Writing Contest: He Remembers the Barren

Emmanuel Press is joining with Katie Schuermann and the hosts of He Remembers the Barren blog to sponsor a writing contest. To enter, submit a reflection (no more than 800 words) on the following prompt: “I waited patiently for the LORD; He inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1) by Monday, March 25. While you can read all of the details here, we do want to point out that the prize is a 14.7″ x 18″ giclee print of the cover art (left) from the second edition of He Remembers the Barren. We commissioned this beautiful painting from Edward Riojas; learn more about him at edriojasartist.com.

In a recent interview on KFUO’s The Coffee Hour, Katie Schuermann discussed the symbolism in the painting, the theme for the writing contest, and why the season of Lent is an appropriate time for such a contest. And the scope of submissions is not limited to barrenness, as Katie explains in the interview. How has the Lord inclined to you and heard your cry? We look forward to your submissions, dear readers!

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Bulk discounts for He Restores My Soul

As He Restores My Soul nears its six-month anniversary, we look back at this half year with much thankfulness. We are honored to have worked with such talented authors whose writing beautifully and continually points us to Jesus Christ. And we are humbled and grateful for the eager response from our customers and the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (see excerpts below).

Did you know that we structured He Restores My Soul to work well for either individual reading or for groups to read together? Study questions accompany every chapter, and each of the 14 chapters functions independently from the others, making it easy to read straight through or in parts. We also offer bulk discounts for larger orders. Save 15% on orders of 10-19 books, 20% on 20-29 books, and 25% on 30+ books. To take advantage of the savings, contact us for a customized invoice.

“How often do we look at the Christians around us, marveling at their “put-together” lives, and secretly tuck our own struggle and insufficiency away? This book reminds us that living in this world is hard, and the effects of sin and our brokenness is something that we all share….Their stories do not prescribe a formula for temporal victory. They do not leave us praising each writer for her courage, faith, and strength. They are not given as a self-help digest. They simply remind us that, in all things, as God’s children living under the cross, we must look to Jesus for help and rest and restoration.”
-St. Louis Lutheran on Amazon

“I read this book in a single sitting, staying up late into the evening to finish. Every woman’s chapter was beautifully written, and each one left me with a deeper appreciation of the human condition, and a greater awareness of the struggles in life we know nothing about.” -Rebekah Theilen on Goodreads

“They share their tragedies but there is always triumph through Jesus. They suffer and are yet rejoicing in the cross of Christ. This book is filled with encouragement for the daily Christian life but also hope and wisdom for those extra rough seasons of life. Well worth your time and a great gift for those who may need a word of encouragement.”
-Jamie Lynn on Goodreads

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Thy Kingdom Come: An Excerpt from Ash Wednesday


“Your ashes are smeared today. There is no beauty in them. The world cannot see anything in them but an ugly smudge of dirt and death. But for those with the eyes of faith, they are in the form of a cross, that most lovely and dear of all symbols, that emblem of our hope.

“We set our faces toward Jerusalem today. We turn our backs on sin. We look through the gallows on Golgotha and see the glory of the cross enlightening the empty tomb. He has been lifted up from the earth to draw us to Him, to drain the Law’s accusing power, to empty hell’s claim, to crush the devil’s head, to bestow peace upon the meek.

“You are a holy people, anointed with ashes. You belong to the Lord. His mark and name are upon you. This is what it is to be sanctified, to be holy. You are forgiven, to be sure, but there is more than that. You are not only forgiven, or just made even with God, as though you never did anything wrong, and that is that. There is more. For not only has your debt been wiped out, but there is a credit to your account. You aren’t just even; you are holy. You belong to Him. You have the superabundance of His good works counting as your own, and the earth, indeed all of the universe, if your inheritance.

“So remember that you are dust and that you will return to dust. But remember also that God is a man, dust like you, joined to your temptations and sorrow, welded to your death, who was roasted to death in the Father’s wrath, reduced to ashes, and laid to rest in God’s good acre as a ransom, a whole burnt offering. That man is risen again from the dead and has come forth from the earth like a plant in the spring, that He would be your God. Turn your back on sin. Turn toward the Lord and His mercy. For here is peace and joy. Here is hope and faith.”

