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Book Review ~ The Prayer of Agur: Ancient Wisdom for Discovering Your Sweet Spot in Life By Jay Payleitner

About the Book


“Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”
Proverbs 30:8

This simple, unexpected request from a little-known biblical author named Agur is the only prayer in all of Proverbs, and it offers life-changing potential.

Imagine finding new purpose and contentment in your work, personal ministry, and relationships. Open your heart to Agur’s wit and wisdom, and you can learn to

– escape imbalance
– overcome fear of failure and eliminate envy
– joyfully pursue your passions
– reap the eternal rewards of trusting God
– find your personal sweet spot

In our modern, busy lives, embracing balance leads us away from bad decision-making and the emotional cost of trying to do too much or survive with too little.

This engaging and practical book faithfully unpacks Agur’s humble prayer. Read it in an evening. Affirm it for a lifetime. Share it with those you love.

Category

Religious/Christian/Nonfiction

Genre

Christian Living/Prayer

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


The Prayer of Agur is drawn from the Book of Proverbs, chapter 30—a well of wisdom that pertains to issues of life which deal with how the human heart raises questions and chooses to trust God (or not). The prayer seeks to lead the individual to find proper balance in God’s provision of everything one would ever need in life, by first, trusting God and His goodness fully, to gain insight into discovering your sweet spot in life through that provision—which is different for different people, and is definitely not as the world interpretes it in light of happiness and success.

With the help of this prayer book, one can examine motives as well as ponder more deeply on perceived “needs”, helping to provide better clarity on whether such needs are truly that or wants, as well as helping to decipher the purpose for which we want them.

At an age where the world has taught human hearts to desire selfishly, The Prayer of Agur is a heaven-sent, to lend us some wisdom to maintain the path of Truth that truly satisfies.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’re to the author for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest opinion.

About the Author


Jay Payleitner is one of the top freelance producers for Christian radio, having worked on Josh McDowell Radio, Today’s Father, Jesus Freaks Radio, and Project Angel Tree with Chuck Colson.

Jay is a long-time affiliate with the National Center for Fathering and Iron Sharpens Iron.  He speaks at men’s retreats, marriage weekends, writers’ conferences, and weekend services. Jay has sold more than half million books including the bestselling 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, The Prayer of Agur, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? His books have been translated into at least ten languages. And he has been a guest multiple times on The Harvest Show, Moody Radio, Cornerstone TV, and Focus on the Family.

Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, live in the Chicago area where they raised five great kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood.

Book Review ~ Moving Beyond Anxiety By David Chadwick

About the Book


12 Ways God Can Help You

Conquer Anxiety

Do you feel like a cloud of worry follows wherever you go? Do you dread the unknown? In today’s anxiety economy its raising stress levels, it’s no secret that fear is often at the root of our problems.

The key to overcoming your anxiety is found in the person of Jesus. He calls us to trust rather than despair—to “not be anxious” (Matthew 6:25), and to cast all our cares on him (1 Peter 5:7).

Author David Chadwick shares 12 ways you can overcome life’s fears and worries—all of which come straight from Scripture and include…

Focusing on faith
Praying
Caring for your health
Remembering God’s promises
Finding good teammates
Developing an eternal perspective

Moving Beyond Anxiety will equip you to defeat worry and fear by trusting God and exercising your faith daily. As you immerse yourself in God’s truth, you will discover it is truly the most powerful antidote to anxiety.

Category

Religious/Christian/Non-fiction

Genre

Christian Living/Faith/Anxiety

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


This book dives deep and explores the true meaning of anxiety, dissecting and separating it from other kinds of fears such as dread, etc. Then Chadwick goes ahead to line up the numerous tools set in place by God in Scripture for His children to use to overcome, with faith as the foundation for each of these tools to work—such as prayer, fasting, casting cares, thanksgiving/singing, etc.—and also deeply explores each of these tools and their powerful effect in building up the human spirit. God’s promises are opened up in a refreshing way, showing the power of God to tear down the destructive lies of the enemy, so that one is set free through the truth and the constant meditation of the truth.

At a time when almost everything in the world is wired to trigger anxiety (and such causes are also mentioned and explored), this book is timely in its arrival to encourage the Christian on their tough journey.

About the David Chadwick


David Chadwick has been a pastor for almost 40 years.  Along with this theological degrees, he earned a Specialist’s degree in counseling.  The love of his life is Marilynn, his wife for more than 40 years.  He has three children, Bethany, David, and Michael.  They are all married and have given David and Marilynn one of the great joys of their lives: six grandchildren.  David loves Jesus, his family, the church, and basketball—in that order.  He especially loves seeing people understand the power of Jesus’s grace to change a heart.

Entertainment Scoop ~ Interview with Music Artist & Actress Juli Tapken

Juli Tapken is an actress and a contributor on TBAP who has offered us great content in the past. And her talent doesn’t stop there! She was signed as a music artist with the Platinum Planet Records and recently launched her debut album, Denim with Diamonds. Juli graciously offered to share her new journey as a music artist with us, letting us know some of new things in the entertainment industry that she’s picked up along the way. Take a look!


Miranda ~ Hello Juli! Excited to have you on as a guest on TBAP today! Please tell us a bit about yourself that we don’t already know.

