I’m delighted to share that I’ve written a youth biography on David Livingstone which is tentatively scheduled to be published late this coming summer (perhaps August or September). The book is entitled David Livingstone: Africa’s Greatest Explorer. It is being published by CF4K (Christian Focus for Kids), the children’s books publishing arm of Christian Focus Publications (CFP).

This book will be joining scores of others that have previously been published in CF4K’s popular Trailblazers series of Christian biographies for youth. The primary target audience for these biographies is older elementary and middle school students.

I have written and CFP has published a lengthy, comprehensive adult biography on Livingstone because we consider his life and ministry worthy of such thorough treatment. But now we’re pleased to produce and present a short (around 150 pages), youth-level biography to acquaint younger readers with this eminent nineteenth century missionary and explorer in Africa.

In this briefer account of Livingstone, I’ve included many of the positive and important highlights of his life and ministry. Since this work is only one-tenth the length of the comprehensive adult biography, I obviously couldn’t begin to incorporate everything of significance. But I have endeavored to share plenty of representative events that reveal the primary activities, priorities, circumstances and accomplishments of his remarkable life story.

Bearing in mind that I was writing for a younger audience, I’ve included many instances of action and adventure that actually took place throughout Livingstone’s decades of colorful service in Africa. Even here I had to do some picking and choosing, because Livingstone’s storyline is so full of adventures that not all of them could be incorporated.

Statue of David Livingstone Being Attached By a Lion
Statue of David Livingstone Being Attached By a Lion

But beyond action and adventure, I’ve sought to portray numerous other significant and beneficial aspects of Livingstone’s life as well, especially those that would be worthwhile for young people to consider. To name but a few, those include: the challenging circumstances of his boyhood; his Christian conversion and call to be a missionary; God’s protection of and provisions for him through many difficult and dangerous situations; his chief priority throughout his career of helping bring Christianity and the Gospel of salvation to people groups which had never before heard of them; his determination to expose and help bring an end to the destructive slave trade throughout southern Africa; his resolutely enduring all variety of hardships and sacrifices in order to carry out the ministries and service he believed God would have him to undertake.

It’s my definite desire and prayer that through the publication of David Livingstone: Africa’s Greatest Explorer, countless young people will (1) become acquainted with one of the outstanding heroes of Christ’s Church and (2) be encouraged and strengthened in their own Christian faith and service.

In the coming months I’ll share more specifics about the book’s anticipated release as that information becomes available.

Copyright 2024 by Vance E. Christie

John & Betty Stam

John and Betty Stam were a young American missionary couple who served a few short years in China before being executed by Communist rebels in 1934. Their martyrdom at ages 27 and 28 tragically ended their young lives and their short, consecrated missionary careers. Yet ever since then God has used their devout examples in life and death to help point not a few people to saving faith in Jesus Christ and to inspire untold thousands of Christians to serve the Lord with greater fervor and dedication.

Several weeks ago my wife Leeta and I had the privilege of visiting Christian Focus Publications, my primary publisher located in the scenic Highlands of Ross-shire, Scotland. Here’s the short feature Christian Focus released from our interview about the John and Betty Stam biography I’ve published with CFP. In this brief interview, I highlight a few of the outstanding aspects of the Stams’ lives and ministries.

John and Betty Stam by Vance Christie

If you’ve not yet read John and Betty Stam, Missionary Martyrs, I’d encourage you to do so. I think you’ll find it spiritually instructive, beneficial and encouraging. If you’ve already read the book and found it profitable, perhaps you would want to recommend it to someone else as worthwhile reading.

Copyright 2019 by Vance E. Christie

Adoniram Judson
Adoniram Judson

Adoniram Judson was the first foreign missionary sent out from the United States. He faithfully served Christ Jesus in Burma (modern Myanmar) for the better part of four decades. He did so despite staggering trials and hardships experienced by himself, his family and the Burmese Christians to whom he ministered. With unshakable faith in God and through unrelenting diligence in Christian service, Judson was used of the Lord to spread the Gospel throughout Burma, to lead many Burmese to faith in Christ, to establish healthy Christian congregations and to translate the entire Bible into the Burmese language.

Last month my wife Leeta and I had the privilege of visiting Christian Focus Publications, my primary publisher located near Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland. Here’s the short feature CFP released recently from our interview about the Adoniram Judson biography I’ve published with them. 

