Jaci Velasquez, Author

Multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated artist Jaci Velasquez shares how she overcame the challenges of early fame and a failed marriage and trusted God to turn her broken pieces into priceless treasures.

After the release of her first album at the awkward age of sixteen, Jaci Velasquez found sudden fame. Five of the songs reached number one, and she became the first and fastest-selling solo artist in Christian music history to reach gold status with a debut album. Despite her initial success, however, her career stalled, and her young marriage ended after little more than a year, leaving her feeling broken, used up, and sometimes useless. But God repurposed those experiences for a greater plan as her renewed faith carried her through a resurrected career, the adventures of a second marriage, and the ups-and-downs of being a wife and mother of two boys, including one diagnosed with autism.

Through a blend of personal narrative, practical strategies, and the truth of God’s word, Jaci invites readers to rewrite their own stories and dream new dreams for their lives. Her life-transforming insights will guide readers in not only overcoming challenges, wrong turns, and often painful circumstances, but also in growing from those experiences and becoming equipped and empowered to help others.

Galen Crew

Galen Crew is an American recording artist, producer, and songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. His music is known for its dream-like quality which often features deep yet whimsical themes and seems to emanate from a different world. At his core, Galen is a storyteller. He crafts stories that pull from various art forms….citing fantasy authors such as Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Herman Hesse as having inspired him just as much as the Beatles, Coldplay, and John Mayer. Imagine if the mysterious Grimm Brothers fairy tale collections were somehow transformed into modern pop songs – and you’ll start to get idea of the imagery, depth, and layers within Galen’s music.

Having played in various bands throughout his life, Galen had always been primarily the songwriter and guitarist. But at age 19, he began writing unique material that didn’t fit with any of the bands he was playing with, and he tentatively stepped out as a vocalist himself. The first few demos he recorded as a solo artist immediately caught the attention of Roger Cook, legendary British songwriter (“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”; “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress”). Galen and Roger have now written over 100 songs together. One of them, titled “Sleepyhead” – a unique story song that is something of a medieval myth or fairy tale – organically went viral in China. Upon discovering that his music was gaining millions upon millions of streams on Chinese music platforms, Galentoured the country twice – and found that although he had never been to Asia before, his fans knew the words to his songs in every city he performed in. Galen describes the experience as being simultaneously surreal and inspiring. In fall 2016 he teamed up with Hover Coalition Music. In 2018, he released Apologue, a large body of work released in 4 Volumes. Galen’s music has now garnered over 150 million plays worldwide.

 

Glenn Stanton

Glenn has worked for the past 25 years as a full-time researcher and sought-after writer, speaker and contributing founder of the growing movement to recover marriage as a social resource in improving the well-being of children, women, men and communities. He greatly enjoys serving as the Director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, an international organization working to build thriving families around the globe.

Glenn debates and lectures extensively on the issues of gender, sexuality, marriage and parenting at universities and churches around the country. He served the George W. Bush administration for many years as a consultant on increasing fatherhood involvement in the Head Start program. Glenn is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s Boundless blog,  National Review Online’s The Corner, as well as Christianity TodayFirst Things, The National Catholic Register, a Senior Contributor at The Federalist and the Gospel Coalition

He is the author of 8 books and a contributor to 9 or so others. He has two brand new books out. The Family Project (Tyndale, 2014), co-authored with Leon Wirth, serves as a practical Christian worldview on marriage, family, and sexuality. This book is a companion to the larger 12-part DVD small group curriculum from Focus on the Family by the same name that he also co-wrote with Leon Wirth. Loving My (LGBT) Neighbor (Moody, 2014) is a very practical look at how Christians can befriend their LGBT neighbors, co-workers, family members and those they sit next to at church in meaningful ways without having to give up our convictions.

His others are The Ring Makes All the Difference (Moody, 2011), a researched-based guide in understanding how marriage and cohabitation are very different kinds of foundations upon which to build healthy, thriving relationships and Secure Daughters Confident Sons: How Parents Guide Their Children into Authentic Masculinity and Feminity(Multnomah, 2011), which explores how mothers and fathers uniquely raise girls and boys to be strong, healthy women and men.

Glenn is working on his 9th book, The Myth of Dying Church, out in June 2019.