Juli: Surprisingly, I have found that many did not know that I sing. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share with you the new and exciting direction this career path has taken. I honestly never dreamed that I would be promoting an album of songs that I had written. I have always been a sort of poet. I love poetry and verse. When I was in high school, my sister gifted me a book of Best Loved Poems of the American People. It’s still my favorite source for inspiration and edification. I sporadically would write my own, just as a way to understand my own growing awareness and emotion. I never considered that it might be an outlet to share. I only started writing songs three years ago. Justin Peters, president of Platinum Planet records, saw me in the movie, Mission Improbable. He reached out to me about signing on with his label as a songwriter. I wrote my first song, Mama Says. When I sang it for him he decided to sign me as a recording artist.

Miranda ~ Is there a special story of how you became a Christian? We’d like to know!

Juli: I was raised in a Christian home. My mother truly exhibited what it means to trust in Jesus no matter the situation. I gave my heart to Jesus in the spring of 1980. I was five years old. I remember, for some reason, being allowed to be with my sisters in the youth department. They were singing worship songs and started singing, Jesus Loves Me. I can still feel the impact of realizing in that moment what that song meant. I started to cry as the Holy Spirit fell on me. (I’m crying now in the recall.) My sister got concerned and asked me what was wrong. I said I didn’t know; I just felt like I wanted to know more about how much Jesus loved me. I’ve been learning that very thing ever since. I’m prone to wander and wonder, and to test the boundaries. But every time, the Truth of God’s Love through Jesus has always stood in the face of every doubt and disobedience. The fact that I belong to Him gives me purpose every day. Every time I’m weak, the assurance that He is strong lifts my head.

Miranda ~ When did music become a part of your life?

Juli: From the moment I first heard it, I suppose. Lol. As I mentioned above, that simple song, Jesus Loves Me, changed the course of my entire life. Music is so woven into the fabric of every memory and every emotion. I learn best when things are put to music. (I can still sing you all fifty states, and most of the presidents from songs I learned as a child.) I was influenced by the easy listening and southern gospel tastes of my mother, the country/honky-tonky tastes of my Aunt Betty (a very important presence in my young life), and the classic rock tastes of my siblings. I was involved in choir which exposed me to arias and complex harmonies, and band and orchestra which versed me in jazz, chamber music, classical, and Sousa marches; and drama, which opened the world of musical theater. Not to mention, I grew up in the ’80’s, so all of those pop artists and bands are woven into my life’s soundtrack.

Miranda ~ Did you ever have conflict in choosing between Christian music and mainstream?

Juli: I have been spiritually edified by both. I believe God can use any vehicle He chooses to reach an individual where they are. So, my music like my life, has the structural foundation of eternal truth wrapped in the vulnerable package of humility. I want people to connect with my music at first on a fun, relatable level. Then when it becomes familiar, the deeper meanings start coming into focus.

Miranda ~ You have a new album now—Denim With Diamonds. What inspired this title?

Juli: I’m so glad you asked this question, and I will do my best to explain. The album is multifaceted—like a diamond, but simple as your favorite Saturday blue jeans; it’s soft, yet durable; hard, yet tender; it is tears from blue eyes that betray a sensitive spirit with an unbreakable resolve; it is weighing what the world values against what God values; it is finding the beauty in the process of pressure and time—the awareness that as the world changes at break-neck speed, God remains the same yesterday, today and forever. And He delights to give us the desires of our hearts when we seek Him first and remember where every good and perfect gift comes from.

Miranda ~ What has the experience being like so far as a music artist, and how is it different than being an actress in the world of entertainment?

Juli: It’s the same in that I’m still telling stories, but it’s different in that they’re my stories, my actual emotions and perspectives. Instead of manufacturing a character, I am discovering and developing my own actual character—what I truly believe and how I honestly see the world. It’s extremely freeing, and I find myself drawn to work more and more in the medium of my own reality than someone else’s fantasy.

Miranda ~ What do you hope to offer listeners with Denim With Diamonds?

Juli: Musically, I hope it gets their toes tappin’. 🙂 Lyrically, I hope it reminds people of wisdom passed down for years from front porches, and that it inspires a sense of purpose in the smallest tasks. I hope listeners connect with my heart, and the heart of The One who made them. And I hope it ignites a passion to sing your own song, write your own play, paint your own picture, and share who you’re becoming, fearlessly.

Miranda ~ Is there a method/process to your songwriting?

Juli: When I write on my own, I generally have a phrase or a tune that rattles around for a few days or weeks. That phrase turns to a chorus, which turns to a verse, which leads to a bridge, until it becomes a song that feels like I’ve heard it my whole life. When I collaborate with other songwriters, we pick a theme or work with a hook phrase and throw out ideas and words and rhymes, until we all feel comfortable with what we’re trying to say.

Miranda ~ What is your underlying principle for songwriting and, when do you know a song is ready?

Juli: Listen and try. I’ve learned to experiment and give myself a break as I learn. I’ve only been writing for three years, so I have a long way to go. I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to learn from, and collaborate with people who have been in this business, successfully, for years. So my underlying principle is, “You can’t learn a thing if you think you know it all, so shut-up and listen.”
I know a song is complete when I sing it all the way through and it makes me cry. Like I just gave birth. This thing that is part of me—tangible, but not. Promised, but still awaited—slowly grows to have a life of its own.

Miranda ~ How has your perspective changed since joining the industry? How has this experience affected you personally? How has it drawn you closer to God?

Juli: The music business is hard. But it’s rewarding. I never would have pursued this course on my own, but I’m so grateful to have this outlet for my creativity and praise.
Nothing draws you closer to God than getting out of your comfort zone and saying, “Where You lead, I’ll go,” then taking that first shaky step into the unknown. But nothing is more rewarding than watching as God takes that tiny seed of faith and grows it into an orchard.