-David H. Petersen in Thy Kingdom Comesave 20% on this title during Lent

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Thy Kingdom Come: 20% off during Lent

“[The Lord] sows where no reasonable sower would sow: on the trodden path, in rocky and thorny ground. And His Word does what no ordinary sower could expect of his seed. It transforms the ground. It bears fruit in the unlikely hearts of rebellious men. He sows because He is good and His seed is good and we need it.

“He is no respecter or persons and does not discriminate. He sows His seed lavishly, inviting all those with ears to hear. No one comes to this kingdom worthily. There are no good people, no plowed and ready ground. There are only sinners. Some are stubborn and deny that they are sinners or deny that Jesus is the Lord’s Christ. But some – by grace, not because they are good or smart, but because He is good – are transformed and acknowledge their need for grace and the lordship of Jesus Christ. He who has gets more. The kingdom is not built on justice, but on grace.”

This is an excerpt from the sermon for Sexagesima in Thy Kingdom Come by David H. Petersen. Sexagesima is the second Sunday in Pre-Lent, which falls on February 24 this year. The readings for this particular Sunday according to the historic lectionary are Isaiah 55:10-13, 2 Corinthians 11:19-12:9, and Luke 8:4-15. Thy Kingdom Come is 20% off during Lent.

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Thy Kingdom Come: An Excerpt from Septuagesima

“The main point of the parable is that entrance into the kingdom comes by grace. The workers are rewarded for work they did not perform. This is hardly a surprise to us; in fact, we practically expect it.

“G.K. Chesterton once said, ‘Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which you are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked…It may be that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal and that you are a paralytic.’

“Chesterton has in mind immoral things. He means, ‘Don’t think you are more sophisticated than your grandmother because you watch television shows full of vulgarities and aren’t bothered by them. It could be that she was highly intelligent and sensitive and you have been paralyzed by evil so much that you don’t even notice it.’

“The same sort of numbness applies to the Gospel as well. I fear that it is even worse. We’re not just numb, but we’ve crossed over the line drawn by Bonhoeffer into ‘cheap grace.’ I fear we’re now guilty of thinking grace is worse than cheap; it is a right, an entitlement, as though God owed us salvation. Repent.”

These are the first 4 paragraphs from the sermon for Septuagesima, based on Matthew 20:1-16.

With Ash Wednesday nearing on March 6, now is the time to order your copy of Thy Kingdom Come. This book of sixty sermons begins with Septuagesima (February 17) and continues with Pre-Lent, all forty days of Lent, and the Sundays after Easter. Pastors and parishioners alike find it to be an excellent daily devotion during Lent. Click on the Reviews tab above for links to interviews and reviews, have a look at the Table of Contents here, or use the word cloud in the right sidebar (“Thy Kingdom Come” or “Petersen”) to find a variety of excerpts.

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November 30: St. Andrew’s Day

The First Sunday in Advent is that Sunday closest to St. Andrew’s day (November 30). But who was St. Andrew? Even though he was one of the twelve apostles, he doesn’t seem very well known to us.

Pr. David Petersen writes in his sermon for this day in God With Us: “He was a fisherman, which is why they like him in Malta, and the brother of St. Peter, which is why they like him in Scotland. He was also something of a missionary, bringing Peter to Christ and bringing the Greeks to Christ.”  Regarding the disciples, Petersen continues:

“Hearing John, they followed Jesus. By grace, they stayed with the Lamb. They stayed even unto their own martyrdoms, even if Andrew never gets much honor of his own. But such is the way of the Advent disciples of John. Such is the way of the kingdom: its honor belongs to Christ, even as does its righteousness, but both—the kingdom of Christ and His righteousness—are declared to belong to the saints.

“What Andrew gets, you get as well.

“Behold, the Lamb of God, the coming one, who has come into the world.”
A blessed St. Andrew’s Day to you.

*God With Us is comprised of fifty-nine sermons, beginning with Thanksgiving and St. Andrew’s Day, then continuing on through Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany (including daily readings for all of Advent). 

