Friday, September 1, 2017

The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries by GRACE



Does your church or ministry need help developing a policy to keep children safe? The GRACE team with multi-disciplinary knowledge, headed by Boz Tchividjian, a lawyer and former child abuse prosecutor, want to help you create a plan with their new book and resource, The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries. Creating a policy can seem too overwhelming, and it feels like an impossible task to plan for every contingency. This handbook is designed for use by a group that will be formulating policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministry, school, and/or church. Working through this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse polices and then guide them through each step they need to take to address the safety of children under their care.


About the Book
The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries (New Growth Press, August 2017)

Churches have always sought to be a safe haven for children and families, but many today are dealing with the tragic reality of child sexual abuse.

This handbook, authored and edited by a multidisciplinary team of child abuse experts, is designed for use by a group that will be formulating policies and procedures to protect children and deal with possible child abuse in their ministry, school, and/or church. Working through this book will assist churches and ministries to assess their current child abuse polices and then guide them through each step they need to take to address the safety of children under their care. It will cover vitally important topics including:

—Protecting the children in a Christian environment from child abuse
—The warning signs of child abuse
—Crafting and implement a child protection policy
—Responding to abuse allegations
—Caring for victims of child abuse
—The legal implications and requirements for churches and Christian ministries

Written by a GRACE team with multi-disciplinary knowledge, headed by Boz Tchividjian, a lawyer and former child abuse prosecutor, this handbook will be an invaluable resource to Christians who are seeking to educate themselves and others about child abuse and how to best protect the little ones under their care.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

 

About the Authors
(Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) is a nonprofit organization made up of highly trained, experienced multidisciplinary professionals who seek to educate and empower the Christian community to identify, confront, and respond to the sin of child abuse.

Find out more about GRACE at http://www.netgrace.org.




Margie’s Comments
The Child Safeguarding Policy for Churches and Ministries is the book any Christian ministry needs in order to set up a policy for employees and volunteers in a church, school, camp, or any para-church ministry that works with children. Over the years I have worked in almost every area of ministry at our church, including the school and camp our church owns. Twenty years ago, the state of Colorado required all “religious” entities that work with children to have a written policy of what abuse is, and how we intended to keep the laws set up to protect the children who came through the church, school, or camp.
                 
Today my son and daughter-in-love head up the training each employee or volunteer at our church must go through each year in order to work with the children the Lord brings into each ministry. (They will get my copy of this e-book that was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.) There are many organizations out there who actually can help in training employees and volunteers in order to be in compliance with each state’s laws concerning abuse. But those who wrote this policy book are considered among the most experienced with the most practical advice.

The book is divided into five sections covering a definition of every kind of abuse, a plan for protecting the children in our ministry, a plan for responding to policy violations and child abuse, a plan for ministering to those who have been abused, and a plan for living the policy. Each chapter ends with a sample wording for a church policy manual, plus sample forms located in the Appendices. Having been through the training for adults working in children’s ministries, I found this book to cover each topic thoroughly with easy to understand narrative and case studies. The sample forms easily delineate what each is for and why it exists. As a former teacher, mom, grandma, camp kitchen coordinator and counselor, I found this book extremely helpful and thorough in helping a ministry like ours make sure they are in compliance with the law. I highly recommend the book and commend the authors for addressing this difficult topic in a kind and compassionate way.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

'God's Crime Scene for Kids' Mystery Investigation Kit Giveaway

Join your children in learning how to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation with a real-life detective! In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery.

Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Your kids will look at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator and ultimately learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Help your kids become detectives who investigate creation for signs of God and His creativity by entering to win the Mystery Investigation Kit!



One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on August 31. The winner will be announced September 1 on the Litfuse blog.

God's Crime Scene for Kids: Investigate Creation with a Real Detective by J. Warner and Susie Wallace



About the Book:

God’s Crime Scene for Kids: Investigate Creation with a Real Detective (David C Cook, September 2017)

Hone your reasoning skills as you investigate evidence in the universe to determine the most reasonable cause for everything we see in creation.