Miranda ~ What do you have to say about the popular perception about the music industry, especially in regards to money, hard work and fame?

Juli: I guess I would defer to the words of Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I fought against going mainstream for just this reason, but in all honesty, my motivations aren’t based on what this world can give. I only desire to have a voice that speaks truth and encouragement. That showcases the fallacy of my own efforts and elevates the infallibility of God and His plan. He called me to this platform for a season, and when He calls me to do something else, I’ll do that just as happily because, I truly have found the supreme value and worthiness of pursuit—in love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Those are the rewards I’m working for. Those are the only goods of value I have to share, and share them I will, regardless of the earthly return. I am dust. Nothing at all to be idolized, but I possess the breath of life. And with every exhalation I’ll lift up the name of Jesus. If He desires to elevate mine, I’ll endeavor to show even more how much greater He is.

Miranda ~ What would you like to see change on the Christian music scene? What do you believe that you in particular can offer the world and add to the music scene that isn’t already there?

Juli: I’m just centered on the change that needs to happen in me. I guess all I have to offer is transparency. I don’t want to be seen as a super saint or as someone who has attained the higher plane. I am a traveler. I am a seeker. I hope that through the filter of my most heart wrenching experiences and missteps, someone can gain a foothold of hope. That if God can use this jacked up actress, He can use anyone. I want people to understand that holiness is a lifelong pursuit. It’s a journey of failings and falls, but through it all, from the fire to the ashes, He is there, and we are being refined. Individually. I’m done comparing my walk to someone else’s. I’ll walk my pace, and share what I’ve learned along the way, at the same time learning from those who walk ahead.

Miranda ~ At this point in your career, what are you most grateful for?

Juli: I’m grateful that I don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to create. I’m so very grateful for my family, my husband and son. They are the cheerleaders. They are the barometers. They see the real, ugly, unfiltered day to day struggle. And they love me. And so then, how much more does God? That gives me the confidence to press on.

Miranda ~ What advice would you offer a person who’s just starting out in the industry?

Juli: Get up. Show up. Shut-up. Gear up. It’s a long hard ride, my friend; but that’s never stopped us before!

THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!)

Coffee or Tea? Coffee with cream and sugar. I used to drink it all day, but now I try and limit my intake to only five or six cups. 🙂

Gym or Outdoor? I love to be outdoors. I wouldn’t even know how to use a gym

Sneakers or Boots? I wear tennis shoes most days.

Running or Walking? Walking. I wouldn’t run even if it started raining.

Cereal or Fruit? Cereal with fruit!

Movies or Books? Books Books Books!!!

Summer or Spring? I love spring, new life, new beginnings. Plus I was born (and reborn) in the spring so I feel a special connection to that season.

Rain or Snow? Rain, a soft steady soaking rain, wrapped in a blanket with a book!

Blazer or Leather Jacket? Cardigan sweater 🙂

 

About Juli Tapken


Juli Tapken is a multifaceted entertainer. She is a Singer/Songwriter with deep roots in acting. Juli has just released a debut EP, Denim With Diamonds, with Platinum Planet Records in Nashville. It features her soulful classical vocals  to a county/bluegrass feel with lyrics that tell a personal story.  Her experiences acting seem to give each song layers; like that multi-dimensional character in a great movie. Being Individual to each participant is what drives Juli in acting and songwriting.

Ms. Tapken has earned multiple nominations and several wins in the Best Actress category of many festivals across the nation for her work in Feature Films. She is also appearing regularly on television shows and often in commercials. Her beginnings were in Oklahoma where she performed leads and strong supporting roles in musical and musical comedy shows leading her to Branson, Missouri to professionally pursue that passion where she worked for 10 years. This lead to film and television acting opportunities for which she quickly collected over 50 credits in various video media projects.  A movie is what brought her to the attention of  Platinum Planet Records and soon she signed as a Songwriter and Recording Artist.

Singing has always been her passion and she is ready to take it on professionally with the same vigor and willingness that internally drives her in acting.

DENIM WITH DIAMONDS was released world-wide in February, 2020 by Platinum Planet Records in Nashville, Tennessee. It is produced by Justin Peters. Juli Tapken writes on all songs and Justin Peters co-writes on five of the songs with Kirsten Nielsen joining in on one. Incredible Musicians on this EP include Bryan White, Steve Brewster, Gary Lunn, Wanda Vick, Judy Rodman, Dave Isaacs, Dennis Morgan, Justin Peters and more. Recording Engineers are Sam Detone and Brently Parrish. Mark Capps is the exceptional Mixing Engineer.  DENIM WITH DIAMONDS can be found on most on-line digital music stores.

Find Juli on her website, Facebook page and other social media (@JuliTapken). Access her music here.

Entertainment Scoop ~ Interview with Movie Producer, Angela White

Angela White is a movie producer, writer, and speaker. She’s the person behind the film, A Question of Faith (read the TBAP review here), one that turned out to be a favorite among many Christian audience. Beginning her journey as a talent manager, she discovered her love for story and telling it on screen, and then went full-time, starting a company of her own with a clear mission that holds true to her work. She took the time with TBAP to tell us a bit about herself, her faith, her journey as a producer, and how the project, A Question of Faith, came to be on screen. Take a look!


