Sunday, May 31, 2020

I've Got Peace Like a River

The still shot in this video says so much about these kids. 


I’ve Got Peace Like a River

I’ve got peace like a river (2x)
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.
I’ve got peace like a river (2x)
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.

I’ve got love like the ocean (2x)
I’ve got love like the ocean in my soul.
I’ve got love like the ocean (2x)
I’ve got love like the ocean in my soul.

I’ve got joy like a fountain (2x)
I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.
I’ve got joy like a fountain (2x)
I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.

I’ve got peace like a river.
I’ve got love like the ocean.
I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.
I’ve got peace like a river.
I’ve got love like the ocean.

I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.


Friday, May 29, 2020

From Measuring Up to Pouring Out


From Measuring Up to Pouring Out
Shannon Popkin leads women away from
a life of comparison toward a mind-set of serving

I wish I were tall like her. If only my kids got along the way her kids do. Why does she always seem to have it all together? Women compare themselves constantly. On social media, in their neighborhood, at church, at work, even in the school drop-off lane, they glance sideways and ask, “How do I measure up?” Behind all this comparison is an enemy gaining tactical advantage.

In her new Bible study, Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World (Kregel Publications/May 19, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446214/$16.99), author and speaker Shannon Popkin invites women to leave measure-up comparison behind and connect with those around them by choosing Jesus’s me-free way of living. It’s a real chance to break free from the shackles of comparison.


Popkin confesses her own struggle with comparison literally goes as far back as she can remember and suspects her readers can relate. Her earliest memory is of her four-year-old self holding her songbook upside down in church. When a woman from the pew behind reached forward to turn the book right side up, Popkin felt embarrassed and exposed—clearly the watching world now knew she could not read. It may seem silly in retrospect, but Popkin admits the same could be said of many of her current struggles. “Why do I worry about being exposed as a less-than-perfect mom? Or a middle-aged woman who struggles with her weight? Or a Christian who still sins? My heart, since childhood, has been bent on perfectionism, pride, and measuring up—which has not led to great freedom and joy. Instead, it’s led to a great fear of what people think and a great dread of being found lacking.”

Comparison follows women through every stage of life, leading either to a sense of superiority (pride, perfectionism, arrogance, or judgmental criticism) or inferiority (insecurity, shame, jealousy, and self-consciousness). Satan loves to perpetuate comparison-driven bondage and isolation, but Jesus wants to set women free.

Equating our lives to a measuring cup, Popkin invites readers to live by the spout, not by the lines. “Picture yourself holding a glass measuring cup with red lines on the side. Mingled in your cup are all the things which set you apart—your gifts, aptitudes, and talents. Your personality is mixed in, along with your family background. This cup holds your life’s potential, measured out by God. Satan wants you to focus on the lines—holding your cup next to this person’s and that one’s. He says that to make something of yourself, you have to measure up—then he shames you when you don’t,” she explains. “Jesus, however, turns your attention to your measuring cup’s spout, saying that you were designed, not to measure up, but to pour yourself out. And he shows you how it’s done. He lived by the spout, emptying himself of status and pouring his life out on the cross, giving his life as a ransom for many.”

Suited for both individual and group study, Comparison Girl is a six-week Bible study that guides readers to examine conversations Jesus had and parables he shared with disciples, tax collectors, and Pharisees, who also were comparing. Each chapter is divided into lessons, allowing women on a time budget to read a Bible passage, engage in a complete train of thought related to the topic, and then make the content personal—all in one sitting. Rather than feeling preached to, women will engage with Popkin’s informal teaching tone as if they’re meeting with a trusted friend.

Readers of Popkin’s best-selling release Control Girl may find themselves in Comparison Girl as well. “I wrestle daily with comparison, and I’ve noticed that my struggles with control and comparison are related. As I look to the side, measuring myself against others, I’m often laser-focused on things that are out of my control,” she admits. Yet, there is hope. “You are different from other people by God’s intentional design. Anything in your measuring cup is a gift from Him. As you tip your cup and pour into others, the measuring stops. The more you pour, the more God fills your cup with freedom, confidence, and joy.”


