Fiction You’ll Actually Have Time to Read

Fiction You’ll Actually Have Time to Read

By Ernie Bowman  / 

Ernie BowmanChristians typically don’t read as much fiction as non-Christians do. This could be because much of secular fiction has content offensive to the Christian conscience, or because there is a dearth of quality Christian fiction to read. But I’d like to suggest a third possible reason.

I think Christians would like to read more fiction, but who has the time? After work, family, church, extracurriculars with the kids, upkeep at home, Christian service, continuing education, and everything else we cram onto our calendars, there is precious little time left for reading. Even among people who want to read, non-fiction becomes the default priority in an effort to make the most of our time, as Ephesians 5:16 says.

Ironically, the problem is actually compounded by the publishing industry itself! Traditional publishing practices don’t help matters when fiction offerings are as prohibitively long as they often tend to be. In the traditional model, in order to make money the economics work a typical novel has to clock in at 70,000+ words. I won’t take the time here to go into the technicalities, but anything short of that and the price points don’t work out well.

I think a lot of Christians look at the sheer size of most novels and think, You’re kidding me, right?

Continue reading Fiction You’ll Actually Have Time to Read

Announcing a New Blog Series

Announcing a New Blog Series: A Conversation about Fiction

by Kevin Meath /

The authors associated with our new imprint, Cruciform Fiction, are commandeering the blog for a while. Yesterday’s post was the first in the series. Make sure you check out what Ernie Bowman had to say about our hopes and dreams for using novellas to help inspire the missionaries of tomorrow!

Over the course of several posts, these authors will be discussing novellas—longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. For decades the traditional publishing world has stayed away from novellas, but we think (ok, yes, we’re hoping) it may be time for a change. In fact, we’re pretty sure we have the only Christian fiction line that specializes in novellas.

To get a point of terminology out of the way, “Christian fiction”—just like Christian art or music or anything else—is admittedly a vague phrase that can be freighted with all kinds of expectations. As a familiar and convenient handle, we simply use it to mean “fiction from a Christian imagination.”

During this blog series, the authors will distinguish novellas from other forms of fiction, discuss some favorite novellas, explain why they see short fiction as especially valuable for Christians, and share about some of their own titles. They will also announce a couple of things we’re excited about: $1.99 fiction flash sales, and the giveaway of an intriguing short story that imagines a personal, private conversation between two famous, brilliant, thoughtful, opinionated, articulate, and biblically grounded contemporaries in 19th Century London.

This blog series will itself be a work in progress, and for now we’re envisioning six or eight more posts over the next month or so. The authors would love to hear from you, in blog comments or in book reviews, so check out our fiction titles, consider signing up for this blog, and stay tuned!

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Here’s What I Hope You’ll Do with My Book

Here’s What I Hope You'll Do with My Book

by Ernie Bowman /

Ernie Bowman“Buy it,” is the easy and obvious answer, but I’m hoping for more than that. I’m hoping you will allow it to motivate you to be more involved in foreign missions, either by direct participation, financial support, or prayer. And I hope that you’ll give it to a young person (or more than one) for those same purposes.

I believe the book—just released today—will thrill and entertain everyone who reads it, at least, but I am praying especially that God will use the book to make missionaries out of teenagers.

The Good and the Bad

I’ve spent the last twelve years working in youth ministries of one sort or another, and I’ve heard a lot of negative talk about today’s young people. Unfortunately, some of it is true. I could tell you stories all day that would fit the preconceived opinion a lot of adults have about “kids these days.”

I can also tell you positive stories that will knock your socks off. I can tell you about kids who love their Lord more than popularity. Teens who read their Bible every day and put most grownups to shame in the devotion department. I can tell you about the piety and spiritual fervency of today’s American Christian youth.

Continue reading Here’s What I Hope You’ll Do with My Book

Cruciform Fiction Launches with Three Titles

Our first three fiction titlesby Dave Swavely /

Today we are excited to announce the simultaneous release of our first three fiction titles. It so happens that these are all “speculative fiction”—like the novels of C. S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle—although future titles will include missionary stories, historical fiction, and more.

Please download a sampler with a lengthy excerpt from each book.

In two of the books we release today, characters travel to different worlds and times, and the other is a reality-rending ghost story by Charles Dickens—which is not A Christmas Carol but may be even better than that beloved tale.

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER: Use coupon code FICTIONOFFER1 to get 30% off any or all of these three paperbacks.

A Forgotten Classic

Haunted Man, by Charles Dickens, Abridged and Annotated by Dave SwavelyDave SwavelyOur first book is an edition of Charles Dickens’ Haunted Man, originally published in 1848. This version has been abridged significantly to make it more enjoyable for modern readers, while retaining every essential element of the story. It also includes an introduction with character descriptions and other helpful information, and a thought-provoking Afterword discussing some of the spiritual issues that are addressed in the book.