In this companion to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, Jason uncovers a mystery in his grandmother’s attic. He and his friends, Hannah, Daniel and Jasmine, enlist the help of Detective Jeffries at the Jr. Detective’s Academy. Along the way, they develop the skills needed to investigate the mystery and the evidence of God’s existence. The cadets learn logical-thinking skills as they examine the contents of a mysterious box and the vast universe.

In God’s Crime Scene for Kids, real-life detective J. Warner Wallace shows kids ages 8 to 12 what skills are needed to solve Jason’s mystery, and at the same time looks at evidence in the universe that demonstrates God is the creator. Ultimately, kids will learn how to make their own case for God’s existence.

Learn more and purchase a copy here.


About the Authors:
 
J. Warner and Susie Wallace have been training young people in the church setting for over a decade. J. Warner is a cold-case homicide detective who has been featured on Dateline, FOX News, Court TV and other crime-related television shows. A former atheist, he is the author of "Cold-Case Christianity: God’s Crime Scene," "Forensic Faith," and "Cold-Case Christianity for Kids." He has a master’s degree in theology and is the founder of ColdCaseChristianity.com. Susie has a master’s degree in speech pathology and co-writes (and edits) all the kids books in this series. J. Warner and Susie have four children and live in southern California.





Margie’s Comments:

In this sequel to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, the authors take us through a second year in the junior police academy. The reader follows the same kids, including themselves, as they solve a mystery for one of their friends as they apply the new techniques they are learning. At the same time Detective Jeffries teaches them about God’s creation using the same techniques. I loved the first book in this Cold-Case Christianity for Kids series, so I have been looking forward to reading God’s Crime Scene for Kids: Investigate Creation with a Real Detective. And I wasn’t disappointed. I love the approach to creation facts as given in the Bible, proving once again that God doesn’t lie. As with the first book, I’ll pass this book (which I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review) on to my son, the director of a church camp. He also loves this approach to teaching biblical truths to young people.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Name Unknown by Roseanna White


About the Book:

A Name Unknown (Bethany House, July 2017)

She’s out to steal his name. Will he steal her heart instead?

Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the band of former urchins that helped her survive as a girl in the mean streets of London. Grown now, they are no longer pickpockets—now they focus on high value items and have learned how to blend into upper-class society. Rosemary’s challenge of a lifetime comes when she’s assigned to determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. How does one steal a family’s history, their very name?

Rumors swirl around Peter Holstein. Awkward and solitary, but with access to the king, many fear his influence. But Peter can’t help his German last name and wants to prove his loyalty to the crown—so he can go back to anonymously writing a series of popular adventure novels. When Rosemary arrives on his doorstop pretending to be a well- credentialed historian, Peter believes she’s the right person to help him dig through his family’s past.

Anger and danger continue to mount, though, and both realize they’re in a race against time to discover the truth—about Peter’s past and about the undeniable attraction kindling between them.

Learn more and purchase a copy.



 
About the Author:

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of over a dozen historical novels and novellas, ranging from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her British series. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to make their way into her novels . . . to offset her real life, which is blessedly boring. She passes said boring life with her husband and kids in the beautiful mountains of eastern West Virginia.



Margie’s Comments:

“With the greatest risks come the greatest rewards.” This is the theme of A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. And the heroine of the story, Rosemary Gresham, proves the truth of that statement over and over throughout the story White has brought together with wonderful storytelling skills. The characters, major and minor, are all well-developed and the story is truly unique and well-written. The book was hard for me to put down. I look forward to reading the other books in this series—Shadows over England—by Roseanna White in the future. I highly recommend this book, set in the Edwardian period of English history, leading up to the First World War.