His others are Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society (1997) and My Crazy, Imperfect Christian Family (NavPress, 2004) and Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage and Parenting (InterVarsity Press, 2004) which was featured on C-SPAN BookTV.

He is also the co-author of the wide theatrically released and acclaimed film Irreplaceable.

Elizabeth Johnston – The Activist Mommy

Activist Mommy Bio-Elizabeth is an activist vlogger, speaker, and author who educates and inspires the public on the burning social and moral issues of the day that are important to families. She and her husband Patrick, who is a medical doctor, author, and movie producer, have been pro-life ministry leaders for many years and home educate their 10 beautiful children. The growing threat to America’s children and the vicious attack on religious liberty is what dynamited Elizabeth out of her comfortzone to inspire a nation of belittled conservatives and Christians to “come out of their closets” and boldly take their country back. Elizabeth daily triggers the left by confronting the lies of abortion, feminism, Islam, and the homosexual agenda with wit and snark like only she can, and she regularly posts viral commentaryvideos which have netted over 70 million views. Elizabeth has been featured on many major media outlets, such as Fox & Friends, The New York Times, The Blaze and Christian Broadcasting Network, as she has become a thought leader on topics of importance to families. The pulse behind all her activism and cultural commentary is her love for her family and her Savior, Jesus Christ.

Dr. Duke

Dr. Duke Pesta is the Director of FreedomProject Academy, host of the Dr. Duke Show podcast, and a tenured professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Dr. Pesta is an engaging and animated speaker, whose experiences as an educational reformer, university professor, high school teacher, and the administrator of an online classical school uniquely qualify him to address the current state of education in our country. He speaks at home school conventions and educational conferences across the nation on topics including homeschooling, the decline of morality and critical thinking in the public schools, and the myriad ways that colleges and universities indoctrinate students.

Dr. Pesta is one of America’s foremost authorities on the dangers of Common Core, having delivered more than 700 talks in 46 states. He has also testified about Common Core and educational reform before 20 state legislatures and participated in more than 5000 radio and television interviews, from Canada to China, and from Mexico to the United Kingdom. Dr. Pesta was instrumental in developing and implementing an elective Bible course that is currently available for public high school students in Texas. His collective videos and presentations top more than three million views online, and much of his work is available at FreedomProject.com and FPEUSA.org.

Allie Stuckey

Allie Stuckey is the host of the podcast, “Relatable,” where she breaks down the latest in culture, news and politics from a Christian, conservative perspective. She is a frequent guest on Fox News, writer and the author of a book to be released in the spring of 2020. In 2015, Allie began speaking to college sororities about the importance of voting. What started out as a hobby soon turned into a full-time career, with her blog “The Conservative Millennial” launching her into the political media sphere. Today, in addition to podcasting, writing, and making the occasional satirical video, Allie speaks to colleges and organizations about the importance of conservative values.

Avalon

AVALON REVEALS THE NEXT CHAPTER
Jody McBrayer Returns To Group After 12 Years; Group Welcomes Newcomer Dani Rocca
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (August 29, 2018) – In a video posted to their official website and social media platforms today, AVALON – beloved, lauded and iconic vocal group – revealed ‘the next chapter’ in their decorated career.
With a very quick video – that is sure to garner excitement and further questions from their devoted audience – the group simply announced ‘Hi! We’re AVALON.” In that video, viewers catch a very quick glimpse that reveals two new members Dani Rocca and, after a 12-year absence from the group, Jody McBrayer.
“Greg and I are thrilled to welcome back our friend and brother, Jody McBrayer,” shares Janna Long. “I know our friends will be thrilled to see Jody with AVALON again just as much as we’re ecstatic to share the platfor with him.”
Jody McBrayer comments, “Who would have ever imagined that, after nearly 12 years, I would be a part of Avalon again? I’m always surprised at how God works and so extremely happy and grateful for this new season with them.”
“After we heard her sing for the first time, Janna looked at me and said ‘I love this girl’s voice.’  Very soon, we fell in love with person who is Dani Rocca. I know our friends will love her, too,” said Greg Long.
AVALON is set to record new music together, and details will be released at a later date regarding that project.
As in the past, AVALON will perform a very select set of tour dates as Greg & Janna Long are staff worship leaders at Woodlands Church in Texas and Jody McBrayer performs with Cana’s Voice and solo tour dates.

