looking at the consequences of very human decisions all woven together in a narrative that pushes readers so deeply into the adventure that they will come to know the characters as well as their know their best friends. This Road takes you by miraculous survivals and onto monumenta...
The Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries provide compact, critical commentaries on the books of the Old Testament for the use of theological students and pastors. The commentaries are also useful for upper-level college or university students and for those responsible for teaching in congregational settings. In addition to providing basic information and insights into the Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful interpretation, to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed and critical engagement with the biblical texts themselves. From the book, "The effects of the Judean refugees' trauma would be far reaching. Certainly an individual named Ezekiel might have experienced persistent reactions to trauma for the length of time covered by the book. Moreover, the experience and effects of exile were not limited to Ezekiel, nor even to his generation. The book's existence attests that others in the exilic community, and beyond, found their experiences reflected in its words."
India 1990. In the final book of the Blessings of India series, Shridula, old and stooped at fifty-nine, makes her painful way to pay homage to the elephant god Ganesh, lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. "Why are we Hindus instead of Christians?" her seventeen-year-old granddaughter Divena asked. "Because we are Indian," said Shridula. So begins a spiritual journey for Divena as she struggles against an entire culture to proclaim a faith close to her heart while rocking the world of two families.
Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out. Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach. Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Mother of Pearl brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger. "Heart-wrenching yet filled with grace and hope, Kellie Coates Gilbert's Mother of Pearl is beautifully written and a book that needs to be read by everyone with a child or grandchild. Novel Rocket and I give it a high recommendation." Ane Mulligan, Sr. Editor Novel Rocket "A story that could have come from today's headlines, Mother of Pearl is a compelling, thought-provoking debut. With impeccable prose, Kellie Coates Gilbert kept me turning the pages in this high-stakes story of one mother's quest for healing and justice." - Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Stardust "Kellie Coates Gilbert's debut novel kept me turning pages and on the edge of my seat. Wonderful, richly-drawn characters who drew me to their hearts despite their flaws. Mother of Pearl carries a sobering message but it's deftly threaded through a story that is anything but sober. I will eagerly await Gilbert's next offering." -Deborah Raney, author of the Hanover Falls Novels series from Howard/Simon & Schuster "Gilbert's debut novel is a force to be reckoned with. Mother of Pearl will pluck at the cords of every reader's heart and refuse to let go until the last page. The story shines a light in the dark places of an issue too often over-looked. There's a desperate need for awareness regarding this sensitive topic, and Gilbert's Barrie is a mother who is willing to stand her ground in the face of the fiercest opposition. A heart-twisting tale that readers won't soon forget."--Elizabeth Goddard, Carol Award winning author of The Camera Never Lies "Kellie Gilbert's debut novel is a beautifully written, moving story about the vastness of a mother's love for her daughter. Highly recommended." Lisa Harris, Christy Award Finalist "A cautionary tale for our times, Mother of Pearl is a compelling journey through loss and longing, grief and redemption, crime and justice. Kellie Coates Gilbert unfolds her story with the sensitivity of a skilled writer." - Lisa Wingate, National bestselling, award-winning author of Dandelion Summer and Blue Moon Bay "From the deepest recesses of her heart, Kellie Coates Gilbert pens her debut novel - Mother of Pearl. It is a story about love, family, tragedy and loss that the author writes with an immeasurable depth of passion and skill. Beautifully and compellingly written, this heartbreaking - yet heartwarming story goes beyond the norm, allowing us to touch the very soul of depression and grief. And to come out the better for it. This story will remain with me for many years to come." - Nancy Jo Jenkins, author of Coldwater Revival "I started and finished Mother of Pearl in one night. There is no better endorsement than simply not being able to put a book down. And I couldn't put down this first time authors debut novel. I was totally engrossed." - Tina Sloan, Author of Changing Shoes, and television star of Guiding Light
On a steamy spring morning, Dusty Parker--part-time pastor, part-time search-and-rescue team member, and full-time administrator of a school for troubled boys--joins the search for a missing teenage girl. He partners with volunteer and inner-city school teacher Grace Sinclair, and what they find bonds them in ways neither could have expected. As they begin to build their lives together, a visitor from the past causes Dusty and Grace to further open their hearts and home. But a threat is looming on their seemingly perfect lives and in one terrifying night, everything changes.
