Welcome to the Blog Tour for And Their Numbers Grew by Naomi Craig & Donna E. Lane, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!
AND THEIR NUMBERS GREW by Naomi Craig & Donna E. Lane
GENRE: Historical/Biblical Fiction (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Bear’s Place Publishing
RELEASE DATE: November 7, 2023
Four lives. Four destinies. One gospel.
Fans of Mesu Andrews and Connilyn Cossette will love And Their Numbers Grew.
If you love The Chosen, the story continues in And Their Numbers Grew.
Rumors of the risen Christ spread through Jerusalem like a wildfire—and the Sanhedrin is paying attention.
Their efforts to stifle the name of Jesus only fuel the cause until a young Pharisee gets involved, breathing threats of imprisonment—or worse. Stephen’s brutal stoning accelerates the persecution and sends the faithful fleeing the city for their lives.
They are afflicted in every way, but not crushed. As the fledgling church disperses, their numbers continue to grow. Now, the apostles must train the new believers in the ways and words of Jesus—and what it means to live in God’s Kingdom here on earth.
The Kingdom of God spreads to Damascus, Joppa, Caesarea, Antioch, and Tarsus through the testimonies of Ananias, Tabitha, and Barnabas. While an outraged Saul sets out for Damascus to arrest them all, the followers press on fervently, with the help of the Holy Spirit—though it may cost them their lives.
Four disciples whose lives are intertwined, told in four novellas, chronicling the birth pains of the early church.
playlist: king of kings
by Naomi Craig, author of And Their Numbers Grew
And Their Numbers Grew is an epic, New Testament story that starts at the crucifixion and chronicles the birth of the early church and the spread of the gospel. One of our early readers said our book reminded her of King of Kings by Hillsong.
This is so perfect! My church’s choir sang this for our Easter Cantata this year. I am on the audio-visual team and sitting in on each rehearsal, the songs are ingrained in my soul by the time Easter Sunday comes around.
We had a worshipful video that played in the background with the lyrics on the screen, and at the last verse
And the church of Christ was born
Then the Spirit lit the flame…
A flock of doves was released on the screen. I. LOVE. IT.
To me it symbolizes the Holy Spirit and the spreading of the Gospel. The boldness that the disciples and apostles prayed for and exhibited is so admirable. I want that boldness and urgency in my life. I want to share the good news of the risen Christ with this same passion.
King Of Kings (watch HERE)
And the morning that You rose
All of heaven held its breath
Till that stone was moved for good
For the Lamb had conquered death
And the dead rose from their tombs
And the angels stood in awe
For the souls of all who’d come
To the Father are restored
VERSE 4 (The part that says “And Their Numbers Grew” to me.)
And the Church of Christ was born
Then the Spirit lit the flame
Now this gospel truth of old
Shall not kneel shall not faint
By His blood and in His Name
In His freedom I am free
For the love of Jesus Christ
Who has resurrected me
Words and Music by Jason Ingram, Brooke Ligertwood & Scott Ligertwood
© 2019 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI: 7127647
character sketch: Stephen
by Donna E. Lane, author of And Their Numbers Grew
One of my favorite characters in Scripture is Stephen, which is why I chose him for one of my two main characters in And Their Numbers Grew. I’ve always been impressed by his courage, strength, and faith as he made his case before the Sanhedrin, knowing it could mean his death, and I’m in awe of how he stood with his eyes fixed on the Lord as they stoned him (Acts 6-7).
In my experience, the characters and stories in Scripture that draw us often connect to us in a personal way, whether we see ourselves in the individual or relate our experiences to theirs in some way. Stephen’s willingness to confront falsehoods, handle conflict, and maintain his composure are some of his strengths I share. As a Christian counselor and spiritual director, I’m often in a position to confront the lies people believe about themselves or about God, and I must be comfortable with conflict, or I won’t be much help to my clients.
As for weaknesses, Stephen’s harsh words for the elders indicate his tendency to act as judge and jury when he sees injustice. In And Their Numbers Grew, Stephen must acknowledge his judgmental reactions toward the other followers, the Pharisees, and even at times toward God, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform his heart to one of love. Like Stephen, I have a tendency toward judgment and must keep my eyes fixed on Jesus to prevent this inclination from determining my responses.
Stephen is described as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5) and “full of grace and power” (v. 8). In the book, I imagine him as intelligent, passionate, and headstrong. I envision the strength of his faith producing boldness as he preaches the truth of Christ and heals through the power of the Holy Spirit. Based on his fervor for Christ, I picture him expressing the same deep passion in his relationship with the woman he loves. He’s someone who is “all-in” in whatever he does.
But Stephen does have some struggles. He carries regret for some of his past decisions and feels a profound sense of shame for his failures. As someone who struggles with being judgmental of others, he points the same high expectations toward himself. The Lord has to do a lot of work on his heart to teach him grace and forgiveness.
Stephen’s primary motivation is to better himself, challenge others, and improve the plight of those in need, and once he comes to Christ, this motivation shifts to a specific betterment—knowing Christ and sharing the Good News. It is the fervent hope of my heart that if I were in similar circumstances to Stephen, I would respond like he does, with strength, courage, and faith, and that, like Stephen, my passion for Christ would be the primary motivator of my life.
Author of Biblical fiction, avid reader, pastor’s wife, Naomi Craig loves reading the Bible and imagining how things were at the time. When she’s not serving in various areas at church or trying to stay on top of mountains of dishes, you’ll most likely find her enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee. Naomi co-hosts #BehindTheStory on YouTube and helps facilitate Biblical Fiction Aficionados Community on Facebook. When not writing or trying to wrangle social media, Naomi attempts to get her rescue dog to be cute on command for the many pics she takes throughout the day.
Connect with Naomi by visiting naomicraig.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.
Donna E. Lane is an award-winning, multi-genre author with a passion for exploring all aspects of the human experience. As a Christian counselor and spiritual director, Dr. Lane has dedicated herself to guiding individuals on their spiritual journeys, offering solace and wisdom through her integrated approach. Her 46 years of experience in this field have provided her with insights which she seamlessly weaves into her writing, delving into the complexities of relationships and the depths of the human heart.
With a boundless imagination, a fervent devotion to Jesus, a love for history, and a fascination with time, she crafts stories that resonate deeply with readers, offering the opportunity to embark on unforgettable journeys to other worlds, across time, and into space.
A devoted wife of 44 years and mother of three, she now cherishes her role as a grandmother and mom to her new puppy, a little white furball named Rosie Cotton.
Connect with Donna by visiting thedoctorslane.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.
(1) winner will win a paperback copy of And Their Numbers Grew and a $25 amazon gift card!
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight December 4, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on December 11, 2023. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US/CAN only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.
This giveaway is hosted by JustRead Tours, not RimSP
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What about you? What makes you want to read And Their Numbers Grew by Naomi Craig & Donna E. Lane?