Miranda ~ Hello Angela! It’s a pleasure to have you visit TBAP today. Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Angela: Hello, thank you for having me. I am a film producer, author, business coach, and motivational speaker, who hails out of Los Angeles, CA. I am from New Jersey and started working in the entertainment business in the ’90s as an event promoter and talent manager of comedians. Once I moved to Los Angeles, California, in early 2000, I was introduced to the world of film and television production, and I loved the idea of the power of telling stories that could impact the world. I have produced over thirty pieces of content, and feel that I am just starting in the industry.

Miranda ~ When did you first give your life to Christ? Tell us your story.

Angela: I gave my life to Christ as a teenager. My parents instilled a solid Christian foundation in my house while growing up. I was very active in church as one of the musicians, as I play the piano, and once I started to understand the power of God and how He moves mountains in one’s life, I decided to know Him for myself. I walked down to the front of the church and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I haven’t looked back.

Miranda ~ When did you first discover your dream of making movies, and how did you eventually get into it?

Angela: When I was a talent manager, I met many producers, and one was gracious enough to take me under their wing and mentor me. I didn’t go to film school, so I wasn’t sure what producer roles or responsibilities were, so once I started learning, I got bit by the bug and wanted to master my craft and do this full time.

Miranda ~ Who would you say has influenced you the most in life, and how have they done so?

Angela: My mother is my biggest influencer. From learning about Christ through her parenting to always supporting my dreams, she was the first teacher and is the constant mentor of life. My Mom has been involved in every aspect of my life, and the one constant through all trials and tribulations.

Miranda ~ Who has influenced you the most professionally?

Angela: This is a good question, as I really had to think if there is one person that I can say influenced me the most, and I couldn’t as there have been too many people collectively that have helped shape me. From the very first producer, Carol Ann Shine, who gave me my first producing job and credit to Lisa Diane Washington, who helped teach me the roles and responsibilities of being a producer, to also keeping a strong relationship with God in the business. I have been blessed by a few people who greatly influenced my career.

Miranda ~ What led to your studio partnering with Pureflix to distribute A Question of Faith, and, how did you select your cast?

Angela: My company, Silver Lining Entertainment, partnered with Pure Flix Entertainment once the film was completed, as we were looking for a theatrical distributor. At the time, Pure Flix was the best fit as they focus on Christian content, and I believed they would make sure the film was seen nationally across many screens.

When I was developing the film—since I always work with Casting Director, Lamese Williams, and when the script was in a good place, she would start a wish list of actors that fit the role and have a sensibility to doing a faith-based film—the first person we needed to cast was David Newman, who played the Pastor, and we wanted Richard T. Jones, and we directly contacted his representation, and the rest was history. We systematically selected each cast member to make sure they were perfect for the role, and we had a long audition process in which we found newcomers, Amber Nelon Kistler and Karen Valero. The entire casting process took three months, and we were delighted with every single person in the film.

Miranda ~ Why did you make/produce A Question of Faith? What was your vision behind the movie, and what hardships did you experience along the way?

Angela: After the advice of a few confidantes, I decided to search for a faith-based film, and I remembered meeting the writer, Ty Manns, months earlier, and once I read the script, I knew this was the perfect fit for my company mission and the country. My vision for the film was to make sure that we had a multi-cultural cast that reflected how the country looks, and I wanted real issues that people could relate too. We dealt with social issues, such as texting and driving, organ donation, race relations, lack of faith, and learning to forgive. All of these issues resonated with me, and I felt others strongly would enjoy the topics being discussed in the film as well. I only want to make films that speak to people and are relatable. This is my vision for any projects that Silver Lining Entertainment wants to be a part of and produce.

Miranda ~ What advice would you offer someone with the calling to write/make faith-based movies?

Angela: I would advise anyone seeking to enter the film industry and write or produce a faith-based film to research this field. I have an online educational platform, “Backstage Pass to the Movie Industry,” and we always teach our students to research, seek mentors, who have already gone through the process, and make sure that you are working on a film that is relatable and authentic. In the faith-based industry, people can sniff out a fake, so you must be truthful to the process and the story you are telling. Lead with your heart, but be mindful that this is a business, so you will need partners in the Christian arena and significant support of churches from all over the country.

 This or That – The Fun Qs!

Coffee, Tea, or Mocha? Tea

Dresses or Pants? Pants

Boots or Heels? Boots

Vegetables or Fruit? Fruit

Music or Books? Music

Juice or Smoothie? Juice

Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

Cooking or Cleaning? Cooking

About Angela White


Whereas many influencers and icons in Hollywood seek to gain a greater following nationwide, her purpose is so much bigger. For film producer, author and motivational speaker, Angela White, it’s not about the lights and cameras. It’s about the legacy she will leave to her heirs and those who will come behind her in the entertainment industry. Featured on Fox News, Sirius XM Radio, TBN, and ABC News, to name a few, Angela has served as a trailblazer and mentor for thousands in the media and entertainment world—positioning them to better understand show business and, ultimately, earn more income.

Book Review ~ Many Hands Make Light Work By Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy

About the Book


Many Hands Make Light Work is the rollicking true story of a family of nine children growing up in the college town of Ames, Iowa in the ’60s and ’70s. Inspiring, full of surprises, and laugh-out-loud funny, this utterly unique family champions diversity and inclusion long before such concepts become cultural flashpoints.
Cheryl and her siblings are the offspring of an eccentric professor father and unflappable mother. Mindful of their ever-expanding family’s need for cash, her parents begin acquiring tumbledown houses in campus-town, to renovate and rent. Dad, who changes out of his suit and tie into a carpenter’s battered white overalls, like Clark Kent into Superman, is supremely confident his offspring can do anything, whether he’s there or not. Mom, an organizational genius disguised as a housewife, manages nine children so deftly that she finds the time―and heart―to take in student boarders, who stir their own offbeat personalities into this unconventional household. The kids, meanwhile, pour concrete, paint houses, and, at odd moments, break into song, because instead of complaining, they sing as they work, like a von Trapp family in painters caps.
Free-wheeling and contagiously cheerful, Many Hands Make Light Work is a winsome memoir of a Heartland childhood unlike any other.

