Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book Review - The Greatest Gift

“The Greatest Gift : unwrapping the full love story of Christmas” 
by Ann Voskamp
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2013

Reviewed by Diane Busch

Reading this book daily for the month of December was a great way to prepare for Christmas.  It is an advent devotional.  Each day along with the reading of a scripture passage, a devotional thought, and a pertinent quote, an ornament can be added to your Jesse Tree. There are reflective questions and even an action item to do each day. 

Ann has an amazing way with words to make you think anew about things you may take for granted or things you had never pondered before. She begins by explaining the great importance of the genealogy of Jesus, which we so often gloss over.  And how making a Jesse Tree traces the family line and heritage of our own forever family—the family of God.  Out of the stump of Jesse “comes forth one tender branch that will grow into a crown of thorns…a rugged cross…your ladder back to God.  Out of the stump of that fallen tree, watered with living waters that flow from the depths of his grace, a twig sprouts.  That twig will be the scepter that defeats your sin…and lets you grow again.”

Plan now to enrich your advent season next year with this book, or read it any time of year to be encouraged by how much God loves you.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

New Releases 12/17/2013

Tempest's Course, Quilts of Love Series #13
Tempest's Course, Quilts of Love Series #13   -     By: Lynette Sowell
Kelly Frost, a textiles conservator, is invited to the Massachusetts coastal city of New Bedford to restore a 150-year-old Mariner's Compass quilt. But there is one stipulation: she must live and work in Gray House, a former whaling captain's home, where the quilt is stored. There she meets Army veteran Tom Pereira, the caretaker of Gray House, whose heart seems as hard as the rocky Massachusetts coastline. Over the long-lit months as Kelly works to restore the quilt, she and Tom grow closer. And as she reads stories in a daily journal penned by Mary Gray, she learns the secrets of the quilt and Mary's own sad tale of regret. Then Tom learns secrets of his own family's past, and both Tom and Kelly learn they are tied to Gray House in ways they never imagined.

The Ultimate Life

This touching story of faith and family values is the follow-up to the heartwarming film and best-seller The Ultimate Gift. After receiving life-changing gifts from his grandfather, Jason Stevens finds himself in need of guidance once again. Jason's billion dollar foundation is being challenged in a courtroom battle which complicates his relationship with his soul mate. When it looks like he may lose it all, he finds his grandfather's journal. With everything he loves hanging in the balance he embarks on a journey into the past through the journal to learn what it means to live...The Ultimate Life.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Music 2013

Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas

Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family ChristmasThe Robertsons, Louisiana's bearded, camouflage-clad entrepreneurial family, not only run the multi-million dollar Duck Commander Sporting Empire but are also a talented musical family. Growing up singing in church, the Robertsons will be showcasing their talents, as well as their special brand of Southern down-home sense of humor, on Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas. Produced by Buddy Cannon, the Christmas album features performances by the Robertson family along with special guests Alison Krauss, George Strait, Josh Turner and Luke Bryan. 

Christmas Worship

Christmas Worship   -     By: Paul Baloche
Sing the praises of our newborn King! Blending beloved carols with original contemporary worship songs, Paul Baloche invites you to celebrate Christ's birth with "Prepare Him Room"; "Angels We Have Heard on High"; "Offering"; "What Can I Do"; "Your Name"; "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/King of Heaven"; "We Adore You"; "Follow That Star"; and more.

WOW Christmas (Blue)   -     By: Various Artists
WoW Christmas (Blue) (2 CD)

By Various (Artist)
Let these Christmas songs fill your home and heart with Yuletide cheer! Includes "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (Amy Grant), "Silent Night" (Big Daddy Weave), "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (Casting Crowns), "Jingle Bells" (Colton Dixon), "The Christmas Song" (Francesca Battistelli), "Away in a Manger" (Jeremy Camp), "Angels We Have Heard on High" (Sanctus Real), and more. Two CDs.

Wow Gospel ChristmasWow Gospel Christmas

By Various
WOW Gospel Christmas gets trimmed like the tree in this single CD version for 2013. Features fifteen of the top Gospel Christmas anthems from today's leading artists, including "His Name Is Jesus" (Fred Hammond), "Do You Hear What I Hear" (CeCe Winans), "Glory To The Lamb" (Marvin Sapp), and more.

