#Throwback Thursday: What Good is Jesus?

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As we reminisce on the over forty years that God has blessed Ambassador International to remain in business, we are highlighting a different #backlistbook each week in a series called #ThrowbackThursday.

When children are sold into slavery—what good is Jesus? When wretched disease takes a loved one’s life—what good is Jesus? When marriages crumble and jobs disappoint—what good is Jesus? When I don’t agree with someone’s lifestyle—what good is Jesus?

Marv Nelson tackled these questions (and more!) in his book What Good is Jesus? published by Ambassador International on March 8, 2016.

Marv Nelson has been an Alliance pastor for over seventeen years and serves as an adjunct professor at Crown College. He has a Masters of Divinity degree and is currently working toward his doctorate. Marv has written several books, including The Anchored Life: Nautical Principles that Help Believers Grow and Unleash: Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders.

If you’re not living with your head under a rock, you’ve probably looked around and observed that many people seem to know of Jesus, but few actually know Him. The real entity of Jesus has been tainted by how His followers have portrayed His image in their lives. The institution of religion has overtaken the beauty of relationship, and many Christians are walking away with a bitter taste. Deconstruction, anyone?

Faced with declining opportunities, a war-torn globe, and seemingly-insurmountable crises, many millennials are asking the sincere question: what good is Jesus? Pastor Marv Nelson doesn’t avoid tough questions; instead, he tackles issues head-on with love and wisdom. Examining sexuality, politics, racial tensions, suffering, and more, Nelson addresses these problems through a relational rather than religious approach and shows us just what good Jesus really is.

 
 

You can add What Good is Jesus?  to your Goodreads HERE and you can learn more and find purchase links HERE. This book is currently available in paperback and ebook.

 

For the month of June, you can grab the What Good is Jesus? ebook for 0.99!

Father’s Day Gifts Dad Will Love!

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Father’s Day is just around the corner and we have the gifts for any dad in your life!

 

Fathers are a blessing that never ceases in our lives, and at Ambassador International, we are grateful for fathers everywhere! We’ve handpicked our most popular series for men this Father’s Day in hopes that we may bless more fathers, leaders, shepherds, and coaches with these books.

Our “Called To” series by John Crosby presents daily devotionals for shepherds, leaders, and coaches. These books make for perfect gifts for any man in your life looking for a devotional that touches upon the specific struggles he sees as a shepherd, leader, or coach.

From Christian schools gifting Called to Coach to congregations giving pastors Called to Shepherd, to business leaders receiving Called to Lead, these books remain relevant and practical to men striving to serve the Lord.

While they are a three-part series, readers are welcome to read them in any order or to read just one or two. However, we don’t think you’ll want to!

#Throwback Thursday: By God’s Design: Overcoming Same Sex Attractions: A True Story

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As we reminisce on the over forty years that God has blessed Ambassador International to remain in business, we are highlighting a different #backlistbook each week in a series called #ThrowbackThursday.

What happens when a man finds himself sunk in a downward spiral of risky homosexual acts and he knows no way to escape? And when he is about to lose his prestigious and profitable career, along with his marriage, and even his life?

The answer would have been certain tragedy for Alan Medinger if not for a praying wife and the mercy of God. Restored and inspired, he went on to establish a ministry for same-sex-attracted people (Regeneration of Baltimore, Maryland), where he and his wife, Willa, influenced hundreds to turn from homosexuality and seek holiness. Through their work with Exodus International, they influenced thousands more. When quarrels and dissension affected Exodus in Alan’s last years, he predicted its demise and explained how ministries would continue to succeed without it.

Through Alan and Willa Medinger’s story in By God’s Design, you will learn the truth about homosexuality, its causes, its healing, and how the church can help.

“For anyone who cares for the LGBT community, this is a must read. Alan’s story of transformation and his decades of ministry to the sexually broken gives him unique authority to share the power available in the gospel of Jesus. This book is an important addition to the current conversation about homosexuality: Jesus doesn’t just accept and forgive people, He transforms them.”
Ron Citlau, Senior Pastor of Calvary Church, IL, Author of Compassion without Compromise: How to Love our Gay Friends and Keep the Truth and Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted: Biblical Direction for Friends, Family Members, and Those Struggling With Homosexuality

 

You can add By God’s Design  to your Goodreads HERE and you can learn more and find purchase links HERE. This book is currently available in paperback and ebook.

 

For the month of June, you can grab the By God’s Design ebook for 3.99 {a savings of 50%!}.

Carol Award Semi-Finalist: Addy of the Door Islands!

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The Carol Award Semi-Finalists were announced this week, and we’re thrilled that Addy of the Door Islands by Judy DuCharme has been listed as a semi-finalist in the young adult category!

