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Now available for review: The Gospel in Hard Times
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Turn Tragedies into Triumphs
The Gospel in Hard Times points to Jesus to answer today’s hard questions
Greensboro, NC—“Why am I going through this?” “Where is God when I need him?” “Why does God allow suffering?” Hard times come to everyone in various forms, degrees and stages of life, and when they do, it’s human nature to ask why. For those in the midst of their struggles, The Gospel in Hard Times and The Gospel in Hard Times for Students (New Growth Press/August 19, 2019) from Joni and Friends offer an in-depth exploration of suffering and how God enters into the lives of those who suffer. These faith-bolstering small group resources illustrate how suffering is a catalyst that can deepen our understanding of God’s plan.
Through eight in-depth sessions, both editions of The Gospel in Hard Times point to Jesus for answers to today’s hard questions. These study guides include leader’s notes, real-life testimonies for discussion, biblical application, suggested video clips, and action plans to demonstrate how Jesus identifies with our sorrow. The Gospel in Hard Times invites readers to see that how we choose to react and manage hardship has life-altering potential. Readers will learn to address difficult questions for hard times with gospel hope and discover how it is possible to honor God through their suffering.
“Why me, God? How can such tragedies be part of your plan? Looking back on more than fifty years as a quadriplegic in a wheelchair, having endured chronic pain, as well as a battle with breast cancer, I can assure you that God isn’t afraid of our questions,” writes Joni Eareckson Tada in the book’s foreword. “In fact, he wants us to cry out—scream out to him if we must—because when we turn to God and his Word for answers, we’ll find a loving Father who promises to never let us out of his sight and who wants to turn our tragedies into triumphs.”
The Gospel in Hard Times also explores how a loving faith community—one body with many parts—can not only meet our needs but also help us walk alongside others who are afflicted, disabled and marginalized. In these small group resources, men and women as well as youth groups can learn how the church carries the burden of suffering and seek gospel answers to their questions.
“We live in a broken world, so we all suffer for all kinds of reasons—poverty, disease, disability, loss, broken relationships—the list is as long and unique as each of our circumstances,” writes Pat Verbal, one of the authors of the study guides. “We can’t really compare our hard times to others, but we can be assured that God knows all about what we are experiencing and will not leave us or forsake us.”
The Gospel in Hard Times, Study Guide with Leader’s Notes The Gospel in Hard Times for Students, Study Guide with Leader’s Notes by Joni and Friends August 19, 2019 / Retail Price: $15.99 Print ISBN (The Gospel in Hard Times) 978-1-948130-72-1 Print ISBN (The Gospel in Hard Times for Students) 978-1-948130-71-4 Religion / Christian Living / Spiritual Growth
About Joni and Friends
Joni and Friends is an organization that accelerates Christian outreach in the disability community. Founded in 1979, their mission is to communicate the gospel and equip Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disability.
The organization authors numerous books including the new releases The Gospel in Hard Times and The Gospel in Hard Times for Students (study guides about suffering in which participants are guided to look to Jesus to understand who God is in the midst of their own suffering and the suffering of others), God Made Me Unique (a children’s book helping parents and caregivers teach children that God creates every person in the image of God), and a series of minibooks providing personal insight & encouragement for tough circumstances.
Contributing authors and spokespersons for The Gospel in Hard Times:
Chonda Ralston has served as an editor and contributor for numerous Joni and Friends resources over the past decade, including the The Gospel in Hard Times and The Gospel in Hard Times for Students. She is also the author of the children’s book, God Made Me Unique.
With a journalism and nonprofit background, Chonda is passionate about sharing stories that inspire others to action on behalf of people who are vulnerable and marginalized. Chonda has served as a leader in both women’s and children’s ministries, started an inner-city youth outreach in Dallas, and helped launch an adoption support ministry. She currently resides in Arkansas with her teenage son.
Christen Morrow-Ara has served with Young Life’s Capernaum outreach since her college years as a volunteer and full-time on staff for 13 years. She has been involved in developing the Capernaum ministry in Fresno, California, throughout Latin America, and most recently served as Capernaum Coordinator for the Southwestern Division of the United States. While living in Lima, Peru, Christen co-founded Kingdom Table, a comprehensive community rehabilitation ministry in shanty towns located throughout the country.
Christen has a graduate degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Global Leadership and is a leader, speaker and an advocate who has been privileged to be shaped by her friends with disabilities since childhood, and she’s passionate about sharing those friends with the church and the world! Christen and her Peruvian husband have two children and live in Clovis, California.