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CL winter 09-10 - Evangelical Church Library Association

Church

Church

Libraries

Libraries

Promotion

Promotion

Goes Goes Social

Social

Choices Choices and

and

Challenges:

Challenges:

Supporting

Supporting

Graduates

Graduates

Book Book Roundup:

Roundup:

Grow Grow a

a

Healthy

Healthy

Church

Church

A A New

New

Addiction

Addiction

Author Author Lynn Lynn Austin:

Austin:

Bringing Bringing History History to to Life

Life

A A Publication Publication of of of the the the Evangelical Evangelical Church Church Library Library Library Association

Association

$10

$10

Spring Spring 2010

2010


Launching a Library Ministry

by Debra Stombres, Susan

Fischer, & Lin Johnson—$7

Clear, concise guidance for writing a

mission statement, staffing your library,

furnishing and equipping the room,

selecting books and other media, and

processing and classifying those materials.

Church Library Classification System

by William B. Haburn—$13

Dewey Decimal system adapted

for church libraries.

Helps for Your Library

Automate Your Library

by Debra Stombres—$5

Reviews of library software.

Develop Your Selection Policy

by Lin Johnson—$3

This pamphlet will help you determine

what to put in your library and what to

leave out and to tailor a written policy for

your library.

CDs/cassette tapes

See order form on inside back

cover.

Prices include shipping & handling in U.S.; e-mail mary@eclalibraries.org for extra shipping costs to other countries.

Complete this form, and mail it with a check or money order payable in U.S. funds to ECLA.

___Launching a Library Ministry, $7

___Church Library Classification System, $13

Automate

Automate

Yo Your Yo

Libr Library Libr

Name______________________________________________________________________________

Address ____________________________________________________________________________

City _______________________________________________________________________________

State/Province____________________ Zip+4/Postal Code _______________________________

Phone _____________________________________________________________________________

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Total enclosed: $________

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Debra Stombres

Susan Fischer

Lin Johnson

Order Form

___Automate Your Library, $5

___Develop Your Selection Policy, $3

ECLA

P.O. Box 353, Glen Ellyn, IL 60138

630-375-7865

mary@eclalibraries.org

by by Debra Debra Stombres

Stombres

Develop

Develop

Yo Your Yo Yo

Libr Library Libr

Selection

Selection

Policy Policy

Policy

by by by Lin Lin Lin Johnson Johnson

Johnson


Church Libraries

Volume 39, Number 3

Spring 2010

ISSN: 0739-0297, SAN: 690-1832

Managing Editor

Lin Johnson

Contributing Editors

Cindy Grabill

Arlene Walker

Church Libraries is published quarterly

by the Evangelical Church Library Association,

P.O. Box 353, Glen Ellyn, IL

60138-0353. Phone: 630-375-7865;

fax: 847-296-0754; e-mail: Judi@

eclalibraries.org; www.ECLAlibraries.

org.

Subscriptions are a benefit of membership

in the Evangelical Church Library

Association. Membership fees: individuals,

churches, and schools: $35 per year;

Canada, $40; other, $50; publishers/suppliers:

$100. All memberships must be

paid in U.S. currency.

Subscription inquiries/problems,

change of address, information about

ECLA, questions about starting/running

a church library, sample copy:

Contact Judi Turek, secretary, at the

above address.

Editorial office, review products,

advertising: Lin Johnson, Managing

Editor, Church Libraries, 9118 W.

Elmwood Drive #1G, Niles, IL 60714-

5820. Phone: 847-296-3964; fax:

847-296-0754; e-mail: linjohnson@

eclalibraries.org.

Scripture is taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW

INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973,

1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by

permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

© 2010 by

Evangelical Church Library Association

MEMBER

C C O O N N T T E E N N T T S

S

DEPARTMENTS

News & Notes .............................................................................................................. 3

Librarian to Librarian

A New Addiction by Cheryl Koch .......................................................................... 4

Author Interview

Lynn Austin

Bringing History to Life by Kara Hackett ............................................................ 10

Book Roundup

Grow a Healthy Church by Cindy Grabill........................................................... 12

PROMOTION

Promotional Hooks ...................................................................................................... 3

Bulletin Board by Carol Robinson ................................................................................ 4

Promotion Goes Social by Debra Stombres................................................................. 5

Choices and Challenges: Supporting Graduates by Jeanetta Chrystie ................... 8

Bulletin Boards/Poster by Arlene Walker ................................................................ 32

REVIEWS

Books ........................................................................................................................... 15

Bible & Theology ................................................................................................... 15

Biography & Memoir ............................................................................................ 16

Children .................................................................................................................. 17

Christian Education .............................................................................................. 20

Christian Living..................................................................................................... 21

Church & Ministry ................................................................................................ 22

Contemporary Issues ............................................................................................ 22

Evangelism & Missions ........................................................................................ 23

Family ..................................................................................................................... 24

Fiction ..................................................................................................................... 24

Potpourri ................................................................................................................ 28

Teens ....................................................................................................................... 29

DVD ............................................................................................................................. 30

Reviewers .................................................................................................................... 30

Music ........................................................................................................................... 31

Reviews are the opinions of individual reviewers, not necessarily of the editor or

ECLA. Prices are subject to change.

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 1


Join ECLA Today

Benefits

Subscription to Church Libraries

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Make check or money order payable to

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2 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

E E C C L L A

A

Evangelical Church Library Association

The Evangelical Church Library Association is a fellowship of individuals,

churches, and publishers for the purpose of enriching lives through the ministry

of well-organized church and school libraries and media centers.

Founded in 1970, ECLA is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization.

Board of Directors

Donna Waln, president

Judi Turek, secretary

Mary Clapp, recording secretary

Paul Trautwein, treasurer

Lin Johnson, Church Libraries editor

Corporate Members

Publishers

Crossway Books

Lamplighter Publishing

OakTara Publishers

Oasis Audio

Tyndale House Publishers

Vision Video

Diane Fisher

Dave Franklin

Lisa Kern

Lynette Trautwein

Mary Bechtel, president emeritus

Suppliers

DEMCO, Inc.

Jaywil Software

Right On Programs

Advisory Board

V. Gilbert Beers

Author and former president, Scripture Press Ministries

Larry Fullerton

Pastor, Black Rock Congregational Church, Trumbull, Conn.

Doug Ross

President emeritus, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association

Paul Snezek

Retired director of learning resources, Buswell Library, Wheaton

College

Mark Taylor

President, Tyndale House Publishers

Ferne Weimer

Library consultant, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc.

Are You Moving?

Don’t forget to send us your old and new addresses, so your subscription will

continue uninterrupted and we will save money sending it to you.


Promotional

Hooks

APRIL

School Library Media Month

National Poetry Month

Holy Humor Month

Financial Literacy Month

Month of the Young Child

11-17: National Library Week

Theme: Communities thrive

@ your library

(www.ala.org/nlw)

12: Drop Everything

and Read Day

13: National Library

Workers Day

15: Support Teen

Literature Day

18-24: National Volunteer

Week

19-25: Turn Off TV Week

MAY

Get Caught Reading Month

National Family Month

6: National Day of Prayer

10-16: Children’s Book Week

(www.bookweekonline.com)

12-18: Reading Is Fun Week

16: Biographer’s Day

JUNE

Audiobook Month

Fiction Is Fun Month

National Bathroom

Reading Month

N N E E W W S S & & N N O O T T E E S

S

Book & DVD Updates

Repackaged

Colorado Crimes by Lisa Harris (Barbour,

combination of Recipe for Murder,

Baker’s Fatal Dozen, Chef’s Deadly Dish)

Mainely Mysteries by Susan Page

Davis & Megan Elaine Davis (Barbour,

combination of Homicide at Blue Heron

Lake, Treasure at Blue Heron Lake, Impostors

at Blue Heron Lake)

Reprinted

The Core of Christianity by Neil T.

Anderson (Harvest House)

Discovering God in Stories from the

Bible by Philip Graham Ryken (P&R)

The Whispers of Angels: Stories to

Touch Your Heart by Annette Smith

(Harvest House)

One-Minute Answers to Skeptics by

Charlie H. Campbell (Harvest House)

Retitled

A Kiss for Cade by Lori Copeland

(Harvest House, originally The Courtship

of Cade Colby)

The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews

(Nelson, originally Island of Saints)

Revised

2010 Christian Writers’ Market Guide

by Sally E. Stuart (Tyndale)

The Call to Business (DVD, Vision

Video)

The Hurting Parent by Margie M.

Lewis with Gregg Lewis (Zondervan)

Mark

Mark

Your Your Calendar!

Calendar!

High High Tech, Tech, High High Touch Touch

Touch

ECLA ECLA Conference

Conference

October October October 22-23

22-23

Wheaton, Wheaton, Ill.

Ill.

Friday Friday

Friday

Meet Meet the the Authors Authors Dinner

Dinner

Saturday Saturday Keynote Keynote Keynote Speakers Speakers

Speakers

Jeff Jeff & & Cindy Cindy Crosby

Crosby

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 3


y Cheryl Koch

4 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

L L I I B B R R A A R R I I A A N N T T O O L L I I B B R R A A R R I I A A N

N

A New Addiction

About five years ago, I got

hooked on an addictive TV

show called 24. Some of you

know it. It is high intensity, is high adventure,

and keeps you on the edge of

your seat. A show about combating

terrorism, it left me with nightmares

and horrible images of torture, abuse,

and evil. I liked it; it was a rush of excitement.

But once I turned it off, I

battled fear and had trouble sleeping.

Eventually, I knew the Lord was

prompting me to stop watching the

show.

Then about two years ago, I began

to devour an addictive book series. It

also kept me hooked with all manners

of adventure. It also contained many

scenes imprinted on my memory, such

as murder, theft, and cannibalism.

A Different Addiction

However, there was an important difference

between my TV addiction and

my books: The books pointed me to

God and His redemption of an ugly

life. This series, Christian Heroes: Then

and Now by Janet and Geoff Benge

(Ywam), tells the stories of ordinary,

broken people and how God saved

them and made them heroes for His

Kingdom.

Instead of stealing my sleep and

producing fear, these books ignited a

passion for spreading God’s message

of healing and hope, gave me a greater

understanding of how God has

worked in history and through many

different cultures, and sparked a longing

for greater faith and holier living.

They also gave me a renewed desire

for God to use my little life for His

glory.

For children under age 6, I recommend

another great series based on this

one, Heroes for Young Readers, which

tells the stories in rhyme. These are also

good for beginning readers.

My Challenge to You

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since

we are surrounded by such a great

cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything

that hinders and the sin that

so easily entangles, and let us run with

perseverance the race marked out for

us.” These two book series help us do

that.

Like me, once you read one, you

B B U U L L L L E E T T I I N

N

B B O O A A R R D

D

Staple covers of magazines

your library subscribes to (or

color copies of covers) around

the caption, Stay in the loop

in 15 minutes a day.

Created by Carol Robinson,

librarian at Cherry Creek

Presbyterian Church, Denver,

Colo.

may not be able to stop. At a minimum,

I personally guarantee your outlook on

life and God will be changed. The

books are not too long, are well written,

and are perfect for family readalouds.

So I encourage you to put both of

these series in your library, then challenge

people to read at least one in the

following month. With these books,

you can get your congregation excited

about the way God has worked in the

past and for the work He has for us today.

____________________________________________________

Cheryl Koch is librarian at Olive Tree Congregation,

Prospect Heights, Ill.


P P R R O O M M O O T T I I O O N

N

Promotion Goes Social

by Debra Stombres

Social networking has taken over

many people’s computing time.

Avid Web users are not merely

surfing anymore, but also visiting

popular networking sites, such as

Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. What

can this current Internet trend provide

for church librarians? It is free, popular,

and a great way to connect with

current and potential patrons.

Here are the most popular social

networking sites for librarians to capitalize

on virtual real estate. Then you

can decide what will work for you. The

current most popular sites for connecting

and socializing are Facebook,

MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, and You-

Tube. Church Community Builder is a

social networking option for churches

to build internal communities, the

unlibrary is a virtual library, and

Church Librarians is a network for,

well, church librarians.

Side note: You may have a successful

blog up and running. If you are

maintaining hits and posts, then don’t

drop it. However, my recent experiences

in several virtual venues is that

the general trend is a loss of interest in

blogs, perhaps as a result of the rabbitlike

proliferation of them (somewhere

in the millions).

Facebook

www.facebook.com

Facebook is free real estate

on the Internet. Individuals

create profiles, providing as much information

about themselves as they

wish to reveal, including a small, current

photo. People search for other

Facebookers and send a “friends request.”

When the request is accepted,

the two friends now see each other’s

posts, pictures, etc. If rejected, the requester

cannot access the other’s posts

and pages. If accepted, the new friend’s

updates are shown, along with all the

member’s friends’ postings in a long list

of constantly growing entries.

Each Facebooker can send e-mail to

other Facebookers, follow postings by

becoming a “fan,” post whole collections

of photos, be tagged in other

Facebookers’ photos, and write on each

other’s “walls.”

What’s in it for librarians? Join the

fun and nonstop interaction by creating

a library profile; posting short book

reviews; and publicizing new titles,

hours open, etc. “Friend” (yes, this

word is now a verb) your church members

who use Facebook, and keep them

in touch with your ministry.

MySpace

www.myspace.com

With more of a Web site

look to it, MySpace has a different

feel than Facebook. Most of the

same capabilities are present with more

emphasis on blogging, rather than

posting. One “friends” other members

to see and blog on their pages, e-mail

one another, post links to YouTube, and

upload audio and video files. MySpace

is perhaps more media intensive, along

with a fair amount of advertising filling

all the empty space.

Here you can create a free Web presence

with pictures of your library, announcements

of new titles and pro-

grams, book discussions, etc. Perhaps

you can start an online book discussion

with other MySpace users.

Twitter

www.twitter.com

Appropriately named,

Twitter is constantly chirping

away with short posts about anything

and everything. Each tweet is

limited to only 140 characters, so no

one can say a lot at once. You do not

have personal, virtual real estate to be

visited by others; instead, tweeters

choose to follow other tweets to see

what other people are posting.

I am currently following a number

of libraries around the country, as well

as Library Journal and the American Library

Association. Library Journal posts

short summaries of current articles and

news items with links to its site for

more information.

You can create a church or school

library Twitter account and attract followers

to see you tweet about new

books, events, and more.

YouTube

www.youtube.com

Who would have

guessed it would be

so easy for everyone to become a star?

Even inexpensive digital cameras now

take short video clips that are easily

uploaded to YouTube. Only shorter

videos are supported here—no feature-length

movies, but music videos,

how-tos, and family fun abounds.

YouTube allows for rating and commenting

on videos, as well as adding

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 5


keywords and searching.

Besides the ability to point someone

to your movie at YouTube, it is fairly

easy to paste the provided code into

your own Web site and run the video

there. The original video is posted at

YouTube.com but viewable wherever

the code is pasted in.

A few months ago, I posted an informational

video to YouTube for my

library’s annual holiday open house;

and it ran from the front page of the

library’s Web site. Besides great promotion

for the event, it was fun for my

staff as I put them on film.

