Across the country, churches are creating entertaining, pop culture-savvy services that feel more market-driven than ministry. On the menu? A proven blend of dynamic music, high-tech dazzle, and topical teachings. And just like any successful product, churches are launching campuses that build on their brand.
But is the franchised church of today leading to the disenfranchised believers of tomorrow? Though thousands flock to these services, how many lives are truly being changed? Have we traded real truth for relevancy?
Franchising McChurch takes an honest look at the rise of consumer-minded ministries. Authors Thomas White and John Yeats tackle a spiritual shift that is raising provocative issues such as:The blurry line between entertainment and evangelism A marketing approach to ministry The warped yardstick for measuring church success Feel-good messages that avoid tough truths
Candid and compelling, Franchising McChurch calls us back to the heart of Christ's church, and shares the Biblical design for delivering meaningful, life-changing ministry in a fast-food world.
- What is the basis for our denominational distinctives?
- Are they merely a collection of "faded traditions" or true doctrinal necessities rooted in the Bible alone?
- Are they theologically rich cornerstones of faith that easily transcend time, culture, and preference?
Contributors include Malcolm B Yarnell III ("Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church: A Theological Exposition of Matthew 16:13-20"), Paige Patterson ("Observing the Two Ordinances of Christ"), Thomas and Joy White ("Church Officers and Gender: Can Women Be Pastors? Or Deacons?") and Bart Barber ("A Denomination of Churches: Biblical and Useful") as well as Jason G. Duesing, David Allen, Emir F. Caner, James Leo Garrett, Jr., and Byron McWilliams.
White uses Psalm 1:2 as his primary text, "...and on his law doth he meditate day and night." He gives an explanation of the words together with some short observations, and shows the nature, kinds, and differences of solemn, divine meditation. He clearly demonstrates that meditation is a duty, and then lays out directions, rules and preparations for mediation. He then gives the reader forty-six meditations to read, and then discusses rules given for meditating on scriptural passages. He ends the work with seven meditations on key doctrinal subjects like the mercies of God, sin, death, and the excellencies of Christ. This is a sanctifying and humbling work to teach God's people how divine meditation is our duty.
This is not a scan or facsimile, has been updated in modern English for easy reading and has an active table of contents for electronic versions.
* Religious freedom and the exclusivity of the gospel
* The Christian doctrine of religious liberty
* Religious liberty and the public square
* Religious freedom and the sexual revolution
* Baptist contributions to religious freedom, and much more.
The contributors equip churches, pastors, and Christian citizens to uphold this “first freedom” given by God and defended by Christians throughout our nation’s history.
The Diamond family has survived murder, deceit, and betrayal. Through it all, they're still standing tall, and a new era has begun.
After surviving a failed attempt on her life, Breeze has moved into the queen's position by Zyir's side. Zyir has taken over the empire and locked down Miami's streets. He has the world in his palms, but there is always new blood ready to overthrow the throne.
Young Carter has retired and moved away from the madness—that is, until he gets an unexpected visitor at his home. This person shakes up the whole family, causing chaos that threatens to bring down the Cartel for good.
New York Times bestselling authors Ashley and JaQuavis deliver the highly anticipated fourth installment of the wildly popular Cartel series.
Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
After the government's case is thwarted, the ladies plan to take the family legit. They head west to establish a new endeavor, but with new territory comes new problems. The Carter family name doesn't ring as loud as it did in Miami. It's a new set of gangsters, a new set of rules, as the Cartel finds problems with an Arabic millionaire. Even as the new Cartel struggles to go legit, trouble always finds a way into the family's circle. Larceny, deceit, and murder are all in the cards.
The Cartel 5 is a page-turning thriller that promises to deliver. This mafia family tries to go corporate, but the streets won't let them. This is the rise of the female Cartel . . . La Bella Mafia.
At once wildly original and stuffed with irresistible nostalgia, READY PLAYER ONE is a spectacularly genre-busting, ambitious, and charming debut—part quest novel, part love story, and part virtual space opera set in a universe where spell-slinging mages battle giant Japanese robots, entire planets are inspired by Blade Runner, and flying DeLoreans achieve light speed.
