Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Love Your Neighbor Bundle

“ ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”—Matthew 22:36-39

It is clear that Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, but often we find ourselves wondering: Who is my neighbor? how do I show them love? what if they don’t want me around? where do I begin? and the list goes on and on.

Through July 5 you can get the Love Your Neighbor Bundle for just $3.99 and you’ll save 79% on two ebooks all about how to be a more loving neighbor.

Each ebook takes a different angle of on how to truly love our neighbors:

1. How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird by Amy Lively

In How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird, Amy Lively unpacks what it means to form meaningful relationships with our neighbors and how to love those strangers next door even when you’re fearful.

Lively writes from experience, saying, “I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors. Every time I invite my neighbors for coffee I learn something new.” This book is a candid compilation of both her mistakes and successes.

You’ll find hands-on tools and ideas that will help you share the Gospel, explore how to use social media to form real-life relationships, and give you the courage to take the first step of faith to reach out to that neighbor whose name you don’t yet know.

2. The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside your Door by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon

Discover The Art of Neighboring with words of wisdom from Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon, they write to ecnourage readers to move from strangers to acquaintances with their neighbor, then from acquaintances to an actual relationship with the people who live closest to them.

This unique and inspiring book asks the question: What is the most loving thing I can do for the people who live on my street or in my apartment building? Through compelling true stories of lives impacted, the authors show readers how to create genuine friendships with the people who live in closest proximity to them. Discussion questions at the end of each chapter make this book perfect for small groups or individual study.

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Save 79% and get the Love Your Neighbor Bundle for only $3.99 through July 5!

 

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Free Ebook: How Can I Possibly Forgive?

Get Sara Horn’s ebook How Can I Possibly Forgive? Rescuing Your Heart from Resentment and Regret for free, when you sign up for July’s daily deals email list! Your free ebook will be sent to you in an email once you subscribe.

About your free ebook:

How Can I Possibly Forgive

Is it really possible to forgive?

Join Sara Horn as she identifies the struggle of forgiving those who have wronged us in the past and then works through what forgiveness means and how choosing to forgive can truly impact your life. Helping you identify the battles worth fighting and the ones that aren’t and how to tell the difference.

Life isn’t about holding on to destructive and painful experiences. It’s about letting go. And it’s about letting God work in our trying situations so we can see him more clearly on the other side.

Add How Can I Possibly Forgive? to your Vyrso library for free today!

 

About Vyrso’s daily deals:

Daily Deals

Each weekday through July 31, Vyrso will send an exclusive ebook deal straight to your inbox.

You will get up 90% in savings on best-selling ebooks by John Piper, Eric Mason, Jared Wilson, Gloria Furman, and more!

But the best way to get these deals is to sign up for the email list. You’ll be the first to know about the daily deal.

 You have nothing to lose and a free ebook to gain! Sign up today and get How Can I Possibly Forgive? right away, then receive more ebook deals in your inbox starting Wednesday, July 1.

 

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Jared C. Wilson’s Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo

The Prodigal Church

Today’s post features an excerpt from Jared C. Wilson’s newest release, The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo.

In The Prodigal Church, Wilson challenges church leaders to reconsider their priorities when it comes to how they “do church” and reach people in their communities, arguing that we too often rely on loud music, flashy lights, and skinny jeans to get people in the door.

Add The Prodigal Church to your Vyrso library!

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 The wider evangelical church is suffering terribly from theological bankruptcy. Brothers and sisters, we ought to recover the roots of real Christianity before those who care are too few to do anything useful about it. Part of that recovery will involve identifying some of the factors that contribute to the problem. Some of these will be difficult to consider, but we ought to consider them anyway. Some of the problems we might explore are these:

1. Pastors are increasingly hired for their management skills or rhetorical ability over and above their biblical wisdom or their meeting of the biblical qualifications for eldership.