Leadership among God's people is not a matter of easy answers or simple solutions. There is no foolproof list of character traits that one can acquire and develop in order to be a successful leader. Authentic leadership is a complex interaction of the leader's gifts and calling, the people's needs and response, the particular situation of the moment, and, above all, the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Birch and Parks believe if we wish to understand the intricate and messy character of leadership in the church, the obvious place to start is Scripture. The Bible portrays leaders not as heroes placed on a pedestal, but rather as flawed and fallen human beings who nonetheless work with the people around them and with the situation at hand to move toward accomplishing the will of God. Ducking Spears, Dancing Madly is a penetrating look at church leadership through the stories of Saul, David, and other central Old Testament figures. The authors demonstrate that those who have a clear and honest understanding of the triumphs and flaws of the individuals who lead God's people in Scripture will be better prepared to lead God's people today. In order to provide that understanding, they engage in a dialogue with the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, texts that portray the people of Israel in frequent social and political transition, and hence in need of effective leadership
The history of Wesleyan family of churches doctrines What are our core beliefs? Doctrinal Standards in the Wesleyan Tradition, Revised Edition, narrates the history of the formation of Wesleyan doctrines, describing how they were transplanted from the British Isles to North American, how they became constitutionally protected in Wesleyan-rooted churches. The first edition of this book affected the outcome of the 1988 General Conference of The United Methodist Church as the delegates decided many then-disputed doctrinal issues. This revised edition addresses the continuing hunger for more precise and useful information on the doctrinal traditions of mainline Protestantism. Hence the arguments have been updated with more than 400 changes. Included are doctrinal statements for the Evangelical United Bethren, Free Methodist, Methodist Protestant, Wesleyan, Nazarene, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Christian Methodist Episcopal, and African Methodist Episcopal Churches; as well as an outline syllabus of a Course on the Articles of Religion.
Twenty-three-year-old Jennifer Clodfelter believes she is destined to be a country music star. When her passion, determination and homemade demo tape were rejected by every music label in Nashville, she refused to give up. In just three years, a combination of guts and raw talent have propelled her on a journey of fame beyond her best dream. Now Jennifer has all she ever wanted, only to discover that there is a dark side to the glitz and number one hits. She will have to decide whether to sing her pain to a loving audience or find the courage to face the music in the private studio of her heart.
If you were able to talk to St. Francis of Assisi, what would you ask him? "Perhaps," says James Howell," the first question I'd want to ask Francis would be something like this: How did you do it? Were you real? How much of your story really happened? And I'm asking because I am wondering how I might do it: could I somehow grab a share of the life you had? The marvel in Francis's story is that all he did seems entirely doable - but then, at the same time, ridiculously impossible. As I survey the bare facts of his life, it all seems so manageably simple, and yet unquestionably what happened was nothing short of miraculous." In this spiritually apt look at the life, message, and meaning of St. Francis, Howell invites all of us to pose our most difficult spiritual questions to the saint-and to listen for the questions he asks of us in response.
In the final story of The Inn at Shining Waters, Anna Larson's granddaughter Sarah is beginning to find her independence. But her relationship with her parents sufferS as a result and she travels away from all that is familiar. While the solace of the river calls Sarah back, surprises await upon her return. Three generations of family heartbreak and disappointments converge at Shining Waters as Sarah finds God right in the center of it all.
