A Christian Case for Non-Violence

Is violence ever justified?

Preston Sprinkle debates this controversial issue in his ebook, Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence.

“I’m still an evangelical Christian. And I’m not Amish, Quaker, or Mennonite. I own several guns and still believe that the smell of a recently fired shotgun on a crisp fall morning comes darn near close to paradise. But I’ve tried my hardest to understand God’s Word and the diverse perspectives of those who read it. And the more I study, the more I discuss, the more I’ve become convinced: Christians shouldn’t kill or use violence—not even in war.”—Preston Sprinkle

With these words, Sprinkle jumps into a compelling, passionate study of God’s perspective on violence.

Examining both the seemingly angry, violent God of the Old Testament and the peacemaking Jesus of the New, Preston takes us back to Scripture to discern how God has really called his people to think and live in the midst of a violent world.

He asks us to join him in inviting God to challenge our presuppositions, to set aside our biases and backgrounds and fears . . . and to seek above all else to faithfully follow the Savior who humbly submitted to God in the face of injustice and violence.

Want to learn more? Check out this book review by Ryan Nelson on a recent episode of Faithlife Today:

Get Fight: A Christian Case for Non-Violence today!

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Can Helping Someone Really Hurt Them?

Have you ever walked by a person in need on the street and you weren’t quite sure what to do?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve had this inner-battle, and it goes something like this: I should give this person a dollar . . . or maybe not? They’ll probably just buy something bad with it, plus giving this person money is just teaching them to be dependent on me. But they look so hungry and Jesus wants me to feed the poor, right?

Can Helping Someone Hurt Them

In the end—no matter what I do—I feel a mixture of sadness for their condition and guilt for my lack of sympathy.

Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert look into how we, as Christians, are called to respond and interact with those in the trenches of poverty in their ebook, When Helping Hurts: How to Allevieate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself.

What first struck me about When Helping Hurts was the title . . . .

As a senior in high school, I had an interview for a Community Development scholarship at Covenant College. Lo and behold the interviewer was author Steve Corbett himself!

Before the interview a group of us met and listened to Corbett speak; he mentioned When Helping Hurts, saying oftentimes Christians mean well and they want to help, but if they are not intentional with their actions they’ll up hurting the person and their community as well.

I was hooked by Corbett’s speech. I wanted to know: could trying to help someone could really ever hurt them? The answer is simple, yes. 

Learn from Corbett and Fikkert as they dive deep into this issue and why it matters in their ebook, When Helping Hurts.

They begin by walking through incorrect assumptions the church has made about the causes of poverty. They show how these false assumptions have resulted in the use of bad strategies meant to help the poor, but end up doing considerable harm to not only poor people, but also themselves.

Corbett and Fikkert work through foundational concepts, clearly articulated principles, and relevant applications, making this ebook a must-read.

Want to learn more? Check out this book review by Ryan Nelson on a recent episode of Faithlife Today:

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5 New Books to Read this Summer

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Summer isn’t over. If you’ve already blazed through your summer reading list, or even if you’re still putting it off, now is the perfect time to jump back into reading with fresh titles.

Some amazing books aren’t even out until the middle of summer anyways! We’ll help you keep up with what’s coming out and when.

Here are five new Christian books releasing this summer:

1. The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity

John Piper is a nationally renowned pastor and bestselling author. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow up with a popular pastor as your father? John Piper’s son, Barnabas, wrote The Pastor’s Kid to share what it’s like to grow up as a pastor’s kid. Discover the pressures, challenges, and joys of having a pastor for a dad, and find out what a pastor’s kid needs above all else.

Learn more about the plight of a pastor’s kid: check out our exclusive interview with Barnabas Piper.

Released July 1!

2. Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us

Charis—the Greek word for biblical grace—is the foundation of Preston Sprinkle’s passionate study of the Old Testament. As a professor at Eternity Bible College, Sprinkle enlightens his college students on the message of grace from Old Testament stories. See just how every character and event of the Old Testament is doused in grace. We see harlots being hugged, there are Pharisees being forgiven, and bad people getting big breaks. Charis gives biblical context to this abstract gift of grace.

