Two new books launched

DSCN4962What a fun Friday! A radio interview and book signing doubled the fun during my local launch of two new books. Between 10:15 and 10:45 yesterday (December 19), Patricia interviewed me on the local Christian radio station, KCWN 99.9. After that, I signed books during the station’s Christmas open house until 1:00. I want to thank General Manager, Bev De Vries, and DJ Patricia for their gracious hospitality. The station’s facility is decorated beautifully, and entering it feels like stepping into a welcoming home.

Patricia made the interview completely painless. In fact, it was a lot of fun. Growing up as the middle child in a pastor’s family, she felt a lot of affinity for my book-boy Matthew. Talking about him and the problems he faces in Matthew Muddles Through was a hoot. She shared her enthusiasm for the story with listeners.

Bev De Vries took this picture through the production room window while Patricia and I were on the air.
Bev De Vries took this picture through the production room window while Patricia and I were on the air.

We then discussed my other new release, Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law. She described it as going “deep” and we talked about the writing style, which Aimee Byrd called “a commendable style of commentary meets personal devotion.” Patricia and I also spoke briefly about Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss and A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law. Before I went off the air, I had the opportunity to share my excitement about my current memoir collaboration project with Uriah Courtney, who was recently exonerated after more than eight years of wrongful incarceration.

booksBook signings are always enjoyable. It’s great to meet new friends and experience the support of existing ones. The best kind of book signings are when a steady stream of people comes in and I have time to speak to each person individually. And this was one of those signings with wonderful opportunities to talk to individuals, including some people I hadn’t seen for years.

I’m thankful for the doors God opens and I grateful he equips me to walk through them. books-2

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Local launch and book signing

Glenda Mathes and Diane Smith at my September 9, 2013, book signing
Glenda Mathes and Diane Smith at my September 9, 2013, book signing

This Friday, Lord willing, I’ll be interviewed by Patricia on KCWN 99.9 FM and will be signing books during the station’s Christmas Open House from 11:00 to 1:00. The station is located at 304 Oskaloosa St. in Pella. Local people, come over between 11:00 and 1:00 for some cookies and conversation!

And if you’re still looking for Christmas gifts, you can’t go wrong by giving someone an opportunity to dig into God’s Word. Discovering-Delight-front (1)Copies of my new devotional, Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law will be available for $10.

Searching for a gift for a middle grade reader, aged 8 to 12? Why not foster their reading skills with a novel that conveys truth in an engaging story? Matthew Muddles Through is about an ordinary but imaginative kid, the middle child in a minister’s family, who faces trouble on every side. Matthew’s humor and imagination help him cope with his problems, and in the process he learns more about loving others and trusting God. Copies of this juvenile fiction novel, the first is a series of three, will be available on Friday for $10.

PrintI’ll also have available copies of A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God and Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss for $10 each. One fortunate person will be able to purchase my singular copy of Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism for $15. This is the first volume of the popular Life in Christ catechism curriculum, which has sold in several countries and is being translated into eight languages.

Save shipping! Buy any of these books on Friday and the author will be happy to sign them for you.

Those of you who don’t live nearby may be interested to know that I’m scheduled to be interviewed on the Janet Meffert Show on Monday, December 20, at 2:30 Central time. You can listen online at the show’s website.

“Not My Own” in Indonesian

 

Not My Own in Indonesian
 

Stefanus Kristianto became my Facebook friend when he messaged that he was translating into Indonesian the catechism workbook I wrote, Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Yesterday (January 22) he shared this picture of the cover, posted by Bayu Gunawan.

It’s easy to figure out which words mean “Heidelberg Catechism” and “God,” but I’m not sure about the others.

Not My Own is the first volume of the Life in Christ catechism curriculum, which is available from Reformed Fellowship.

Today I’m thanking God for spreading his Word throughout the world. And I’m overwhelmed that he chooses to use my feeble efforts.

 

Catechism project update

Russian translations of Not My Own by Glenda Mathes and God's Unfolding Promise by Laurie Vanden Heuvel
Russian translations of Not My Own by Glenda Mathes and God’s Unfolding Promise by Laurie Vanden Heuvel

Looking through past issues of Christian Renewal to see what news article I should post today, I realized I should share an exciting update about the Life in Christ catechism curriculum.