"La vida en comunidad es lo más esencial de la espiritualidad cristiana, y es la esencia misma del reino de Dios... La espiritualidad cristiana consiste en un nuevo modo de relacionarnos en amor, pues es precisamente esto lo que claramente distingue a la comunidad creyente de cualquier otra comunidad humana". Al definir así la espiritualidad cristiana, el Dr. Cassese derriba el obsoleto paradigma que intentaba buscar la perfecta relación con Dios a través del aislamiento, de la pura relación personal e individual con Dios. En particular porque en realidad es en la comunidad donde la espiritualidad se realiza, se prueba, se evalúa, crece y se perfecciona. Este libro, por lo tanto, nos ayudará a comprender y vivir la espiritualidad desde la vida cotidiana en comunidad, desde la inter-relación e inter-acción con nuestros hermanos y hermanas, desde la inmersión profunda en la vida misma. ENDOSO AL LIBRO COMUNIÓN Y COMUNIDAD Por Roberto Amparo Rivera, PhD La iglesia como institución tradicionalmente ha reflejado en la práctica las tendencias y valores de la sociedad en que se desenvuelven. Por eso no es de maravillarse encontrar hoy día creyentes individualistas y congregaciones que son más grupos de individuos que comunidades integradas. A pesar de que el amor de Dios, que supuestamente distingue la comunidad, "no busca lo suyo", los miembros de estas iglesias se preocupan más de sus propios intereses que del bienestar comunitario. En este estado de cosas, el libro Comunión y comunidad, de Giacomo Cassese, es un grito de alerta y una invitación a recobrar el sentido comunitario de la fe cristiana. Hay una opinión generalizada de que la cultura occidental es cada vez más espiritualista. En este contexto, la espiritualidad se mide en términos de prácticas esotéricas de meditación, ayuno, contemplación de la naturaleza y lecturas de documentos misteriosos de religiones orientales. La contraparte cristiana percibe la espritualidad solo en su dimensión vertical; "el alma en relación con Dios", mientras que el resto de la vida no hace ninguna aplicación a las relaciones diarias con los semejantes. En marcado contraste, Cassese define espiritualidad como un estilo de relacionarse y de vivir en comunidad. Para los cristianos, afirma el autor, espiritualidad conlleva vivir la vida en su plenitud y con propósito. Solo en la comunión con Cristo nos entendemos como personas de comunidad. Y es a partir de la persona de Cristo que descubrimos la dignidad de los demás como personas. Solamente recibiendo a nuestros hermanos y hermanas como regalo de Dios, y experimentando a través de las comunión con ellas y ellos la encarnación de la Trinidad, tendremos la vida en abundancia que el camino hacia Dios promete. Comunión y comunidad es un oasis al espíritu solitario que aun no ha descubierto que su mayor riqueza está en la vida relacional con sus hermanos y hermanas en Cristo. La lectura es amena y fácil de seguir. Cassese se esmera por hacer comprensibles los términos teológicos que emplea. Con marcada paciencia toma de la mano a los lectores y lectoras y les guía con su habilidad característica a través de los caminos de la espiritualidad, dejándoles un sentido de "¡Ahora sí entiendo!" El resumen al final de los capítulos, así como el glosario al terminar la lectura, son ayudas adicionales en caso de que algún lector o lectora las necesite. Definitivamente, el libro de Cassese es un instrumento valioso para la iglesia que quiere vencer el individualismo que destruye las riquezas de vida cristiana en comunidad, el dualismo que hace separación artificial deformadora entre la creación material y el mundo del espíritu, y el pragmatismo que reduce la vida a valores puramente materiales. Cassese combate eficientemente estos tres enemigos acérrimos de la espiritualidad cristiana. Recomendamos a pastoras y pastores, líderes denominacionales, y otras personas responsables de dirigir la vida espiritual de sus respectivas comunidades, que adquieran y distribuyan copias de este libro entre su equi...
If church is like a family, it fights like one too! As in any family, conflict in the church family is natural and inevitable. But the way the church family handles its fights can make or break ministry. By using stories and examples of real problems at actual churches, Cosgrove and Hatfield have applied family-systems theory to help us identify the hidden structural boundaries in any group relationship. They show how the dynamics and 'family rules' operating in the informal family-like church system powerfully influence how church members relate to each other.
Children's Activities for the Christian Year by Delia Halverson offers Sunday school teachers and leaders of children's ministries practical information and activities on the cycle of the Christian church calendar. Useful, easy-to-use guidance, resources, and reproducible pages help new and veteran children's leaders interpret the meaning of the Christian year for children from preschool through elementary age. Each chapter includes: Brief information about the season/celebration, its origin, and its meaning. An introduction to the symbols and colors of each season/celebration Learning activities such as art, writing, crafts, drama, stories, and music Reproducible pages including puzzles, litanies, songs, and readings Active games Worship suggestions In addition to chapters on the Christian year as a whole and Sundays (mini-Easters), the book is organized by the following seasons and holy days: Advent and Christmas Epiphany Season after Epiphany (Ordinary Time) Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holy Week Eastertide Pentecost Season after Pentecost (Kingdomtide) Other Special Days (Trinity Sunday, Worldwide Communion Day, All Saints' Day, Thanksgiving) By combining ready-to-use advice and activities, Children's Activities for the Christian Year is destined to become an essential guide in every children's ministry resource library.