Our shepherds are increasingly hired for their dynamic speaking or catalytic leadership rather than their commitment to and exposition of the Scriptures, and for their laboring in the increase in attendance rather than the increase of gospel proclamation.

Now, of course, none of those contrasted qualities are mutually exclusive. Pastors can be both skillful managers and biblically wise; they can be both great speakers and great students of Scripture; and they can both attract crowds and proclaim the gospel. The problem is that, while they are not mutually exclusive, the latter qualities in each contrast have lost priority and consequently have lost favor. We have not prospered theologically or spiritually when we emphasize the professionalization of the pastorate.

2. The equating of “worship” with just one creative portion of the weekly worship service.

The dilution of the understanding of worship is a direct result of the dilution of theology in the church. The applicational, topical approach to Bible understanding has the consequence of making us think (and live) in segmented ways. The music leader takes the stage to say, “We’re gonna start with a time of worship.” Is the whole service not a time of worship? Isn’t the sermon an act of worship?

Isn’t all of life meant to be an act of worship? [Click to tweet!]
 One reason we have struggled to develop fully devoted followersof Jesus is that we incorrectly assign our terminology (equating worship with music only) and thereby train our people to think in truncated, reductionistic ways.

3. The prevalent eisegesis in Bible study classes and small groups.

“Eisegesis” basically means “reading into the Bible.” It is the opposite of “exegesis,” the process of examining the text and “drawing out” its true meaning. Many leaders today either don’t have the spiritual gift of teaching or haven’t received adequate training, and the unfortunate result is that most of our Bible studies are rife with phrases like, “What does this text mean to you?” as opposed to, “What does this text mean?” Application supplants interpretation in the work of Bible study, so it has become less important to see what the Bible means and more important to make sure the Bible is meaningful to us.

4. The vast gulf between the work of theology and the life of the church.

We have this notion that theology is something that takes place somewhere “out there” in the seminaries or libraries while we here at home are doing the real work of the Christian faith with our church programs. In many churches, theology is seen as purely academic, the lifeless intellectual work for the nerds in the church or, worse, the Pharisees.

5. Biblical illiteracy.

Our people don’t know their Bible very well, and this is in large part the fault of a generation of wispy preaching and teaching (in the church and in the home). Connected to this factor is the church’s accommodation and assimilation of the culture’s rapid shifting from text-based knowledge to image-based knowledge. I’ll say more about that in the next chapter, but when it comes to the text itself, I suspect that a lot of the superficial faith out there results from teaching that treats the Bible like Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Fortune-cookie preaching will make brittle, hollow,syrupy Christians.

6. A theologically lazy and methodologically consumeristic/sensationalistic approach to the sacraments.

The rise of the “scoreboard” approach to attendance reporting, some of the extreme examples of spontaneous baptism services, the neglect of the Lord’s Supper or the abuse of it through fancifulness with the elements or lack of clear directives in presenting it—these are all the result of evangelicalism’s theological bankruptcy. We don’t think biblically about these matters, because we’re thinking largely along the lines of “what works?” and consequently we might make a big splash with our productions but not produce much faith.

Don’t treat the Bible as an instruction manual. Treat it as a life preserver.[Click to Tweet!]

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Get Jared C. Wilson’s The Prodigal Church for just $8.50!

Content adapted from The Prodigal Church by Jared Wilson, ©2015. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.

 

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Happy Father’s Day: 5 Life Lessons for Dad

Life Lessons for Dad

A bond between a father and daughter is both a blessing and a mystery. Girls often adore their fathers, their dad is their prince and hero. When fathers treat their daughters with compassion and respect, their daughters tend to step out into life confident and filled with love.

This Father’s Day, celebrate by sitting down to enjoy Life Lessons for Dad: Tea Parties, Tutus and All Things Pink. Author Michael Mitchell pairs touching photographs with hundreds of plainspoken parenting truths and pieces of advice that are uniquely funny, wise, heartwarming, mind blowing.

