Archive for November 16th, 2011

November 16, 2011

News Corp, parent company of HarperCollins, paying $200 million for Thomas Nelson



According to a piece in Publishers Weekly, News Corp. is paying $200 million for Thomas Nelson, the parent company of HarperCollins, which was disclosed in its quarterly filing on Friday. In 2006, InterMedia paid $473 million for the publisher, which had sales of $253 million at the time.

The filing reiterated News Corp. still hopes to complete the purchase before the end of the year, following regulatory approval and the completion of other closing procedures.

November 16, 2011

Centricity Music artist Downhere wins two awards at this year’s GMA Covenant Awards including Song of the Year



Centricity Music’s high-profile band, Downhere, won two major categories during the recent GMA Covenant Awards in Canada. The group won Song of the Year (“Let Me Rediscover You”) and Pop/ Contemporary Album of the Year (Two At A Time). Two At A Time was released in the summer of 2010 and had two new songs plus B-sides and demos in order to satisfy the high demand for new Downhere music between albums. Downhere’s current project, On The Altar Of Love, released in late August and as a result didn’t qualify for this year’s awards.

“It is such a thrill when artists we have been developing and working with get the recognition they deserve,” states Steve Ford, VP of marketing, Centricity Music. “To have Downhere continue to garner the accolades from their Canadian fans is overwhelming.”

Downhere continues to generate tremendous reviews for their projects, with calling On The Altar Of Love “one of the best releases of the year.” The band is currently on The Called To Love Tour with labelmates Jason Gray and Aaron Shust, which ends Nov. 13 in North Carolina. Downhere will launch their highly anticipated How Many KingsChristmas tour on Dec. 1 in Overland Park, KS. At the same time, co-lead singer Marc Martel has become a music sensation with his Queen Extravaganza video audition that generated more than 4 million hits. It led to an appearance on the Ellen Show, winning the MTV O Awards 2011 for Best Fan Cover and Queen drummer Roger Taylor announcing in a FOX News interview that Martel “is an extraordinarily good singer.” The fan voting process begins Nov. 14 at and concludes Nov. 25. Winners for the Queen Extravaganza Live Tour will be announced in December.

November 16, 2011

MICHAEL GUNGOR On The Problem With The Christian Music Industry





Date: Monday, December 9, 2013

Hey Everyone,

As promised earlier, after the incredible buzz around his blog post below in the past week (there have been more than 360,000 views of this blog post in the past 7 days) Michael Gungor expressed to me a desire to write a follow-up blog post to this original post he wrote almost 2 years ago.

I am excited to announce that Michael emailed me his follow-up blog post that he just finished two days ago, and you can read it immediately, by clicking on the link below.

Michael Gungor: A Follow-Up To My Blog Post On The Problem With The Christian Music Industry





When you are in a touring band, there is a lot of time that is spent waiting. Waiting to board a plane, waiting for the bus to arrive at the venue, waiting for sound check…etc One of the many games that people in our band have implemented now and then to fill the waiting time is a little game we might call the “Christian or secular” game. Basically the game is simply playing a very short clip of music and having someone guess whether it is “Christian” or “secular” music. The person who is most accurate with his or her guesses is the winner.

This is surprisingly easy to do.

Especially when you talk about radio stations. It is easy for me to spot a Christian music radio station within about 3 seconds. Far before any Christian lingo is uttered to make it clear.

It’s weird. I’m always trying to figure out what it is that makes something sound like Christian music, because there’s definitely something… I’d love to get some of your thoughts about it. But for me (and I’m actually one of the better players of the game if I must say so myself), I find something very disingenuous about most Christian music. This is something I can simply feel at a gut level. If I hear a song, and I hear any sort of pretending or false emotion, that’s a good first indicator. I’m really not trying to throw mud here, I’m being honest at how I am good at this game. Christian music often has a sheen to it that other music doesn’t have. Some pop and country music has a similar sheen, but the Christian sheen is like a blander sheen somehow.

The vocals are always really hot in the mix because for Christian music, the words are the most important part. That’s kind of similar to country though as well, so you have to be careful there. Country has some of the same Nashville tones, players, and compression styles that Christian music has most of the time, but the twang is just a little deeper with the country side of things. There’s also a little more “humanness” or “soul” in Country to my ears.

The false emotion that I’m talking about might be familiar to some of you. There’s just something more believable about the whispery sexy voice that is singing about sex on the mainstream radio station than the voice that copies that style of singing while putting lyrics in about being in the arms of Jesus. And it’s really not even the style or the lyric that is the problem to me, it’s the fact that I don’t believe that the singer is feeling the kind of emotions in singing that lyric that would lead to that style of singing. It’s that same kind of creep out that you feel when somebody gives a really loud fake laugh. It’s just weird and uncomfortable feeling.

