Posts Tagged ‘faith’

GTA Author’s Work on Hope is Two Books in One

Greater Toronto Area author Danielle Strickland has put together a combination of teaching (or her term, theory) and anecdotes (her term, stories) to offer both hope and a guide to how to find it. Using the flip book concept, readers can choose which part to read first, or can combine the two, devising their own reading plan. Unlike other flip books, there aren’t two covers as distinct as booksellers have seen with works by John Hagee or Stan Campbell, but the concept evidences itself as soon as readers pick up a copy.

Danielle is known in the greater Toronto area most recently for her work as teaching pastor at The Meeting House, a detail omitted from the biography printed, and known to people across Canada and the United States for her social activism and conference speaking, all of which stem from her Salvation Army roots.

Adapted from the publisher blurb:

Part guidebook and part storytelling, The Other Side of Hope by GTA author Danielle Strickland is a uniquely designed flip-book with two entry points to the message of finding hope in a desperately harsh world. One part of the book focuses on theory and biblical philosophy; flip the book over to the other part and read a collection of stories about people from around the world who overcame impossible situations, showing that nothing is impossible through Christ. You choose where to start. 256 page paperback from Thomas Nelson.

from material gathered from and the publisher; a review copy was not supplied.

Ontario Author’s Compelling Case for Christianity

The book we’re highlighting today is special to me because I’ve known the author, Clarke Dixon for a decade, and had read the material when it first appeared as part of his blog, now called Thinking Through Scripture. Clarke was a pastor in western Ontario, then Ottawa, and most recently Cobourg, Ontario.

Beautiful and Believable: The Reason for My Hope is especially directed towards those who might be sitting on the fence regarding Christianity, or doubting its core claims, or having specific objections.

From the introduction:

The picture of the diving board on the cover was taken by one of my sons where we vacation. My sons have taken the plunge from this board many times. Me, not so much. I can understand reticence. However, despite my caution, there are good reasons to dive in from this board. The water is deep. There are no sharks. Jumping in can be great fun. Or so I am told. I tend to be a skeptical person.

There are many reasons people share for being skeptical of the claims of Christianity. In this short book I would like to introduce you to some reasons that we can lay aside our doubts and fears and take the plunge into a life of faith. It is beautiful. It is believable. And it can be great fun.

This book is presented in two parts. The first part gives reasons to believe in God and trust in Jesus based on the beauty of Christianity. The water is refreshing on a hot summer day. Jumping in is a beautiful experience. Christianity, when expressed well, leads to greater beauty in one’s life, and indeed the world.

The second part gives reasons to believe in God and trust in Jesus despite the warnings of the people who say it is foolish to do so. According to the evidence, the water is deep, there are no sharks. Faith is not a blind leap, but a reasonable step.

If you are skeptical, I understand. However, I invite you to discover how Christianity is both beautiful and believable. I invite you to join me on the diving board, maybe we might even take a step . . .

The chapters are short — this is a great title to give to a guy, since some men have trouble staying on track while reading — and Beautiful and Believable is printed in a very clear, readable font.

Booksellers in Canada and the U.S. can order through Ingram, using ISBN 9798836457112 and while this is a short(er) discount product, the MSRP has been set generously low for the 142 page paperback. I’d encourage you to consider having this in stock.

Ontario Author to Parents: Kids Won’t Automatically ‘Catch’ Your Faith

Just take them to Church each weekend and your kids will ‘catch’ it, right? In a sense, that may have been more true in previous generations than it is today. But many parents are finding they singularly can’t take anyone spiritually beyond where they are themselves without help.

Some good input for parents comes from Ontario’s Natalie Frisk in her new book, Raising Disciples: How to Make Faith Matter to our Kids (Herald Press). After her undergrad work at Redeemer University in Ancaster (Hamilton), she completed her Master’s degree at the same city’s McMaster Divinity School.