Here are five, of many, lessons from Life Lessons for Dad: Tea Parties, Tutus and All Things Pink:

1. Always be there.

Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she adds years to her life . . . add life to her years. [Click to Tweet!]

2. Love her mom.

Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big, heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

3. Learn to say no.

She may not like it today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

4. Tell her she’s beautiful.

Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

5. While there’s no such thing as the perfect dad, if you’re present in her life, apologize when you screw up, and shower her with affection, you might get pretty close.

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Add this heartwarming ebook to your digital library today!

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Limited Time Offer: 3 Free Ebooks

Vyrso has created a way for Christian readers to enjoy personal reading anywhere! With affordable ebooks, a free ereader app, and one-touch bible references, Vyrso is dedicated to helping you get the best ebooks for the best price.

And through June 19, you can add these three ebooks to your library for free!

Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Timothy S. Lane and Paul David Tripp

Relationships

“Even though relationships are messy, they are also what God uses to rescue us from ourselves,” say Tim and Paul.

While skillfully identifying the deeper issues that keep relationships less than they are designed to be, Tim Lane and Paul Tripp show readers how to experience the great relationships as well. They convincingly testify of the power of God’s presence to bring believers to the place where conflicts actually get resolved, tough conversations turn out positive, forgiveness is granted and real love is expressed and shared.

 

 

To My Sons: Lessons for the Wild Adventure Called Life by Bear Grylls

To My Sons

Bear Grylls demonstrates his love as a father in To My Sons by offering his sons a collection of wisdom about the risks, tumbles, and victories of a well-lived life.

Bear Grylls knows a thing or two about adventure from mountain climbing, to setting world-records, and being known internationally as a reality star. The greatest adventure he’s experienced, though, is raising his three boys. In To My Sons, Grylls shares the quotes, Scripture verses, and spiritual wisdom he has learned through the literal ups and downs of an exciting life.

 

 

Enough: Contentment in the Age of Access by Will Samson

Enough

In Enough Will Samson opens up a thoughtful dialogue; a recent conversation was about social justice. Samson addresses the idea of finding contentment in this age of excess and outlines the ideas that drive a consumeristic mindset; the effects those ideas have on ourselves, our communities, and the earth; conclusions about the situation; and practical solutions for negotiating everyday life once we understand that our abundant God is, in fact, enough.

 

 

 

 

Don’t wait—these deals ends June 19!

Get Vyrso freebies sent straight to your inbox so you don’t have to miss any more great deals!

Subscribe to the Vyrso Freebies email list today:

    

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Finding Friendship: An Interview with Dr. Leslie Parrott

Soul Friends

We had the privilege to speak with Dr. Leslie Parrott, a family and marriage therapist and speaker who has co-authored many books with her husband, Dr. Les Parrott, including the New York Times best-seller, Saving Your Marriage Before it StartsMaking Happy, and many others.

What are “soul friendships” and why are they important for women looking to grow in their faith?

I don’t think that there is a woman out there that would be surprised by the thought that as women, we deeply desire great friendships . . . . In general what sociologists have discovered is that women fear a rupture in a relationship more than they fear a loss of independence. Most women I know resonate to their core that, yes, relationships matter to me.

I think of a soul friend as a deep-spirited friend. We know intuitively what it means to be a deep-spirited friend, where it isn’t just based on shared lifestyles or shared interests or the same quirky sense of humor. There’s a sense that there’s a connection that’s soul-to-soul. . . .We’re acknowledging the journey that we’re all taking and we’re walking through it together.

You’ve written and co-written many titles on relationships and marriage. What called you to write Soul Friends and focus on friendship rather than romantic relationships?

This book is different in that what I’m talking about is not just that we need friends, but how to create great friendship, which is an important thing. I myself started a small group 12 years ago that has been a central thing in my life and I can’t imagine traveling the last dozen years without the company of the sisterhood. The depth of our spiritual growth is accelerated by the gift of sharing it with a friend. [Click to tweet!] [In the book, I’m] talking about the beauty of friendship and the importance of spiritual growth, and how those two things go hand-in-hand.

