Category Archives: Book Reviews

For the children: Titles encourage, inspire, and connect

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By Tonya Andris
Inside The Pew

One of my favorite groups growing up was New Kids On The Block. Remember them?

During the brainstorming of my book review column, NKOTB’s song, “This One’s For The Children” came to mind. Then, I thought about all the Christian titles I havegirlsbooks received from authors over the past three months which reiterate God’s love for children. Remember, God said in Isaiah 54:13, “All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.”

Parents, if you are looking for books that will nurture your child’s understand of the Almighty’s grace and love (and there are many), these titles are an ideal start.

“Perfectly Unique” by Annie F. Downs
(Zondervan; $9.99 USD)

In her debut release, Downs takes personal stories and uses them as a catalyst to teach young girls to embrace the way God made them. She affirms to young readers that God made us each as individuals and we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). I found the book to be very encouraging to young women because there are so many messages that girls and women have to change who they are to be accepted. God made you; love yourself. Downs, who is a former elementary school teacher, made the best choice to life stories to make an impact on the reader. Exercises and relevant scriptures guide readers along. Among the many endorsers of the book is Hillary Scott, lead singer of Grammy-winning country trio Lady Antebellum. “This book will touch your heart, encourage you, and challenge you to let your Heavenly Father pursue you as his daughter.”

As a side note, Downs is currently embarked on the Girls of Grace Tour where she will make stops at churches and various venues to spread the Christian message to sixth- to 12th-grade girls. Her next stop is slated for Feb. 23 at Christ Church, 15354 Old Hickory Blvd. in Nashville, Tenn. Downs also has dates set in March for Birmingham, Ala., and Augusta, Ga., and Allen, Texas, in April. Visit http://www.girlsofgrace.com/ for more information.

“Helping Man … The Beginning” by Jalen Butler (author and illustrator); co-written by Katina Butler
(Joseph’s Coat Productions, $12.95 USD)

It is wonderful to see a child writing a book to minister to children. This is exactly the purpose of 7-year-old Jalen Butler. The Denton, Texas, elementary student wroteHelping Man Book “Helping Man …” to “help people and please God.” With the Bible as his guide, Butler takes readers into the world of Helping Man, who is always on a quest to save the day. On his quest for peace, Helping Man also has to battle his nemesis, Mogular. As a parent, I appreciate the “kiddie feel” of the book, from the illustrations to the message. Butler’s book has gained attention in the Dallas area through appearances on local NBC affiliate (NBC-5) and Christian radio (KWRD 100.7 FM). He’s also gained a legion of fans at his elementary school. As for all the attention, at the end of the day, Butler can only thank God. “I’m just doing what God has blessed me to do.” Learn more at www.facebook.com/HelpingManBook.

“The Sweetest Story Bible” by Diane Stortz and Sheila Bailey; narrated by Roma Downey
(Zonderkidz, $22.99 USD)

One of the greatest way to show our children God’s love for them is to tell them the stories of the Bible. My daughters love to hear the story of their namesakes, Rebekah (Genesis 24) and Lydia (Acts 16). Authored by Diana Stortz and illustrated Sheila Bailey, the story Bible brings the characters of the Bible to life for your children. At the end of each story, Stortz lists Sweet Words and Sweet Thoughts for girls to remember. At the end of God’s Ten Rules (Exodus 19-20, 24, 31), children are reminded “God knows what is good for us.” The deluxe edition also includes an audio CD read by “Touch By An Angel” actress Roma Downey.

Tonya Andris is book editor for Inside The Pew. To suggest titles or comment on this review, email her at pewnews@aol.com.

Related story

Book review: Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones speeds to glory 7/25/2012

 

‘Fruit Of My Spirit’ a tale of God’s love despite our missteps

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By Tonya R. Andris
Inside The Pew

Deanna Nowadnick isn’t perfect. Despite her physical and internal imperfections, she also know that God loves her just the way she is.

In her book, “Fruit Of My Spirit: Reframing Life in God’s Grace” ($12.95, Rhododendron Books; ebook available on Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook), she takes us on her spiritual journey. The book left me confident and empathetic.