It’s the year 2045, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?
Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a isolated mansion on Indian Island by a host who, surprisingly, fails to appear. On the island they are cut off from everything but each other and the inescapable shadows of their own past lives. One by one, the guests share the darkest secrets of their wicked pasts. And one by one, they die…
Which among them is the killer and will any of them survive?
#1 USA TODAY BESTSELLER
Notable Book of 2016 --Washington Post
10 Favorite Books of 2016 -- Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
10 Best Mysteries of 2016 -- Adam Woog, Seattle Times
Detective Harry Bosch must track down someone who may never have existed in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly.
Harry Bosch is California's newest private investigator. He doesn't advertise, he doesn't have an office, and he's picky about who he works for, but it doesn't matter. His chops from thirty years with the LAPD speak for themselves.
Soon one of Southern California's biggest moguls comes calling. The reclusive billionaire is nearing the end of his life and is haunted by one regret. When he was young, he had a relationship with a Mexican girl, his great love. But soon after becoming pregnant, she disappeared. Did she have the baby? And if so, what happened to it?
Desperate to know whether he has an heir, the dying magnate hires Bosch, the only person he can trust. With such a vast fortune at stake, Harry realizes that his mission could be risky not only for himself but for the one he's seeking. But as he begins to uncover the haunting story--and finds uncanny links to his own past--he knows he cannot rest until he finds the truth.
At the same time, unable to leave cop work behind completely, he volunteers as an investigator for a tiny cash-strapped police department and finds himself tracking a serial rapist who is one of the most baffling and dangerous foes he has ever faced.
Swift, unpredictable, and thrilling, The Wrong Side of Goodbye shows that Michael Connelly "continues to amaze with his consistent skill and sizzle" (Cleveland Plain Dealer).
Cross's family--his loving wife Bree, the wise and lively Nana Mama, and his precious children--have been ripped away. Terrified and desperate, Cross must give this mad man what he wants if he has any chance of saving the most important people in his life. The stakes have never been higher: What will Cross sacrifice to save the ones he loves?
Widely praised by the greatest crime and thriller writers of our time, Cross My Heart set a jaw-dropping story in motion. Hope to Die propels Alex Cross's greatest challenge to its astonishing finish, proving why Jeffery Deaver says "nobody does it better" than James Patterson.
After the events in Gathering Prey, Lucas Davenport finds himself in a very unusual situation—no longer employed by the Minnesota BCA. His friend the governor is just cranking up a presidential campaign, though, and he invites Lucas to come along as part of his campaign staff. “Should be fun!” he says, and it kind of is—until they find they have a shadow: an armed man intent on killing the governor...and anyone who gets in the way.
Handsome, young, Muslim, and married to two women living in one house along with his mother, Umma, and sister, Naja: can Midnight manage all that he has on his plate? He is surrounded by Americans who don’t share or understand his faith or culture, and adults who are offended by his maturity, intelligence, and his natural ability to make his hard work turn into real money. He is calm, confident, and cool, Ninja-trained and powerful, but one moment of rage throws this Brooklyn youth into a dark world of dirty police, gangs, guns, drugs, prisons, and dangerous inmates. Everything he ever believed, every dollar he ever earned, and all of the women he ever loved—including his mother—are at risk.
Will his manhood be taken, broken, or altered? Can he maintain his faith? Outnumbered, overruled, and deeply envied—how can he possibly survive? Will the streets convert him? What can he keep? What must he lose?
Detective Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half-brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, needs his help. A woman has been brutally murdered in her bed and all evidence points to Haller's client, a former gang member turned family man. Though the murder rap seems ironclad, Mickey is sure it's a setup.
Bosch doesn't want anything to do with crossing the aisle to work for the defense. He feels it will undo all the good he's done in his thirty years as a homicide cop. But Mickey promises to let the chips fall where they may. If Harry proves that his client did it, under the rules of discovery, they are obliged to turn over the evidence to the prosecution.
