Today we welcome Christina Berry, author of The Familiar Stranger, in the following guest post. Congratulations Christina for winning a Christy Awards nomination in the debut novel category, and becoming a finalist for the Carol Awards in the long comtemporary fiction category! Check out her book synopsis at the bottom of this post!
International Christian Retail Show), I had no idea what to expect in the opening gathering and PaceSetter ceremony. What a treat! Worship led by Jeremy Camp and The Museum, a Q&A with Randy Alcorn, quartets in abundance, and a moving speech by Facing the Giants co-writer and producer, Stephen Kendrick.
A secretive appearance by Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of Son of Hamas, quickened the audience’s collective breath as he shared about being a double agent, seeming to work for the terrorist group Hamas, while really feeding information to the Israeli Shin Bet. As he spoke about turning to Christ, being disinherited, abandoning fortune and status, and fighting US deportation, I was not the only one to feel I was seeing a Saul-to-Paul transformed man. (Yousef has since been granted political asylum.)
With such a historic, important presentation captured at a retail show, it seemed that this was not an ICRS of years past.
Once home, verses from Proverbs (30:7-9, NIV) jumped out at me:
"Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the Lord?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God."
Phil commented, and the audience agreed, that God’s Spirit could clearly be felt in the theater that night. Without the clamor and chaos of parties and starlets, God could be heard more clearly. Business might be conducted with more focus on accomplishing His purposes.
Sure, the show might be smaller, some publishing houses no longer attending, but the feel on the floor was respectful, excited, and anticipatory of what God might do.
Our own lives perhaps mirror ICRS. A smaller gathering. Less money spent. Less business done. Yet perhaps a greater sense of God’s purpose. A calm devotion to following Him. An assurance that despite unprecedented change, the best is still ahead of us.
“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” (Eccl. 4:6)
Maybe less really is more.
A mother and foster parent, Christina Berry carves time out of her busy schedule to write about the heart and soul of life. The Familiar Stranger is her first novel. She lives with her family in rural Oregon. You can visit her at http://authorchristinaberry.blogspot.com/ .