For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
—John 3:16, NKJV
This week there is only one person appropriate to spotlight: Jesus.
His Name Is Jesus, compiled from various writings by Max Lucado, is a profound look at Christ's birth, mission, death, resurrection and legacy. This compilation is not merely a book; it's a visual experience with breath-taking pictures showcasing truths that offer a new perspective on God's love and the gift of His Son. Set aside a few moments this Easter weekend to reflect anew on what Jesus Christ did for you. He loves you. And He gave His life for you.
Christmas in April? Not ... wait for it ... egg-xactly. Only the creators of VeggieTales can take Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, adapt it to Easter and make it work. Since 2004 An Easter Carol has sold more than 1 million copies, and the DVD has been relaunched just in time for Easter 2009. Parents can appreciate the wholesome message, and their children will enjoy being entertained while learning the meaning behind this special celebration.
By Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman, FaithWords, hardcover, 176 pages, $14.99.
Being a mom is not always easy. And unfortunately mothers feel inadequate to meet all their children's needs. Some are afraid they could actually harm their children because they are not perfect. In her new book, Mommy Grace, Sheila Schuller Coleman, a mother of four grown sons, offers advice that will help relieve these fears and erase feelings of guilt. She assures women that no mother is perfect and it's God who makes up for our weaknesses.
John Waller's sophomore album, While I'm Waiting, combines vertical songs to God as well as worship that will build up the body of Christ. His name might seem familiar to fans of the blockbuster film Fireproof. The title track of While I'm Waiting was the only song played in its entirety on the movie. Film fans will find that song as well as additional clips from the movie soundtrack on Waller's new CD.
Some people might think that fitness trainers are born with a proclivity for being healthy and fit. But Ron Kardashian dispels this myth because he didn't grow up with a passion for health and fitness or a desire to help others become healthy and productive. He discovered, however, that this was exactly God's destiny for him. In his new book, Getting in Shape God's Way, he writes about his experience and the keys he learned to becoming fit in mind, body and soul.
Kardashian's discovery of God's plan for him came after years of struggle. He grew up chronically ill, and suffered from allergies, infections and a learning disability-all of which created deep feelings of insecurity and inferiority. He turned to food and eventually to drugs and alcohol for comfort. After high school Kardashian's life spiraled even more out of control. But one night he cried out to God. "From that night on my life was never the same-on the inside. However, the outside had a long way to catch up," he writes.
It took several more years for Kardashian to realize that drugs, women, modeling and money couldn't fix him-and that only God could. As Kardashian studied the Bible, God revealed His plan for him, and he pursued a more productive lifestyle. He got his education in fitness training and eventually received his certification with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Don't you love it when a kid's movie is clean enough for kids to enjoy and smart enough for adults to be entertained? It's a delicate balance that doesn't always occur. I'll never forget taking some friends' children to see the live-action Casper film and one of them gasping every time an expletive was uttered. I felt horrible for the movie selection, but it really wasn't my fault—I'd been duped.
Thankfully, the new animated movie Monsters Vs. Aliens doesn't follow the trend of relying on adult language over witty dialogue. The story, which centers on a group of B-movie style monsters who are recruited by the government to fight an alien invasion, delivers plenty of clever moments and keeps the action going full-speed ahead. It's similar in style to The Incredibles mixed with old-fashioned monsters and Independence Day.
Tristar Pictures Starring Morris Chestnut, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Hart Rated PG-13
Not Easily Broken (based on T.D. Jakes' novel by the same title) presents a realistic view of marriage and the struggles many couples face. When David and Clarice Johnson (Morris Chestnut, Tarji P. Henson) got married, they had high hopes and dreams for their life. But David's career in baseball came to a sudden stop with an injury. This couple's dreams of success were shattered.
He owns a small but successful construction business, but Clarice is the true breadwinner as a top real estate agent. They are both caught up in their own lives—Clarice with her career, and David as a little league baseball coach. But an accident proves just how large the holes in their relationship are. Clarice is bitter and blames David. And he is trying to figure out what it really means to be a man, to be a provider and protector to a woman who can provide and protect herself. read more
By Andy Stanley, Thomas Nelson, hardcover, 176 pages, $19.99.
