Food for the Soul
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Audra Jennings

Audra Jennings is a publicist with Litfuse Publicity Group.

Posted 8/30/11 at 4:37 PM | Audra Jennings

How to Fulfill Your Calling While Maintaining Your Sanity

A beloved pastor shares well-earned wisdom for the next generation of leaders.

Getting out of bed on Monday is a grumpy chore, and overcoming the cloudy-headed daze that almost always characterizes the second day of the week requires a lot of coffee and even more determination. Mondays are hard for us all, but they are particularly difficult for pastors because they have to come down from the "Sunday high." It's something few can identify with, but for most pastors it's a haunting reality that accompanies a litany of stressors like dealing with divisive people, balancing the budget and leading difficult staff members. As a result, a lot of young pastors are desperately hungry for someone older and wiser to walk with them over the mountains and through the valleys of church ministry.

For decades, as an author, poet, pastor and educator Calvin Miller has been a lively and creative voice in the church. Having survived some of the most tumultuous decades of evangelicalism, his latest book, Letters to a Young Pastor (David C Cook), shares his wisdom and experience, his successes and his scars, to help today's young pastors fulfill their calling...and maintain their sanity. In this humorously authentic collection of letters, he encourages young pastors to fight the good fight, stay the course and keep their eye on the Author and Finisher of the faith—no matter how frustrated they may feel.

Letters to a Young Pastor offers every young pastor an invaluable mentor with a heart for sharing his hard-won insights with those who enjoy the victories and carry the burdens of the pastorate. Dr. Miller's appeal to young pastors lies not in his overwhelming successes, but simply in the fact that he's been there and done that. As Dr. Miller says, "The all-time great reason that you should listen to me is that much of what I write about in this book is written from the edge. Ministry is not for sissies, and the requirement of the tough times brings us to the edge of our commitment."

Regardless of the situation, Dr. Miller's creative and cordial counsel poetically prods pastors along the path of ministry. To the young pastor struggling with the validity of his calling, Dr. Miller advises, "Young minister of God, keep that little sparkle in your eyes, and then write down how your call came to you, and when you've written it down in fire, defend it that way." For those wrestling with conflict, Calvin challengingly suggests, "Cowards are never good at teaching courage." Even the pastor who's not sure whether he's promoting God's vision or his own image finds these wise words from Dr. Miller: "This is the foundation of significance: Settle on your vision, and your image will be authentic. But pursue image, and you may miss your vision altogether."

Many things have changed over Dr. Miller's pastoral years, from switchboards to smartphones and big-haired evangelists to cigar-smoking emergents. But two things remain the same—God is love and people are broken. Letters to a Young Pastor is a warm, honest and often humorous collection of letters to young pastors and leaders, encouraging them to love Sundays, fight through Mondays and look forward to the day when they'll hear that great "Well done."

About the Author: Dr. Calvin Miller's first full-time pastorate was at Plattsmouth Baptist Church in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, from 1961-1966. He went to Westside Church in Omaha, Nebraska, in January 1966, where he served as senior pastor for 25 years. During his pastorate the congregation grew from ten members to more than 2500 members. From 1991-1998, Miller served as Professor of Communication and Ministry Studies and Writer-in-Residence at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas. In January 1999, he joined the faculty of Samford University's Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he is currently Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry.

He is the author of more than forty books of popular theology and inspiration. His poems and free-lance articles have appeared in various journals and magazines such as Christianity Today, Campus Life, Leadership and His. He has served as an inspirational speaker in various assemblies and religious convocations, both in his own denomination and other Christian gatherings.

Letters to a Young Pastor by Calvin Miller
David C Cook/September 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7814-0577-5/256 pages/paperback/$14.99
www.davidccook.com

Posted 8/30/11 at 3:59 PM | Audra Jennings

Why is forgiving ourselves so hard?

Kim Cash Tate shows how God cherishes us and provides our hearts' desires.