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Truth Is No Stranger to Fiction

Truth is No Stranger to FictionBy Dave Swavely  /

Truth Is No Stranger to Fiction

– We’re trying our hand at publishing fiction!
– The first novellas are coming soon…
– And we’re seeking more fiction manuscripts! Got one?
Here’s something we’ve been eager to announce for almost a year. At Cruciform Press, we’re finalizing our preparations to follow our Savior into the realm of creative storytelling!

Jesus Christ was the most skilled and effective communicator of truth who ever lived, and more than a third of his teaching in the gospels is in the form of parables—fictional stories designed to illuminate and illustrate the truth he taught. The prophet Nathan brought King David to repentance with a metaphorical story about ungodly greed and unjust murder, and other prophets and apostles were given visions by God that used fictional elements in the service of truth. Professing Christians like Charles Dickens and Harriet Beecher Stowe literally changed the world through their stories, and C. S. Lewis described his Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy as a way of “seeing the truth sideways.”

When we see Satan, God’s enemy and ours, using fiction throughout human history to powerfully advance his nefarious schemes, let’s remember that all he is doing is perverting a divinely ordained technique—one that God intends to belong first and foremost to his church. So at Cruciform Press, we are excited about the opportunity to help “reverse the curse” in this regard by using the God-given instrument of fiction for good purposes instead of evil.

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Three Booklets from Tim Challies Launch Cruciform Quick

Three Booklets from Tim Challies Launch Cruciform Quick

Today we are excited to announce Cruciform Quick, a line of booklets in the range of 40 to 60 pages each. We’re launching the series with three titles from Tim Challies, and we look forward to other authors publishing in this line as well.

Cruciform QuickWe all know the feeling: every week, every month, every year it just seems that life keeps moving faster and faster. So at Cruciform Press we are taking our trademark length—books of about 100 pages—and adding a set of resources that will make for an even quicker read.

The Challies booklets seen above each started life as a popular series of posts on Tim’s blog, articles he then adapted for this format. And while Tim plans to release additional Cruciform Quick titles, there is plenty of room for others to publish in this new format.

In fact, the introduction of Cruciform Quick is the first public step in a significant diversification within Cruciform Press…but more on that to come. For now, we hope you will enjoy Tim’s three new titles: The Character of the Christian, Set an Example, and The Commandment We Forgot. And if you think you might like to publish in the Cruciform Quick series, please let us know here.

55 Percent Off Nearly Everything

55 Percent Off Nearly EverythingHappy Thanksgiving!!

So, it’s that time…

Christmas is coming…New Year Bible Studies and book clubs are being planned…your church needs simple but solid books to offer…

Shouldn’t you grab some great titles at an unbeatable discount?

Don’t forget the coupon code: THANKFUL2017

Sale runs through Tuesday, November 28th.

John Piper on How the Psalms Change You

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John Piper on How the Psalms Change You

Shaped by God

Thinking and Feeling in Tune with the Psalms

by John Piper

Coming soon

God wants your heart.

The whole Bible teaches truth and awakens emotions, but the Psalms are in a category of their own. They do not just awaken heart; they put it in the foreground. They do not just invite our emotions to respond to God’s truth; they put our emotions on display.

SHAPED BY GOD: Thinking and Feeling in Tune with the Psalms, by John PiperThe Psalms are not just commanding; they are contagious. We are not just listening to profound ideas and feelings. We are living among them in their overflow. We touch pillows wet with tears. We hear and feel the unabashed cries of affliction, shame, regret, grief, anger, discouragement, and turmoil. But what makes all this stunningly different from the sorrows of the world is that all of it—absolutely all of it—is experienced in relation to the totally sovereign God.

This book is an invitation. God wants our hearts. He will take them as he finds them. And then, with the healing contagion of the Psalms, he will shape them. Accept his invitation to come.

The miracle of the new birth shows us that the Holy Spirit raises the spiritually dead by giving them new minds and hearts that together believe the gospel, love God, and want to be conformed to Christ. And yet, born-again people are not perfected. They are truly new, truly alive, truly spiritual, but in many ways unformed and immature—just like newborns in our families. So the question for the early Christians—and for us—is this: How does the new mind and the new heart, full of imperfect thinking and feeling, pursue the fullness of right-thinking and the fullness of holy affections? One of the main answers of early church believers was to immerse themselves in the Psalms.