The series has been so well received that it is going into a second printing. Books have been sold in several other countries and are being translated into other languages. The book I wrote, Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism, as well as God’s Unfolding Promise: From Shadows to SONLight by Laurie Vanden Heuvel, have now been printed in Russian. The Indonesian translation of Not My Own has also been completed.

Pastor Ron Scheuers (First United Reformed Church in Chino, CA) wrote the following article, which appeared on page 22 in the November 13, 2013, issue of Christian Renewal.

There have been some exciting developments regarding our catechism project, Life in Christ.  When we began the project to write instructional material for our youth, we never imagined that it would be used so widely as it is today.

In August of 2011 we had completed the project to write eight volumes for grades 5-12, and had printed 1500 copies of each volume, or 12,000 volumes. They are being sold by Reformed Fellowship in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Due to demand a second printing is needed. The committee is correcting a few errors and is preparing them for reprinting.

There have also been a number of requests to translate the materials. Permission was granted to have the books translated into Russian, Ukrainian, French, Creole, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesian, and Khmer, with the possibility of Italian as well.

Translators have completed work in Russian on the 5th and 6th grade volumes and one volume (grade 5) has been translated into Indonesian. In May, Henk Drost, a contact in Ukraine said, “I am glad to tell you that our first translation of a catechism book is ready. We printed 1000 copies. At the synod I gave each church one. In November we hope to have a conference about education and 450 years Heidelberg Catechism.” In Indonesia, Rev. Markus D. Lere Dawa wrote about the book that is in the process of printing. He said, “I had a wonderful opportunity to share some parts of it last July at a conference on 500 Years Anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism. Many friends in Indonesia, coming from various reformed denominations, are interested in it. They showed us their serious intention to have it as guideline in educating their children and youths. Hopefully, we are able to respond to that requests asap.”

Who could have ever imagined that our efforts would have been so blessed and used by the Lord to reach so many people? How wonderful is God’s provision! We are grateful for the efforts of the translators.  We are most grateful to the Lord for His Word and grace which He is using to reach His people everywhere.

Praise God with us. We are very thankful for those who have contributed towards this effort.  If anyone still wishes to do so, we would deeply appreciate your kindness.

While it’s exciting to see your name in a different language on the cover of a book, it’s more thrilling to think of biblical teaching reaching people in other lands.

Won’t you join me in praying for God’s Spirit to work in the hearts of many readers?

Chicago book signing

If you happen to be in the Chicago area next Monday, September 9, 2013, stop in between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, where I’ll be signing copies of my books: A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God ($10), Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss ($10), and Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism ($15).

AMOS coverA Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God explores the concept of rest that permeates the Bible from creation to consummation.  After God created and named the different aspects of our universe in six days, He rested. When Christ returns to complete His kingdom, all believers will enjoy perfect rest. Between these two great bookends of history, God calls us to rest in Him every day.

In today’s hectic and distressing world, we need to recapture the concept of daily rest. Demands and distractions agitate our spirits. Disasters trigger anxiety. Diseases generate pain. Despair creeps into our hearts. These influences displace our peace and pull us from resting in God and His Word. The reflections in A Month of Sundays: 31 Meditations on Resting in God pause our spinning thoughts and calm our fluctuating feelings.

ENDORSEMENTS:

Glenda Mathes has written an uplifting series of meditations on the subject of rest for the weary. Starting with the premise of sabbath rest as a model for how God wishes his children to live, Glenda weaves a wide-ranging tapestry of how Christians can follow God’s mandate to rest in him both now and eternally. The book is filled with great texts from the Bible, accompanied by interspersed quotations from the Heidelberg Catechism and personal reflections and recollections of the author. This is a great book for all who labor and are heavy laden, and who want to obey God’s command to rest. People for whom Sunday observance is important, as well as those who love the Heidelberg Catechism, will especially resonate with this book.

— Leland Ryken, professor of English, Wheaton College

‘Rest’ is a topic often overlooked in our hectic schedules, but Glenda Mathes shows it is essential to a Christian life. Not as another thing ‘to do,’ but as part of our calling. A Month of Sundays invites us to overcome our distractions and fears and seek the one true source of rest, Christ Himself.

— Janie B. Cheaney, columnist for WORLD Magazine, and a contributing editor at RedeemedReader.com

Little One Lost CoverDo you grieve the loss of a preborn child? Do you wonder how to minister to someone who grieves the loss of an infant? The grief of miscarriage, stillbirth, and newborn loss is often misunderstood and frequently ignored.