Part Bible study, part memoir, and part confessional is the best way to describe Nowadnick’s release. The Monroe, Wash., author takes readers through moments in her life and shapes them around the nine qualities of the Holy Spirit’s fruit. In Galatians 5:22-23, apostle Paul tells the people of Galatia: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Recalling the nine qualities of the Holy Spirit’s fruit, the author uses pictures to relate each attribute to its Greek equivalent. The chapter on “Joy” or chara (Greek for divine happiness) is paired with cherries; “Kindness” or chrestotes (Greek for goodness) is paired with strawberries.

Charming black-white photos capture transformations through 30 years of marriage for Deanna Nowadnick and her husband, Kurt, and family time with their sons Kyle and Kevin. In chapter 3, titled “Peace” or eirene (Greek for tranquility) she discusses how she found tranquility in several situations, from enjoying the outdoors without camping and overcoming a need to find comfort in food. Her reaction? She gave it to God.

“My heartfelt prayer was nothing more than, ‘Please, God.” I didn’t even have the words to know what to ask for. All I could repeat was, “Please, God,” she wrote.

Each well-developed story reveals a lot about the growth Nowadnick and how she learned she no longer rests on her own understanding and “let go and let Him.” By pouring out her soul in prose, she benefits. Even in recollection, Nowadnick shows how maturity and understand of her inner self.

Nowadnick feels confident in the way God made her. The tone of her writing is genuine and relatable. There are periods of self-doubt and weakness, but these traits don’t destroy her. Deep inside, she knows she is still loved by the Almighty, a feeling all His children has to understand and embrace.

Visit www.fruitofmyspirit.com to learn more about Nowadnick’s spiritual walk.

Comment on this weekly column by emailing Tonya Andris at pewnews@aol.com.

Book review: Peace making as a way of life for pastors

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By Michael Ireland
Special Reporter, ASSIST News Service

Editor’s note: This review was first published on Michael Ireland’s blog, “Devotional Moments with Mike.”

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (ANS) – In the introduction to ‘The Peace Making Pastor’ by Alfred Poirier (Baker Books, 2006), the author states that to be a pastor is to be a peacemaker (p.13).

Poirier says that too often pastors view peacemaking as only a tool of ministry, rather than a habit of being. “Instead of being ministers or reconciliation (2 Cor.5:19-20), we confine peacemaking to special crisis situations within the church.”

Poirier actually goes further than to say that just pastors are peacemakers or in the ‘ministry of reconciliation.’

Poirier says: “Since God reconciled all things in heaven and on earth to himself through the death of his Son on the cross (Col.1:19-20), then we who are children of God are redeemed to be reconcilers.”

Poirier develops this theme in Chapter 5, ‘Peacemaking in the Family of God,’ specifically on p.92, under the heading ‘Theology of Sonship.’ Here he says that Jesus’ connection between “peacemakers” and being called “sons of God” is not an arbitrary one. “Peacemaking is the defining characteristic of sonship. And of all Christian virtues and actions, peacemaking reflects most the meaning of being a son or daughter of God.”

This is my favorite chapter in the book because here the author lays out the biblical basis and foundation for our role as 24/7/365 Christians to be peacemakers and reconcilers in a broken and hurting world.

Poirier goes on to say that if this claim is true (that Scripture proclaims and endorses this view of us as believers), “we must not relegate our individual identity as sons and daughters and our corporate identity as family to a minor place in our theology, as if our sonship were one image among many that Scripture uses to describe God’s relationship with the church.”

Poirier states three reasons why this ‘sonship reconciliation theology’ is true.

First, he says that the significance of sonship is proved by its dominant presence in several key ‘programmatic’ passages of Scripture (Rom.8:15-32; Gal.3:15-4:7; Eph.1:3-6; Heb.2:1-18;12:1-14;1 John 3:1-3). [By programmatic he means those texts that give the sweep and order of God’s redemptive purposes].

Second, Poirier says sonship is the distinctive mark of the new covenant. He says that in Galatians 3:26-4:7, Paul likens the radical shift in the status of God’s people in redemptive history to the transition from being slaves to being sons.

The third line of evidence showing the significance of sonship in God’s redemptive purposes is that sonship is a key characteristic of our sanctification, most overtly seen in Hebrews 12.

Poirier says (p.95) that to be “Like father, like son,” is not only a common proverb, but is inherently biblical in nature. “In Scripture, sonship is about likeness.”

