Monday, January 20, 2020

The Bachelor: Peter: Week 3 reveals the fakers

I would say there is something about Mondays and not being able to get my act together to start The Bachelor on time, but that's life every day of the week.

It just is.

So, I'm starting 15 minutes later than I intended. I'll be caught up in no time if I zoom through all the ridiculousness of the recap of the champagne from last week.

The next day, Hannah Ann is distraught over being called a champagne stealer. Alayah figures Peter is so exhausted from dealing with it for two days. I know I am.

Victoria P. is ready for her one-on-one date. We didn't see when her date card arrived.

Peter is going to show him around his hometown, but first she has to look the part. He takes her to the western wear store. he and his friends like to line dance, so he gives her lessons in the store.


I'm too old for this ooey gooeyness from her.

He takes her to the local honky tonk. A group is already there line dancing to a band. They join in. They make out in front of everyone.

Back at the mansion... blah, blah, blah. Kelsey takes Hannah Ann off to talk. Kelsey doesn't think she's a bully. She is not going to tolerate such an accusation. Kelsey does not think that calling Hannah Ann horrible things constitutes bullying. Kelsey says she doesn't even really like champagne. Hannah Ann is bawling about being put in this position.



The other women are wondering why all this is still going on.

The rest of Victoria P.'s date takes place in an airplane hangar. Victoria talks about why she is such a positive person and a caregiver. Of course, there is a sad story. Her dad died when she was really young. Her mom fell into addiction, and they were in and out of shelters a lot. She dreamed a lot of dreams, and one of her dreams was living a healthy and happy life with a family. She didn't always feel deserving of someone like Peter. She was so scared to have this conversation.

She didn't feel worthy of this. Really? You don't feel worthy of being on a reality show that's all fake. Sorry. That's just how I feel at the moment.

Peter mutters about something before giving her the rose. He claims from the bottom of his heart to have never been so inspired by someone in his life. It feels so right, even this early on. She's falling in love with him.

Back at the house a date card arrives. "Kiarra, Sarah, Tammy, Kelley, Shiann, Savannah, Sydney, Alayah... I love surprises. I hope you do too." 

There's about to be another throw down because someone things Alayah is fake. Actually, it seems more than one person thinks that. We'll come back to that later. 

The dateless women for this week... Natasha, Jasmine, and Madison. 

The next morning, Demi (you remember Demi, right) with her "henchwomen" who wakes the women by beating them with pillows and carrying on with a megaphone and siren.

The henchwomen's names are Champagne and Killer. I'm sure it's Cham-pain, actually. They are wrestlers, so... They bring outfits for the women going on the date.

There's some lingerie in the bags. Kiarra either can't read her cue cards to the camera or she's just plain out ignorant because she says, "Ling-er-ree."

Savannah, however, gets something like Amish footie pajamas. They all load up on a party bus in their various forms of sleepwear with Peter and head to a saloon. Cham-pain and Killer are after it with each other in the ring having a pillow fight. It's Demi's Extreme Pillow Fight Club.

Tammy was on the high school wrestling team, so the women better watch out. Fred Willard and Chris Harrison are there for the commentary. Fred is looking especially weak this season.

First round is Tammy vs. Kelley. Tammy is so rough she is disqualified.

Shiann beats the crap out of Savannah.

After two more preliminary rounds, Alayah beats Sydney in the final round.

It's time for the after party. Alayah wears a pageant crown as her reward for winning.

Sydney is not only bitter over not winning, though she clearly (in her mind) won. She thinks Alayah is the princess who puts on for a show.

Alayah does worry about going days without seeing Peter because she has been abandoned by so many friends and relationships. She is smiling through all of this.

Later, Alayah is back with everyone. Since she is a pageant girl, Sydney, asks if she has a job. Alayah says she has three jobs. Alayah talks about having to always to have the answers since she was a title holder for so long. She doesn't necessarily seem to be overly shady to me at the moment, but Sydney sure calls her on it.


Peter is intrigued by Kelly and sure enjoys his time with her. Something about her, maybe the Botox or collagen injections makes me think she's kind of weird.

Tammy entertains Peter too.

Sydney is a buzz kill when she gets her time with Peter. Everyone else tonight has been upbeat. Not her. She says she's the polar opposite of the people he seems to have a connection with. She says this setting makes people put on facades. She talks about some women being two different people if the camera is around. This is a downer because Peter doesn't want a fake, especially after seeing Hannah fall for someone who was there for the wrong reasons.

