Books

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 4/20/14 at 9:06 AM | Tim Challies

The Bestsellers: 90 Minutes in Heaven

Book cover of 90 Minutes in Heaven

A short time ago I launched a new Sunday series called “The Bestsellers.” The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association tracks sales of Christian books, and awards the Platinum Book Award for books whose sales exceed one million, and the Diamond Book Award for sales exceeding ten million. In this series I will look at the history and impact of some of the Christian books that have sold more than a million copies—no small feat when the average Christian books sells only a few thousand. We will encounter books by a cast of characters ranging from Joshua Harris, Randy Alcorn and David Platt all the way to Joel Osteen, Bruce Wilkinson and William Young. So far we have looked at three titles that were awarded Platinum status in 2005; today we advance to 2007 and a surprise bestseller.

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper

It is not often that a book races to the top of the bestseller charts and opens up the way for a whole new genre of Christian literature. But such is the case with Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven, a book that spurred an entire genre of what I refer to as “Heaven Tourism” books. FULL POST

Posted 4/18/14 at 9:00 AM | Book Stop

Handy Bible Answers About Easter

Book cover of The Handy Bible Answer Book

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

Adapted from Jennifer R. Prince The Handy Bible Answer Book (Visible Ink Press), here are the facts behind the Easter tradition and what it means to the Orthodox Christian community.

Why is the Celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection Known as Easter?

The name Easter was derived from the name of a Saxon goddess, Eostre, who was associated with fertility and springtime. As to why the church chose the name Easter, and not say, Jesus’ Resurrection Day, is not clear. Typically Easter is celebrated with joyous music, prayer, and Liturgy.

What Were the Dates of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?

No one knows for sure. Today the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection is known as Easter. Easter does not have a fixed date. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full Moon after the spring equinox. In the early days of the church, Christian Leaders wanted to honor the death and resurrection of Jesus soon after Passover, because the Bible describes how Jesus’ death and resurrection took place following Passover. The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, so the date of Passover changes every year. To make sure the date of Jesus’ resurrection always came after Passover, the church made that changeable as well. FULL POST

Posted 4/17/14 at 11:59 AM | Book Stop

New Book 'Spoken For' Helps Women Discover God's Love and Share it With Others

Spoken For book cover

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

Seeking real love and acceptance? Authors Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke want young women to know they do not need to look any further than the God found in the pages of the Bible. Their Bible study Spoken For: Embracing Who You Are and Whose You Are (Waterbrook Multnomah) shows young ladies that God loves them and wants a relationship with them.

The authors know just how transformational God’s love can be. In the book Gunn and Bethke reveal how seeking fulfillment from boyfriends left them feeling empty, confused and hurting. Gunn shared how she was crushed after her college boyfriend and fiancé rejected her. Bethke wrote about her dating troubles as well as developing an eating disorder in college.

Both women found healing by pursuing a deeper relationship with God. Now they want others to experience the same thing. FULL POST

Posted 4/17/14 at 8:58 AM | Tim Challies |

1 comment

Missing Jesus

Book cover of Missing Jesus

Now this is a sweet little book. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I began reading Missing Jesus. The names Charles and Janet Morris were not ones I recognized immediately, though I had heard of their radio program HAVEN Today and think I may have been a guest once. What I found was a book that came like a cold cup of water on a hot day.

The book begins with the premise that sometimes we all feel like we’re missing something. We have put our faith in Christ and we are following him, attempting to live in obedience to him, and yet something still seems to be missing. We’re left wanting more. There are a thousand answers to this more; in fact, most of the Christian books that pour off the printing presses claim to have the answer. But the authors of this book say the answer is remarkably simple: We’re probably missing Jesus. What we need is to be reminded that we are caught up in a great, cosmic drama and what we need is to be reoriented to see that our small story is simply part of this much greater story. FULL POST

Posted 4/16/14 at 12:18 PM | Eddie Williams

Book Review: Heaven and Hell: Are They Real?

Book cover of Heaven & Hell: Are They Real?

Christopher Hudson does a good job of putting together a book that we can go back and forth to about the questions of Hell and Heaven.

The first thing that stands out is how accessible the book is. Anyone can pick it up and dive in to find an answer to a questions. in fact, at the back of each section there is a list of verses that refer to heaven and Hell in scripture. This makes it easy for the layperson and the non-believer to root themselves in the text.