Monday, August 21, 2017

My Daughter's Legacy by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould



About the Book:

My Daughter’s Legacy (Harvest House, July 2017)
A thrilling tale of two women longing to follow God’s leading, make the most of second chances, and find true love at last
Virginia, 1864
Therese Jennings cannot abide the thought of owning slaves. When her widowed mother inherits a plantation, Therese flees to Civil War Richmond, where she works as a governess by day and tends to wounded soldiers at night. But when trouble befalls her family, can she reconcile her obligations with her beliefs? And will love—whether with an old beau or a handsome new suitor—ever fit in her broken world?
Virginia, present day
Nicole Talbot’s life is back on track after years of substance abuse. Home from college for the summer, she’s finally ready to share a shocking secret, one that raises new questions about a traumatic childhood experience. But when facts she uncovers cast doubt on her family’s legacy, she must risk all that she’s gained—her fresh start, her family’s trust, and her growing relationship with a new man—to unlock the secrets of the past.
Learn more and purchase a copy.


About the Authors:

Mindy Starns Clark is the bestselling author of more than 20 books, both fiction and nonfiction, with over a million copies sold. Mindy and her husband, John, have two adult children and live in Pennsylvania. **||** Leslie Gould, a former magazine editor, is the author of numerous novels, including "Beyond the Blue" and "Garden of Dreams." She received her master of fine arts degree from Portland State University and lives in Oregon with her husband, Peter, and their four children.


Margie’s Comments:

My Daughter’s Legacy by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould is an excellent book! I loved the story, the characters, and the unique style of the writing. As the story went back and forth between the historical and contemporary settings, I couldn’t tell which author wrote what. This is truly a good writing duo. While moving back and forth between the two stories is confusing to some readers, I have always enjoyed the stories even more. This book did not disappoint. I highly recommend My Daughter’s Legacy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski


About the Book:
Dragon Seed (New Growth Press, June 2017)

An angry teen, a desperate mother, a missing father, and a shadow lurking in the background.

Things were going from bad to worse for Nick and his family. Tempted to run away after yet another argument with his mom, Nick receives a handwritten, leather-bound copy of an old book—a family legend passed down to him from his great grandfather. The book, called Dragon Seed, leads Nick deep into his family’s history and introduces him to another angry young man who lived in the shadows (the shadows of the tombs). Like Nick, you’ll be shocked to discover where he fits in this story of epic proportions!

This page-turning, young adult fiction story invites older children and teens into the real-life struggles of Nick. But it also ushers them into an imaginative exploration of the life of the young man Jesus saved as he wandered through the tombs. Best-selling author Marty Machowski uses both stories to introduce the reality of spiritual warfare and how its shadows affect and change us.

Machowski, a trusted teacher for children of all ages, presents a thoroughly biblical view of spiritual warfare that emphasizes the importance of humility and dangers of pride. Teens will be drawn to the story of Nick and his struggles and will learn, as they read, to also identify the shadows in their own life and turn from them. While the biblical teaching is evident throughout the narrative of Dragon Seed, Machowski also includes a twelve-lesson Bible study at the end of the book to help teens ground their understanding of spiritual warfare on biblical principles.

Youth pastors, leaders, and parents will also want to explore with teens the small group study at the end of the book with its unique take on spiritual warfare that emphasizes the biblical theme of humility. This is a perfect book to read with a group and discuss together the implications of Nick’s struggles for their lives.

Learn more and purchase a copy.



About the Author:
 


 Marty Machowski is the Family Life Pastor at Covenant Fellowship Church in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, where he has served on the pastoral staff for over 25 years. Marty leads Promise Kingdom, the children's ministry of Covenant Fellowship. He is the author of a systematic theology for children entitled "The Ology," "Long Story Short," "Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God," "The Gospel Story Sunday School Curriculum" and the companion "Gospel Story Children's Bible." He and his wife, Lois, and their six children reside in West Chester, Pennsylvania area.





Margie’s Comments:
While Dragon Seed by Marty Machowski was written for older children and teens, I loved this book and found it difficult to put down! What a unique way to get a good look at Jesus and who He is and what He did while He was on the earth in man’s form!

Nick is a teen who is struggling against his mother’s good intentions and desires for him. When he fights her decision, she hands him the book and asks him to read it while he is isolated in his room. With nothing else to do, he reads the book. And he, too, finds it difficult to put down. There’s a surprise for him in the reading, but at the end he is ready to listen to the Lord as Lord of his life.