 

What do you think are some of the greatest challenges for women looking to develop and maintain these deep and spiritual friendships?

There are a lot of challenges. One of those is we’re all so completely aware of our failings and there’s a timidity in [reaching out to other women] that comes from that.

Also, I think there are stages and seasons of life where we feel kind of lonely. For example, if you’ve got an infant, your life is ordered around the needs of that baby and that can be a monastic experience sometimes. Or if your work schedule is demanding and you don’t feel as if you have one inch of margin for some optional activity with girlfriends.

There are sacrifices we all make on the alters of our heart where friendship feels like it doesn’t get nurtured because life doesn’t make room for it in this season, and there are also private insecurities that hold us back sometimes from risking connecting with friends.

In the context of Bible study and devotional time with God, often times there is encouragement to break off into individual “quiet time” to reflect and pray. How do you see this interacting with the importance of community and friendships?

Gary Thomas who wrote Sacred Pathways, really influenced my thinking about spiritual growth—it’s one of my favorites because I think he nailed it when he talks about how God has hardwired us all differently to lean into certain things to grow spiritually. Some of us are relational, and if we try to pray on our own we fall asleep or lose track, but if you put us in a small group we can pray for hours and our spirits come alive because we’re hardwired to grow relationally. Other people aren’t hardwired like that, they might be hardwired to grow intellectually or out in creation. All of these ways are biblical, but we each have our own growth pathways. I love that concept. It freed me up for the richness of diversity in how to grow [spiritually.]

The small group I started wasn’t a devotional, we didn’t read a book together. Our structure was that we’d come together and someone would ask one opening question. We’ve prayed together and grown together, been immersed in Scripture, and read together out of those questions. Community is important but I don’t think there’s a formula that works for every woman on her Jesus journey.

I would encourage women to open their eyes—there might be ways to connect around them that they never even thought were points of connection that turn out to be these beautiful, deep-spirited places.

How can women and moms begin to fit time for friendships in to a busy life to start creating those deep friendships? Where can women and busy moms begin to find friends?

Be willing to join a MOPS group or small group at church. Volunteer for something where you know you’re likely to connect with people who have the same values. Women are longing for this and even if they aren’t able to say, “Yes,” because of the season of their life, it leaves them feeling encouraged that someone actually cared enough to reach out and invite them.

I took a big risk when I was in that season [as a mom]—it was a season for me where my mom had some major health concerns,  I was professionally in a demanding season, I had a toddler who was a one-pound, pre-mature baby and had special needs, and I discovered I was pregnant. Life just felt undoable for me.

The surprising thing I did was not cut back, but I felt that I needed to start a small group, which felt absurd at the time. I invited six women I knew, none of whom knew each other, and I thought they would all turn me down because they were all so busy, but we were all so hungry for it that we made it work. We tried scheduling our time together and in the beginning we could only meet once every three weeks. But we did it! We would start at night after the kids had gone to bed and we’d meet until midnight. It was an unbelievable thing to make it work, but 12 years later the fruit of that is unmistakable. I would encourage anyone, even though it doesn’t seem easy, or convenient, or make sense, to risk it!

Women might have friends from different places—other moms, a friend at church, a few connections at work—but they don’t coalesce so you don’t feel this synergy with your friends. Be a little risky—don’t think in terms that [all of the people in a potential group] have to already fit together or click or connect. Don’t feel limited by what’s already happening—create a way to get together!

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Check out Dr. Leslie Parrott’s, Soul Friends: What Every Woman Needs to Grow in Her Faith to learn more about friendship, spiritual growth, and the importance of deep-spirited friendships.

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The Importance of Urban Ministry

Chicago resident Dr. John Fuder has served for over 30 years working in urban ministry, and currently trains and coaches the broader body of Christ to engage more deeply in contextualizing the gospel in their local communities.