Flickr

www.flickr.com

Do you want a

place to create online

photo albums, sort and store your

photography, and share albums with

friends? Flickr is one of several photo

sites that offers a variety of free ways

to post your pictures. It has partnered

with Picnik for free and fun photo editing

and with Snapfish for inexpensive

prints and gifts.

Once again, you can create a profile,

find friends, and invite them to your

Flickr space. This is yet another way to

promote your library materials, staff,

and activities.

Church Librarians

www.churchlibrarians.

ning.com

Ning is a site to develop

niche social networks, and a group of

church librarians has done just that.

Unlike other sites, there is no need to

register to view the posts; this one is

6 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

P P R R O O M M O O T T I I O O N

N

more like a blog. If you register and create

a profile page, it functions much

like Facebook. Upload a thumbnail picture

for your profile, and you’re good

to go. Use e-mail internally to contact

other members, “friend” people, create

photo pages, etc.

Friending is a little different than on

the bigger networks. If you click “add

a friend,” you are inviting someone

outside of the site to join it. If you wish

to “friend” someone who is already a

member, click the members link.

Make sure you check out the ECLA

group in this relevant social network

at churchlibrarians.ning.com/group/

evangelicalchurchlibraryassociation.

unlibrary

www.unlibrary.com

Add a picture, invite

friends, form a group. This

all sounds familiar but with

a different twist. Upload a

list of your personal library

books, join a group in your

physical proximity, and begin to check

your books in and out to others. This

is social networking for book lovers.

Complete with thumbnails of your

books, this site—which gives you the

ability to share your library with members

of your physical community—also

includes collection stats and downloadable

lists.

There are a number of growing communities

in various parts of the country

sharing their resources in this oldfashioned

way. Smaller libraries and

church members lacking a physical

church library may benefit by connecting

their own collections.

Church Community Builder

www.churchcommunitybuilder.com

Different from all the other networking

sites, this one is not free. It is an

investment a church may wish to make

to create a total online environment for

its members. My church uses this site

to create groups for various ministries,

allowing for internal communication,

posting, commenting, etc. Families

have profiles and relationships; ministry

involvement constitutes a group.

Calendars provide updates to events;

and the whole site is tied to a back-end

system for membership, giving, etc.

Here traditional church administrative

software has merged with social

networking to create a church online

presence for the 21st century.

Your Move

The key to using all these sites is to attract

patrons, who will see and follow

what you post. Hence, a sense of community

is created. The result is not

anonymous Web surfing but, rather,

permission-related viewing and conversation

that make social networking

so popular. We live in a harried and

crazy world where even regular phone

calls are hard to make, but take a brief

look at your Facebook page and your

tweets; and you suddenly feel part of

a circle of friends again. Tweet!

_____________________________________________

Debra Stombres is the branch coordinator

for the west branch of the Aurora Public

Library, Aurora, Ill. She is a former school

librarian, former ECLA board member,

and current ECLA webmaster.


WHAT MAKES

THIS ATLAS “NEW”?

• All new graphics

• Every page rewritten,

updated and expanded

• New Indexes

• 800+ Endnotes added

for further research

• 118 full color, detailed

and digitized maps

PASTORS, SMALL GROUP LEADERS, AND STUDENTS WILL FIND

THIS ATLAS AN INDISPENSABLE RESOURCE FOR SERMON

PREPARATION, LESSONS, AND PERSONAL BIBLE STUDY.

INTEGRATES THE GEOGRAPHY

OF BIBLE LANDS WITH THE

TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE.

ISBN-13: 978-0-8024-0441-1

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 7


8 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

P P R R O O M M O O T T I I O O N

N

Choices and Challenges:

Supporting Graduates

by Jeanetta Chrystie

Graduation creates anticipation,

a sense of achievement, per

haps feelings of relief, and the

uncertainties of new horizons. Each

spring/early summer yields a new set

of graduates: high school and college,

even middle and elementary school.

This is an opportunity to show the

church library offers Christian support

and guidance before and during these

turning points in people’s lives. So create

a graduation display and promote

appropriate books and DVDs.

Grade-school Graduates

Elementary-school graduates are

headed for a big change in their lives.

As they pass from childhood into the

teenage years, they are hit full-in-theface

by the middle-school world. Many

schools now promote kids after fifth

grade into a middle school of sixththrough

eighth-graders. We can help

these impressionable kids during their

transition from parent-oriented children

into peer-oriented youth.

Books that teach values and how to

make good choices will help an older

child cope during this transition time

and make wise choices when confronted

with the temptations preteens

face. For example, the Middle School

Survival Series from Zondervan is designed

to help them navigate this transition.

These children face increased peer

pressure. Middle-school teachers are

less familiar with each child since they

spend less than an hour per day with

them. Preteens are expected to keep

their school work up-to-date with

fewer reminders from their teachers.

The shock of this transition often results

in a slump in a child’s grades,

which can damage self-worth, an allimportant

element in a child’s ability

to withstand negative peer pressure.

Books for parents on building their

child’s worth in God, handling peer

pressure, and building study skills can

make a difference in young lives.

Middle-school Graduates

Middle-school graduates face another

transition, from discovering the opposite

sex to developing real relationships.

They face a different world; as

high school freshmen they are again at

the bottom of the social strata in a new

proving ground. School work is more

demanding with little prodding from

teachers; teens are now expected to become

more responsible for completing

their work. It’s vital to start them in

high school with a positive, Christian

frame of reference. So feature teen

books on this topic, such as The High

School Survival Guide by Adam Palmer.

Useful teen book topics for high

school students include developing

good study habits, how to survive high

school, the Christian view of sex and

marriage, and selecting a career.

Books for parents about teen transi-

tions, decision-making skills, and

maintaining loving involvement will

help parents guide their young teens.

High-school Graduates

High-school graduates face more freedom

and responsibility. Will they get

a job, marry, or go on to college? Some

try all three. For high-school graduates

who either do not have the desire or

ability to attend college, life as an adult

has begun. Ready or not, they are faced

with sink-or-swim challenges. Failures

are no longer late or incomplete assignments,

breaking up with the latest boyfriend

or girlfriend, getting cut from

the team, or not being popular.

Now teens face getting and keeping

jobs, perhaps moving out on their own,

maybe even marriage and raising a

family. Provide a variety of books with

Christian guidance for these young

adults, especially devotional and howto

books

Graduates who intend to continue

their education in college can benefit

from Christian college catalogs in the

church library, as well as books on how

to select a college and finance it, such

as College Bound: What Christian Parents

Need to Know About Helping Their Kids

Choose a College by Thomas A. Shaw.

What about those who marry before

or during their college years? They

need early marriage enrichment materials,

maybe even pregnancy and childrearing

books, as well as guidance in


completing their course of study successfully.

Numerous excellent materials

are available on these topics.

College Graduates

College and university graduates again

face choices. Some choose to continue

studying by moving on to a graduate

school or seminary. Some are ready to

prepare their résumés for job interviews.

Provide books on writing

résumés and interviewing for a job, as

well as copies of seminary catalogs.

Preparing a Graduation

Emphasis

First, during April or May determine

where you will set up your graduation

emphasis. Do you have at least one flat

surface on which to display a variety

of materials? Is there a ceiling support

or another structure from which you

can suspend eye-catching advertisements?

What type of mobiles or posters

will you make?

It It is is vital vital that that we

we

continue continue to to seek

seek

out out new new groups

groups

in in our our churches

churches

to to whom whom we we can

can

minister minister by by providing

providing

and and publicizing

publicizing

inspirational

inspirational

and and educational

educational

resources resources in

in

our our libraries.

libraries.

P P R R O O M M O O T T I I O O N

N

Second, after your Easter and Mother’s

Day emphases, place short advertisements

for your materials in your

church bulletin or newsletter, beginning

with college graduates. They will

need the most time to peruse materials

to benefit from them. Encourage

students in their junior years of college

and high school—and their parents—

to look at the graduation-related collection

of books and other materials in

your library.

Third, get lists of your church’s

graduates from the office and post it

in an easily visible place with congratulatory

messages around it. You could

ask friends and family members to

write notes to display. Consider giving

out bookmarks with an inspirational,

graduation, or other appropriate

message. Be certain to have a

different design appropriate for each

of the different age groups of graduates

you intend to honor.

Finally, plan an event to honor

these young people. Who wouldn’t

enjoy a graduation party? Offer popcorn

and a chance to browse through

available materials. You could even

hold it earlier on the same Sunday

that you kick off your summer reading

club. For instance, have the graduation

party and present those materials

Sunday morning after worship,

then have your reading-club kickoff

Sunday afternoon before the evening

service or other activities. This way

you only clean up once.

It is vital that we continue to seek

out new groups in our churches to

whom we can minister by providing

and publicizing inspirational and

educational resources in our libraries.

Whether they are graduating from

college, high school, middle school,

or elementary school, each age group

has its own set of choices to make.

Each transition point also has its own

assortment of challenges to face.

You can play a vital role in helping

children, teens, and young adults

make their choices biblically, armed

with Christian resources, and providing

Christian books for their parents as

they seek to guide their children.

___________________________________

Jeanetta Chrystie is a freelance writer and

church library volunteer at University

Heights Baptist Church in Springfield,

Mo.

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Church Libraries • Spring 2010 9


10 10 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

A A U U T T H H O O R R I I N N T T E E R R V V I I E E W

W

Bringing History

to Life

by Kara Hackett

On the brink of a new novel,

Lynn Austin has much to be

proud of. Yet, after winning

five Christy Awards (for excellence in

Christian fiction)—more than any

other author—for her historical fiction,

she remains humble, attributing her

greatest accomplishment to the upbringing

of her three children.

“This may sound cheesy, but I

would just like to be remembered for

doing my best to be a good mother and

rearing my children to believe in Jesus

Christ,” Austin said. “That is a rare

thing today.”

Becoming a Novelist

Since her novelist debut in 1995, this

self-taught author’s interest in the story

of King Hezekiah has continued to

resonate, calling forth her passion for

a God who uses imperfect people for

His perfect purpose.

“The first book I wrote was Gods and

Kings, which became a five-book series,”

she said. “The books are biblical

fiction, based on the life of the Old Testament

king Hezekiah. He has always

fascinated me. After I read his story I

kept thinking, Why isn’t he as well known

as Abraham or Isaiah?

“I found Hezekiah’s life and journey

of faith to be inspiring and decided

to ‘bring him to life’ through fiction.

He led an entire nation in a time of turmoil

and remained faithful to God, but

he wasn’t perfect. That is another rea-

son I enjoyed Hezekiah’s story: I could

relate to him. And that’s what I love

about the Bible. You would think that

if there were to be a holy book, all of

the people in that book would be holy

as well, right? But the men and women

in the Bible made mistakes as we do,

and God was able to use them anyway.”

Using Her Creativity

Although Austin writes from a Christian

worldview, she has captivated

fans of many faiths, bringing history

to life with her vivid storytelling techniques.

Before she began writing, her

creativity and passion for the past distinguished

her among her peers.

“I was a very creative child,” she

said. “I had a good imagination, and

my parents encouraged my creativity;

but I never considered writing. Even

in high school I was never recognized

for my writing. But I had a history

teacher who asked me to stay after

class one day because he liked a paper

I had written. He wanted me to write

history books; and, in a way, I ended

up doing that by writing historical fiction.”

Bringing History to Life

Austin’s creative mind incites her obsession

with history, specifically biblical

and American history, allowing her

to revisit the past and share her endeavors

with others.

Lynn Austin

“When I read history books, I can

picture it all in my mind like it’s a

story,” she said. “History is much more

than the facts you find in textbooks. It’s

about the people of each time period

and how they lived their lives.

“After the God and Kings series, my

next novel was Eve’s Daughters, which

is loosely based on the lives of the

women in my family. I was inspired

by their strength and their faith, even

though they went through some difficult

times. As I began to research the

historical background of the time periods

of my mother’s, grandmother’s

and great-grandmother’s lives, I found

a wealth of information and ideas for

more stories. The women in my family

are all strong people, but their strength

comes from their faith in God. All of

the other historical fiction I’ve written

seemed to grow out of this first book.”

Writing accurate historical fiction

requires extensive research. Austin’s

latest novel, Though Waters Roar, spans

the antislavery movement; Civil War;

temperance movement; and, finally,

women’s suffrage movement.

“I began by reading several reference

books on the women’s suffrage

movement; and they all talked about

the connections between that movement,

the women’s Christian temperance

movement, and the antislavery

movement,” she said.

“So I branched off from there and

read books about all three movements.


There are also some good Internet sites

from universities with women’s studies

programs that I referenced. I had

already done a lot of research about

abolition and the Civil War for my

three-book Refiner’s Fire series, so I

was able to refer to all of my notes from

those books.”

Creating Characters

Telling the stories that history books

overlook, Austin purposefully places

women center stage in nearly all of her

historical novels; however, of all her

leading ladies, she does not completely

identify herself with any one.

“All of my characters have a little

bit of me in them, but I wouldn’t say

that I am particularly similar to any of

them. It sounds crazy sometimes. But

once I start writing about them, they

take on their own personalities; and I

can’t control them anymore. Even

when I do originally create them to be

like me or someone I know, they end

up becoming their own persons.”

Allowing her characters to develop

their own personalities, Austin writes

about the issues of faith, hope, and love

that women of every generation

struggle with. Though Waters Roar is

narrated by a brave heroine, Harriet

Sherwood, as she awaits judgment for

her efforts to achieve social justice. Telling

the tales of three generations of

women who preceded her, Harriet consoles

herself in her jail cell; and in each

recollection she finds evidence of

“What “What I I tr try tr y to to show

show

in in my my novels novels is

is

that that life life may may be

be

hard, hard, but but God God is

is

always always sovereign.”

sovereign.”

A A U U T T H H O O R R I I N N T T E E R R V V I I E E W

W

God’s redemption.

“The biggest thing is learning to love

God and the person He created you to

be,” Austin said. “As human beings,

we all desire to be loved, but the

trouble comes when we look for that

love in the wrong places.”

Like the men and women of the

Bible, none of Austin’s characters are

perfect. They each face a series of conflicts,

both personal and generational,

that test their strengths and tempt their

weaknesses, ultimately revealing

greater truths about the grand-scale

struggles of their time.

“Whenever I start writing, I begin

with a few characters in mind,” Austin

said. “Then I put those characters

in certain situations and a time period

and watch how it all plays out. By the

time I begin writing, I usually have

done enough research, so I know what

events will take place in each

character’s life. Then I see how the

characters react to those events.

“I never start a book with a message

in mind because then my writing becomes

too preachy. But once the plot

starts coming together, I am able to find

messages in what I have written. It’s

strange, but usually the messages in

my novels are similar to what I heard

or experienced when I was writing

them. Everything ties together.”

Since the release of Though Waters

Roar, Austin has been researching a different

era of American history, putting

together the pieces of a drama that will

hit bookshelves this year. “My next

novel, While We’re Far Apart, takes

place during the 1940s in New York,

and it is about World War II.”

Getting Help From the Bible

Through all of her literary and historical

endeavors, Austin’s most poignant

source of inspiration and motivation is

her Bible. As the characters in her novels

come to understand, life is full of

adversity; but a life devoted to the Lord

is strengthened in times of trial and restored

by His steadfast love.