The author finished the book with a twelve-day devotional. These are based on Scripture and on the principles of spiritual warfare


brought out in the story. It’s a good reinforcement to children and teens to see where in Scripture these principles are upheld.

If anyone has a teenager at home (maybe more than one) they are struggling with spiritually, I highly recommend this book for your teen(s) to read. Read it yourself, then have your teen read it. Sooner or later it will lead to some great discussions because of the content.

(I was sent an ebook free from the publisher and the publicity group in exchange for an honest review.)

Monday, June 26, 2017

Israel—God’s Heart by Ron Gafni and Kathleen Barrett

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About the Book:
Israel—God’s Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel (Skypics Israel, November 2016)

Soar across the skies of beautiful Israel and visit contemporary and historic sites beckoning visitors to stay and explore.

The beauty of Israel from above is captured by top aerial photographer Ron Gafni.  As you sweep over ancient ruins, fly high in hot air balloons, and view vignette’s of Israel’s modern lifestyles, Holy scripture will also come alive. Author Kathleen Barrett offers reflective narrative with scripture pointing to God’s redemption plan for the world.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


About the Authors:
Ron Gafni works as a professional aerial photographer after spending more than a decade in Israel's High-Tech Industry. He brings his vast experience and personal perspective through the lens of a proud Israeli citizen. His work has been featured in National Geographic, and his company, Skypics.co.il, provides books from its "Israel From Above" collection to the Israeli government, Army and Air force, as well as to large corporations in Israel.

Kathleen Barrett, a south Florida resident and former teacher is a student of the Word. She shares her thoughtful point of view in "Israel-God's Heart" from a personal, 40-year walk of Christian faith and study. In 2002, she authored a children's devotional. Before that and since then, she has published numerous articles from mission's outreach to local political events. Her more personal and reflective work has been featured in a number of collections.


Margie’s Comments:
The photos in Israel – God’s Heart are stunning! Beautiful! Amazing! I’ve never been to Israel in person (it’s on my bucket list), but this book was the next best thing. What a blessing to read the narrative that went along with the photos, as well. The readings combined with the photos truly spoke to my heart and made me so thankful for God’s grace that makes it possible for me to be a part of God’s family and chosen people.

Thank you to the publishers, photographer, and author for the free book in return for a review.

The author/photographer of the book have made this available online.

Here is a link for the flipbook:


Friday, June 16, 2017

Driver Confessional by David L. Winters



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Driver Confessional (May 2017)

Ride share driver Antonio cruises the streets of Washington, D.C. looking for his next fare.

He has an unusual gift for relaxing his Buber customers and stimulating their desire to reveal more than they planned. By the completion of their ride, many feel so comfortable they confess their sins great and small. Antonio’s faith and continuous prayers guide his discussions and points him in new directions. Suddenly, his peaceful world is turned upside down by a mysterious businesswoman. As she heads to a midnight rendezvous, she confesses more than Antonio can handle. Her story sends him and his police detective brother into a world of espionage, international terrorism, corporate excesses, and danger.

Learn more and purchase a copy.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David L Winters is an award-winning author, humorist and speaker, originally from Ohio, who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. His first book, "Sabbatical of the Mind: The Journey from Anxiety to Peace," won several awards including a Silver Illumination Award from the Jenkins Group and two Finalist Medals from the Next Generation Indies Book Awards.






MARGIE’S COMMENTS:
Even though some of the publicity that came out about Driver Confessional by David Winters said it was a fast-paced thriller, I found it difficult to get into. While the story overall was good, it definitely wasn’t a fast read for me. The characters were good, but could have been better developed, so I didn’t connect with them as I would have liked to. Then there were the editing/proofreading errors. As a professional freelance editor, when I run across errors, they pull me out of the story. (I received a free book from the author in exchange for an honest review of my personal opinions.)

The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race by Mike H. Mizrahi



ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race (Redemption Press, April 2017)

Chattanooga society is turned upside down as a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle–in bloomers!

It’s 1895. Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit with her aunt in Brooklyn, she’s drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Southern women did not engage in activities meant for men.

Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.