Addy of the Door Islands is the story of Addy, a little girl who arrived on an orphan train with her sister, desperate for a home, love, and acceptance. Lainey and her husband Clifford find themselves on the verge of parenthood—both adoptive and biological—and find that their adventures on Door Island are only beginning.

Learn more about this long-awaited sequel to Lainey of the Door Islands HERE and add it to your Goodreads HERE.

Selah Award Winner!

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We are thrilled to announce that When Legends Rise by Daphne Self was awarded first place in Speculative Fiction in the Selah Awards! While we are always proud of our authors, winning first place in the prestigious Selah Awards shows the hard work and dedication put into a book.

Congratulations, Daphne!

#Throwback Thursday: Love Into Light: The Gospel, the Homosexual and the Church

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As we reminisce on the over forty years that God has blessed Ambassador International to remain in business, we are highlighting a different #backlistbook each week in a series called #ThrowbackThursday.

Peter Hubbard is Teaching Pastor at North Hills Community Church in Taylors, SC, where he has communicated the truth of the Scriptures since the church began in 1992. He has earned two masters degrees and is currently completing a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral counseling at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

In his book Love Into Light: The Gospel, The Homosexual and The Church, published by Ambassador International on June 24, 2013, Hubbard seeks to answer the question, “How can Christians live in a culture that promotes the gay lifestyle, yet worship in a culture that never talks about it—other than possibly to condemn it?”

Homosexuality is one of the most controversial moral issues of our day, yet, sadly the church has often been afraid to talk about homosexuality. Many Christians feel confused and divided between the call to love and the call for truth. And many who struggle with unwanted same-sex attraction feel alone and alienated by the church.

Hubbard admits in his book, “The first time I counseled a man struggling with same-sex attraction (SSA), I felt awkward [but] the more I listened, the more I learned, the more I realized—we are not different. We are the same. Our specific battles and sins may vary, but our hearts are the same. And our daily need for the grace of Jesus is the same.”

The time is ripe, now more than ever, for God’s people to think and speak about same-sex attraction in a way that is both biblical and beneficial. We must reject our fears and misunderstandings and see ourselves together in need of the grace of Jesus. Love Into Light is designed to move the church toward that end.

Written from the heart of a pastor with a love for people and a sensitivity to our culture, Love Into Light is your next step toward becoming more faithfully and helpfully engaged with people in your families, in your church, and in your neighborhood.

 

You can add Love Into Light  to your Goodreads HERE and you can learn more and find purchase links HERE. This book is currently available in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and ebook.

 

For the month of June, you can grab the Love Into Light ebook for 4.99 {a savings of 50%!}. Don’t miss out on this powerfully insightful book.

Memorial Day Reading List

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Ambassador International Remembers

 

Source: iStock

On Memorial Day, America honors the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Military. Below you will find books written by military spouses and by military members who have faithfully served America.

The Home Team

The Home Team by Dave Pratt drops readers into the minds of a special forces team with a dangerous mission. Readers will love this book written by retired Air Force veteran, Dave Pratt.

 

The Warrior’s Bride by Carrie Daws

The Warrior’s Bride is a book written by military wives Kathy Barnett and Carrie Daws. In this book, Barnett and Dawes give biblical strategies for helping other military wives thrive based off their own personal experiences and what God has spoken to their hearts.

 

A New Home for Allie: Carrie Daws, Joanie Bruce, Joanie Bruce: 9781620207994: Amazon.com: Books

A New Home for Allie by Carrie Daws, illustrated by Joanie Bruce

A New Home for Allie is a heart-warming children’s story written by military wife Carrie Daws and illustrated by Joanie Bruce. Allie’s story mimics what it’s like for military family kids to have to move around as Allie has to move from Kenya to Somalia. This is the perfect choice for any military family!

 

Repurposed Faith by Rosie WilliamsRepurposed Faith: Breathing New Life Into Your Quiet Time: Williams, Rosie: 9781620205587: Amazon.com: Books

Repurposed Faith is an inspirational book written by military spouse Rosie Williams. Repurposed Faith is designed to reignite the fire in your heart for Christ and his Word. If you are looking to reignite this fire once again, then this is the book for you!

 

 

 

 

For Christ and Country: A Biography of Brigadier General Gustavus Loomis: Lawson, Kenneth E.: 9781935507475: Amazon.com: BooksFor Christ and Country: A Biography of Brigadier General Gustavus Loomis by Kenneth E. Lawson

For Christ and Country is a biography about General Gustavus Loomis written by army chaplain Kenneth E. Lawson. Lawson writes of General Loomis’ unwavering faith and heart to serve his country. General Loomis was a man who was eager to speak about Jesus to anyone who would listen!

 

 

 

A Biblicist View of Law and Gospel
by Lester L. StephensonA Biblicist View of Law and Gospel: Lester L. Stephenson: 9781620201565: Amazon.com: Books

A Biblicist View of Law and Gospel is written by retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Lester L. Stephenson. Stephenson argues for an in-depth interpretation of the law and stresses the importance of the Old Testament while also arguing for how the testaments work together.