Thomas Nelson author Kim Cash Tate sits down with three -time Stellar Award winning Christian rapper and GRAMMY nominee Da' T.R.U.T.H. and his wife Nicole Lambert about what it means to be cherished, stemming from Kim's book and Da' T.R.U.T.H.'s song of the same name "Cherished" featuring CeCe Winans which is a bonus track on his forthcoming CD THE WHOLE TRUTH. Purchase Kim's book "Cherished" at www.kimcashtate.com and pre-order Da' T.R.U.T.H.'s upcoming September 13th release THE WHOLE TRUTH on XistMusic.com at http://www.merchline.com/xistmusic. Learn more about Da' T.R.U.T.H. at www.datruth.net and follow them both on Twitter at @KimCashTate or @TruthOnDuty.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Kim Cash Tate explores Psalm 103:12 as she takes her readers down the path to God's forgiveness and reconciliation in her newest novel, Cherished. Readers will discover that God can still use them in spite of their worst choices. And He doesn't just forgive them, but they are truly cherished!

Tate's story will show her readers how God can bring beauty from ashes. She has a unique way of weaving her characters' lives together, leading back to one great point—God's tremendous mercy and grace. In the words of one of her characters, "I wasn't sure what to expect. I felt like it would take a while to work my way back into God's good graces, but it was like..."—she flung wide her arms—"...He just embraced me." We too can be embraced by the same great love when we learn that true forgiveness for ALL of our sins is right before us.

Growing up in Saint Louis, Kelli London dreamed of becoming a songwriter and glorifying God with her songs of praise. But after falling into sin, she walks away from her dreams. Heather Anderson's life has spun out of control—first an affair with a married man and then a one-night stand with the drummer of a popular Christian band. Broken and alone, she discovers the only one who can save her. Brian Howard grew up as a science geek. But after making the worst mistake of his life after high school, he finds forgiveness in Christ and is being led down a completely different path. Now he must choose whether to continue pursuing his PhD in biochemistry or to become a full time Christian rapper.

In her interviews, Tate discusses topics such as:

· Learning to forgive ourselves
· Choosing to forgive others and allowing God to change them
· Following the dreams God has for us
· Surrounding ourselves with Christian friends who will pray for and encourage us
· Understanding God's unchanging love

Tate was a speaker for Women of Faith in both 2010 and 2011. She appeared as the cover girl for the May issue of Empowering Everyday Women and will be featured in the September edition of Significant Living. A song based on Cherished will be featured on the newest album from Christian rapper Da' T.R.U.T.H., and also features CeCe Winans. Tate is also the founder of Colored in Christ Ministries. Her appeal as a Bible teacher and a "big sister" in ministry, as well as her messages of hope, is what attracts discerning fiction lovers worldwide.

Tate's characters bring a reflection of our own poor choices. Readers walk away knowing that despite their worst mistakes, they are cherished by their Creator. "The enemy will try to make you feel guilty about your past, and he'll use your own thoughts or he'll use other people. But if you know who you are, he won't succeed," says Tate.

Cherished by Kim Cash Tate
Thomas Nelson/September 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59554-855-9/336 pages/paperback/$15.99
www.kimcashtate.com

Posted 8/30/11 at 3:53 PM | Audra Jennings

Global Effort Behind EGM’s Just-Released "Little Town of Bethlehem" soundtrack

Oklahoma City, OK—EthnoGraphic Media (EGM) announces the iTunes and Amazon release of the soundtrack to its award-winning documentary film, Little Town of Bethlehem. Renowned jazz musicians Kirk Whalum and Calvin Jones composed the original score. Distributed through Kingsway, the album includes two bonus tracks —from Christian artist, Shawn McDonald, and Arabic artist, Basel Zayed.

Little Town of Bethlehem was produced by Mart Green and directed by Jim Hanon. The documentary shares the gripping story of three men—a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Christian, and an Israeli Jew—each born into violence but willing to risk everything to bring an end to violence in their lifetime. Little Town of Bethlehem was filmed on location in the West Bank, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, with a hope of bringing awareness to a growing nonviolent movement in the Holy Land that rarely, if ever, makes
international headlines.