Elsewhere in Scripture, Paul says that we are ‘heirs and joint heirs (co-heirs) with Christ’ and that one day we shall be like Him. But there is a very real sense in that we are called to be like Him NOW. Jesus said ‘the Kingdom is within you, and NOW is’ – the Kingdom of God has come near, is with us, and within us NOW by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Therefore, if we are heirs, and joint heirs with Christ NOW, we are to be like Him NOW, and to exercise the role of peacemakers and reconcilers NOW.

From reading Poirier, I conclude that not only pastors, but all Bible-believing Christians, are to be “reconciling peacemakers,” as Paul says, “as if God were making His appeal to you though us.”

This being the case, I believe it is incumbent upon us as Christ followers, in the words of Paul, to “as much as it is within your power, live at peace with all men,” and “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

For me, this means to live a Spirit-filled, Spirit-directed life, seeking to bring the message of ‘the peace with God’ and ‘the peace of God’ to all men, everywhere.

Media is not alone in need to learn more about mental health

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

When the news that Newtown, Conn., school massacre shooter Adam Lanza had Asperger’s Syndrome, the media immediately began to spew false information about autism. Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder, not a mental illness. Since the Dec. 14 attack that left 20 children and six adults dead, professionals who work in mental health and parents of children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome have taken a stand to educate the public.

“They (the media) are trying to connect some dots, because that is what they do,” said Aimee Colbert, a pastoral counselor in Fort Worth. “Without knowing the truth is irresponsible, it is bad on their part. This type of reaction is especially trying on the people who have to deal with it.”

The media is not the only institution that needs help understanding mental health and developmental disorders; the church does too.

For years, the mental health community has felt the church needs to step beyond reading scripture and prayer to help parents and children of their congregations.

In 2011, author Edward Rogers, and psychologist Matthew Stanford and social worker Diana Garland of Baylor University, found in their study, “The Effects of Mental Illness On Families With Faith Communities,” that “mental illness of a family member can destroy the family’s connection with the religious community, leading many affected families to leave the church and their faith behind.”

The study, which appeared in the online journal “Mental Health, Religion, and Culture,” interviewed 6,000 participants from 24 churches representing four Protestant denominations. Researchers examined the impact of mental illness in a family on church involvement and spiritual practices. Stanford told Dr. Steve Grcevich in a February 2012 interview that approximately a quarter of the families in the survey are struggling with caring for a loved one with mental illness and it has disrupted their connect with God.

“Sadly, these families appear virtually invisible to the congregation as a whole,” said Stanford, who is a professor of psychology, neuroscience, and biomedical studies at Baylor University.

Colbert’s thoughts echo of the article. She said churches should do more to address the mental and behavioral needs of their congregants, especially in the African American church.

“It is one of the things that has become a cancer, a virus. Now people are doing off-the-wall things. The church is about meeting needs, if your church has people with mental illness, it must be addressed. There are a lot of things outside of the Bible people need to know. The Bible is not against these things because the Bible doesn’t say it, Colbert said.

“I know of people who feel ashamed. They either feel isolated even stop going to church.”

Ready to make a change?

Is your congregation in need of additional sources to help the children and parents who are affected by mental health and behavioral disorders? Church Basement Press, publisher of titles that support the work of faith-based community organizations, recently published “Defying Mental Illness: Finding Recovery with Community Resources and Family Support” ($19.99 paperback and Nook; $7.99 Kindle, USD). The authors – Paul Komarek and Andrea Schroer – provide help on recovery. It is more than a source for support. The book educates readers on several topics, including childhood disorders, mental illness, suicide prevention, and mental illness in layman’s terms. The book is endorsed by a National Alliance on Mental Illness advocate, who said the book “provides what’s needed most.”

Learn more about Church Basement Press at www.churchbasement.net.

Donovan has important message in book ‘The Hard Way’

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Special to Inside The Pew

TULSA, Okla. – When his self-destructive nature spiraled out of control and threatened to take his life, Jeremy Donovan found salvation and redemption through God, turning his life around to become healthy and successful.