Adoniram Judson by Vance Christie

I hope this brief feature will whet your appetite to read the full account of Judson’s life and ministry in Adoniram Judson: Devoted for Life. I think you’ll be inspired and encouraged by Judson’s example, as I have been, to faithfully follow the Lord’s leading in diligently serving Him with the unique abilities and opportunities He gives each of us. May we be heartened to do so with unflagging faith and commitment, even when encountering extreme difficulties.

Copyright 2019 by Vance E. Christie

Andrew Murray
Older Andrew Murray

While in Scotland recently my wife Leeta and I had the privilege of visiting Christian Focus Publications, my primary publisher located near Fearn, Ross-shire. One morning during that visit CFP interviewed me about several of the books I’ve had the privilege of publishing with them. Here’s the short feature CFP released earlier this week of “yours truly” commenting briefly on the biography I’ve written on Andrew Murray, South Africa’s premier preacher, devotional writer and church leader of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. To this day Murray’s devotional writings continue to bring significant spiritual benefit to Christians around the world.

Andrew Murray by Vance Christie

I hope this brief feature will whet your appetite to read the full account of Murray’s life and ministry in Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa. I think you’ll be inspired and encouraged by Murray’s example, as I have been, to serve Christ with greater diligence and warmth of personal devotion to Him.

Copyright 2019 by Vance E. Christie

Fanny Crosby in older age

Fanny Crosby in older age

Fanny Crosby, the most prominent hymn writer of the nineteenth century, composed the lyrics for some 9,000 songs over the course of her songwriting career, which stretched out for more than fifty years. Through the years a number of fascinating true stories were preserved about how some of those songs came to be written or how they were used of the Lord to bring spiritual benefit to individuals.

Fanny composed over 1,000 hymns for William Howard Doane, a hymn writer and publisher from Cincinnati, Ohio. Not long after Fanny and Doane first met, he stopped by her New York apartment with the declaration, “I have exactly forty minutes before my train leaves for Cincinnati. Here is a melody. Can you write words for it?”

“I will see what I can do,” Fanny replied. She later related: “Then followed a space of twenty minutes during which I was wholly unconscious of all else except the work I was doing.” At the end of that time she recited the words to “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” to Doane, who quickly copied them down before dashing off to catch his train.

William Howard Doane

William Howard Doane

Probably more real-life incidents came to be known involving that hymn than any other song Fanny ever wrote. One of the most touching involved a pastor, Dr. John Hall, who went to see the ailing daughter of one of his parishioners. When the girl’s father came downstairs in tears, the clergyman asked, “My dear friend, what is the trouble? Has the little girl gone home?”

“No,” the father answered, “but she has asked me to do something that I cannot do. Anything that wealth might buy she may have. But I cannot sing ‘Safe in the Arms of Jesus’ for I never sang a note in my life.”

“Oh, I will go up and sing it for her,” the minister responded reassuringly. He did, and the child slipped into eternity just as he sang the hymn’s last two lines:

Wait till I see the morning

Break on the golden shore.

The words from another of Fanny’s best-known hymns, “My Savior First of All,” were once used of the Lord to safeguard a number of people from spiritual deception. A man suddenly appeared in London, claiming to be the Messiah. Charismatic and persuasive, he drew large crowds for many weeks. But one evening as he was speaking in a public square, a small Salvation Army band passed by singing “My Savior First of All” with its closing lines, “I shall know Him, I Shall know Him, By the print of the nails in His hand.”

The sizeable crowd spontaneously joined in singing that chorus. Presently someone pointed at the self-proclaimed Messiah and challenged, “Look at his hands and see if the print of the nails is there.” When no such marks were revealed, the man promptly lost his following.

Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby

Money meant little to Fanny. She normally lived in simple apartments, sometimes in a rather poor part of town. She was extremely generous. Often she gave all the money in her possession to help some needy individual, then asked the Lord to provide what she needed for her own food, rent and other basic necessities of life.

One day someone said to her, “If I had wealth I would be able to do just what I wish to do, and I would be able to make an appearance in the world.”

“Take the world but give me Jesus,” Fanny instantly replied. That remark led her to write one of her most famous hymns, which bore those words as its title.

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Women of Faith and Courage by Vance Christie

These and other remarkable hymn stories of Fanny Crosby, along with her fascinating life story, are related in my book Women of Faith and Courage (Christian Focus, 2011). The story of her life is shared in her own words in Fanny J. Crosby, An Autobiography (Baker, 1995, and Hendrickson, 2015). A more comprehensive account of her life and ministry is provided in Edith Blumhofer’s Her Heart Can See, The Life and Hymns of Fanny J. Crosby (Eerdmans, 2005).

Copyright 2017 by Vance E. Christie