Home For Christmas

By Boyle Susan (Artist)

Home for Christmas   -     By: Susan Boyle
Singing sensation Susan Boyle returns with a stunning album of her favorite classic Christmas songs, Home For Christmas. The album features a momentous duet with the King Of Rock And Roll, Elvis Presley, on "O Come, All Ye Faithful" plus a duet with the legendary Johnny Mathis on "When A Child Is Born."

Susan has become a top selling global artist. With her phenomenal album sales, record breaking achievements and multi-platinum chart domination, Susan has come a long way from the Britain's Got Talent stage in 2009. To date, Susan's previous albums have sold over 20 million copies and stormed to the top of the charts in over 30 countries.

Home for Christmas features yet another record breaking achievement: She will be the first British artist EVER to have a poshumous duet with the King of Rock 'n Roll featured on their album. 

Talking about her latest album Susan said, "Christmas is still my most favorite time of the year. I have fond memories of family Christmas' growing up. To be able to put a unique twist on classic Christmas songs is truly wonderful. To sing with Elvis, well, I didn't think it would be possible, isn't technology brilliant. I grew up with Elvis playing in my home. My father was a huge fan, so to be able to duet with Elvis on a track on my own album, well, my father would be so proud. This song is for him and his love of Elvis."

Christmas 2013

Itsy Bitsy Christmas: You're Never Too Little for His Love!
Thomas Nelson / 2013 / Hardcover
 In an adult-centered world, do your 4- to 7-year-olds worry that they're too little to "matter"? That's just how two first-century field mice feel---until a wondrous trip to Bethlehem changes everything! In this charming picture book, Lucado explains that the King of kings loves all of us---great and small! 32 pages, hardcover from Nelson.

 Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts

B & H Publishing Group / 2013 / Hardcover

Operation Christmas Child: A Story of Simple Gifts  -     By: Franklin Graham, Donna Lee Toney
 Over the past 20 years over one hundred million shoebox gifts have been collected and distributed by Operation Christmas Child. Headed by Franklin Graham, and supported by millions of caring Christians around the world, OCC has encouraged and inspired the hearts of millions of children in need. In this volume, Graham shares the remarkable story of the beginning of OCC and dozens of stories of the lives impacted by these gifts.
You'll read about children like 12 year-old Lejla from war-torn Bosnia, who just the day before receiving her first shoebox had lost a friend, killed in a mine field. Walking to school that day in worn-out shoes that didn't keep the snow from her frozen feet, she despaired and decided to walk through the mine field herself, hoping to end her pain. Unharmed, she then walked down infamous "Sniper Alley." Still unharmed, she made it to school where she was given a shoebox. That shoebox changed the course of Lejla's life. Among many other items, it contained a new pair of sneakers. In gratitude, Lejla wrote a letter to thank the person who had given her the gifts--Jesus. It was then that she connected with God's heart and found His love in the gift of His Son.
This and countless other stories told by Graham, volunteers, and gift recipients from the past two decades of ministry will remind you of how God uses your gifts to change lives. As you read, your heart will be warmed, filled by the true spirit of Christmas giving.

Buy it here: 


The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional

Tyndale House / 2013 / Hardcover
The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional   -     By: Ann Voskamp
Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot--yes, a new branch bearing fruit from the old root...In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to Him, and the land where He lives will be a glorious place. Isaiah 11:1, 10
The nativity story didn't start with a journey to Bethlehem, an emperor's decree, or a virgin conception---it began with Adam! Exploring the lineage of Jesus through the Advent tradition of the Jesse tree, Voskamp retraces the epic pageantry of mankind from Genesis to God's greatest gift---his Son. A timeless reminder of the true meaning of Christmas!
With your purchase of The Greatest Gift, you'll be given access to an online resource where you can print out the 27 beautiful Jesse Tree ornaments featured in the book.