Lynn Austin’s Novels

All She Ever Wanted

Chronicles of the Kings series

(previously, God and Kings

series)

God and Kings

Song of Redemption

The Strength of His Hand

Faith of My Fathers

Among the Gods

Eve’s Daughters

Hidden Places* (also a Hallmark

movie on DVD)

A Proper Pursuit*

Refiner’s Fire series

Candle in the Darkness*

Fire by Night*

A Light to My Path

Though Waters Roar

Until We Reach Home*

Wings of Refuge

A Woman’s Place

All from Bethany House.

*Christy Award winners.

“I think my greatest help through

the trials in my life has come from reading

God’s Word on a daily basis,” Austin

said. “Most of the people in the

Bible dealt with the same trials and

hardships we encounter, yet God was

faithful through them all. I have found

that as I’ve faced difficulties, I would

recall God’s faithfulness from Scripture

stories, examples of how God expects

me to respond.

“I’ve learned that the more familiar

I am with Scripture, the more I can find

comfort and direction through life’s trials.

What I try to show in my novels is

that life may be hard, but God is always

sovereign. He will help us

through every difficulty and accomplish

His purposes.”

_____________________________________________________________________

Kara Hackett is a professional writing major

at Taylor University and a reviewer for

Church Libraries.

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 11

11


Grow a Healthy Church

by Cindy Grabill

The church is often thought of as

the building on the corner of

Third and Walnut or maybe the

place that hosts the annual memorial

service for the homeless. My church

was once identified as the one across

the street from the pawnshop.

Yet the following books emphasize

that the church is much more than a

building but is, instead, a body of believers,

each one with a specific function.

If these books are in the library,

all parts of your church body will benefit.

THE BERENSTAIN BEARS GO TO

SUNDAY SCHOOL

by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Zonderkidz, 978-0-310-71248-0, PB, 32

pages, $3.99

Mother Bear suggests to her family

one Saturday night that they start going

to church again. She points out that

church is like glue that holds the family

together. The others remind her of

their “more important” Sunday activities:

soccer practice, ballet lessons, and

chores around the house. However,

they agree to attend the early service.

Brother and Sister Bear learn the story

of Noah’s ark and participate in an activity

to re-enforce learning. They

agree that it was “kind of interesting”

and will even return the following

week.

This children’s book serves as a reminder

to the whole family of the importance

of regular Sunday worship.

12 12 12 Church Libraries • Fall 2009

B B O O O O K K R R O O U U N N D D U U P

P

THE CHURCH GOD BLESSES

by Jim Cymbala

Zondervan, 978-0-310-24203-1, PB, 168

pages, $9.99

God blesses a church with members

who are willing to confess even their

smallest sins and strive to change. They

are excited about the Lord, long for

God’s approval, and replace selfishness

with sacrificial love. They draw

on God’s power as they leave their

comfort zones to try new challenges.

They listen to and obey God as He

gives them daily instructions and follow

Him step-by-step.

Following this description of a

church can reap positive changes in

your own body of believers.

THE CHURCH IN GOD’S PROGRAM

by Robert L. Saucy

Moody, 978-0-802-415-448, PB, 254

pages, $15.99

Every library needs a theology book

on the church, and this one is an excellent

choice. Backing up each point with

illustrations from Scripture, Saucy examines

the early beginnings of the

church, emphasizing that it is not a

building but a group of believers who

have been called to evangelize at home

and worldwide.

He stresses that each believer

indwelt with the Holy Spirit has spiritual

gifts God can use in ministry. He

shows how the church will fall into ruin

without discipline but points out the

importance of forgiveness and restoration—or

excommunication if the offender

refuses to repent. He also lists

qualifications and responsibilities of

elders, deacons, and deaconesses.

CHURCH: WHY BOTHER?

by Philip Yancey

Zondervan, 978-0-310-24313-7, PB, 112

pages, $12.99

Yancey’s boyhood church taught

that skating, going to movies, bowling,

and reading the Sunday paper were all

sins. He left when the pastor preached

that African-Americans were subhuman;

and he stayed away from church

for a long time. Later, he tried it again.

This is his story of the lessons he

learned in his journey from being a

skeptic to an advocate of the church.

For example, he learned that church

brings generations together and is a

place where anyone is welcome. There

sinners hold each other accountable,

bear each others’ burdens, share pain,

and minister to the needs of the neighborhood

in which the building is located.

Since the building may be the

place where someone will hear the

message of God’s love, church is worth

the bother.

FUSION: Turning First-Time Guests

into Full-Fledged Members of Your

Church

by Nelson Searcy with Jennifer

Dykes Henson

Regal, 978-0-8307-4531-9, PB, 176

pages, $14.99

We make preparations when we are

expecting company for dinner. In the

same way, we may have first-time visitors

in our churches this Sunday, so we

need to be ready. Searcy points out that

first-time guests will make a decision


about returning within the first seven

minutes. They are more likely to come

back, for example, if members make

them feel welcome, if the pews are

comfortable, if the building is clean,

and especially if they aren’t asked to

stand up and introduce themselves.

Searcy emphasizes the importance of

obtaining contact information, so pastors

can send welcoming e-mails or deliver

apple pies.

Since forming relationships is the

glue that keeps people coming, he recommends

inviting second-time visitors

to join small groups or attend a nonthreatening

event and assigning jobs to

regular attendees. He also points out

that we are doing regular attendees a

disservice if we do not urge them to

become members. The last chapter includes

nine discussion questions to use

in a membership class.

Recommend this practical guide to

members interested in evangelism. The

appendices include sample copies of

follow-up notes and possible survey

questions to send to returning visitors.

GOD’S GLORIOUS CHURCH

by Tony Evans

Moody, 978-0-80224-3951-2, PB, 288

pages, $12.99

The church is a special assembly of

believers and the answer to Jesus’

prayer, “Your will be done on earth as

it is in heaven.” The church is a body

of believers, each with a specific function

and convinced that Jesus is the one

and only Son of God. They are people

empowered with the Holy Spirit who

strive to become more like Jesus every

day. They share their faith with those

around them. Those new believers in

turn make disciples in their worlds.

Through corporate worship, they celebrate

God for who He is, what He has

done, and what they are trusting Him

to do. They claim the victory that is

theirs through Jesus and know that

through God nothing is impossible.

Together they have the power to impact

the world.

B B O O O O K K R R O O U U N N D D U U P

P

HOW TO KEEP THE PASTOR YOU

LOVE

by Jane Rubietta

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-2319-2, PB,

180 pages, $15

Many church members consider

their pastors to be superhuman, expecting

them to be perfect people and

on call seven days a week without fail.

Rubietta, a pastor’s wife, emphasizes

that many pastors are in churches

“where seldom is heard an encouraging

word” and offers a myriad of practical

tips on ways parishioners can

lighten their pastors’ loads.

She stresses the importance of locating

the parsonage away from the

church, so trustees won’t be tempted

to hold Sunday school in the living

room; points out ways members can

support their leaders when they are

going through personal crises; and reminds

readers to present a sound retirement

package for the clergy. Finally,

she presents ideas for closure

when his time at the church is up.

Each chapter includes thought-provoking

questions for the pastor. Several

appendices are included: housing

help, pastoral care resources, and questions

to evaluate burnout.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER: Becoming

the Church Jesus Longs For

by Gerald L. Sittser

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-3449-5, PB,

188 pages, $15

Several years ago Sittser’s wife,

If If these these books

books

ar are ar e in in the the librar library, librar

all all par parts par ts of of your

your

church church body

body

will will benefit.

benefit.

mother, and daughter were killed in a

car accident. People immediately

showed up with food. He received

3,000 cards and notes. Friends prayed

and ministered to him for long after.

That outpouring of love made him realize

the kind of church that pleases

God. There people put up with each

others’ idiosyncrasies without complaining.

They truly forgive their fellow

church members and look for ways

to serve They speak encouraging

words to their discouraged friends and

challenge others to stretch their faith

by getting out of the comfort zone.

Sittser emphasizes particularly the

importance of admonishing brothers

and sisters in loving, nonjudgmental

ways which will help Christians become

all that God intended them to be.

THE MEASURE OF A HEALTHY

CHURCH

by Gene A. Getz

Moody, 978-0-8024-5124-8, PB, 144

pages, $14.99

Some churches rate their effectiveness

by the number of people who

found the Lord there. Others count

heads on Sunday mornings. Getz

shows from the book of Acts that the

early church leaders considered numbers

important but later discovered

that quality far exceeds quantity. A

church, asserts Getz, is measured by

the extent its members have put away

childish things and are growing consistently

toward spiritual maturity.

This is an excellent book for a Sunday

school or small-group study; it will

reap healthy changes in your congregation.

NINE MARKS OF A HEALTHY

CHURCH

by Mark Dever

Crossway, 978-1-5813-4631-2, PB, 287

pages, $15.99

Pastor Dever focuses on nine characteristics

that distinguish a healthy

church: The Word of God is constantly

preached. Members have repented of

Church Libraries • Fall 2009 13 13

13


their sins and are growing in their faith.

They recognize God as sovereign and

understand His character and ways

with His people. They take the Great

Commission seriously and look for

ways to spread the Good News about

God’s love. The members are unified.

They know each other and pray for

each other. They listen as others share

what is on their hearts. They hold each

other accountable and are not afraid to

rebuke another in love. Most importantly,

they work collectively to become

what God had in mind when He

made them.

THE POWER OF A PRAYING

CHURCH

by Stormie Omartian

Harvest House, 978-0-7369-2077-3, PB,

275 pages, $13.99

Omartian encourages readers to

pray constantly, boldly, and for even

the minutest details of their lives. She

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B B O O O O K K R R O O U U N N D D U U P

P

shows the importance of a consistent

and daily prayer time alone with God,

as well as being in a prayer and accountability

small group. She shows

ways that readers can pray for their

cities and nations, as well as for themselves,

their friends, and their families.

Most importantly, she shows how God

can do the impossible through prayer

by relating true stories of people miraculously

changed because others

were praying for them.

Readers will be inspired to pray and

to watch God work in their own lives.

WHY MEN HATE GOING TO

CHURCH

by David Murrow

Nelson, 978-0-7856-038-7, PB, 224

pages, $14.99

Men often look at the church as a

place for women since often more

women than men are on the staff, teach

Sunday school, and work in the nurs-

ery. The church is considered a place

of security, a hospital for sinners; but

men don’t want to be secure. The

church “language” bothers them as

well. Since they never ask for directions,

they don’t like to think of themselves

as “lost.” They consider the

church as challenging as finger-painting.

Murrow encourages churches to include

events in which men are forced

to take risks. He suggests sponsoring

men-only meetings and situations in

which they can be themselves. Mentoring

and accountability programs are

important as well.

____________________________________________

Cindy Grabill oversees her church’s book

table. She features a book of the week in the

bulletin and a book of the month in the

newsletter.

E-mail your topic suggestions for this

column to Cindy at cindygrabill@aol.com.

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THE DICTIONARY OF BIBLE

NAMES

by Pamela McQuade with Paul Kent

Barbour, 978-1-60260-480-3, PB, 391

pages, $9.97

Believe it or not, this reference book

contains the names of every individual

mentioned in the Old and New Testaments,

literally thousands of people.

Sometimes a name, such as Elkanah,

will appear in the Bible to identify eight

different people. This book lists all

eight, provides the Scripture references

where each can be found, and presents

a miniature biographical note on each

one. Also, if one person is identified by

more than one name in the Bible, this

book lists both, explains the alternate

name, and provides references for all

entries. Sometimes almost nothing is

known about a character, so the entry

will be on the order of “Gera, a son of

Benjamin. He was left-handed.” Other

times, as in the Apostle Paul, nearly an

entire page of information is provided.

Presented in alphabetical order, this

book is the Who’s Who list of Bible persons

and an affordable addition to your

library. DEH

INSIGHTS ON ROMANS

Swindoll’s New Testament Insights

by Charles R. Swindoll

Zondervan, 978-0-310-28430-7, 342

pages, HB, $25.99

In this first book of a new series,

Swindoll reveals Romans, verse by

verse, as a spiritual treasure trove, illuminating

overlooked facets of countless

gems within the Scripture book

and also drawing parallels to incidents

in his own reflections and experiences.

He opens with a study of Paul’s salutation;

divides the bulk of Romans into

a topical discourse on God’s wrath,

grace, faithfulness, majesty, and righ-

B B O O O O K K R R E E V V I I E E W W S

S

teousness; and closes with a study on

the community of God. Additionally,

the text provides maps, tables, and diagrams

that offer ample etymological

clarification for the original Greek text;

a handy, one-stop guide for Paul’s Old

Testament references in Romans; and

much more.

Swindoll, a renowned author, pastor,

and radio minister of Insight for Living,

offers witty commentary, probing

scriptural analysis, engaging analogies,

and a handful of tie-ins to church history—all

packaged with his personable

ambiance and down-to-earth sincerity.

However, readers may disagree with

him in a few areas. While he uses

words like “elect” and “predestination,”

he seems to contend that free will

and human choice do exist. Despite

this, he implies that salvation cannot

be lost. I recommend this book as a

supplementary resource for a longterm

study of Romans, not as a quickfix

weekend read. DN

SCRIPTURE BY HEART: Devotional

Practices for Memorizing God’s Word

by Joshua Choonmin Kang

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-3536-2, 150

pages, PB, $15

Many Christians want to memorize

Scripture but don’t know how to do so

effectively. With verses beginning every

chapter and practical applications

scattered throughout, Scripture by Heart

is a good start to becoming more familiar

with the Bible. This guide is

more than a list of easy steps; it delves

into why and how we should memorize

God’s Word.

The short chapters lessen the book’s

weighty feel, although at a few points

the translation from pastor Kang’s native

Korean is not perfect. One of the

best qualities is how often it emphasizes

the importance of Scripture

memorization, a practice that is vital

but often overlooked today. This book

would be a valuable addition to any

library. AW

STORYLINES: Your Map to Understanding

the Bible

by Andy Croft & Mike Pilavachi

Cook, 978-1-4347-6475-1, PB, 208

pages, $12.99

Sometimes when reading the Bible,

people become intimidated by its vastness

and bewildered by its passages.

Storylines supplies a coffee-shop overview

of the Bible for scared and confused

Bible readers of our time. As a

foundation, it provides seven chapters

on individual portions of the Gospel

message. The authors, both of whom

work with young people, bring theological

truths, supported by modern

interpretations and examples, to the

table. Using several biblical-text outlines,

simplified biblical theology, practical

applications, and follow-up discussion

questions, readers are able to

gain new insights into their faith and

answers to the whys behind God’s

great story of love.

Readers will come away with a

thirst to study more of God’s Word and

see the reality of faith at work in their

own lives. TJV

UNDERSTANDING ENGLISH BI-

BLE TRANSLATION: The Case for

an Essentially Literal Approach

by Leland Ryken

Crossway, 978-1-4335-0279-8, PB, 205

pages, 12.99

What is the “best” translation of the

Bible? Answers and conversations regarding

this topic are diverse and

heated. Ryken positions himself on the

literal side and attempts to provide ra-

SERIES UPDATE

Ancient Christian Doctrine

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-2535-6,

$50

#5 We Believe in One Holy

Catholic and Apostolic

Church

edited by Angelo Di Berardino

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 15

15


tionale for his position. The result is a

streamlined version of an earlier work,

The Word of God in English.

