3 Reasons Visitors Returned to Our Church

By Mark Coppenger

When I was a kid, I came across ads for a “silent dog whistle” in comic books, and I almost ordered one. I couldn’t figure how to manage the dollar plus postage and handling. But the notion has always intrigued me: Fido hears it, but the neighbors don’t. Read more...

4 Simple Reasons God Gives Me More than I Can Handle

By Anne Peterson

You’re not sure how much longer you can hang on. You’re in the middle of a trial, desperately needing some encouragement. Read more...

Why You Struggle So Hard with Contentment

By Tom Hicks

American culture fosters discontentment and all the miseries and heartaches that go along with it. Discontentment is coveting what we do not have, longing for it, believing that if we have it, then we will be satisfied. Read more...

Should We Pray for the Defeat of ISIS, or Their Conversion?

By Russell Moore

A pastor friend told me last week that he had church members enraged with him when he suggested from the pulpit that we ought to pray for the salvation of Islamic State terrorists. The people in his church told him that he ought to be calling for justice against them, given their brutal murder of Christians, not for mercy. Read more...

I'm Giving Up Lent for Lent

By Paul Dean

I had an E.F. Hutton moment when I walked into a deli in New Orleans and ordered a roast beef sandwich on Friday during Lent. As soon as I realized what the stares were all about I quickly changed my order out of respect. At the same time, having lived in New Orleans for a number of years, I was asked more than once why I didn’t observe Lent. Depending upon who was doing the asking my typical reply might start with, “You mean aside from its pagan origin, its popish idolatry, and its cultural hypocrisy?” The quip about cultural hypocrisy was contextually related to Mardi Gras – you know, since we were in New Orleans and all – just saying. Read more...

John Denver's Opportunity Lost?

By Bill Fay

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In the Scripture, God says He is always at work, and He expects us to be about His work daily, too. Read more...

5 Reasons to be Forgiving and Patient with Your Spouse

By Dr. David B. Hawkins

She was temperamental on that particular afternoon. With too little sleep the night before and too much stress, my wife Christie was a bit edgy. I could sense that she was not as easygoing as usual. I was tempted to react to her but thought better of it. Read more...

5 Steps to Take for Reviving a Dead Marriage

By Jennifer Slattery

This Valentine’s Day are you tempted to give up? To harden your heart, pawn your wedding ring, and simply walk away? Read more...

America's Largest Christian Bookstore Chain Files for Bankruptcy

By Morgan Lee

Family Christian Stores (FCS) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Yet the ministry assured customers yesterday that it "does not expect" to close any of its more than 250 stores or lay off any of its approximately 4,000 employees.

“We strive to serve God in all that we do and trust His guidance in all our decisions, especially this very important one,” stated FCS president and CEO Chuck Bengochea. “We have carefully and prayerfully considered every option. This action allows us to stay in business and continue to serve our customers, our associates, our vendors and charities around the world.” [Full announcement below.]

Map of Family Christian Stores locations.Image: FCS website

Map of Family Christian Stores locations.

With 266 stores in 36 states, FCS is the nation's largest chain of Christian stores as measured by locations, not sales. (For comparison, LifeWay Christian Resources has 185 stores in 29 states.) In 2014, FCS generated $216 million in gross revenues, notes Randall G. Reese at Chapter 11 Cases.

FCS bought itself back from private equity owners in 2012 and pledged to donate 100 percent of its profits to widows and orphans. One example: It partnered with Karen Kingsbury to donate 2013 Black Friday sales to help Haiti orphans. FCS recently expanded into filmmaking, with 90 Minutes in Heaven to be the first of a planned two movies made each year.

In a video message to customers, Bengochea named the recession, the digital revolution, and the company’s debt load as factors leading to FCS's bankruptcy.

“I wish that we had alternatives but we do not,” he said.

On its FAQ page, FCS stated that it moved forward with bankruptcy “after much prayerful consideration and only after working to cut costs and taking other steps. We believe our only two options are to liquidate and shut down our stores or go through the Section 363 sale process and preserve Family Christian Stores. When faced with these two options, we strongly felt that there was only one viable path to take.”

“Our customers will not see any change in operations during this process,” stated Bengochea. “After the court approves the sale, we can begin to reinvest in our stores and bring our customers products and services that will help us better fulfill our mission—to glorify God by helping people find, grow, share and celebrate their faith in Christ.”

FCS has no plans to ditch "brick and mortar" stores for an online-only presence. "Some could say that 'brick and mortar' retail is not relevant, but our new management believes differently," states its FAQ. "Our plan is make the necessary investments to our stores, diversify our product lines and craft a strong retail strategy that properly places the emphasis back on delivering a warm and positive customer experience."

FCS’s restructurin

Student reprimanded for saying “God Bless America”

By Todd Starnes

A Florida high school student was disciplined after a national atheist organization took offense when he concluded the morning announcements by saying “God Bless America.” Read more...