Food for the Soul
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Audra Jennings

Audra Jennings is a publicist with Litfuse Publicity Group.

Posted 1/3/12 at 6:47 PM | Audra Jennings

How would you rate your life?

TEN: How Would You Rate Your Life? by Terry A. Smith

What Does It Take to Live a Fulfilled Life?

The key to getting better at your life is helping others get better at theirs.

Many of us dream of living a richer and more significant life—the kind of fulfilling life that, when rated on the scale of one to ten, would score a definitive ten. Inviting us to awaken to the TEN Life is the theme of a new book by Terry A. Smith, lead pastor of The Life Christian Church in West Orange, New Jersey. A gifted communicator, Terry is a national and international speaker with a passion for challenging and encouraging others, especially those who are completely unaware of their own unique power and potential.

Based on the tenth verse of the tenth chapter in the Book of John, Ten: How Would You Rate Your Life? (Higher Life Development Services, Inc) is a guide to living the life God dreams for us. “We can only know life in all its fullness,” he explains, “if we live the life God dreams for us. And part of the TEN experience is to try to figure out what that means for each of us as individuals.” Smith’s easy-going style of writing, coupled with his broad scope of reference, makes the book appealing to any reader wanting to create a richer quality of life.

But while the book does most certainly provide structured steps toward a more fulfilling life, itis far from being the typical “all about me” self-help book. Rather, it is an others-help book. Throughout its pages, Smith links our incredible potential for a superior life to the exponential power of leadership, exposing the bond between creating your own better life and helping others create better lives for themselves. No matter what our inclinations or natural giftings might be, Smith stresses that we all have the ability to lead ourselves and others to the best possible future.

It was while endeavoring to cheer on his wife during her first ever marathon run, Smith explains in the book’s opening, that he began to realize that, even while we yearn for someone to witness our lives, we also have a driving need to be a supporting witness for others. And just as we want desperately to cheer on those we love, he believes God is also desperate to cheer us to a preferred future and be the ultimate witness to our lives. “And if God be for us,” he asks, “then how can we do anything but believe our best possible future is within our grasp?”

Ten is about grasping God’s dream for our lives and then taking the necessary action to make that dream come true. Within the pages of Ten, Smith offers sound advice and gives the reader seven inspired steps specifically designed to lead to a better life:

  • Awaken: Wake up to God’s dreams for your life.
  • Discover: Learn how to discover your life’s calling.
  • Imagine: Learn how the discipline of imagination makes the future real.
  • Grow: Develop the life infrastructure necessary to sustain success.
  • Act: Take action to create your future.
  • Lead:Learn to lead yourself and others to the best possible future.
  • Go: Accept the call to get started living the life God dreams for you.

Through application of these seven steps, Smith reveals how each of us can experience life in all its fullness, moving forward from wherever we are toward a TEN. In this way, we can create the best possible future for ourselves and those around us. We can achieve total fulfillment. We can take our lives all the way up the scale to TEN. All we need is the desire to do so.

Ten: How Would You Rate Your Life?

by Terry A. Smith

Higher Life Development Services, Inc./January 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935245-50-6/249 pages/hard cover/$24.95

Posted 12/21/11 at 10:57 AM | Audra Jennings

Dynamic Devotions Designed for Pre-Teens

An interview with Ann-Margret Hovespian,author of Truth & Dare (One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Girls)and Jeremy Jones, author of Triple Dog Dare(One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys)

Q: Truth & Dare and Triple Dog Dare devotions are two new books targeted to pre-teens 9-12. One books is for girls, the other for boys. What inspired each of you to write devotions for pre-teens?

Ann-Margret: I've always had a special place in my heart for outreach to preteen girls and I think that devotionals are a great way to connect with God's Word. I believe God really inspired me to combine my passions and talents in a way that could touch the hearts of girls.

Daily devotions are crucial in the spiritual development of young girls because Scripture and prayer are the best ways to connect with God. Many Christian girls are involved in youth groups or listen to Christian music or watch Christian movies but sometimes those things can distract us – even adults – from personal study of Scripture and quiet time with God. FULL POST

Posted 12/20/11 at 10:35 AM | Audra Jennings

Common English Bible Is a Bestselling Translation in Record Time

NASHVILLE, TN – The new Common English Bible ( is #10 on the CBA Bible Translation Best Seller list for the month of December. Since the list is based on actual unit sales in Christian retail stores in the United States through Oct. 29, 2011, the Common English Bible (Twitter @CommonEngBible – achieved this status after being in stores less than three months.