In a recent interview with Redeemer’s Resound magazine, the story unfolds as to how the book came to be:

Throughout her time as a youth pastor, Frisk would get a lot of questions from parents about having their kids follow Jesus. “I started to keep track of that with no real plan for what to do with it at the time,” she says.

It wasn’t until later, when an editor from a publishing company asked to meet with her, that she realized she had some great material for her book.

“It is the shared wisdom of so many people who have been part of my spiritual community,” she said. “It’s kind of crowdsourced from people who are rockstar parents. There was a lot of community involvement. I just got to write it down.”

Today she is a curriculum developer for The Meeting House family of churches and that curriculum is being adopted by churches all over the world. (She’s also currently Interim Lead Pastor of the church’s Brantford site, one of 20 remote locations.)

Her publisher, Herald Press summarizes the book,

Children and youth will just “catch” the faith of their parents, right?

Not necessarily. Talking with kids about Jesus no longer comes naturally to many Christian parents. In Raising Disciples, pastor Natalie Frisk helps us reconnect faith and parenting, equipping parents to model what following Jesus looks like in daily life. Filled with authenticity, flexibility, humor, and prayer, Frisk outlines how parents can make openings for their children to experience God in their daily lives.

As curriculum pastor at The Meeting House, one of the largest churches in Canada, Frisk calls parents who follow Christ to ask the big questions about the spiritual formation of children and teens. In practical and thoughtful ways, she equips parents to disciple their kids in various stages of childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Raising Disciples will awaken parents to the possibly of Jesus-centered parenting and encourage us to engage in the lost art of discipling our own kids.

Resound Magazine’s Shannon McBride continues Natalie’s story,

…[T]here are two parts to how parents can model faith to their kids: intentional practices and unintentional lived moments.

Intentional practices are things like praying with and in front of your kids and reading your Bible. “They see you doing it, so they know you value it,” she says.

Unintentional lived moments are things like modelling forgiveness to your kids. Frisk says parents should apologize to their kids when they do something wrong. “Get down to their level and ask for forgiveness. And forgive them when they apologize. That offers a glimpse of the heart of our Father God.”

9781513802589 | 216 pages, paper
Foreword by Marv Penner
available Parasource (Canada) & Spring Arbor (US)

Retailers: For your social media pages or website:


Ontario Author’s Extensive Work is a Manual for People Dealing with Trauma

In a single moment, my entire life shattered before my eyes. Everything inside of me desperately wanted to scream out in order to give release to the excruciating pain. My mind was frantically scrambling, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Staring wide-eyed at my mom and with all sincerity, I concluded with, “Everything you’ve told me about God and Heaven had better be true!”

Last week I had the privilege of meeting Linda Joy.

Although she was in the store as a customer, toward the end of our time I learned about a book she had recently completed with Essence Publishing, and then we had a whole other conversation!

Journey from Redemption to Restoration: A Firsthand Account – Detailing the Faithfulness of God is probably one of the most unusual books I have ever held in my hands.  It transcends many different writing genres, making a description here challenging. It is a faith-inspiring series of personal stories of experiences that can only be described as miraculous. Miraculous in the sense of things like healing, but also in the sense of God moving in the everyday, such as repeatedly providing much needed housing just when it was needed.

In spelling out these stories however, the book serves a definite teaching function. There are times that Linda “breaks the fourth wall” and addresses readers directly, even to the point of having places in the book where readers can write their own name and the date, making their own declaration of casting their worries and anxieties on God.

This is the end product of reading these anecdotes. Linda tells of a situation where before prayer for healing, six people first gave their testimonies to help increase her faith. In a way, that’s a meta-reference to the book itself; she now does that for her readers believing her story can raise their trust and reliance on God.

In Linda Joy’s mind, the book is an anthology; she sees its writing style as similar to the Chicken Soup for the … Soul series of titles. In so doing, the personal vignettes from her life are arranged in twelve different categories. While the individual stories are concisely presented, as I skimmed the book’s 362 pages, it was impossible to read a single narrative in isolation without having to continue to the next.