 

 

 

 

Armorbearers: The Revolutionary Choices of Servant-Leadership: Watford, Gerald: 9781620202999: Amazon.com: BooksArmorbearers: The Revolutionary View of Servant Leadership by Gerald Watford

Armorbearers, using scripture as its guide, dives deep into what it means to be a servant leader. Armorbearers author Gerald Watford knows exactly what it means to be a leader; he’s been a Marine, pastor, State Trooper, and teacher. Read as Watford encourages his readers to be servant-hearted leaders!

 

 

 

Miracle Man: A Bullet That Ignited a Purpose-Filled Life
by Brett Parks

Miracle Man is written by Brett Parks about his own real-life miracle. In 2012, Navy airman Brett Parks was shot as he ran to aid to someone being mugged. Read about Parks’ near-death experience and how God showed up during his time of need.

 

 

Persuaded: The Story of Nicodemus, A Novel - Kindle edition by Harder, David. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.Final Grains of Sand - Kindle edition by Harder, David. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Persuaded and Final Grains of Sand by David Harder

Persuaded and Final Grains of Sand are both written by David Harder who served in the United States. Navy. Persuaded is a biblical fiction novel following the life of Nicodemus and his encounters with Yeshua. Read along as Nicodemus realizes the joy and power in the Good News!

Final Grains of Sand is a fiction book about how a man named Jim leaves behind his legacy after getting a cancer diagnosis at 60 years old. This novel will help you realize the value of your life and how much your words and actions can touch the hearts of others.

 

Evocatus by Burke SpeedEvocatus: A Novel: Speed, Burke: 9781620207307: Amazon.com: Books

Evocatus is a fiction book written by Burke Speed, a retired Colonel and command pilot who served in the United States Air Force. Speed writes about the story of Jamie, a young veteran who is called again to a new type of duty and faced with the call to fight again.

 

Every day and especially on Memorial Day, we are so grateful for all those who have served America so well!

#Throwback Thursday: Pastor & Deacons: Servants Working Together

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As we reminisce on the over forty years that God has blessed Ambassador International to remain in business, we are highlighting a different #backlistbook each week in a series called #ThrowbackThursday.

Carl Herbster has served for over 20 years as pastor of Tri-City Baptist Church in Independence, Missouri. The church has started several other churches, operates a Christian school, and a Christian camp (Southland Christian Camp), and is heavily committed to foreign missions.

Ken Howerton is a certified program manager with IBM. He has served as chairman of deacons in two churches. His wisdom and stability and his commitment to the Lord’s work, have made him a gracious servant and wise counselor.

As fellow servants in the same church, Carl Herbster and Kenneth Howerton collaborated in the writing of Pastor & Deacons: Servants Working Together to answer questions such as:

  • How should a church be organized?
  • What functions do the pastors, deacons, and congregation serve?
  • Who qualifies for the offices of pastor and deacon?
  • How should a church manage its finances?
  • How does a congregation biblically address problems?

Pastor and Deacons by Carl Herbster and Ken HowertonPublished by Ambassador International on September 1, 2006, the “on-the-job,” real-life experiences of the authors make this a particularly practical book and no less relevant to churches today.

Pastor & Deacons is a practical exposition and application of biblical principles of church organization and leadership, and is a must-read for pastors, pastoral staffs, deacons, and any other church leadership. Don’t trust us? Trust the word of evangelist Tom Farrell who endorsed this book saying, “Pastor & Deacons is a must-read for all those in church leadership . . . . This book is biblical, practical and helpful. It is chock-full of “how to” ideas that will strengthen relationships and promote spiritual unity in the local church. The principles on church discipline and the chapter on “Dealing with Difficulties” are worth the price of the book. Pastor, get this book and you will refer to it often.”

You can add Pastors & Deacons  to your Goodreads HERE and you can learn more and find purchase links HERE. This book is currently available in paperback and ebook.

For a limited time, you can grab the Pastors & Deacons ebook for .99; however, if you have a father in your life who works in church leadership, this book would also make a wonderful Father’s Day present! He will love and appreciate it for years to come!

A Pastor’s Struggle with Mental Health: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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FINDING THE INSIDE SMILE AGAIN

Dear Pastor Jeremy.

It’s been a while since I reached out to you with a word of encouragement. Though you do not seek it from man, I acknowledge your hard work as you seek to glorify God through your ministry. It is not easy. You are called to study the divine scriptures and to walk the road with others as they navigate their way through sorrow, pain, and trials. It is my prayer that this letter will empower you through the mighty working of the Holy Spirit to minister His truth regarding a pressing need all too common and all too overlooked.