Peter comes back to the group with something on his mind. He said there were concerns brought up about people not being there for the wrong reasons. He doesn't want to be blindsided or fooled. Peter puts Sydney on the spot saying it was she who brought up that some people are different around the house vs. around Peter.

This is when Sydney brings up Alayah's name. She asks if anyone else feels like Sydney. There is silence from the rest of the women.

He warns everyone to just be real. Peter then walks off.

Alayah calls Sydney out on needing to saying anything. She says her night has been ruined now that Sydney brought something up. Of course, she puts on a little for the cameras. The two go after one another, and everyone else is quiet.

Alayah goes off to talk to Peter because she is confused. She gets her concern on not being blindsided, but she's wondering why she got called out. She turns on tears. Ok. Those do look fake. Peter believes her.

Alayah comes back and asks if she missed anything fun.

Peter comes back again to and out the date rose. He gives her the rose for putting him first and being honest with him.

He dismisses everyone for the night.

The next day is the day of tears. 

Alayah talks to Mykenna about the night before. Not that she's ugly without makeup, but she looks a lot different without makeup. 

The day of the rose ceremony, Peter is going to be there all day for a pool party. This is going to take the place of the cocktail party. 

He was looking forward to today, but he's not feeling his best. Some fear and doubt is creeping in.

First thing, he wants to talk to Sydney and apologizes for putting her in the situation that he did. She tells him today to really look at the inside of everyone, not the outside.

Alayah is talking to Hannah Ann and Mykenna about how no one else expressed concerns.

Kelsey also brings up the camera faces of pageant girls to Peter. She also brings up Alayah.

Shiann brings it up to Peter.

Lexi says Alayah's voice goes up 5 octaves when cameras are around. Then there's a clip where this happens.

Alayah would never go to Peter about his relationship with anyone else. She takes Sydney off to talk. Boy, Alayah works her annunciation.

Moving on, Peter thinks Madison is genuine. They talk about their date meeting his family. Again. That's all they have to talk about.

Alayah blah, blah, blahs to Hannah Ann and Mykenna some more. She then takes Peter off to talk. She had to address a few things first. She is getting on my nerves more as the episode goes on.

Peter really trusts Victoria P.'s opinion and asks her what she thinks about all of this. Victoria was Miss Louisiana and was around her for a collective three hours before. Alayah asked her to not tell producers that they knew each other before. She says Alayah was open to all opportunities after this, even if it didn't work out with Peter. Victoria's a little drama queen to me too.

Peter takes Alayah off to talk again. He hates that he has to keep bringing up this stuff with her. However, he doesn't feel 100% good about it because multiple people have brought stuff up. He wants direct, honest answers from her on some things. He says, "Maybe you've been manipulative..."


"Have you told Victoria not to mention that the two of you knew each other?"

Alayah says she didn't want them to be disqualified because they knew each other. She acts like they had more of a friendship than they did. They chat a bit more, and Peter goes off to think. Alayah cries when he leaves.

Chris Harrison arrives to tell the women that Peter has gone home. The next time they see him will be at the rose ceremony.

Mykenna is upset because some of them didn't get the time they needed.


Alayah is upset someone she trusted and was friends with turned on her. Victoria P. had to tell the truth to the man she's falling in love with.

Peter arrives.

We started the week with 19 women. Victoria F., Victoria P. and Sydney have roses.

  1. Kelsey
  2. Hannah Ann
  3. Natasha
  4. Lexi
  5. Madison
  6. Shiann (I don't care for her... or her tears and whining in the voiceovers.)
  7. Kelley
  8. Kiarra
  9. Tammy
  10. Savannah
  11. Deandra
Peter walks off before handing out any more roses. Chris Harrison asks what he is going to do, but Peter says that he doesn't know. He's debating whether or not to send Alayah home. He thought he would feel some kind of "sureness" being up there, but he's not.

Two roses sit on the table. Chris Harrison comes and plucks one of them off the table.

Mykenna. Her expression when Harrison took one of the roses off the table was best described as stricken. She was freaking in her producer segments. Like freaking about how much she had to give.

So, those going home are: Alayah, Alexa, Jasmine and Sarah. 