Gaither Vocal Band

https://www.gaither.com

The Gaither Vocal Band got its start in the early 1980s with four guys singing around a piano backstage before a Bill Gaither Trio concert. Gary McSpadden, Steve Green, Lee Young and Bill Gaither were just having fun, harmonizing on “Your First Day in Heaven” when Bill decided they should try out their new sound on a live audience that very night. The audience went wild… and that impromptu performance marked the beginning of an era.

Now, for more than a quarter century, the Gaither Vocal Band has created a legacy of award-winning excellence that has forever raised the bar for male harmony. The list of men who have comprised the Gaither Vocal Band over the years reads like a “Who’s Who” among the gospel music industry’s best-loved voices. And, always at the helm, has been Bill Gaither, who has led the group out of his personal passion for great harmony and his genuine desire to bring meaningful music to a hurting world. The Grammy-winning, chart-busting success of the Gaither Vocal Band has far exceeded his wildest expectations.

Today, the Gaither Vocal Band roster is comprised of Bill Gaither, Wes Hampton, David Phelps and Adam Crabb. Individually, these men are gifted artists and men of authentic faith. Together, they are the incomparable Gaither Vocal Band, known around the world for their powerhouse vocals, innovative harmonies and life-altering message… a message of grace, hope and redemption.

Tamela Mann

https://www.tillymannmusic.com/

Few entertainers today can match the unbridled energy and creative passion that Tamela Mann brings to her multi-faceted career. An acclaimed actress, NAACP Image Award nominee and Dove Award-winning vocalist as well as wife and mother, Mann’s talent has helped anchor one of the industry’s most successful film, TV and theatrical franchises, while her amazing vocal gift is at the top of her impressive resume.

Tamela seems to effortlessly juggle a variety of notable projects while still finding time to aid such worthy organizations as the American Diabetes Assn. 2012 looks to be a memorable year for Mann as she’ll be seen with Jordan Sparks and Whitney Houston in the upcoming film “Sparkle,” she and her husband, NAACP Image award winning actor and comedian, David Mann will co-host a new lifestyle and cooking TV “Hanging With The Manns,” and she’s releasing a new album, “Best Days”.

“I want to present music that people can be blessed by and that can be healing,” she says about her new record. “We have to put music out to keep people encouraged and keep lifting the body of Christ up, and even the ones that haven’t become Christians. We need to encourage them that the best thing that they could ever do is become a child of God.”

With “Best Days,” Tamela is on a mission to share the strength and joy that can be found in being a child of God. Produced by Myron Butler, the project showcases Mann’s powerful voice and her gift for wringing every ounce of emotion from a great lyric. The title track, penned by Butler, is a jubilant celebration of God’s promises. “It’s a very encouraging song. It gives a lot of hope,” Tamela says. “It’s about looking back on your past and not letting your past take over your life. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Things will be better.”

That positive, life-affirming attitude is not only the focal point of Tamela’s new album, it’s at the heart of everything she does. Whether she’s starring in a film, a play or on television with her husband David in the successful TBS comedy “Meet the Browns,” or recording a Dove Award-winning album, the singer continually touches people with her impressive talent and her Christ-like spirit.

Faith has always been the foundation of Tamela’s life. “It was all about faith and all about God in my mom’s house,” She recalls of growing up in Fort Worth, Texas as the youngest of 14 kids. “We couldn’t listen to like R&B or blues. My mom would say, ‘You can’t listen to those blues in my house.’ She was really strict, but we listened to a lot of gospel music—The Clark Sisters, Andrae’ Crouch, Walter Hawkins, The Williams Brothers and Inez Andrews.”

Tamela knew at an early age that she was called to music ministry. “When I was eight-years-old, I was going to youth choir rehearsals with my older siblings, and I would start learning the songs that they were singing. I noticed myself scooting up closer and closer to the choir stand, singing with the choir. I jumped in there and started singing soprano right off.”

Though she was young, her voice caught the attention of the choir director and her uncle, who was the pastor. “I had an opportunity to sing the lead and the song was James Cleveland’s ‘I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired.’ It went over so well and I got so moved while I was singing the song, I started crying. I didn’t know what it was at the time, being so young, but it was like the spirit of God would take me over every time that I would sing. I found out that singing was my passion.”

