Author Jim Maxim does not doubt the existence of hell. He saw it up close. At only eighteen years of age, drugs and alcohol had nearly destroyed him. His young life was spiraling out of control at a rapid pace. But one December night would change his life forever when a near-fatal car crash shattered Jim's face and head. Laying in critical condition in the hospital, Jim was confronted by the personal demons that plagued his life and then found himself face-to-face with Jesus.
Releasing July 5 from Whitaker House publishers, Face to Face with God is the true story of a life restored and redeemed from addiction, self-destruction and rebellion. "I wrote this book for people like the old me who may feel like 'lost causes,'" Maxim said. "I'm living proof God answers prayer, and that absolutely no one is beyond His reach."
Now a successful Philadelphia businessman, husband, father and grandfather, Maxim has dedicated his life to sharing the love and power of Jesus he found at the lowest point in his life. For years he has worked one-on-one with those who can relate to his story, actively volunteering for a variety of inner-city ministries with his wife, Cathy. He and Cathy also founded of Acts413, a ministry dedicated to encouraging Christian pastors and leaders through prayer and discreet ministerial support to those that serve as shepherds to God's people. FULL POST
Conference speaker and recording artist Shannon Perry has released her first book entitled Grace in High Heels: Real-life Reflections of Humor, Hope & Healing. Based in part on material from her original women's conference "If the Shoe Fits," the book includes true stories from Perry's life, reflecting on various issues such as being single, motherhood, marriage, finding purpose and many other topics that are divided into four sections: "Goody Two Shoes," "Is there a Hole in your Sole?," "Lacing up the Tongue," "Walk a Mile in my Shoes." "The ladies in my conferences kept asking me when I was going to write a book," says Perry. "I always enjoyed Barbara Johnson's style of writing, mixing humor with scriptural truths. That's what I try to do in my conferences when I share some of the crazy things that have happened in my life, and I hope those stories translated to the printed page. More than anything, I wanted to make sure the book was biblically-accurate along with being funny and engaging." FULL POST
As graduation day approaches for high school and college students alike, parents must deal with the "empty nest syndrome" that accompanies a child leaving home. Empty Nest Syndrome has been recognized by the psychological community as feelings of depression, sadness, and/or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes. Licensed family counselor and author Jay Fitter says the devastation to parents is very real, but can be dealt with by implementing a few proactive measures.
In his book "Respect your Children: A Practical Guide to Effective Parenting," Fitter lays out some specific techniques that help parents deal with the empty nest transition. "Try changing your perspective," says Fitter. "Look at your empty nest as a new opportunity or the next chapter of your life. See this as an opportunity to try something you've always been interested in learning, but too busy to start."
Fitter says parents who pursue their own lives apart from their children are more equipped to cope once the children leave. Having close friendships, prioritizing alone time with their mate, and getting involved in community groups are a few simple and effective ways to expand relationships beyond children. Fitter says that many parents make the mistake of living vicariously through their kids to escape the pressures of their own lives or unresolved personal issues. FULL POST
The debut national recording, Beautiful Design, from worship leader/songwriter Jason Bare releases January 18, 2011, but the CD is already gaining major airplay thanks to the CD’s bonus Christmas track. The song, “For the First Time,” co-written by Bare and former Plus One member Nathan Walters, has been added to KLOVE stations, the American Family Radio network as well as numerous other stations across the U.S. Additionally, the song is being played at all 1700 Chick-Fil-A restaurants as well as over 100 Carmax locations.
“We’ve been getting great response from radio programmers,” says Bare. “’For the First Time’ came about as I wondered what it must have been like to have been in Mary and Joseph's shoes and be the first eyes to ever behold God Himself in the form of a child. It was life-changing moment for them and for all mankind.”
Beautiful Design is produced by Loren Barton (Felicia Barton, Coko) and Walters, who produced the Christmas song as well as one other song on the 11-track CD. Bare grew up a pastor’s kid and attended Lee University where he traveled with the renowned Lee Singers. He has been a worship leader for over fourteen years and a sought-after clinician for various worship conferences including the annual Throne Zone conferences. FULL POST
Singer/songwriter/worship leader Jennifer Shaw will be featured at the 2nd Annual Worship 4:24 Conference to be held at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio on January 28-29, 2011 (www.worship424.com). Co-sponsored by the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio and Cedarville University Department of Music and Worship, this conference is designed to equip worship leaders, musicians, band, praise team, and tech crews to be effective leaders.
Shaw will share the stage for the opening concert with Lenny LeBlanc, who is serving as the keynote speaker for the event. LeBlanc rode the crest of success as half of the popular duo LeBlanc & Carr. To this day their smash hit song "Falling" remains in the record books as one of the most popular singles ever, attaining the rare feat of being named a BMI Millionare song, indicating one million radio plays, and was named one of Billboard Magazine’s all-time favorite Top 40 hits. After his conversion to Christianity, LeBlanc entered the contemporary Christian music realm where he released seven solo projects, achieving more than a dozen top 10 radio singles. His involvement with the Maranatha Praise Band and as worship leader on Integrity Hosanna's 'Pure Heart' brought him further recognition, as well as writing popular songs such as the Dove Award-winning “Above All” worship standard. FULL POST
"Girls Night Out,” a women's event originating in Canada, has expanded their events intothe United Kingdom and New Zealand. The first event was held in the U.K.in September and plans are to do another twenty eventsin 2011. In the United States, Girls Night Out” is hosting eventsin eight different states in the coming months. “GirlsNight Out” has surpassed over 200 events worldwide since its inception fiveyears ago.