Good Tidings And Great Joy [Hardcover]

Wish me a Merry Christmas.
Good Tidings And Great Joy [Hardcover]At a time when Christian values are challenged--when the greeting "Merry Christmas" has been replaced by the supposedly less offensive "Happy Holidays"--Governor Sarah Palin makes the case for bringing back the freedom to express the religious spirit of the season.
In her bestselling books, Going Rogue and America by Heart, Palin has revealed how her strong Christian faith has guided her life and family. Now, in Good Tidings and Great Joy, she discusses one of Christianity's most sacred celebrations, and how the holiday has been robbed of its meaning and true tradition by the pressures of political correctness.
Palin defends the importance of preserving Jesus Christ in Christmas--whether in public displays, school concerts, and pageants, or in our hearts--and delivers a sharp rebuke to today's society for the homogenization of the holiday season. Sharing personal memories from Palin Christmases past, she illustrates why she holds the celebration of Jesus Christ's Nativity so dear.
Good Tidings and Great Joy revisits our traditional roots and the true meaning of Christmas. It is a call to action to readers to defend and openly celebrate the joys of their Christianity, and to say to one another, "Merry Christmas "


Christmas Candle (Repack) [Hardcover]Christmas Candle (Repack) [Hardcover]

From New York Times best-selling author Max Lucado comes a timeless message that will warm your heart.
Imagine a Victorian England village in the Cotswolds where very little out of the ordinary ever happens . . . except at Christmas time.
This year, Edward Haddington, a lowly candle maker, is visited by a mysterious angel. That angel silently imparts a precious gift--a gift that's bungled and subsequently lost. The candle maker and his wife, Bea, struggle to find the gift.
And when they do, they have to make a difficult choice. Who among their community is most in need of a Christmas miracle?
Join inspirational author Max Lucado and experience anew the joy of Christmas.

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna

WaterBrook Press / 2013 / Hardcover
 Meet the women who played pivotal roles in Christ's birth! Elizabeth is barren, yet trusts God's promise. Mary is a virgin, but says yes when God asks her to bear his Son. And prophetess Anna proclaims the Messiah's arrival. Unpacking each verse from the Gospel of Luke, Higgs illuminates their love, faithfulness, and obedience to God.

The Christmas Quilt, Quilts of Love Series #11

Abingdon Press / 2013 / Paperback
The Christmas Quilt, Quilts of Love Series #11   -     By: Vannetta Chapman
 Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie?s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem...but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the  English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

A Story of Christmas and All of Us, Hardcover

A Story of Christmas and All of Us, Hardcover    -     By: Roma Downey & Mark Burnett
FaithWords / 2013 / Hardcover
 If you enjoyed the History Channel's epic miniseries The Bible, you'll love this chronicle of Mary and Joseph's journey. Using over 100 never-before-seen pictures taken during the filming, this exquisite book pairs these full-color images with the show's moving text to tell the Christmas story like never before. 126 pages, hardcover.

Walking the Road to Bethlehem

Abingdon Press / 2013 / Paperback
Walking the Road to Bethlehem  -     By: Adam Hamilton
 Experience the nativity story in new ways as you take your own personal journey toward Christmas. Featuring history, archaeology, and research from Hamilton's own travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem, this 4-week daily devotional also provides Scripture, prayers, journaling space, links to travel videos and photographs online, and more. Great for personal or group study! 144 pages, softcover from Abingdon.

The Nativity: The Story of Jesus Christ, DVD                                  - The Nativity: The Story of Jesus Christ, DVD

BMG / 2013 / DVD
 The Nativity follows the life of Jesus Christ from His birth in Bethlehem through His childhood and into manhood, where His special message of love and forgiveness changes the world. However, not all become His followers, and His life on Earth ends brutally on a cross at a place called Calvary. Yet, Jesus' ultimate sacrifice, followed by His resurrection from the dead and His ascension from Earth reveal Him to the world as the one true Son of God in this faith-based, historical drama. Dove approved. Approx. 92 minutes.

Music New Releases 12/10/2013

No Picture

Engine of a Million Plots
Five Iron Frenzy has reunited after calling it quits over eight years ago. Their new 12 track masterpiece, Engine Of A Million Plots, is their 1st studio album in over 10 years that is filled with bold new sounds including their hit single, "It Was A Dark & Stormy Night," which was downloaded over 30,000 times during the first 2 weeks of it's release. The Vinyl release is in deluxe packaging and comes as a Gatefold LP with inner sleeve and 20 page lyric book along with a free digital download.

