[Masthead] Fair ~ 52°F  
High: 63°F ~ Low: 46°F
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Paranormal romance set in Middle Tennessee (05/01/16)
A paranormal romance book series based in Rutherford County and other Middle Tennessee locations continues with the Tuesday, May 3, release of "Anna's Way." The book is part of a series titled "Ditch Lane Diaries." The author is Dawn Jones of Jones Media in Murfreesboro. Under the pen name D.F. Jones, she released "Ruby's Choice," the first book in the series, last summer...
Christian artist shares story of hope (04/24/16)
I recently interviewed Christian Contemporary Music artist Plumb. Plumb is embarked on the Beautiful Offerings Tour with Big Daddy Weave and Jordan Feliz. In 2015 she released her seventh album, "Exhale." The producer was Matt Brownlee, an original member of Jars of Clay...
Mother tells story of miraculous events (04/20/16)
A Texas mother's love for her family and her faith in God are told in the critically acclaimed family-friendly movie "Miracles From Heaven." The movie is based on a memoir of the same name written by Christy Beam. The true story revolves around Beam's daughter Anna, who has a rare, incurable disease that left her unable to digest food. Beam lives near Burleson, Texas, with husband Kevin and their daughters Abby, Annabel (Anna) and Adelynn...
Author helps you get courageous (04/10/16)
One woman is sharing her hard-learned life lessons on living an authentic life in a new book. Ann White is the author of "7 Steps to Courage." She is the founder of In Grace Ministries and host of Christian talk show "Atlanta Live." She is also an author, speaker, teacher, and short-term missionary...
Drop the clichés, develop real faith (03/23/16)
Los Angeles pastor Chad Veach directs readers away from clichéd Sunday school answers to life's toughest questions such as "Where was God?" and "How could God allow this?" Such answers fail to provide true comfort or build up faith. Veach uses God's promises in the Bible and from his daughter's diagnosis with a debilitating disease to show simple, purposeful steps to deal with pain. ...
Do you have a 'Ridiculous Faith?' (03/23/16)
A new book asks you to consider what your life would be like if you could harness the extreme faith you experience in crises during the mundane moments of your life. The book is "Ridiculous Faith: Experience the Power of an Absurdly, Unbvelievably Good God." The author is Shelene Bryan, author of "Love, Skip, Jump." Nelson Books is the publisher. The release date is next Tuesday...
Woman forgives daughter's killer (03/20/16)
How do you forgive the man who murdered your child? Can you? Do you seek his death? Or do you petition the legal system to lock him up forever and throw away the key? A book released last week shows how a couple chose to forgive the man who used a shotgun on their 19-year-old daughter, Ann, during a breakup argument. The couple had been on again, off again for a while, and had wanted to get married...
Tragedies are not God's fault (03/16/16)
One pastor says God has a PR problem, but it's mankind's fault, not His. Lucas Miles is pastor of Oasis Church in Granger, Indiana, and author of the new Worthy Publishing book "Good God: The One We Want to Believe In But Are Afraid to Embrace." "For a long time, religion has painted a picture of God that holds Him responsible for everything that happens, including the good and the bad," he said in an interview. ...
God frees us from our awkward past (03/06/16)
Not many authors would have the guts to come out and write about why they should not be writing a book. But a campus minister and Internet communicator does exactly that in a new book. Sammy Rhodes is the author of "This is Awkward: How Life's Uncomfortable Moments Open the Door to Intimacy and Connection." Nelson Books is the publisher of the title that hit the market last Tuesday...
Band proclaims God in new album (02/28/16)
If you're looking for energetic music proclaiming the power and majesty of God, look no further than the J.J. Weeks Band's new album "As Long As We Can Breathe." The album by Centricity Music releases on April 8. The first single, "Alive In Me," just started hitting radio stations recently...
Christian recalls attack by Muslim on himself, child (02/24/16)
How would you respond to the man who shot you and your child? Would you call for his death? I recently interviewed one humanitarian aid worker who chose to forgive his and his daughter's attacker. Ray Norman was the national director of World Vision's poverty reduction program in a Muslim nation during very dark times -- just following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. His territory was Mauritania, western North Africa...
Commitment is foundation of love (02/14/16)
Love is the foundation of every relationship you will have. Love is the mission of every Christian. Yet love is often misunderstood. One pastor is on a mission to help people gain biblical insight into love. Dave Willis is the author of "The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships" by Nelson Books. ...
