Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Celebrate Forgiveness Day: Who Do You Need to Forgive?

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Forgiveness is not an optionAugust 5 is International Forgiveness Day and August 27 is Global Forgiveness Day. In response to these two holidays we asked Anna McCarthy, author of Forgiveness is Not an Option, to share her thoughts on forgiving in difficult situations.

It’s true with all of us. We hear the word “forgive” and we immediately think of that paramount event in our life that left us crumbled. Where either our heart was shattered, trust was broken or another seemingly unforgiveable act took place. As true as it is that these events do require our hearts to move towards forgiveness, how often do we stop there?

I fear that it isn’t always the tragedies in our life that lead our hearts into bitterness, but often the less noticeable offenses. The ones we are quick to brush aside because it doesn’t seem like “that big of a deal”.  Areas where our pride steps in and readily moves past the offense not wanting to admit we were actually hurt. You see, forgiveness isn’t always wrapped up in a tragedy. The kind of forgiveness that Jesus teaches in scripture is daily…repetitive even. We learn of this kind of forgiveness through Peter’s questioning of Jesus on the subject, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”. (Matthew 18:20-22) Right here we see that this was an offense that had the opportunity to occur often…even with the same person!

Avoid Bitterness

When someone hurts or offends you on a small level, the first act of forgiveness can come somewhat easily. It is the second, third and fourth time where we start thinking that we either should just toughen up and not let it get to us, or just swallow it and move on because obviously their behavior isn’t going to change. This is where I believe many of us unknowingly open a crevice in our hearts to bitterness. It’s quiet at first, not obvious on the surface and yet over time can lead to one very hardened heart.

Admit to the Hurt

So, what do we do in these moments of mundane offenses? First, we must validate that we are hurt. We can’t begin to forgive someone that we are unwilling to admit hurt us! In that moment when someone’s words or actions sting, stop yourself and internally admit that you are offended. Quietly tell the Lord that you are hurt and why. Then, make the choice to forgive. Tell the Lord that you forgive them. And, what if even after this prayer you still feel angry or bothered? Pray for them. Our hearts are hardwired to soften towards those whom we choose to genuinely pray for. I believe this is one of the reasons Jesus teaches us in scripture to pray for our enemies.

Forgive Daily

This daily act of forgiveness may seem somewhat insignificant, yet this is much more powerful than we often realize. These small acts of forgiveness protect our hearts, keeping them tender, soft and open.

Whether your life has been met with tragedy or not, I encourage you to look past the glaring offenses in your life and dig a little deeper into the smaller ones. Then ask yourself the question, “Who do I need to forgive?”

 

Transform Every Area of Life with Declutter Now! Uncovering the Hidden Joy & Freedom in Your Life

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delcutter nowDeclutter Now! is the first Comprehensive Guide on Decluttering Your Heart, Mind, Body, Soul and Home

For immediate release:  Negative clutter can invade every area of your life—not just your closets. Relationships, finances, kids, jobs, health and spiritual wellbeing are all adversely impacted by the unnecessary and harmful stuff we accumulate and hold onto. That could be physical junk or emotional baggage. Husband and wife Lindon and Sherry Gareis, authors of Declutter Now! Uncovering the Hidden Joy and Freedom in Your Life (Ambassador International; August 2012; $13.99, paperback) know this from firsthand experience. “This clutter gripped Lindon and I and held us back from the freedom to enjoy what we really felt called to,” explains Sherry. “And that was ministry.”

Declutter Now! encourages readers to declutter every area of life: your heart, mind, body, soul and home. “We find false security in our stuff. We keep company with the wrong people for the wrong reasons. We hold on to negative and painful feelings,” says Lindon. “Think about all of the unnecessary things we gather from these behaviors and choices—stagnant lifestyles, needless and excessive stuff, financial debt, obligation, guilt, extra weight, anger, hurt, discontentment, addictions; the list is endless.” Declutter Now! will help the reader let go of those negative influences that impact our quality of life and our relationship with God. Since decluttering removes what you don’t need and gives you more of what you do, it only makes sense your spiritual journey will benefit too.