Metamorphosiz Vol 2 CD

Metamorphosiz Vol 2 CD

Metamorphosiz: The End combines parts one and two of Thousand Foot Krutch's high-octane remix series, featuring hard hitting re-takes on TFK favorites like "Courtesy Call," "Down," "War of Change," "Light Up the Sky," and more.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Releases 12/3/2013

Girl Talk, DVD   -     By: Chonda Pierce

Girl Talk, DVD

The Queen of Clean will have you and your whole family laughing until it hurts! Recorded in front of a sold-out crowd in Nashville, Tennessee, her comical "conversation" combines Chonda Pierce's trademark southern sass with her razor sharp wit. But beware, this preacher's daughter tells it like it is---and there's no subject that she's afraid to tackle. Approx. 76 minutes.

Country Faith V1

By Various

Country Faith V115 of Country music's biggest artists come together to share personal songs of faith in this all-star collection! Featuring songs from today's most popular artists like Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley and Josh Turner, to newcomers such as Scotty McCreery and Dustin Lynch, to cherished heritage artists like Charlie Daniels and the Oak Ridge Boys, this compilation is perfect for Country fans young and old alike!

This one-of-a-kind collection releases on October 22nd in conjunction with Zondervan's new book, "Country Faith: 56 Reflections From Today's Leading Country Music Stars" by renowned Nashville music journalist, Deborah Evans Price. A portion of the sale of every copy of the "Country Faith" book benefits Sophia's Heart Foundation, founded by American Idol finalist and country artist Danny Gokey.

An Amish Miracle (Dec) [Paperback]

By Beth WisemanRuth Reid (Contributor) & Mary Ellis (Contributor)

?Always in My Heart? by Mary Ellis
Hope Bowman believes God is punishing her for giving up her firstborn son when she was a teenager. She?s hidden this past from her husband, who is thankful for their daughters but longs for a son. Hope prays desperately, but the son God sends isn?t a new pregnancy. It's the fifteen-year-old boy she gave away years ago.
?Always His Providence? by Ruth Reid
Widow Rosa Hostetler has one month to pay her delinquent taxes before the county auctions her farm. She?s prepared to sell whatever is necessary to pay the lien, but she isn?t willing to request money from the community's widow fund. She?s embarrassed and refuses to admit she needs help. Rosa depends on income from selling eggs, but when that income is threatened, only a miracle can help Rosa accept the kindness of a neighbor.
?Always Beautiful? by Beth Wiseman
Becky Byler is eighteen and obese. As she continues to grow, so does her despair. Having lost all hope, she considers taking her life, even though it goes against her beliefs. Standing before rushing water, unable to swim, Becky begs God for a miracle. Two months pass and Becky has miraculously lost over a hundred pounds. But does Becky like the person she has become? Could it be this weight loss isn?t at all the miracle she thinks it is?

Daniel Plan (Strict Street Date=12/3/13) [Hardcover]

By Rick WarrenM.D. Daniel AmenM.D. Mark HymanSean Foy (Contributor) & Dee Eastman (Contributor)
Welcome to The Daniel Plan.
Here?s the secret sauce: The Daniel Plan is designed to be done in a supportive community relying on God?s instruction for living.

When it comes to getting healthy, two are always better than one. Our research has revealed that people getting healthy together lose twice as much weight as those who do it alone. God never meant for you to go through life alone and that includes the journey to health. Unlike the thousands of other books on the market, this book is not about a new diet, guilt-driven gym sessions, or shame-driven fasts. The Daniel Plan shows you how the powerful combination of faith, fitness, food, focus, and friends will change your health forever, transforming you in the most head-turning way imaginably---from the inside out.

One of

My Daily Pursuit [Paperback]

By A. W. Tozer & James L. Snyder (Compiler) the 20th century?s most prolific and inspiring communicators has become one of the 21st century?s most prophetic and popular writers. Thanks to the careful curation of James L. Snyder, a pastor in Tozer?s church denomination who has exclusive access to a treasure trove of unpublished Tozer content, we have Tozer?s teachings on a vast number of topics. And now, for the first time, there is a new daily devotional featuring never-before-published content. The famed evangelist Leonard Ravenhill, who knew Tozer personally, said, ?To enter into Dr. Tozer?s presence was an awe-inspiring event.? Now, with My Daily Pursuit, readers will be able to do even more as they enter into the presence of Jesus every day through this awe-inspiring book