A Lesson We Can All Learn from Charles Manson

If you’re an author, your writings and views will be misrepresented by others from time to time. Even by “fans.”

Young and up-and-coming authors often ask me for advice on the craft of writing. Especially the art of writing books.

An oft-repeated question I get has to do with critics and how to deal with them.

One must first understand that not all critics are created equal. There are three main types. And each one deserves a different kind of response.

I’ve addressed this topic elsewhere. (The link is at the bottom of this post.)

Another question has to do with being misrepresented by others, including self-professing “fans.”

Example: A fan of Francis Chan is teaching that we need to destroy all church buildings because they are evil and start having church in coffee shops and houses.

Chan, of course, was blamed for promoting this concept because at least one of his “followers” was promoting it.

I have no idea what Mr. Chan believes or has written about this (I’ve only read one of his books because Patheos asked me to review it), but I seriously doubt that he teaches what this fan of his claims.[Continue Reading…]

Blindsided by God

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Peter Chin has written a new book entitled Blindsided by God. In it, Chin explores the reality of suffering, the mystery of God’s ways, and why, even in the darkest times, there’s always reason for hope.

I caught up with Peter recently to discuss his new book. Enjoy!

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Instead of asking, “What is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “How are readers going to benefit from reading your book?”

Peter Chin: That really depends on the context of the reader. For those who are doing pretty well in life but are simply looking for an interesting read, the book will definitely provide that. It is a remarkable true story, one filled with as many twists and turns as you would find in any work of fiction.

But the book was really written with a more specific audience in mind. I wrote the book for those who find themselves in an especially difficult season of life, where they have experienced loss or disappointment. For those who find themselves in that context, this book will help them to remember something precious – that they are not alone in their pain. This in itself is an important realization, and a powerful source of encouragement.[Continue Reading…]

Small Groups

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Within the world of church, we have the following groups of people:

1. Those who gather in the institutional form of church.

2. Those who gather outside the institutional form of church.

3. Those who belong to no local gathering at all.

4. Those who gather in the institutional form of church but who also gather in small groups.

Scott Boren’s new book Leading Small Groups in the Way of Jesus is a book for small group leaders and those interested in the benefit of small groups.

I caught up with Scott to ask him some questions about his book. Enjoy![Continue Reading…]

5 Shades of Jesus

Sneak Preview: I’m researching my next installment of the “Shocking Beliefs” series . . . and it’s going to be on the shocking beliefs of John Calvin. So stay tuned for it.

In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul calls Jesus Christ the Wisdom of God.

Jesus is the incarnation of wisdom.

In Ephesians 3, Paul uses the phrase, the manifold (which can be translated “many colored”) wisdom of God.

Jesus Christ, the embodiment of wisdom, is multi-colored.

That means that Christ reveals Himself in infinite variety, because His riches are “unsearchable” and His fullness cannot be exhausted.[Continue Reading…]

Telling the Story Differently

“Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread.”

~ Luke 24:35, NLT

In Luke 24 the author tells an incredible story about the risen Christ. It goes something like this.

It’s a Sunday evening in AD 30. Earlier that morning the greatest historical event known to humankind occurred: Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead.

As the sun begins to set, two disciples of Jesus walk from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus. They are husband and wife. Cleopas and his wife Mary.

This couple has been following Jesus for a number of years. Perplexed and saddened, they had expected Jesus to save Israel from pagan domination. But instead, the Romans put the young prophet to death in the most violent way. Hanging from a cross with the blood of God and man dripping to the earth. A crown of thorns replaced what should have been a crown of imperial glory.[Continue Reading…]

New Music Video That Will Inspire You

My new book THE DAY I MET JESUS: THE REVEALING DIARIES OF FIVE WOMEN FROM THE GOSPELS is at a 50% discount this week from Parable.com along with a bunch of exclusive bonuses. Get your copy now before this offer expires.

Back story to the song and video.

In 2012, I delivered a message to a Christian community entitled Living in the Divine Parenthesis.

The night before I brought the message, I wrote a song as a companion to the talk which I entitled, “He Has Anointed Us.”

The lyrics are based on Luke 4:16-20 and Ephesians 1:18 through 2:18.

I wrote the song to the tune of Wavin’ Flag by K’naan — a song that Leonard Sweet turned me onto when I visited him in his home one Thanskgiving weekend.

As soon as I heard the song, I told Len that one day I’d write new lyrics for it which glorified the Lord.

(The practice of rewriting lyrics to popular songs by the Christians stretches back to the Reformation, at least.)[Continue Reading…]

What You Miss When You Read the Gospels

“If you don’t want to buy my new book, we can still be friends and stuff. It’ll be awkward, sure, but still friends.”

~ Brant Hansen #tishumor

We’ve just released the 113th episode of the Christ is All podcast, and I think it’s among the best.

One of my missions, goals, and purposes is to transform the well-worn, familiar stories of the Bible from one dimensional, black & white, mono audio into 3D, High Definition, Technicolor with surround sound!

That’s precisely what I’ve sought to do again in my newest offering, The Day I Met Jesus: The Revealing Diaries of Five Women from the Gospels, with Mary DeMuth.

Dr. Michael Brown recently interviewed Mary and me on his show. In it, we give examples of what we so often miss when we read the Gospels, and how to bring them to life again. But more important, how we can encounter the Jesus of the Gospels anew and afresh when reading our Bibles.

You can listen to the episode in one of the following ways:

iTunes (Apple phones)

BeyondPod (Android phones)

Direct Streaming[Continue Reading…]

THE DAY I MET JESUS

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends, they are the most accessible and wisest counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”

~ Charles W. Elliot

I’m happy to announce that my new book, The Day I Met Jesus: The Revealing Diaries of Five Women from the Gospels is now available.

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Today, I’m featuring the first interview that Mary DeMuth (my coauthor) and I did about the book.

Go here to order it today

What follows is the interview that Mary and I did. It’s followed by early recommendations by other authors.

I’d LOVE to hear what you think about it![Continue Reading…]