If what I wrote above is what Hudson intended for the book, then he hit his target. My only gripe about the book is how many other works there are about it. Books on Heaven and Hell are a dime a dozen. There are many different comprehensive works on the subject, and many far more shallow works. I just fail to see how this book ads anything to what’s already out there.

Again, I think using this as a reference book to address new believers is helpful, but I couldn’t see using this as your only go to source on the subject. FULL POST

Posted 4/15/14 at 4:02 PM | Book Stop

'Prone To Love' Author Wants Christians to Break Free of Dysfunctional Relationships with God

Prone to Love by Jason Clark

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

Pastor, singer, and author Jason Clark wants Christians to know that they do not have utter desperate prayers in order to get God’s attention or affection. Instead Clark says Christians must find security in God’s love.

In Prone to Love, Clark shared how God’s love broke through his own insecurities as a Bible college graduate. Despite his education, the North Carolina pastor thought himself to be a “spiritual dwarf.” He describes God later speaking to his heart saying it was illegal for him to entertain such insecurities. “Either agree with Me or call Me a liar,” he hear God say.

Clark writes that in those words he found an invitation to “know God in a way I never had before” – as a perfect father whose love he did not have to chase after or beg for because “God is love and He is always good.” FULL POST

Posted 4/15/14 at 9:44 AM | Tim Challies

Best Commentaries on Daniel

Series Introduction: I live in a small house. I work in a small office in a small church. For those reasons and others I will never have a huge library. When I add a book I almost always remove a book, a practice that allows me to focus on quality over quantity. Over the past couple of years I have focused on building a collection of commentaries that will include only the best volumes on each book of the Bible. I know when I’m in way over my head, so before I began I collected every good resource I could find that rated and reviewed commentaries. I studied them and then began my collection on the basis of what the experts told me. Since I did all of that work, and since I continue to keep up with the project, I thought it might be helpful to share the recommendations.

My focus is on newer commentaries (at least in part because most of the classics are now freely or cheaply available) and I am offering approximately 5 recommendations for each book of the Bible, alternating between the Old Testament and the New. Today I have turned to the experts to find what they say about Daniel.

Daniel

Iain M. Duguid - Daniel (Reformed Expository Commentary). Iain Duguid has written several excellent commentaries and has provided the volume on Daniel for the Reformed Expository Commentary series. It comes highly recommended by most of the experts. Kent Hughes, himself the author of many commentaries, writes “It is rare indeed to find a technical scholar who is also a master homiletician and preacher. But these things Dr. Iain Duguid clearly is. Here, rigorous expository methodology, nuanced biblical theology, and pastoral passion combine to expound the gospel of Jesus Christ in the ravishing narrative and exotic apocalyptic of the book of Daniel.” High praise like that puts this one at the top of the list. (Amazon, Westminster Books) FULL POST

Posted 4/15/14 at 8:49 AM | Audra Jennings

Emily T. Wierenga’s New Novel Reveals How Love Conquers Loss

Abingdon Press

God has a way of piecing together His promises in ways we would never expect. In her debut novel, A Promise in Pieces (Quilts of Love series from Abingdon Press/April 15, 2014/ISBN: 9781426758850/$13.99), Emily T. Wierenga presents the story of two women who met under the worst of circumstances but were able to turn their grief into healing for those they came into contact with.

After nursing school, Clara Wilson feels the call of freedom pull her away from both her small town and the watchful eye of her strict parents. In the midst of World War II, Clara and her best friend, Eva, see the hurt in the eyes of those who have already lost loved ones in the war. Hoping to save the lives of more soldiers, the two join the Army Nurse Corps and soon find themselves in Normandy.

Once the war is over, Clara must fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish: convey his love to his young widow, Mattie, by delivering his last letter with apologies for the missed life they planned to share. Struggling with her own post-war trauma, Clara doesn’t think she is prepared to handle the grief of this broken family. After meeting Mattie and receiving a baby quilt that will never cuddle the soldier’s hoped-for child, Clara vows to honor the sacrifices that family made.

When Clara returns to her hometown, she settles into life as a midwife. She wraps each newborn in the gifted quilt and later stitches the child’s name into the cloth. As each baby is welcomed by the quilt, Clara begins to wonder whatever happened to Mattie — and if either of them will ever experience love and a family of her own. Having witnessed so much loss, Clara fears marriage and motherhood most of all. Little does Clara know what God has in store for her or the importance of the quilt in the lives of those it touches. Years later, she will have the opportunity to re-gift the special quilt, carrying even greater significance than when it was first bestowed.