Lindon and Sherry Gareis, certified Christian Life Coaches from Glendale, Arizona, are the founders of Action Plan Ministries. Their blended family includes three sons and one daughter – Trent, 25, Ryan, 24, Devin, 22, and Sarah, 22. Lindon and Sherry love being outdoors, love being together, and are committed to a lifelong honeymoon.

For interview requests please contact publicist Alison Storm at media@emeraldhouse.com. Fans are invited to join the free 40-day Declutter Now! Challenge at Facebook.com/DeclutterNow.

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Ambassador’s Top Five Christian Beach Reads

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Along with your sunscreen and towel there’s something else you must remember when hitting the beach this summer– a great book of course! Can’t decide what to stuff in your beach bag? We’re making it easy with our list of the top five Christian beach reads.

 

1. Looking for the Hottest Christian Fiction?   Mississippi Nights

Mississippi NightsTwo brothers, one death–the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against resentment and guilt.

Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt?

When Firefighter David Boyette’s fiancée perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother, Sgt. Jeremy Boyette, for her death. Three years later, David returns home with a dark and devastating secret. With the help of family, a woman’s love, and a small child’s devotion, can David overcome insurmountable odds as he and Jeremy face the bitterness that enslaves him? Together the brothers must decide if the bond of brotherhood is stronger than resentment and hate.

 

2. Love a Story About Skeletons in the Closet? Crossing Values

Crossing ValuesFor years, Amber traipsed around the Northwest avoiding the skeletons in her closet. Job-hopping every few weeks, she refused to let anyone get close to her as she slowly made her way east. As winter plants itself firmly across the Rockies, she decides to take a chance on a job at a logging company with a family different from any she’s ever known before. Watching the family interact creates more questions than answers for Amber. Feeling like she’s entered the happily-ever-after written at the end of a fairytale, she watches for cracks in the facade. Surely as the days pass, the play-acting will cease and the real family will emerge. Or could she be wrong? Could they truly be genuine? Could Faye understand the trauma from her past or Peter think of her as more than just the winter office help? Could this family really hold the key to what she’s seeking?

 

3. Want to Know What Baseball Players Believe? God’s Lineup

Gods-Lineup God’s Lineup is a collection of testimonies from Major League baseball players and how Christ has impacted their lives on and off the field. There are trying times in the sport of baseball and among Christians. This book is a breath of fresh air for both baseball fans and Christians. It illustrates how all people, including the top baseball players, face trying times and how being saved has changed them and the way they play the game.

Each chapter focuses on one ball player and tells the story about how their life was before knowing Christ, how they came to know Him and how their life has changed.

 

4. Need to Get Lost in a Novel with Layers? The Painted Table

The painted tableSaffee Quimbly has always sensed her “normal” Quimbly household was far from normal. A television? No need. Having friends over? A mistake not to be repeated. Unreasonable expectations and criticism? Painfully expected. And all part of “normal.” But her mother’s unpredictable spells of arguing with imaginary tormentors, a Norwegian heirloom table subjected to countless layers of paint during such fits, and her father’s refusal to seek help for his unstable wife—these too are “normal.” Saffee meets the wide-open world with these secrets stowed away, and she plans to keep things that way. Jack, a blind date gone right, helps Saffee gain victory over the past, and connect to spiritual moorings.

 

5. Want to be Wowed by an Impossibly True Missionary Tale? Reckless Abandon

RecklessAbandon David Sitton was barely a man when he left surfing and partying to live in Papua New Guinea, a faraway, perilous land. Leaving Texas with a Bible, a suitcase (and a surfboard), he took the gospel into cannibalistic areas to people who had never heard the name of Jesus. For thirty-four years God has used him to help train missionaries, spread the gospel and establish dozens of churches in remote regions. Through this book, experience the amazing things God did as David recklessly abandoned his will to the will of God.

 

Forgiveness is Not an Option, It’s a Necessity, According to New Book

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Forgiveness is not an optionAuthor Guides Readers to Forgive even the Unforgivable

For immediate release:  Abused, betrayed, scammed, disappointed—most of us have experienced hurt in some areas of our lives. If not dealt with, these wounds begin to impact our everyday life at a crippling rate. Forgiveness is Not an Option: A Journey to Freedom and Healing (Ambassador International; June 2012; $11.99, paperback) provides practical tools for healing and living a life of freedom from past and present hurts.