Advance Praise

“If you struggle with measuring up, if you’re worried about what people think, if you dread someone seeing you in a less-than-ideal situation, then you’re human. We all struggle with comparing ourselves to others in some way. That means we all need Shannon’s honest and wise words on the pages of this book. I know I did, and I’m betting you do too!”
~ Jill Savage, author of No More Perfect Moms, No More Perfect Kids, and No More Perfect Marriages

“Shannon Popkin has done it again! She has masterfully written another must-read to speak to the struggles of our soul. Like a dear friend she comes, sits with us, and soothes us with the truth of how purposefully we were created, how intentionally we have been gifted, and how infinitely we are loved. Inviting us to look up, listen to the tender truths of God, and learn to silence the lies of the enemy against us, Shannon shows us how to finally live freely in a culture of continual comparison. For every woman who has an area of her life where she wonders if she is truly enough—here is your answer.”
~ Erica Wiggenhorn, author of Unexplainable Jesus: Rediscovering the God You Thought You Knew



About the Author

Shannon Popkin is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who loves pointing others to the truth of God’s Word. She combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She regularly speaks at Christian women’s events and retreats, encouraging women of all ages to put their hope in God.

Popkin is also a regular contributor to the True Woman blog, her writing and speaking has been featured on FamilyLife Today, Proverbs 31 and Revive Our Hearts. She is the author of several books, including Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, Influence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), and Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World.

Popkin and her husband, Ken, have been married for more than twenty years and live in West Michigan. They have three children—one in high school and two in college.




Read part 1 of an interview with Shannon on Comparison Girl.
Then, click here for part 2.




Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sign-up now for Terry Brennan's Persian Betrayal



If you read Ishmael Covenant earlier this year, I'm sure you are looking forward to Persian Betrayal! This is the second book in the Empires of Armageddon series by award-winning author, Terry Brennan, available from Kregel.

If you didn't read book 1, that's ok, you can still join the tour. I'll do my best to get you Ishmael Covenant as long as you are willing to post on both books.

The dates will be August 6-20.

When I send out all the details ahead of the tour, I'll have a Q&A you can use, we'll do a book giveaway and will provide you with all the tour materials you will need. I'll also have a form for you to submit your tour links.
 

About the Book

How much can Brian Mullaney risk to serve God and save lives--without losing his own?

DSS Regional Security Officer Brian Mullaney has been tasked with an incredibly dangerous mission. When a synagogue in Jerusalem is destroyed by an explosion, burying the second key prophecy Mullaney is hunting--and the deadly box that protects it--the answers he desperately needs are also crushed. How can he discover the meaning of the centuries-old prophecy now? Why are he and the ambassador he's assigned to protect being targeted? And is there any way this lone man can thwart a nuclear arms race between three ascendant empires of the past?

An otherworldly servant of evil known only as the Turk is maneuvering all three nations into an intricate dance designed to undermine prophecy about the end times. And he won't let Mullaney or anyone else get in his way.

Wounded in a bloody shoot-out, pressured by his wife to come home, and mourning the death of his best friend, Mullaney doesn't need a powerful enemy. Who is he to save the Ishmael Covenant, the treaty promising peace in the Middle East? Despite angelic intervention, Mullaney wants nothing to do with his final assignment. But without him, evil will win the ultimate struggle . . . and humankind will have no hope left.

About the Author

Terry Brennan is the award-winning author of The Sacred Cipher, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, and The Alepp Code, the three books in The Jerusalem Prophecies series. His new book, Ishmael Covenant is the first in his new series, Empires of Armageddon.

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Terry Brennan accumulated during his 22-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA) Mercury won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series of editorials published while Brennan was the newspaper’s Editor.

Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Brennan became an Editor and Publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York and in 1988 moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

In 1996, Brennan transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending 12 years as VP Operations for The Bowery Mission and six years as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless, NYC nonprofits that serve homeless people.

Terry and his wife, Andrea, live in Danbury, CT.

More on Brennan can be found at www.terrybrennanauthor.com.