Using a focused and exemplified

approach, Ryken, an English professor,

begins with questions to guide the

evaluation of a translation, an in-depth

history of English Bible development,

and the divergence of the two main

methods of Bible translation. He prefers

the literal one but attempts to compare

various nonliteral translations

through quotations and discussion of

highlighted material. He explains in

detail the points of dynamic equivalence

and literal views.

The tables and charts allow users to

read exact quotes to determine the accuracy

of Ryken’s observations. Two

appendices, a notes section, and an index

complete the book. Recommended

for church libraries. BLE

WORDS FROM THE FIRE: Hearing

the Voice of God in the 10 Commandments

by R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

Moody, 978-0-8024-5488-1, HB, 200

pages, $22.99

Mohler, a seminary president,

preacher, and theologian, emphasizes

the Ten Commandments as important

words from a God who is heard but

not seen. He explores the biblical context

and deeper meanings of each commandment,

giving Christians a taste of

what it means for them to relate today

to coveting, stealing, bearing false witness,

and other sins. The sins and rules

don’t change, but their expanded applications

bear analysis and careful

thought.

The book’s tone is sermonlike, but

it is rich in content. Chapters are broken

into subsections for easier reading.

Aside from a few unfamiliar terms and

some necessarily complex thought processes,

Mohler’s writing is understandable

and applicable. Words from the Fire

offers a fresh, but sound biblical look

at an ancient, but essential text. LAC

16 16 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

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THE ZONDERVAN ENCYCLOPE-

DIA OF THE BIBLE

edited by Merrill C. Tenney, revision

edited by Moisés Silva

Zondervan, 978-0-310-24136-2, HB,

5520 pages, 5 volumes, $279.99

If you don’t have a recent set of Bible

encyclopedias in your library, this one

is an excellent choice. First published

in the mid-’70s, the text has been updated

extensively, and full-color has

been added. Articles detail people,

places, events, theological concepts,

and biblical and literary terms. Where

Christians disagree, such as the number

and efficacy of sacraments and

Christ’s second coming, writers

present the differing viewpoints without

taking a side. Photos, maps, charts,

and graphs illustrate the text.

Dr. Silva, a former seminary professor

and author of several commentaries,

has added the latest in biblical

scholarship and archaeological finds to

the solid foundation of Tenney’s previous

work. The result is a good balance

of understandable text and scholarship.

Teachers, Bible students,

parents, and your pastoral staff will all

appreciate access to this reference set.

Highly recommended. LJ

ZONDERVAN ILLUSTRATED BI-

BLE BACKGROUNDS COMMEN-

TARY: Old Testament

edited by John H. Walton

Zondervan, 978-0-310-25572-7, HB,

2770 pages, 5 volumes, $249.95

Teachers, Bible students, smallgroup

leaders, and your pastoral staff

will use this set frequently. Like the

New Testament set, these full-color

volumes provide a rich array of background

helps for understanding the

entire Old Testament: passage-by-passage

commentaries, manners and customs

information, historical and literary

settings, geography, photos, maps,

charts, latest archaeological findings,

and much more.

Dr. Walton, an Old Testament professor,

has pulled together an impres-

sive team of writers, most of whom are

also Old Testament professors. Volumes

1-3 are in biblical order; but volume

4 covers the major prophets, and

volume 5 covers the minor prophets

and poetry. The layout is easy to read

and visually appealing. Each book contains

bibliographies, extensive documentation

in endnotes, and a picture

index. This reference set is a must-buy

for every church and high-school library.

And if you don’t have the New

Testament set, get that one as well.

Both are well worth the cost. LJ

Biography

& Memoir

LOVE HAS A FACE

by Michele Perry

Chosen, 978-0-8007-9478-1, PB, 217

pages, $13.99

Love Has a Face is a vivid recounting

of Perry’s first years starting a home

for children in war-torn Sudan. She

captures the suffering in the land and

has the ability to make the reader connect

with the struggles. Her stories are

like parables of Christian dedication

and beliefs.

The language is informal, making

this autobiography a fairly easy book

to read. However, the stories Perry tells

of life in the African bush are anything

but easy. Although her syntax seems

contrived and clichéd at times, the

overarching message redeems any

shortcomings in the writing. The story

is rife with episodes of miraculous

healings and supernatural activity.

Highly recommended for Christians

needing encouragement to believe in

the power of God. RK

THIN PLACES: A Memoir

by Mary E. DeMuth

Zondervan, 978-0-310-28418-5, PB, 221

pages, $14.99

DeMuth vividly outlines her past,


sparing no detail. Going through the

years, she finds all the “thin places”

where she now sees God intervening

in her life. God was with her through

sexual abuse as a child, her struggles

with her need for a father, and her feelings

of inadequacy.

DeMuth, a freelance writer, is brave

for telling her painful life story in a

book; but her order of events is hard

to follow and her word choices are

edgy and controversial at times. Certain

scenes are somewhat graphic. This

book is not for the sheltered and unworldly.

KT

Children

Preschool

& Early Readers

CECIL THE LOST SHEEP

978-0-310-71944-1

THE GOOD SAMARITAN

978-0-310-71945-8

JED & ROY MCCOY

978-0-310-71955-7

JONAH’S STORY

978-0-310-71948-9

ZAC THE TAX MAN

978-0-310-71949-6

Cecil & Friends

by Andrew McDonough

Zonderkidz, PB, 30 pages, $4.99

Author and illustrator McDonough’s

series for children ages 4-7 tells

loose spoofs of cherished Bible stories.

The stylized cartoons in each book display

a scattering of subtle comedies

simple enough for kids to understand

and tend to show repeated themes,

which are fun for children to pick up

on. For example, he frequently takes

illustrations from early in a story and

puts similar, but slightly different pictures

at the end of the story, clearly

showing transitions of characters and

events.

B B O O O O K K R R E E V V I I E E W W S

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McDonough seasons the story of the

Good Shepherd in Cecil the Lost Sheep

by personifying the sheep and adding

elements of comic relief. The illustrations

depict the shepherd as counting

sheep on his fingers, and Cecil’s wild

imagination may yield a couple of

chuckles as well. This book, which

ranks high among these five, is particularly

effective in its placement of multiple

illustrations per page.

The retelling of the Good Samaritan

packs an important message for

young ears. However, I consulted a

young reader, who said that although

this was her favorite book of the five,

she felt the illustrations of the beaten

man and his assailants seemed more

“weird” than funny or stylized. She

also thought the author could have

leant significance to the story by explaining

the antagonism between Samaritans

and Jews.

Jed & Roy McCoy puts a clever spin

on the nativity story and the angels’

message of “peace on earth” by telling

the story from the perspective of

two feuding shepherd brothers. Children

may pick up on the silliness of

the McCoy brothers’ accusations toward

each other; and they may also be

amused by funny details in the pictures.

The story of Jonah is retold in a softened,

kid friendly format. For example,

when describing Nineveh’s

depravity, the book does not gloss over

the subject but neither does it shock

children with barbaric details. Instead,

McDonough takes some license and

adds a taste of humor. Repetitious appearances

of Jonah’s teddy bear, a

peeking whale, and several other recurrent

themes encourage readers to

explore the story and find patterns.

The wild retelling of the story of

Zaccheus cleverly crafts a backstory

for Zac, starting with his elementaryschool

days. Many young readers will

empathize with Zac when he is mistreated

because of his shortness. Zac’s

greed escalates after a moneymaking

homework scandal, and he eventually

becomes the tree-climbing tax collector

whom Jesus befriends. Young readers

will enjoy watching Zac and a handful

of his classmates “age” before their

eyes with the passage of time. DN

THE DAY THE WORLD WENT

WACKY

978-0-89051-575-4

NOAH’S FLOATING ANIMAL

PARK

978-0-89051-576-1

THE NOT-SO-FUNNY SKYSCRAP-

ER!

978-0-89051-577-8

by Janine Suter

Master Books, HB, 31 pages, $9.99

These books tackle difficult questions

that they try to answer in honest,

but nonthreatening ways by using

cartoonish drawings, rhyming verses,

and contemporary slang.

In The Day the World Went Wacky, a

boy wonders why bees sting, his aunt

is blind, and children get cavities. He

learns that Adam and Eve’s sin has

been passed down through the generations.

The Earth is tainted, as are the

people in it; but Jesus has provided a

way to cope with this fallen state. One

day we will live in a perfect heavenly

home with Him if we accept His plan

of redemption.

In Noah’s Floating Animal Park, God

directs Noah and his family to build the

giant ark. The author speculates about

taking baby dinosaurs on board to save

on space and about rigging conveyorbelt

feeding systems to feed all the animals.

In the end, the ark hits dry land

near Turkey; and the animals run in

different directions, with kangaroos

traveling the farthest.

The Not-So-Funny Skyscraper! is the

story of the tower of Babel. Nimrod decides

to build a tower to heaven and

be like God. In response, God makes

different groups of the city’s citizens

speak different languages. This causes

them to break into groups and move

into lands both near and far to be

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 17

17


among people who can understand

them. As the centuries roll on, people’s

skin grows darker in the sunny regions.

Different hunting and eating habits

cause some people to be lean and tall,

whereas others become short and

stout. And that is why, today, we are

all descended from Noah’s family, yet

around the world people look different.

The strength of this series is that it

answers deep theological questions on

a level children can relate to. However,

the problem is the books get silly sometimes,

such as having Noah’s family

take snapshots of everyone for a family

album and showing Jesus pointing

to an escalator that goes up to heaven.

Also, the artwork is rather primitive,

although functional enough to hold the

attention of young readers. Taken as a

somewhat comedic way of initiating a

family discussion on these topics, the

books can provide entertaining starting

points. DEH

FOOL MOON RISING

by Kristi & T. Lively Fluharty

Crossway, 978-1-4335-0682-6, HB, 34

pages, $14.99

This brightly colored, cleverly

drawn, and well-written book is a

simple, but wise allegory. In rhymed

verses, it tells of how arrogant and

proud the moon was of his power to

cause the tides to rise and fall, entertain

astronauts upon its surface, rise

higher than the highest kite, and shine

brighter than all the stars. Then one day

the sun revealed that the moon had no

light whatsoever and was, in fact, only

reflecting the powerful rays of light

sent out by the sun. This humbled the

moon and caused him to cry. Thereafter,

each night, he paid homage to the

sun, which was the true source of the

light of the universe.

By beginning the story with 1

Corinthians 4:7, “If everything you

have is from God, why do you boast?”

and closing with Genesis 1:16, “He

made the stars also,” it is obvious this

18 18 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

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is a story about the light of Christ and

how man is nothing but a reflection of

God’s love and graciousness. The

drawings are funny, and the story is

entertaining and insightful. DEH

GOD MADE YOUR BODY

978-0-7642-0211-7

HOW GOD MADE BABIES

978-0-7642-0210-0

Pure Foundations

by Jim Burns

Bethany, HB, 27 pages, $12.99

Written by the host of the radio

show Homeward, these books are targeted

at children ages 3-5 and 6-9 respectively

and are direct, graphic, and

mature. They use photographs to show

the differences among children and

adults (skin color, height, weight, hair

texture, eye color) and drawings to

show the genitalia of males and females

and to explain their functions.

Other photos show pregnant women’s

stomachs, newborn babies nursing at

a mother’s exposed breast, and infants

right after coming out of the womb.

The purpose of the books is to provide

sex education within the home

environment, as well as to make children

aware of what is proper and improper

touching of body parts. God is

given praise for creating humans with

great diversity, beauty, and functionality.

Nevertheless, speaking as a parent

and grandparent, I would not advise

leaving these books out on general

display in a church library, and I would

certainly suggest that parents cautiously

evaluate the maturity level of

their children before exposing them to

this much sexual content. DEH

JUST LIKE YOU

by Marla Stewart Konrad

Zonderkidz, 978-0-310-71478-1, HB,

20 pages, $15.99

Repetition shows youngsters that

although customs and geographical

landscapes may be different, there is a

commonality among all parents and

grandparents, who are excited when a

new baby joins the family.

Each double-page spread features

paintings so meticulous and detailed

they almost seem like photographs.

From the images of the frozen arctic regions

to the tropical rain forests, the

artwork is vivid and captivating. Each

passage begins with the phrase “On the

day you were born” and then talks

about a different baby in a unique land

and among distinctive people. It concludes

with “a beautiful baby just like

you.” The ultimate message as the

book ends is that God makes each child

“a special gift” to parents. It’s a touching

story that includes some great lessons

on geography and sociology. DEH

K IS FOR KITE: God’s Springtime Alphabet

by Kathy-jo Wargin

Zonderkidz, 978-0-310-71662-4, HB,

30 pages, $15.99

This A-Z rhyming book focuses specifically

on aspects of spring, such as

“A is for April,” “C is for caterpillars,”

and “E is for Easter.” Each page has a

rhymed couplet with a singsong

rhythm: “The tall sugar maples are

ready to tap; let’s make maple syrup

by boiling the sap.” A running theme

of God’s productivity in creating flowers,

wind, emerging insects, and soft

grass makes children aware of the

beauty of springtime and the vast

range of God’s imagination.

The artwork is colorful but not at all

sophisticated or three-dimensional. Visually,

this book is not special; but for

beginning readers, it will be helpful in

learning the alphabet while honoring

God. DEH

SLEEPY TIME BLESSINGS

by Sally Anne Conan

Eerdmans, 978-0-8028-5350-9, HB, 9

pages, $7.99

This thickly paged, durable book for

1- to 3-year-olds is visually appealing

to youngsters, in that it shows lots of

bunnies and features vivid colors.

However, theologically and artisti-


cally, it is lacking. Angels are shown

as rabbits with wings; and the poetry

often fails to rhyme even closely. Thematically,

the book features bunny

characters, bunny toys, bunny angels,

and even bunny snowmen, so it’s kidfriendly.

And it does emphasize that

God watches over His creations. However,

it won’t garner accolades for poetic

grace or religious insights. DEH

THE STORY OF THE EASTER

ROBIN

by Dandi Daley Mackall

Zondervan, 978-0-310-71331-0, HB, 28

pages, $15.99

This story is actually a legend or

fairy tale handed down by the Pennsylvania

Dutch community. It tells of

how a brown robin once pulled a thorn

from the crown on Jesus and how the

Savior’s blood fell on the bird, allowing

it to carry the red sign of Christ’s

sacrifice forever. Overlaid on this story

is a vignette about Tressa and her

grandmother watching a nest of robin’s

eggs until the day of hatching and how,

despite cool spring weather and many

predators, God provides for new generations

of his creatures to survive.