Released July 7!

3. Connected: Curing the Pandemic of Everyone Feeling Alone Together

Technology, the internet, and social media are some of the best and worst things to ever happen to humanity. They allow us to connect and contact friends and family worldwide, and yet somehow these same tools are creating loneliness. Erin Davis writes Connected: Curing the Pandemic of Everyone Feeling Alone Together to bring awareness to this 21st century dilemma. She’s traveled nationwide to discuss our technology-induced loneliness to bring you this encouraging and helpful book.

Releases July 18!

4. Crucible: The Choices That Change Your Life Forever

Change can be tough to swallow. Phil Tuttle and Chris Tiegreen suggest that life’s biggest changes often begin with a choice. God sends us to crossroads to shape and strengthen us. In Crucible, Tuttle and Tiegreen examine the story of David and the choices which transformed him into a man after God’s own heart. Crucible offers fresh perspective for life’s big decisions.

Releases July 29!

5. Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity

Even as a pastor’s wife and the author of five Christian books, Jen Hatmaker discovered that she was too preoccupied with doing church to be the church. Caught up in consumerism, she needed an interruption to see the life her family was called to live. Follow her family’s messy journey, and find the inspiration to start your own.

Releases July 31!

Check out all of Vyrso’s newest titles and stock up on your summer reading!

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3 Ways to Be a Better Disciple

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“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” —Matthew 28:19–20

Jesus’ command often falls on deaf ears. Even in evangelical churches, the command to make disciples can sometimes become second rate to curriculum and ministry programs, which means churches are bringing in new people, but failing to make disciples. This can also negatively affect the congregation, because the congregates lose personal responsibility to spread the gospel, and once personal responsibility is lost, the church can become sick or stagnant. The body of Christ becomes weak and insists that the paid staff (pastors, teachers, preachers, and elders) do the grunt work of making disciples, while the majority of the church sits idling by.

“Jesus gave his followers a command: ‘Follow Me.’ And a promise: ‘I will equip you to find others to follow me.’” —Francis Chan

It’s time to make a change and start living out real discipleship. Here are three ways to be a better disciple of Christ:

1. Stop just believing—begin following

Francis Chan’s book, Multiply, is designed to eliminate a fruitless ministry by replacing it with a ministry focused on true discipleship. But what is a real disciple? The majority of the church believes the word means to follow Christ, as if it’s simply believing he lived, died, and rose from the dead. This is true, but it also excludes the most important concept of being a disciple: disciples are students of God. Chan pushes disciples to imitate Christ, carry on his ministry, and become more like him in the process. The results of becoming a disciple of Christ—in taking on the full meaning of the word—change the way you think, the way you live, and how you love.

2. Build stronger relationships

If being a disciple means we imitate Christ, it means we must be intensely relational—just like Jesus. Building relationships is actually one of the subjects Jesus talked about most often. Specifically, he spoke about two relationships: one is found in the greatest commandment between us and God, and the second is found between us and our neighbors. So instead of skipping your small group or ignoring your daily devotions, you need to build a real relationship with Christ, and grow closer to the friends, family, and strangers around you.

3. Make more disciples

Chan puts it brilliantly, “Making disciples is far more than a program. It is the mission of our lives. It defines us. A disciple is a disciple maker.” This is the most difficult part for me. I can believe in Christ and all that he was, is, and will be. I can study the Bible, love others, and love God, but ask me to lead others to Christ and it’s like pulling teeth. If you’re like me and the majority of Christians, you’ll understand when I say it’s uncomfortable (to say the least).  Nevertheless, Jesus commands that we make more disciples and spread the gospel. This is your calling, and this is why you were made—to become a disciple who makes disciples.

Want to learn more about following Jesus’ command in your life? I highly recommend Francis Chan’s Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples. And I’m not the only one—this book was one of Vyrso’s best-selling books of 2013. Download it today! 

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Rising Shadows: Exciting Summer Fantasy

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What do you do when you’re a young homeschooler and you run out of entertainment at the public library? If you’re Ashley Townsend, you start writing your own stories.