In addition to their overseas expansion, the company istouring “Couples Night Out” in Canada. Like its counterpart, “CouplesNight Out” is held in community host churches of all sizes. Hostchurches are not charged any fees or promotional expenses, making it virtuallyfree to any church willing to open its doors totheir community. And at only a $5.00 per ticket, these events are alsoextremely affordable to budget-minded consumers.
"All these events are great evenings of fun, faithand fellowship for everyone,” says Mary Messina, Program Manager of “GirlsNight Out” in the US. “Our events are not bible studies orweekend retreats and we are not trying to compete with big conventions. We have made these events scalable for local churches to get involved. We also know that 40-60% of people attending our events come fromchurches other than the host church and nearly 10% are unchurched, making thesegreat events for outreach.” FULL POST
In less than five years, a women’s event in Canada has quietly become one of the most successful Christian tours in the country. With over 170 dates and tens of thousands of attendees under their belt, “Girls Night Out” (GNO) believes they can make an even bigger impact in the United States as cash-strapped churches look for new ways to continue outreach efforts in their communities. Part of their appeal is that “Girls Night Out” events do not charge host churches any fees or promotional expenses, making it completely free to any church willing to open its doors. And at only a $5.00 per ticket, it is also extremely affordable to budget-minded consumers.
“‘Girls Night Out’ events offer something that will help local churches reach out to their communities,” says Anne Bruce, Strategic Relationship Partner with FaithLife Financial and co-sponsor of the GNO events. “These events can fill a void for congregations while engaging women with humor and inspiring them with hope. We have found that nearly 60% of our attendees come from churches or denominations other than the host church and that nearly 10% of women who attend are un-churched. These evenings are all about faith, fun and fellowship and we have seen enormous outreach opportunities emerge.” FULL POST
(Nashville, TN) --The highly-touted "family" TV movie, Secrets of the Mountain, captured the number one spot in its time slot with over 7.4 million viewers on Friday April 16. A nationwide "Vote With Your Remote" grass roots campaign helped Secrets trump Ghost Whisperer (4.4 million viewers), and is now driving robust Secrets DVD sales, demonstrating the huge audience appeal for quality family entertainment.
"A clear message has been sent," said Secrets executive producer, Ben Simon. "American families want more high-quality programming that they can enjoy together. We've heard their voice, and more great family movies are on the way."
Secrets of the Mountain is the first in a series of movies that the world's biggest retailer, Walmart, and the world's largest consumer products maker, Procter & Gamble (P&G), have partnered to produce. FULL POST
April is National Autism Awareness Month. Sensory Integration Dysfunction is closely associated with autism in that many autistic children have some form of SID. To date, the medical community is unclear of the exact connection. SID is also often misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD. The following is an editorial from singer/speaker Jennifer Shaw:
I was the mother of two beautiful girls and was thrilled to add a son to our family. After a difficult and dangerous pregnancy, we were especially thankful that our baby boy, who we named Toby, was born healthy. He seemed to be a very unhappy baby compared to our girls, but we hoped he would grow out of it.
The first indication that something was out of the ordinary was when we could not get him to eat any food. I nursed him without a problem, but when we introduced baby foods, it was a daily struggle that we lost. We also noticed that he never babbled or made any sounds and he rarely smiled. Eventually it was clear that he was very speech-delayed, but because he had suffered from repeat ear infections which caused clinical deafness during his first year, we attributed a lot of his mood to pain and hoped that when his hearing improved, his speech would come along. After surgery on his ears, his hearing did get better and his infections went away, but he still did not make any sounds. FULL POST
Discovery House Music will release the fourth solo recording from singer/songwriter Shannon Wexelberg on March 16, 2010. The CD entitled I Have A Song is an enhanced CD that features printable PDF files of each of the eleven songs, making it easier for church bands and choir directors to incorporate the music into their worship services. Additionally, the "Day of Discovery" television show will be filming a special with Wexelberg at the end of April to be broadcast at a later date. The "Day of Discovery" broadcast is now in its 41st season and currently airs every Sunday morning on the ION television network, satellite tv, and dozens of independent stations in the U.S. and Canada.
Wexelberg has written or performed several top 10 national radio singles in the course of her career. The first single from the new CD will be the title cut which Wexelberg says was inspired by an obscure prophet in the Bible.
"The title song was actually inspired by the third chapter of the book of Habakkuk," says Shannon. "I have an idea of how Habakkuk felt in those verses. Less than a year ago, our lives were in utter turmoil --from jobs, to where we were going to live, to the direction of our future. In the natural I had every reason to be sad, disappointed, frustrated and discouraged." FULL POST