An example of this would be a song that somebody sent us recently of an older song of mine called “Wrap Me In Your Arms.” The lyric is a very intimate and soft sort of lyric. “Take me to that place where I can be with you, you can make me like you…etc” This person did a hardcore/screamo version of this song. Not just like getting a little loud, I mean full out death metal sounding, demon-voiced screaming. It was so freaking weird mostly because it seemed so disingenuous. You would never speak such gentle words to someone you loved by screaming in their face like you were possessed by Beelzebub. That’s an extreme example, but it’s very typical of the basic premise of most Christian music to me, which is–use whatever musical style you wish as a medium to communicate your message. It’s not about the art, it’s about the message. So use whatever tools and mediums you have at your fingertips to do so. If you want to reach emo kids, then sing emo music but with Jesus language. The problem with this is that emo music is not simply reducible to certain sounding tones and chords. There are emotions and attitudes of different genres of music that are the soul of the music. You can’t remove the anger from screamo and have it still be screamo. It’s the soul of that music, whether that soul is good or evil is not the point, simply that it is the soul. So when you remove the soul from music and transplant the body parts (chord changes, instrumentation, dress, lights, and everything but the soul…) and parade it around with some more “positive” lyrics posing as Christian music, then what you have is a musical zombie.

It looks like a human.. It eats like a human… It still walks and makes noise and resembles a human, but it’s not. It’s a zombie. It has no soul. It just uses it’s human body for its own purposes.

This is what I initially feel when I play the “Christian or secular” game. I look into its eyes, and I perceive whether the thing has a soul or not. And 9 times out of ten, I can do it very quickly and efficiently.

Why is this like this? I don’t know, and it makes me very sad. I don’t hate all Christian music. There are a few artists that I know in the Christian industry that are really trying to transcend the inherent limitations and zombying effect of the industry. But the industry as a whole is broken, friends. We call it Christian, but it’s certainly not based in Christianity. It is based on marketing. That’s it. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but it wouldn’t be true.


We just were part of one of the biggest tours of the fall in the Christian music industry. To my knowledge, every night but one night was sold out, and that’s because they added a second show in the same city kind of last minute. The interesting thing about this tour was that it was pretty much in all mainstream venues. Clubs, theatres…etc It was awesome.

But you know what made me sad? That empty bar every night.

Even though these shows were all sold out, I would imagine that the bartenders at all those clubs were like “oh man, Christian night… that means no tips for me.”

Sometimes the promoters would just buy out the bar so there wouldn’t be any liquor sales at all.
I’m not saying that I wished that everybody was getting hammered at the show… But for crying out loud, buy one beer. Or heck, if you don’t drink beer, buy a Coke.

But here’s what is super weird about this situation. I bet you if you took all of those Christians that came to the shows and split them up and had them go to “secular” shows, A LOT of them would have bought a drink. It’s the fact that there is this assumption among all of the Christians there that having a drink at a Christian event is sort of a questionable thing to do.

Why is this?

It’s certainly not because of the Bible. Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding. And not just any wine. The kind of wine that made people think they saved the very best wine until the end. And you preachers who pervert the scriptures with your own extremely biased interpretations, here’s a news flash, people at parties don’t think the best wine is non-alcoholic grape juice. Religious people didn’t call Jesus “a glutton and a drunkard” because he ate communion loafers and grape juice all of the time.

Sheesh. It’s just so ridiculous to me.

And here’s the thing. I don’t even drink very much. I’ve never really been drunk, and I’m not advocating that people should just be foolish with their drinking or eating habits. But for crying out loud, this whole spiritualizing of alcohol being an inherently bad thing is so annoying. It’s mostly just an American thing, by the way (as well as places where America has exported these ideas with our missionaries). If you go most other places in the world, or anywhere else in history for that matter, Christians drink alcohol. Ever heard of a little thing called Communion? You know, the bread and the wine? That’s a pretty big deal in Christianity. Jesus didn’t pour out a cup of grape juice.

Man alive.

You know what the alcohol thing is based on? You ready for this? You sure?