Psalms is the most often-quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament. It was the songbook, poetry book, and meditation book of the church. Alongside the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, Psalms was the book that shaped the thinking and feeling of the first disciples more than any other. It is this shaping power of the Psalms that gets at my aim in this short book. My hope is to simply jump-start, or deepen, that kind of Psalms legacy in your life. I pray for God-centered, Christ-exalting, Psalms-saturated thinking and feeling—because I believe that this kind of thinking and feeling will bear fruit in the kind of living that cares for people and magnifies Christ.
— John Piper

Wilderness Wanderings: The Story Behind the Book

Wilderness Wanderings: The Story Behind the Bookby Stacy Reaoch  /

Recently, all in the same evening, I helped my teenage daughter get ready for her first Homecoming dance and read Spiderman to my 4-year-old son, Micah. Raising four kids whose ages span a decade has given me an interesting—and a shifting—perspective on motherhood. With our youngest I’ve realized that being “late” to potty-train isn’t the end of the world (as my pediatrician says, “I promise you he won’t wear a pull-up to prom”), and it’s not essential to have him reading by age three. With my oldest I’d been the typically over-zealous, type-A parent, determined that a french fry would not touch her lips the first three years of life. I’ve now relaxed to a type-C parent—I think Micah was eating chicken nuggets and fries as soon as he could chew.

Throughout marriage, ministry, and family life, I’ve experienced much joy and blessing, but also heartache. I entered adult life with rose-colored glasses on, thinking everything would work out exactly as I planned. I didn’t anticipate the trials of loneliness, miscarriage, ministry conflict, deferred hopes, and the sheer exhaustion and responsibilities of daily life. Being in ministry has also allowed me to walk through seasons of suffering with others. I’ve been near to friends who’ve experienced depression, infertility, death of loved ones, broken relationships, marriage conflict, and more. Difficulty and suffering fill our lives, yet our hope and joy is found by looking to Jesus for our contentment, rather than ideal circumstances. I pray that my writing will point others to find their satisfaction in Christ instead of whatever else they think might fill that void.

WILDERNESS WANDERINGS: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life, by Stacy ReaochA couple years ago I was in a weekly Bible study that was focusing on the life of Moses and the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness. At the time I was walking down my own dark path, but I felt incredibly encouraged and comforted as I studied the truths of God’s Word. I saw parallels between the Israelites’ discontentment and my own. I was convicted of my lack of gratitude for God’s blessings as I read about the Israelites’ constant whining. I also was given fresh motivation to persevere through difficulty as I saw Moses continue on his rocky path of leadership. Around that time I started writing blog posts for various ministries about things I was learning. As those lessons began to accumulate, I began thinking that I could likely write a small book on this section of Scripture.

Another impetus in writing Wilderness Wanderings was to provide a short, chronological devotional for women who feel too busy to commit to a lengthy inductive study. I’m passionate about Bible study, mostly because I’ve seen it as the primary means God has used to sanctify me and grow my faith. But I also realize that there are seasons of life where it’s difficult to get to a weekly study or commit to one with a lot of homework. I have friends who feel like they’re drowning in piles of laundry and don’t have time (or energy) for an in-depth study. My hope in writing Wilderness Wanderings is that women with a small amount of time could still benefit from a chronological study, whether it be on her lunch break at work or waiting in the carpool line at school. I also hope that others will recognize the relevance of the Old Testament to our lives today. Studies for women often focus on New Testament passages. But God has much to say to us through the richness of His entire Word.

As a side note, writing with four children in our home is a balancing act. The majority of this book was written during two-hour blocks of time I had a couple mornings each week when our youngest was at preschool and my older three were at school. I’d race home from preschool drop-off, pray for the Lord’s blessing on my time and writing, and get to work! I’m continually learning new ways to be efficient, like hiding my phone during those couple hours I have to write so that I won’t be distracted by social media, or running to the glamorous Target café while my daughter is at her gymnastics class to squeeze in one more hour of writing. Although I’m not wishing away the time my youngest is home with me (reading stories to him after lunch is my favorite part of the day), it’s exciting to imagine a day in the next couple years when I’ll have several hours in a row to write!

Check out Stacy’s book here.

Stacy Reaoch

Stacy Reaoch is a pastor’s wife and mother of four. She is passionate about studying the Bible and helping women apply God’s life-changing truths to their daily lives. Stacy has written for various ministries including Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition and Revive Our Hearts. She and her husband, Ben, live in Pittsburgh, PA with their children.

Bodiless Believers: Spiritual Growth Among the Dead in Christ

Bodiless Believers: Spiritual Growth Among the Dead in Christ

Those who die in Christ retain full consciousness of their existence and are immediately made perfect in total moral likeness to Christ

by Albert N. Martin  /

Why has God led this world through the great arc of redemptive history? What has been his ultimate purpose? The great goal of God in redemptive grace has always been and remains nothing less than to glorify himself through the complete restoration of his moral image in those he has chosen to save. And the pattern for that restoration is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ himself.

In Romans 8:29 Paul writes, “those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Paul then goes on to assert that all whom God foreknew (that is, loved beforehand with a distinguishing and purposeful love) he predestined to conformity to Christ. Each such individual ultimately will be glorified, or fully conformed to the moral likeness of Christ in body and soul. J. I. Packer stated these truths most helpfully:

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