As a victim of sexual abuse as a child and domestic abuse as an adult, author Anna McCarthy struggled with forgiving many people in her life. “I was left as a very, very hurt 20-something single mom. I was really angry,” admits McCarthy. “This book offers powerful tools to let go of those past hurts just like I had to do.” Anna launched Voice of One ministries with the mission of reaching the hurting and wounded. “The Lord will turn your grief into joy,” says McCarthy. “But you must relinquish control, allowing him to be God and yourself to be human.”

Churches are invited to lead their congregations through The Forgiveness Project, an 11-week study of Forgiveness is Not an Option. A free Leader Study Guide is available at VoiceofOne.net. “We really hope churches will make forgiveness a priority,” says author Anna McCarthy. “Congregations are full of hurting people who need healing.”

McCarthy counsels and disciples others through prayer and one-on-one communication at Life Church in Olathe, Kansas.  To learn more about the author, her book Forgiveness is Not an Option, and The Forgiveness Project visit www.voiceofone.net. For interview requests please contact publicist Alison Storm at media@emeraldhouse.com.

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Q&A with Marriage Counselor and Author Stephen Goode

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QA Stephen GoodeAmbassador International is excited to announce the launch of Marriage Triage: A Guide to Healing for the Hurting Spouse, available June 30, 2012 in stores and online at major retailers. Marriage is the norm for Christians with 84% tying the knot according to The Barna Group. But sadly, divorce rates among born again Christians are virtually indistinguishable from non-believers with about 1 in 3 going through a split. While most marriage books are designed to help marriages improve, Marriage Triage: A Guide to Healing for the Hurting Spouse is geared towards spiritual survival for couples in crisis. A former police officer, Stephen Goode tells us what prompted him to write Marriage Triage and why he believes it can save marriages.

Marriage Triage coverWhat led you to write Marriage Triage?

Stephen Goode: I don’t know that I ever really wanted to write a book on marriage. That may seem like a non-sensical way to begin an interview on a marriage book, but you have to realize that after 11 years of police work and being neck-deep in the middle of marital conflict that I was done! I wanted to put that piece of my life in the ground and bury it, but God has a way of making us miserable until we do what he says. I had written blog articles for a number of years and it seemed that the common theme in all the articles always went back to marriage relationships, and I would always interweave old police stories in as illustrations. I received such a positive response that I began to see an opportunity to publish on a bigger platform.

What separates Marriage Triage from other marriage titles?

Stephen Goode: Most marriage books try and give spouses tools to make their marriages better, but there is a window in marriage where it isn’t relevant. They don’t need cute ideas, but survival skills! Marriage Triage is different because it addresses the needs of the hurting, disillusioned spouse in the midst of their crisis with biblical principles, and application. It is a book that helps a spouse stop the bleeding, figuratively speaking, so that healing can begin.

Fighting CoupleWhat did you learn from your time as a police officer that helped you in writing this book?

Stephen Goode: I learned how to dodge frying pans, and not turn my back to an angry and emotional wife. (kidding) Being a police officer I was able to witness firsthand, the emotional devastation and violence that can occur in any marriage that never closes up the wounds of day to day issues. I witnessed everything from simple assaults and threats, to spouses who killed their mates for little more than a quick insurance policy. It was evil in its rawest form. It removed the scales from my eyes of what can occur in a marriage when God’s presence is not acknowledged.

On the other hand police work gave me skills to know how to calm, and diffuse chaotic circumstances between a husband and wife. I also was able to note all the ways couples reached these bad places so that I could begin to reverse-engineer the way to prevent couples from reaching such bad places in their relationship. I was able to take much of this and transform it into a written form, which I hope the readers pick up on as they read the book.

One of your goals is to help spouses avoid the temptation to act irresponsibly and un-Biblically in tough circumstances. Why is that so difficult?

Stephen Goode: Because the Bible clearly says that we battle more than anything against our thoughts and actions. The Apostle Paul even expounded on the fact that many times he did the things he wasn’t supposed to do, and didn’t do the things he knew to do. For a spouse in the middle of a marriage crisis the hardest human action to avoid is making emotional and irrational choices. Hurting and betrayed spouses want to hurt and blame! The problem with this is that the Bible doesn’t condone these types of reactions even though they may be perfectly justified in the eyes of the world. We always want to park on “an eye for an eye” when Jesus gave us an entirely different way to respond. I try and give both husband and wife practical ways to respond to one another.

wedding ring loveIs there a point of no return for marriages?