Old people are the people that give the most money to Christian organizations like religious media outlets. And old people grew up in a time where alcohol was seen as a taboo social reality. Just like dancing or playing cards or “mixed bathing” (swimming). It’s based in an era of prohibition. These are old American values that we’re dealing with, not Christian values. It’s the old American people that have money that the Christian organizations do not want to offend. So they create an environment where drinking is seen as evil. If you want to start a television ministry, you can’t have it known to your donors that your staff likes to go out for drinks after work. So you implement rules for them. Do you know how common this is? I have friends that have lost their jobs over crap like this.

Do you see the irony of this? If you had been a disciple of Jesus and drank some of the wine of his first recorded miracle with him, you would be fired from a lot of the churches in this country. Shame on us.

So the point? (I haven’t forgotten) The point is that the industry that labels things as Christian and sells them to you has far more to do with marketing then Christianity. They are marketing to the mixed bag of values that has created the Evangelical Christian subculture. It’s a mix of some historically Christian values, some American values, and a whole lot of cultural boundary markers that set “us” apart from “them.” This sort of system makes us feel safe and right, and it makes some of its gatekeepers very wealthy and powerful.

The effect is then the filtering down of this subculture to people that don’t necessarily want to think through the viability of every one of these boundary markers, but in their simple desire to belong to what they consider the good guys, they acquiesce to the rules handed to them. At least in public. As the joke goes, why do you take two Baptists with you when you go fishing? Because if you only bring one, he’ll drink all your beer.

Here are some of the actual effects of this subculture though.

1. It makes us dishonest

When the foundation of the market and music you are trying to make is pretense, it’s very hard to be honest and successful. There is an unspoken assumption from most of us that we really want the people on the stage or on the book or album cover or on the radio need to have it together more than we do. Because we are messed up, we need them to be a sort of savior and hope for us. The result of this is that it’s often the people who are really good at pretending that they have it all together that make it to the stage and the book or album cover and the radio stations.

So Christians that would normally buy a beer don’t because they are in the Christian concert. Christian bands that smoke (which a lot of them if not most of them do, including some of my players) have to duck into back alleys as to not offend anybody. I think smoking is stupid. But I think it’s stupid because it smells bad and it kills you. I don’t use my religion to judge other people about it.

Rather than just being honest about where we are at and what we all struggle with though, we look to our gatekeepers to believe and live morally vicariously for us. That way we feel better about being part of the system of good, and the moral brokenness in our own lives is repressed like the fear of a child with her security blanket.

This sort of dishonesty is at the heart of much of what I and so many others find so repulsive about much of modern American Christendom

2. It kills creativity

I had a conversation with John Mark McMillan last night about something that I think is very interesting. By the way, I consider John Mark to be one of the ones I consider to be making a valiant effort in transcending some of these imposed limitations in this industry. But he mentioned to me how strange it is that people keep calling his new album “creative.” That word is actually one of the most used words when people describe our music as well. In fact, I bet some of you reading this have described as such. Here’s the weird thing about this…
Why do you find it necessary to say that?

Do you notice that nobody really uses that word about other types of music? I just was perusing some Itunes user reviews to see if this holds up. I checked John Mark and mine, and “creativity” is very often found. But it’s not often found in reviews of bands like Sigur Ros, Bon Iver, Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens or other artists who are certainly very “creative.”

Nobody goes to an art gallery and says, “boy, that painting is so creative.” Why? Because it’s art! Of course it’s creative! Why else would it be there? It’s very nature is creativity. Or like Lisa pointed out to me today, “that would be like saying, I love your house, it’s so architectural.”

But when someone in the Christian industry actually takes their art seriously, everybody is like “holy crap, listen to how creative it is!”
It’s like a person that’s been living among zombies for years seeing an actual human being and exclaiming, “wow, look at how clean her face is! She doesn’t even have any blood on it or anything!”

I’m not slamming the people that describe our music as creative. I appreciate the kindness that’s behind the words, but it does make me sad that the idea of creativity is so foreign to our industry that we have to actually point it out when someone actually sees the art as art and not zombie propaganda. Ok, that might have been a little much. But I like the sentence so I’ll leave it.

So that’s why I’m good at the Christian or secular game. I’ve seen behind the curtain, and I know the little man that’s pulling the levers, and he’s not impressive. I recognize his voice at this point, and it’s all over religious media.

Why am I writing this blog?

Some of you have commented in the past when I’ve been critical of the Christian music industry that I’m being hypocritical by still being a part of it. I don’t see it that way. I actually love a lot of the individual people in the industry. There really are some amazing people in it, many of who share my weariness about the way things have been. And I also love you guys. I love our fans. I love the people that we get to meet and I love being able to get our music to them. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our best to purify the systems that we are part of. I just want to be honest about what I see and call us to find better ways of doing things.