If you don't agree, you're not stupid (02/07/16)
How in the world did my recent blog post on the Times-Gazette website get out of hand? I posted a blog asking people to provide first and last names when submitting news or a photograph to the newspaper. That is part of properly identifying people we are referring to in stories and photos...
Women: Learn how to break busyness (02/07/16)
A new book by a woman entrepreneur for all women is taking aim at the cultural attitude that says the busier you are, the better. Alli Worthington is an author, speaker, blogger, and the Executive Director of Propel Women, an organization that empowers female leaders. Her new book is "Breaking Busy: How to Find Peace & Purpose in a World of Crazy."...
'Not Without My Daughter' continues (02/03/16)
If you have ever seen the 1991 movie or read the book "Not Without My Daughter," you may have wondered whatever became of the family featured in the biographical story and the followup book "For the Love of a Child." A new book continues the story. Amazon introduces the original book this way: "In August 1984, Michigan housewife Betty Mahmoody accompanied her husband to his native Iran for a two-week vacation. ...
Stop building spiritual sandcastles (01/31/16)
You may have material success, but you may be looking for true happiness without any luck. "Material success won't make you happy or fill the void in your heart. The only answer for spiritual bankruptcy is Jesus," a new book declares. In "Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World," readers can take a step-by-step approach through the book of Luke, Chapter 7. Nelson Books of Nashville is the publisher...
Learn how to Outgrow Your Space (01/20/16)
You've been itching for a promotion at work, itching so badly it's all you can think about while you're spending a third or more of your day there. But have you ever asked yourself why you want a promotion? Have you defined the word "promotion" for your purposes?...
Books make great last-minute gifts (12/13/15)
Looking for a last-minute Christmas gift for the book lover in your life? Never fear: I have a few suggestions from books I have received this year for my media review column. "The Carols of Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs."...
New book has local ties (12/09/15)
A Shelbyville native has released a book detailing the grieving process she experienced when her husband died eight years ago. Rebecca (Haynes) Cooper is the author of "Hey, God? Yes, Charles.", a deeply moving journal written after her husband died Nov. 26, 2007 from complications following emergency open-heart surgery in Atlanta. Two days after Charles' 58th birthday, he suffered a thoracic aortic dissection, the same condition that killed actor John Ritter...
Learn about life from Scrooge (12/09/15)
"Bah, humbug!" That curmudgeonly exclamation is perhaps one of the most famous quotes in the English language. It instantly conjures an image of an old, miserable man in a Christmas setting who frightens off dogs, children and beggars and is not even willing to spend a little money to stay warm in the winter weather. We're talking about none other than Ebenezer Scrooge, of course...
Pretribulationism at center of new book (11/29/15)
For anyone interested in studying more about the rapture of the church, a book by Moody Publishers offers a wealth of reading. "Evidence for the Rapture: A Biblical Case For Pretribulationism" provides plenty of spiritual food for the mind, as you would expect from a book published by Moody...
Spend Christmas with country stars (11/15/15)
Have you ever wondered what your favorite country music artists' most cherished Christmas traditions are? Chances are, the answer is in "Country Faith Christmas," a beautifully illustrated new book that would make a perfect gift for the country music lover in your family...
Music is literal journey of faith for Feliz (11/08/15)
What do you get when you mix an R&B influence from childhood with a California high school heavy metal band and the Nashville music scene? You get rising Christian pop artist Jordan Feliz, one of Centricity Music's shining stars. He recently launched his freshman album, "Beloved."...
What to do if you're single and feel stuck (11/01/15)
You're single. You feel stuck in singlehood. What should you do? I would suggest reading "The Dating Manifesto." Frank, biblical dating advice. That's the theme of "The Dating Manifesto" by Lisa Anderson. The author is director of young adults for Focus on the Family and host of the weekly radio program and podcast "The Boundless Show." The publisher is David Cook...
Deason native urges preparedness in book (10/21/15)
A native of Bedford County who is a lawyer and insurance lobbyist has written a book on disaster preparedness. Paul T. Martin, who grew up in the Deason area, has written "Pivot Points: Creating a Culture of Preparedness and Resiliency in America." The author shares two personal experiences in his book to advocate for personal and national preparedness. ...
Local publisher releases children's western (10/21/15)
A local publisher has a new children's book that is sure to delight all ages. Sword of the Lord Publishers is just up the road in Murfreesboro. One of their newest titles is "Jed Cartwright and the Comanche Raiders," written by Ed Dunlop. In the book, Jed and his sister Mandy are kidnapped in St. ...