In The Principle of the Path: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, pastor and author Andy Stanley explores a seemingly simple truth that's often easily missed: Each path leads to the same destination for everyone. Stanley explains with a personal story. One night while driving he ignored a detour sign and, had he not been warned a second time, would have driven off a bridge into a swamp. Upon taking the detour, he realized that every person who had followed his same path would have driven off the same bridge into the same swamp.
Througout The Principle of the Path, the Georgia pastor applies the same truth to life. It's not enough to merely intend to have a certain life—a great marriage, a wonderful family, a good job, healthy finances. You have to choose the path that leads you to where you want to be and what you want to have. Stanley believes you achieve this by making the right choices and decisions that keep you moving down the path you want to travel. And he is quick to point out that, as Christians, we are to choose the path God has set before us and trust in His widsom to guide us. Despite being based upon a relatively simple concept, The Principle of the Path not only holds your attention with intriguing ideas, it also challenges you to take inventory of your life—especially if you're veering of your intended path. Click here to purchase this book, which includes an interactive study guide. read more
My Soul Sings is Delirious' first wave in a yearlong goodbye. Though the band is scheduled to play a few more concerts, it will officially bid farewell at the end of 2009. As a tribute to the industry-changing five-piece, this parting CD/DVD takes a musical walk down memory lane as Delirious hopscotches through chart-topping hits from their 15-year career. Recorded live in Bogota, Colombia, in front of 12,000 lively fans, My Soul Sings features early year favorites such as "History Maker," "Deeper" and "Bliss" combined with songs from the band's middle years such as "Rain Down" and congregational favorite "Majesty." Although newer songs on this 14-track album were previously covered on Kingdom of Comfort and include "Kingdom of Comfort," "Break the Silence" and title track, "My Soul Sings," their inclusion highlights the group's dedication to social justice and ministry. Longtime fans might need to have a tissue handy as they spin this pioneering band's farewell recording. But listeners of all ages will enjoy hearing again these greatest hits while reminiscing over what this band has done in both worship music and ministry circles. Click here to purchase this CD/DVD. read more
Looking at Todd Starnes, a network reporter and anchor for Fox News Radio, today, it's hard to imagine that just three years ago he was on the brink of death. In May 2005 Starnes was a news reporter for talk radio station KFBK in Sacramento, Calif., and weighed 300 pounds. While covering a story, he developed a slight cough but thought nothing of it. A few days later he could barely get out of bed. His doctor said he needed a new aortic valve.
But Starnes didn't realize at that moment how serious his condition was and thought he could plan the surgery after the summer, when his schedule was less hectic. His doctor explained how replacing his aortic valve was a life-or-death matter. Starnes had two weeks to get his affairs in order.
This was the start of a life-changing journey. Over the last three years, Starnes has had open-heart surgery, lost 150 pounds, grieved the death of his parents and run his first marathon. He shares his experiences in his new book, They Popped My Hood and Found Gravy on the Dipstick. Starnes acknowledges that others have had open-heart surgery, lost loved ones and shed pounds—his story is not unique. But this is his story.
Based on an audio journal he kept during his surgery and recovery, Starnes' memoir is about more than weight loss. While describing his health journey, Starnes weaves in tales from his childhood (some admittedly embellished) and chronicles his career. Throughout the book he offers the lessons he's learned and relays how God has sustained him, taught him and directed him.
Starnes says he wants people to laugh when they read his book, and he'll likely get his wish. His thoughts and stories are deep-fried, smothered, covered, slathered and buttered with Southern charm and humor. As he told The Buzz in our interview he wants people to feel good about themselves and "know that some average Joe can make it through an obstacle and difficulty in life."
More than anything the core message of Starnes' book is one celebrating God's saving nature. "God's grace is sufficient to get us through those difficult times," he says. "Not only can He get us through those times—and He will sustain us—but we're going to be able to look back and we're going to be able to laugh and smile and understand why we had to go through what we had to go through."