Two quick recommendations and I’ll stop this blog that has already gone on WAY too long:

Consumers: I would suggest that you actively support those artists that you love that the industry hasn’t necessarily bought into. The cards are stacked against people that actually want to do honest creative art in this industry, and the people that try really need your direct help and support to have any chance. For us, we’ve had one guy for instance that has been sending us a check every month for years because he appreciates what we are trying to do. Do you know how much that one family has helped us stay encouraged? Even if it’s not a huge amount of money or anything, just having people behind you in this sort of battle is really helpful.

Industry people: Stop being so afraid. I know you want things to be different than they are as well. I know you want creativity to be valued as much as “Becky” analysis, but we need some of you to have some balls and make some decisions based on that value system. Yes money matters. But so does beauty. Art actually makes a difference in the world. Have the courage to actually make decisions on values and not simply on past numbers and trends. And for crying out loud, if it really is good, the numbers will follow eventually anyway.

Artists: Take heart. I think the tides may be turning. The recent attention and success of our band speaks to it I think. People are growing weary of the status quo. The machine and its sheen have seen its strongest days. So I encourage you as well to not be afraid. Your art is worth making even if the industry around you isn’t quite ready for it yet. Make it and let them catch up with you. Your art is sacred. Be honest. Be brave. And don’t let the markets or the industry be the final filter on your art, let your heart do that. Ok that’s all from me tonight.

November 16, 2011

Francis Chan Challenges Liberty University Students To Keep Jesus First



Francis Chan, pastor and best-selling author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God, talked about his own experience as a Christian college student during Monday’s convocation in his first visit to Liberty University.

Chan’s message was about living biblically, while staying culturally relevant, to effectively make disciples for Christ. He reflected on his time as a student at a Christian college in California, saying his five years there were some of the worst in his life in terms of living out his faith.

“I was doing a lot of Christian things, but I didn’t have the intimacy with God that I have today,” Chan said.

He spoke about his struggle with hypocrisy because he was surrounded in a Christian culture that fueled complacency rather than a faith-driven lifestyle. During this time he said he “lacked peace” because he was comfortable in going through the motions.

“I’m at the most peace when I’m living by faith,” he said. “I want to look like a guy that walked out of the Bible, not one who walked out of the Bible belt.”

He explained that many times people think Christians are “weird” and “socially awkward” because they lack relevancy to the latest trends and relationship building that is vital to making disciples.

Chan reminded students “to work hard to stay in the world”—engaging the world without compromising.

He encouraged students to follow the example of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, making disciples but not being consumed by the Christian “culture.”

“[We must] be able to look at someone in the eye and tell them about what’s most important to us,” he said.

Chan is a founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi, Calif. After recently stepping down as pastor, he is pursuing church planting work in San Francisco where he resides with his wife, Lisa, and their five children. He speaks at several conferences a year.

November 16, 2011



Ron Luce, the founder and president of Teen Mania Ministries, has publicly criticized cable news network MSNBC in recent weeks for the recent airing of its documentary “Mind Over Mania” wherein the network explores some of the inner workings and allegations of former Teen Mania Honor Academy alumni.  Response to the documentary from past members about the portrayal of the ministry on TV has drawn both fierce criticism and praise.  Clearly there is a huge difference in opinion between past members about the impact of Teen Mania’s Honor Academy.

Luce accused the station of using misleading sound bites and clips of events to cast an inaccurate and clearly negatively biased view of the Texas-based ministry.  Saying, also that the network “lied to” and intentionally mislead Teen Mania staff and students about the goal of the documentary in order to gain access to interviews.

MSNBC has since fired back at Luce and Teen Mania, saying all allegations against their practices and documentary are false and unfounded. “MSNBC strongly disagrees with Mr. Luce’s characterization that what was broadcast in Mind Over Mania was inaccurate. MSNBC did not approach Mr. Luce and his group under false pretenses and we have shared those thoughts with Mr. Luce,” the network was quoted as saying.  The documentary features Honor Academy alumni who say the program was more damaging than positive.

Viewer responses to the documentary on social networking sites have been divided and conflicted.  With some praising the documentary and others lamenting what they view as obvious media bias.  Teen Mania, has also released a statement saying, they “welcome any question of our motives and our methods in communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ and are dedicated to using feedback to create a better experience for the young people we serve, but MSNBC’s Mind Over Mania segment ultimately takes issue with the fact that many of the Biblical tenets celebrated in Christianity are at odds with our current culture.”

The debate continues.