Alayah's voice is extremely high as she leaves. She'll always wonder if the rose taken away was for her. 

Sydney needs to go next. 

A producer asks Peter if he is ok. He doesn't feel good sending "her" home. He doesn't know if he wants her to leave. The producer asks why he did it in the first place. He says he's not going to be over it anytime soon. 

In the previews, there's actually some juicy tidbits. Victoria F. dated the singer from next week's private concert. Talk about awkward... We haven't seen the last of Alayah either. 


Sunday, January 19, 2020

I'll Fly Away


I find it a little odd that the kids are so into "I'll Fly Away."
That statement would surprise you based on getting started, but it's true.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Reviewer copies available for Rob Flood's With These Words

For review copy and interview information, contact:
Audra Jennings - audra@newgrowthpress.com - 903-874-8363

 



About the book

Every couple knows they need to talk with each other. Every couple knows they need to pay attention to how they can communicate better.

This practical marriage resource by pastor and author Rob Flood not only explores why couples should grow in communication, but it addresses the “how” of communication.

With These Words offers in-depth, theologically rich tools that will also help flourish relationships outside of your marriage—your relationship with your kids, your friendships, and your coworkers.

In this Scripture-based marriage book, you will learn that God is for you and on your side as you press toward helpful, biblical communication. In the face of many emotions and obstacles, there is a clear purpose and a clear method for words.

But in the midst of this shift toward communication and biblical change, Flood shares how you can retain your unique personality, remaining as God made you while honoring him with your words.

About the author

Rob Flood, MAR serves as a Community and Care Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, PA. Prior to pastoral ministry, Rob served as a writer at FamilyLife, a division of Cru.

He and his wife, Gina, have six children and live in West Chester, PA.

Learn more at https://robfloodauthor.home.blog/.

What others are saying

“Sadly, the kinds of words that often come naturally to us as we navigate our relationship with the most important, most precious person in our lives can be careless, hurtful, and alienating. In this book, Rob Flood applies biblical insight to unhealthy patterns of communication, offering genuine hope to couples who long for a marriage in which words are used to affirm, connect, and bless.”
~ Nancy Guthrie, Author; Bible teacher


“Your words bring life or death to your most important relationships. Healthy communication in marriage is like blood to the body – it is the life giver to every marriage.  Rob's authenticity and biblical approach to communication in marriage and life will be a fresh, life-giving transfusion for all your relationships.”
~ Dennis Rainey, CofounderFamilyLife


“In a Twitter world, most of us have become way too casual about the words we speak every day.  Words have so much power! They can build up a marriage or tear it down. This book will be a turning point for a lot of marriages. It gives us the help we need to know how to use our words wisely and carefully.”
~ Bob Lepine, Cohost, FamilyLife Today

Would you like to write a review?

By signing up to receive this book, you are agreeing to:

1. Post a review on your blog or website within 30 days of receiving the book.
2. Post your review on the New Growth Press website as well as other consumer websites (Amazon, GoodReads, etc.)
3. Share your review via your social media accounts.
4. Email your review link to audra@newgrowthpress.com so that we can share your review via our social media accounts as well. You can also submit your reviews via the link submission form.
5. Since we do keep track reviews that are and are not posted, a failure to post a review on a requested title means you may not be eligible to review future releases.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Audra Jennings at audra@newgrowthpress.com



Monday, January 13, 2020

The Bachelor: Peter: Week 2 Confirms Whining Will Get You Everywhere

I made stew today so that I would be ready to eat dinner after work and ready to start blogging when the episode started. I sure should have turned it off long before I did (well before I took some to my parents) because I have burned my tongue multiple times and will have to finish during commercial breaks.

Good intentions...

But, typical Monday. That's kind of how the rest of my day has gone too.

Now, onto our show!

Picking up where we left off last week. Peter has asked Hannah Brown if she would say if he asked her back to the house. He can't believe she just thought he wanted to be the Bachelor instead of asking him to try again. Peter points out that Hannah said no to him, and he never said no to her.

She is ugly crying and doesn't know what to do.

Meanwhile, all the girls are growing bored making notes on their sordid dirty stories they are supposed to share. They are all wondering if he and Hannah are off somewhere.

Peter and Hannah are boring me already. After some canoodling, he decides he can't do this with Hannah. Yet, when he walks away, he thinks maybe he made a bad decision.