By the time she was 12, she was in the singing choir at the Holy Tabernacle church. Shortly after high school, she met three young men that would change her life forever. David Mann became her husband Darrell Blair who is now her pastor, and their pal Kirk Franklin, who helped launch Tamela’s singing career when he recruited her to be part of his groundbreaking group, The Family. Tamela sang on five of Franklin’s albums and has fond memories of those days. “I look at all of us and just how God has blessed us in different areas,” she says. “We’re going on and doing our own things. We’re all still serving the Lord which is really a blessing.”

After her stint with The Family, God continued to open doors for Mann to serve him in the arts. She landed a role in the play “He Say. . .She Say. . .But What Does God Say?” Her stage skills were noticed by actor/writer/producer Tyler Perry who chose her to appear in his play, “I Can Do Bad All By Myself.” From there her acting career escalated as she developed the role of Cora Simmons in Perry’s plays and such films as “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “Madea Goes to Jail” and 2011’s “Madea’s Big Happy Family.” The Madea films have become one of Hollywood’s most successful film franchises and Mann’s portrayal of ‘Cora Simmons’ has become a cornerstone of the series.

Tamela has also taken ‘Cora’ into America’s living rooms via the television screen, co-starring with her husband David in the #1 TBS series, “Meet the Browns.” Yet even as she’s become increasingly successful as an actress, Mann’s passion for music has never diminished. She’s recorded four highly acclaimed albums, including “The Master Plan,” which won the 2011 Dove Award for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year and was nominated for an NAACP Image award.

Though an award winning project might cause some artists to feel pressure when they enter the studio to record their follow up album, Tamela just felt excited and motivated to take her music to another level, and she does just that on “Best Days.”  “I take no glory. I take no merit for myself because it all comes from Him,” Mann says. “Everything that I am comes from Him. The Lord gives me words and the most fulfilling part is that I can plant a seed of joy and hope for people that I’ve never met.”

Among Tamela’s favorite songs on the new album is “All To Thee.” “That is a worship song that says, ‘Less of me, more of thee, all the glory and all the honor belongs to you .’ The lyrics make me cry because they remind me that it’s not about me,” she says. “It’s all about Him and I just want to be able to give everything that I have to Him.”

“Back in the Day Praise” is a nostalgic tune that takes Tamela back to her roots. “When I was growing up we’d have a lot of tent revivals,” she says, “and it’s talking about all the things we did back in the day and how when people would go to church they would kneel and pray. It’s a reminder of how we used to praise God.”

“Guest of Honor” is a modern worship anthem about treating the Lord as an invited guest. “Some of lyrics say, ‘Here we are Lord. We are waiting for your arrival.’ It’s another one of my favorite songs on this album,” she states. Tamela is also excited about her daughters, Tia and Tiffany, making their recording debut on “Best Days.” “I’m so excited for people to hear them.”

Tamela Mann has been blessed with a busy life filled with faith, family and a rewarding career. She and David have been happily married for 24 years and have four children and seven grandchildren. The couple serves as spokespeople for the American Diabetes Association, helping educate people on healthy food choices and the importance of exercise. They also incorporate tips into “Hanging with the Manns,” a new cooking show the couple is co-hosting. They revel in the opportunity to work together on different projects. “We started out as best friends and we tell each other everything,” she says of what keeps her marriage strong. “Everything that we have accomplished has been together and it’s just really a blessing.”

The Mann’s home base remains in Texas and they are active in their church. “I’m always involved in church when I’m home,” she says. “When we have activities, I’m the decorator. I always decorate the fellowship hall. I really like being involved and I think it’s important because the pastors need laborers. They don’t just need members. They need laborers. It’s very important to come and be a part of actual fellowship and be a part of activities.”

As much as she loves being home, she also loves touring and ministering to people all over the world through her music. “That’s where I find my joy, when I can sing and minister to people,” she says, “because I see the hope and encouragement that it gives people. It’s something that I will do until I die. I will do this until the Lord calls me home because this is one sure way that I know I can tell people about Him so He can be glorified. I’ll never stop because I love it so much.”