Album: God with you in the good, bad, mundane (10/21/15)
Christian rock band Carrollton is making tracks with its second album, "Sunlight and Shadows," which released in mid-September. The album reached No. 9 earlier this month on the iTunes Christian Albums Chart. I spoke recently with Justin Mosteller, the band's lead vocalist and a guitarist, about the album. ...
Middle Tennessee artist releases new faith album weeks after writing book (10/04/15)
Well-rounded Christian recording artist Andrew Peterson is releasing a new album in October that includes a family element: his 15-year-old son Asher on the drums. Peterson's album, "The Burning Edge of Dawn," features 10 songs that he wrote between February to May of this year with friend and producer Gabe Scott of the Crowder band...
Book can help you adjust attitude just in time (09/27/15)
"It's not about your struggles. It's not about your circumstances. It's not about your relationships. It's about your attitude." That statement is made by author James MacDonald in his newest book "Lord, Change My Attitude: Before It's Too Late" by Moody Publishers. The foreword is written by Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago...
Are you teachable? Book argues that is the 'key' (09/27/15)
A pastor argues in a new book that there is one key to success: Teachability. Matt Keller is pastor of Next Level Church in Fort Myers, Florida and founder of Next Level Coaching. He has a book hitting the stores Tuesday, Sept. 29 titled "The Key to Everything: Unlocking the Secret to Why Some People Succeed and Others Don't." Thomas Nelson is the publisher...
Book lays out biblical planning (09/20/15)
"Your Blueprint for Life" is a new title by Nelson Books that aims to point the reader toward a Christ-honoring life, one that brings joy in all aspects of life. Michael Kendrick, the author, is the founder of Blueprint for Life ministry, which is devoted to helping people discover God's purpose for their lives. Kendrick also is the founder and senior partner of a private equity firm in Atlanta...
Wayne went through hell as a child; now, he builds brighter future for others (09/17/15)
Today's book review is very personal for me. I'm writing about "Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way." Jimmy Wayne, a country singer, is the primary author. Ken Abraham is the co-author; he specializes in collaborating on books with public figures. Thomas Nelson is the publisher of the New York Times bestseller...
Hootie drummer sings of God's love (09/13/15)
If you are a fan of '90s rock music, like me, you probably have listened to Hootie & the Blowfish a time or two. Hootie and another band, The Presidents of the United States of America, were my first forays out of the country music I grew up with. So I jumped when I had a chance to review a new album by Jim Sonefeld, Hootie's drummer. Sonefeld last month released his third solo album, "Love." His two previous projects in this series were "Found" and "In."...
Local author pens romance title (08/30/15)
A love triangle and prophetic dreams figure into a coming-of-age story told in a new book that is set in Rutherford County in the late 1970s. Dawn Jones, a Murfreesboro marketing agency owner, is the author of "Ruby's Choice," the first of what will be three self-published books in the "Ditch Lane Diaries." Jones is the owner of Jones Media, a full service marketing, advertising and design agency serving Middle Tennessee businesses...
Inmate finds life on death row (08/16/15)
Mitchell Rutledge, a convicted murderer who was once described as not worth killing, has been serving as an inspiration to people in prison and on the outside for more than three decades. "To most people the life of a foolish punk like Rutledge does not count for much," a reporter for Time magazine wrote in an article on Jan. ...
Rebekah: A case study on marriage (08/02/15)
You can learn a lot about marriage from the book of Genesis, whether it's the creation of the sacrament with Adam and Eve or the relationship between Isaac and Rebekah. The latter is highlighted in a new book by a local publisher. Sword of the Lord Publishers in Murfreesboro has released "Rebekah: The Chosen Bride."...
This Mac does not compute (07/30/15)
This is the last of a two-part series on my joining the Mac Side of personal computers. The first part ran Sunday. "You don't know the power of the Mac Side." I could be wrong, but I believe this is what Darth Vader told Luke at one point in "Return of the Jedi."...
Mac computers are the Dark Side. Count me in (07/26/15)
This is the first of a two-part series on my joining the Mac Side of personal computers. Read the second part on Thursday. "Honey, do you feel okay?" my wife asked last Sunday night. She felt my forehead for a fever. I was looking at Macs on the Apple website with my Samsung Galaxy tablet...
Evangelists reach Millennials with music (07/19/15)
Faith, music and movies are coming together in a powerful way to reach a demographic that has seemed elusive to many evangelicals: The Millennial generation. In 2015, the movie "God's Not Dead" drew headlines for its evangelistic outreach and smashed box office records. The film was headlined by stars like Kevin Sorbo (the "Hercules") and Dean Cain ("Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman")...
