Q: What inspired you to write your new book?
A: At a casual lunch with some friends, our host led us in a grace prayer before the meal. That was it! Saying grace has always been part of my life, but this time something was different. It was an astonishing thought, too, because writing a book was the furthest thing from my mind, and I surely was not a faith scholar.
The grace I said growing up was different from the one my friend said. Well, I thought, there must be others I’d never heard before. What if I were to collect them—from all over the world—and create a book? I could even enhance each prayer with a Bible verse. In effect, I would simply become a compiler. I sent out inquiries, asking everyone to share, eagerly awaiting the replies. What a diversity of prayers there would be—from the world over! What I received back surprised me. It seems that there are, in fact, only a handful of “standard” graces; most are impromptu, made up according to how the day unfolds. Even more surprising were the responses of those who didn’t regularly say grace but wished they did—and would if they had some structure. FULL POST
Q: What are some of the most common misconceptions that Christians have about the book of Revelation?
A: I think the biggest challenge that most Christians have with the book of Revelation is that they are intimidated by it and are confused by it. Many sincere believers begin to read the book of Revelation, but when they get into its contents, it frightens them. They do not understand how the Jesus they read about in the book of Revelation, is the same Jesus that they read about in the Gospels. For example, in the Gospels, we read about the Jesus that blessed the little children and is the Shepherd of the lost sheep. But, when we get into the book of Revelation, we see all these horrendous plagues of God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth. Many do not understand how the Jesus they see revealed in the book of Revelation can be the same Jesus they read about in the Gospels. As a result, many Christians have withdrawn from trying to study the contents of Revelation. In my book, The Book of Revelation Decoded, I hope to help believers understand how Jesus is revealed in this extraordinary Book and to be prepared for His second coming. We have to remember that both the first and last chapters of the book of Revelation promise a blessing for those that will read and heed its contents. FULL POST
A Barna Research study indicates that a majority of Christians do not believe Satan is a living being, yet in the same study, 69% of Christians do believe that people can be under the influence of demons or evil spirits. It is this dichotomy of beliefs among Christians that author, speaker, and radio host Eric Barger says is creating a generation of young people who are unaware of the concepts of evil and spiritual warfare, and are subsequently, falling under demonic influences. In his latest book, “Disarming the Powers of Darkness: Fearless Conquerors in Spiritual Warfare” (Aneko Press), Barger says that Christians today are often ill-equipped to know how to handle blatant Satanic activity in our culture.
“In a church culture replete with ‘feel good’ sermons that are often light on substance, many Christians are unaware of the Bible’s emphasis on this life-long spiritual struggle,” says Barger, who co-wrote the book with David Benoit. “Others have a mistaken, unrealistic desire to be permanently immune from knowing about, being subject to, or participating in spiritual warfare. The fact is, as long as we’re here on earth, we are going to be in the arena of spiritual warfare. And not enough pastors today are willing to give their congregations the tools necessary to deal with a culture that is saturated in the occult.” FULL POST
In her book, “Six Pairs of Sandals: Yesterday’s Footsteps and Today’s Women’s Ministry,” author and speaker Dr. Deborah Waterbury highlights six women in the bible who personified the qualities of leadership. She also addresses specific areas of need for women to minister to other women within every local church, something she feels has been greatly lacking.
“In the last 10 years of working with women, particularly women in local churches, it has been sad to see how many churches are abdicating the ministry of women within their confines,” says Dr. Waterbury, who founded Love Everlasting Ministries in 2007. “Often it’s a matter of methodology, but just as often it is a matter of scarcity. Too many women either feel they are spiritually inadequate or that they simply lack the gifts necessary to minister to one another in their own home churches. I designed the book so that the reader can read a biblical example of each of the six broad categories of women ministering to women (teaching, prayer, mentoring, service, ministry leader, and small group leader), surmise which of those women she is most like, and then give her a list of practical ways she can step out and begin ministering to the women in her church in that way.” FULL POST
Q: As someone who has been performing in public schools for over two decades, what changes have you seen take place in children in attitude, character or other traits?
A: I don't know that there has been a dramatic change in elementary age children—as far as their response to my shows. Kids love to laugh. Some parents like to laugh—but many have forgotten how. Since the beginning of my school events, creating a connection between parents and kids has been a huge joy for me. Many parents don't see their children "belly laugh" very often—except for the occasional TV show or movie. Children are (mostly) honest and loving. Since the start of my career performing for families, I have seen children with hard hearts. Many times, I've seen those hearts melt through the fun and laughter. Since the beginning, I've been honored to take on a sort of "crazy uncle" role. Unfortunately, many kids don't see their dad in a loving, fun, role. It seems sometimes when a man becomes a father his psyche changes—and now as provider—he is scared just to be himself with his children. It may be difficult for some men to be a bit vulnerable, open and honest. As a father myself, I have to remind myself often just how much my kids adore me, and my role in guiding, nurturing and directing them is vastly important. FULL POST
Acclaimed Christian hip-hop artist Andalé (pronounced un-da-lay) has released a new song entitled, “Phenomenal,” his first since signing with G.Favored Entertainment Group in partnership with Dream Records and Capitol Christian Distribution.