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Reviews for He Restores My Soul

You’ve likely seen our own advertising for He Restores My Soul, but what are our readers saying? Here are some excerpts from the reviews coming in on Amazon and Goodreads. Visit these sites yourself for many more reviews.

“Essay after essay places us in the midst of lives interrupted by the cross or by mortal recognition. Each author has lived or is living something common to life but often airbrushed out of our glowing Facebook profiles. But what really makes these essays special is not just the emotional appeal, but the ends to which that emotion is directed and the character developed and revealed. They are witness stories not to magical relief from the thorns and crosses of life, but to how the Good Shepherd guides us through the valley.” -Mark P. Brown

He Restores My Soul is not for everyone. It is only for those who, like the contributors to the book, have ever gone through or will experience any life difficulty in which hope, comfort, encouragement, and strength were needed…As other reviewers have indicated, this is not a sappy, feel-good look at the Christian life. The accounts are courageous, raw, and real and, because of that, the book will have a deep impact on the reader’s heart and mind.” -Kathie Winterstein

“Though I wasn’t able to personally relate to the unique struggles of each author, I found each chapter comforting for the struggles I face as each chapter was rich with the promises God offers to His people in Word and Sacrament. In addition to this, it also helped me to develop empathy for the suffering of others. It got me outside the echo chamber of my own mind and gave me a glimpse into the experiences of others.” -Hannah Fleming

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Rev. Brian Kachelmeier endorses The Great Works of God: Exodus

“To see the great works of the LORD is to see Jesus (Exodus 14:13). Throughout the book of Exodus, Valerius Herberger helps the reader to see Jesus, the salvation of the LORD. This devotional commentary is a must-have for anyone who is interested in finding Christ in the Old Testament.”

-Rev. Brian L. Kachelmeier, Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church in Los Alamos, NM

The Great Works of God: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Exodus is 20% off TODAY during our Thanksgiving weekend sale.

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Two new Christmas card designs for 2018

This year we are pleased to feature an acrylic painting by artist and graphic designer Meghan Schultz for our card entitled Virgin and Child. A deep blue border highlights the beautiful and serene colors in the original art, where Mary gazes at this precious son that God has given her. The words of Isaiah 9:6 on the cover and inside remind us that this newborn child in the manger is, in fact, our “Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Visit our Christmas cards page to have a look at the inside.

Our second new card for 2018, King of Kings, features artwork from the Imperial Cathedral of Speyer, Germany. This Nazarene-style fresco was painted in the cathedral’s interior walls in the mid-1800s by Johann von Schraudolph at the behest of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. The city of Speyer is significant in Reformation history; adherents of the Reformation were first called Protestants when they protested the Holy Roman Empire’s ban against Martin Luther and his teachings at an Imperial Diet in Speyer in 1529.

The inside greeting (see it here) is a stanza from the beloved hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten“:

This is He whom seers of old time chanted of with one accord,
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word.
Now He shines, the long-expected; let creation praise its Lord.
Evermore and evermore.

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A skeptical reader gives her take on He Restores My Soul

I ordered 2 copies of He Restores My Soul, which arrived while I was away at a funeral. Last night, after returning home, I thought, “I’ll just read one story before bed.” I tend to be skeptical when it comes to reading religious books written for women by women. In fact, I usually avoid them and their “Christianity Light” emotive fluff.

I did not read one story. I read the entire book. I laughed, I cried, I sighed, I prayed…I was worn out by the time I reached the last page! So, yeah, it reached me emotionally, but it was not fluff.

Even though I have not had the same life experiences as all of these women, their honest and heart- wrenching essays elicited deep empathy within me. Why? Because their stories ARE my story. While the specifics of my life are different, we all ultimately have the same story: Jesus Christ, the Incarnate, Crucified, Resurrected, and Glorified Man-God is our Savior and it is He who unites us. Not the fact that we are women or that we have been hurt in this life, but that we are sinners and there is only one solution for this problem of sin, which is the root of all pain and suffering. Each of these women expressed this clearly and focused my eyes on Jesus.

Thank you so much for publishing this book. I will be ordering more!
from Cheryl Ann, a new Emmanuel Press customer

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