Facebook (Terry Brennan)
Twitter (@terrbrennan1)



Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Regency History 101 with Erica Vetsch


 


Regency fiction is popular among many readers, but for those new to the genre or unfamiliar with British history, we have author Erica Vetsch here to answer our questions. Vetsch’s new release, The Lost Lieutenant (Kregel Publications) is the first in her Serendipity & Secrets series set in Regency England. She shares what drew her to the time period and why she is excited for her new series.

In this interview, Vetsch also shares how the characters’ faith plays into the story and more of what is to come in the series.

Q: Up until now, many of your books have been historical releases but set in the American West. Why the move to England for the new series?



Q: For those who may not be familiar with the term, what is Regency fiction? Why do you think this genre is so popular with readers?

Regency fiction covers the time period of 1811–1820 in England, though books set between 1800 and 1830 are often classed as Regency. There’s always a bit of literary license about writing fiction, isn’t there?

The Regency period occurred at the end of the Georgian era in England, when King George III (monarch during the American Revolution) was deemed unfit to rule. Some historians believe he suffered from a blood disease called porphyria, which has cognitive side effects. Some believe it was schizophrenia or other mental illness. In any case, he was considered unable to fulfill his role as monarch, and in his stead his son, the Prince of Wales, became the Prince Regent. The near decade of his rule as substitute monarch is called the Regency.

Q: What kind of research goes into a series like this? Have you been able to go on a trip to see some of the sites you have written about?

There is a tremendous amount of research, especially when you’ve not written Regency much before. Readers of Regency fiction pay close attention to historical details, and they want you to get it right. As a historian myself, I want to get it right. I now possess a sizable research library of Regency history books. Some are encyclopedic in nature, covering the entire era, and some are quite specific, such as Georgian seaside villages or coaches of the Regency era.

As to traveling, I had tickets booked for a trip to England for May 2020, but due to COVID-19, those plans are in abeyance. Hopefully when the world is healed and no longer reeling from the virus, I will be able to rebook the trip and take in all the amazing places I long to see. Until then, I shall rely on the research of others through their books and the assistance of Google Maps satellite view!

Q: Tell us a little bit about your new book, The Lost Lieutenant.

The Lost Lieutenant is a combination of an arranged-marriage and a fish-out-of-water story. The hero, Evan, continually finds himself having his life dictated by others and wondering if God has made a huge mistake. Evan is a soldier, a sharpshooter in the British Army. The son of a parson, he knows more about battlefield tactics than how to conduct himself in London society. And yet, when he is conferred an earldom and a bride to go along with the title, he is forced to accept his new role and make it his own.

While he’s struggling with his new responsibilities, his bride, Diana, is hiding secrets from her husband, her father, and the man who could destroy everything. If the truth gets out, it could cost a baby his life. What she doesn’t realize is that her husband is keeping secrets of his own, secrets that could cost him his freedom.

The Lost Lieutenant is a story of falling in love while learning to trust. Trust God. Trust your heart. Trust your spouse.

 Q: What role does faith play in the lives of your main characters, Diana and Evan?

Evan has a background and foundation of faith to draw on, being the son of a preacher. He has a good relationship with his father that helps him in his relationship with his heavenly Father. While Evan doesn’t always know what God is doing, he finds it quite easy to ask through prayer for God to help him make sense of things. He has enough faith to not fear asking and questioning when things aren’t going according to Evan’s plans.

Diana has some training, through a childhood teacher, about faith being more than a weekly ritual, about needing to have a personal relationship with God through His Son. She prays, but because her father is so domineering and mean, she wonders if God could possibly be good to her. She has very clear lines about what is right and wrong, but she also fears that if she crosses God, He will seek retribution.

Through seeing a godly man, her new husband, Diana is able to gain confidence that she is both loved and lovable, that a man can be kind and therefore demonstrate that God can be kind as well.

Q: Without giving away too much, what can readers expect as the Serendipity & Secrets series continues?

Big things! There are two more stories in the Serendipity & Secrets series coming this summer and in early 2021, The Gentleman Spy and The Indebted Earl. And as a bonus, there’s a spin-off novella this Christmas in the Joy to the World novella collection. My story is “The Wonders of His Love,” and I think readers will enjoy visiting the characters in this series again.

