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Book, Music, & DVD Spotlights
Contributor Two Contributor Two

Read about the latest books, music, and DVDs that are being released this season.


THE WELL
Why are so many so close to the Well and still so thirty? In theri new book, The Well: Why Are So Many Still Thirsty? (Zondervan), Mark Hall, frontman of the group Casting Crowns, and co-writer Tim Luke, use the powerful story of the woman at the well and her encounter with Jesus to help readers understand why life often seems so unsatisfying. What many believers consider "wells" that sustain them — like success, talent, control and favor — are really just holes that keep them from relying upon Jesus and the abundant, refreshing life He offers.

"I'm confident you will see yourself many times over in this book," remarks actress Candance Cameron Bure (of "Full House") who wrote the foreword for the book. "As I pray through this latest challenge before me, I'm thankful that the Lord used His Word and Mark Hall's keen insights to give me this crucial reminder."


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THE CHRISTMAS SINGING
Amish fiction writer, Cindy Woodsmall, whose connection with the Amish community has been reported by "ABC Nightline" and Wall Street Journal, turns her attention to the holiday season with The Christmas Singing: A Romance From The Heart of Amish Country (WaterBrook Press). Spend Christmas with the Amish in this story of love, romance, heartache and restoration.









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JOY: AN IRISH CHRISTMAS
Acclaimed hymn writers and recording artists, Keith & Kristyn Getty, celebrate the season with a new holiday album, Joy — An Irish Christmas, a collection of modern hymns, as well as traditional carols, reels and jigs inspired by the couple's homeland.

Produced by Grammy Award-winner Phil Naish (Steven Curtis Chapman, Point of Grace), with orchestral arrangements by renowned composer J.A.C. Redford (Avatar, The Help), the project features the Irish Film Orchestra; Anuna, Ireland's National Chior and Fionan de Barra and Eileen Ivers of Broadway's Riverdance; among numerous acclaimed musicians.

"So much of what inspires us to write hymns actually finds its origin in carols even more than traditional hymns," says Keith Getty. "There is such enjoyment and excitement incelebrating the more improbably thing that is the incarnation of God on earth. In this season, bringing the Good News in the form of music is also an opportunity to offer a glimpse of what Christmas in Ireland is like for us."

The Gettys have shared their music at Franklin Graham crusades, the GMA Dove Awards, and performances at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall, among other noted platforms and international tours. Visit gettymusic.com for more information.


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BEN-HUR
The classic film Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, and one of the biggest winners in Oscar history, makes a dazzling return to home video with the Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collectors Edition (Warner Home Video). For this release, Ben-Hur has undergone a million dollar restoration, frame by frame. The restoration is almost trumped by some newlyuncovered Heston family home movies, shot in Italy during production, that reveal unique behind-the-scenes activity.

The Ben-Hur 50th Anniversary UCE will be available in a three-disc Blu-ray set, a five-disk DVD set, and a two-disc 50th Anniversary Edition DVD.


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THE SEVEN PRAYERS GOD ALWAYS ANSWERS
What prayers do you want answered? While God is not at our beck and call, Psalm 37:4 promises that He does want to “give you the desires of your heart.” Jason Frenn’s new book, The Seven Prayers God Always Answers: God’s Promises for Everyone, Everywhere, Every Time (FaithWords), challenges readers to consider what prayers they want answered. The author believes that God desires to answer prayer. Yes, everyone’s. The Seven Prayers God Always Answers offers biblical insights into the power of prayer. It is designed to help readers pray and see the results.





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THE JESUS MISSION
Best-selling author Steven K. Scott gets back to the basics with The Jesus Mission (WaterBrook Press). In the book, Scott helps to narrow down what Christians are called to do. Scott has spent years studying every word and teaching of Jesus, discovering that He left His followers with clear direction on how to live supernatural lives.

For all who have wondered how to experience a more intimate, miraculous relationship with Christ, The Jesus Mission answers readers’ biggest questions.





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GLORY
This fall, Michael W. Smith presents the follow-up to his 2000 instrumental album, Freedom. The new collection, Glory, (MWS Group), was recorded with a 65-piece orchestra in London. Glory features a moving collection of original music including a larger-than-life symphonic version of "Agnus Dei".

Speaking before its release, Michael said, "Freedom is my favorite record, so I'm very excited to be releasing my second instrumental record. I think the people who enjoyed Freedom will love this one;  and I actually think some of the unique musical twists this project is taking will open it up to a whole new audience as well."