Produced by Grammy Award winner, Dirty Rice (Lecrae, Andy Mineo, Derek Minor), “Phenomenal” is a song that Andalé says is one of the “best songs I’ve ever written.” He describes it as a “fun, high energy and unique way of expressing how phenomenal God truly is.”
After his 2014 album Smoke and Mirrors, Andalé took a hiatus from music that included serving as pastor of a small church for a year and a half. He is currently in the studio working on his forthcoming album Elizabeth Road.
Andalé says he is excited to be releasing new music through his new partnership.“All artists have one thing in common, a desire to be heard,” says Andalé. “I'm excited because this partnership now allows my music to be heard on a much larger scale.” FULL POST
In his new book, “Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo” (CLC Publications), Dr. Dwayne Mercer points out that, according to recent research, only 13% of the millennial generation consider any type of spirituality to be important in their lives. Mercer says this is a symptom of a larger problem—what he describes as a disconnect between what people have been taught about God and the experiences they are having in their lives.
“Physical vertigo is a condition where your brain cannot process what your eyes are seeing,” says Mercer. “Spiritual vertigo is a state where your faith cannot process what you see, hear, or experience. You know what the Bible says, but real life seems to contradict what you believe.”
Recommended by leaders such as Dr. Johnny Hunt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as Michael Catt, Executive Producer of Sherwood Pictures, “Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo” addresses central issues where Christians struggle with faith, and often, give up their faith altogether. Using examples from his own life, Mercer helps identify factors that lead people to lose their faith, offering them tools to regain an understanding of what true Christianity is all about. FULL POST
Former P.O.D. guitarist Jason Truby has released a new instrumental CD entitled "Hymns.". Renowned for his innovative finger-style guitar techniques, Truby says the project was specifically produced with the purpose to help people who are going through trauma or sickness, and was originally his wife’s idea.
“I have performed finger-style covers of hymns in my live sets over the years,” says Truby, “and one day my wife mentioned the idea of a therapy-type album. I know that suffering can consume a lot of thought and energy, so this album was arranged with peace and healing in mind. We started with the idea of distributing it to cancer patients, and now want to make it available to anyone who may be going through grief, recovery, divorce or any other difficulties.”
Truby was a member of the rock band P.O.D. from 2002 to 2006, writing songs for the band’s self-titled album which quickly went to Platinum sales status. Truby also penned the title song for the “Matrix Reloaded” movie as well as a song for the Dove Award-winning soundtrack for “The Passion of the Christ.” Truby later teamed up with acclaimed guitarist, Phil Keaggy, for several solo albums, as well as played on a finger-style guitar album with the legendary instrumentalist, Chet Atkins, and classical guitarist, John Williams. Truby also produced the Grafted compilation CD to benefit Project Zero, a non-profit foundation specializing in adoption and foster care. Grafted included various artists from all genres including Tiffany Thornton, star of Disney's "So Random" and "Sonny with a Chance;” Caitlin Evanson, violin player for Taylor Swift; Keaggy; and Stu Garrard from Delirious, among several others. FULL POST
Fairhaven Church in Centerville, Ohio has been named one of the Best Christian Workplaces in America, one of only 48 churches in the U.S. to earn the designation. The church was founded 52 years ago with twelve families holding service at a local YMCA. Today, the church has three campuses in Centerville, Springboro, and Clayton with approximately 7000 attendees, and a staff of 80 serving the entire Dayton, Ohio area. Dr. David Smith is the current pastor, only the third lead pastor in the church’s long-standing history.
“It is easy to think or say that a church is healthy,” says Smith, “but when you invite an outside group to come in and access and then tell you that you are in the top 50 healthiest churches in America…I feel humbled that I get to work with our staff and leaders who have made it so! We believe that team is everything and that the success of other staff members is our individual priority.”
Fairhaven has been twice listed as one of the Fastest Growing churches in the country by Outreach Magazine. Smith says he believes there are three qualities of his membership and staff that drive their continued growth. FULL POST
Q: Talk a little about your family, how you came to Christ and your faith journey.
A: I am a Kentucky-raised girl currently living in the Sunshine State of Florida. Jamie is my amazingly supportive husband of eight years, and we have a two- year old son, Landon, who is the absolute joy of our lives. I grew up in church where my dad was the pianist and my mom sang on the praise team. In fact, I made my debut performance as a singer at age 3 in front of roughly 1,000 church members when the pastor handed me the microphone and I gave my best rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” I grew up heavily involved in church, especially the music team where I sang and played keyboard. Even though I have been saved most of my life, I didn’t always follow Christ like I should. After “searching” during my college years, I discovered God had a greater plan for my life than I could imagine and turned over my dreams and desires to Him. FULL POST