Peter finally gathers all the women and asks them downstairs to talk. He said the date card was accurate. This is awkward. He says that after talking to Hannah he is not in the right head space to enjoy this. He feels horrible, and it's not fair to them, but he's ending the date now. They will meet again at the after-party part of the date. He loved her and he's not all over her yet.

Natasha makes a snide comment pointing out Hannah will not leave. She's been there every day that she (Natasha) has seen Peter. Peter says that is a fair point.

The women continue to share their disgruntled thoughts as they gather later and wait for Peter. When he arrives he says he wants to put it behind them, but you better be for sure that's not the last we hear about it tonight.

In fact, he talks to Alexa about it when she asks how he is doing.

Natasha is ticked, and Peter can tell it. She tells him that she's upset. He claims that he likes Natasha's directness.

I agree with Kelsey (?) in she is ready for all the talk about Hannah to end.

Sydney brings the Hannah conversation with Peter around to racial profiling. I'm a little fuzzy on retelling how that happened because I was reading a Facebook comment. However, if you watch, you know those one-on-one conversations jump subjects in weird ways.

Actually, that may have been Payton earlier. I think it was Payton that he has some serious makeout time with. Scratch that. It was Mykenna. They aren't putting a lot of name captions on, and I don't know all the blondes yet.


Anyway, when it's rose time, the date rose goes to Sydney.

The next night, the women are waiting for Peter to arrive at the cocktail party before the rose ceremony. Natasha still has a burr under her saddle about yesterday. 

Peter addresses what he knows everyone has talked about. He says it has still been a good week. He apologizes to those who didn't have a date this week, toasts the group and prepares for the speed dating portion of the evening.

First up, he talks with Lexi who did not have a date. He gives her a toy car sort of like the one she arrived in, after he fakes that he didn't remember her arrival.

Kelsey wants to share a bottle of champagne with him he didn't get to share the first night. She was going to make her move when Mykenna snatched him. "She had time yesterday! That's not fair!" Mykenna gets that and accepts that, but said she wasn't being disrespectful, but wanted to do her thing early. "That's disrespect because I had the least time out of everybody the first night." Guess Kelsey had a stopwatch. She calls Mykenna a snake. She doesn't like snakes. They are her least favorite animal.

What must Kelsey think when Madison who has gotten the most time of all has her time with Peter? He has a a surprise for her. It's a gift-wrapped framed picture of her and his family at the vow renewal.

Meanwhile, inside, someone (I just don't know her name) fixes Kelsey's make-up before she finally gets her time with him. OH, snap! Someone else finds the bottle and opens it with Peter. It's Hannah Ann. Kelsey hears it. The women she is sitting with her hear the bottle. They try to tell her it probably wasn't her bottle. She starts to cry, then goes to check. She interrupts, then walks away crying after saying, "Excuse me."

Kelsey goes into full meltdown mode and headed upstairs. Peter heads upstairs to find out what happens. He knocks on the door, but Kelsey won't talk to him.


Tammy explains to Hannah Ann what the deal was. She got this bottle for her birthday and had been holding onto it for a special occasion. Kelsey comes out and explodes on Hannah Ann about it. Peter takes Kelsey off to talk where they find the bottle of champagne that Hannah Ann had intended. They decide to drink from the bottle. When Kelsey takes a sip, the champagne explodes out of the bottle and all over her face. Probably because they knocked it over on the ground when Kelsey knocked the bucket over with her butt.


Kelsey gets all up in Hannah's face. Hannah had planned on champagne too, and they were just set up in two different places. Hannah Ann really was innocent in the matter. It was a mix up. Kelsey is psycho.

Chris Harrison arrives just in time to tell us all it's time for roses. 

To recap... Kelley, Madison and Sydney have date roses. Peter gives the typical spiel about his future wife being in the room. Snooze.

  1. Mykenna
  2. Victoria P.
  3. Natasha
  4. Jasmine
  5. Sarah
  6. Lexi
  7. Hannah Ann (She wasn't sure where she stood and if Peter believed it was a legit mix-up.)
  8. Alexa
  9. Tammy
  10. Alayah
  11. Deandra
  12. Victoria F.
  13. Shiann
  14. Kierra
  15. Savannah
  16. Kesley (Who is a hot mess the whole time.
Going home... Lauren, Courtney and Payton. 

