Food for the Soul

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Posted 6/30/16 at 11:18 AM | Audra Jennings

Steve Brown calls readers to live honestly

Part 2 of an interview with Steve Brown,
Author of Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart

We pretend hidden agendas are just for politicians, but we all have them. We're phony and afraid, and it's killing us and hurting those we love. In Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart (New Growth Press/May 16, 2016), Steve Brown invites us to drop our masks and discover how God's love propels us into the real relationships we thought we'd never have.

Why do Christians do this? While they may begin their walk with Christ basking in the light of forgiveness and redemption, they soon feel the sting of judgment when they fall short, whether from their own guilt or the criticism of others. As a survival mechanism, they hide their failings to avoid pain and accomplish their personal goals, lying to themselves, others and even God. FULL POST

Posted 6/29/16 at 1:48 PM | Audra Jennings

Don't settle for survival in our broken world

Part 2 of an interview with Erik Guzman,
Author of The Seed: A True Myth

At some point, everyone will have a moment where they simply know something is missing in their lives. Attempts to fill, ignore or dull this void are never successful and only end up leaving them exhausted, confused and alone. These are themes explored by author Erik Guzman in his debut release, The Seed: A True Myth (New Growth Press/May 16, 2016).

This parable uses symbolism and vivid imagery to help readers think critically about the great lengths they go to in order to avoid the pain of living in a broken world, rather than accepting the peace and freedom the Gospel offers.

Q: What is the most genuine way to survive in a broken world like ours?

Give up on survival.

We desperately want to bring something to the equation besides our helplessness in a broken world. That's the reason we refuse to believe everything we need has already been provided by God. That's why we don't put down roots into God and let him fill our emptiness. We need to stop pretending we have it all together. We need to stop fighting for survival, open clenched fists and receive God's unconditional love and care with open hands. We need to stop being a bunch of posers. FULL POST

Posted 6/28/16 at 1:13 PM | Audra Jennings

Build a fireproof relationship with your daughter

Part 1 of an interview with Trish Donohue,
Author of Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters

In Between Us Girls: Walks and Talks for Moms and Daughters (New Growth Press/June 6, 2016), Trish Donohue shares twenty-six gospel-driven talks to guide mothers through a simple, sustainable way to disciple their daughters. Reading God's Word together, asking one another questions, and being honest about their struggles, moms and daughters learn new habits and establish lifelong patterns for communicating about what matters most.

Q: You describe Between Us Girls not as a devotional, but as a conversation guide for moms and daughters. Tell us more about the format of your new book.

The format of the book is designed to take moms and daughters on a walk together: a walk that winds through the crazy terrain of girlhood, is guided by the truths of scripture and offers places along the way to rest and talk. Christian moms desire to be close to their daughters, but too often they find themselves lecturing and correcting --- or finally planning a special time together only to realize they aren't really sure what to talk about. FULL POST

Posted 6/9/16 at 10:31 AM | Audra Jennings

Men tend to suffer in silence, but they need to share their stories

Part 2 of an interview with Andrew J. Schmutzer
Co-Author of Naming Our Abuse: God's Pathways to Healing for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors

Male sexual abuse is increasingly in the news, from scandals in the Catholic Church to exploitations at Penn State. Yet books and programs about healing are still overwhelmingly oriented toward the female survivor of abuse. As men who experienced childhood abuse, Andrew J. Schmutzer, Daniel A. Gorski and David Carlson, authors of Naming Our Abuse: God's Pathways to Healing for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors (Kregel Publications) are uniquely qualified to address the healing process of male survivors.

In the book, each author shares his story, modeling for men how telling --- and writing --- their stories can play a significant role in recovery. "Writing helps the brain process the significance of what happened, not just the fact that it happened," Schmutzer explains. "Dignity is recaptured by remembering rightly, honestly and deeply. Writing honors pain by putting it in black and white." FULL POST

Posted 6/7/16 at 2:58 PM | Audra Jennings

Author shares essential steps to recovery

Part 2 of an interview with Crystal M. Sutherland,
Author of Journey to Heal

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse often feel like the walking wounded. They feel alone and afraid, unsure of where to start in their search for lasting healing. It becomes far too easy to believe lies that say they're worthless and true recovery is impossible.

Crystal Sutherland --- a survivor herself --- knows that a simple formula for healing from such a painful past doesn't exist. But that doesn't mean it isn't possible. For adult female survivors who want to progress from simply coping to living abundantly, Journey to Heal (Kregel Publications) guides readers through essential steps to recovery found in Scripture. Though candid and open about her personal journey, Sutherland avoids triggering descriptions. Instead, she offers stories of hope form other survivors and practical wisdom to lead you down a new path toward discovering the life of wholeness God desires for you. FULL POST

Posted 6/3/16 at 3:04 PM | Audra Jennings

Sarah Sundin explores the dangers of prejudice in new WWII novel

An interview with Sarah Sundin, Author of
Anchor in the Storm

Male and female stereotypes have always existed. World War II brought major changes to the status quo in America as necessity challenged traditional male/female roles and opportunities. Sarah Sundin delves into these dynamics in the second installment in her Waves of Freedom series, Anchor in the Storm (Revell/May 3, 2016/ISBN: 9780800723439/ $14.99). As the needs of a nation brought millions of women into the workforce, some for the first time, ladies were suddenly finding new strengths and facing new tests, including Lillian Avery.

