Follow Jesus by embracing upside-down values

News Release
February 3, 2017

Follow Jesus by embracing upside-down values
Six-part series explores living out a countercultural faith          

HARRISONBURG, Va.—It is easy for Christians to lose touch with God in the routine of everyday life. Herald Press has created Upside-Down Living, a six-part Bible study series that engages participants with questions about how to live out one’s Christian faith in ways that seem upside down in today’s culture. All are to be released in the first half of 2017.

The first two texts, each with six sessions, will be released February 7: Sabbath, by Anita Amstutz, discusses different perspectives on Sabbath and the benefits of practicing it in our fast-paced lives. Technology, by Becca J. R. Lachman, explores how to use technology responsibly in today’s changing world.

The next two studies in the series will be published April 4. Money uses biblical Jubilee economic practices to look at how we can use our money to further God’s kingdom. Identity and Aging explores how to age well and faithfully between different stages of life, as well as the changes in identity that accompany them. These studies are written by Leonard M. Dow and Eleanor Snyder, respectively.

The final two studies in the series will come out June 6: Violence discusses how to be peacekeepers in a violent world and is written by J. Fred Kauffman. Sharing Faith Stories, by April Yamasaki, helps readers learn how to use their own stories to share their faith.

Intended for small group Bible studies or adult Sunday school classes—and especially for busy Christians who may not feel they have time to study for a lesson—the series strives to explore modern, relevant themes with whomever shows up on a given Sunday.

According to Mary Ann Weber, managing editor of Upside-Down Living, a goal of the series was to “create practical studies that will challenge and inspire people to live their faith on a daily basis.” Topics were selected because “they are matters people regularly face,” said Weber. “We hope that by addressing them, people will be compelled to dig into Scripture to see how it connects with our lives today.”

The chapters are short and include visuals and easy-to-understand language. Each session uses Scripture references to address a specific theme within the topic of the study and discusses its connection to current life using anecdotes, analogies, and discussion of today’s culture. The guides include a discussion questions that invite readers to discuss or journal about their thoughts and to apply the lesson to their own lives.

The books in the Upside-Down Living series are available from MennoMedia at 800-245-7894, the MennoMedia webstore at www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources.

MennoMedia Intern Luisa Miller
High resolution photo available

For sample copies or questions:
Contact LeAnn Hamby
Marketing Manager
Herald Press
(540) 908-3941 LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

 

 

What does it really take for our communities to flourish?

News Release

Revised January 30, 2017

Pastor shares strategy for how real change happens in new book, Smart Compassion

HARRISONBURG, Va.— What does compassion look like when the needs seem overwhelming? What is our role in the flourishing of our community? How does such work relate to worship?

Wesley Furlong’s Smart Compassion: How to Stop “Doing Outreach” and Start Making Change (Herald Press, February 2017) calls Christians to strategic, prayerful, and biblically based approaches to compassion.

“My hope for you is that in the face of personal struggles, limited time, complex needs, and endless options, you will develop a vision for how your community can thrive,” says Furlong. The book journeys through inspiring places and thought-provoking conversations on how and where good and necessary change happens.

A common thread in Smart Compassion is the potential of healing presence, radical hospitality, and collective empowerment. When these three forces come together, Furlong says, “You’ll see new life.”

Smart compassion is the full pursuit of a community’s flourishing in a spirit of worship and prayer. Smart compassion holds together justice and evangelism, wisdom and revelation, and the broadly communal and deeply personal aspects of life.

Furlong adds that “smart compassion is, put simply, ten thousand acts of authentic compassion that are strategic, well networked, and responsive to the real needs of a defined community.”

Editorial Director Amy Gingerich says that for churches who want to make a difference but are not quite sure how, Smart Compassion offers a contagious vision and practical steps for significant change. A companion handbook is planned for release May 2017.

Wesley Furlong is the founder and director of City of Refuge, a network for community transformation, and the director of church development for EVANA, an evangelical Anabaptist network of churches across North America. Furlong holds a master’s degree in theology from Emory University and is working toward a PhD in social work. He and his wife, Bonnie, have three children as well as an ever-changing number of foster children. Connect with him at WesleyFurlong.com.

To schedule an interview with Wesley Furlong, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Smart Compassion │ 9781513800394 │ 2/7/2017 │ $15.99 USD │ Paperback │176 pages│Herald Press

 

To purchase Smart Compassion call 800-245-7894 or go to www.HeraldPress.com 

Seek a simpler life through plain Mennonite writer Faith Sommers

January 18, 2017

Seek a simpler life through plain Mennonite writer Faith Sommers

90-day devotional connects quiet times with God to the rest of life

HARRISONBURG, Va.— Quiet times with God can feel disconnected from the rest of an overflowing day. Faith Sommers, a conservative Mennonite mother, wife, and columnist for Ladies Journal, a publication for Amish and Mennonite women has written a new book, Prayers for a Simpler Life: Meditations from the Heart of a Mennonite Mother due out from Herald Press, February 2017.

The book contains 90 devotionals for women to help them connect with a simpler life.

Sommers firmly believes devotions should affect how Christians live their lives. “When I realize that God knows all about everything, I learn to trust in his grace and seek to obtain his wisdom so that each choice I make will lead me closer to him,” she explains.

The devotional book also includes prayers, journal prompts, and ideas for how to simplify life and strengthen faith. Above all, the author hopes Prayers for a Simpler Life guides readers toward a deeper commitment to the way of Jesus.

“God’s goodness is not measured by the good things that come into my life,” Sommers says. “The good things do outnumber the bad, and I gratefully count my blessings. Yet, even in the setbacks, the disappointments, the sorrows, I know that God is good.”

Aimed at serious Christians who want to draw closer to God and actively serve Jesus, the book strives to put readers back in touch with many basics of Christian living. It is part of the Herald Press Plainspoken Series of books and devotionals.

Prayers for a Simpler Life includes a section “A Day in the Life of the Author,” as well as Q&A with the author answering common questions about plain Mennonites, including:

  • What is a Mennonite?
  • How do you differ from Amish?
  • Why do the women and girls wear those hats?
  • Don’t you get bored with your quiet lives?

Sommers and her husband, Paul, live in California and have six children between the ages of 6 and 21.

To schedule an interview with Faith Sommers, contact LeAnn Hamby at (540) 908-3941 or LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

Prayers for a Simpler Life │ 9781513801261 │ 2/21/2017 │ $12.99 USD │ Paperback │200 pages│Herald Press