Stephen Goode: In Marriage Triage the goal is to teach a spouse that no matter what they have done, or whatever has been done to them, that there is a biblical response.

Why do you think divorce rates among Christians and non-Christians are virtually identical?

Stephen Goode: Primarily because spouses tend to use happiness as their measure in the marriage. A friend of mine, Gary Thomas, addresses this in many of his books when he writes “What if marriage wasn’t about our happiness but our holiness.” Spouses don’t want to hear this, but many will leave the relationship the moment pain and disappointment surfaces. This means that they are never refined through the process, but just carry additional baggage into a second marriage. Marriage Triage is the book that helps a spouse endure through the crisis, hopefully to the point they will stay, and endure the pain while learning and growing through the process.

Your book includes a “Quick Start Guide.” What is this and how will it help marriages?

Stephen Goode: The “Quick Start Guide” was added for the spouse who needs quick direction on what they should and should not be doing. When a spouse is hurting and in emotional pain it’s hard to think clearly. I wanted to provide a way for them to get some quick help before starting the journey into chapter one.

One thing to also note is that Marriage Triage was not written to be an exhaustive manual because those reading are not in the frame of mind to read epic novels.

Marriage Triage coverYour Podcast, The Biblical Counseling Moment, was downloaded more than 100,000 times last year. Can you tell us what people can expect to hear if they tune into your Podcast?

Stephen Goode: Dry humor, laughs, and encouragement on the topics of marriage, family, parenting, and responding biblically in emotional circumstances. Our podcasts have received more than 126,000 downloads since 2011, and the topics that seem to attract the most attention are ones related to being a husband and wife.

We even have a live show on blogtalkradio.com that airs on Tuesdays. More information on our podcast can be found at stephengoode.com.

Thanks Stephen! For those interested in learning more you can visit Facebook.com/MarriageTriage or buy the book now!

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New Book Offers Biblical Care for Christian Marriages in Crisis

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Marriage TriageAuthor Encourages Spouses to Make Biblical Choices Rather than Emotional Decisions

For immediate release:  Marriage is the norm for Christians with 84% tying the knot according to The Barna Group. But sadly, divorce rates among born again Christians are virtually indistinguishable from non-believers with about 1 in 3 going through a split. While most marriage books are designed to help marriages improve, Marriage Triage: A Guide to Healing for the Hurting Spouse (Ambassador International; June 2012; $12.99, paperback) is geared towards spiritual survival for couples in crisis.

Marriage Triage includes a “quick start guide” for the hurting spouse that reminds them of God’s grace, encourages them to document their feelings and explains how to endure through the crisis. Geared towards either the offender or the offended spouse, author Steve Goode draws from his 11 years in law enforcement and time as a marriage and counseling pastor. “This book will provide a simple, but systematic way for a husband or wife to walk through their suffering, and honor Christ in the process,” explains Goode. “This is the book that they must first read in order to stop the temptation to react irresponsibly and un-Biblically in their circumstances.”

Stephen Goode serves as Director of Biblical Counseling and Senior Adult Ministries at Northside Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He graduated from Trinity Bible College and Theological Seminary with a B.A. in Biblical Counseling. Steve hosts The Biblical Counseling Moment, which fans downloaded more than 100,000 times from iTunes in 2011. He served 11 years in North Carolina as a sworn police officer for the Greensboro Police Department where he has extensive experience working closely with families in crisis. Stephen and his wife April have been married for 17 years and they have two children.

To learn more about the author and his book Marriage Triage, visit www.stephengoode.com. For interview requests please contact publicist Alison Storm at media@emeraldhouse.com.

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Collection of Inspirational Life Stories Challenge Women of All Ages and Every Walk of Life

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Women of the Secret PlaceMore than a Dozen Authors Share Lessons Learned Through Real-life Experiences

For immediate release:  From broken family relationships to a shattered coffee pot on a cream rug, life hands us difficult struggles on a daily basis, but a new collection of devotions reminds readers that God is still working even when the situation may seem impossible. Led by award winning author Ruth Carmichael Ellinger, Women of the Secret Place (Ambassador International; January 2012; $13.99, paperback) captures the power and beauty of story through 52 spiritual reflections.