Q: Anchor in the Storm is the second release in your Waves of Freedom series, set in the romantic yet tumultuous World War II period. Tell us a little about this story and how the series ties together.

For plucky Lillian Avery, America's entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. She loves the wartime challenges of her new job but spurns the attention of society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg. As Arch's destroyer battles U-boats along the East Coast, Lillian uncovers a black market drug ring. Arch and Lillian work together on the investigation, but he wonders if he can ever earn her trust and affection. FULL POST

Posted 6/2/16 at 2:07 PM | Audra Jennings

The grand narrative of God's redemptive work

Part 1 of an interview with Erik Guzman,
Author of The Seed: A True Myth

We’ve all had the feeling that something’s not quite right with our lives. It’s bigger than any specific failure or disappointment. It’s bigger than any person. No matter what you achieve or how much you drink or sleep, you can’t shake it. It haunts you—night and day—and propels you to do something. So you build. You build and build the maze that is your exhausting life. Sound vaguely familiar?

Erik Guzman’s The Seed: A True Myth (New Growth Press) is a journey into the personal labyrinths we create to protect ourselves and those we love from the pain of living in a broken world. Guzman’s “true myth” takes the reader on an unforgettable journey that is, in essence, the grand narrative of God’s redemptive work in the world. This page-turning Christian fantasy tale is packed with mystery and drama, and readers will feel the weight and power of redemption as they journey alongside Guzman’s characters in their epic battle. The Seed deftly communicates the heart of Trinitarian theology through story—without using theological language or Christian terms—and reinforces biblical themes such as God’s character and man’s true identity and calling. FULL POST

Posted 5/31/16 at 4:48 PM | Audra Jennings

You have a hidden agenda and may not realize it

Part 1 of an interview with Steve Brown,
Author of Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart

It's easy to imagine high-powered executives and egotistical politicians having hidden agendas. What may not be so simple to accept is that deep down, all have a secret plan for getting themselves from where they are to where they want to be. As author and radio host Steve Brown has written in Hidden Agendas: Dropping the Masks that Keep Us Apart (New Growth Press/May 16, 2016), people, especially Christians, wear disguises to make it easier to accomplish these concealed plans. These masks might be religion, appearance or power, and the pressure of keeping it all together can be overwhelming. For most, though, it will be a cold day in a hot place before they are fully honest with anyone else about their fears, struggles and sins.

Q: You open Hidden Agendas by saying you have "lived long enough and sinned big enough" to be able to write this book. Explain what you mean by that. FULL POST

Posted 5/26/16 at 1:42 PM | Audra Jennings

Dig through the darkness to find the light

Part 2 of an interview with Nika Maples,
Author of Hunting Hope

Hope is not an accident. Sometimes it has to be hunted, and hunting it takes courage.

Hope hunters know how to excavate hope from hardship. There is dirt underneath their fingernails and sweat on their shirts. They rake through the rubble of an unwanted situation, digging into difficult circumstances because they have come to expect that adversity will produce good. They believe that light always triumphs over darkness. They have learned to walk through winter with their eyes on spring.

Nika Maples, the author of Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Light
(Worthy Inspired), became a hope hunter after suffering a massive brainstem stroke that left her quadriplegic in her twenties. Doctors warned that she had as little as 48 hours to live, and-if she lived at all-she would never walk or talk again. There was no hope on the horizon. So Nika started to hunt for it. Today, she not only walks, but she speaks to audiences everywhere about the power of hunting hope when a situation appears hopeless. She says hope remains camouflaged in the daily mundane. If we are not looking for it, we will miss it, though it is right before our eyes. FULL POST

Posted 5/23/16 at 11:10 AM | Audra Jennings

The staggering statistics on childhood sexual abuse

Part 1 of an interview with Andrew J. Schmutzer
Co-Author of Naming Our Abuse: God's Pathways to Healing for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors

From Penn State to the Catholic Church scandal, stories of sexual abuse are covered in the national media, but news reports do not reveal all the facts of how prevalent abuse is among males. "The standard statistic is that one in six boys is sexually abused before the age of 18 ( However, Male Survivor recently reported one in four men has been sexually abused," Andrew J. Schmutzer, co-author of Naming Our Abuse: God's Pathways to Healing for Male Sexual Abuse Survivors (Kregel Publications), explains. "One thing to understand about these statistics is that they are largely based on self-reporting, so they have been historically hard to come by. As specialists know, men don't readily talk about their abuse." FULL POST

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