November 16, 2011

David M. Edwards’ New Song Rising Up To Heaven chosen as Regent University’s Global Day Of Worship 11/11/11 theme song

David M. Edwards’ song, “Rising Up To Heaven,” was chosen to be the theme song of Regent University’s Global Day Of Worship, which is taking place this Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. The single hits INSPO radio for a sneak peak on Friday.

“I’m honored to be able to share new music from Rising Up To Heavenwith a global audience,” said Edwards, recording artist, creative director of the International Center for Worship and artist-in-residence at Regent University. “It is an exciting day for Regent University to host many talented worship artists gathered together for a common goal – to praise and lift up the name of Jesus Christ.”

The four-track EP is released by Maranatha! Music and produced by Phil Sillas. Rising Up To Heaven will be officially released digitally on Nov. 22, 2011.

“Maranatha! Music is thrilled to partner with Regent University for the Global Day of Worship, and we are delighted to work with David on his new project, Rising Up To Heaven,” said Randy Alward, president of Maranatha! Music. “He is a gifted songwriter and worship leader and has a unique ability to engage an audience of worshippers.”

The Global Day of Worship is a 24-hour worship event that takes place on Friday Nov. 11, 2011, at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. Worship artists from across the country and around the globe will gather for worship and the launch of Regent University’s new International Center for Worship. Edwards will perform along with Andrae’ Crouch, Aaron Keyes, Le’Andria Johnson, MANIFEST, Adlan Cruz, Sillas, and others.

Edwards released “Here With You” earlier this year through Maranatha! Music and EMI CMG Distribution. Edwards is the author of Worship 365: The Power of a Worshiping Life and the Worship 365 events. He is a columnist for Rev! Magazine and a popular conference speaker.

For more information on David M. Edwards,

For more information on Maranatha! Music, go

For more information on the Global Day of Worship,

November 16, 2011

Tim Tebow Building Children’s Hospital in Philippines


The Tim Tebow Foundation and CURE International are building a children’s hospital in the Philippines’s Davao City.

Dubbed the Tebow CURE Hospital, the surgical facility will offer 30 beds and focus primarily on orthopedics. Ground will break in January and the hospital is expected to open its doors in mid-2013. The project marks the first effort in a partnership announced in October.

Choosing the Philippines for the first Tebow-CURE hospital is no coincidence. Tebow, the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos and a Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Florida, was born there.

“I was born in the Philippines and my parents have been missionaries to that area since 1985. The Philippines have always had a special place in my heart,” Tebow says. “I’m excited to be a part of this hospital that will bring healing to thousands of children who would not otherwise have access to care.”

The hospital, which is CURE’s first in the Philippines and 12th worldwide, will be on the island of Mindanao, a particularly poor area of the Philippines.

“Throughout the world, 80 million children suffer every day with crippling conditions like clubfoot and spine deformities, conditions that are correctable with surgery,” says Dr. Scott Harrison, the founder and president of CURE International. “We feel blessed that the Tim Tebow Foundation has chosen to partner with us to bring first-world quality care and spiritual healing to the children of the Philippines.”

The hospital will house a Timmy’s Playroom, which will provide faith, hope and love to children before and after their surgeries. It will be the Tim Tebow Foundation’s first international playroom.

The construction project is expected to cost $3 million, with donors from CURE and the Tebow Foundation sharing the costs. About one-third of the children treated at the hospital are expected to be charity cases.

November 16, 2011

Francis Chan Helping Ministry Plant 586 Churches in San Francisco Community (VIDEO)

San Francisco’s Tenderloin district houses 37,000 people in 586 apartment buildings—all in just one square mile. San Francisco City Impact dreams of planting churches in those apartment buildings—in every single one of them.

Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love and former pastor of Cornerstone Community Church, is working with the team, called Adopt a Building. SFCI is on mission to “holistically heal and transform” the San Francisco community through urgent relief works and preventive works.

The urgent relief works provide food, clothing, healing housing and rescuing for those in crisis; the preventive works of educating, counseling, training and spiritual discipleship exist to make sure the cycles of poverty and despair are not repeated.

The Adopt a Building method will pick an apartment building and assemble a prayer team to pray for those residents. Then a “grace team” will go door to door, visiting each unit in the building.

The grace team will ask residents if there is anything they need—food, medical or school supplies, prayer. The grace team members are there to say, “We don’t want anything from you, we just want to give,” Francis Chan explains.

The grace team will compile a list of needs and prayers for residents and return the next week to deliver what was requested. This allows the teams to continue conversation they started the week before and ask if prayer requests were answered.

