Inside the introduction written by theologian John Piper to Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent, a book of devotionals designed especially for Advent 2013 by Desiring God, a ministry he founded, the pastor answers the question, "What does Jesus want for Christmas?"
With readings beginning Sunday, Dec. 1, and going through Christmas Day, this book of Advent devotionals "aims to put Jesus at the center of your holiday season," states Desiring God. The short meditations are excerpted from the ministry of Piper and correspond to the daily readings in Desiring God's free devotional app, Solid Joys (available in iTunes and Google Play), as well as online.
Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minn., before retiring from that position earlier this year. He is the author of more than 50 books including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. John and his wife, Noël, have five children and twelve grandchildren. more >>
Antoinette Tuff has been showered with praise from everyone from the U.S. president to her Georgia congressman for her compassion and bravery in helping to prevent a 20-year-old gunman from harming elementary school students, their teachers and himself in a riveting confrontation partly captured on tape. Now, the Christian mother is sharing her story of hope and resilience, and her conviction that God had prepared her for a "moment of divine purpose."
Prepared for a Purpose: An Inspiring True Story of Faith, Courage, and Compassion in Crisis, available for purchase beginning Jan. 21, 2014, recounts how Tuff convinced gunman Michael Brandon Hill to stay with her in the front office at McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., where she worked as the school's bookkeeper. Hill, who revealed during the exchange that he was suicidal, had entered the grade school on Aug. 20 armed with an AK-47 and about 500 rounds of ammunition. He barricaded himself in Tuff's office for nearly an hour, at one point shooting on police outside the school and discharging a single bullet inside the office. Tuff eventually convinced Hill to surrender, and no one was hurt in the ordeal.
"As the nation faced yet another Sandy Hook story of tragedy, one woman rewrote the ending," reads a description of Prepared for a Purpose from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. "Yet the story doesn't start with those first steps Michael Hill took into that Atlanta elementary school. It starts with Antoinette Tuff, a woman who faced her own pain, hurt, and rejection, yet held onto grace, faith, and hope. A hope that anchored her in the most high-stakes moments, a grace that allowed her to empathize with a hurting young man, and a faith that gave her the courage to love him back from the brink." more >>
Pastor Rick Warren and members of Saddleback Church have undergone life-changing weight-loss experiences after collectively realizing three years ago that many of them needed to shed their extra weight. About half of the megachurch loyally participated in the challenge, resulting in a collective weight loss of more than 250,000 pounds after the first year. Now, Warren aims to go beyond his own congregation and spread the word about living healthy with his new book, The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life.
Warren, who said he had an epiphany to lose weight while he lowered hundreds of people into the water during a baptism ceremony years ago, embarked on his journey to be fit along with his members who like him, were dealing with additional weight gain while others dealt with health complications. In his new book released this week, he explains how readers can become fit using the combination of faith, fitness, food, focus, and friends.
"There's a verse in the Bible that says Jesus went into every village preaching, teaching, and healing. I say that preaching is evangelism; teaching is education; and healing is health care," said Warren, during an interview with Parade Magazine. "Jesus didn't only care about getting people into heaven. He cared about spirit, mind, and body. To me, health care isn't simply helping the sick get well, but helping the well not get sick." more >>
As a professor of Chicana/o Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, Robert Chao Romero has seen his share of students fall in love with social justice—and fall out of touch with their Christian faith.
"As a professor at UCLA for the past eight or nine years, I've met activists, especially student activists, who fall away from faith or who refused to explore faith because they believe that Christianity is a racist and classist and sexist religion," Romero told The Christian Post.
"That's the commonly held belief in [the university and activist] spaces and as a Christian myself it has broken my heart for many years to experience that," he added. more >>
The author of the newly released "Happiness Bible" decided to do something different this Black Friday. Instead of shopping like most people, he chose to give away his personal items for absolutely no charge; approximately 200 people showed up and, to their disbelief, realized that everything truly was free.
"We had to get rid of a bunch of stuff and instead of just donating it to Salvation Army, all those places, they sell it, so we thought we would meet the people directly that need it," author Brian Bagnall told CBS.
However, it was not Bagnall's idea to go to such extremes for those in need. Instead, his girlfriend, Tiffany, made the suggestion that benefited a great deal of people this holiday season. more >>
A recently published study by Chinese researchers may provide definitive evidence for the pro-life claim that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer.
Published in the November edition of the international journal Cancer Causes & Control, the research was derived from a "meta-analysis" of 36 studies centered on 14 Chinese provinces.
Yubei Huang, et. al., sought to confirm if a link could be found between Induced Abortion (IA) and an increased likelihood of breast cancer. more >>