The artwork uses line drawings and

watercolors. Although certainly not a

true, biblical story, this legend is fun

and carries a good moral. DEH

Juvenile

CAMP CLUB GIRLS AND THE

MYSTERY AT DISCOVERY LAKE

by Renae Brumbaugh

978-1-60260-267-0

SYDNEY’S D.C. DISCOVERY

by Jean Fischer

978-1-60260-268-7

Camp Club Series #1-2

Barbour, PB, 158-159 pages, $5.97

An ordinary camp experience

quickly turns into a mystery when an

old grouch is seen digging around the

deserted golf course in Camp Club Girls

and the Mystery at Discovery Lake. Six

roommates venture to solve the case.

B B O O O O K K R R E E V V I I E E W W S

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As they journey to find the treasure,

they draw closer to God and to each

other.

In Sydney’s D.C. Discovery, the six

friends face another mystery. When

Elizabeth visits Sydney, the twosome

notices suspicious behavior at the

Washington memorials. With the help

of their four friends, they set out to stop

a terrorist plot. Through the trials, the

girls learn about trust and the power

of prayer.

These short mysteries keep readers

interested and involved. With simple,

realistic dialogue and sufficient character

development, juvenile girls can

easily relate. The authors reference biblical

verses throughout the stories, encouraging

readers in their faith. I recommend

this series to young girls

interested in mysteries based on Christian

beliefs. AKM

CROSSOVERS

by LeAnne Hardy

BookSurge, 978-1-4392-6104-0, PB, 158

pages, $13.99

Ben Bradley has played hockey his

entire life, but now he has found a new

love: figure skating. His sister, Denise,

wants to go to hockey camp and be the

first girl on the high-school varsity

team. Ben’s dad doesn’t want him to

be a figure skater, only a hockey player.

This novel deals with gender prejudice,

acceptance of differences, love without

an agenda, and the virtue of being totally

committed to being excellent at

whatever one chooses as a life’s mission.

Although not directly Christian in

SERIES UPDATE

Angel Light

by Pat Matuszak

Living Ink, 978-0-89957-876-7,

$12.99

#2 Simone’s Secret

message, the themes of mutual respect,

forgiveness, family joy, and personal

discipline fit within the scope of Christian

practices. The book has a fastpaced

plot, lively dialogue, contemporary

setting, and likable characters.

Although it may not fit your church library

guidelines, it’s a good choice for

school libraries. BS (Order from amazon.

com.)

DINOSAURS FOR KIDS

by Ken Ham

Master Books, 978-0-89051-555-6, HB,

64 pages, $14.99

First, although this book may be categorized

as a children’s picture book,

I want to go on record as saying that it

is one of the most readable, logical, informative

texts on dinosaurs I have

ever read or studied (and I have a

Ph.D.). Second, the book’s marvelous

graphics and logical balance of combining

science with biblical references

provides powerful ammunition for

those of us who are creationists.

This book does not talk down to children.

The scientific names of dinosaurs

are used (and broken into syllables).

Charts, data lists, historical timelines,

and detailed paintings help to trace the

existence of dinosaurs to show that

some must have been on the ark with

Noah, whereas others died in the flood

or were disbursed globally. Thus, the

so-called age of dinosaurs does not run

millions of years. They were created on

the sixth day, before humans; and they

went extinct either in the flood or by

natural disappearance thereafter, the

same way animals become extinct yet

today. No big mystery. It takes hours

to go through this book carefully, so it

is well worth the price, the time, and

the overall investment. DEH

NEVER BLAME THE UMPIRE

by Gene Fehler

Zondervan, 978-0-310-71941-0, PB, 192

pages, $12.99

Eleven-year-old Kate loves three

things: sports, poetry, and her family.

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 19

19


But what do the first two matter when

tragedy strikes? Illness and death are

explored through the eyes of Kate as

she gives a first-person account of her

feelings regarding her mother’s cancer.

The lesson she learns—how God loves

and protects us even during our darkest

hours—though somewhat rushed

and convoluted, shines through

strongly by the end.

Written by an experienced storyteller

and poet, this book is appropriate

for its juvenile readers, in spite of

the heavy themes. This simple, quick

story gets at the heart of the never-ending

dilemma: how a good God can allow

bad things to happen. The result

is a book that young readers, especially

baseball players or writers, are sure to

enjoy. ALN

Christian

Education

Drama

SERIES UPDATES

Program Builder

compiled by Kim Messer

Lillenas, 978-0-8341-7759-8,

$5.99

Mother’s & Father’s Day

Program Builder No. 12

Worship Creatively

Lillenas, 978-0-8341-7753-6,

$19.99

Lent & Easter

compiled by Kim Messer

20 20 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

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Christian

Living

CHOOSING GRATITUDE: Your

Journey to Joy

by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Moody, 978-0-8024-3252-0, HB, 235

pages, $17.99

That Thanksgiving puts us in God’s

living room is one theme of this book.

DeMoss, radio teacher on Revive Our

Hearts, emphasizes the point that giving

gratitude to the Lord is an essential

part of being a believer. She intricately

explains the reasons a Christian

should continually be thankful to God

regarding health, family life, education,

careers, and friends; and she offers

many examples to illustrate her

points.

Choosing Gratitude is a strongly written

book that allows readers to evaluate

their lives and levels of thankfulness

toward the Lord. The author does

a tremendous job of pulling in personal

testimonies and stories from a wide variety

of people, some well known,

some not. The topic applies to both

men and women; however, it probably

will appeal more to women. Overall,

this is a book that faces reality head on,

while at the same time offers hope to

the reader. MY

CROSSTALK: Where Life and Scripture

Meet

by Michael R. Emlet

New Growth, 978-1-935273-12-7, PB,

212 pages, $15.99

What exactly should you say to a

friend who asks for advice about her

marriage? How do you respond to a

loved one who has lost his job? Emlet

shows Christians how to avoid giving

pat answers in situations like these by

connecting the Bible to people’s lives.

He examines what the Bible primarily

is—God’s revelation of Himself to His

people—and what it primarily is not—

principles, colorful characters, and a

system of doctrines. In addition, he discusses

a model to use in counseling

people.

Counselor Emlet writes skillfully

about the interpretive process of the

Bible and its application to lives, but

readers will not receive a comprehensive

lesson on the psychology of

people. On the other hand, the book is

often too extensive, especially for readers

who are not trained in theology and

counseling. Still, pastors, counselorsin-training,

and clinical practitioners

will find CrossTalk to be a stimulating

and useful book. JCH

DUG DOWN DEEP

by Joshua Harris

Multnomah, 978-0-7642-0673-3, 240

pages, HB, $19.99

Words like doctrine and orthodoxy

may not appeal to Christians today, but

Harris reveals the importance of realizing

that what you believe about God

will determine how you live your life.

Rather than dwell on issues that divide

the church, he focuses on beliefs that

Christians have held throughout the

centuries and continue to be true for

all of us today. In a conversational style

reminiscent of Donald Miller, pastor

Harris takes readers on his own journey

of rediscovering the vitality and

relevance of biblical teaching.

Instead of claiming to have the answers,

he inspires readers to search for

themselves and grow in their knowledge

of God and His Word. This book

is valuable for people in all walks of

life, and I highly recommend it for libraries.

AW

EMBRACING YOUR FREEDOM: A

Personal Experience of God’s Heart

for Justice

by Susie Larson

Moody, 978-0-8024-5280-1, PB, 288

pages, $13.99

Larson demonstrates the necessity

of freedom in a Christian’s life. She

uses personal illustrations to empha-


size awareness of our own spiritual

freedom and a yearning for the freedom

of those still bound by physical

and spiritual slavery today. She offers

insightful, biblical references to freedom

in combination with daily prayers

and study questions that guide female

readers through an intense personal

examination and urge them to seize

freedom for their souls.

Larson, a freelance writer, consistently

supports the International Justice

Mission, an organization she champions

throughout the book. This

powerful and practical guide would be

an excellent study book for a women’s

group intending to reach out to communities

or countries in need, as well

as women who have been victims of

spiritual or physical slavery. NM

THE GOSPEL-DRIVEN LIFE: Being

Good News People in a Bad News

World

by Michael Horton

Baker, 978-0-8010-1319-5, HB, 271

pages, $19.99

The back cover asks, “When did the

Good News become just good advice?”

In answer, Horton investigates many

beliefs we hold about Christianity and

God; and he gives hope and advice on

how to live as we should.

This book is challenging, having a

SERIES UPDATES

The Ancient Practices Series

Nelson, 978-0-8499-0095-2,

$17.99

Tithing: Test Me in This

compiled by Douglas LeBlanc

The Apprentice Series

by James Bryan Smith

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-3532-

4, $22

The Good and Beautiful Life:

Putting on the Character of

Christ

B B O O O O K K R R E E V V I I E E W W S

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lot of heavy content and requiring deep

thinking. Horton gives the analogy of

a newspaper where the gospel should

be front-page news instead of a vehicle

for information about our lives. He explains

what salvation is and isn’t, always

backing up what he says with

Scripture and writings of other theologians.

While reading and understanding

the content may seem daunting, the

lessons learned are invaluable and can

set us on the right track to understanding

the grace of God’s salvation and

how we can worship Him and not ourselves.

MM

IF GOD IS GOOD: Faith in the Midst

of Suffering and Evil

by Randy Alcorn

Multnomah, 978-1-60142-132-6, HB,

512 pages, $24.99

Almost every Christian has experienced

times of suffering and asked,

“How could God let this happen?”

Alcorn, director of Eternal Perspective

Ministries, gives several different perspectives

on this question and explores

the theological issues it raises. Although

he states that he doesn’t intend

to give all the answers, he discusses the

problems of suffering and evil in light

of the effects of the Fall, eternity as the

ultimate hope of justice, purpose and

hope in the midst of suffering, and the

agony of the ultimate sufferer: Jesus

Christ.

Because of the wide range of heavy

topics he discusses, e.g., predestination,

free will, God’s omnipotence, and

hell, readers will find the detailed table

of contents and index helpful. Alcorn’s

primary source is the Bible, though he

also supports his arguments with logic,

personal and anecdotal examples, and

insights from historic Christian thinkers.

Though there are sections where

he addresses atheistic objections, most

of the book is geared toward a Christian

audience. If God is Good is a poignant,

thoughtful look at one of the

most challenging obstacles to belief, as

well as a confirmation of God’s char-

acter and ultimate purpose for believers.

ALG

KEEPING YOUR COOL … WHEN

YOUR ANGER IS HOT

by June Hunt

Harvest House, 978-0-7369-2424-5, PB,

296, $12.99

Anger is a common problem, even

among Christians. Thus Hunt, a counselor

and radio host, has written a readable

and practical handbook for anyone

who has ever struggled with anger

or angry people. Issues include sources

of anger, triggers, buried anger, responding

to angry people, and channeling

anger in a positive way. Not

your typical, guilt-inducing lecture,

this book includes multiple examples

from Hunt’s past and her counseling

of individuals, including transcripts of

actual conversations that demonstrate

effective ways to encourage a change

in angry thoughts and behaviors.

Chapter-ending parables about firerelated

topics provide unique insights.

Hunt’s teaching is affirming and solidly

scriptural, frequently demonstrating

how passages have been incorrectly

used to excuse angry behavior.

She thoroughly covers all sides of anger

with the clearest, most practical

insight and instruction of any self-help

book. The chapters on unresolved anger

and domestic abuse are priceless.

Best for adults, but teens could learn a

lot from it too. Especially recommended

for youth leaders, teachers,

pastors, and counselors. SC

LET GOD TALK TO YOU: When You

Hear Him, You Will Never Be the

Same

by Becky Tirabassi

Bethany, 978-0-7642-0673-3, HB, 195

pages, $17.99

From the outset, Tirabassi makes it

clear that God yearns to speak with us

if we are willing to listen. She covers

not only how to have a conversation

with God, but also how to live in conversation

with the Lord. Chapters ad-

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dress such subjects as why, how, and

when God talks and what we can do

to hear him better.

Tirabassi’s lifelong commitment to

both listening and obeying make her a

source of wisdom on this topic, and her

personal stories reinforce the truth she

presents. She gains readers’ trust and

encourages them to rely more on God.

The chapters occasionally repeat themselves;

but, otherwise, this is a practical,

inspirational book that I highly recommend.

AW

REBOOT: Refreshing Your Faith in a

High-Tech World

by Peggy Kendall

Judson, 978-0-8170-1565-7, PB, 144

pages, $14

In the past 50 years, life has changed

drastically. Our world is not that of

Leave It to Beaver’s. Instead, our days

are filled with text messages, Internet

broadcasts, and other virtual realities.

This being the case, one has to wonder

what our fast-paced world is doing to

our faith, fellowship with other Christians,

service to the needy, and corporate

worship before the Lord. These are

the precise topics Kendall examines in

this book.

Reboot explores the impact electronics

have on Christians. With many examples,

stories, and case histories,

Kendall asks readers to consider consequences

of their lifestyles. The book

is broken into three sections: “Values,”

“Relationships,” and “Faith.” However,

most of the content is in the first

half, thus making the book feel topheavy.

In spite of this one complaint

and the repetitive style, Reboot is worth

considering for any Christian interested

in today’s high-tech culture. ALN

SACRED WAITING: Waiting on God

in a World That Waits for Nothing

by David Timms

Bethany, 978-0-7642-0678-8, PB, 176

pages, $14.99

Timms compares Christians waiting

on God to a waiter or waitress waiting

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on a customer at a restaurant, focusing

on presence and service as the two

most important elements of waiting on

God. He traces the waiting processes

of several biblical persons, including

David and Jesus; and he highlights the

emphasis on waiting in the major liturgical

seasons of the church, including

Advent and Lent.

Though his anecdotes are interesting,

some of them seem to distract from

the overall purpose of the book. Aside

from the thought-provoking chapter

on Lent, most of the sections fail to

make a strong connection between the

subject and the aspects of presence and

service in the lives of modern Christians.

Bible and theology teacher

Timms presents biblical theory, but

contemporary applications are lacking.

LAC

YOU WERE BORN FOR THIS: 7 Keys

to a Life of Predictable Miracles

by Bruce Wilkinson

Multnomah, 978-1-60142-182-1, HB,

244 pages, $22.99

Whether you realize it or not, you

are a crucial link between the miraculous

power of heaven and a desperately

needy child of God. Wilkinson

reveals seven key truths that allow

Christians to live lives that deliver

God-appointed miracles on a daily

basis. This book explains how Christians

can open their hearts and prepare

themselves to allow God to work

through them with His supernatural

power in the lives of the needy.

Though the topic seems charismatic

at first glance, Bible teacher and bestselling

author Wilkinson, portrays

ideas in a down-to-earth fashion, backing

them with contextualized Scripture.

Combined with numerous, true

miracle successes written in an accessible,

conversation style, his concepts

become personal and realistic.

Wilkinson has penned another compelling

book that I recommend for both a

school and church library. WY

Church

& Ministry

THE LEADERSHIP ELLIPSE: Shaping

How We Lead by Who We Are

by Robert A. Fryling

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-3538-6, PB,

220 pages, $17

Do you feel worn out, like you’re

running on a spiritual treadmill, racing

like mad but going nowhere?

Fryling, experienced author and spiritual

leader, felt the same way until he

learned the importance of shaping his

inner being in order to lead effectively.