Chan says if a residents’ prayer requests are answered, the grace team can ask if they’d like to know about God. The ministry would then bring in a discipleship team, which teach the residents how to study the Bible and know God for themselves.

“Our ultimate goal is that we would train some of these people and teach these people so well that eventually there would be a leader in that building who would gather the other believers together and even be the pastor of that apartment building,” Chan explains. “And our goal is to go to every single building and plant a church.

“I know that sounds a little far-fetched or maybe crazy to you, but we believe it can be done and we believe this is something God wants to do.”

Christian Huang, operations director for Adopt a Building, says the team will use a discipleship curriculum Chan is working on to train the pastors.

The ministry had a launch meeting Sunday night with 65 volunteers. They are currently working in four buildings, but hoping to add more in the near future.

“We believe God is gonna answer the prayers of his people and He’s gonna show His power,” Chan says. “We believe for His church to be established down here.”


November 16, 2011

RON LUCE Responds to Teen Mania Cult Implications in New MSNBC Documentary



An MSNBC documentary about Teen Mania Ministries suggests the Christian youth organization Ron and Katie Luce launched in 1984 may be a cult.

Teen Mania Ministries has sent more than 67,000 teens on mission trips with its Global Expeditions arm. More than 6,000 have participated in the Honor Academy, a yearlong internship for high school graduates and young adults to provide leadership training and present opportunities to grow in God. And more than 1 million have attended Acquire the Fire Youth rallies. Hundreds of thousands of teens have accepted Christ through Teen Mania programs.

Nevertheless, five former interns for Teen Mania say the ministry caused them harm. There is also a group of former Honor Academy interns that are making claims of spiritual abuse.

Awaken Generation sat down with Ron Luce to discuss the MSNBC documentary, called “Mind Over Mania,” which portrays Teen Mania as a mind-controlling cultish group. Luce says MSNBC’s broadcast is not only an attack against Teen Mania, but an attack against Bible-based Christianity.

Why did you agree to the interview with MSNBC?

Luce: The producers came to us under false pretenses about four months ago. They said they were doing a series on ministries in America. They wanted to interview us about youth ministry. We found out the day after the interview that a blogger group led by a girl who had a bad experience in our Honors Academy 12 years ago put them up to this. The documentary featured five girls who had been a part of our Honor Academy.

My heart goes out to these girls. You can tell that they are really hurting. We have met with most of them over and over again over the years trying to assuage them and love on them and help them walk through the challenges they face. We’ve asked them to forgive us for anything we’ve done to hurt them while they were interns. We are not a perfect organization, but we seek to improve ourselves and get better. They were taken advantage of by this MSNBC group for the sake of sensationalizing a story and generating revenue.

What did the documentary misrepresent about Teen Mania?

Luce: The program offered massive distortion and took things out of context. We used to do a weekend military-esque Navy Seals for God program, where we taught interns how they can endure more than they think they can.

MSNBC showed kids crawling through the mud and crying. They show a close-up where it looks like some of the kids are about to eat worms. This was in the day and age when Fear Factor was a huge sensation and kids really wanted that kind of raw challenge. No one was forced to eat worms, and these worms were organically grown for human consumption. So it seems MSNBC intentionally misled viewers by painting a picture of abuse.

For MSNBC to clearly imply that Teen Mania is negatively impacting the youth who come through our programs is completely untrue and unfair. But we have to consider the source. Christians can’t just believe what the furthest left-leaning network in the entire country is saying about a Christian ministry. We need to be careful and ask thoughtful questions about what MSNBC is airing.

MSNBC suggested Teen Mania uses mind control. Can you address that?

Luce: The producers have these self-appointed cult experts and walk the girls through eight points of how you can tell if mind control is being used. The eight points actually come from a booklet that was published about Chinese mind control, which has been totally debunked by all of psychologists and psychiatrists. They are using that as the standard of whether or not these girls have been under mind control.

What did Teen Mania do that was painted as mind control?

Luce: The producers suggest that if we insist on purity, then that’s mind control. But purity is all through the Bible. The points of contention that MSNBC called us out on have nothing to do with practices unique to Teen Mania. It’s more about what Scripture says we as Christians should be doing. This broadcast is contending and confronting core Christian beliefs. They are confronting every Bible-believing church in the country. These are things we all believe.

If MSNBC can show a program like this and get some believers to agree that this is mind control, they start softening our resolve to live scripturally and take the Bible for what it intends to communicate and live it. The program purports to be about Teen Mania but the case it makes is against the whole of the Body of Christ that believes the Bible.

Are you getting any feedback from supporters?