She also sees the book as “a manual for trauma.” It’s the type of book that you could read sequentially, but also find yourself referring back to individual sections. I can also see this as a helpful resource for those who provide counseling to others. 

Linda Joy has chosen to live out the rest of her life in total thanksgiving to her Heavenly Father for all He has done, carefully unwrapping, thoroughly enjoying, and readily acknowledging each new day as His gift to her. She is a personal friend and intentional follower of Jesus Christ.
– from the Publisher website for Journey From Redemption.

Journey from Redemption to Restoration is published by Essence Publishing of Belleville; 362 pages; 35.00 CDN. ISBN: 978-1-4600-0869-0

Book trailer:



Adam Hamilton – Appearing at Willow Leadership Summit

The Willow Creek Leadership Summit happens this week in Chicago and live by satellite in hundreds of locations.   This event is a catalyst for creating interest in authors and titles you may not have carried before.

One of these is Adam Hamilton, author of When Christians Get it Wrong (Abingdon) and senior pastor of the 17,000 member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. It is the largest United Methodist congregation in the United States, measured by weekend attendance.

Publisher marketing:

When young adults talk about the problems they have with Christianity and the church, they name attitudes and behaviors: judging others, condemning people of other faiths, rejecting science, injecting politics into faith, and being anti-homosexual. Adam Hamilton tackles these issues and addresses Christians getting it right when it comes to being Christ in the world. Gain a different way of understanding the issues that keep people away from Christianity and keep Christians from living a more compelling faith. Because if we don’t start getting it right, we may lose an entire generation.

To learn more about other speakers at the Willow Summit, click here and use the pull-down menu under ‘speakers.’

NOTE:  If you’d like to watch a longer version of this interview, click here.  It runs about 10 minutes.   If you’d like to include a dynamic book trailer for this in your store’s YouTube playlist, preview it here.

TO LEARN MORE:  Check out my piece on Adam Hamilton at Thinking Out Loud.

Some Seeds Fell on Good Ground

Last night and this morning I was lamenting the fact that many of the people I know are simply not readers or are no longer readers.   I said to my wife that perhaps some of the erosion of book sales that we’ve been blaming on Am*z*n is really due to people that just aren’t reading books at all anymore.

It’s been a rather down week.

But then, one of the three people baptized in this morning’s church service was a guy who has been a regular customer.   As a store, perhaps we played only a 0.5% in this guy’s spiritual nurture, but it was good to think for a minute that we have sold this man some books and study aids which perhaps have helped solidify his faith and deepen his understanding.

It was the encouragement I needed.

The service was also generally encouraging, especially inasmuch as the place was packed.   People can lament the decline in North American church attendance or the rate at which people are falling away from faith.   That’s okay, I know what I saw:  The church was packed, with people standing at the back.

It’s the encouragement we all need.

Tomorrow is Monday.   Back at it.   Stock to order.   Schedules to arrange.   Merchandise to display.   Orders to check in.  Defective product to exchange. Short-shipments to claim.   There will be disappointments and frustrations to be sure.   But right now, today, it’s all worth it.

Christian Atheist: Oxymoronic Title?

Craig Groeschel pastors one of the largest multi-site churches in the U.S.  He isn’t as well known outside The States, but that’s slowly changing.   No stranger to talking to a camera, Groeschel explains his new title, The Christian Atheist: Believing in God But Living as if He Didn’t Exist (hardcover) from Zondervan.

Video links are posted for books which are of significance to the greatest number of retail stores.   After many requests, Zondervan refuses to supply galleys, ARCs or review copies to this blog.

CNN Religion Reporters Note Rise In “Historical Jesus” Publishing

Although the back-and-forth banter between authors sometimes bypasses more Evangelical Christian bookstores, when you study the publishing industry as a whole, there is a lot of effort current being put toward a single aspect of Christian belief…

The rise of Historical Jesus, Inc.

The search for the historical Jesus is an academic field, but it’s also turned into a thriving publishing industry, the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik points out:

The appetite for historical study of the New Testament remains a publishing constant and a popular craze. Book after book – this year, ten in one month alone – appears, seeking the Truth.