Doing good is good for business (07/12/15)
One entrepreneur argues in a new book that businesses must begin to value people before profits. Dale Partridge is an entrepreneur and founder of Sevenly.org, an e-commerce website that promotes charities and donates a portion of its proceeds to various causes. And in "People Over Profit," Partridge discusses his philosophies of philanthropy. Nelson Books is the publisher of the title that was released on May 5. Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, wrote the foreword...
Feel free to roll your eyes at my jokes (06/14/15)
A comedian walks into a bar. Ouch! He hits his funny bone on the bar. He should have watched where he was going. Did my corny joke make you roll your eyes? You're not alone. My wife constantly rolls her eyes at my jokes. Maybe that's why she's having an exam at the eye doctor at the very moment I write this column...
Let me sell you something, anything (06/11/15)
"I've got some ocean front property in Arizona/From my front porch you can see the sea." Those are lyrics from one of my favorite country songs, "Ocean Front Property," by the King of Country, George Strait. King George was singing about how a breakup would not affect him, but I'm using his immortal words to describe scams...
History, ISIS, Jesus and the end times (06/04/15)
I've recently read a book that does a fantastic job of making sense of why things are so mucked up in the Middle East and provides the scoop on the origins of ISIS. It's one of the most informative books I've read in some time on any topic. Charles Dyer and Mark Tobey are the authors of "The ISIS Crisis." The book is published by Moody Publishers...
Musician uses faith to battle depression (05/24/15)
It takes a brave man to admit he struggles with depression, to overcome the stigma that lingers in society. But one Christian singer is doing that. Christian musical artist Danen Kane says he has struggled with depression as long as he can remember, but it has only been in the last couple of years that he has been able to embrace it and share his story...
Filmmaking rabbi calls for revival (04/26/15)
One man is calling for a revival in America. It's not a revival with tents in fields and guest speakers from visiting churches thundering out a message from the New Testament. No, this revival-caller attends a synagogue, and the scripture he is quoting is from the Torah -- more specifically, the Book of Genesis. (The Jewish Torah includes the first five books of the Christian Old Testament, but of course, well predates Christianity.)...
New ways to help others discover Jesus (04/12/15)
I've been reading a fascinating book that, if its principles are applied, could fundamentally change the way that Western Christians make disciples. Making disciples is a lifestyle based on relationships, of engaging with people who do not know Jesus, a father and son missionary team argue...
Lent has left me in coffee-crazed daze (04/02/15)
During Lent, I've been thinking a lot of the children's Christmas song "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth." Well, all I've wanted for Lent is a good cup of joe. I felt a calling to give up coffee, my greatest vice, for this holy season. I'm such a serious drinker that I have a gold Starbucks card as well as a Keurig brewer at home. Lent is almost over, and I'm ready for my coffee. I've been counting down to Easter during most of Lent...
New 'Duck Dynasty' book leads kids toward God (04/01/15)
The "Duck Dynasty" family has a new book that aims to point children to God. Korie Robertson and her mother Chrys Howard have released "Duck Commander Devotions for Kids." Korie is the wife of Willie Robertson, son of Duck Commander founder Phil Robertson. The publisher is Tommy Nelson, an imprint of Thomas Nelson...
SEAL faced life, death, blindness with great attitude (04/01/15)
"The sun had risen, and now the people we'd just lapped could see Ryan's scarred face and closed eyes. They could tell he was blind. Suddenly, without anybody saying anything, they cleared a path for us and started clapping, one by one, all the way down the hill. ... 'They had no idea what happened to you on that roof,' I said. 'They know nothing about your struggle or the guys who never made it back. All they know is that some blind dude just humped past them on a steep hill.'"...
Elvis-look-alike stars in faith-based family film (03/15/15)
If you're looking for a quality movie the whole family can watch, look no further than "The Identical." Produced by City of Peace Films, "The Identical" follows the life of Ryan Wade (played by a newcomer, Blake Rayne), a young man bearing a striking resemblance to The King of Rock 'N Roll. Rayne worked for a time as an Elvis impersonator after winning a impersonator competition...
Book offers hope to struggling moms (03/08/15)
Attention struggling mothers: You can be a life-giver. An author and former Nashville pastor has that message for stressed-out moms everywhere in a book titled "9 Traits of a Life-Giving Mom: Replacing My Worst With God's Best." Sue Detweiler, the author, writes from personal experience as she has six children (including two adopted). Detweiler is honest and transparent about her struggles as a mother in order to help those who are following in her maternal footsteps...