Thus, he addresses, in a refreshing and

practical way, every man’s struggle to

balance the ever-increasing demands

of both the inner and outer worlds.

Publisher Fryling bases his teachings

on Scripture and gives advice he

has found to help him on his journey,

such as following Lent and practicing

the Sunday Sabbath. With numerous

anecdotes, he shares his own successes

and failures as a busy leader in the

Christian community. I recommend

this book for Christian leaders of all

ages because it focuses on the necessity

of biblical, Christlikeness in effective

leadership. ALW

Contemporary

Issues

EVERYDAY JUSTICE: The Global

Impact of Our Daily Choices

by Julie Clawson

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-3628-4, PB,

206 pages, $16

Our coffee, clothes, food, chocolate,

debt, trash, and cars have far-reaching

global consequences. Everyday Justice

reveals how our small decisions, like

grabbing a cup of coffee or buying a

chocolate bar, can negatively affect our


world. Clawson gives practical advice

and resources to aid readers in overcoming

everyday injustices.

Her research is extensive, and her

insights are relevant. She uses her personal

experiences to relate to the reader

and approaches the subject more as a

concerned consumer than an economist

or scientist. Her passion for this

topic is contagious, and her advice is

timely and essential. Clawson’s remarks

will inspire any consumer to live

justly; this book has the potential for

widespread influence and appeal. TJP

TENDING TO EDEN: Environmental

Stewardship for God’s People

by Scott C. Sabin

Judson, 978-0-8170-1572-5, PB, 176

pages, $18

In this timely and important book.

Sabin says Christians must play active

parts in finding solutions to the

universe’s environmental issues. The

book is filled with Scripture, his personal

experiences, and testimonies

from contemporary Christian leaders

to emphasize the importance of being

good stewards of God’s creation.

Sabin, executive director of a nonprofit

Christian environmental organization,

explores major topics, including injustice,

poverty, reforestation, and sustainable

agriculture. He also presents

a model for environmental stewardship

that draws parallels between discipleship,

environmental restoration,

and economic development.

Sabin does not pull any punches,

especially when he writes about the

harm Americans sometimes do when

they try to provide quick solutions to

poverty and suffering in places like

Haiti and Guatemala. Some readers

may dismiss his arguments as they

read the uncomfortable truths he presents,

but he aims to help them understand

how high the stakes are if they

ignore caring for the environment. This

is an excellent resource for anyone who

wants to understand the broader issues

facing today’s world. JCH

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Evangelism

& Missions

Evangelism

WILL THIS ROCK IN RIO?: Finding

God in an Urban Culture

by Ken Lottis

NavPress, 978-1-60006-393-0, PB, 248

pages, $14.99

To win the world to Christ, agree

with a few friends to study the Scriptures

and explore two questions: Who

is Jesus? What does He want of us?

Then live the truths together. Two

Navigator couples sent to Brazil in 1964

worked out this method. Lottis and his

wife served there for 22 years, learning

by trial and error how to reach a

culture that didn’t accept the way

American missionaries usually shared

the gospel. He relates their experiences

with candor and humor.

This oversized book has a large,

readable font. Chapters are filled with

unique people and interesting anecdotes,

showing how they responded to

the gospel after friendships were built.

Emphasis is on learning Scripture and

developing leaders who pass their understanding

on. This book is a mustread

before attempting to share the

gospel with people of another culture

in America or elsewhere; the plan

will work anywhere. Highly recommended.

HIM

WOMAN TO WOMAN: Sharing

Jesus with a Muslim Friend

by Joy Loewen

Chosen, 978-0-8007-9483-5, PB, 204

pages, $14.99

Differences breed fear. As a missionary

child born in the Middle East,

Loewen feared Muslims. However,

when she saw the suffering of Muslim

women in hospital wards in Pakistan,

her heart began to change. Relocating

to Canada, she began ministering to

graduate students, embracing her

Muslim sisters and sharing with them

the Gospel’s good news. Driven by her

unyielding evangelistic spirit, Loewen

explains how to bridge the gaps between

Christianity and Islam with patience;

understanding; and, most importantly,

love.

Educated at Moody and accustomed

to living among Muslims,

Loewen provides incredible insights

into Islamic culture. Her encounters

with Muslim women have been clearly

directed by the Holy Spirit, and her

bold evangelism speaks volumes about

Christ’s all-inclusive love. Packed with

personal illustrations and a concrete

understanding of Muslim beliefs,

Woman to Woman will inspire Christians

who desire to minister to friends

of different faiths. KMH

Missions

KINGDOM WITHOUT BORDERS:

The Untold Story of Global Christianity

by Miriam Adeney

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-3849-3, PB,

304 pages, $18

The content immediately appeals to

any globally minded Christian, in that

it meticulously documents evangelism

on continents, on islands, and in distant

nations.

Unfortunately, the lackluster craft

with which the book is constructed

leaves something to be desired. Instilled

with illustrations that overwhelm

main points, as well as forced

metaphors that obstruct the general

cadence, the book has a somewhat

droning lack of fluidity that dilutes the

impact of the message. The more informational

parts have a “chunky” feel

to them, both in the sense of harsh transitions

and thickly packed content.

Despite these shortcomings, however,

the stories and testimonies hold a magnetic

intrigue. Read this and expect to

be informed of little-known facts, educated

regarding world happenings,

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and intrigued by Christian stories, even

if sometimes annoyed by stilted writing

and awkward formatting. MJM

Family

Marriage

L.O.V.E.: Putting Your Love Styles to

Work for You

by Les & Leslie Parrott

Zondervan, 978-0-310-27247-2, PB, 224

pages, $14.99

The Parrotts explore how married

and premarried couples can discover

their God-given personality traits by

combining the two personalities to create

a love style. These psychologists

argue that by understanding each

other’s love style, couples can develop

a stronger, happier relationship. They

say there are four primary styles—

leader, optimist, validator, and evaluator—and

provide an extensive discussion

about each style. Also, they encourage

couples to take an online

L.O.V.E. style assessment. The book

also contains reflection and discussion

questions.

Although most couples will be able

to analyze their personality traits by

completing the exercises and online

assessment, others may find it helpful

to work with a trained counselor.

Couples who want to learn more about

themselves and how to keep their marriage

alive and healthy should read this

excellent book. JCH

MARRIAGE ROCKS FOR CHRIS-

TIAN COUPLES

by Harold L. Arnold, Jr.

Judson, 978-0-81701566-4, PB, 192

pages, $16

Although the title and cover do not

indicate it, this book is targeted at African-American

Christians who are facing

difficulties in their marriages.

Whereas some of the biblical concepts

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could relate to married couples of any

race, the statistics, anecdotes, illustrations,

references, and admonitions are

blatantly targeted at African-Americans.

In fact, the author refers to African-American

marriages as “endangered”;

and he has severe criticism for

black husbands and fathers who desert

their families, as well as strict lessons

for black females about purity, self-discipline,

and God-honoring femininity.

Sometimes the laundry lists of negative

statistics about failed marriages

become overwhelming, although the

background research is thorough and,

admittedly, scary regarding trends and

projections. For a niche market, this

book may fill a need; but as a general

text, it is too limited in scope for many

libraries. CB

US: A User’s Guide

by Daniel Tocchini

Cook, 978-1-4347-6473-7, PB, 208

pages, $14.99

Ever wish you could reinvent your

marriage? Tocchini, chaplain and marriage

coach to more than 5,000 couples,

gives every married couple insight to

transform the relationship. He challenges

individuals to acquire a Kingdom,

rather than a consumer mentality.

Each of six chapters dismantles a

separate type of incorrect thinking, using

Scripture as a basis and a transcript

from a coaching session as an example.

Having experienced a broken marriage,

attended a variety of marriage

retreats, and read numerous books on

marriage, I was skeptical about Tocchini’s

claims to offer something new

and effective. However, by the end of

chapter two, light and hope replaced

my skepticism. This book is most useful

for couples willing to work together,

but it could also assist an individual

with an uncooperative spouse.

Highly recommended as a resource for

those who can’t afford counseling. Also

appropriate for use in a mentoring relationship.

SC

Parenting

GREEN MAMA

by Tracey Bianchi

Zondervan, 978-0-310-32036-4, PB, 208

pages, $12.99

Without a teaspoon of guilt, Bianchi

helps readers see that not only is ecological

responsibility good for the environment,

it is good for ourselves; our

families; and, ultimately, our relationship

with God.

This book is for those who have embraced

the greening of America and

those who are still not certain what that

means. In entertaining and easy-toread

chapters, Bianchi, a director of

women’s ministries, takes us on a journey

to understand where we fit in

God’s plan for the Earth and then gives

us several comfortable ways to be part

of a healthier, happier planet. Acknowledging

that not all green ideas

will work for all families, she is quick

to point out that every small, green step

is a big step in the right direction. I recommend

this book to anyone who

wants to know how he or she can grow

closer to God by participating in the

care of His creation. JWR

Fiction

BECOMING LUCY

Winds Across the Prairie #1

by Martha Rodgers

Realms, 978-1-59979-912-4, PB, 304

pages, $10.99

Lucy, a young woman orphaned before

her 18th birthday, moves across

the country to live with her aunt, uncle,

and two cousins. There, she meets Jake,

a young man with a past he’s running

from. The two of them are bound together

more than they might think.

Lucy also has someone from her past

whom she would rather not meet. They

determine that to conquer their mutual

problems, they will need to learn to

trust one another.


Becoming Lucy stays true to the historical,

romantic genre that it was written

for. However, it frequently sacrifices

a genuinely good story line by

presenting an overt Christian message.

Also, the dialogue seems overly formal

and wooden at times; and these types

of characters have been done before.

This is light reading. BS

A BETTER FREEDOM: Finding Life

as Slaves of Christ

by Michael Card

InterVarsity, 978-0-8308-3714-4, PB,

166 pages, $15

Freedom can be found only in slavery,

singer-songwriter Card says. He

explains that everyone is a slave to

something, but Christ’s chains are the

only ones that liberate. Card explores

the hopelessness and humiliation of

being a slave, as well as the purpose

and identity found in having a master.

He then explains that Christianity has

always been a slave’s religion, and

Christ frequently talked about and

acted as both slave and master. What

would our lives look like if we lived as

slaves of Christ?

Personal illustrations make this

book understandable, and thorough

research gives it a solid foundation.

Card brings to life slavery in Rome and

America, and with that background he

draws theologically sound conclusions.

This book challenges mature Christians

in their walks with God, while teaching

truths young Christians can understand.

It will be an asset to any church

library. CH

THE CAROUSEL PAINTER

by Judith Miller

Bethany, 978-0-7642-0279-7, PB, 335

pages, $13.99

A sweet, loving story with a tinge

of mystery and romance. That’s what

you’ll find in this novel about artist

Carrington Brower and her desperate

decision to become the first woman to

work in a carousel factory in 1890.

Upon her father’s death, Carrie arrives

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in Ohio to stay with the wealthy family

of her friend Augusta. Augusta’s

father reluctantly agrees to hire Carrie

as a painter in his factory, which sets

in motion a series of difficult events

that include discrimination, intimidation,

and even theft.

The story is replete with biblical references

as Carrie processes the events

choking in around her. Her growing

faith is fostered by the circle of new

friends she makes when she moves into

a small boardinghouse. Through Carrie’s

eyes, readers may be challenged

to reevaluate their own prayer lives

and relationships with the Word; I

know I was. J-AI

DEAD RECKONING

by Ronie Kendig

Abingdon, 978-1-4267-0058-3, 397

pages, PB, $13.99

When her best friend is shot during

a dive, underwater archaeologist

Shiloh Blake is thrust into a life of danger

and deception. As she fends for

herself in Mumbai, her survival skills

catch the attention of Reece Jaxon, the

CIA agent charged with protecting her.

Jaxon and Blake must work together

to uncover the truth, but events from

their pasts may prevent any future between

them.

While Kendig’s fast-paced debut

novel has all the makings of a spy

thriller, the Christian aspect seems

forced. The likable characters and riveting

action sequences make up for its

minor flaws, such as abrupt dialogue

and implausible gadgets. This highly

enjoyable plot appeals to both men and

women and would be an exciting addition

to any library. AW

DESERT FIRE

by Shannon Van Roekel

Kregel, 978-0-8254-3922-3, PB, 303

pages, $15.99

Terror, war, and death are aspects

of daily life for people in Darfur. Journalist

Julia Keegan, an unbeliever, is

sent to a refugee camp for an insider’s

look at the suffering in Sudan. Her

views about life and religion are tested

while she is there. She sees people

praising God through their pain and

sacrificing everything for others. Joel

Maartens, a lawyer, experiences a similar

change of heart when he is sent to

Sudan to find Julia.

Desert Fire is absorbing and thought

provoking. The main characters and

plot are well developed and tell a realistic

story. The plight of Darfur comes

alive as the statistics from the news are

given names and personalities. This

book is not graphic, but it deals honestly

with a violent situation. Librarians

should expose both teenagers and

adults to it. GCY

ENEMIES AMONG US

by Bob Hamer

Fidelis, 978-0-8054-4978-5, PB, 330

pages, $14.99

Matt Hogan has been a successful

FBI undercover agent for many years,

but now he’s stuck working in a Christian

clinic/ministry, searching for possible

ties to terrorist organizations. But

is something actually going on, or is he

looking in the wrong place?

The author’s years of experience in

the FBI allow him to provide many details

about how the job works, but these

tidbits rarely advance the plot and end

up slowing the pace of the story. The

main character’s spiritual disciplines

make him a good role model, and the

terrorism angle makes the plot contemporary.

However, in the end, despite a

somewhat interesting story idea, the

writing itself makes the narrative momentum

slow and the story hard to

maintain interest in. NB

THE FAMILIAR STRANGER

by Christina Berry

Moody, 978-0-8024-4731-9, PB, 336

pages, $13.99

Denise Littleton knows her marriage

isn’t what it used to be. When her

husband is injured in a mysterious car

accident and secrets begin to surface,

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 25

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she finds out how little she knew. Craig

seems to have changed and can’t remember

his past life, but will Denise

ever be able to forgive and forget?

Although this is Berry’s debut novel,

an intriguing plot, the use of changing

viewpoints, and sharp dialogue keep

readers transfixed. The characters are

dynamic and relatable; they display realistic

faith as they face issues like infidelity

and forgiveness. This book

would appeal to both men and women

and is well worth the shelf space. AW

HER MOTHER’S HOPE

by Francine Rivers

Tyndale, 978-1-4143-1863-9, HB, 387

pages, $24.99

This two-generation story spans 50

years of the 20th century. It takes readers

with Marta Schneider as she grows

up in Switzerland, moves through Europe,

ends up in Canada and eventually

California. From there, it changes

voice and perspective to pick up the

story of Marta’s daughter Hildemara

Rose. The author says her inspiration

for the characters came from women

in her family tree.

