James (J.B.) Brown hopes his story inspires others to change their lives for the better
Q: You have recently lost a lot of weight. What was the motivation behind that?
A: Solomon was the wisest and richest man in the world, but when he got off track from God, he realized everything apart from God was meaningless. I want my life to be one of significance. That was my main motivating factor behind losing 84 pounds over the past year or so. 3 John 1:2 says “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” Before I took the first supplement or went to my first nutritional counseling, I was inspired that Dr. Ray, who founded Nutrimost, was basing his program on biblical principles. My aim was to be healthy in order to be a person of significance and to make a difference in people’s lives. I feel like the Energizer Bunny now after losing so much weight and I continue to do the right things to keep my body healthy. I wanted to get physically healthy, of course, but my overriding motivation was to be a vessel for the Lord’s use. FULL POST
A recent Barna Research study showed that 94% of American adults who have prayed at least one time in the last three months most often pray by themselves. Only 4% say they pray collectively with a church or with other people. According to Jim Maxim, co-author of the new book “21 Days of Breakthrough Prayer: The Power of Agreement”, this statistic is why so many churches are failing.
“Church leaders are in a difficult position in today’s culture,” says Maxim. “Sometimes it can be challenging to listen to voices who tell them to try this latest tactic or implement this new method in order to reach more people. Marketing has its place, but sometimes we neglect the one thing that can truly change everything—corporate prayer. We want to help people see the value of that again, and offer them resources that can help move them in that direction.”
Co-written with Maxim’s wife, Cathy, and Pastor Daniel Henderson, “21 Days of Breakthrough Prayer” offers daily written devotionals each day after which readers are invited to go to www.Acts413.net/21days or www.Strategicrenewal.com/21days where they can pray along with the pre-recorded prayers that correspond with that day's devotion and author. Maxim and his wife began the Acts 413 ministry a few years ago to bring pastors and church leaders together for corporate prayer in various cities in the U.S. Their prayer gatherings have featured well-known pastors and speakers such as Jim Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle, but the lasting effects of the gatherings have sparked many local pastors to begin praying for each other on a regular basis. FULL POST
When husband and wife team Ammee Pearl and Jay Huzil formed the band SWEETEVERAFTER nine years ago, their sound was distinctively hard rock, earning them a nomination for Metal Song of the Year at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. But in their third release, the new EP entitled “Adoration Project,” the music shifts to softer tones while their lyrics take recent tragic events head on.
“I wrote this song after the Boston bombing,” says Pearl. “Since that time so many other senseless acts of violence have happened — including the school shooting that just happened in Florida — that sometimes now I feel like we accept it. It has become our new normal. We have become numb to the horror and sadness of it all. So, I found myself sitting at my piano in the studio and I began to write, asking God why, and crying out to Him in deep sorrow and reflection. I believe that in the depth of our souls exists the capacity for great good and great evil. To see this choice played out on the world’s stage causes us to turn inward and examine ourselves. The song ‘Desperate for Love’ is the cry of my heart and a reflection on the brokenness of the world. It is a prayer that the God of the Universe would come and breathe new life into all these broken places.” FULL POST
After a six year absence on the national radio charts, top 40 Billboard singer and Telly Award winning artist, Jennifer Shaw, has released a new full-length recording project entitled “Nothing to Fear”, produced by Lifeway’s Producer of the Year, Paul Marino. Though Shaw’s last album spawned a Telly Award-winning music video and songs used by organizations such as disability ministry Joni and Friends, as well as Remember Nhu, a worldwide organization that fights child sex slavery, Shaw waited until now to record songs that reflect the multiple changes in her life and family.
Beyond her musical success, Shaw is a sought-after speaker and author, and a long-time advocate for children. Shaw’s parenting skills were put to the test early on when her youngest child, son Toby, was diagnosed with a severe case of Sensory Processing Disorder. Shaw chronicled her family’s journey in the critically-acclaimed book “Life Not Typical: How Special Needs Parenting Changed my Faith and my Song”, which is now used in the Resource Library of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Shaw’s involvement with children’s organizations and her multi-year partnership with Compassion International took her to orphanages around the world where she learned that children over the age of 3 are rarely adopted, and their chances were even lower if they had medical issues. Armed with that knowledge, the Shaws realized they couldn’t help every child, but they could help somebody. So in the past 18 months, Shaw along with her husband and their three biological children have adopted three Chinese children with medical issues, ages 7 to 11. FULL POST
A recent Pew Research Study discovered that one of the main reasons religious “nones” – people who do not identify with any religious group – left the church or faith in which they were raised was that there are “too many Christians doing un-Christian things.” In his new book “When Good Samaritans Get Mugged: Hope and Healing for Wounded Warriors,” Pastor David Stokes addresses this issue head-on. Stokes shares practical strategies for overcoming the depression, anger, and discouragement that people deal with when they are hurt by Christians.