Raise relational kids in tech-filled world (02/08/15)
Parents: Is your child growing up social or growing up attached to a video screen? A new book by two of America's relationship experts can answer that question for you and help you raise your child with a healthy balance of screen time. Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane are the authors of "Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World." The publisher is Northfield Publishing, an imprint of Moody Publishers...
Memoir recounts life, death, friendship (01/18/15)
Loss. Pain. Grief. Faith. Family. Love. Surfing. Skateboarding. Music. Purpose. These are all words that describe a memoir of a man's life journey. Friendship is the word that ties all these elements together. Roger W. Thompson shares his triumphs and tragedies in "My Best Friend's Funeral: A Memoir." The book interweaves themes that include how Roger met his best friend Tim Garrety in middle school, their rite of passage, how they became pioneering skateboard park businessmen, and Tim's death and memorial service at a sold-out theater. ...
Police deserve public's thanks (01/08/15)
Our society needs to take a time out on police-bashing. I don't care what you think of the Ferguson controversy, if you fight with an officer you should expect to get shot, regardless of your race or the cop's race. Police are trained to defend themselves and others. They fear for their lives in a fight, and who can blame them. With that being said, it is a tragedy anytime a person, police officer or suspect, dies in a confrontation...
Finding meaning years after near death (12/28/14)
A native of Shelbyville has written a memoir that details her near-death experience that happened 23 years ago this week. Suzanne Coffey Mielke is the author of "Providence Road: A woman's search for purpose after a near death experience." She grew up in Shelbyville but has lived out of state for years. However, many members of her family continue to live in Shelbyville, a community that she said rallied around her family at the time...
Everyday mission made easy (12/21/14)
A Christian doesn't have to travel to the jungles of Africa to be a missionary, two Texas pastors say in a new book. Even busy people can do mission at home. Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts Jr. are the authors of "A Field Guide for Everyday Mission: 30 Days and 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Gospel" by Moody Publishers. Connelly is a founder and copastor of The City Church in Fort Worth. Roberts founded NorthWood Church in Dallas...
Book sure to delight young children (12/10/14)
A new award-winning book series is sure to delight your young children. "The Life and Times of Birdie Mae Hayes" is a series set in Rainbow, Alabama, by Franklin resident Jeri-Anne Agee. The first book, "Friends Forever," introduces the main character, Birdie Mae Hayes, a third-grader, as well as her family, teachers and best friend, Sally. ...
Illnesses, tragedies lead dad to faith, unconditional love (12/07/14)
Today's title is one of the most compelling books I've read since I started my review column nearly a year ago. "The Unbreakable Boy: A Father's Fear, A Son's Courage, and A Story of Unconditional Love" will strike a chord with nearly anyone who reads it. The primary author is Scott LeRette, on whose family the memoir is based, and award-winning co-author Susy Flory, writer of the New York Times bestseller "Thunder Dog." Nelson Books is the publisher...
Effective prayer is active prayer (11/23/14)
If prayer is not working for you, a professional pilot/priest says perhaps you should put performance behind it. Robert Bakke is a private jet captain, part-time NASCAR racer and ordained minister in Minnesota who has written a self-published book titled, "Prayer at Full Throttle: How Performance-Based Prayers Make Miracles Happen." I don't normally review self-published books unless they are written by local authors, but Bakke's book captured my attention...
Middle TN native discusses infertility (11/16/14)
Infertility. That word has served as a curse for innumerable couples who have tried so desperately to conceive a child. One author is now sharing her own struggles with infertility and how that battle gave her a major insight into God. Amanda Hope Haley, a Murfreesboro native, is the author of "Barren Among the Fruitful." The title by Thomas Nelson is part of the InScribed collection, a series of books written by women for women...
Give the gift of books at Christmas (11/16/14)
Readers, rejoice! Christmas is nearly here, and if you want Santa to bring a book, here are a few suggestions from titles I have received for review this year. Most are available at bookstores, but I list any exceptions. One book, "12 Stories of Christmas," is an ideal gift. Illustrated with beautiful pictures, it makes an ideal book for reading at Christmas gatherings, author Robert J. Morgan says...