The Gentleman Spy is the story of Marcus, Duke of Haverly, and a crusading bluestocking named Charlotte. Readers first meet Marcus, who becomes a good friend of Evan, in The Lost Lieutenant. Marcus marries Charlotte and thinks he can relegate her to the margins of his life so he doesn’t have to change too much, but Charlotte is not one to be pushed aside and ignored.

The Indebted Earl is Sophie Haverly’s story of loss and newfound love. When Sophie’s fiancĂ© is killed in the war, his best friend and commanding officer returns to England to repay a debt. Charles carries the weight of guilt, feeling himself to be responsible for his friend’s death. If he can fulfill his promise to look after Sophie, maybe he can pay part of his debt.

“The Wonders of His Love” in the Joy to the World collection is the story of transformation and spreading wings for widow Cilla Haverly. With no real place now in society, she wonders if her future is as bleak as it feels. Enter Hamish, a Scottish painter brought in for the holidays to paint the portraits of the new Duke and Duchess of Haverly. But Hamish creates more than just likenesses in oil on canvas. He also creates a longing in Cilla that she can’t deny.

Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor), Twitter (@EricaVetsch), and Instagram (@EricaVetsch).

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Once You Find It, There’s No Escaping the Truth


Once You Find It,
There’s No Escaping the Truth
Small-town pastor John Cross can’t seem to keep himself out of danger

All journalist Christine Lewis wants is the truth. There’s always more to the story, and she can’t rest until she uncovers it. All pastor John Cross wants is to avoid the truth. Given his prior life, he thinks hiding the truth can protect those he cares about. A journalist out for the truth and a pastor avoiding it sounds somewhat backward, but that’s where Christine and John find themselves in Andrew Huff’s Cross Shadow (Kregel Publications/May 26, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446450/$15.99), the second installment of the Shepherd Suspense series.

John and Christine met in the pages of A Cross to Kill when John, a former CIA agent turned evangelical pastor, was called back in on a mission to rescue Christine, who had been captured and was set for execution in Jordan. After John disappeared as quickly as he appeared, she never expected to find her rescuer caring for the small community of believers he ministers to in Virginia.

After a series of events brings them closer, they decide to give a long-distance relationship a try. However, as new believers, Christine and John find it more challenging than they expected, in more ways than one. Christine is busy with the demand for her talents from top news agencies in New York City, and John has his responsibilities in Virginia.  Neither has any time left for each other.

“While both are struggling to separate their identity from each other, the biggest challenge in their relationship comes from the lack of communication, both in the sense of the distance between them and also a lack of trust,” Huff shares. “John struggles to reveal more of who he really is for fear of driving Christine away while Christine struggles with planning her life around John for fear his plans might not align with hers. The tension in their relationship stems from their hesitancy to be truthful with one another when simply sharing their feelings would bring many of these struggles to light.”

When Christine hears that her stepbrother has been arrested for murder in Texas, she vows to get to the bottom of the crime and prove his innocence. Christine wants to investigate on her own, but when John arrives, they team up again to discover the truth about the crime. Untangling a web of intrigue, the couple finds themselves in the center of another dangerous situation and in trouble far deeper than they expected. A chain of events reveals a bigger conspiracy than either could have imagined involving a robotics defense contractor, a private military company, and an assassination plot.


With an assassin on the loose, a trusted colleague acting as a double agent, and unreliable artificial intelligence connected to mercenaries who have Cross on their hit list, these two may not get out of the Lone Star State alive. In the face of danger, will John’s former instincts kick in? Will he turn back to his old ways?

“The truth about the Central Intelligence Agency is that you never truly leave the Central Intelligence Agency,” Huff adds. “So, John keeps getting pulled back in, even when he says he does not want to. The only problem is that he was really good at what he did. And not just the assassination part. Which begs the question: Should he go back? Was he only running from guilt when he decided to leave? The battle waging in John from the beginning is the tension between who he is now and who he was trained to be. His focus has been singularly placed on the act of killing. But what he’s suddenly faced with as he pursues a relationship with Christine and continues to serve as the pastor of his church is that the instincts drilled into him carry other moral prices as well. The more the situation in Dallas unravels, the more out of control John begins to feel with his own mental and spiritual status.”