Abingdon Pillars of Theology is a series for the college and seminary classroom designed to help students grasp the basic and necessary facts, influence, and significance of major theologians. Written by noted scholars, these books outline the contrxt, methodology, organizing principles, primary contributions, and key writings of people who have shaped theology as we know it today. John Calvin (1509-1564) continues to be read and discussed because he illumines our human experience. Although inseparatable from his context, Calvin's theology speaks for itself, thus identifying ways Calvin remains a living voice for those who struggle with the meaning of Christian faith.
Brief Dramas for Worship provides dramas that are suitable for both contemporary and traditional worship services. They are appropriate for use instead of a sermon, or as the sermon. Included are questions and comments to use in a discussion following the service so that key insights from the biblical drama can be emphasized. The scripts do NOT require memorization. Each drama includes extensive "helps" which identify possible sets, simple costumes, and a detailed worship outline, including hymn and praise song suggestions, original prayers, etc. These production notes provide effective, professional presentation instructions. Permission is granted to reproduce scripts for use in congregational settings. Most of these biblically-based dramas offer a woman's point of view about a scripture story or a scripture message. Some of the "main characters" are biblical people and others are contemporary people. Dramas include: The Bethlehem Child; Margaret, a Grieving Mother Yearns for Her Wayward Son (Hosea 11:1); Bath Sheba and David; Lydia, Pilate's Wife; Martha, Prescription for Peace; Caroline: A Waitress Receives the Living Water; Eli's Wife: A Husband's Tale Brings Hope for Peace; and, Mattie May: A Mountain Woman's Tale of Gracious Plenty.
To be faithful to the gospel, all ministry must be indigenous; it must participate in the distinctive practices and perspectives of the people among whom ministry is taking place. Because our society tends to ignore or deny the reality of class divisions and prejudice, too many congregational leaders know too little about the world of working class whites. Continuing his groundbreaking work on class and American religion, Sample opens up the lives and lifestyles of working class whites in order to engage with them in authentic and transformational ministry.From the Circuit Rider review: "Tex Sample has written one of the most fun books to read on ministry that you will ever come across. Weaving philosophy, theology, country western lyrics, and stories throughout the book Sample at once delights and provokes us to think about the way in which we live out church in this day and age." (Click here to read the whole review.)
Recent years have witnessed a series of books, articles, and lectures raising serious questions about the Christian doctrine of the Atonement. While coming from a variety of sources, the questions usually center around the central issue of atonement and violence. Doesn't the Atonement promote the idea of violence on the part of God? If so, isn't such violence incompatible with a God of love? Doesn't this doctrine send the wrong signal, excusing and perhaps even promoting such things as child abuse? Is it time to abandon what has become an outmoded and harmful doctrine? The authors of this book claim that to abandon the Christian doctrine of the Atonement is to abandon the central witness of the gospel, for atonement speaks of nothing less than God's reconciliation of the world in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, to believe in the atoning death of Jesus Christ does not mean that one believes that God has engaged in cosmic child abuse. Drawing on the classical theories of the Atonement, engaging in creative theological construction, they present set of cogent, cohesive alternatives to either rejecting the doctrine out of hand, or uncritically accepting it. Contributors include: J. Denny Weaver, Bluffton University: "Narrative Christus Victor: The Answer to Anselmian Atonement Violence"; Thomas Finger, Associated Mennonite Seminary: "Christus Victor as Nonviolent Atonement"; Hans Boersma, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia: "Violence, the Cross, and Divine Intentionality: A Modified Reformed View"; and T. Scott Daniels, Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene: "Passing the Peace: Worship That Shapes Nonsubstitutionary Convictions."