It's a new day in the house, but the talk is all about the night before. A date card arrives to save all of us from more talk of champagne.

"Alexa, Mykenna, Deandra, Lexi, Victoria F., Kelsey, Hannah Ann... Time to let your personality shine. - Peter"

So, the producers worked it out to give us more champagne drama. They board a bus for Hollywood and head to Revolve for shopping. Carson Cresley, Janice Dickinson (the first supermodel who I don't know from Eve, but some women do) and the brand officer for Revolve are there. The women are going to be in the Revolve fashion show. The winner will receive the whole line of Revolve clothing.

The women head out to pick their outfits to wear. Hannah Ann is obsessed with a hat. 

Victoria F. has trouble because she isn't comfortable in her own skin and acts like a fish out of water. She has a meltdown. Kelsey comes to check on her. 

Mykenna is in her element. She's the too, too special one I won't be able to stand. 

It's show time and Victoria F. is being dramatic and having a drink.

Peter does his runway walk before having a seat by the judges. 

First up, Natasha with the attitude. Mykenna with a wink. They think Kelsey needed a belt. Alexa in Daisy Dukes... Lexi... Hannah Ann comes out in a wedding dress and veil. Victroia F. Struts it in her shorts. 

Round two... Kelsey comes out in sexi pajamas with a bottle of champagne. 

Victoria whines over Hannah Ann's confidence. But it's fake. She comes out for round two in lingerie and a leather coat. She gestures Peter up for a kiss.

Two stood out to the panel. Hannah Ann and Victoria. 

Now Victoria feels noticed. 

There's one more round. The final walk-off. The same dress in mirror images. Hannah Ann smacks Victoria with the bottom of her dress and does a better pose. Hannah Ann wins and Victoria skulks off whining that she's done. So. Much. Drama. it's all an act. "I'm never good enough," she cries to Kelsey. "I'm so over it."

More whining about the day is sure to come up during the evening portion of the date. Hannah Ann is feeling good about the day, but nervous about the night with Kelsey after last night. 

Victoria is pouty when she should have been happy while Peter complimented her on her walk. She isn't sure if this is good for her mental health. They are all mental, but... She is not taking advantage of her time. He walks her off for some "privacy," but of course the cameras zoom in and they have microphones on. He tells her she stands out from the other women there. 

Mykenna talks about how this was a dream date. Hannah Ann thinks it was like a dream too. Yet, last night was a nightmare. She will never look at champagne the same again. 

Kelsey and Peter have champagne part two. She feels like she got her validation. Hannah Ann thinks she's a bully though. (She kind of is, but Hannah Ann is playing pitiful.)

Hannah Ann gets her Peter time. She says she was up all last night crying. She tells her what Kelsey did to her, calling her names and crushing her spirit. That's not ok with Peter. He knows Hannah Ann has a beautiful heart and isn't going to let her get bullied. He'll kiss her instead. "I really like you," he says.

Kelsey is glowing. Tonight made everything she went through last night worth it. Until he gives the date rose to Victoria. 

Whining gets you everywhere.

Peter asks to speak to Kelsey before he leaves. He shares everything Hannah Ann told him. Kelsey says Hannah knows what she did. She claims Hannah Ann is playing the victim card. They both know they don't like each other. Kelsey doesn't think Hannah Ann knows what the word "bully" means. 

Peter doesn't know what to do. He doesn't know who to believe. They head back in. When she sits back with the rest of the women, Victoria asks if she is ok. "Evidently, I bully-ing people." Says it right in front of everyone. Then, walks off to bawl in the bathroom. 

The rest of the women sit in awkward silence.

Next week... Hannah Ann crying that she is not a champagne stealer. 

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Blue Skies and Rainbows


Blue Skies and Rainbows
By Gary L. Mabry

Blue skies and rainbows,
and sunbeams from heaven,
Are what I can see, 
When my Lord is living in me.

Chorus:
I know that Jesus is well and alive today.
He makes His home in my heart.
Never more will I be, all alone since He,
Promised me that we never would part.

Green grass and flowers, 
all blooming in springtime,
Are works of my master, 
I live for each day.

Chorus

Tall mountains, green valleys,
The beauty that surrounds me,
All make me aware,
Of the One who made it all.

Chorus

I’m not ashamed of 
the Gospel of Jesus,
For it is the power,
That saves us today. 