Luce: We have been overwhelmed with intern alumni who are telling us how God changed their life through our program. These five girls are not representative of the literally thousands that are out there changing the world. They are making a difference. They are missionaries around the world. They are executives of corporations. They are entrepreneurs and they are thriving in their faith. But some are questioning Teen Mania now because they’ve seen this program. But consider the source and how they’ve taken everything out of context.

Why do you think you are getting this attack?

Luce: We just started our new Acquire the Fire tour. We have events that are sold out across the country. This is a distraction the enemy is trying to put in our path and other people’s path.

What have you learned from this experience?

Luce: I’ve been interviewed by some of the toughest people in the media, like Christiane Amanpour from CNN. I’ve been on Nightline. I’ve been on O’Reilly. Secular media is not a new thing and secular media has dug and interviewed me with scrutiny. They’ve come to our campus. When it’s fair journalism, the stories turn out to be positive because they are really looking at the facts. What kind of hit us unknowingly is how blatantly biased MSNBC would be. In retrospect we should have known better. That’s their DNA.

What can Christians who believe in your ministry do to help?

Luce: Get on the blogosphere any place you are convicted and tell the story of how your kids were involved in Acquire the Fire or one of our missions trips or our Honor Academy and how God used it to change their lives. Post it all over the place so people from various streams can see that the truth. We are going to be releasing our own documentary in the next few days that gives context and tells the story from kids who have had a positive experience.

November 16, 2011

Word Entertainment commemorates 60th anniversary with celebration event in Waco, TX



Word Entertainment, Warner Music Groups’ Christian music division, has been celebrating the storied label’s 60th anniversary of making Christian music this year. This past Wednesday, Nov. 2, Word Entertainment staff and executives threw a special anniversary celebration in Waco, TX, home of the label’s origin, which was founded by Baylor University graduate Jarrell McCraken in 1951. On hand for the celebration included members of the McCracken family as well as Waco Mayor Jim Bush; Chairman of Word Entertainment Mike Curb; Warner Music Nashville President & CEO John Esposito; Word’s first A&R Director and artist, Kurt Kaiser; Word Entertainment President & CEO Rod Riley; and Baylor University President Ken Starr. The event was attending by many Word employees both past and present with a special commemorative plaque presentation to the McCracken Family and Baylor University on behalf of Word Entertainment. Mayor Bush also presented a proclamation, naming Nov. 2 as “Word Day” in Waco, TX. The night concluded with an outdoor concert featuring Word Entertainment’s Dove Award-winning artists Chris August and Sidewalk Prophets on the Baylor campus. To view the historical video of Word Entertainment, visit here.

In honor of the label’s anniversary, Word Entertainment recently released a 3-CD compilation featuring a 51-song collection with a bonus excerpt from the company’s original recording, entitled, Word: Six Decades Of Hits. The anthology spans 60 years of great music that has come out of this landmark label featuring legendary artists such as Amy Grant, Sandi Patty, Point of Grace, Jaci Velasquez, and new breakthrough artists such as Francesca Battistelli, Chris August, and Sidewalk Prophets.

For further information on Word Entertainment and the 60th anniversary celebrations, visit

November 16, 2011

Roman Inc. and lovethislife sign licensing agreement

Roman, Inc., a leader in the giftware industry, signed a licensing agreement with lovethislife debuting January 2012, to design and distribute everyday gift product.

In 2012, Roman’s lovethislife® line will offer an assortment of gift products that remind us to celebrate the moment. New offerings include: wall plaques, ornaments, jewelry, frames, and mugs, to name a few.

“Roman has been part of a long emerging trend of verse and/or message-related products. lovethislife, though completely different for Roman, falls right into this trend where the inspiring messages are about ‘you and your path in life.’ Messages are embedded into ‘swag’ organic art placed on updated functional items. This brand hit the market eight years ago with some heavy hitter celebrities making the emotional connection, which spurred its popularity. The logo icon is subtle, but for lovethislifers, easily recognized. The brand sees no age limit and is marketed to young and old at heart,” says Marje Reed, director of product development.

lovethislife originated as the name of musician/producer David Culiner’s one-man Malibu-based band until he realized the parameters of what constitutes a ‘band’ could be expanded to invite creators from all fields to adapt their passions and offerings to the spirit of ‘lovethislife.’ lovethislife as a lifestyle brand launched January 2003 via women and men’s apparel to measure viability of lovethislife’s appeal & resonance for future goods & services. The premium-priced apparel line continues to flourish and serve as the primary revenue stream and brand extension for lovethislife. The passion for writing and producing music remains the core essence of lovethislife.