Category

Non-fiction

Genre

Memoir

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


Many Hands Make Light Work is an interesting memoir that presents the life of a family of nine children whose parents believed that with all hands on deck, there wasn’t anything they couldn’t accomplish. No business idea was too adventurous or out of reach. The adventurous spirit of this family led their parents to pass unto their children many skills that eventually played out nicely in their personal lives. Aside their amiable attitude toward hard work, the courage to open up their household to many college students over many years whom they’d never met, across the spectrum of cultures, is breathtaking. Not only did they earn money from this, but the students gained so much from this family’s culture.

Looking at the world at large today, it’s quite understandable why McCarthy would write a memoir about her family, because a story like this untold by the one who lived it, would appear unbelievable placed alongside today’s culture. The gift of this story offers an organic history of family and hard work that would cause a reader to pause and wonder about their attitude toward life, and what they pass on to others. McCarthy’s will to offer this story is an act of bravery that would benefit anyone who wonders about the importance of choosing principles of family and hard work that served many families well, financially and otherwise, while preparing such families positively for an inevitable future.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to JKS Communications for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the Author


Cheryl Stritzel McCarthy and her eight siblings grew up with a paintbrush in their hands and a song in their hearts. As soon as they were old enough to wrench a nail out of ancient lumber―so it could be used again―they were put to work renovating old houses in Ames, Iowa. Cheryl’s growing-up years included babysitting for a local family that kept a lion as a pet. A real, adolescent-aged lion. Uncaged. Using a flyswatter to defend herself, she survived the lion, and today is a freelance journalist for The Wall Street Journal as well as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. The Tribune distributes her articles to newspapers and websites around the country, such as The Seattle Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Baltimore Sun, and Orlando Sentinel. Her previous book, USA to the UK: The Easy Way, a lighthearted look at moving overseas, was published by British Petroleum’s London headquarters for an international readership. McCarthy holds an MBA from City University in London and a bachelor’s in journalism from Iowa State University. She lives with her husband in Bellingham, Washington. Read her exclusive TBAP interview here.

Movie Review ~ A Question of Faith By Silver Line Entertainment

Category

Religious/Christian

Genre

Tragedy/Faith/Drama

Lifetime Debut (for Easter)

April 12, 2020 (8pm, ET/PT)

Rating

4 Stars

Review


A Question of Faith presents three families that meet unexpectedly at a crossroad through an unexpected event that is shocking and sorrowful, but ultimately by divine providence, leads to comfort, hope, forgiveness, revelation and restoration. Issues hinging on priority such as family, work, and others such as racism, health, justice and a side dish of romance, came together to round up the theme of the story nicely, so that each was a touch enough, but not overdone. While bits of the conversation appeared sermonized, that did not ruin the movie’s excellent delivery. In the end, A Question of Faith showcased the reality of a question that every believer must face when tragedy strikes—“Will you continue to trust God?

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. Much appreciation to Epic Inc. for a private link to view the movie in exchange for my honest opinion. 

About Silver Lining Entertainment


Silver Lining Entertainment is an independent production company based in Los Angeles, California. Established in 1997 in New Jersey by founder, Angela White, the Company’s new mission is to develop independent television and film projects, from inception to completion, for worldwide distribution through the utilization of secured capital. SLE’s current focus is on forging strategic relationships with other companies, talent and producers to create, develop, produce and distribute their projects to targeted audiences throughout the global marketplace. For more information on Silver Lining Entertainment, visit www.asilverliningentertainment.com.

 

Missionary Perspective ~ Interview with Missionary Medical Professionals, Val & Clark Sleeth

Clark and Val Sleeth are missionaries in Kenya, who serve as medical professionals at the Tenwek Hospital. TBAP first heard of Val and Clark after reviewing the book, Reforesting Faith (read the review here), written by medical doctor, Matthew Sleeth, who is also Clark’s father. After a series of newsletter following the Sleeth clan, TBAP learned of the amazing work done by Clark and Val. Val and Clark took the time to enlighten us a bit about their work and journey at the Tenwek Hospital. Take a look!


Miranda ~ Hello! Delighted to have you visit TBAP today. Please tell us a bit about yourselves. Also, how did you both become Christians?

Clark & Val: Clark is an internal medicine and pediatrician who grew up in New England. Val is an internal medicine physician assistant who grew up in the North West. We have two kids, three-year old Hannah who was born in Kentucky and 8-month old Luke who was born in Kenya. We have been transformed by Christ.

We both grew up in non-Christian households. Val met the Lord in her mid-teens through the faithful ministry of believers after her family moved in across the street from an evangelical church in south-eastern Idaho.

Clark met the Lord after his dad stole a Gideon’s Bible from the Emergency Department at the hospital where he was working. He met the Lord and encouraged Clark to read that Bible. His whole family could see that something big had happened as his dad quit his job as a doctor and moved their family, saying he wanted to study the Bible and learn more about this Truth. Clark, as a 15-year old who had never met another Christian or opened a Bible, struggled to understand the bright orange KJV Bible his dad had “borrowed” from the ED. His dad later encouraged him to read CS Lewis’s Mere Christianity. The Lord used Lewis’s words and the Bible, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, to save Clark.

