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
Hall of Fame vocalist, Larnelle Harris, was named Orchestra Kentucky’s 2017 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts and Humanities. Harris joins a distinguished list of performers and singers such as award-winning singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka, Peter Tork of the Monkees, and Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award winner, Paul Williams. Orchestra Kentucky director, Jeff Reed, said Harris was the perfect choice for the honor.
“Larnelle is most deserving of our Lifetime Achievement in the Arts and Humanities award,” says Reed, who founded Orchestra Kentucky in 2000. “He has had a major impact on gospel music worldwide, which has brought great honor to Bowling Green, his adopted hometown. So far, I have had the unique opportunity of working with Larnelle, and three different orchestras, on nine different occasions. Not only is he an incredible artist, but he is a wonderful person, whom I’m proud to call my friend.” FULL POST
For the first time in over six years, a woman will be the keynote speaker for the Faith Community Churches International (FCCI) annual conference to be held in Malawi, July 10-13. Dr. Deb Waterbury has been chosen to address delegates representing 45 nations in seven different world regions including Africa, Europe, South America, South Pacific and Middle East. Dr. Waterbury has been a long-time member of FCCI, as well as a frequent speaker at churches in Africa for the past seven years. Less than a year ago, Dr. Waterbury’s ministry, Love Everlasting Ministries, formed the “Reap What You Sew” project which offers tailoring and business training to widows and destitute women in Malawi, the second poorest country in the world.
“Malawi was largely decimated by the AIDS epidemic,” says Dr. Waterbury. “Hunger and poverty has left them not only with thousands of orphans to feed, but thousands of women left to take care of the children. These women have no skills and no way to provide for themselves and their children. This school has allowed women to learn a trade to feed their families. We already have a waiting list of nearly 100 women who want to enroll.” FULL POST
Q&A with Bill Wiese
Author of "23 Minutes in Hell" (10th Anniversary Edition)
Q: What content has been added to the 10th anniversary edition of "23 Minutes in Hell?"
A: We have added four chapters to the new edition. I have included answers to ten of the most difficult questions people ask in regard to hell, eternity and the afterlife. I also expound on my experience, giving additional Scriptures in support and sharing some feelings I sensed during the experience as well as describing a bit more about Jesus, His voice and such. I share over 30 emails including some personal encounters we have had with others in how the book has affected their lives over the past 10 years.
Q: Since your book was released, there have been church leaders and pastors who have summarily dismissed even the idea that a real hell exists. How do you respond to that claim? FULL POST
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