Chorus





Thursday, January 9, 2020

Has the small-town minister left his top secret life behind?

Part 1 of an Interview with Andrew Huff,
Author of A Cross to Kill

How much do you really know about the people around you? Is there someone in your life holding onto a deep, dark secret? Maybe there is someone sitting a few pews away in church that lived a life you never would have expected. Maybe your pastor is doing a little side work for the CIA. The members of Rural Grove Baptist Church would have never expected that from their new pastor, John Cross . . . if that is his real name.

In Andrew Huff’s A Cross to Kill (Kregel Publications), John Cross is a small-town pastor, bent on leading his flock to follow God’s calling. He’s not the sort of man one would expect to have a checkered past. But the truth is that the man behind the pulpit preaching to his sheep was once a wolf—an assassin for the CIA. When John decided to follow Christ, he put that work behind him, determined to pay penance for all the lives he took. However, putting away his old life isn’t as easy as he would have liked.

(Click here to access the A Cross to Kill press release and Andrew Huff’s author bio.)


Q: A Cross to Kill is your first book release. Tell us about your journey to become an author.

Storytelling is something that’s been a part of my life since an early age, though I wasn’t convinced I could actually be an author until much later in life. I would write stories every day using toys, sometimes turning those stories into drawings and, on occasion, writing ideas down. I spent my high school years telling stories through video, even helping develop narrative projects with my home church. Yet I still wasn’t motivated to sit down and attempt to write something longer than a five-minute screenplay. That changed right around the time I finished college.

I was an avid reader growing up, and after finishing my undergraduate degree, I started consuming full-length mystery and suspense novels. The problem I ran into was that many of the authors I enjoyed did not hold to the same worldview or values that I did. And whenever I found a thriller that did, I was often left wanting. So, I decided if I couldn’t find the type of book I wanted to read, then I should try to write it. It took many years of learning the craft and discovering the right story before I was able to sit down and not only start but successfully finish a full length, action-packed suspense story that I was ready to share with readers.

Q: Introduce us to your new series, and specifically A Cross to Kill. What inspired the story?

I love letting real-life events inspire fiction, and my new series is no exception. When I first started developing the story line, there were a handful of high-profile executions of journalists at the hands of terrorists overseas. What made these executions unique to this era was the fact that videos of the killings were spread across the internet. As these tragic events were taking place, I found myself wishing someone had intervened. Thus, the rescue attempt at the beginning of A Cross to Kill was born.

The other aspect of real life that inspired the story was my own experience in ministry and the reality of how unique that calling is in the life of a person. I not only spent time in local church ministry myself, but my father was also a rural church pastor during my early elementary years. I loved the idea of capturing the fish-out-of-water experience of someone who did a very different job now finding himself learning what it means to spiritually care for a group of people. I also have to admit, I’m greatly inspired by the thrills of action franchises such as Mission: Impossible, Jason Bourne, and James Bond. I want my series to take the Bible and the Church seriously while offering the same kind of jaw-dropping action those novels and films excel at.

Q: The main character, John Cross, is a small-town pastor with a top secret past that the members of his church would find hard to believe. What are some of things John left behind in his former life?

John didn’t just leave behind a past filled with poor choices and immoral behavior. Almost immediately, we get a sense that he performed actions in his role with the CIA and on behalf of his country that he is unable to forgive himself for. At a key moment in the story, we discover that John’s marksmanship was put to use by his superiors in unpleasant ways. You’ll have to read the book for all the details, but what I can say is John can’t help but evaluate his actions through a rigid view of Scripture, and as a result he’s struggling to believe God could truly forgive him.

What I find interesting is the theological question surrounding his previous life that he’s finding himself at odds with. Is the taking of a human life ever justifiable? There’s much to unpack with that question, but when we first meet John, he’s not yet taken the deep plunge into his theological training and therefore has very black-and-white opinions on complicated issues. This creates a conflict within him as he struggles to cope with the memories of his time with the CIA and strives to live under the forgiveness of God in Christ.

Q: What events led up to John finding and following Christ?

John’s conversion has already happened when A Cross to Kill begins, but later in the book we get to hear his version of it. It’s a rather unconventional story, but that’s what I like about it. The fact that his conversion happens while he’s on assignment is such a great picture of the two competing forces in his life, that of his ingrained training and his newfound commitment to Christianity.