Miranda ~ When/how did the two of you meet, and when did you realize your calling as missionaries?

Clark & Val: We were drawn from our two corners of the US to Wilmore, Kentucky, where we met at a math event (yes, a math event) while studying at Asbury College. We had both felt a calling to missions before arriving at college.

About a year after Val met the Lord, she was sitting by the Snake River, reading Paul’s letters and praying. She heard the Lord asking her to, like Paul, be willing to leave her home country and commit to serving a community overseas.

Clark also started considering missions shortly after meeting the Lord. He was sitting in his school library one afternoon when his mind started to wander. He had a day-dream where he saw himself walking down a dusty road, tall grass swaying in the breeze on either side, carrying his dad’s doctor’s bag. He had been considering the example of believers in the early church and decided that day to pursue medical training in order to one day work as a missionary overseas.

Miranda ~ There are so many parts of the world that you could have gone to. How did you know your country of choice was the right one?

Clark & Val: We never heard God say, “Go to Kenya.” Or, at least, not in so few words!

We both felt a call to missions long before we felt led toward a specific country.

After we met, we began praying about where we should serve. Over the next several years we met over a dozen people who had lived or worked short-term at a little mission hospital in rural Kenya. We decided to learn more. It turns out this hospital—Tenwek hospital—had a reputation of training up Kenyans—nurses, chaplains, doctors—who wanted to serve their neighbors in Jesus’s name. When Clark was half-way through his residency, we asked the hospital what their needs were. There answer: “Our number one need is for a pediatrician.” It seemed the Lord had prepared us to help meet this need and so we decided to move to Kenya.

Miranda ~ You recently returned to the United States. Are you on furlough or is this permanent? If it is permanent, how did know it was time to leave?

Clark & Val: We returned to the US the end of January and plan to be here for 6 months before we return to Kenya. While here, we’re looking for opportunities to testify to what God is doing in Kenya and hope to encourage our friends, family and church, work at our local university hospital to keep up to speed with our medical knowledge, raise support, and rest!

Miranda ~ In your service as missionaries, what would you say is the most profound lesson you’ve learned, especially in relation to peoples, cultures, and diversity?

Clark & Val: God is God and God is good.

We’ve faced a lot of the “culture shock” challenges that face most who leave their passport country. And Clark daily faces the suffering and deaths of children and their families at the hospital.

My friend and neighbor comes over asking for help. She does not have a single shilling left and has no way to get food for her six kids. When she leaves, our three-year old daughter Hannah asks, “Why was Keturah’s mom asking for food?”

Clark sits down and prepares himself to tell a mother that her child has died. This mom has already lost two babies. This was going to be her first surviving child. It’s the fourth time that day Clark has cried with a mom as he tells her that her child is dead.

In these moments, wondering, “How do we help?” “How do I explain this to our kids?” “How do I tell this mom this news?” and, often, just “Why Lord?” we have been brought to the place where the only thing we can cling to, the only thing we have to offer, is God and the hope of the resurrection.

The Lord has taught us that He is God and He is good. This transcends culture or race or geographic location.

 

THIS or THAT (The Fun Qs!) 

Val and Clark gave the EXACT answers to each question!

Coffee or Tea? Tea (preferably chai with lots of milk and sugar!)

Gym or Outdoor? Outdoor

Running or Walking?  Walking

Juice or Smoothie? Juice

Salad or Fruit? Salad

Movies or Books? BOOKS!!

Vanilla or Chocolate?  Chocolate

Summer or Spring? Spring

Rain or Snow? Snow

Blazer or Leather Jacket? Leather jacket

 

About the Sleeths


Clark and Val Sleeth moved to Kenya in 2017 to work with World Gospel Mission and the African Gospel Church at Tenwek Hospital, a 300 bed hospital in rural, western Kenya.

Clark Sleeth grew up in New England and his life was forever changed in high school when his family had a radical encounter with the Lord. He is a physician double boarded in internal medicine and pediatrics. He completed his undergraduate studies in history at Asbury College before completing medical training and working at the University of Kentucky. In 2017 he moved to Kenya with his family. Since then he has been running the pediatric department at Tenwek Hospital where he daily works with a team of Kenyan medical students, interns, residents, and medical officers to provide care for 30-60 patients in the NICU and wards, while overseeing the outpatient clinic. Since moving to Tenwek, he has initiated and overseen a much-needed renovation of Tenwek’s NICU, developed pediatric curriculum for the medical trainees, assisted with various research projects, designed and built locally-sourced, inexpensive infant incubators, and welcomed his second child, Luke. He loves board games and reading sci-fi.

Val Sleeth grew up in the North West and met the Lord in her mid-teens through the faithful ministry of believers in eastern Idaho. She is an internal medicine physician assistant who completed her undergraduate studies in math at Asbury College before completing medical training and working at the University of Kentucky where she taught in the physician assistant studies program and worked as a hospitalist. In 2017 she moved to Kenya with her family. Since then she has been taking care of her daughter Hannah and learning how to run a household in Kenya! She enjoys joining the Kenyan medical interns for weekly Bible studies and getting to know Tenwek’s many visitors over chai and meals. She was thrilled to deliver her son, Luke, at Tenwek in June, 2019. She loves playing the piano and accompanying her daughter, Hannah, on the ukulele (for any song requiring 3 chords or less).