Though it goes against all his instincts, Bosch reluctantly takes the case. The prosecution's file just has too many holes and he has to find out for himself: if Haller's client didn't do it, then who did? With the secret help of his former LAPD partner Lucy Soto, Harry starts digging. Soon his investigation leads him inside the police department, where he realizes that the killer he's been tracking has also been tracking him.
Thrilling, fast-paced, and impossible to put down, The Crossing shows without a shadow of doubt that Connelly is "a master of building suspense" (Wall Street Journal).
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
They call them Travelers. They move from city to city, panhandling, committing no crimes—they just like to stay on the move. And now somebody is killing them.
Lucas Davenport’s adopted daughter, Letty, is home from college when she gets a phone call from a woman Traveler she’d befriended in San Francisco. The woman thinks somebody’s killing her friends, she’s afraid she knows who it is, and now her male companion has gone missing. She’s hiding out in North Dakota, and she doesn’t know what to do.
Letty tells Lucas she’s going to get her, and, though he suspects Letty’s getting played, he volunteers to go with her. When he hears the woman’s story, though, he begins to think there’s something in it. Little does he know. In the days to come, he will embark upon an odyssey through a subculture unlike any he has ever seen, a trip that will not only put the two of them in danger—but just may change the course of his life.
From the Hardcover edition.
The night after the fourth of July, Layton Carlson Jr., of Red Wing, Minnesota, finally got lucky. And unlucky.
He’d picked the perfect spot to lose his virginity to his girlfriend, an abandoned farmyard in the middle of cornfields: nice, private, and quiet. The only problem was . . . something smelled bad—like, really bad. He mentioned it to a county deputy he knew, and when the cop took a look, he found a body stuffed down a cistern. And then another, and another.
By the time Lucas Davenport was called in, the police were up to fifteen bodies and counting. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, when Lucas began to investigate, he made some disturbing discoveries of his own. The victims had been killed over a great many years, one every summer, regular as clockwork. How could this have happened without anybody noticing?
Because one thing was for sure: the killer had to live close by. He was probably even someone they saw every day. . . .
Lucas Davenport’s first case as a U.S. Marshal sends him into uncharted territory in the thrilling new novel in the #1 New York Times-bestselling series.
The man was smart and he didn’t mind killing people. Welcome to the big leagues, Davenport.
Thanks to some very influential people whose lives he saved, Lucas is no longer working for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, but for the U.S. Marshals Service, and with unusual scope. He gets to pick his own cases, whatever they are, wherever they lead him.
And where they’ve led him this time is into real trouble. A Biloxi, Mississippi, drug-cartel counting house gets robbed, and suitcases full of cash disappear, leaving behind five bodies, including that of a six-year-old girl. Davenport takes the case, which quickly spirals out of control, as cartel assassins, including a torturer known as the “Queen of home-improvement tools” compete with Davenport to find the Dixie Hicks shooters who knocked over the counting house. Things get ugly real fast, and neither the cartel killers nor the holdup men give a damn about whose lives Davenport might have saved; to them, he’s just another large target.
Filled with his trademark razor-sharp plotting and some of the best characters in suspense fiction, Golden Prey is further reason why “Sandford has always been at the top of any list of great mystery writers” (The Huffington Post).
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Soon to be a miniseries from Hulu starring James Franco
ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963, THREE SHOTS RANG OUT IN DALLAS, PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED, AND THE WORLD CHANGED. WHAT IF YOU COULD CHANGE IT BACK?
In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King—who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer—takes readers on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.
It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life—like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963—turning on a dime. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination.
So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.
Vegas Duncan’s release from prison is right on time for his older brother Junior’s engagement to the voluptuous Sonya Brown. Unfortunately, Junior’s attempt at happiness comes to a screeching halt when Sonya’s husband, the mysterious Brother X, and his army of Muslim hit men declares war on the Duncan clan.
Duncan family patriarch LC Duncan has gone up against many foes in his time and has always come out on top; however, he’s never gone up against a religious fanatic like Brother X, who cares little about money and everything about principle. LC does have one card up his sleeve to shut down X. The question is, will he wake up from his gunshot-induced coma before it’s too late?
What could be worse than fighting a war while your father’s in a coma? How about two brothers and a brother-in-law undermining each other in a battle for their father’s seat at a multimillion-dollar table?