Themes of misunderstanding another

person’s motives, of how relationships

among parents and children

can have implications for generations

to come, and how a compassionate

heart can impact many lives are among

the story’s colorful threads. However,

because it spans so much time and

space, it sometimes reads as if it were

in fast-forward mode. Rivers’s faithful

readers who have been anxiously

awaiting her next book will love the

charming story and characters. J-AI

THE KIDNAPPING OF KENZIE

THORN

by Liz Johnson

Steeple Hill, 978-0-373-44348-2, PB,

224 pages, $5.50

Mackenzie Thorn, a young Christian

teacher at the Oregon Department of

Corrections, is determined to help her

class of inmates earn their GEDs, bliss-

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Acts of Faith

by Davis Bunn & Janette Oke

Bethany, 978-0-7642-0742-6, $14.99

#2 The Hidden Flame

At Home in Beldon Grove

by Ann Shorey

Revell, 978-0-8007-3333-9, $14.99

#2 The Promise of Morning

The Homeward Trilogy

by Lisa T. Bergren

Cook, 978-1-4347-6707-3, $14.99

#2 Sing

Kauffman Amish Bakery

by Amy Clipston

Zondervan, 978-0-310-28984-5,

$12.99

#2 A Promise of Hope

Jubilant Soul

by Stacy Hawkins Adams

Revell, 978-0-8007-3268-4, $12.99

#3 Dreams That Won’t Let Go

Love Finds You

Summerside, $12.99

Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida

by Sandra D. Bricker

978-1-935416-25-8

Love Finds You in Lonesome

Prairie

by Tricia Goyer & Ocieanna Fleiss

978-1-935416-29-6

fully unaware of the fact that her life is

in danger. When Miles Parsons, a new

student in Kenzie’s class, kidnaps her,

he claims to be an FBI agent stationed

at the prison for her safety. Would he

really kidnap her to save her life? And

why would anyone at the prison want

to hurt Kenzie?

Filled with intense action and intriguing

romance, this novel is sure to

captivate readers, particularly women.

Although some scenes border on

SERIES UPDATES

PJ Sugar

by Susan May Warren

Tyndale, 978-1-4143-1313-9, $13.99

#2 Double Trouble

Pleasant Valley

by Marta Perry

Berkley, 978-0-425-23236-1, $14

#2 Rachel’s Garden

Regency Inspirational Romance

by Linore Rose Burkard

Harvest House, 978-0-7369-2799-4,

$13.99

#3 The Country House Courtship

Sophie Trace Trilogy

by Kathy Herman

Cook, 978-1-4347-6784-4, $14.99

#3 The Right Call

Weddings by Bella

by Janice Thompson

Revell, 978-0-8007-3343-8, $14.99

#2 Swinging on a Star

The Wives of King David

by Jill Eileen Smith

Revell, 978-0-8007-3321-6, $14.99

#2 Abigail

corniness, Johnson’s story contains an

interesting plot, engaging characters,

and Christian morals. This book would

be a great addition to any church library.

RN

A LADY LIKE SARAH

Rocky Creek Romance #1

by Margaret Brownley

Nelson, 978-1-59554-809-2, PB, 313

pages, $14.99

Brownley has struck gold with this


western romance. Pastor Justin Wells

has been forced out of his New England

church into the wilds of Texas.

On his way, he meets Sarah Prescott,

an outlaw being led back to jail. As Justin

attempts to change the hearts of the

townspeople and prove Sarah’s innocence,

he finds that his own faith and

feelings toward God and Sarah change

as well.

On occasion, Brownley puts theology

in the back seat to further the romance;

but, overall, her book is well

written, is believable, and maintains

interest to the last page. Readers will

relate to the major characters in a way

that is not matched by most typical

westerns, for the story examines

themes of isolation, desperation, alienation,

and inspiration. Outlaw Sarah

Prescott will steal the hearts of readers

everywhere. SS

THE LIGHTKEEPER’S DAUGHTER

by Colleen Coble

Nelson, 978-1-59554-627-2, PB, 307

pages, $14.99

A beacon of truth in a world of deception,

23-year-old Adeline appears

to be the average daughter of a deceased

lightkeeper in California. However,

when an unexpected visitor unveils

her mysterious past, her life is

changed forever, sending her to Eaton

Hall mansion where secrecy and vanity

thrive. Working as a governess for

the son of a handsome widower, she

searches for family among the ashes of

her twisted past in an adventure of

mystery, romance, drama, and faith.

With unexpected changes in every

chapter, this book has a well-constructed

plotline sure to surprise even

the most perceptive readers. Coble expertly

creates characters as believable

as the motives behind their actions. Although

the story takes place under rare

circumstances, the obstacles faced and

lessons learned make it a timeless testament

to the necessity of trusting God

and an exhilarating story for women

of all ages. KMH

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LOST MISSION

by Athol Dickson

Howard, 978-1-4165-8347-9, PB, 350

pages, $14.99

More than 200 years ago, one priest

supernaturally escaped the fiery collapse

of his Spanish mission. His legacy

advances through the centuries until it

sends a shopkeeper, Lupe, on a quest

to save the lost Americans in present

day. And why did God really send the

priest to America those many years

ago? Why is He sending a humble missionary

now?

Dickson’s story juggles many characters,

which he uses to string the

reader along until finally connecting

the dots. As if telling an epic tale, he

weaves plot, character, religion, and

history into a conversational, easy-toread

tome. The book’s overall perspective

is rather cynical and controversial

though. He deals heavily with such issues

as illegal immigrants and hypocrisy

within the mainstream church and

basically says Catholics and Protestants

are the same as long as they truly

believe in Christ. Not for the faint of

heart, this novel is an entertaining but

thought-provoking tale. SHW

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD

A Walk in the Park #1

by Annalisa Daughety

Barbour, 978-1-60360-477-3, PB, 319

pages, $10.97

Nothing but pain can come from

love, or at least that’s what Kristy believes

after she is left at the altar. Kristy

returns from her lone honeymoon, expecting

her job as a park ranger to be

waiting for her, but instead meets Ace,

who now has her job. Ace keeps his

motives for working at the park a secret,

but he can’t hide his feelings for

Kristy. Demoted and alone, she declares

she doesn’t believe in true love.

Can Ace change her mind?

Daughety does an excellent job of

developing realistic characters. Readers

will fall in love with and identify

with each one. There is never a dull

point in the book; the plot moves along

without slowing down or becoming

boring. Daughety keeps readers interested

and guessing to the end while

maintaining a strong, biblical foundation.

This book would make a great addition

to any library. SS

RAISING RAIN

by Debbie Fuller Thomas

Moody, 978-0-8024-8734-6, PB, 320

pages, $13.99

When Jude decides to have a celebration

of life before passing on due

to cancer, she brings together four college

roommates and her daughter for

one last reunion. Raising Rain details

the lives of four different women but

focuses mainly on Bebe, the main

caregiver of Jude’s daughter, Rain. In

the short months preceding Jude’s

death, all of the characters come to new

realizations about themselves in regard

to life goals, spiritual needs, personal

health, and forgotten friendships.

This story is enjoyable to read and

is well paced. Not once does it feel like

the author is forcing anything beyond

the characters’ natural inclinations. It

develops into a believable story line

with lovable characters and well-written,

realistic dialogue. BS

THE SWISS COURIER

by Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey

Revell, 978-0-8007-3336-0, PB, 324

pages, $13.99

In a time of uncertainty and instability,

whom can you trust? This is the

predicament the characters of this

novel face. Following the attempt on

Hitler’s life, the Gestapo is desperate

to expose traitors and grasp any remaining

hope of victory. What is this

hope? It’s the Wunderwaffe, a wonder

weapon supposedly capable of turning

the direction of the war. However, the

Gestapo has discovered a deadly secret:

A Jew is working on this weapon.

He has now become the most wanted

man in Germany, and it is up to the

Resistance to save him and the cause.

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 27

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Although propelled by more suspense

with every turn of the page, this

book does not provide adequate character

development. Also, given the realities

of war, it is somewhat unrealistic.

The book follows scriptural themes

and is, therefore, appropriate for a

church or school library with teen to

adult readers. ALW

THICKER THAN BLOOD

by C. J. Darlington

Tyndale, 978-1-4143-3448-6, PB, 350

pages, $12.99

When Christy finds a stolen book in

her car that might have been put there

by her ex-boyfriend in trying to frame

her, she leaves the life she had created

and reconciles with the sister she left

at their parents’ funeral. Christy’s

transformation from an abused alcoholic

into someone seeking God’s love

resonates with readers.

The story moves at a good pace, and

the author creates believable characters

who interact well within the two vastly

different cultures. The author portrays

realities and problems of life without

God. However, the villain in the story,

Vince, isn’t well-developed and seems

one-dimensional. This aside, Thicker

than Blood is an enjoyable story that will

particularly delight female readers. BS

THIRSTY

by Tracey Bateman

WaterBrook, 978-0-307-45715-8, PB,

376 pages, $13.99

Thirsty is a refreshing twist on the

popular vampire craze. Rather than focus

on dramatic teenage romance or

violent warfare, as seems to be the

trend within the genre, Thirsty centers

on a story of redemption.

The protagonist, Nina, is a recovering

alcoholic whose family has all but

disowned her. She’s been in and out of

rehab; and she moves to her hometown

to live with her sister, the local sheriff,

and start a new life. She also aims to

spend time with her teenage daughter,

who despises her. As Nina struggles

28 28 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

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to confront aspects of her past, an evil

force settles over the town, manifested

by a series of grotesque murders. In order

for her and her loved ones to survive,

Nina must finally come to terms

with her addiction, reconcile with the

ones she has hurt, and uncover an ageold

mystery that could threaten the

town itself.

Thirsty deals with heavy subject

matter, including nightmarish addiction,

grisly violence, and rape. None of

these things are glorified in the least,

however; and good and evil are clearly

defined. The story is fast paced, the

characters well rounded, and the finale

unpredictable. An entertaining plot

with strong Christian themes, it will

leave both new Bateman readers and

former fans “thirsty” for more. AES

THOUGH WATERS ROAR

by Lynn Austin

Bethany, 978-0-7642-0496-8, PB, 430

pages, $13.99

Harriet Sherwood sits in her jail cell

wondering what brought her to this

place. Her mind drifts to the stories of

her great-grandmother, grandmother,

and mother. As she reminisces, the

tales of three generations begin to show

surprising similarities, especially considering

the contrast of the characters

involved. Through her memories, Harriet

makes valuable discoveries about

herself and God.

Austin is in familiar territory as she

weaves her narratives together. She

paints a vivid picture of America in its

earlier years, stretching all the way

from the mid-1800s to the 1920s.

Though generational stories can become

stilted or stretched out, this

book’s unique characters drive the

reader to keep turning pages. The social

justice issues the book focuses on

also add a meaningful touch. But, overall,

readers will remember the gentle

lessons about God and faith in Him.

Women who like historical fiction will

especially enjoy this story. RAB

WALKING ON BROKEN GLASS

by Christa Allan

Abingdon, 978-1-426-70227-3, PB, 340

pages, $13.99

Leah Thorton makes a journey from

alcoholism to sobriety. Though she’s

pampered, her life is less than idyllic.

Burdened by her husband’s sexual demands

and critical spirit, Leah numbs

her emotions with alcohol. A slightly

heavier woman, she escapes the archetype

of the beautiful and feisty fictional

female and, instead, seems truly human.

Initially, her spiritual standing is

a bit uncertain, but her movement

toward God eventually grows clearer.

Set in Texas, this story deals with

themes of loneliness, loss, abuse, and

addiction. Written in a conversational

style that makes Leah’s narrative seem

like the confession of a friend, it is slow

at times; but the honest examination of

life and pain make it unique and intimate.

Alongside Leah, the author sets

a host of quirky co-characters, each of

whom is vividly depicted and who add

vitality. Allan also specializes in clever

word pictures and witty turns-ofphrase,

making this book convey its

message while staying readable. LMP

Potpourri

GREAT EVENTS IN AMERICAN

HISTORY

by Rebecca Price Janney

God and Country, 978-0-89957-026-6,

PB, 175 pages, $14.99

Did you know that James Irwin’s

moon walk convinced him to accept

Christ; that General Lee prayed with

his troops during the Civil War; and

that after being shot, President Mc-

Kinley recited the Lord’s Prayer and

interceded for his apprehended killer?

For middle- and high-school students

curious about the elements of faith in

our nation’s history, this book is a terrific,

one-stop resource.


Be forewarned, however. History

buffs who expect a full debriefing on

historical events may feel slighted

when seemingly important details are

breezed past. For example, Janney recounts

the Watergate scandal without

even mentioning Woodward or

Bernstein. Nevertheless, this book by

a theologically trained historian brilliantly

portrays the Christian aspects

of major events that have affected

North American history during the

past 500 years. DN

Teens

ASKING FOR TROUBLE

London Confidential #1

by Sandra Byrd

Tyndale, 978-1-4143-2597-2, PB, 216

pages, $6.99

Fifteen-year-old Savannah Smith

from Seattle finds herself drowning in

a sea of uncertainty as the Smith family

tries to adjust to life in a London

suburb. Each family member has his

or her own obstacle to overcome. Savannah

struggles to find God’s plan for

her in a new country, while eagerly trying

to earn a reporter’s spot on the

school newspaper.

Like most teen girls, Savannah

struggles with the desire to fit in and

make friends. By the end of the book,

she seems to understand how God is

working in her life with a simplistic

clarity. Byrd has done a good job of exploring

some differences between British

and American cultures, but often

in conspicuous ways. Dialogue sometimes

is unnatural. This book is best for

junior-high girls. RSB

DISCOVERY OF DESIGN: Searching

Out the Creator’s Secrets

by Donald DeYoung & Derrick

Hobbs

Master Books, 978-0-89051-574-7, PB,

233 pages, $12.99

DeYoung and Hobbs present an in-

B B O O O O K K R R E E V V I I E E W W S

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triguing glimpse inside the unrivaled

complexity of God’s creation. Filled

with jaw-dropping examples, the book

illustrates many technological creations

constructed by humans in imitation

of God’s handiwork. From the

simplest tools to the most complex machines,

the authors expose the incredible

vision of God’s majesty from a

human perspective.

About 80, two-page comparisons

comprise the majority of the book, using

black and white pictures for each

subject. In one comparison, the authors

describe how the ventilation structure

of a termite mound was used to design

the blueprint of a new, state-of-the-art

building in South Africa. Subjects

range from Venus flytraps to geckos,

and the descriptions do an excellent job

of reducing technical jargon to laymen’s

terms, so anybody can understand

it. This insightful book by a scientist

and businessman is worth being

picked up by anyone fascinated with

technology and its foundation in God’s

creation. AM

ESCAPING THE VAMPIRE: Desperate

for the Immortal Hero

by Kimberly Powers

Cook, 978-1-4347-0061-2, PB, 192

pages, $12.99

The Twilight Saga has become many

teen girls’ fascination. Powers, a popular

teen conference speaker, attempts

to share with girls what it is about this

series that they find so compelling, as

well as why and how they can channel

those aspects of every girl’s heart to her

relationship with Christ.