 

SELAH

https://selahonline.com

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Unmatched talent, a passion for ministry and a deep love for the Church—for 20 years these have been constants for the musical tour de force known as Selah. Amassing more than 4 million units in sales; eight Gospel Music Association Dove Awards; a Gold-certified album and eight #1 singles, the group’s signature hits include “You Raise Me Up” and “Wonderful, Merciful Savior.” Todd Smith, Allan Hall and Amy Perry have together graced the stage of Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry, all the while carrying a message of hope and healing for those who pause and listen. True to form, Selah’s first all-new recording in nearly three years, Unbreakable, is hallmarked by the beloved trio’s down-to-earth realness, soaring harmonies and unforgettable arrangements.

Produced by Todd, Allan and longtime collaborator Jason Kyle Saetveit, Unbreakable includes contributions from acclaimed producers Charlie Peacock (Switchfoot, The Civil Wars) and Scott Cash (Dan Bremnes). A centerpiece of the album and its lead single, “I Got Saved”— written by Jennie Lee Riddle (“Revelation Song”), Crystal Yates and Corey Voss—lit a very personal fire in Todd, the likes of which he had not felt since first hearing “You Raise Me Up.” He agreed to do anything necessary to get it on the record.

I’m undone by the mercy of Jesus / I’m undone by the goodness of the Lord
I’m restored and made right / He got a hold of my life
I’ve got Jesus / How could I want more?

“There’s such a power in the lyric,” Todd says of the Scott Cash-produced and Ed Cash-executive produced song, which brings audiences to their feet, hands raised, singing along. “It reminded me of when I accepted Jesus as a 5-year-old in a small town church in Michigan, of that day and of all He’s brought me through since. When we share our testimony we open up the Gospel and encourage the saints.”

Similarly, the soaring ballad “Broken Ladders” struck a chord with Amy upon her first listen. The song’s message continues to serve as a powerful reminder of her worth in Christ each time she sings it.

All You ever wanted was my heart / My heart, my simple heart
To You that’s all that really matters

“The first time I heard it, I just wept and wept in my car,” she says, describing her life-long struggle with self-esteem and acceptance. “I’ve spent a lot of years feeling not good enough, not pretty enough, and over time I’d gotten to a place of nothing being good enough, trying to meet the impossible fake-perfect standards of Instagram and Pinterest, expectations no woman could ever achieve. ‘Broken Ladders’ broke open something inside me, allowing me to let those impossible standards go, to lay those insecurities at His feet so He can do His work in me.”

“People of the Cross,” a poignant song about the persecuted Church, is particularly important to Todd. He co-wrote the song with Jennie Lee Riddle, and the track was produced by Charlie Peacock. It’s a response to the murder of 21 Egyptian Christians at the hands of ISIS and a reminder to pray for those who suffer for their faith.

Jesus, we will be faithful ‘til you meet us / Give us Your courage as we finish
We want to hear ‘well done’ / We are the people of the cross

“Many times when persecution is so visible,” Todd says, “it’s because Satan is so threatened. What we don’t see is that God is working supernaturally. Thousands of Muslims are having dreams and visions of Jesus, asking people about the Bible and coming to faith in the midst of all this darkness.”

The joyful title-cut, with its infectious melody and driving beat is an admitted departure for the group, but a contrast they welcome. “We’ve never done a track like that,” says Allan. “It has an 80s retro feel, and it’s just a light pop moment.”

Amidst such powerful new selections are a treasure trove of beloved hymns and standards. From the African-influenced “This Little Light of Mine” (a tribute to Todd’s missionary heritage); to the classic “Got Any Rivers” fused with Christian music pioneer Leslie Philips’ “Carry You”; to the rip-roaring gospel medley of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot/I’ll Fly Away,” Selah hits their stride, delivering the songs—and that signature sound—fans have long adored.

Unbreakable fittingly concludes with a benediction of Hope: “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” a musical collaboration with 14-time GRAMMY® winner Ron Block of Alison Krauss & Union Station.

“Hymns have always been foundational to what we do and who we are,” Allan says.  “We sang ‘It Is Well With My Soul’ at a youth conference one time and were congratulated by a teenager afterward for writing such a ‘cool song.’  I explained to him where the song came from, showed him a hymnal and told him it was chock-full of other really ‘cool songs.’ Parents are always telling us, ‘the only way our kids know these hymns is because we sing along in the car with you.’ If we’ve played a small part in keeping hymns alive for future generations, I feel like we’ve accomplished a dream.”  

Indeed, the fruition of Selah’s dream continues, singing the hymnbook as only they can, sharing unbreakable Truth and Hope of the Gospel to those who have ears to hear.