Will Anna prove that women deserve the same right as men to ride “the wheel?” Will she choose to live a quiet, traditional life of a housewife and mother? Or will she pursue college and become one of the “new women” emerging into the twentieth century on the seat of a bicycle? What will become of the spark between Anna and Peter?

Faith, patience, and courage help Anna to become the person she was meant to be.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mike Mizrahi has a master’s degree in public relations, advertising, and applied communication from Boston University. After a career in corporate public affairs, he retired to pursue writing. After a mission trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, he wrote his first novel, "Kabirizi’s Revenge," and is also the author of "The Unnamed Girl." Mike and his wife Karen live in Woodland Hills, Calif., where the couple raised their two adult children, and he enjoys reading and writing.





MARGIE’S COMMENTS:
The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race is the first book I’ve read by Mike Mizrahi. And I loved it. Right away I identified with the heroine, Anna, and I rooted for her all through the book as she fought for emancipated womanhood combined with women’s traditional roles. As the book built up to the race between Peter and Anna, she didn’t realize how many people, men and women, she’d influenced and helped in her fight to become an active, godly woman, overcoming her fears, and gaining respect, in front of the entire town. I will be looking for more books by this author in the future. (I received a free book from the publisher in exchange for a review that states my personal opinions.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brave Is the New Beautiful by Lee Wolfe Blum


Do you find yourself succumbing to unattainable “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all”? Be encouraged to live out who you really are with Lee Wolfe Blum’s new book, Brave is the New Beautiful. Lee offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives—and found true beauty in the process. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.
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About the Book:
Brave Is the New Beautiful: Finding the Courage to Be the Real You (David C. Cook, March 2017)

Our culture bombards women with “thinspiration” messages and pressure to “do it all” while wearing the mask of perfection. 

Women are left feeling alone and overwhelmed. How can they stop comparing themselves to others? How can they live out who they really are?

Lee Wolfe Blum offers stories from everyday women who have answered these questions with their lives—and found true beauty in the process. In Brave Is the New Beautiful, Blum weaves reflections from her own journey with inspirational stories from everyday women who chose to take off their masks and live authentically. Through call-to-action questions and ideas, she encourages readers to be brave enough to be who they really are and the beloved that God knows they are.


About the Author:
 

Lee Wolfe Blum is an energetic and passionate speaker who loves to help women find hope in healing from perfectionism and addictions. She works as a mental health practitioner in the field of Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three boys.
Find out more about Lee Wolfe at http://leewolfeblum.com.







Margie’s Comments:
For each of the past twenty years or so, the Lord has given me a word to make my focus for that year. Sometimes the word is repeated the next year. The last couple of years, He’s given me two or three related words. But this year it is just one word: courage.

And even before the new year began, He had plans to put me into a “time out.” Yep. Nearly five months worth so far. And who knows how much longer until I learn the lessons He is teaching me. Each day I realize that in many ways it takes more courage than I thought to get out of bed and get dressed, even if it means I go no further than my living room and my recliner because of the incredible fatigue. It hasn’t been a fun place to be, but I have learned so much about the courage as a result—many times first-hand experience is much better than head knowledge.

Lee Wolfe Blum’s book Brave Is the New Beautiful opened my eyes to even more stories of courage that God has instilled into each one of His children. I love how her friend describes courage in the last chapter: “The kind of bravery you are talking about isn’t the kind that conquers. . . . It’s the kind that submits and relinquishes control to God. This is true bravery. It is letting our guard down and becoming naked, just like we were always meant to be. Trusting God and relying on him, just as he made us to do.” This book is full of stories of women who make the difficult decision each day to get up and do all that God has put before them, in total submission and trust in His goodness and guidance. In this way, we live out the purposes for which God made us. Even if it means He has to put you into a “time out” in order to teach us what true submission and trust is.

Thank you, Lee Blum, for sharing these stories from your life and others’ lives. Thank you for being authentic, for removing the masks we all don and try to hide behind. Thank you for allowing God to use you in spite of your perceived failures and inadequacies. These are the things the Lord is teaching me this year. This is true courage, true bravery.