The short version is that after performing operations of a lethal nature with the CIA for so long, John lost his sense of humanity. While tracking a target in Spain, he ends up in a cathedral during a Catholic service. Unable to understand the liturgy, he still found himself drawn to the religious symbols. Compelled to know more about the man hanging from the cross, he forgot about his target, found an English Bible at a local shop, and devoted himself to knowing more. While everyone’s story is different, John’s story is one of God reaching down with an irresistible draw to set aside an undeserving man for His great purpose.

Q: What are some of the faith struggles that John faces along the way that readers can identify with?

I know there are faith struggles John faces that readers can identify with because they are ones I struggle with even to this day! For one, John can’t seem to shake loose from past habits and hang-ups. Sometimes those habits can be used for good, but more often than not John finds himself fighting to walk in faith and love and not let his flesh take control when things go awry. Much of the Christian life is about this same battle. I am at constant odds with the desires of my flesh, and at times I have sympathized with the ancient monks who punished themselves to try to defeat their own impulses (a practice called flagellation, and one which John has adapted in his own way).

Another faith struggle that I know many readers can identify with is the difficulty of accepting God’s forgiveness for not only the sins we’ve committed in the past but the sins we will commit in the future. John struggles to believe God could forgive him for what he did while in the employ of the CIA, and that affects his ability to pass forgiveness on to others. This is something I myself have also found difficult. It’s not hard to believe God might forgive a single mistake here and there, but after failing again and again and again, it’s easy to expect a limit to God’s forgiveness. That’s when we can become trapped in the erroneous belief that faith is not enough and that we must work to retain God’s favor.


Learn more Andrew Huff and the Shepherd Suspense novels at www.andrewhuffbooks.com. He can also be found on Facebook (@huffwrites), Twitter (@andrewjohnhuff) and Instagram (@andyhuff).




Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Sign-up to review Robert J. Nash's Last Words


For review copy and interview information, contact:
Audra Jennings - audra@newgrowthpress.com - 903-874-8363

 



About the book

Jesus's words in Scripture capture who he was and what he was about. His last words on the cross, over two thousand years ago, offer gospel hope for our spiritual journeys today.
In this powerful, moving book, author Robert J. Nash explores a fresh perspective on a familiar event, guiding readers into the forgiveness, hope, comfort, and compassion of Christ's words in his final moments on earth.
While pivoting history, Jesus graciously offers encouragement for Christians today and hope for seekers looking for significance in his death. In this glimpse into the heart of Jesus, Nash helps men and women find historical truths about Jesus's love for the church in his death and resurrection.
Last Words includes a reflection section for small groups and a devotional prayer at the end of each chapter to help readers relate to God. For easy reference, men and women can find a Scripture index in the back of the book.
Come and ponder the wisdom of Christ and see for yourself a new view of the cross.

About the author

Robert J. Nash, MDiv, serves as a pastor at Sawyer Highlands Church in Southwest Michigan and is the author of Last Words: Seven Sayings from the Heart of Christ on the Cross. He is married with six kids and enjoys teaching, reading, running, and traveling with his family.

Learn more at www.robertjnash.com. He can also be found on Twitter (@RobertJNash1) and Facebook (Robert J. Nash)

What others are saying

“Since the church’s earliest days, Christians have pondered the last words the greatest Man ever spoke as a mortal. Here Rob Nash joins this ancient succession of meditation, dissecting the dying words of the divine Son. He shows us that in them is a world of profoundly personal meaning, for Jesus meant them for each of us.”
~ Jon Bloom, Author; board chair and cofounder of Desiring God Ministries 


“Robert J. Nash’s exposition of the last words of Jesus is faithfully and vividly presented, drawing from other passages of Scripture in order to show their theological implications. These gospel-saturated truths are then helpfully applied to the reader, who is encouraged not only to apply the truth personally but also to share it with others. I heartily recommend this book.”
~ Jim Newheiser, Director of the Christian Counseling Program; associate professor of Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina  


“I truly enjoyed this fresh look into the last words of Jesus. When you study them deeply, you will see what the Roman soldier who stood at the foot of the cross saw: surely, Jesus is the Son of God! This book is not just for Easter; it is for everyone to read and reread year-round to have your heart and your mind grounded in the awe of the cross. You will never partake of the Lord’s Table the same way again.”
~ Steve Leston, President of To Every Tribe