Essential read for Christ followers (11/09/14)
A new book, "Beloved Dust: Drawing Close to God by Discovering the Truth About Yourself," is an essential read for any Christian struggling with a desire to follow Christ. Are you falling short of following Jesus? The authors of "Beloved Dust" say one reason that happens is that Christians often get trapped in the sin of telling God what they want while praying, instead of seeking a relationship with God...
Pastor shares Christmas stories (10/26/14)
A Nashville pastor is sharing his church's Christmas Eve stories in a new gift book. Robert J. Morgan, pastor of The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, is the author of "12 Stories of Christmas." Thomas Nelson is the publisher. The tales come from stories that Morgan writes every year for the church's Christmas Eve service -- he writes one story per year. Eleven of the 12 short stories are fictional. Each takes 10-20 minutes to read...
Book: Women can 'Rise Up!' for Jesus (10/22/14)
A new book by Thomas Nelson Publishers invites women to "Just Rise Up!" and put Jesus first. "Just Rise Up! A Call to Make Jesus Famous" is the latest in the InScribed series, a study series written by women for women. The author is Sarah Francis Martin, a wife and mother from North Carolina...
Robertson family, Thomas Nelson release NKJV edition (10/22/14)
Fans of "Duck Dynasty" will be quacking over an upcoming study Bible with life-application stories written by two of the Robertson family members. Thomas Nelson Publishers will release "The Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible" on Tuesday, Oct. 28. The executive editors of this New King James Version edition are Phil and Al Robertson...
Alabama back road restaurant recipes (10/19/14)
This book review was delicious to write --literally. The title is "Alabama Back Road Restaurant Recipes." The book is the second in a series by Great American Publishers that features mom and pop restaurants -- often off the beaten path -- throughout a featured state. ...
Take away 52 lessons from 'Les Miz' (10/05/14)
A new book examines suffering, injustice, love and hate, grace and other spiritual themes from one of the world's greatest stories, "Les Misérables." Journalist Bob Welch authored "52 Little Lessons from Les Misérables." The title by Nelson Books will hit store shelves Tuesday...
A 'Daring Heart' for human rights (09/21/14)
William Wilberforce was one of the best known British abolitionists to modern audiences. After many years of futile effort, he successfully lobbied Parliament in 1807 to pass the Slave Trade Act. His work was important in leading to the end of slavery in the British Empire (although that still took a number of years). ...
Bullying is So Not Okay (09/14/14)
Bullying is So Not Okay. That's the title of a book, "So Not Okay! Mean Girl Makeover," by best-selling author Nancy Rue. The first of three Mean Girl Trilogy books by Thomas Nelson Publishers in the story line is available in stores. Rue is more than an author. ...
Versatile publisher also offers children's books (09/07/14)
As a reviewer of books, I have the wonderful opportunity to review a wide number of books on a range of topics. Sword of the Lord Publishers in Murfreesboro is one of my favorite sources for books. They print a wide variety of faith-based books for people of all ages, from fiction to missionary materials to self-help. Here is a summary of two of their most recent titles...
God's hand was there (08/31/14)
God is good, and He is present with us. While we don't see seas parting or bushes burning, God is active in this world. Don't believe me? Just look at the photo of my old car. This Nissan Versa was my mode of mobility until last Monday. I was driving to work from Murfreesboro like any other morning, looking ahead to covering The Celebration later in the day. ...
Happy marriages start with attitude (08/17/14)
Women, bear with me: I'm going to quickly describe a few of the traits that characterize a happy wife. Before you call me a chauvinist, rest assured, I'm basing these qualities on what a woman told me. Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson Publishers, earlier this year released a book with the catchy title, "Happy Wives Club: One Woman's Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage." Fawn Weaver, from the Los Angeles area, is the author of the title that is part memoir, part travel guide, part marriage book. ...
Nature reveals God's careful design (08/02/14)
The complexity of nature points the way to a "Master Designer," an upcoming documentary declares. "The Master Designer: The Song" is a new film from Steve Greisen, an award-winning documentarian. "There is an amazing display in nature going on around us, mainly on the animal kingdom side," said Greisen of Exploration Films and Reel Productions. "Modern science and technology gives you a closer look than ever before."...
Lessons from Abraham, a 'Man of Faith' (07/06/14)
The Bible tells us that Abraham became the father of two great races, the Jews and the Arabs. God credited him with righteousness, despite some whopper mistakes he made, so what can Christians learn about emulating his faith? A Murfreesboro publishing company has released a book that can help...