Hanon describes the film's unique perspective, "Little Town of Bethlehem doesn't focus on who's right or who's wrong. Rather, it shows what it truly means and ultimately takes to love one's enemies. Working with the nonviolence movement, we discovered that Palestinians and Israelis alike had been significantly inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., so I asked Kirk about fusing Middle East sound with Memphis blues for the score." Recording was done in Bethlehem, Tel Aviv, and Memphis. Whalum produced the
soundtrack by mixing traditional Arabic and Hebrew instrumentation with the blues inspired by the U.S. civil rights movement. Calvin Jones provided additional sound support. FULL POST

Posted 8/25/11 at 3:20 PM | Audra Jennings

5 Ways to Get Exercise without Going to the Gym

We all want to feel happier, healthier, and more vibrantly alive. What if in just 40 days we could reach a new level of wellness and balance that we've never experienced before? In 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health (Barbour Publishing, July 2011), Dr. Scott Morris and the Church Health Center staff offer a straightforward and successful plan to get there.
40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health offers clear, manageable steps to life-changing attitudes and actions in a context of understanding and grace for all people at all points on the journey to optimal health. With plenty of practical advice, spiritual encouragement, and real stories of those who have found a better life, this simple and skillfully crafted book inspires readers to customize their own path to wellness by using the 7-Step Model for Healthy Living as a guide. One of those 7 steps is Movement.

5 Ways to Get Exercise without Going to the Gym

By Richard Murphy, MS, ACSM-HFS
Manager, Exercise & Movement - Church Health Center Wellness FULL POST

Posted 8/17/11 at 6:09 PM | Audra Jennings

There’s More to Discover in Grandma’s Attic

There’s More to Discover in Grandma’s Attic Arleta Richardson’s treasured stories share timeless lessons.

Grandma did what? You might be surprised. Back in the 1880's, when she was a young girl named Mabel, trouble seemed to follow her everywhere. She and her best friend, Sarah Jane, had the best intentions at home and at school, but somehow clumsiness and mischief always seemed to intrude. Whether getting into a sticky mess with face cream, traveling to the big city, sneaking out to a birthday party or studying for the spelling bee, Mabel's brilliant ideas only seemed to show how much she had to learn. And each of her mishaps turned into lessons in honesty, patience and responsibility.

Arleta Richardson's beloved series, Grandma's Attic, returns with Still More Stories from Grandma's Attic and Treasures from Grandma's Attic, the third and fourth books in the refreshed classic collection for girls ages 8 to 12. These compilations of tales recount humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel's childhood on a Michigan farm in the late 1800's. Combining the warmth and spirit of Little House on the Prairie with a Christian focus, these books transport readers back to a simpler time to learn lessons surprisingly relevant in today's world. FULL POST

Posted 8/16/11 at 2:56 PM | Audra Jennings

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Mike Cope shares the lessons he learned from his mentally disabled daughter.

Mike Cope's best teacher was his mentally disabled daughter—Megan. In her ten years of life, she taught her father secrets more profound than anything he'd learned in college or seminary. In his moving remembrance, Megan's Secrets: What My Mentally Disabled Daughter Taught Me about Life, Cope shares those secrets in a way that will make readers laugh, cry and find new hope.

Megan was a beautiful pint-sized girl whose only spoken words were "I'm Megan!" Although a child of few words, the best scholars in the world could not teach what she did in her brief life. Her life exposed some of the insanities of the world and revealed some life-giving secrets such as:

· We are often fascinated with things that are impressive from the outside but which may not be that important to God.· What really matters has to do with the heart: keeping promises, seeking justice in a brutal world, learning to see those in greatest need and living with courage, joy and unconditional love.· God uses our brokenness to His glory. FULL POST

Posted 8/16/11 at 2:56 PM | Audra Jennings

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Mike Cope shares the lessons he learned from his mentally disabled daughter.

Mike Cope's best teacher was his mentally disabled daughter—Megan. In her ten years of life, she taught her father secrets more profound than anything he'd learned in college or seminary. In his moving remembrance, Megan's Secrets: What My Mentally Disabled Daughter Taught Me about Life, Cope shares those secrets in a way that will make readers laugh, cry and find new hope.