For more information on the Sleeths and their work, find links to their blog and facebook page at: http://www.wgm.org/sleeth

Book Review ~ Shaped Notes: How Ordinary People With Extraordinary Gifts Influenced My Life and Career By Larnelle Harris with Christine Schaub

About the Book


“My dad was a bootlegger. Believe or not, bootleggers go to church. Drug dealers and cartel kingpins go to church. That doesn’t make them Christians. Mom was praying Dad into the faith…praying for a change in his life and a change in ours…”

The majestic tenor voice of Larnelle Harris has helped define a generation of contemporary Christian music. Most people know about Larnelle’s notable successes—his Grammy Awards, his Hall of Fame inductions, his #1 hit songs—but no one has heard the true story of how a little boy from the hills of Kentucky made his way to music’s most acclaimed stages and venues.

His journey—from the son of a bootlegger to being the first gospel artist inside the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union—is chronicled for the first time in this heart-felt memoir. From watching his father handcuffed and taken to jail to battling racial tensions to losing his voice and not knowing if he would ever sing again, Larnelle shares the most painful and triumphant moments of his childhood and career. And behind it all, is the faith and perseverance of a boy soprano who kept singing for God in spite of his circumstances.

Category

Religious/Christian/Non-fiction

Genre

Memoir

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


We often err in thinking our careers carry the most defining moments of our lives.

How untrue.

It is life’s experiences—small and big—from the time we’re young to the present, that ignite the special sparks which light the way. Some shift the earth under our feet, others change our minds about old beliefs, and still others inspire our hearts forever to live differently. It is these things, along with the people through whom we’ve encountered these experiences, that are the vessels through which we learn the secrets of success and true greatness that change our lives forever. This is the lesson Larnelle Harris makes known in his memoir, Shaped Notes: God used ordinary people with extraordinary gifts to influence his life and career, blessings for which he is most grateful. This is a man thankful for every experience, pleasant and unpleasant, that has taught, humbled, and given him wisdom for his path in life. His story turns on the light on many areas in life that one may have complacently ignored, causing a reader to pause and ponder beyond the normal boundaries of intellectual and spiritual reasoning in a defining and positive way.

The purpose of Harris’ Shaped Notes is to deliver a testimony with the hope that it will set people free to embrace life’s experiences, as well as the people we encounter through them, perceiving each as a torch God uses to light the way for His children to follow, a way that He’d prepared in advance for them.

A truly inspiring memoir!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to Gina Adams at AdamsPRGroup for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

 

About Larnelle Harris


Described by CCM Magazine has having a “larger than life stage presence with impeccable vocal prowess,” Larnelle Harris has become the epitome of talent and integrity in a career that spans over four decades. He is the only person in history to be a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. Larnelle has garnered numerous accolades for his music, including five Grammy Awards, eleven Dove Awards (three of which were for Male Vocalist of the Year), and a Stellar Award, among other honors. He has garnered nineteen number #1 singles and countless top 10 hits. Songs such as How Excellent Is Thy Name, I Miss My Time With You, I’ve Just Seen Jesus, and his signature song, Amen, are now considered modern classics.

From the White House to the danger zone of the 38th Parallel, Larnelle has impacted dozens across the globe with his music and ministry. He was the first Christian artist to perform inside the Kremlin after the fall of the Soviet Union. He is one of a handful of celebrities to receive the Ad Council’s Silver Bell Award for Distinguished Public Service in recognition of his song, Mighty Spirit, as the theme music for the longest-running Public Service Announcement in television history. Larnelle was honored by his home state of Kentucky with the Governor’s Lifetime Achievements Award in the Arts, making him the first Christian artist to receive the honor.

Larnelle continues to tour worldwide, with recent dates at Carnegie Hall and in Paris, France. He not so long ago performed for the National Day of Prayer event in Washington D.C. in and sang for a gathering of Ambassadors to the United Nations.

Larnelle and his wife, Mitzy, reside in Louisville, Kentucky. Their son, Lonnie, and daughter, Teresa, have families of their own, which means the grandchildren visit often, much to their grandparents delight. Visit www.Larnelle.com for more information.

 

 

Book Review ~ She Walks In Majesty: Protectors of the Spear #3 By MaryLu Tyndall

About the Book


Danger around every corner. Intrigues in everyone’s past. And a romance that’s swoon worthy. She Walks in Majesty is all that and more, with a plot that twists and turns and truths that are hard-hitting. Truly, this is author MaryLu Tyndall at her finest!
—Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author of Once Upon a Dickens Christmas

With only a worn document in hand and the Spear of Destiny strapped to her thigh, Seraphina de Mobray, the new Protector of the Spear, must convince the king that her friends are innocent of treason and witchcraft. Who is she to embark on such a lofty task but a lowly servant, an orphan abandoned at birth? Yet each step of the way, the Spear grants her favor and opens a path for her to enter the royal palace. What she finds there is naught but lies, greed, and a danger that threatens her very existence.
Sir Damien LaRage, knight of the elite King’s Guard would do anything to protect Seraphina and save his friends, anything except give up his quest for revenge against the person who murdered his parents. Returning to court, to a world of secrets, deceit, and power is exhilarating at first. Then things become dangerous when he must protect Seraphina from those would do her harm. Even himself. For he soon discovers that he must choose between saving her or avenging his parents’ deaths.
The king is ill, and evil takes over the throne as Seraphina must run for her life, and Damien is left to battle against forces not of this world. Meanwhile, darkness suffocates the Knights of the Eternal realm. leaving them defenseless against wicked powers that have taken over Luxley. Only Seraphina and the Spear of Destiny can save them now.