In his new book, “The Hard Way,” Donovan shares his story and the lessons to be learned from it with his readers, helping to save them from having to learn the hard way, “The hard way is not the way to go. It’s, well, hard. Even when things seem fun and you’re getting away with it, that boulder can come and take you out.”

When Donovan hit rock bottom, he saw no way off of the path that he was on, “I was at rock bottom and saw no way out… but I hadn’t bargained for God’s intervention!” After he attempted to OD on drugs and pills, God clearly spoke to his heart, urging him, “Quit trying and get help.”

Donovan, who now serves as youth pastor of Destiny Life church, a multi-campus church in the Tulsa, Okla., area. urges his readers who are on a similar path to ask God to help them change, “Right this moment, you can stop, pray, and ask God to search your heart. Then ask Him to help you change, and show you how to change. He is faithful and He will answer that prayer.”

He reminds readers that God’s message to each of us is, “‘I love you so much. You are my favorite and I am proud of you. I want what is best for you. Trust in me to give you the desires of your heart.’” It is this message that will ultimately carry Donovan’s readers through their trials and help them to find the grace that they need to see them through the long road back to the right path.

Making these choices helps readers to “close the doors to destruction” and rewrite their legacies.

In 2008, he along with friend and ministry-partner, Matt Moore, founded “The SOZO Movement,” a series of testimonies from everyday people sharing the love and power of Jesus Christ.

Donovan’s show airs on Revolution TV (ReVTV), http://RevTV.com, a live streaming network that broadcasts in hi-definition over the Internet, mobile devices, and IPTV.

Learn more about Donovan at http://jeremydonovan.me/

South African author reveals social concern with ‘Diamonds In The Dust’

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By Grelan Muse Sr.
Inside The Pew

The concern of HIV/AIDS around the world takes a front seat Dec. 1 for World AIDS Day. In the 20-plus years since the first commemoration, South Africa had made strides to help its men, women, and children. While there is work that still needs to be done, deaths from HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa have declined. In 2011, 1.2 million South Africans died from the disease, down 32 percent from 2010, according to the UNAIDS report. In addition, the reports explain 5.6 million people in South Africa are living with HIV/AIDS.

A social conscience from people within and outside of South Africa is needed to help South Africans through this catastrophe. Shirley Tucker, author of the award-winning novel “Diamonds in the Dust,” uses her storytelling ability and faith in God to present a story of perseverance, hope, amid the storm. The South African author tells the story of Ida Morgan, a woman who experience the unthinkable when her husband is murdered. Ida’s road to healing and wholeness is paved by “diamonds in the dust.” Ida begins to question God and wonder how He could allow the wicked to gain a victory. In the end, Ida sees it is not God’s way of punishing people, it is His way of placing Ida in a role to help defenseless people in society, including children who are afflicted with AIDS.

As a backdrop to the powerful novel is the realism Tucker uses to tell “Diamonds in the Dust.” The novel is the winner of the 2011 inaugural Athanatos Christian Ministries Christian Novel Contest and it is worthy of the award. The author allows the reader to see what life is like in South Africa, such as Ida coming in contact with AIDS sufferers, orphans, and homeless people in her country. Ironically, Tucker and her husband, Mark, are founders of Phakamani Foundation to distribute micro-loans to enterprising, but poor, women in South Africa.

Top reviews for the novel include Kirkus, where a reviewer concludes Tucker’s “Diamonds in the Dust” beholds “an addictive storyline that pulls at the reader’s social conscience and sense of justice, delivered in an honest, humane manner.” Furthermore, the Dove Foundation awarded Tucker’s “must read” novel the highest ranking a piece can receive, five Doves.

On this World AIDS Day 2012 (and everyday), it is important for those who confess His to listen to God’s divine call and help those in society who cannot help themselves. As it is said in Psalm 34:22, “The Lord redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him” (NIV). Just as Ida found, forsaking our comforts and doing what is best in the name of God benefits everyone.

 

Hurricane Katrina author nets Christian literary award nod

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

PLANO, Texas – The world of many residents in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward changed Aug. 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Crescent City. From the unnerving stories of destruction birthed tales of perseverance and survival.

Author Lynette Norris Wilkinson – a former resident of the Ninth Ward – put the retrospective into words. Now, her retrospective book, UNTOLD: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew, is nominated to receive the prestigious Henri Christian Literary Award.