Megan was a beautiful pint-sized girl whose only spoken words were "I'm Megan!" Although a child of few words, the best scholars in the world could not teach what she did in her brief life. Her life exposed some of the insanities of the world and revealed some life-giving secrets such as:

· We are often fascinated with things that are impressive from the outside but which may not be that important to God.· What really matters has to do with the heart: keeping promises, seeking justice in a brutal world, learning to see those in greatest need and living with courage, joy and unconditional love.· God uses our brokenness to His glory. FULL POST

Posted 8/15/11 at 4:10 PM | Audra Jennings

Finding Fulfillment and Experiencing Joy in Your Life

Bob Westfall asks readers, "Are you ready to dream God's dream?" in his new book, The Fulfillment Principle: Experiencing a Life of Pure Joy and Fulfillment. He invites those who are overwhelmed and unfulfilled to realize this simple but profound truth: "When you use the gifts God gives you to live out the dream He has birthed in you, then you experience the joy of fulfillment that comes straight from heaven."

Drawing on the challenge from Jesus' parable of the talents, Westfall shows readers how the Creator of the universe hands His children a clear, concise blueprint for pure joy. They will see the extraordinary impact individuals can have when they choose to use their gifts and not bury them. They will learn:

· How to discover their God-given talents
· How to invest the talents God has given them
· How to realize a life of joy and fulfillment

The Fulfillment Principle is packed with stories, encouragement and motivation to help readers pursue their God-given gifts in order to experience the joy of a lifetime—for a lifetime. Fulfillment isn't impossible or unreachable. It starts with the understanding that God created each of us with a glorious dream for who we are. Westfall encourages, "It is not up to you and me to worry about results. It is up to you and me to figure out what God wants us to do—and to do it. If He is with you in the dream He has placed in your heart, nothing can stop it from unfolding the way He wants it to, no matter how impossible it may seem." FULL POST

Posted 8/12/11 at 12:09 PM | Audra Jennings

A Revolution of Forgiveness

Medad Birungi faced pain few imagine yet speaks of forgiveness all can experience
"My story changed beyond all recognition. Everything that was made ugly by pain and anger was turned to beauty by one simple, revolutionary thing—forgiveness." Medad Birungi was once a boy who begged to die by the side of the road, a teenager angry enough to kill, a man broken and searching, yet today he is a testimony to God's transforming power. In his life story, Tombstones and Banana Trees: A True Story of Revolutionary Forgiveness, Birungi charts his outrageous journey through suffering, abuse, despair and revenge to unexpected forgiveness and healing.

Birungi grew up with a violent father in the war-torn country of Uganda in the 1960's. His childhood was scarred by extreme poverty, cruel suffering and unbearable sorrow that few of us can even imagine. Yet from that trauma came the lessons that we can all appreciate: the impoverishment of life without Christ, the redemption of the cross and the revolutionary power of forgiveness. His story deals in nothing less than pure, God-given transformation. Tombstones and Banana Trees has the dual quality of being both uniquely individual yet universally relevant, holding together the grandest of themes and the most intimate of testimonies. Birungi's life is so comprehensively renewed that any reader sharing in his journey will feel the impact. FULL POST

Posted 8/12/11 at 12:03 PM | Audra Jennings

What does it take to achieve optimal health?

In 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health (Barbour Publishing, July 2011), Dr. Scott Morris, founder of Church Health Center, the largets faith-based clinic of its type in the United States, offers a plan to reach a new level of wellness and balance that readers have never experienced before.
The first in a series of color health and wellness books by Dr. Morris and the Church Health Center staff, 40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health confirms and clarifies what many of us already suspect: living the life we've always wanted must go deeper than a diet and exercise program and an occasional attempt to "do better." To achieve the highest degree of wellness requires a multi-demensional approach and a concentrated effort to be healthy in both body and spirit.
40 Days to Better Living: Optimal Health centers on the 7-Step Model for Health Living as a guide: Nutrition Friends and family Emotional life Work Movement Medical care Faith life.
Subsequent titles in the Better Living series will be released bi-monthly and address key health topics including hypertension (available in September), depression (available in November) diabetes, weight management, stress management, aging, and addiction. All promise substantial support to those who are ready for a newer, better way of living---body and spirit. FULL POST

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