What should the Church’s urban mission look like?

Dr. John Fuder answers in this episode of Faithlife Today:

In urban ministry it is essential that we don’t look to engage just one type of culture or one type of ethnicity, rather it is important to demonstrate Christ’s love to all communities. Urban ministry forces you to step out of your comfort zone and interact with people of varying cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic standings.

Eager to learn more about the Church’s urban mission? Get equipped with Dr. Fuder’s numerous works written on urban ministry including A Heart for the City: Effective Ministries to the Urban Community, A Heart for the Community: New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry, and more!

Browse all books by Dr. John Fuder.

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See more interviews and lectures with authors, speakers, and scholars on Faithlife Today, a new video series showcasing powerful insights, biblical inspiration, exclusive interviews, and more—all from your friends at Faithlife.

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Introducing Vyrso’s Summer Kickoff Sale!

Vyrso Summer Sale

The summer season is a great time to slow down and catch up on reading or even just begin on your reading list. Now is a great time to add new titles and more to your digital library—starting today, June 8, through June 26, get up to 93% off new releases and other Christian ebooks for your summer reading. See all the deals now!

 

Here are some highlights from the sale that you won’t want to miss:

 

Eternity Changes Everything: How to Live Now in the Light of Your Future by Stephen Witmer

Price: $9.99, get it for $0.99!

 Our view of the future affects how we feel and act in the present. Witmer talks through where the world is heading, where we as individuals are heading, and how eternity changes everything in his ebook, Eternity Changes Everything.

I Am a Church Member: Discovering the Attitude that Makes the Difference by Thom S. Rainer

Price: $9.99, get it for $2.99 and save 70% on this new release!

Bestselling author and ministry leader Thom S. Rainer discusses the attitudes and responsibilities of church members, in his new ebook, I Am a Church Member.

Modern Parents, Vintage Values: Instilling Character in Today’s Kids by Melissa Trevathan and Sissy Golf

Price: $14.99, get it for $0.99 and save 93%!

Modern Parents, Vintage Values offers parents timeless truths that can break through the chaos of today’s culture and instill important values in their kids.

You Make the Call: Choices That Make or Break Us by Dr. Ralph Carter

Price: $11.99, get it for $2.99!

Life is all about the choices we make. In You Make the Call, you won’t be told what to do, instead you’ll be empowered to make wise decisions. Get Dr. Ralph Carter’s years of experience, all boiled down into his new ebook, You Make the Call.

A Beautiful Season: Finding Your Identity in Christ After a Dating Relationship Ends by Alexandra Savage

Price: $14.99, get it for $2.99 and save 80%!

A Beautiful Season takes readers on a spiritual journey to find strength, healing, and identity in Christ during seasons of loneliness. Behind the cover you’ll find a great and loving message of hope

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These are just a few of many great titles on sale—be sure to check out the rest of the discounts in the Summer Kickoff Sale!

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Free Ebook: Learn from Leading Women in Ministry

Learn from leading women in ministry.

Sometimes we can learn the best lessons from those who walked before us. Learning from their insight, wisdom and past choices lets us make better and more informed decisions.

Get the free ebook What I Wish I’d  Known and you’ll be able to gain insights from some of the most influential women in ministry.

Watch this episode of Faithlife Today to get a glimpse of what you’ll find in What I Wish I’d Known:

When talking about the new ebook, Tayler Beede points out it’s loaded with “the best bits of their wisdom condensed into one chapter and you can really glean a lot of wisdom from this one book.”

In What I Wish I’d Known, Kay Arthur, June Hunt, and Liz Curtis Higgs, and others wrestle with some of the biggest lessons they’ve learned over the years and pass their wisdom on to others facing the challenges of ministry. Get it free!

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See more interviews and lectures with authors, speakers, and scholars on Faithlife Today, a new video series showcasing powerful insights, biblical inspiration, exclusive interviews, and more—all from your friends at Faithlife.