"We're delighted the Common English Bible is receiving such early overwhelming support and acceptance," says Paul Franklin, PhD, associate publisher. "We see this as confirming our decision to create an academically rigorous yet naturally understandable translation for 21st century English readers; a translation from the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that's built on common ground."

The best seller achievement comes at the same time the completion of the Common English Bible after four years of translation work was named one of the top 10 religion stories of 2011 as decided by leading religion journalists in the 30th annual Religion Newswriters Association survey ( FULL POST

Posted 12/20/11 at 10:29 AM | Audra Jennings

MissioLife: Reading the Bible Together

Post from Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed

Watch a video of Scot McKnight discussing MissioLife:

Not long ago I posted about MissioLife, and called attention to this new church digital resource — yes, that's the wave of how more and more Christians and churches will be reading the Bible and doing group studies — as a tool for leading us from Bible knowledge to intimacy with God.

Today I'd like to comment on another major dimension of the MissioLife resource: it is a tool that encourages an entire church to read the (whole) Bible together. The three images above – breathe, image, rhythms — are symbols in MissioLife for adults, youth, and children. Each has its own age-sensitive approach to Bible reading and formation. But the three dovetail into one church formation approach.

Here's the genius of MissioLife: it is a full integrative approach to church formation. Notice those words: full (whole Bible, whole Story, holistic salvation), integrative (adults, youth and children, and not scattered study groups doing what they want), church formation (not just individuals doing their own things, not just groups doing their thing, but the whole church doing Bible study and praxis in such a way that a "church" is formed). FULL POST

Posted 12/19/11 at 3:48 PM | Audra Jennings

MissioLife: From Literacy to Intimacy

Post from Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed

 Watch a video of Scot McKnight discussing MissioLife.

Please click here if you would like to sign-up to receive a preview kit of MissioLife with sample lessons and DVD.

If you haven't already heard about MissioLife, this is your introduction. Chris Folmsbee, along with a team of leaders who care about spiritual formation and local church and children and young adults and adult small groups — for both the individual and for the local church, have now developed MissioLife as a new digital small group/church resource. It is designed to lead each person and local churches from non-Bible readers to Bible literacy. But the genius of MissioLife does not stop at literacy, or knowledge of what the Bible says. No, MissioLife leads from literacy to intimacy with God and to intimacy with others and to intimacy with the world.

You can download, free of charge, some modules from the link in this paragraph to see just how solid, creative, and practical MissioLife is. This is a big project: each year of the MissioLife resource has six 6-week downloaded modules, and it is best for Sunday School classes and especially small groups. Each year takes us from Story to living the Story in our world in practical ways, both as individuals and as groups. Year One is about The God of Life, the Story of God's Redeeming Shalom. I've been through it; I love it. (There will be four years in the MissioLife resource.)What we have in MissioLife is a Bible Story approach to small groups, spiritual formation, and how the Christian lives today. FULL POST

Posted 12/19/11 at 10:25 AM | Audra Jennings

Author shares his family’s story in The Spirit of Texas

The Spirit of Texas: The Astonishing Story of a Pioneer Rancher's Family and Their Mighty State (Creative Publishing Company) is the story of William Menzies and his family as chronicled by his great-grandson, Winston Menzies, a pastor and writer now living in Georgia. Crafted from his own memories as well as those of friends and relatives, Menzies does not hesitate to weave local and state history, politics and culture into his family's story. In so doing, he exposes the bones of Texas' romance and lore, revealing the raw passion and determination of the men and women who went there seeking independence and reminding the reader of the indelible mark they left behind.