UNTOLD is told through the eyes of 16 Hurricane Katrina survivors, all of who once lived in the Lower Ninth Ward. The commentators, who range in age from 8 to 80, share their faith, struggle, history, and love of community in a work that sheds light on a dark time in American history.

“While many books have been written about Hurricane Katrina, very few focus on the Lower Ninth Ward,” said Wilkinson, a resident of the Dallas suburb of Plano. “If you want to know the real story behind the faces and images you saw during Hurricane Katrina, you will want to read UNTOLD.”

The author said proceeds from her God-inspired book will be donated to an organization helping residents recover.

Awards will be presented at the 2012 Christian Literary Awards, Nov. 3 in the Grand Amphitheater at Mount Olive Church, 300 Chisholm Place, in Plano. The VIP reception and red carpet begin at 4 p.m.; the award celebration begins at 6 p.m. Ticket information is available at www.awards.joyandcompany.org. The event is sponsored by Joy & Company.

The Henri will be presented to authors in nine categories representing faith-based books under the genre of Christian literature.

As a nominee for the award, UNTOLD is also eligible to earn the Reader’s Choice award. Fans can show their support and vote for UNTOLD at www.awards.joyandcompany.org. Simply log in, click 2012 Awards, select Reader’s Choice, and cast your vote for UNTOLD in the non-fiction category.

The Henri award nomination is the latest in a string of accolades for UNTOLD. The book was named 2010 Book of the Year by the Sankofa Literary Society and a finalist in the African American category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The video/book trailer for UNTOLD was also a finalist in the African American Literature Book Club 2010 Best Book Trailer of the Year contest. In addition, UNTOLD received film credit in an upcoming National Geographic documentary on natural disasters, titled “Forecast Disaster: Deadly Floods.” The episode airs on the National Geographic channel on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 4 p.m. CST.

To purchase copies of UNTOLD: The New Orleans 9th Ward You Never Knew, read excerpts of the book, view interviews with the author, or book the author for speaking engagements, visit www.HurricaneKatrinaStories.com.

Book review: ‘Fresh Hope … Cleveland’ quite resourceful

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By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Nearly nine years ago, Cleveland author Nanci J. Gravill was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then, she was unable to return to her temporary job. Since she could not work, Gravill was left to live off money generated from investments and retirement. The best course for Gravill was to seek assistance for community resources. By reaching out, she found more than outside help. Gravill discovered a new course that allowed her to cope with her condition and learn how to put all her trust in God.

The end result of her experience is the release, Fresh Hope … Cleveland: Resources to Help You Navigate through Unsettled Times  (West Bow Press, $19.99 perfect bound softcover; $3.99 eBook).

Within its pages the reader will find inventive ways to manage those challenges along with money-saving tips, healthcare services, job and mortgage information, and more. At the core, readers will discover (or re-discover) the most important resource once could ever possess: a relationship with God.

“Prayer is the simply talking to God and telling Him how you feel and what you need. Your words do not have to be fancy or in any particular fashion. … Prayer is the most powerful resource you possess. Cast all your cares on God because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7),” Gravill writes in the introduction of part 3, “More Fresh Hope Resources.

While the book includes a bevy of information for individuals seeking community assistance in Cleveland, Gravill said the content is easily adjustable to fit residents in any large, metropolitan city.

“All the resources in the book came from my modern-day Job experience. Even though there are some resources that seem to be just for my area, they will still point someone needing help in the right direction. All they will have to do to find the location in their city is look in the phone book or Google the facility and such!”

The greatest asset of the Fresh Hope … Cleveland is its emphasis on reflection and reconnection. Gravill includes several of Workspace forms to allow readers to chronicle their thoughts on the section’s topic. One cannot help but to be moved by the form in part 4, “Record To Day To Remember.” In it, Gravill challenges readers to ponder the day Christ came into their hearts.

“If you’ve gone to church but have never heard about knowing God personally and having a personal relationship with Him, please take a comfortable seat and let me tell you about the best friend you could ever have!” she divulges in “Something More.”

If anything, Gravill leaves readers with the sense they can survive any situation by believing in Him and by calling on those who show love for their fellow-man through their generous acts. The book is well-balanced and conveys the love Christ has for us is unwavering, we just need to reach out for it.

