Friday, January 22, 2016

Audio books and Church Growth

Happy Friday everyone!

What do audio books and church growth have in common?  Absolutely Nothing!
However, I wanted to offer a couple of free audio books to you, my loyal blog followers, but I also had some comments about church growth, so here you go, my usual Friday madness!

The Reckoning on Audio

I know many of you have already read The Reckoning, but I have some FREE (Did I say FREE? Regularly $22) copies of the audio version to "gift" to those of you who are interested.  I hired a wonderful actress to narrate the story and I think she did a marvelous job. It's a super fun story to listen to, and would make a great gift as well.

There's 2 catches:
1. You'd have to create an account. It's not a big deal and it doesn't cost anything and they don't bombard your inbox with emails.  Audible is part of Amazon, so you can even log in with your amazon userid and password.  Then I will send you a gift receipt which you then can go to Audible and redeem for my book

2. After you listen, I'd love a review on the Audible site where my book is listed. Here's the link so you can save it. The Reckoning Audio

That's it!  Easy peasy.   If you're interested, contact me at  or leave a comment below.

By the way, my new release, Charity's Cross is now available in Paperback!

Church in Decline  

(I know I said Church Growth, but bare with me)

The number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has nearly doubled (from 8 percent to 15 percent) since 1990. In the same period self-identified Christians fell by 10 percentage points (from 86 to 76 percent).

 20.5% of Americans "frequently" attended church in 1995
 19% of Americans "frequently" attended church in 1999
 18.0% of Americans "frequently" attended in church in 2002

At this trend, the figures will drop to 15% of Americans attending church by 2025, and a further drop to 11% or 12 % in 2050. Soon, we will catch up with Europe!

Speaking of Europe, out of 60 million people in the United Kingdom, only 1.1 million, or about 2 percent, go to church every week. Once it was 10 times that. Even its leaders seem to have stopped believing in it. Declining congregations and growing costs make the Church of England an unsustainable venture without the recovery of faith.

I guess we can all agree that the Western Church is in decline. There are a multitude of articles on the internet listing various statistics and reasons.  But what I want to focus on is Church Growth. And in the oddest of places!

Church Growth in China

Yes, China! Amazing, isn't it? The Christian church is thriving in this Communist Anti-God country
When Communist rule was first established in China there were 1 million Christians.  Then Mao Tse Tung took over and during his rule he killed 65 Million Chinese in his attempt to establish his communist regime. I can imagine many of those were Christians.

Now, after 65 years of organized, systematic persecution of Christians, including long prison sentences, destruction of churches, and martyrdom, there are, according to PEW Research in 2010, 67 Million Christians. Some analysts believe if current trends continue we will see 160 million believers by 2025!

There could only be one possible reason for this. Persecution. It doesn't make any sense to the natural mind, but persecution will either tear you away from Jesus or drive you closer to Him. I'm talking life-threatening, torturing persecution. It definitely divides the nominal carnal Christians from those who are serious about God. Think about it, if you got up every morning afraid for your life because you are a Christian, how often would you find yourself on your knees? 




  1. Very interesting. No one knows how strong they truly are in their faith until they go through the fire. Staying in the Word and in constant communication with God is the key to having the strength and courage needed in times of persecution.

    1. True.... Persecution will either make or break us, Chappy!

  2. It's true, our faith is refined through fiery trials, persecutions and adversities. Is it only then when you discover the worth of that person's profession of faith.The fertile soil for growth is in the valley of tribulation, not on the mountaintop ( though God ocassionally grants us this kind of experiences as well).He knows we need to be dependent on Him all the time and times like these are excellent opportunities for faith testing.
    As far as the Western Church is concerned, I can only say that it has "accommodated" itself in order to get more people in, thus compromising the clear message of the Gospel. The call to repentance has been replaced by a "feel good about yourself" philosophy. Yesterday I listened to a sermon by pastor David Wilkerson on the last days deception where he addressed this particular topic- the "seeker friendly" churches that have stopped being salt and light to this world.