Category

Christian/Fiction/Adult

Genre

Fantasy/Romance/Medieval

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


MaryLu Tyndall’s latest release, She Walks In Majesty, is every bit as the title suggests. Seraphina de Mobray carries herself like a queen, and it’s no surprise that the story, down the plotline, reveals something about her to match that demeanor. Caught within the web of lies spun by enemies that intend the worst harm on her and her friends, Seraphina must a make a dire decision that puts her life on the line. She takes every step of courage knowing that only God can save her and her friends from the greatest of evil to ever walk their lands. Her journey, alongside her beloved knight, Damien, teaches them both that true power resides only in God, through His Spirit. Much pain is experienced, as well as heartaches, betrayals, and uncertainties, but they survive them all to the glory of God, and a long separated family is eventually reunited.

She Walks In Majesty is a splendid display of courageous writing by Tyndall in expressing the power of God through Fantasy and Adventure storytelling. Tyndall’s boldness in exposing the true nature of spiritual welfare, salvation, faith, and love as well as the realness of human emotions, romance, and struggles shown through the unremorseful declarations and daring actions of her characters, is breathtakingly amiable, so that her books can stand alongside the very best in the mainstream fantasy genre. This is the stuff that movies are made of, and Tyndall has shown that with Christian Fantasy, she can hold her own.

Another lovely addition to Tyndall’s collection of fine penmanship!

*Though I offer this review to the public, it is my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to the author, MaryLu Tyndall, for a free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About MaryLu Tyndall


Bestselling author, MaryLu Tyndall, dreamed of pirates and sea-faring adventures during her childhood days on Florida’s Coast. With more than sixteen books published, she makes no excuses for the deep spiritual themes embedded within her romantic adventures. Her hope is that readers will not only be entertained, but will be brought closer to the Creator Who loves them beyond measure. In a culture that accepts occult, wizards, zombies, and vampires without batting an eye, MaryLu hopes to show the awesome present and powerful acts of God in a dying world. A Christy award nominee and Inspirational Readers Choice Award winner, MaryLu makes her home with her husband, six children, three grandchildren, and several stray cats on the California coast.

 

Movie Review ~ I Still Believe By Kingdom Story Company & Distributed By Lionsgate

 

About I Still Believe


One love can change your life. One life can change the world.

From the creators of I Can Only Imagine comes an inspiring love story for the ages. Rediscover the wonder of love in I STILL BELIEVE, based on the real-life story of chart-topping singer Jeremy Camp. Starring KJ Apa, Britt Robertson, Shania Twain, and Gary Sinise, I STILL BELIEVE is directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin, produced by Kevin Downes, with the screenplay by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn. I STILL BELIEVE is a powerful reminder that in the midst of life’s storms, true hope can be found.

Category

Religious/Christian

Genre

Faith-based/Romance/Drama/

Release Date: IMAX

March 11, 2020.

Release Date: Theater

March 13, 2020.

Rating

4.5 Stars

Review


“The stars that shine the brightest, are the ones that live the shortest lives.”

I Still Believe, the love story of Jeremy and Melissa Camp is anything but tragic. In a paradoxical sense, it is softly poignant in pointing out the awesomeness and beauty of God’s wisdom in awarding each of His children with destinies that shine brightly, uniquely, and extraordinarily. Contrary to what is portrayed in the world today, visibility isn’t everything, and it certainly has no bearing on relevance in the grand scheme of life.

There are many tearful moments in this story, as there are joyful and humorous. Family. Friendship. Romance—are few of the amiable and applaudable values that standout, and they all come together to paint a beautiful picture that portrays God’s hand present in every detail in the lives of His children.

As much as it is dreamy to go with the words, “some stars shine brighter than others,” it is more inspiring to go with Melissa’s words, “All stars shine”—and there lies the message in I Still Believe: ‘If you’re a child of God, you’re a light in the world. So shine. It doesn’t matter if others have more visibility and appear to shine brighter than you. All Stars Shine! If your story can change one person’s life, it’s enough. You never know how God will use it, directly or indirectly to impact the world.’ For Melissa, she directly impacted Jeremy, who went on to tell their story and impact the world with beautiful songs written with heaven-inspired lyrics, songs born from a season of love and pain, a path that would later lead him to another love, Adrienne.

A wisely, thoughtfully, and beautifully put together story by the Erwin Brothers.

*Though I offer this review to the public, it’s my opinion and simply that. A ‘thank you’ to Epic Inc. and Lionsgate Distribution for a free viewing link in exchange for my honest opinion.

About Jeremy Camp


Throughout his 17-year career, Capitol CMG artist Jeremy Camp has established himself with landmark accolades including: 

Holds title for most #1s among solo artists on the Christian Airplay chart

  • Billboard’s #2 artist of the Decade in 2010
  • 40 #1 radio hits across all formats
  • 4 RIAA certified gold albums and 1 gold single
  • 1 Grammy nomination, 3 American Music Award nominations & 4 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Awards

Jeremy has also authored an autobiography, I Still Believe (2013, Tyndale) and toured the world, sharing his music in more than 36 countries, and his organization, Speaking Louder Ministries, has allowed him to travel to Brazil, Guatemala, Ukraine, Japan and Kyrgyzstan.

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