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HEAVEN IS FOR REAL
The publishing phenomenon, Heaven Is For Real (Thomas Nelson), the incredible true story of a young boy who emerged from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven, continues to rock the bestseller charts. The book has now sold more than two million copies, and attracted the attention of Hollywood producers.

And now two new publications expand the original book's reach: Heaven Is For Real Kids, and Heaven Is For Read DVD-Based Conversation Kit.

Heaven Is For Real Kids shows children what heaven is like as told through the eyes of young Colton Burpo. The beautifully illustrated book includes a Q & A for children and a prayer page.

The Heaven Is For Real DVD-Based Conversation Kit is a DVD curriculum for small groups and churches. In addition to learning more about what the Bible teaches about heaven, groups will hear firsthand from the Burpo family about Colton's experience in heaven and the way it has changed their lives. 


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JOURNEY TO CHRISTMAS
New on DVD from Tyndale House is Journey To Christmas, a unique new reality DVD series that invites you to explore Jesus' birth through five modern-day explorers. Shot on ultra-high-definition film and packaged as a four-part DVD church curriculum, this unique study series chronicles the experiences of five very different people — a Messianic Jew, a First Nations woman, a poet, a Christian radio personality, and an agnostic lawyer — as they journey through the Holy land to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Commentary from Bible experts, stunning photography and an engaging reality-show format bring to life the culture, places and people surounding the nativity. So pop this in your DVD player for an unforgettable Bible learning experience!





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CHILDREN OF GOD STORYBOOK BIBLE
Archbishop Desmond Tutu's Children of God Storybook Bible has now been released in an all-new deluxe edition. This collection of beloved Bible stories, retold by the Nobel Peace Prize winner, highlights God's desire for all people to love one another and to find peace and forgiveness in their hearts. The Children of God Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition includes the book plus two enhanced audio CDs narrated by Tutu, pachaged in a slipcase box. The archbishop's words and voice convey his wisdom, compassion, and sense of humor, as he reminds us that "we are all God's children."


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VEGGIETALES: VEGGIE CHRISTMAS FAVORITES
Here's a DVD set that will come in handy when the grandkids visit for the holidays: VeggieTales: Veggie Christmas Favorites is a special collection of VeggieTales Christmas videos in one keepsake box! The set includes The Toy That Saved Christmas, The Star of Christmas, Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving, and more.


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NAOMI'S GIFT
Amy Clipston, author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery novels, has published a new seasonal book with Naomi's Gift: An Amish Christmas Story (Zondervan). Take a trip to Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams... and secrets. You'll dicover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the "English" way of life — and the decisions and consequences that follow. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.




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HEAR MY HEART
Sheri Easter has published a new book, Hear My Heart: When There Are No Words To Say (Xulon Press), a collection of her writings from over the years. As a wife, mother, singer, and songwriter, Easter has always been one to chronicle her life with pen and paper, capturing significant moments both good and bad. While fighting a now victorious battle with breast cancer over the past few years, her journaling became even more precious to her as well as therapeutic. Currently celebrating 25 years of marriage and a life full of triumphs and tradegies, Easter decided it was time to share some of her life experiences and lessons through this intimate release.

"Sometimes in life, words seem superficial, shallow and empty," Sheri says. "We struggle to put our feelings into sentences that convey an honest representation of the heart. With this book, I've opened my heart, sharing private journal entries, favorite quotes, blogs and stories to offer inspiration and passion to the reader."


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WHY DO WE CALL IT CHRISTMAS?
When the young’uns come around for the holidays, they may be full of questions about our Christmas celebrations. Well, VeggieTales cocreator Phil Vischer is here to help! His new DVD, Buck Denver Asks...Why Do We Call It Christmas? mixes puppets, animation and other forms of storytelling to explore the reasons behind many of our Christmas traditions. Ever wonder why we celebrate the birth of Jesus by chopping down trees and putting them in our houses? Or why we hang stockings by the fire? Or how Santa Claus became such a big part of Jesus’ birthday party? (And why do we even call it Christmas anyway?) You’ve heard the Christmas story — but have you ever heard the story of Christmas? This DVD answers a lot of questions — including some you didn’t know to ask!



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THE EXCEPTIONAL LIFE
With his latest book, Steven Arterburn shows readers what they need to give up in order to have God’s best for their lives. In The Exceptional Life: 8 Powerful Steps to Experiencing God’s Best for You (Bethany House), the popular author and radio host candidly shares his own “give-up” moment and examines eight things that hold Christians back — including guilt and shame, resentment, fear, anger and isolation. He then helps readers give up their lives to God, resulting in lives full of hope, love, trust, forgiveness, connection, community and much more. Discussion questions are included for individual and small group use.