That “Truth” revolves around the historical study of Jesus: Did he actually exist, what did he really say and do?

Biblical scholars such as the controversial Bart Ehrman have long tried to answer those questions, Gopnik says.

But the search for the historical Jesus has become so popular that it’s now luring non-academics like Paul Verhoeven, the director of the film Basic Instinct. Verhoeven just released a book written from a skeptic’s view of the historical Jesus entitled Jesus of Nazareth.

Verhoeven depicts Jesus as a political revolutionary, according to a press release from Seven Horses Press, the publisher of Verhoeven’s book:

Paul Verhoeven disrobes the mythical Jesus to reveal a man who is, after all, startlingly familiar to us, a man who has much in common with other great political leaders throughout history, human beings who believed that change was coming in their lifetimes.

In one of the most famous passages from the New Testament, Jesus asks his followers, “Who do you say I am?”

Two centuries later, skeptics – and the book industry – are still trying to answer.

Click the title link to follow comments on this story…

The Christian Bookstore Analogies

This is something I wrote a long time ago, and this marks the third time I’ve posted it somewhere on the internet, but I think it paints a realistic picture (or pictures) of what we do…

  • The Christian bookstore is like a supply depot in a war. And once in awhile, like David, employees find themselves on the front lines of the battle.
  • The Christian bookstore employee is like a bartender. People have issues and questions and want a place to talk and someone to listen.
  • The Christian bookstore employee is like a pharmacist. Like pharmacists in the UK, sometimes store staff are the ones to make the diagnosis and suggest something that might help.
  • The Christian bookstore is like a welcome center for people new to your community, or people seeking a faith connection for the first time. It is the gateway to the next section of their journey.
  • The Christian bookstore is a melting pot. People from a variety of denominations sharing an element of their spiritual life in one room, often at one time. The church without walls, without labels, the way God sees it.
  • Audio Rights To Major Title Sold

    It’s not every day I get to use this forum to make an announcement involving our own company, especially one of this magnitude.   Over the years, Searchlight Books has dabbled in distributing and has manufactured some music products, but never have we taken on anything like this.   The following is the official press release:

    Searchlight Books of Cobourg, Ontario is pleased to announce that it has negotiated the audio rights to what is probably the number one selling Bible reference tool of the last fifty years:  Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

    “I had always wondered why there was no companion audio;” said Paul Wilkinson, owner of Searchlight; “since the audio books market is one of the fastest growing sectors in our industry.”

    He continues, “The story of how the purchase came about is rather amazing.   I was leaving an industry event when I met a guy in the parking lot who said he was led to speak to me about something that would change the Christian publishing world.   For a very reasonable sum, I could purchase the rights to release the best selling Bible study and reference title of all time.   After some discussion, I signed the contract and gave him a cheque right on the spot.”

    The project has had a tough time getting to market; “He told me that this isn’t the first time he has negotiated this particular deal, but in the end the finished projects never got released.   He explained that he travels around to Christian product trade shows and conferences seeking out what he described as ‘a very special kind of person.’  It was a matter of being in the right place at right time, I guess.”

    Wilkinson concedes that the project is very ambitious; “I don’t know how many CDs were talking about, but I suspect it will be a few more than actual Bible itself.   I’m expecting to sell more mp3s than actual discs; but the first stage is to get the thing actually recorded.”

    Then there’s the challenge of finding someone whose voicing of the project matches the prestige of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance itself; “I’m not sure if we’ll hire a huge cast, but it will definitely be dramatic, with one voice narrating the key word, another giving the Greek or Hebrew equivalent, and another voice supplying the text references.   We might go with a ‘next generation’ cast to try to draw a younger demographic into using Bible reference materials.”

    No project release date has been set.  If things go well, Wilkinson hopes to also release audio concordances for the Young’s and Cruden’s editions, as well as a Harmonized Gospel audio designed to play on 4-channel home theater systems with all four parts spoken simultaneously.