Monday, June 25, 2012

Lessons From An 80 Yr. Old Saint

We had a dear family member staying with us for the past 4 or 5 days.  She is a saint.  Amazing woman to say the least.  She loves God.  She has incredible insight.  She has a very sharp mind.  She gets ministry.  She is wise.

These are all things that make for fun conversations and especially when she throws out statements like, "You know, I remember when we first got electricity at the house and..."  This is when you know you're engaged in a fun conversation!  But over the course of the weekend she said 3 things that really stuck with me.  Here they are:

  1. We were talking about all the different ways leaders are leading churches.  She understands the approaches and acknowledges the need for different approaches.  But she looked at me and simply said, "Just do what God wants."  I wasn't complaining about anything, I wasn't even explaining things I have been thinking/praying through.  She just gets what it means to be called to something and issued that little nugget for me to chew on.  Just do what God wants.  It really is that simple.
  2. She was telling me of how she used to lead choir.  She said she never told anyone they couldn't sing or that they couldn't be involved.  She said she viewed it as her responsibility to help people be used and to make sure they were encouraged to continue serving the body of Christ in whatever capacity they could.  She said this is the role of a leader in her mind.  She spoke of leaders that go into churches and inherit a staff.  She understands that sometimes staff's need to change, but she also had another insight that I thought was profound.  She said a lot of times the new leader says things about their staff like, "They just wouldn't be my first choice" and therefore make a change.  A leader actually said that to her recently and she responded by saying, "Well, the same could be said about you.  I'm sure you weren't every persons first choice either, but they are giving you a chance to succeed." 
  3. Right before I left her at the airport she looked at me and said, "Chuck, I have a new urgency for prayer.  I will be praying because God answers prayer.  Prayer really works."  I said thank you, we hugged, and she walked away...probably praying.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Choosing Winners of Advance Reader Copies

You may or may not have caught it on my Twitter, but I am giving away advance reader copies of my forthcoming book, Better Off Without Jesus.  One a week, until the book releases August 7.  So, I posted something about the "contest" and said to RT for a chance to win a copy.

Well, I've had a few people ask me how I'm choosing the winner.  So, I thought I would let you know.

It's simple, really.  When it's time to announce the winner I list out the names of those that RT on a piece of paper (or sometimes assign numbers to them).

Then my 7 year old, Karis, picks the name who she wants to win or number that just stands out to her.

That's it.

Next week my 4 year old daughter, Hope, will choose.  Then we'll go back to Karis and so on.

It's a way that makes it fun for me, unbiased and it's a small way my girls get to be a part of the ministry.  Good luck!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back Cover of "Better Off Without Jesus"

Here is the back cover of the book.  You can see the description and hopefully get a bit of a better glimpse at what the book is about.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Writing "Better Off Without Jesus" Was So Different For Me

This is my 6th book and yet I feel like it's my first.  I remember when my first book came out.  I was both nervous and excited.  I also had some insecurity about it.  I wondered if people would like it or if it would actually do as well as Zondervan thought it would.  Each book that followed my excitement was always there, but I became less nervous with each release and my insecurities subsided too.  But all the feelings from my first book are back - and even more intense.  I'm more excited, a bit more nervous and even more insecure in ways.

I am very excited because I really believe this book can be a tremendous help for people and especially for those of us that struggle to clearly hear God's direction for our lives.  For those of us that wonder how, in fact, can we know when God is speaking and when He is not.  But I'm nervous and insecure for entirely different reasons than I've been with any of my prior books.  Here are at 3 reasons why:

  1. I'm writing from a different perspective.  With my other books I was kind of the "expert" guy (as others call me).  I gave advice from my experience, but it was mostly ministry experience.  This book is very, very different.  It's personal.  I'm not writing as the "college ministry expert" but as a guy who, like others, just wants to do what God wants and is seeking to figure out what He is saying...and what He is not.  Trying to decipher and recognize His voice.
  2. I talk about my sin, a lot.  I am very open about my own sin(s) in this book, which is partially why insecurity creeps in.  I guess that would be somewhat normal.  One of the endorsers (I will post those soon) worded it as "vulnerable."  I shared all this because I hope those that read it can learn from my mistakes and tendencies.  My prayer is that others will get a clear picture of my issues and therefore be able to more accurately recognize them within themselves...and better understand how they distort the voice of God in their lives.
  3. I open some "wounds" in this book.  The story threaded through the book is my own and is centered on the hardest time in my entire life - no question.  I have not talked about this publicly much at all....and now it's all in print.  I write about things like me resigning from a ministry position and not being able to tell people the reasons why, the turmoil of going through an FBI investigation and tensions in relationships with people I love deeply.  This is all part of the story God has given me and I am honestly thankful for it.  But "going public" with such deep issues is a bit nerve racking for me. 
All that said, I'm excited for people to read it.  Why?  Well, I genuinely think it will be helpful.  The book releases August 7, but if you would like to pre-order it so it ships on that date, click here.