'Ex-Muslim' memoir tells of conversion, spiritual battles (06/08/14)
Jesus. Demons. War. Infidel. Brashness. Family strife. Islam. Christianity. Pastor. These are some of the themes in the riveting life of Naeem Fazal, a former Muslim who immigrated to America to build a better life -- and hook up with blonds -- but ended up fighting demons and finding Christ...
Soul 'food' offered five days a week (05/25/14)
One devotional is offering readers "food for the soul." "Nourishments: Food for the Soul" is a new title by Deborah Buckingham, a Bible study teacher. The name was inspired by notes, called "nourishments," that she slipped into her children's lunches. The nourishments contained a Bible verse and a short encouragement. In high school, her son's friends asked to see the nourishments for themselves...
Author calls for treating God with reverence (05/11/14)
God is frequently alluded to as a lion. The Newsboys sing about God "roaring like a lion" in "God's Not Dead." C.S. Lewis, arguably modern Christianity's greatest writer, veiled Jesus in the character of Aslan the lion in his Narnia stories. And, of course, Jesus was the Lion of Judah in Scriptures...
Commandments for your marriage (04/16/14)
Have you ever thought of comparing marriage to The Ten Commandments? You should, according to a pastor. Dr. Tony Hart, senior pastor of Montco Bible Fellowship in Pennsylvania, makes the connection in his book "2 Tablets For Your Marriage" from Gospel Folio Press. The book was released last May...
Sometimes love isn't exactly 'nice' (04/13/14)
"God is not nice." Those are not exactly words you would expect to hear from a Christian, much less a discipleship pastor. They make for a great opening, however, for a book exploring God's confusing and often disappointing actions in a sin-sick world. Heather Zempel wrestles with God's seemingly contradictory nature in "Amazed and Confused: When God's Actions Collide With Our Expectations." Zempel is discipleship pastor at National Community Church in Washington, D.C...
Be like a superhero and follow Jesus (04/06/14)
A devotional from Nelson Books connects readers with Jesus with a little help from Spider-Man, Capt. James T. Kirk and Jane Eyre. "No Cape Required: 52 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Hero" provides one devotional for each week using a portion of Scripture, a fictional hero's anecdote, and a guide for prayer and taking action. Kristen Parrish, editor-in-chief of Nelson books, is the author of "No Cape Required."...
Death, other hard questions for God (03/27/14)
One widow has been using her insight into loss to help others deal with their grief. She calls her book, "Why God Why? What to Do When Life Doesn't Make Sense," a "handbook for getting through the pain." Karen Jensen's book from Charisma House uses her experience from her husband Brent's death. His passing away at age 37 left her alone with two boys. The book, released last July, is about hope and reclaiming your life...
Spying crucial in Revolutionary War (03/02/14)
Before America had the CIA and Predator Drones, before America was even a recognized nation, it had the Culper Spy Ring. This spy ring provided vital information about the British occupation of New York City to Gen. George Washington to help him win the American Revolution. ...
Important piece of America has been dinged (02/20/14)
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."...
How do you get closer to Christ? (02/02/14)
What does it mean to get closer to Christ? As one who did not grow up in a church environment, much less as one who did not really know much about Christ, the whole idea of "knowing Jesus" was weird. The concept also was a little off-putting since I didn't know Jesus and didn't know even how I would get to know Him...
Offensive speech is free speech (12/26/13)
I'm going to break the taboo against mentioning religion and politics during the holidays. The past year included boycotts or discussions of boycotts, including: Chick-fil-A, "Duck Dynasty," A&E, Radio Shack, and Israeli universities by American universities...
Baffled by bureaucracy (12/12/13)
What does the government have to hide? It's not only government officials who run like deer from a forest fire anytime a reporter calls, it is often corporate business executives as well. I have not run into this problem with companies lately, but I've had two recent dealings with government and quasi-government bureaucrats that has left me fuming...
Charity is for everyone (12/08/13)
I've been working with Bedford County charities and community organizations for a year now. There are many good-hearted people here. But I have two observations to make. I hear charity organizers mention, "All proceeds/donations go to people in Bedford County. ...
There's much to be thankful for (12/08/13)
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I continue to think about the reason for the season. What are you thankful for? I try to remind myself to be thankful for the simple things: shelter, even though rent is ridiculously expensive and the house is very drafty; food, even though it's expensive -- we try to eat local and fresh, versus having everything from a can; and health, even though it's been rough in the past but is great now...