Born in Southern California and raised in Colorado Springs, Ashley began writing as a way to create stories that she would want to read. Now a twenty-year-old college student, Ashley is committed to writing stories that will captivate and delight her readers—and propel them into a deeper relationship with God. You can now download her first Kirkdale Press novel, Rising Shadows, from Vyrso!

Rising Shadows tells the story of Sarah Matthews, a young woman looking for a little summertime adventure. To her surprise, she finds herself trapped in the twelfth century, fighting for the life of her closest companion—and her ticket home—who’s been arrested on charges of witchcraft. But who is she going to rely on to help her: the Shadow, mysterious and heroic or Will, the handsome blacksmith with troubles of his own?

Check out this excerpt from Rising Shadows:

“We have to hide,” the girl whispered urgently, her wide green eyes darting about the foliage.
“What? Why?” Sarah asked, her own eyes roaming the thickness surrounding them. Her stomach began to churn at the thought that these riders might pose some kind of threat—at least enough to cause the girl fear.
“There’s no time,” the girl hissed between her clenched teeth. “Quick! Over here.” She ducked down and dashed to the edge of the clearing opposite the approaching horses, looking like a strange, long-necked bird with her awkward gait. She listened for a moment to the men’s shouts, then frantically motioned for them to follow.
What other choice was there?
With only a brief hesitation, Sarah turned around and grabbed Lilly, who was still frozen in disbelief and confusion, and dashed toward the tree line. She practically had to drag her sibling through the dirt and fallen leaves that littered the ground.
Even in her panic, Sarah couldn’t help feeling amazed. A few minutes ago, she’d been ready to throw Lilly out of her room for seeking company during a thunderstorm, and now her only thought was to get her younger sister to safety. She could feel the adrenaline pumping through her veins as she dove toward the bush the girl had disappeared behind. Lilly remained in the open, dumbstruck. Sarah snatched her hand and yanked her down beside them just as six large horses appeared in the clearing.

Download Rising Shadows from Vyrso for only $5.24 and enjoy the whole exciting story!

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Review: Heaven Is for Real

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“A beautifully written glimpse into heaven that will encourage those who doubt and thrill those who believe.” —Ron Hall, coauthor of Same Kind of Different as Me

With more than one million copies in print and a #1 spot on the New York Times nonfiction bestsellers list, Heaven Is for Real  doesn’t seem to be dwindling in popularity.

The book tells the story of four-year-old Colton who, during a life-saving procedure, leaves his body and visits heaven. His parents realize something dramatic has happened when Colton casually mentions that, while he was in the hospital, angels were singing to him. Colton goes on to tell his parents exactly where they were and what they were doing during his surgery. From that point on, they listen intently while he describes images, colors, and people he saw in heaven in great detail. Colton even mentions meeting two people that no one ever told him about: his miscarried sister and his great-grandfather.

Colton’s father, pastor Todd Burpo, brings all these stories together in Heaven Is for Real. Weaving Colton’s stories together with Scripture references, the book paints a beautiful picture of heaven.

As I read Heaven Is for Real, I experienced several emotions: empathy with the family’s challenges, amusement at Colton’s matter-of-fact recollections, joy in reading the descriptions of heavenly images, and most of all, hope. I felt a renewed sense of hope at the idea of a pain-free and perfect heaven.

Pick up this uplifting and encouraging story from Vyrso for just $10.19. And if you’re looking for a resource that will help you dig a little deeper into what the Scripture says about heaven, check out the Heaven Is for Real Conversation Guide for just $5.99. It includes discussion and reflection questions great for personal, small-group, or family use.

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Vintage Jesus: Answering Your Tough Questions

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Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears combine profound understanding of modern culture with weighty Christian doctrine that is faithful to the Bible, and it’s written in such an interesting style that it’s hard to put down. I strongly recommend it!”—Wayne Grudem, author, Systematic Theology

Vintage Jesus is a book of collaborative theology written by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears. Driscoll was named one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years by Preaching Magazine, and his audio sermon podcasts are regularly #1 on iTunes’ Religion and Spirituality chart. Breshears has been professor of theology at Western Seminary since 1980. He also teaches and lectures at a number of colleges and seminaries around the world. Mark and Gerry have co-written several books, such as Vintage Church, Death by Love, and Doctrine: What the Church Should Believe.