In all, 15 accomplished writers contributed to create the inspiring collection found in the pages of Women of the Secret Place. “You will laugh, cry and be encouraged,” says Ellinger, a two-time recipient of ACW’s Writer of the Year award. “You will gain a new appreciation of God’s unique plan for you as a woman of faith.” The women who contributed to the book represent many stages of life and are settled throughout the US including Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.

Ellinger lives in Florida with her husband Wright, a pastor. They have four grown children. In addition to Women of the Secret Place, Ellinger is the author of The Wild Rose series, three historical novels set in the Ohio Valley in the late 1800s.

To learn more about Ruth Carmichael Ellinger and the other authors of Women of the Secret Place, visit RuthEllinger.com. For interview requests please contact publicist Alison Storm at media@emeraldhouse.com.

 

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New Devotional Uses Photography, Poetry and Scripture to Communicate God’s Beauty, Splendor

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Wherein the Lilies GrowAuthor, licensed counselor Jo Crosby shares rich beauty of lilies

For immediate release:  The lily is the fourth most popular flower in the world, often sought after for floral bouquets and landscaping. Historically lilies symbolize purity and refined beauty, but for author Jo Crosby lilies signify rest and a renewed relationship with the Lord. In her new devotional Wherein the Lilies Grow (Ambassador International; March 2012; $17.99, hardcover) Jo explains why the delicate Lily has become such a powerful symbol in her life and faith. “Walking among the velvety blooms, not only did I see myself reflected, but I also found the time to be still, to listen, and to genuinely converse with Him,” writes Jo about her time in a day lily garden. “Extremes of both tears and laughter have fallen from my heart over the petals I love, their beauty never failing to pull the worship from my heart.”

Jo says that as she surrounded herself with God’s creation and gave herself time to enjoy it, she experienced healing from past struggles and emotional hardship. Throughout Wherein the Lilies Grow, Jo shares her heart by exposing personal journal entries, poetry and devotions. Stunning photography transplants the reader to the very place where Jo experienced her own renewal of faith, the day lily garden.

Jo Crosby is a licensed Professional Counselor with more than two decades of clinical experience. She regularly leads workshops and retreats that help people build strong, healthy relationships with God and each other. She lives with her husband John and their three children near Savannah, Georgia.

To learn more about the author Jo Crosby and Wherein the Lilies Grow, visit http://priorityinsight.com. For interview requests please contact publicist Alison Storm at media@emeraldhouse.com.

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New Christian Novel Explores Bond of Brotherhood

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Mississippi NightsAuthor Uses Volunteer Firefighting Experience to Bring Characters to Life

For immediate release: Philosopher Antisthenes once said “When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life.” But what happens when they hate each other? David and Jeremy Boyette were incredibly close until David’s fiancé perishes in a car fire that he believes his brother Jeremy could have prevented. Mississippi Nights, by author DM Webb, tells the story of bitterness, resentment and the power of love. Read what others are already saying about Webb’s debut novel:

I loved this book; I was so impressed with the depth of the characters. I am an avid reader an it is hard to find a book that I am completely absorbed in. It wasn’t the average love story where you knew the ending. I laughed and even got mad at the characters at times. Beautiful work that I recommend to anyone looking for a good read! –Ashley Means

Loved this book! DM’s characters are very real and she deals with the tough subject of alcoholism without shying away from it. I also loved the healing journey this book took you on and the story of forgiveness for not only those around you, but yourself and ultimately God. –Susan Tuttle
The characters in Mississippi Nights are well-drawn, each with his quirks, strengths and flaws– there are no stereotypes here. The secondary cast adds depth and richness. The beautiful Mississippi scenery is lovingly described, with each sense brought to life. It’s obvious the author loves her home state. –Carole Towriss

Webb drew from her experience as a volunteer firefighter and EMR to write with accuracy about the main characters, a firefighter and a police officer. Webb lives, along with her two sons and a variety of pets, in the beautiful state of Mississippi. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). For more information visit the author’s website: www.dmwebb.com. To connect with the author please contact Ambassador International publicist Alison Storm via email at media@emeraldhouse.com.

 

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