    1. Couldn't agree more, Rose. We recently left our church because they began compromising the hard truths of the gospel to draw in more people. They spend time and effort on tennis clubs and bike clubs and not in making disciples. WE've yet to find another church here in CA. So we do our own Bible study at home. Such a shame!

  3. Thanks for your enlightening post, MaryLu!!

    Those are some scary figures, although I feel they are consistent with biblical predictions. I agree with your assessment: trials (persecution) tend to make us either reach out and draw nearer to Him, or further away. Although I certainly haven't been physically tortured or had my life threatened re: my spiritual beliefs, I have had some life-changing trials/experiences which have brought me closer to Him!!

    I'd love to have an audio copy of "The Reckoning"!! Shared the news re: the paperback availability and e-book pre-order on "Charity's Cross"!!

    Hope this Friday is a good one for you - we're in the midst of the snow storm in my area, blizzard-life conditions yet all is well inside!!

    Love, prayers, and hugs!!

    1. Yes.. I know you've had your own set of trials, Bonnie... and you've allowed them to bring you closer to God not farther away! I'm sending an audio book your way. I heard about the snow storm. I pray you are safe and warm and can stay inside! Hugs!

  4. I completely agree with you, MaryLu--persecution always causes incredible growth in the Body of Christ, because it prevents people from being on the fence or just giving lip-service. And those who choose Jesus will be forced to press in for more of His grace than ever before, and He gives it abundantly and the growth naturally results!
    So while persecution isn't really a fun concept, it isn't something to panic over, by any means. My flesh doesn't relish the idea of pain and whatnot, but I rejoice at the evidence of how the Kingdom of God flourishes under pressure.

    1. My flesh cringes at the pain too, Leah, but my soul rejoices when God triumphs! And He is and He will!

  5. I'm glad to hear China is having an increase in Christians but sad about America and Europe. Praying and holding to faith!
    I'd love to get the audio book but for some reason I can't leave a review on the app after I'm done listening. Every time I try leaving a review it keeps kicking me out and instead I have to go to Amazon or Goodreads to do it. Jenny

    jennydtipton at gmail dot com

    1. Jennifer, I just sent you a copy... A review anywhere you can would be great! Thanks!!

  6. There is truth in that! One of the greatest percentage growth occurred in the beginning when Christian martyrs were "entertainment" in violent games. When others see you give so much for a belief, they want to know why. It's not just about what it does for us, but what others see we are willing to give for it. I know in my own life, when I saw people speak up for their faith in college classrooms that were openly hostile to it, I was floored. I didn't immediately become born-again because of it, but it STUCK with me. Why would they endure the hatred of their teachers and fellow students, when in the lecture hall they could have hidden in the back row and kept their mouths shut (like I did at the time).
    Call me crazy, but I don't know that I believe Christians are on the decline in this country in the way the numbers supposedly show. Notice I did not say The Church. I know when I was a kid there were lots of people who went to church each week and before they got out of the parking lot they had already forgotten the sermon. No other thought was given to their faith the remainder of the week. They went because it's what they did. Today, people make a choice (mostly) because they believe or don't believe. The numbers of churchgoers who are actually believers are more accurate today than the assumption of belief ten-twenty years ago. I knew few openly, active, Bible-believing Christians when I was younger. I know many today. God does not always work in the obvious, but make no mistake, He is still working!

    1. Good points, Connie. I should have said the Church was in decline, as far as attendance... but you may be right that those remaining attendees are the true Christians! There's also a home church movement going on in this country now too where people are meeting in homes like the early church. Those churches are blossoming!

  7. Interesting thoughts on the Church, I would enjoy listening to The Reckoning on audio..
    dkstevensne AToutlookDOTcOM

  8. Hi! That is the finish of this post.I know in my own life, when I saw people speak up for their faith in college classrooms that were openly hostile to it, I was floored. I didn't immediately become born-again because of it, but it STUCK with me.Business Related Topics