Everyone is so busy these days trying to stay afloat in stormy seas of family relationship, personal difficulties, work challenges, and financial matters. I too have found that everything on my to-do list for the day cannot be accomplished in the hours given. It has left me feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained. Because you desire peace and victory for me, I need to let you know how I am feeling.

I have attended church for as long as you have. I listen intently to your messages each week and find great comfort for my depression in the Scriptures you share passionately. How present Jesus has been as I walk the unpredictable road of my mental health-related issues and intense counseling sessions.

Next to my bowl of cereal in the morning is the anti-depressant medication I must take before I finish my coffee.

By three in the afternoon, my energy is running on fumes. As the sun sets in the evening, so the anxiety rises to take its place. And as my head hits the pillow, they who are hidden in the darkness empty barrels of the toxic sludge of PTSD and wounded memories in my mind.

God has brought me a long way on the road to healing, but sometimes I still attend church with a warm smile on the outside and unsettling heaviness on the inside. I rise in God’s grace to serve Him and His people, but often at the same time I fear the darkness I can see approaching from a distance.

Smiling on the outside is easier than smiling on the inside.

A service can go well without it being well with one’s soul. I know God wants me to smile on the inside. He wants me to rejoice. He knows too that depression isn’t a coat that can be taken off and stored in the closet.

There are some days that are so hard, and praying is difficult. I barely say anything. I carry my Bible under my arm and sorrow in my heart as I enter the sanctuary. Though I am still quite young, there are times when I feel very old on the inside. I desire to know God and experience Him afresh, but so often I struggle to do so because it feels like my eyes are stinging from the coarse grains of sand the storm of mental-health struggles has kicked up about me.

But Pastor, I’m not giving up. Don’t get me wrong, there is no confidence in the flesh.

No neuron or muscle, talent or accomplishment serves as a cure to soothe the inflammation of the mind and restore the missing inner smile. If I gave up, where else could I go? Where else could “we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share?1 Christ is our Truest Friend. He is the only dependable Friend of the church. I love God because He first loved me. I have tasted the Living Waters and have lost my desire for the cup of the world. I sing the hymns and choruses of old because they confirm what God has done in me. Partaking at the Lord’s table with Him is truly a sacred time. If I walked away from church and from serving God, then I would deny the confidence that “… I will see the LORD’S goodness while I am here in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13).2

I know you are aware of the struggles Christians face as they live as Christ’s ambassadors on the earth. You have preached often about the bitter experiences of Joseph, David, and Paul. You haven’t been afraid to take your congregation through the pages of Job and Hannah’s story. You’ve encouraged the children of God to “have a cup of tea” with Thomas, Peter, and John.

I’ve seen you at times wearing an outward smile. I am not foolish enough to believe you have it all put together.

Each precious soul in the body of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ needs to find and keep their inward smile – a joy that is not dependant on good times or feeds off outward enjoyment of things. The church needs to return to the safest arms and warmest heart. He will not reject us though we come still wearing the heavy coat of depression to worship Him. The Shepherd knows how to carry His lambs and how to break the jaws of the wolves that stalk the flock.

When that darkness envelopes me, I have found Psalm 43:3-4 most uplifting: “Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live. There I will go to the altar of God, to God-the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God!” 

It doesn’t take a professor of Theology to understand where a broken heart and troubled mind can go to be counseled, comforted, and restored.

I’m learning that the only way I will find my inner smile is to follow God’s light and truth to the place where He restores it anew. It leads to a place where I am touched by the Master’s hand. It is a place where holy acoustics convey the Father’s heart and words with perfect clarity. Though I suffer outwardly and emotionally, I do not need to ask Him to call me home. All that matters is that He calls me “beloved.” How often, dear Pastor we forget that God still Is everything He was, and that because He restored the inner smile of Joseph, David, Paul, Job, Hannah, Thomas, Peter, and John, He will do it for His bride today. I know it is your testimony too. May we all submit to His holy work and good plan as we work the corners of our mouths by flexing the muscles of faith.

Dear Pastor Jeremy, I encourage you to spend time in this Psalm. Follow His light and truth. Look into the matter thoroughly. I know you’ll be encouraged.

In Christ’s service
Pastor Jeremy

Jeremy Dykman is a pastor with a heart to serve God and a calling to share God’s Word with others. He was born in South Africa and spent thirty-nine years in Johannesburg before moving to Canada with his wife and two sons. Jeremy has recently released a book detailing his personal journey with depression. Room 13B is available through your favorite retailer.
 
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1 What a Friend We Have in Jesus. Lyrics: Joseph Medlicott Scriven. Music: Charles Crozat Converse. Published in Sing His Praise by Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, Missouri, (1991).

2 Scripture quotation taken from The Holy Bible, New Living Translation. NLT® Text Edition: 2012. Copyright © 2012 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Carol Stream, Illinois.