What is the truth about Jesus Christ? That’s the question that the authors answer throughout Vintage Jesus. The book is broken into sections like:

  • Why did Jesus come to earth?
  • Why did Jesus’ mom need to be a virgin?
  • What makes Jesus superior to other saviors?
  • Where is Jesus today?
  • and many others.

People looking to explore the topic of Jesus will find solid biblical answers to their toughest questions.

Vintage Jesus is on sale for just $2.99 during the month of April—that’s 70% off the retail price! So pick up Vintage Jesus today and take your understanding of Jesus to a deeper level.

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Holy Subversion: On Sale This March

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Sub·ver·sion: the act or an instance of subverting or overthrowing a legally instituted government, institution, etc*

Christianity, by its very nature, is subversive. It overthrows the accepted personal and social status quo and, in its place, elevates the kingdom and rule of God. That is, unless Christianity is submersing itself in the content and character of the world.

In Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, Trevin Wax takes us back to the first century when following Christ meant turning one’s back against Caesar worship. Wax warns us against worshiping our modern day “Caesars”: self, success, money, leisure, sex, power. He invites all of us Christ-followers to rethink our allegiances and subvert the kingdoms which fight for our attention and loyalty.

You can pick up Holy Subversion this March for only $2.24 as part of Vyrso’s Bring Back Spring sale. Don’t forget to check out the other freebies and deals available through March!

*Collins English Dictionary, 10th ed., “subversion”

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Quaker Summer: Part of Our Huge Fiction Sale!

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“[Lisa Samson is] a talented novelist who isn’t afraid to take risks.”Publishers Weekly

Lisa Samson is the Christy-Award winning author of 19 books including the Women of Faith Novel of the Year Quaker Summer. She has been hailed as one of the most powerful voices in Christian fiction by Publishers Weekly. She lives in Kentucky with her husband and three kids, and spends every ounce of free time writing.

In Quaker SummerHeather Curridge is a woman in crisis. Outwardly, her life seems serene: she has a remarkably successful husband, an adorable child, and the most beautiful home she could imagine. Inwardly, however, she is falling apart, overcome by the idea that her comfortable life is keeping her from God’s will. With the help of the church, her patient family, and her two best friends, Heather comes to some painful conclusions about her past and future. Heather can’t solve all of her problems, but she paints a wonderful portrait of a soul beckoned by God.

Download Quaker Summer today for only $3.99, and be sure to check out the rest of our enormous fiction sale!

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Review: Thr3e by Ted Dekker

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“Well, well, well, guess what I’ve found? A fiction writer with a rare knack for a compelling story, an expansive reservoir of clever ideas, and a unique wit that makes me laugh.” —Frank Peretti, Best-selling author of The Oath and Monster.

Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty novels. He is known for his suspense thrillers with major twists and extraordinary characters. Dekker’s novels have sold over 5 million copies worldwide. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House, have been made into movies—with more in production. Dekker resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Lee Ann and their two daughters.

Thr3e is the story of Kevin Parsins. Like all people, Kevin has his secrets. Little does he know that someone desperately wants them revealed. Kevin is driving home late after graduate school one evening when, suddenly, his cell phone rings. A man who identifies himself as Slater speaks in a deep, whispering voice: “You have exactly three minutes to confess your sin to the world. Refuse and the car you’re driving will blow sky high.”

Kevin finds himself in a complete state of panic. Who would make such a call? What sin? This starts a tormenting sequence of events. After barely escaping his exploding car, Kevin continues to receive phone calls from Slater, each with another puzzle, another consequence, and another three minutes to confess his sin.

This gripping thriller will surprise you with every twist and turn. It is intense, fast-paced, and exciting. The plot is unpredictable, and the ending is unexpected.

All of Ted Dekker’s ebooks are currently on sale from Vyrso for $3.99! Download Thr3e now, and be sure to check out some of Dekker’s other enthralling stories such as House, Chaos, and Chosen

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