Here are this week’s top deals, brought to you by Faithlife Ebooks. For more deals, visit our sale page or get our free book of the month. Some of these deals are only good for a few days, so act fast to get these books at the sale price!
Born without arms, Daniel Ritchie faces a unique kind of adversity. But that doesn’t keep him from living a full life.
After Ritchie surrendered his life to Christ he learned that true worth and purpose are only found in God. Freed from comparisons and restrictions, Ritchie has lived a life that previously seemed impossible, becoming a pastor, father, and speaker.
“There was a man who had two sons . . .”
“There once was a king who . . .”
“In a certain town there was a judge . . .”
When Jesus wanted to reveal what the kingdom of God was like, he often told stories—stories about widows and tax collectors, farmers and kings, robbers and strangers, fathers and sons.
A master storyteller, Jesus harnessed the gift of imagination to invite his listeners to consider, for example, how a patient and extravagantly forgiving father reflects the heart of God. Or how a generous, unconventional employer reveals the Lord’s grace. He also invited his listeners to find themselves within the stories. He challenged them to consider how they were like a wayward son or a resentful older brother, or how the quality of soil (shallow, rocky, thorny, or fruitful) could be a picture of their receptivity—or resistance—to the Word of God.
Jesus invites us into the same process of reflection, to prayerfully enter his stories and, through the power of the Spirit, learn about both God and ourselves.
Just like people’s response to Jesus’ stories in the Bible, something happens the moment a preacher or teacher says, “Once upon a time . . .” or “Let me tell you a story.” If our minds happen to wander during a sermon or lecture, we tend to tune in and listen with renewed interest the moment a narrative begins.
Stories are invitational. They encourage our participation. Stories are also stealthy. They can stir, confront, comfort, inspire, and penetrate our hearts when we’re least expecting it.
We tend to let our defenses down when we hear or read stories. We open ourselves to being drawn into characters’ lives, to inhabit their worlds, to journey with them. Good characters can become mirrors for seeing ourselves more clearly. Good stories can enlarge our worldview, help us understand a stranger, deepen our compassion, and remind us we’re not alone. Good stories can pursue us long after we’ve heard—or read—the last word.
This was my desire when I began writing the Sensible Shoes series. Through the characters’ journeys with God, I wanted readers to see themselves mirrored in the longings, fears, struggles, and hopes of these four imperfect women who are seeking to draw closer to God and to one another. I hoped the stories would facilitate a reader’s encounter with God, that someone might glimpse God’s love, presence, and grace in unexpected and life-transforming ways.
I could have written a nonfiction book about how to practice ways of prayer and other spiritual disciplines—which is what the characters are invited to do—but I wanted to provide an opportunity for readers to connect with God through narrative and imagination. As a writer, I wanted to take my own journey of “What if?” and “There once was a woman who . . .” and see what emerged. The process of discovery is part of the joy of both writing and reading fiction.
What might you discover about yourself and God while reading novels or short stories? A simple exercise to practice as you read is to pay attention to the things that stir you, both positively and negatively. Contemplate the ways you’re challenged, comforted, provoked, agitated, or inspired by the story.
Then, prayerfully consider the reasons behind your responses to characters or plotlines. What might the Spirit be revealing, inviting, or healing? And then, welcome others into conversation about what you notice. That’s the gift of story, too—that we can read the same words on the page and be impacted in such unique ways.
“A reader went off to read and . . .”
May the Lord inspire you and reveal his heart to you in the journey.
This is a guest post by Sharon Garlough Brown, the author of the Sensible Shoes series, which began with the bestselling book Sensible Shoes. For a limited time, get the four-book series plus a study guide for just $30.95, 60% off the regular price. Buy it here.
Also, if you are a fan of faith-inspired fiction, make sure to join the Faithlife fiction readers group where we post regular fiction deals, author interviews, and more.
At Faithlife we use technology to equip the Church to grow in the light of the Bible. For more than 25 years that mission has guided everything we do. This year, to better equip the Church, we are focusing on several key areas:
- We are engaging users and helping them learn from each other in our product forums and Faithlife groups. Check out Faithlife.com to find a Faithlife group for each of our products, with active discussions from both our customers and the Faithlife team.
- We are improving integration across our products so you can spend less time doing “all the things” and more time on ministry. For example, you can now create a sermon and slides in Logos, present it with Proclaim, have the congregation follow it in real time through the Faithlife Study Bible, and publish it to the web at Faithlife TV and Faithlife Sermons.
- We are expanding our partnerships to increase the availability of content within our products to bring more value in the areas of Christian media, books, Bible study, and academia.
With this in mind, we’ll be sharing the progress that gets us excited around the office more frequently, with more intention, and with more opportunity for feedback.
Below you’ll find some highlights of how Faithlife is helping equip the Church. We are excited about partnering with you, and would love to hear how you are using our tools in your ministry—along with what we can do to better serve you.
Follow the group at Faithlife.com and share with us today.
– Bob Pritchett [Read more…]
Happy Easter, from all of us at Faithlife. Enjoy this Easter meditation on the power of Christ’s resurrection by Charles Spurgeon.
Not a handout, but a hand up
When former Seattle Mariners catcher David Valle and his wife, Vicky, first visited the Dominican Republic for winter training back in 1985, he didn’t anticipate the radical turn his life would take. At the time, he was still an underpaid minor-leaguer in the Mariner’s farm system.
“They weren’t looking for an autograph . . .”
As Dave explains in the new documentary Esperanza, a crowd of kids had formed around the American baseball players after practice one evening. Dave assumed they were just like the fans he’d met in the States, clamoring to meet the stars. Where was his autograph pen?
Do you feel as if your life is more ordinary than exemplary? Are your days, weeks, and years filled with the routine responsibilities of life like doing laundry, grocery shopping, or planning meals? Have you ever wondered if your life is making a difference for God?
Well, I want to encourage you! As I researched the lives of eight Christian women for my book, When Others Shuddered, I was struck by the way God used them in extraordinary ways despite their circumstances. While these women lived at the turn of the century, they weren’t so different than you or me. They were women of prayer. They persisted despite the troubles they faced. They believed God had a purpose for their life. I hope their examples will encourage you today.
Find out in Fragments of Truth, coming to theaters this April!
We’re excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Fathom Events to bring the new Faithlife original film Fragments of Truth to the big screen!
Join Dr. Craig Evans in his search for answers to an ever-present and challenging question: Can we really trust the Bible?
In Fragments of Truth, Dr. Evans travels the globe to track down the most ancient New Testament manuscripts and learns from the experts who know them best. Along the way, he highlights groundbreaking new evidence, challenges skeptics, and demonstrates the strong reliability of the New Testament manuscripts.
This insightful documentary will be shown in theaters nationwide on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, for one night only. Tickets are available for purchase beginning March 16, 2018, through Fathom Events’ website or at participating theater box offices.
For a limited time, everyone in the Logos Bible Software Faithlife group can access Rick Brannan’s Anticipating His Arrival: A Family Guide Through Advent.