“I connect with Clara, who is a very broken person,” says Wierenga. “She’s a pastor’s daughter who, like me, was disillusioned about religion and desperate to encounter God for herself. I too needed to get away from home in order to realize that God had been there the whole time. My relationship with God was restored upon returning home to care for my mum. I’ve also battled infertility and miscarriage and could relate to Clara’s fear of loss.”

Wierenga hopes in reading A Promises in Pieces that readers will find the courage to love, especially if loss and fear have been standing in their way. “God mends the most broken of hearts and places the lonely in families.”

For more information about Emily Wierenga and her books, visit her online home at www.emilywierenga.com. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

About the Author

Abingdon Press
Emily T. Wierenga

Emily T. Wierenga is a former editor, ghostwriter, freelance writer and staff journalist. She was a monthly columnist for The Christian Courier and has written for numerous Christian publications including Focus on the Family, In Touch and Today’s Christian Woman. Wierenga is the author of three previously released non-fiction titles: Save My Children: The Story of a Father's Love, Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy. Her memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I thought to Look, will release July 1, 2014. A Promise in Pieces is her first novel.

In July 2013, Wierenga wrote a letter on her blog to Kate Middleton on the postpartum body. The post went viral, receiving more than half a million views in one week, and was shared by Dove. Currently, Wierenga is a blogger for the World Help Organization.

Wierenga speaks at women’s retreats, universities, churches and conferences, about her journey with anorexia nervosa and was one of the keynote speakers at the premiere Christian eating disorders conference, Hungry for Hope 2013. She serves as an Official Ambassador for FINDINGbalance and is a Navigator with the National Eating Disorders Association.

Wierenga is wife to a math-teacher husband and mother and foster mother to four boys. The Wierengas make their home in Neerlandia, Alberta, Canada.

For more information about Emily Wierenga and her books, visit her online home at www.emilywierenga.com. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Posted 4/14/14 at 12:19 PM | Book Stop

Murder Simply Brewed - A Mystery Novel about Faith in the Midst of Uncertainty

(Photo: Zondervan)

(This article was originally posted in The Book Room - The Christian Post's new section for book enthusiasts and authors.)

God is sovereign even when surrounding circumstances are beyond your control. This lesson is evident in Vannetta Chapman’s latest book Murder Simply Brewed (Zondervan). Amber Wright and Hannah Troyer find their faith tested when there is an unexpected death at the small shopping center where they both work. The death sets off a series of unexplained events. Normally efficient and organized, Amber struggles to control the atmosphere the Amish Village shops. Hannah, who first discovered the body, is overcome with anxiety.

Every Christian faces uncontrollable circumstances; Chapman’s novel shows how to deal with those trials. We see Hannah, a young Amish woman, reading the scriptures and praying with her bishop. Hannah's prayers are answered with an unusual friendship with her "Englischer" boss Amber who encourages her to embrace new responsibilities and use her gift of perception. FULL POST

Posted 4/14/14 at 9:37 AM | Tim Challies

The Bestsellers: Your Best Life Now

Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen

A short time ago I launched a new Sunday series called “The Bestsellers.” The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association tracks sales of Christian books, and awards the Platinum Book Award for books whose sales exceed one million, and the Diamond Book Award for sales exceeding ten million. In this series I will look at the history and impact of some of the Christian books that have sold more than a million copies—no small feat when the average Christian books sells only a few thousand. We will encounter books by a cast of characters ranging from Joshua Harris, Randy Alcorn and David Platt all the way to Joel Osteen, Bruce Wilkinson and William Young. Today we look at a book that introduced many of us to one of this generation’s most popular preachers. The book is titled Your Best Life Now.

Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen was born on March 5, 1963, the son of John and Dolores (known as “Dodie”) Osteen. John founded Lakewood Church in Houston Texas on May 10, 1959, and pastored the church until his death in 1999. While he began his career in ministry as a Baptist, he later experienced something he believed was the baptism of the Holy Spirit and founded Lakewood as a haven for charismatic Baptists. By the 1980s John and Dodie had become well-known among their fellow charismatics. The church had over 5,000 in attendance and their services were broadcast across the world. From a young age Joel was involved in this work, laboring behind the scenes in support of the family ministry. FULL POST

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