November 16, 2011

Broadman & Holman B&H Publishing Group wins two USA Best Books 2011 Awards

Two B&H Publishing Group authors have won USA “Best Books 2011” Awards from USA Book News, the premiere online magazine and review Web site for mainstream and independent publishing houses.

Candace Cameron Bure, who starred for eight seasons in ABC television’sFull House and is now a featured cast member of ABC Family’s Make It or Break It, received her award in the Women’s Health category forReshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness. Also a New York Times best seller, the book is a candid account of how faith ultimately reshaped her life, giving her true freedom from food addiction.

James L. Rubart took the Fiction: Visionary category for his widely acclaimed debut novel Rooms about a young software tycoon who inherits a coastal Oregon home that is really God’s physical manifestation of his soul. Rooms also won an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award.Publishers Weekly says, “(Rubart’s) premise is compelling.”

Other B&H finalists in the USA “Best Books 2011” Awards included What Women Fear by Angie Smith (Self Help: Motivational) and current New York Times best sellers The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer (Women’s Issues) and The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Randy Alcorn (Parenting/Family: General).

“We’re proud of these authors and grateful to be working with them,” says B&H VP of marketing Mary Katharine Hunt. “Their books are making a real difference in readers’ lives, and it’s an honor to be part of that.”

For a complete list of USA “Best Books 2011” Award winners, visit

November 16, 2011

Warner Press novel Hunter Brown and the Eye of Ends receives 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award

Warner Press announced that its youth fantasy fiction novel Hunter Brown and the Eye of Ends by the Miller Brothers has been awarded a bronze medal in the 2011 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards in the category of Pre-Teen Fiction – Fantasy. With this award, all three books in The Codebearers™ Series now have received bronze medals in this category in the Moonbeam Awards.

Hunter Brown and the Eye of Ends continues the story of teenager Hunter Brown that began in Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow and Hunter Brown and the Consuming Fire. In this final book of “The Codebearers” series, Hunter Brown finds that his memory is gone. Now he must fight to piece together the growing puzzle of his past under the constant surveillance of an intimidating detective, who isn’t all that he seems. But what begins as a harmless search for memories quickly leads Hunter into a deadly hunt for his missing father and a lost relic, the Eye of Ends, said to predict the end of the Author’s story.

The Miller Brothers, Christopher and Allan, combine their unique skills as authors and animators to produce stories of faith and fun for families everywhere. In addition to Hunter Brown and the Eye of Ends, their works include additional novels in “The Codebearers” series and the “Heroes of Promise” series, published by Warner PressGrowing up behind the shelves of their parents’ Christian bookstore, the Miller Brothers learned firsthand the value of faith-based stories. Founders of Lumination Studios, they live in Seattle, WA, with their families.

November 16, 2011

Baker Publishing Group joins the Espresso Book Machine Network

Baker Publishing Group and On Demand Books, the company behind the Espresso Book Machine® (EBM), have entered into an agreement to sell Baker’s list of paperback titles on the EBM “digital-to-print at retail” sales channel.

Baker is the first major Christian publisher to make available substantially their entire paperback list to the EBM network. This agreement will enable Baker to reach more readers both in the existing Christian market and in broader trade and academic bookstores that are equipped with an Espresso Book Machine.

Essentially an ATM for books, the patented EBM and its EspressNet®software system links to a vast network of content, enabling the instant distribution of books, on demand, at point of sale. With the push of a button, the technology converts a digital file into a quality paperback, in any language, with a full-color cover, in minutes. This environmentally friendly technology eliminates shipping, returns, and the pulping of unwanted books.

“We believe the Espresso Book Machine in a local bookstore offers the book-reading customer the best overall access to printed books at the time they are in a store and ready to purchase a title,” says David Lewis, executive VP, sales and marketing for Baker Publishing Group. “If the publishing community will support this technology by allowing all of their titles that fit the machine’s specifications to be printed locally, it will give the local bookstore a better opportunity to survive. This is the only way a bookstore can have hundreds of thousands of books to sell without the cost of holding all of that inventory. It allows a local bookseller to compete on selection with the on-line retailers.”

“We are delighted to announce the latest publisher to join our ever-growing Espresso Book Machine network,” says Dane Neller, CEO of On Demand Books. “Baker Publishing Group is one of the great Christian publishers, with a high-quality list of fiction and non-fiction titles that will appeal to our existing trade and academic bookstores. The inclusion of their titles also supports our expansion of EBMs in the CBA retail market. We hope Baker is the first of many religious publishers to see the great potential of the Espresso channel.