In Little One Lost: Living with Early Infant Loss, I share my own experience of loss and show from Scripture that these littlest ones are not really lost.

Through the personal stories of several couples, readers learn about a variety of losses, including the pain of infertility. Additional sections deal with acknowledging loss, finding comfort, grieving with hope, and healing from pain.

Steeped in biblical wisdom, this book will resonate with mourning parents and assist anyone who longs to comfort those who grieve a little one lost.

ENDORSEMENT:

Helpful for those struggling with the questions that occur following infant loss, and hopeful because of Christ, Who loses no little ones.

— Dr. Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-chief of WORLD magazine

CoverNot My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism is the first volume in the “Life in Christ” catechism curriculum. It is a workbook aimed at grade five students, but can be used effectively by older or younger students. Many adults appreciate its simple and thorough explanation of the catechism beloved by generations of Reformed believers.

One of the most heartwarming endorsements I’ve received to date was from my oldest grandson, who recently began using it for his homeschool Bible class. He told me, “I like that book you wrote, Grandma. I like how you break each lesson up, so it’s not too much to read.”

I hope to see you on Monday afternoon!

 

Lifted Veil

Don’t you love those times when God lifts the veil and gives you a glimpse of his work? We see his work all the time and all around us, of course, but there is so much of his providential work that takes place beyond our limited vision. And sometimes he allows us a glimpse by lifting the veil of our finite sight.

He lifted the veil for me this week. I accepted a friend on Facebook, even though it was someone I didn’t know, because the man was already friends with several other of my Facebook friends. After I accepted the friend request, my new friend sent me this message:

Hello Madam 😀 My name is Stefanus, I’m Indonesian 😀 I know you from your book. And now, I am translating your book, “Not My Own” (Life in Christ series), for it will be used for the elementary school of my synod. Nice to know you 😀 You’ve done a great job for young people. May God bless you always 🙂

I had known that the “Life in Christ” catechism curriculum was being translated into seven languages, one of which was in Indonesia, but it amazed me that my new Facebook friend was the man doing that work!

These are the times when you feel as if God reaches down, puts his arms around you, and says, “See how much I love you!”

What a blessing to put a name and face to the vague information I’d had! How thankful I am to God for making the biblical teaching of the “Life in Christ” series available around the world! And how I love when God lifts the veil!

Last Chance!

Today is your last chance to save $5 off the regular price and order Life in Christ” catechism materials at the pre-publication price of only $10 per book!

Perhaps you, like many Christians, are concerned about recent studies that indicate an alarming number of young adults have left the Christian faith in which they were raised. Various estimates range from 60% (George Barna, barna.org) to 70% (USA Today, August 7, 2007) to even 75% (Frank Turek, crossexamined.org)!

You may think those sobering statistics reflect trends of liberal churches in mainline denominations, but according to Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, two-thirds of the youth in conservative, Bible-believing churches are already gone in terms of their faith commitment. Their research shows that of those young adults who no longer believe all biblical accounts are true, 39.8% first had doubts in middle school, 43.7% first doubted in high school, and only 10.6% first experienced doubts during college (p. 32, Already Gone, Master Books, 2009).

Even young people growing up in Bible-believing churches are failing to accept the entirety of the Bible (especially the foundational chapters of Genesis) as true, failing to develop a biblical worldview that applies God’s Word to their lives, and failing to learn how to defend their faith in the face of modern challenges.

Reformed and Presbyterian churches with solid catechism programs may have a lower incidence of young people leaving the faith, but even these churches must do all they can to instill truth and strengthen faith in covenantal youth. Catechism instruction ought to enable students to know God’s Word as truth and to apply it to their lives.

A distinctively Reformed perspective and unified program characterize the “Life in Christ” catechism curriculum. The curriculum presents a full-orbed perspective not only in its material, but also in its method.

The “Life in Christ” catechism curriculum include memorization of crucial biblical and confessional material, but it goes beyond mere rote memorization by incorporating application and apologetics. While students learn God’s Word, they also learn how to apply it to their lives and defend their faith in the world.

I learned yesterday that a small church has ordered copies of my Not My Own: Discovering God’s Comfort in the Heidelberg Catechism for its combined class of grade 5-8 catechism students. It’s my prayer that every instructor and student who uses the material will grow in grace and truth as they explore the biblical basis for the Heidelberg Catechism and discover the comfort of belonging to Christ.