Fisher deserving of state honor (11/07/13)
Great leaders inspire people by serving others. That type of leader is called a servant leader. Martha Fisher is such a leader. The Cascade Elementary School principal last week was named Tennessee's Principal of the Year for 2013-2014. In interviewing her for a story on the award, I was struck by how humble Martha is. In fact, I'm sure she will be embarrassed by this column. Too bad -- she deserves the attention. She's a great lady and a great educator...
Dress up for breakfast? Timing is everything (10/31/13)
Happy 2013! Does it seem a bit late to wish you a happy 2013? OK, maybe I am a little late. The right timing does make a difference. Take, for example, the advice column below. It was submitted for The Times-Gazette Cookbook, which is featured in today's edition. The cookbook features reader-submitted cooking and household tips in addition to recipes...
Guns, proctologists and know-it-alls (10/27/13)
"Anyone who thinks he knows all the laws is dangerous. You would not want a proctologist to do your brain surgery." That's a colorful -- but dead-on -- hyperbole that Rick Gann used recently in an interview. I was talking to Gann about the importance of gun safety classes for a story on firearms safety. He teaches firearms safety to police in his role as a corporal with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office and safety and carry permit law to civilians as owner of Defensive Options Strategies...
God: The ultimate cure for bullies (10/20/13)
Bullies. As USA TODAY pointed out in a recent story, bullies are not limited to the schools. What happens when the school bully grows up and gets a job? He or she sometimes becomes a workplace bully. Shana Lebowitz pointed out in an Oct. 8 story in USA TODAY that workplace bullying is increasing in frequency, affecting productivity. In 2011, half of employees in one survey said they were treated rudely at least once a week, an increase of 25% from 1998...
Cut through static to talk to someone (10/06/13)
I was trying to reach someone on her cell phone recently and listened to her Verizon ringback song, some classical music piece, and got to reminiscing to the good ole' days. Although I did not mind this particular ringback tone, that's not always the case. ...
Slow down, drive safely and be nice (09/22/13)
What's driving bad manners behind the wheel lately? It seems that every day my wife or I encounter road rage or some horrible behavior in traffic. I'm not saying I'm not guilty of occasionally saying something nasty about a driver to myself or honking my horn if a driver cuts me off. I'm human. But I try not to contribute to road rage, by "waving the birdie" or doing something stupid after I've been wronged...
Thief doesn't steal Community yearbook staff's spirit (09/15/13)
You can choose to build or to tear down. You can choose to contribute to society or to take. You can choose to shrug off reprehensible behavior and move on or you can let it eat at you. The yearbook staff at Community Middle School are choosing to be part of the solution instead of letting a thief or thieves stop them...
Help's available when life seems too much to bear (08/25/13)
Mental illness in youths continues to be a topic of concern as schools clamp down on security. I'm profiling two local mental health and crisis intervention programs in this column. These are two that came immediately to mind when I was writing this column. If you know of a similar program, I'd love to hear about it...
Pleasant dreams aren't made of fireworks blasts at 2:30 a.m. (07/14/13)
I'm writing this column on July 5. Trust me, the date is relevant. My body is in motion, but my mind is stuffed with cotton -- that fuzzy feeling when you have not slept well. I have trouble concentrating on a task, and I am frequently "blanking," or simply stopping and staring into space. There are serious black bags under my eyes...
A few irritating things (07/07/13)
Are you getting fed up with the world lately? I know I am. I'm trying to avoid being labeled cranky, but there have been several things, from the very small to the large, that have been bothering me. Here is a sampling: First up is gumming. I told you that some of my complaints were small in nature...
Warm weather presents dangers to children and pets (06/23/13)
Why do you think farmers and nurseries use greenhouses to grow plants throughout the year? They use greenhouses because they keep the plants warm, even in winter. Doesn't it stand to reason that if a greenhouse keeps a plant warm even in winter, that a car will do the same to a child or pet? And in the summer, that could be quickly fatal...
Duck needs your help and manners, please (06/16/13)
You wouldn't throw a cigarette into your glass of water, would you? Then why would you make yourself into a butt and throw a butt or anything else in the river from where your drinking water comes? But, because a lot of people do pollute the Duck River, the city's water source, a group of volunteers band together every year to clean the river and the riverbanks. ...
Jason Reynolds
Simplify / CrossWords
Jason Reynolds, staff writer for the Times-Gazette, wants to hear your stories of good and bad behavior you have noticed for a possible mention in this column. Email him at jreynolds@t-g.com. Reynolds has observed a plethora of both good and bad behaviors over the years, and tries to rise above the bad to be a better person, with mixed results.