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Rock and a Heart Place: Sharing Stories on Finding God

Rock and a Heart Place

Today’s guest post is from Ken Mansfield author of Rock a Heart Place—get it today.

Ken Mansfield’s legendary career in the music industry began as a member of the Town Criers, a successful southern California folk group in the early 1960s. From there he moved to executive tenures as US manager of The Beatles’ Apple Records, director at Capitol Records, vice president at MGM Records, and president at Barnaby/CBS Records. Ken also produced the Gaither Vocal Band’s 1991 GRAMMY and Dove Award–winning Homecoming album. Ken is now an ordained minister, a sought-after speaker, and the author of five books including Rock and a Heart Place. He and his wife Connie currently reside in Florida.

I had to be convinced that I should write Rock and a Heart Place.

I knew it would require me to go back and relive times spent wallowing in the pits and mire of my own past. I had to embrace the challenge of sitting down with some famous friends and associates and ask them to bear their souls, tell their stories and describe what happens out there in the world of fame and notoriety. I was amazed at how deeply they shared their journeys.

There was a uniqueness and a commonality in every story. They didn’t start in the same place, but they definitely ended up in the one place they needed to be—in the arms of our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

What transpired in putting this book together was a gathering of an unusual gang of ragged saints—people who already have the feeling of being overexposed and intruded upon to the point of wanting to crawl inside their amps and pull the plug.

One of the reasons it was hard for them to share their stories is because in order to tell the reader how blessed they are now, they had to deliver the contrast of their past in order to have it make any sense.

Most of us probably did our best work when we were young and didn’t know any better. I don’t think any of us realized during the early years, the foundations we were laying, the importance of the relationships we were developing, or just how meaningful our passions were at that time. We told our stories and made music because we loved it. [Click to tweet!] We would have done it anyway and would still be doing it regardless if we ever made a dime or not.

Some did get real good and as abilities and acceptance blossomed, many were thrust into adventures never imagined. Yes, there were some train wrecks and as philosophers have said, “It is the journey and not the destination,” that is our reward. I would like to deftly offer that the origins of the journey are equally delectable.

Over time we mellowed and locked into a little tighter and more secure groove, discovering that the memories and peoples of our beginnings are some of our greatest treasures. From whence we came granted us revelation and now in these “later years” we remember who we once were and the innocence of what we were all about when we set out on that journey. Fences have been mended and walls torn down, allowing us to see how special it all was.

We see those days, those people and those places for what they were and the purity of it all. We hadn’t become complicated yet and could pretty much take things and each other at face value. When the only thing we had when we were young was our love of music, we didn’t have to worry about people taking anything from us other than an occasional good idea.

The dear people in this book were unknowing embryonic spokes in a melodic wheel of spinning rhythmic fantasies that actually created whole new genres of music. I am amazed, not so much as to how much music these people have made, but how loud and long the echoes have reverberated through the hearts and souls of so many people in the succeeding decades.

Today these artists sometimes carry their Strats and Yamahas in their hearts instead of anvil cases. In Rock and a Heart Place they blessed us by picking these pages to step out on the stage of life, beautifully unplugged, each one giving of their time and their goodness, to share their souls and soul mates, to bare their years and tears, and tell of their travels and testimonies.

It all started with songs and stories that somewhere along the way turned into personal hymns and impassioned witness.

We found our true Father in places we thought he would never visit [Click to tweet!], and though it was tough for a while, he led us safely out and we feel good about that now. There will always be special things we will miss about those days. But we’ll see them again at the biggest music festival, the greatest worship service of all time, singing together in his eternal choir.

God is The Rock and through the heartfelt stories of the people in this unique book, I pray you will find a place for him in your heart.

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Learn more about Ken Mansfield, his collegues, and their life-changing stories in the ebook Rock and a Heartplace—add it to your Vyrso library today.

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