“I often refer to myself as a ‘church survivor,’ having been in church since I was eight-days old,” says Stokes, who currently pastors a church in Fairfax, Virginia. “My father was a pastor. My mom really didn’t enjoy being a pastor’s wife—she got hurt a lot, so I saw things like this early on. The key is to learn how to truly forgive, and to learn what that means and what it doesn’t mean. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation, because that takes all parties. And forgiveness doesn’t mean broken trust is immediately restored. I’ve forgiven many people I will probably never be able to trust again.” FULL POST
When Dr. David Butts, long-time Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, began writing his new book “Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God: A 30 Day Journey to Experience the Shalom of Jesus,” he didn’t know that the words he was writing after six months of study would soon become desperately needed in his own life. Barely one week into the writing process, Dr. Butts was diagnosed with Stage IV Mantle Cell Lymphoma, an incurable cancer. It was devastating news to his family.
“My wife, Kim, often tells people that we have not shed a single tear over cancer, but many tears over the love shown us by so many people,” says Dr. Butts. “There’s no doubt that the cancer diagnosis caused us concern, but I have to say firmly that we never lost our peace. I had been studying Scriptures on peace for over six months in preparation for the writing of my book, and those scriptures had prepared my mind and my emotions for this jarring intrusion into normal life.” FULL POST
Q: Tell us about the CD title, "Growing Light."
A: "Growing Light" is actually a line from one of the songs on the CD which says simply, "My burdens grow light.” This CD is ultimately about freedom -- freedom that comes through living the circumstances of life, and learning how to be freed from the things that entangle us, like Hebrews 12:1 calls us to do. Sometimes it's a process. I think the term sanctification applies, as slowly, gradually, we learn to "grow light" from letting go of those things that hold us back from being all we are meant to be on this earth. (Ephesians 2:10). And this project tells a story -- my story -- about the process of letting go of things, relationships, habits or whatever, that pull us away from what we are created to be. It was a very personal project to record. It is actually very emotional for me to listen to some of these songs because it reveals to me how God has been working through every situation to teach me about who He is and how He wants me to live. FULL POST
Dr. Deb Waterbury will launch a new live call-in talk show, “Doing Life with Dr. Deb,” this December on KGMS Radio in Tucson and KNXN in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Dr. Waterbury was host of a teaching radio show three years ago, but she says this new show will be much more interactive.
“I have been counseling individuals and couples for many years on a variety of issues,” says Waterbury. “This show will touch on a multitude of topics, but ultimately we want it to be helpful and informative, not only to the people who call in with questions, but also to the people listening to the answers we offer.”
Doug Martin, President and CEO of Good News Broadcasting, says he reached out to Dr. Waterbury because of her local popularity.
"We were looking for someone to host a talk show on KGMS in Tucson and KNXN in Sierra Vista,” says Martin. “We wanted to do something new that would really engage our audience and expand our reach. Dr. Waterbury came to my mind since I have heard rave reviews from friends who have attended her women's Bible studies telling me she is the best teacher they had ever heard. We know that the majority of our audience is women and they are looking for practical ways to apply Biblical truth to the challenges they face in marriage, raising children, family relationships, and career. We are very excited about our launch in December and believe that this show will be something that will impact the communities we serve and beyond." FULL POST
Author, speaker and television host, Shannon Perry, garnered the Bronze Medal in the Christian Living category from the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest for her third book, “Stand: Staying Balanced with Answers for Real Teen Life.” The Readers’ Favorite awards honor books in over 140 genres, with each genre judged separately. Past award winners and participants include New York Times bestsellers J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors such as movie star Jim Carrey and actor Henry Winkler.
Perry wrote “Stand: Staying Balanced with Answers for Real Teen Life” after meeting with ten teen and tween girls in her home for over two months. The book delves into several difficult issues such as date rape, gender identity, bullying, suicide, cutting, drugs, and pre-marital sex, just to name a few. “Stand” also serves as an informational resource for Perry’s mother/teen daughter conference entitled In Her Shoes. Perry holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Counseling, and is a Certified Instructor in Parenting Classes and Crisis Counseling. FULL POST
Dr. Rick Forbus has been selected to serve as the next President and CEO of First Priority of America, a Christian non-profit organization that presently resources over 40,000 middle and high school students in 849 clubs across America. Forbus and his team are preparing to be in 1000 schools by the fall of 2018.
For the past eleven years, Dr. Forbus was the CEO of Trove, Inc. an Atlanta-based executive coaching and professional training firm. He will remain a Senior Partner for Trove, Inc., but will direct his energy and skills to grow First Priority of America.
“First Priority of America (FPoA) exists to share the hope of Christ with every student in America,” says Forbus. “We believe that America’s youth culture is facing a major spiritual problem that requires a great spiritual movement. All statistics today indicate that teenagers are the number one influence on the lives of their peers. Our strategy is designed to unite the body of Christ by networking churches, parents, and business/community leaders to support, train and resource Christian teenagers to influence their school peers with the Gospel. FPoA believes that the good news of the Gospel of Christ is the solution to the hopelessness facing today’s teenagers.” FULL POST