NFL Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly shares parenting plays

Published by:

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (ANS) – NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly shares fatherhood advice in his new book, The Playbook for Dads – with Ted Kluck – (FaithWords/Hachette Book Group, September 2012).

Kelly, who spent 11 eleven seasons as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills, helped lead the team to the playoffs eight times, including four Super Bowls.

The Kellys have shared Hunter’s story all over the world and in Jill’s book, Without a Word. Relaying insider information on his toughest job, Kelly tackles 10 important lessons that fathers should be sharing with their children.

“Being a father is hard work,” writes Kelly. “It’s hard work just like being a quarterback was hard, relentless work … But I can honestly say that it’s the greatest, most important job in the world.”

According to a news release, relating personal experiences on and off the field to fatherhood, Kelly walks fathers through his game plan, challenging them to coach their children through 10 important lessons: thankfulness, confidence, respect, preparation, passion, perseverance, character, responsibility, teamwork, and spiritual life.

“It seems like many of these principles are fading away in our society, and I think it’s our job as fathers to preserve them and pass them along to our children,” writes Kelly. In September 1997, three months after their infant son, Hunter, was diagnosed with a fatal disease, Jim and his wife, Jill, founded the Hunter’s Hope Foundation. Sadly, Hunter died at age 8 from Krabbe diesease.

Each parenting lesson begins with a letter to his late son and ends with a letter to his two daughters, Cam and Erin. Kelly shares details of his and his wife Jill’s journey to Christianity after the passing of their son, and how that experience has changed their lives for the better – forever. FaithWords publishes books for the growing inspirational market.

Based near Nashville, Tenn., FaithWords has grown dramatically by acquiring a solid list of faith-building fiction and high-profile authors with edifying messages, including best-selling authors Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, John Eldredge, and David Jeremiah. Several FaithWords titles have appeared on national best-seller lists, most recently Every Day a Friday by Joel Osteen, Living Beyond Your Feelings by Joyce Meyer and I Never Thought I’d See the Day! by David Jeremiah.

Book review: Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones speeds to glory

Published by:

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

Based on the success Cullen Jones has displayed in swimming, one would find it hard to believe he almost drowned at Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Penn., when he was 5 years old. But, Jones turned the horrific event into a positive. He learned how to swim, and 20-plus years later, he became a gold-medal winning swimming champion in the 50-meter freestyle at the Beijing summer games in 2008.

Jones, 28, the second African American in history to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming (400-meter freestyle with Michael Phelps, Jason Lezak, and Garrett Weber-Gale), places his faith, courage, and hard work in a children’s book titled “Speed to Glory: The Cullen Jones Story” (Zonderkidz; $6.99), currently in bookstores.

In the 2012 London Olympics, the North Carolina State University alum will participate in the men’s 100-meter freestyle (July 31 heat), men’s 400-meter relay (July 29 heat), and men’s 50-meter freestyle (Aug. 2 heat) at the 2012 summer games.

Written by Natalie Davis Miller, the book is truly inspirational. Whether it is swimming or in life, Jones wants readers to understand that commitment and trusting in God goes a long way.

Miller said Jones, who lists Proverbs as his favorite book in the Bible, attended church as a teen with his father and mother, the late Ronald Jones and Debra Jones. Although he is unable to attend church on a regular basis, Cullen Jones still devotes time in his schedule.

“I call on religion in every aspect of my life, whether I’m at the OIympic Games representing the USA or about to get on a plane to an event,” Jones said.

In the chapter “Finding Faith,” Miller said Cullen Jones keeps faith at the core of his daily life.

Jones also addresses the stereotypes about African American swimmers which exist. In chapter 12, “Make a Splash with Cullen Jones,” Miller describes how Jones came to create his swimming initiative, Make a Splash With Cullen Jones. In August 2010, Jones was taken aback by the drowning of six African American children in the Red River in Shreveport, La. This event prompted the gifted swimmer to partner with the USA Swimming Foundation and ConocoPhillips to help minorities across the country learn how to swim. In addition, Jones provides free to low-cost swimming lessons to children.

“Speed to Glory” is a simple read with a strong message: honor the steps His has provided to you, work hard, and always give back to others.