Saturday, October 29, 2011

Amanda Stephan's Great New Novel, Lonely Hearts

Recently, I had the opportunity to read a great new novel by an awesome friend of mine, Amanda Stephan. Her novel, Lonely Hearts, will be launched on Tuesday, November 1, 2011. If you purchase a copy on Amazon on Tuesday, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a Nook, Kindle and an I-pod Shuffle. I highly recommend this book and am excited to be a part of something so awesome!

Here is a little note from Amanda:

Why I Write Christian Fiction ~

The young man did a double take at my banner and gave me a skeptical look. His dark brown hair swept across his forehead as he held a bag to his chest and a soft snort escaped his sneering mouth.
"Christian romance? Is there such a thing as that?"

This account is true. It is real. It is a conversation I have at every venue I go to. And my answer never changes.
Yes, there IS such a thing as Christian romance.

Having been married almost 18 years, I am a recipient of the best kind of romance. The lasting kind. The kind where the spouses accept and love one another even with the many faults and warts that come along with real people. If I became upset after every hardship or every time my husband *didn't* sweep me off my feet, we'd be divorced. True love happens everyday when we make a point to put someone else's needs in front of our own. True love is when you accept that apology, or better yet, offer an apology because of some hasty words that you let slip during your frustration. Or when you don't go to bed angry, because the argument wasn't that important to begin with. But better than this earthly love my husband and I share, is the agape love from my Heavenly Father who loves without condition and never forsakes.

I saw it in this young man. He was beyond skeptical. He was to the point of derision. And I had a chance to witness to him. I had the chance to tell him that yes, there is such a thing as Christian romance, and it's the best kind.

See, God didn't call me to be a missionary to an exotic land away from my home. He gave me a mission field right here. This is my purpose for writing. To help spread God's love and message to those who need it.

So many times, a book can go where a preacher or teacher cannot. A place where the heart is open but the ears closed. If my books can reach one person for God? I am honored!

Amanda, thank you for sharing! Go to on Tuesday, November 1 to order your copy and get some really great free gifts as well as to be entered into the drawing for the free Nook, Kindle and Ipod Shuffle.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Denomination Abomination

Recently, I have been wondering…why all the different denominations and why can’t we all just get along?

It reminds me of the school playground. Suzie hogs the jump rope. Joey is a bully. Mary Beth cheats at hopscotch and Janie is whispering about the new girl with the red hair.

Again I ask…why can’t we all just get along?

Let me say this. I have no problem with denominations. If we are working together, operating as one church, we are good. It’s when we are so self focused, when we cannot work together to accomplish a common goal, is when I think of the term “denomination, abomination!”

The thing is, we are not children on the school playground. Nope, instead, we are adults playing church!

Is there a reason we can’t pray together? Break bread together? Help one another? Are we not all the church? Do you really think speaking in tongues, or not, depending on which denomination abomination you are part of, will send you to hell?

Do you not know what we can accomplish if we work together?

The Catholics won’t acknowledge the Pentecostals and the Baptists turn their noses up at the Methodists. The Lutherans one up the Presbyterians and the non-denominationals have everyone just plain confused. I mean, exactly what do they stand for?

Nonsense! All of it!

I have an idea. What if we all put aside our petty differences and work together to further the Kingdom of God? What if we walked side by side and stood up for Jesus Christ? He is the core of our beliefs…correct? We all believe he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on a cross and three days later was resurrected so we might have eternal life, right?

Then…what is the problem?

So, you baptize in Jesus name and the other one baptizes in the name of the Father , Son and the Holy Spirit. So, we raise our hands and do a jig during worship and you serenely stand still in reverent awe of our Lord Jesus Christ. One sprinkles and one immerses. One service lasts 45 minutes and one service lasts 3 hours.

Who cares? I mean, really????

Is our focus on growing our own church…or growing the kingdom of God? Is our goal to further our selves? Or is it to plant, water and harvest for Jesus Christ?

We need to decide what it is we are doing here and why we are doing it. Let’s stop playing church and get serious!

Satan wants nothing more than to keep us occupied with fighting each other. I bet he sits back and laughs. We are kicking our selves in the butt!

You want to see results? Stop being more concerned with who goes to which church and which church is right and start being more concerned with who does and does not know Jesus. That should be our focus.

I can tell you this, there are things right with every church and there are things wrong with every church. We are human. We mess up. The important thing is we are where God has called us to be. Pray. Ask Him. He’ll let us know.

And other thing, start working with the church across the street. They need us as much as we need them. We are all one body and right now, we have arms and legs, fingers and toes…heads and torsos planted all over every city, dying. Imagine if we operated as one body…imagine the damage we could do if all those body parts were joined together to create one body. Imagine the holes we could put in the enemies plan!

Come on church! Let’s stop the denomination abomination and start being who Christ called us to be!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A One Sided Conversation!

I said something rather profound to my husband the other day, at least I thought it was profound. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it is only profound to me. Well, regardless of its status as profound or not, I’m gonna share it. Cause I can. Cause it’s my blog and that is what I do, share.

Here it is:

Just because God knows the outcome, the end result, doesn’t mean we don’t have to go through all the junk to get us to the desired result/place.

Now, I know you are confused but, hear me out. Have you ever had this conversation with God?

Me: Lord, you know I am going to be faithful. You already know what is going to happen.

Lord: Yep

Me: Then why do I have to go through all this junk to get there? I mean, you already know what I am going to do, how I am going to act, what I am going to say…and you know that I am going to do your will. So, I still have to go through all this junk?

Lord: Yep


(That was a pitiful whine if you weren’t able to decipher all the drawn out consonants)

Lord: Because

Me: But Lord, it seems like such a waste of time. Can’t you wave your hand or speak or something and just change me?

Lord: I can, but I won’t.

Me: Ugh!

Am I really the only one who pleas, bargains and down right begs God to just pick me up and lift me over the hard stuff?

It was after one of these one sided conversations with God that reality dawned. I’ll say it again because we know this is profound! Just because God knows the outcome, doesn’t mean we don’t have to go through it.

I still have to go through the trials. I still have to cry the tears. I still have to wade through the mud that is trying to pull me down. I still have to climb that mountain. I still have to swim up river! It is what makes me into who I am supposed to be. God’s “knowing” doesn’t change me. It is the journey that makes way for the Holy Spirit to work on my heart.

Romans 2:2-5 tells us this: Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Yes, I would rather He pick me up out of my mess. According to the Word, that is not going to happen, at least not until the appointed time.

So, I am going to rejoice in my sufferings. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am obtaining endurance. I also know that my character is becoming more and more like Christ’s. Finally, I have hope. I have hope that eventually I am going to reach the other side. I am going to see the sun rise over a beautiful cloudless sky, lighting up my world and filling my soul with joy. And the promise of God’s love, poured into my heart, will be worth everything, every pain, every trial and every tear that I have endured for righteousness sake.

Lord, be my strength. In times of trouble, sustain me. When joy is naught but a hapless dream, be my joy. For in You I am fulfilled.