Once again the Duncan family is wrapped up in the drama, intrigue, and nonstop action that fans have come to expect from this powerful series.
Two children from Sierra Leone, Liberty and A’shai, are brought together by chance only to be forced apart by the most inevitable and tragic fate. Ashley and JaQuavis bring us this classic love story set against modern life’s most horrifying realities. Liberty is dying of a fatal heart condition, though she desperately wants to survive until her 25th birthday when her sister has promised to visit her. A’shai blames himself for not protecting Liberty, but all Liberty asks is for A’shai to tell her a story, to help her remember what brought them to this point. He knows that this is the last story he will ever tell and the last she will ever hear. As Liberty lies dying, A’shai walks her though their past, reliving their ill-fated journeys through the streets. Their story will take them from an arranged marriage, through Mexico’s drug cartel, child brothels, hustling in Detroit, to escaping the high-powered heads of L.A.’s underworld. But ultimately, this is a story of love and redemption that will leave you breathless from the unpredictable and mind-blowing ending.
In Southeast Minnesota, down on the Mississippi, a school board meeting is coming to an end. The board chairman announces that the rest of the meeting will be closed, due to personnel issues. “Issues” is correct. The proposal up for a vote before them is whether to authorize the killing of a local reporter. The vote is four to one in favor.
Meanwhile, not far away, Virgil Flowers is helping out a friend by looking into a dognapping, which seems to be turning into something much bigger and uglier—a team of dognappers supplying medical labs—when he gets a call from Lucas Davenport. A murdered body has been found—and the victim is a local reporter. . . .
From the Hardcover edition.
The first storm comes from, of all places, the Minnesota zoo. Two large, and very rare, Amur tigers have vanished from their cage, and authorities are worried sick that they’ve been stolen for their body parts. Traditional Chinese medicine prizes those parts for home remedies, and people will do extreme things to get what they need. Some of them are a great deal more extreme than others—as Virgil is about to find out.
Then there’s the homefront. Virgil’s relationship with his girlfriend Frankie has been getting kind of serious, but when Frankie’s sister Sparkle moves in for the summer, the situation gets a lot more complicated. For one thing, her research into migrant workers is about to bring her up against some very violent people who emphatically do not want to be researched. For another…she thinks Virgil’s kind of cute.
“You mess around with Sparkle,” Frankie told Virgil, “you could get yourself stabbed.”
“She carries a knife?”
“No, but I do.”
Forget a storm—this one’s a tornado.
From the Hardcover edition.
When the innocent, naïve Gucci recognizes ringleader Sunny Raegan during a holdup, that's her "in" with the Bandits. Knowing she's got a lot more beauty than brains, Gucci sees the gang as her meal ticket. More likely, they'll be her ticket to the morgue!
The Bandits may be lawless, but they play by a few simple rules: Get in and get out. . .shoot first and ask questions later. . .never leave without the money. . .and innocent people don't get hurt. But it's only a matter of time before all these rules get broken—and that's when Gucci gets caught!
If there's one thing a girl needs, it's a little help from her friends. But her "friends" have skipped town without giving her a second thought. And Sunny is distracted by her new baby and her violent ex-lover. So Gucci's on her own. She's on trial for her life, and she must decide whether to snitch on the girls—or take the fall all by herself. Whichever she chooses, it may be her death sentence.
Kidnapping, murder, deception, and seduction fill this highly anticipated sequel. Will Zyir find out that Breeze is still alive? Will Mecca be exposed as his brother's killer? Is Miamor dead or alive? Ashley and JaQuavis are back with The Cartel 2. Their twisted tale of deceit will have you on the edge of your seat, trying to figure out what happens next.
Now Bosch's ballistics match indicates that her death was not random violence, but something more personal, and connected to a deeper intrigue. Like an investigator combing through the wreckage after a plane crash, Bosch searches for the "black box," the one piece of evidence that will pull the case together.
Riveting and relentlessly paced, THE BLACK BOX leads Harry Bosch, "one of the greats of crime fiction" (New York Daily News), into one of his most fraught and perilous cases.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.