In Cross Shadow, readers also examine John’s choice to accept the pastorate at his church despite being young in his faith and untrained for the ministry. From the outside looking in, he does not seem like the best candidate to truly lead the church toward growth. Those were real questions that not only were present when Huff started writing the series but have also come up from readers after reading A Cross to Kill. The author cannot wait for readers to see how the story continues for John Cross in Cross Shadow. Following Cross Shadow, the Shepherd Suspense trilogy will come to a close with the release of Right Cross in 2021.

Advance Praise

“In the tradition of Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, Cross Shadow is a strong, taut thriller that retains a Christian sense of optimism and hope while acknowledging the existence of great evil in the world. Huff raises the stakes on every page all the way through the white-knuckle finale—like watching an action movie through the written word.”

~ Kyle Mann, editor in chief of The Babylon Bee and author of How to Be a Perfect Christian

“Andrew Huff’s writing is as fast-paced and tight as his enticing story lines. Masterfully balancing a well-developed plot with a cast of characters you feel like you’ve known forever, Huff creates one page-turner after another in his Shepherd Suspense trilogy. He may be a new author, but his talented word-spinning is anything but novice and will linger long in the reader’s subconscious.”

~ Betsy St. Amant Haddox, author of All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes



About the Author

Andrew Huff spent ten years in local church ministry as a youth pastor and creative arts pastor before pursuing God’s calling into creative storytelling and media production as the product director at Igniter Media, a church media company (ignitermedia.com).

He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014, 2017) and also won the best screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia. A Cross to Kill and Cross Shadow in the Shepherd Suspense series are his first releases.

Huff holds a bachelor of science in religion degree from Liberty University and a master of arts in Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary. He resides in Plano, Texas, with his beautiful wife, Jae, and their two boys.

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


Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Plague song

When school starts back in the fall, a couple of these kids will be juniors in high school! Back left (Peyton) and front right (Nate). You should see them now!


The Plague Song

To the tune of “This Old Man”

Then God sent, plague number one
Turned the Nile into blood. 

Chorus:
All the people in Egypt were feeling pretty low;
Moses told Pharaoh “let them go!”

Then God sent, plague number two
Jumping frogs all over you. (Chorus)

Then God sent, plague number three
Swarms of gnats from head to knee. (Chorus)

Then God sent, plague number four
Filthy flies, need we say more? (Chorus)

Then God sent, plague number five
All the livestock up and died. (Chorus)

Then God sent, plague number six
Boils and sores to make you feel sick. (Chorus)

Then God sent, plague number seven
Hail and lightening down from heaven. (Chorus)

Then God sent, plague number eight
Locust came and they sure ate. (Chorus)

Then God sent, plague number nine
Total darkness all the time. (Chorus)

Then God sent, plague number ten
Pharaoh’s son died so he gave in.

All the people in Egypt were feeling pretty low; 
Finally Pharaoh let them go.


Friday, May 22, 2020

Sign-up now to review The Gentleman Spy!




For those of you who read The Lost Lieutenant, I know you are ready for this tour featuring The Gentleman Spy.

If you weren't on the first tour, why not? Here's your second chance to get in on Erica Vetsch's new Serendipity & Secrets series from Kregel! If you need the first book in the series, I can probably arrange that for you. ;)

The tour dates will be July 28-August 18. I'll be sending out emails about who made the tour around June 12.

When I send out all the details ahead of the tour, I'll have a Q&A you can use, we'll be doing a giveaway (more details to come) and will provide you with all the tour materials you will need. I'll also have a form for you to submit your tour links.
 

About the Book

He only wanted a duchess for a day--but she's determined to make it a marriage for life

When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she's meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life--as a secret agent for the Crown.

But his bride has other ideas. She's determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society--the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she'd remain in the background as he ordered.

Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?

About the Author


Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling author and ACFW Carol Award winner, and has been a Romantic Times top pick for her previous books. She loves Jesus, history, romance, and watching sports. This transplanted Kansan now makes her home in Rochester, Minnesota.

Learn more about Erica at
www.ericavetsch.com or find her on Facebook.