Powers relates well to teen girls,

providing points to think on in her

“Just Breathe” segments. She also hits

on some key areas that contribute to

the Twilight fanaticism; however, she

doesn’t discuss the Twilight Saga and

the associated obsession except in the

first chapter. After that, the book deals

more with common, teen-girl issues

than anything else, such as dating,

shopping, school, and families. Pow-

ers has excellent things to say to teens

but the title focus of her book isn’t hit

on well. I recommend it to teen girls

who are more interested in self-understanding

and improvement than in

Twilight. SP

KATY’S NEW WORLD

Katy Lambright Series #1

by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Zondervan, 978-0-310-71924-3, PB, 203

pages, $9.99

Katy, a young Mennonite girl, has

been given the chance to attend public

high school. Her journey is full of challenges,

temptations, and questions as

she tries to balance her two worlds

without abandoning her faith. While

trying to fit in with the girls at school,

Katy soon realizes that maintaining old

and new friendships can be hard; but

throughout her experiences, she finds

guidance in God’s Word.

Sawyer creates a number of well-developed

characters with whom readers

can relate, like Katy and Jewel. Realistic

dialogue and tension-building

chapter endings keep the story moving.

With lessons about respecting parents’

decisions and maintaining

healthy friendships without compromising

one’s beliefs, this book is great

for teens who are struggling in either

of these areas or looking for assurance

that it’s okay to be different because of

their faith. NED

SERIES UPDATE

Miracle Girls

by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt

FaithWorks, 978-0-446-40758-8,

$9.99

#4 Love Will Keep Us Together

(final book)

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 29

29


Teaching

THE SANCTUARY: Teaching Aids

Vision Video, 7-27985-01337-4, 17

minutes, $19.99

Although short, the movie portion

of this DVD gives a clear overview of

the history of the tabernacle, as well as

details about all of it’s components. A

clear explanation for why this study is

important to contemporary believers

30 30 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

B B O O O O K K R R E E V V I I E E W W S

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TO SAVE A LIFE

by Jim and Rachel Britts

Outreach, 978-0-9823744-6-7, PB, 315

pages, $14.99

Jake’s life is saved by his friend

Roger during an auto accident. In high

school, Jake becomes a basketball star

whose status and social pressures separate

the friends. During their senior

year, Roger commits suicide, leaving

Jake reeling in guilt and searching for

answers. Influenced by a kind, genuine

youth pastor, Jake recognizes the

senselessness of his fake life and feels

an urge to reach out to ignored, perse-

Music

continued from page 31

GLORY TO CHRIST

Adoration Series

by various artists

Discovery House, 0-717336-650723,

$15.98

In contrast to some of today’s praise

music, this collection of heartfelt

worship songs have biblical depth and

are theologically sound. For example,

D D V V D D R R E E V V I I E E W

W

cuted students like Roger. As Jake’s

family life, social life, love life, and

dreams of playing college basketball

suffer in the wake of his decision, he

considers bailing out, unaware that

another life hangs in the balance.

Jake’s story is captivating, unforgettable,

and moving. Before his conversion,

Jake and his friends cuss, drink,

and smoke marijuana. Risqué romance

and ogling boys present some immodest

word pictures. However, I recommend

this book to mature high school

students and older readers. DN

forms a transition from God’s plan for

the Israelites to Christ’s sacrificial

death.

Additional resources on the DVD include

50 each tabernacle photos and 3D

graphics, as well as 15 animations suitable

for Web use, all without royalty

fees. Teachers will welcome the additional

resources, including charts, calendars,

and posters, but may wish for

correlating biblical references. JAW

“Oh, Great Salvation” is rich in theology

with lyrics like this stanza:

“Through faith alone we’re justified,/

Oh, great salvation./Dressed in the

righteousness of Christ,/Oh, great

salvation!/And can it be? Such great

love poured out for me?/Washed in

the blood, cleansed, forgiven—He set

me free.” “Send Me” is a prayer of

commitment, based on Isaiah 6; and

“The Beatitudes” is Scripture set to a

melody. The final song, “We Worship

You, God,” directs listeners to praise

Reviewers

Nathan Biberdorf, writer

Rachelle S. Bontreger, writer

Carrie Bragg, writer

Ruth Anne Burrell, writer

Laura A. Coulter, writer

Shelly Curtis, teacher

Nicole E. Dynes, writer

Dr. Bianca L. Elliott, teacher

Amy Lynn Green, writer

Kara Marie Hackett, writer

Dr. James C Hendrix, reviewer

Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, writing

professor, freelance writer

Corinne Hills, writer

Julie-Allyson Ieron, writer, editor

Lin Johnson, editor

Rachel Kiely, writer

Matt Maine, writer

Hope Irvin Marston, librarian

writer

Anna K. Medearis, writer

Nicole Miller, writer

Matthew J. Mimnaugh, writer

Andrew Morgan, writer

Stephen Mortland, writer

Rebekah Mosolf, writer

Drew Neuenschwander, writer

Amy L. Nickerson, writer

Rachel Nolan, writer

Tamara Jane Peachy, writer

Lauren M. Peltier, writer

Shannon Potelicki, writer

Jan Wallace Reber, professor

Sarah Sawicki, writer

Bethany Sievert, writer

Austin E. Sisson, writer

Kailey Traylor, writer

Thomas J. Vick, writer

Judy A. Waggoner, church

librarian

Andrea Walker, writer

Alexis L. Warner, writer

Stephanie H. Warner, writer

Grace C. Yates, writer

Micah York, writer

Weston Young, writer

God by enumerating some of His

attributes.

If you’re looking for new worship

CDs to add to your collection, buy this

one and the rest of the series. Highly

recommended. LJ


Contemporary

ALIVE AGAIN

by Matt Maher

Essential, 0-83061-09062-3, $11.99

Maher makes a statement beyond

the music and beats. This CD contains

deeper lyrical meanings and is filled

with fresh ideas with theological implications.

It speaks of man’s desperation

for the Godhead, as well as God’s

desperation for us. Maher sings of grace

and how unworthy of it we truly are.

He attempts to put humanity into perspective

as we were once in darkness

but now have the light of a Savior.

The title track was chosen as the best

Christian & Gospel single of 2009 by

iTunes music. Although some of the

tracks on the album become musically

repetitive, hardly seeming to separate

themselves from other artists in the

genre, a number of tracks redeem the

album since they contain fresh musical

harmonies and creative instrumental

ensembles. Maher’s voice is soothing

and easy to listen to; and when he

teams with a female vocalist on “Garden,”

the result is heavenly. SM

EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT

by Shane & Shane

Inpop, 8-04147-14532-3, $13.99

Much of the material for the lyrics

on this CD is drawn faithfully from

Scripture. For example, Psalm 73 was

the inspiration for “My Portion”: “God

is … my portion forever” (v. 26b). Likewise,

“You Say ‘I’m Rich’” is a haunting

musical adaptation of Jesus’ indictment

against the Laodicean church:

“You say, ‘I am rich …;‘ But you do

not realize that you are wretched, pitiful,

poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17).

And in “This Is Who I Am,” Shane

Barnard partnered with his wife, Beth,

to adapt 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore,

if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,”

with a fresh twist.

Through ballads, light instrumen-

M M U U S S I I C C R R E E V V I I E E W W S

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tals, and heartfelt vocals, Shane &

Shane once again communicate truths

of the gospel in a pop vehicle that will

tug at the heartstrings of young and

middle-aged listeners alike. J-AI

ONE REASON

by Chynna &Vaughan

Reunion, 6-02341-01462-5, $11.99

This debut album combines soaring

harmonies with acoustic-oriented instrumentation.

Pop artist Chynna Phillips

and singer/songwriter Vaughan

Penn mix uplifting music with positive

lyrics. Point of Grace fans will love

their cheerful melodies like “One Reason”

and “Now I Know Your Love,”

while the folksy flavor of “Something

Divine” and “Was It You?” will appeal

to Amy Grant listeners.

The messages outshine the music.

“Everyday Miracles” focuses on God’s

omnipresence and His love. “Eye for

an Eye” encourages listeners to repay

evil with kindness: “I’m not gonna hurt

someone, even if I’m justified/an eye

for an eye is not the life I choose to

lead.” “My King” is pure worship. One

Reason is a refreshing throwback to the

carefree style of ’90s Christian music.

The duo’s voices blend perfectly, creating

something enchanting and making

it ideal for any church library. AES

UNTIL THE WHOLE WORLD

HEARS

by Casting Crowns

Reunion, 6-02341-01352-9, $13.99

Casting Crowns has topped charts

and gone platinum with its powerful

messages and consistent musical style.

This latest CD is another solid album.

The title tune promises to “sing until

the whole world hears.” From songs

proclaiming the need of a Savior (“If

We’ve Ever Needed You” and “Jesus,

Hold Me Now”) to songs worshiping

God Almighty at full volume (“Always

Enough” and “At Your Feet”), the message

and music do not disappoint.

Targeting teens and young adults,

the message stands above the style.

This album may be targeted to a teen

audience, but lovers of the band and

new listeners of any age will easily relate

to the songs for the lyrics give a

darkening world hope. My obvious

recommendation would be to youth

groups and their leaders, but anyone

who loves the diversity the rock genre

can offer and those who want to worship

in high tempo will not be disappointed

with this album. RM

Praise

& Worship

AWAKEN THE DAWN

by Keith & Kristyn Getty

Getty Music, 8-04879-19582-5, $13.99

“The two goals we have when we’re

writing are to get people of every generation

all across the world to sing, and

in doing so, to sing songs that will build

up the Church and enable people to

express more about who God is,”

wrote Kristyn. The Gettys ably accomplished

these goals on their second CD.

From “Hear O Israel,” a haunting

call to worship based on Deuteronomy

6:4, to the statement of commitment in

“What Grace Is Mine,” which is set to

the traditional Irish melody of “Danny

Boy,” the lyrics are rich in theology and

the melodies are easy to sing. “All

Around the World” celebrates the global

emphasis of the gospel: “From every

nation, tribe, and tongue/God calls

his people forth.”

Every song focuses listeners’ hearts

and minds on who God is. This collection

of 12 new hymns with a Celtic flavor

and Kristyn’s clear, rich voice will

be a hit in your library. The CD comes

with a short DVD with some of the

music set to beautiful scenery in Ireland

and the Gettys talking about the

backgrounds of their songs. Highly recommended.

LJ

continued on page 30

Church Libraries • Spring 2010 31

31


y Arlene Walker

32 32 Church Libraries • Spring 2010

B B U U L L L L E E T T I I N N B B O O A A R R D D S S / / P P O O S S T T E E R

R

________________________________________________________________

Arlene Walker is a freelance writer and retired teacher.

Poster

Use a sheet of white poster board as the background. You will also need a

variety of pieces of colored paper, including one black sheet for puzzle pieces.

Use a large piece of newsprint to make a puzzle pattern, about six inches

smaller than the poster board, with sections that show where the puzzle

pieces interlock. Label the puzzle pieces to help you know their placement.

Use each of the 13 patterns to cut pieces from colored paper. Note that instead

of fitting the piece labeled reading into the rest, cut that piece from

black paper.

Fit the puzzle pieces together, and glue them into place on the poster

board. Mount the piece labeled reading onto heavy cardboard, so it is raised

from the rest of the puzzle. Use a wide black marker to trace the outline of

each puzzle piece, and label the pieces with activities from a person’s typical

day. Use a ruler and pencil to write the caption on the left side and continuing

along the top. Make sure to leave a margin of space above and below the

caption, then trace it with a black marker.

Bulletin Board

Cover a bulletin board with pale lavender paper, and cut a large cross

from gold paper. Using a pencil and ruler, lightly write the words of the

verse as large as possible on the cross. Trace the letters with a black

marker. Mount the cross in the center of the board. Cut letters for the

title from dark blue paper, arrange them above the cross, and staple

them in place. Mount book jackets from devotional books that focus on

our new life in Christ on either side of the cross.

Bulletin Board

Cover a bulletin board with

coarse, tan fabric, such as burlap.

Cut a pattern of a shoe sole,

and use it to cut soles from brown

paper. Be sure to proportion the

size of the soles to the size of the

bulletin board. Mount the soles

to make a diagonal path as

shown. Arrange book jackets

from autobiographies, biographies,

and memoirs in the space

along both sides of the board. Cut

letters for the captions from

bright blue-green paper, and

staple them in place.


ECLA Conference CDs/Tapes

Check the tapes or CDs you want, complete the information at the bottom, and mail

this form with a check or money order in U.S. funds payable to ECLA.

tape CD

N/A ___ How Books Can Carry God's Blessing, Julie-Allyson Ieron

N/A ___ Archiving Your Church History, Pat Howard

N/A ___ Audiobooks in Your Library, Tammy Faxel

N/A ___ Functions of Fiction, Allie Pleiter

N/A ___ Nourishing Your Dream, Lynn Austin

N/A ___ Secular Collection Selections for Children, Deb Augsburger

N/A ___ What Librarians Need to Know About Publishing: Trends in Fiction and

Nonfiction and the Future of the Book, Jeff & Cindy Crosby

___ ___ Weeding Your Collection and Working With Volunteers, Dave Franklin

& Pat Howard

N/A ___ Creating Web Pages for & Marketing Library, Cindy Kenney

___ ___ Launching a Church Library, Susan Fischer

___ N/A Starting a Church Library, Dotty Martin

___ N/A Upgrading Your Library on a Shoestring, Susan Fischer

___ N/A Selection Policy, Lin Johnson

___ N/A Budget Building Exercises, Helen Hunter

___ N/A Understanding Copyright, Lin Johnson

___ ___ Prescription for the Discouraged Librarian, Lynn Austin

N/A ___ Life-transforming Literature, Mark Hamby

___ ___ The Church Library and MOPS, Ruth Gibson

___ ___ The Truth About Children’s Fiction, Becky Barnes

N/A ___ Setting Goals, Building Milestones With a Servant’s Heart, Lynn Austin

___ N/A “Quiet Please”: Soul Rest for Librarians, Jane Rubietta

___ ___ Navigate the Information Highway, Tinna Mills & Christy Ewing

N/A ___ Keynote: Lessons From VeggieTales ® , Cindy Kenney

N/A ___ Helping Children Grow God’s Way, Gilbert Beers

PRICES: Tapes: $5; CDs: $8 each

SHIPPING & HANDLING: free in U.S.; Canada: add 15%

Name _________________________________________________________

Address_______________________________________________________________

City__________________________________________________________________

State/Province_________________ Zip+4/Postal Code _________________

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ECLA

P.O. Box 353, Glen Ellyn, IL 60138

630-375-7865

mary@eclalibraries.org

Get Paid for Your

Ideas—and Get

Published

You can get published in Church

Libraries—and make some

money to buy books. I’m looking

for the following articles:

• Profiles of church libraries. How

did yours get started? What are you

doing to get people to use it? What

special features does it have? Inquiring

minds want to know. They

also want photos (with people).

• Reading club and contest ideas.

• Special promotion ideas.

• Staff training ideas.

• Anything else you think other

church librarians can benefit from

reading.

• Short, funny stories of things that

have happened to you as a church

or school librarian. (This one doesn’t

pay, but share the laughter.)

You don’t have to be a professional

writer. I can edit your ideas,

but I need the ideas to edit. I only

work via e-mail, so contact me at

linjohnson@eclalibraries.org. For

complete guidelines, go to ecla

libraries.org/cljournal.html; click on

Writer’s Guidelines.

—Lin Johnson, Managing Editor


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