If there is one thing Jerry and Gail Nordskog desire, it's to fulfill Christ's Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). But instead of living as missionaries in another country, the Nordskogs equip believers with biblical truth through their company, Nordskog Publishing, based in Ventura, California.
Their aim is to publish "meaty, tasty and easily digestible biblical treasures." To do this, the company publishes in the areas of theology, church history, politics and U.S. history. Along with fiction and nonfiction for adults, the Nordskogs also publish some children's books. The subjects may be "meaty," Jerry said, but "you don't have to be a theologian to read our books."
Taking an Eternal Perspective
The Nordskogs had 37 years in publishing with their successful Powerboat Magazine, but even more experience in other businesses.
From a young age, Jerry had worked for his parents' company, Nordskog Industries, rising to the vice presidency of several subsidiaries and operations. Nordskog Industries was the world's leader in in-flight catering equipment for over four decades, Jerry said. The company also built aircraft ground support equipment and electric vehicles, and owned the Los Angeles Skyhawks, a professional soccer team.
But the Lord led Jerry and Gail to sell their family-founded operations one by one, culminating in 2005 when they sold Powerboat Magazine. The couple considered publishing another lifestyle magazine, but God had a different plan.
"We were at a transition in our lives, and we were praying, 'Lord, what can we do that would have eternal value?'" Gail said. "Publishing God's Word would have eternal value, we felt, because as people are reading it, their lives are being touched and changed—and that lasts for eternity."
With that perspective, the couple founded Nordskog Publishing in 2006 to publish books that advance the gospel. They believe the gospel speaks to all areas of life, including politics.
"We get our political views from Scripture, basically," Jerry said. "We're conservative, we're pro-life, because God tells us not to murder."
The couple is unafraid to publish books on political issues as well as Christianity's influence on America's founding.
"We were definitely founded as a Christian nation," Jerry said. "The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are based on biblical principles."
Gail agrees and believes God's hand has been on America.
"I do believe God brought the Founding Fathers here, and in time, these men came up with this great Constitution that we have where all men are created equal," she said. "And I think as we live out the principles and stay true to that Constitution, this country will continue to be the land of the free and the home of the brave, and a good and godly Christian nation."
One way the Nordskogs speak into this arena is with their bimonthly e-newsletter, "The Bell Ringer," launched in 1987. The newsletter gives voice to politically conservative Christians, providing essays on political and cultural topics as well as highlighting Scriptures and national prayer points.
Oaks in Office is one Christ-centered Bible study book Nordskog is publishing this year. It features 52 sermons by Ralph Drollinger, a UCLA basketball player who went to the NCAA national championship. He later joined Athletes in Action, Cru's sports ministry. Now, Drollinger focuses on teaching the Word of God to U.S. senators and congressmen and in state capitols around the country.
But, the Nordskogs cautioned, Christians must speak the truth in love, even in politics.
"God is a God of love and understanding," Gail said. "I know there are questions about homosexuality and things like that. And I believe Jesus died for all men and women, and He's there to forgive all of our sins, no matter what they are. But if we aren't at least trying to share the gospel with people and they don't hear the gospel, how will they know?"
Becoming an Answer to Prayer
The Nordskogs don't simply use their books to speak out in defense of life. They have also adopted four children.
After giving birth to their first two children, Gail had been crying out to God for more. But now, she and Jerry were unable to conceive. "I felt like Hannah, just going before the Lord and crying and sobbing for the Lord to open my womb," Gail said. "He didn't do that."
Jerry told Gail if they didn't get pregnant again within a year, they could consider adoption. Gail wasn't thrilled, but she agreed to pray about it.
"I started praying and thinking that this is the way God wanted us to go, and after fasting for a number of days, I felt like God was telling us yes, to go ahead and adopt," Gail said.
Because the Nordskogs had some friends who were in the process of adopting children from Russia, Gail thought they would also adopt from that country. But as she fasted and prayed, she felt the Lord told her she and her husband were to adopt from China.
Gail wanted to make sure she was hearing from the Lord, so when her fast ended, she spoke with Jerry. As soon as she mentioned adopting children from China, he responded, "Yes, let's do that."
Gail firmly believes these four adoptions from China were the answer to many prayers—and not only her own.
"We've met a number of people who work in the adoption agencies and missions in China," Gail said. "And they have told me that during the years when our children were born, there were many, many thousands of Chinese Christians praying for these orphans. So we believe we were an answer to prayer. And these children have been a blessing to us."
Highlighting Powerful Testimonies
Another of Gail's passions is interviewing believers with strong testimonies.
"I was fascinated with missionaries, and I wanted to highlight what they were doing," Gail said.
This fascination—and her 30 years' experience interviewing for a cable television show and her Hearts of Purpose television show—drove Gail to compile several of her interviews in Hearts of Purpose: Real-Life Stories About Ten Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things for the Glory of God, which Nordskog released last year. The book shares the testimonies of 10 women whose encounters with God propelled them to do incredible things. One of those women is Julie Dawson, whose husband, John, oversees Youth With a Mission (YWAM). Another is Lili Baehr, who co-founded MovieGuide with her husband, Ted Baehr. MovieGuide not only educates families on inappropriate material and unbiblical messages in movies but also highlights films Christian families would enjoy.
Audrey Foster, founder of Family Connections Christian Adoptions in California, and Lisa Shidler, a missionary who lived in China rescuing special-needs babies left to die on trash heaps, are two other incredible women Gail highlights in the book. Both women have touched the Nordskog family personally.
"I did work with Audrey for a few years as the branch director of the Ventura office until I kept bringing too many children home," Gail said with a laugh.
Foster is responsible for over 5,000 children finding forever families. One of the abandoned children rescued by Shidler in China, with help from the underground church, is the Nordskogs' son, Daniel.
Obeying Christ's Great Commandments
The Nordskogs said their motivation for publishing these types of books goes back to Matthew 22:37-40, one of Jerry's favorite Scripture passages. In those verses, Jesus says, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
This explains why the Nordskogs refuse to back down from publishing books based on biblical truth. For instance, they are looking forward to the release of Hymn Restoration: 101 Treasured Hymns, written by Juilliard-trained and Grammy-winning pianist Dino Kartsonakis.
"If you read some of the words in the old hymns, they're so powerful and so anointed," Gail said.
The Nordskogs plan to later publish a CD of Kartsonakis playing the hymns highlighted in Hymn Restoration.
"We're hoping to see some of the more modern churches just picking up these old hymns and singing these words," Gail said. "I know it's going to bless people. I think restoring these old hymns is going to be a great asset to all the churches."
Gail and Jerry don't know what the future holds for their company—but they trust God to lead them day by day. As they do so, they see the number of titles they offer expanding and their books becoming more popular.
"I put the future in God's hands," Jerry said. "We want to do what the Bible says we're supposed to do in the world—go and make disciples of the nations."
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