In this excerpt from the book, talks of the family's faith:

LETHA ANN WAS WISE because of her faith in God and her knowledge of His Word. My dad, Perry Menzies, was semiadopted by William and Letha Ann. When he was three years old, he lost his father, so he and his older brother, G. C., lived with their grandparents from time to time, especially during the summers. He often talked about her, recalling, "Grandmother was always quoting Proverbs and had so many wise sayings." She was a sage and a rock of faith for the whole family as well as a cornerstone of the church. The whole family was a major part and support of their church. They originally attended what was called Kitchens Baptist Church, which was organized on October 12, 1879, and had Z. M. Wells as the first pastor. They held their meetings at the Kitchens School just east of Five Mile Crossing for many years. FULL POST

Posted 12/16/11 at 4:26 PM | Audra Jennings

Common English Bible Named Among Top Religion Stories of 2011

NASHVILLE, TN – The completion of the new Common English Bible ( translation is among the top 10 religion stories of 2011 as decided by leading religion journalists in the 30th annual Religion Newswriters Association survey. The Common English Bible (Twitter @CommonEngBible – is newsworthy for several reasons:

· Its objective: the Common English Bible uses a natural English vocabulary to clearly and freshly communicate the ancient sacred text in a world where 9,000 new words & meaning revisions are added yearly to the English lexicon.

· Its speed: the Common English Bible took only four years to accomplish – a phenomenal feat when compared with other recent modern English Bible translations that took 10-17 years to complete.

· Its efficiency: the Common English Bible was able to be completed so rapidly due to the translation process using an online project management database that permitted more than 200 collaborators (translators, editors, and field testers) to communicate immediately. The project was constructed in a workflow matrix with more than 400 overlapping parts. FULL POST

Posted 12/16/11 at 4:06 PM | Audra Jennings

Show your appreciation for the military and veterans this Christmas!

The Christmas holiday season can be an especially difficult time for members of the military and their families. Army Veteran B.C. Fleming offers the following ideas for giving encouragement for those who may be separated from their family and friends during this time of year.

· If you live in an area with a military base nearby, reach out to see if there are any supplies that deployed soldiers have requested that you could give.

· Check with your church about members of the military that attend or who have family at your congregation. Write thank you cards and letters of encouragement.

· Call your local VA hospital to see items they are in need of and schedule a time to deliver goodies and visit with veterans.

· If you are a family member of an active member of the military, connect with the Family Readiness Group for support. It's important to lean on others who are experiencing the same situation as you are as well as offer support.

· If you are retired military or were a military wife/husband, reach out to other military families in your community.

· Contact your local airport to find out when troops are scheduled to arrive. There is often a day or two a week when large numbers of military members arrive home. Plan to go out and welcome soldiers home. FULL POST

Posted 12/9/11 at 4:31 PM | Audra Jennings

A Classic Christmas Tabletop - The Inspired Way...

By Roxanne Hughes Packham

Have you ever just been at a standstill when trying to do a unique Christmas tabletop for your family and friends at Christmas time? Here are some tips from Roxanne Hughes Packham, co-author of Inspired Design that should make it much easier! Check out her blog if you'd like to see coordinating pictures to go with the ideas.

Before you get started remember: Do not underestimate the power of your home, nor its ability to change lives. Do not underestimate the power of one tiny, seemingly insignificant, act of kindness. A welcoming smile, a cup of hot tea and an hour in a cozy nook spent listening to a friend can be life-altering. Your home is a significant part of the way people will be touched, by God, through you this Christmas season. God uses us as his hands! Your table is the means through which you can touch others by setting the stage for memories to be made. FULL POST

Posted 12/6/11 at 10:37 AM | Audra Jennings

Learning to Assess Your Value as a Man

Author Richard Simmons encourages men to discover their true worth.

What do people think of me as a man? Do I measure up in their eyes as they see the choices I am making? What will happen to me if I fail at what I do? These are the questions with which men struggle. "Men so often define themselves by what they do, who they know or what they own. And when they do so, they unwittingly set themselves up for great confusion and failure in their personal lives, particularly when a major economic storm arises," says businessman Richard E. Simmons III. In his book The True Measure of a Man: How Perceptions of Success, Achievement & Recognition Fail Men in Difficult Times, Simmons identifies these fears and seeks to help men find their true worth.

Of all the suicides in the United States, 80 percent are committed by men. These statistics point to the fact that, unlike any other culture, America has placed a man's worth on his performance and possessions. Men feel good about themselves when they are performing in the workplace and achieving new goals. But what happens after a layoff or a foreclosure? Where is their value then? Simmons helps men to realize that they are worth more than an amount on their paycheck. He deals with their innermost fears, namely the fear of not measuring up. He realizes that every man wants to get to the end of his life and believe that his earthly existence made a difference. FULL POST

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