"Jesus and the Gospels" is one of the most popular religion courses at colleges, and it is required at many seminaries and divinity schools. This textbook, written by an award-winning educator, is designed for a semester-long course in both these settings. Moreover, it could be used as a supplementary text in courses on christology, the historical Jesus, New Testament literature, and the Bible. Murphy will provide an introduction to the gospels that does justice to the full range of modern critical methods and insights. He will discuss the implications of these methods for how we understand the nature of the gospels and how we can read them today. The chapters will sketch the portrait of Jesus that emerges from each gospel, and then examine the "canonical" view of Jesus by comparing and contrasting these pictures, as well as the ones that emerge from the non-canonical gospels and from the modern quest for the historical Jesus. Chapter list: Introduction, Theological and Historical Backgrounds; Chapter 1, What is a Gospel? Chapter 2, History of Critical Methods for Gospel Study; Chapter 3, The Gospel of Mark; Chapter 4, Q; Chapter 5, Matthew; Chapter 6, Luke; Chapter 7, John; Chapter 8, Other Gospels (Gospel of Thomas, Infancy Gospels, other Apocryphal Gospels); Chapter 8, Christian Interpretations of Jesus; Chapter 9, The Historical Jesus; Chapter 10, Conclusion; Glossary; Further Reading; Notes; Subject Index. (Charts, sidebars, illustrations, and maps.)
By exploring the biblical basis for preaching, Donald English shows how fundamental theological issues pertain to the proclamation of the Word. He provides a theological basis for preaching, practical insights regarding the movement from text to sermon, and practical guidance in preparing for Sunday worship.
Clifford differs from other commentators on the Psalms chiefly in his concern with the inner dramatic logic of the Psalms - how they organize the experience and desires of the "pray-er" and bring them to a proper conclusion. His primary concern is to help readers see the pattern and progression within the Psalms, while at the same time attending to the richness of their words and the texture of their imagery.
The Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries provide compact, critical commentaries on the books of the Old Testament for the use of theological students and pastors. The commentaries are also useful for upper-level college or university students and for those responsible for teaching in congregational settings. In addition to providing basic information and insights into the Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful interpretation, to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed and critical engagement with the biblical texts themselves. In this commentary, Day addresses both perennial and contemporary concerns pertinent to the book of Esther. Attention is given to literary, linguistic, and thematic features of the biblical text. Day considers the book of Esther with an eye to concerns of gender and ethnicity, as well as the theological concerns raised by divine absence in the story.
This is the true story of Dr. Charles Johnson, an African American preacher who went to Mississippi in 1961 during the summer of the Freedom Rides. Fresh out of Bible School Johnson hesitantly followed his call to pastor in Mississippi, a hotbed for race relations during the early 1960's. Unwittingly thrust into the heart of a national tragedy, the murder of three Civil Rights activists, he overcame fear and adversity to become a leader in the Civil Rights movement. As a key African American witness to take the stand in the trial famously dubbed the "Mississippi Burning" case by the FBI, Charles Johnson played a key role for the Federal Justice Department, offering clarity to the event that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This story of love, conviction, adversity, and redemption climaxes with a shocking encounter between Charles and one of the murderers. The reader will be riveted to the details of a gracious life in pursuit of the call of God from the pulpit to the streets, and ultimately into the courtroom.
So often, our view of the good life is the busy, exhausted, driven, and unhappy life. But what if there was a different way to live--now, not when we get to heaven, but now? A short list of "blessings" called the Beatitudes is Jesus' declaration of what "the good life" is, and an invitation to immerse ourselves in it. If we understand the Beatitudes, we realize they are less about what we do and more about what God is doing--what God values, how he operates, and what's he's up to in our (actually his) world. Authors Seidman and Graves offer a practical guide to changing our course to realize the good life now.
Jesus loves you. That profound fact has been changing lives around the world for centuries. Yet, there are days when you don't experience this completely in your own life. So, how do you get to the very core of that statement on a deep, personal level? Keri Wyatt Kent wants to help you fully experience the heart of Jesus' love in Deeply Loved. Using the gospel stories of Jesus, reflection, and personal stories, Kent will guide you through 40 days of how to create space in your life for Jesus to show up and love you. Deeply.
Jim Moore's warm, conversational style inspires readers to transform negative, pessimistic attitudes into positive, optimistic attitudes centered on the love and hope of Jesus Christ. The book includes a study guide designed for both group and individual use, features questions related to each chapter and presents several options for study based on varied numbers of weeks devoted to the study.