Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Books, books, books.  And more books.

I always want books for Christmas.  My entire list is books and music, which wears thin on some of those who are buying and really wishing I'd ask for something crazy.  Maybe books aren't crazy, but I absolutely love them and I'm already looking at a few good ones for this December.

I wanted to write about books today not to talk about how wonderful they are.  You should already know that much.  I want to talk about three particular book-related opportunities right now that you can take advantage of and be a part of.  (This is going to be link-heavy, but they should all open in a new tab or window for you.)


First, the book I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when I said I gotta go - Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barnes.  If you haven't read this yet, what are you waiting for?  Oh wait...I know.  You're waiting to sweeten the deal.  Well, it doesn't get any sweeter than this week.  If you buy the material copy of Kingdom Journeys through its own dedicated website, Seth will throw in a copy of every other thing he's ever written.  And some of this stuff is good.  I have to admit: I haven't made it through all of it yet.  But once you read Kingdom Journeys, you'll want to read more.  The freebies include:
  • A discussion guide for the Kingdom Journeys book
  • All of the digital copies available for Kingdom Journeys (.mobi, .ePub, and .PDF) so you can take the book with you wherever you go (because you've got to go)
  • The Art of Listening Prayer
  • Revolution of a Broken Heart
  • The Secret of Abundant Living
  • The Warrior's Journal
Take advantage of this offer while it lasts.  (Ends October 13.)


Second, I've decided to give my first book, Recess with Jesus, another few free days in the Kindle store.  These will be coming up this weekend, October 12-14 (Friday through Sunday).  I'm doing this for two reasons.  First, to get this book into the hands of as many people as possible.  I offered a similar promotion in June and was very encouraged by the number of downloads and the response that filled my personal inbox.  I want to see that happen again; I want to see people reading this book.  Second, a little selfishly, I'm hoping (and therefore asking) that you will take advantage of this free offer and pick up my first book, then hop back onto Amazon and review it for me.  Right now, I'm stuck at a measly three reviews.  As I told my Facebook friends, Donald Miller's new book, Storyline, had only nine reviews at my last check and if I could only get seven more people to take five minutes for Recess, then maybe for a minute, I would feel legitimate.

I was joking, of course.  I do what I do because I love it and was created to do just this; God legitimizes what I do, and I don't really spend my time counting the numbers.  (Count to One)  But what I know about reviews is this: the more this book has, the better prospective readers will be able to assess their interest in it.  This means getting it into the hands of more readers so that maybe these words can change more hearts.  That's really what it's about.  What I also know is that I'm getting ready to start pitching my second book - Prayse - and one of the best ways to demonstrate my audience is not by pointing to my inbox.  It's by pointing to Amazon and saying look.  Here are the people who read my first book and were interested enough to say something about it.  That doesn't mean you have to love it; just engage enough with me and with this book to have something to say.  That's the key.

So sometime this weekend, hop over to Amazon and pick up your FREE copy of Recess with Jesus (Kindle app also free to download for PC, Mac, iPad, and smartphones) and do me the honor of leaving a review.  To whet your appetite, you can find a few full chapters on my Recess with Jesus site.


Finally, I am deep into the writing of my new book - Prayse.  In this process and by engaging with and reading other authors, I am honing my voice and learning how to say what I want to say.  In fact, I'm shaping into the writer I've longed to be so much that the last chapter I penned (keyed?) inspired me to go back through and rework some of my previously drafted material.  Just to get the right voice in there.
But what I would love to do as well is this: I'd like to include some stories other than mine.  That's where you come in.

Prayse is a book about honoring God with our prayers.  The project began when I started to wonder why we don't seem to be getting the same answers that our Biblical heroes received.  Does God even answer any more?  What I'm coming up with and circling around is that we have to pray honest prayers.  Prayers that don't necessarily start with a "Dear Lord" and end with an "Amen."  Prayse is deep in theology and draws on a lot of stories in the Bible - from Solomon's famous prayer for wisdom to the dozens of men and women healed by Jesus to an in-depth look at one blind man in particular who received his sight and so on.  Rather than trying to lay out a formula on how to pray (as so many other books do and...I'm confused.  Aren't you?  How do we ever know if we're praying right and why isn't it working?), my aim with this book is to give the reader permission to pray like your heart already wants to if it had never learned all these "rules."

So what I'm looking for are your stories of prayer.  Prayers that were answered and prayers that weren't.  Prayers where you struggled against your heart to find the "right" words and prayers where you gave up being proper and just poured your heart out.  Prayers particularly in some of the following categories:
  • Prayers for healing
  • Prayers of bargain (If you, God....then I...)
  • Prayers you stuck with
  • Prayers you gave up on
  • Prayers you settled for half-answers with
  • Prayers with answers that scared you
  • Prayers with answers that energized you
  • Prayers where you encountered Jesus
  • Prayers where He couldn't have felt further away
We all have prayer stories, and I know you're thinking of yours right now.  There have been several in my own life that I'm drawing on in working on this manuscript.  I need more.  Because this thing about prayer - it isn't my story.  It's God's story, and I want to use as many of His characters as I can.  If it's a prayer episode in your life that you remember so strongly that you're thinking about it right now, please share it with me (implying your consent that I may use it in my new book, with attribution [note if you would prefer your name protected], at my discretion) by clicking here.

And of course, you can get a sneak peek of all of my drafts for Prayse here.


This past Saturday, I took my three-year-old nephew to my town's Heritage Festival parade.  About halfway through, the public library marched with a bunch of small children.  A little girl hopped out of her mother's wagon and walked over to my nephew and handed him a book.  A real book.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  His smile was huge.  When we got back to the house, his six-year-old sister excitedly exclaimed, "I know that book!  I read it last year in kindergarten!" and proceeded to spend the day reading that book to him and to a small, but dedicated audience of various dolls and stuffed animals she'd strategically arranged on my bed.  There's something wonderful about books.  

Never forget that.  And don't let this week pass you by without taking advantage of the above offers for Kingdom Journeys, Recess with Jesus, and Prayse.

As per federal regulations, I am obligated to remind you that in exchange for my review and promotion of Kingdom Journeys, I received a free copy of the book as well as all of the bonuses that this week's purchasers receive.  That said, I must also say that I hope you know me as a straight talker, and if it wasn't any good, I would tell you so.  It was good.

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