The Most Scandulous Thing in the World: Discussing God’s Love with Alex Early

The Reckless Love of God

We were privileged to interview author Alex Early about his new release, The Reckless Love of God: Experiencing the Personal, Passionate Heart of the Gospel. 

This exclusive interview is part of Vyrso’s author recommendation blog series, where you can read exclusive interviews with Christian authors and get great recommendations on ebooks that have impacted their walk with Christ.

Alex, tell us a little bit about your background. You seem to keep busy running a blog, which reflects both your love for God and cooking, and being a dedicated husband and dad. What got you started and what continues to drive you?

I absolutely enjoy my family! Downtime with them in the kitchen cooking, listening to music, and carrying on is absolutely life to me! There is nowhere else I would rather be than with them.

I got into cooking because I needed a hobby and I didn’t want one that would take me away from my family. I have an artsy streak in me, so I figured I’d give my culinary skills a go, and that scratched the itch. But as an author, past/future church planter, and doctoral student, life is most certainly busy.

What keeps me going is:

  • I know that I am loved by God and empowered by his Spirit
  • I am called to this and nothing else

Over the years, as you have grown in your faith, which books have made an impact on you?

Like any pastor, I could mention dozens. I read tons of academic theology as well. But if I could recommend just five books, I’d say:

1.The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning

2. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

3. Faithful Feelings: Rethinking Emotion in the New Testament by Matthew Elliot

4. The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection by Robert Capon

5. Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale by Frederick Buechner.

These books are penned by men who are well-aware of their own brokenness before God and utter estrangement from even themselves. Over the years they have prodded me toward becoming more spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically whole as a person. By no means have I arrived, but I am indebted to these authors for their admonishments to not accept life as the way it is and to press on in the faith, finding a tender Abba Father in heaven who cares so deeply for me.

Tell us a little bit about your new release, The Reckless Love of God, and what inspired you to write it.

I was inspired to write the book a few years ago on vacation as I was thinking about and truly reveling in God’s love for the first time in my whole life. I had been a Christian since my teens, had graduated from seminary, and was pastoring my first church, but it had never really dawned on me that God knows me, loves me, and cares deeply for me, personally. [Click to Tweet!]

I wanted to write something meaningful that calls attention to the most scandalous thing in the world—God Almighty loves us as we are.

My aim is to say that God himself has burned in everlasting love for you before time began and has stopped at nothing in his pursuit of capturing our hearts and demonstrating this life-changing reality.

What are key pieces of advice you would give to those who struggle to believe that Jesus really does love them apart from their actions?

First, I’d say, Jesus loves them not just apart from their actions, but with their actions intact. That is to say, Jesus doesn’t turn a blind eye to sin. Rather, he engaged it and defeated it fully on the cross and in his resurrection. [Click to Tweet!]

Second, the ongoing narrative that we as Christians have to default to is that our word is not the ultimate authority in life. God’s Word is, and it hasn’t changed. Often, we need to dethrone ourselves, our opinions, and our harsh judgment that we lay on ourselves and feel free to drink deeply of the love of God. After all, if Jesus was breathing out prayers of forgiveness over those who had nailed him to the Cross, most certainly he burns in compassion for you today.

Finally, tell God when you question his love and ask him to help your unbelief. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. So go ahead and tell him it’s hard to believe sometimes. He can handle it.


Find assurance of God’s love for you in Alex Early’s The Reckless Love of God: Experiencing the Personal, Passionate Heart of the Gospel.

All month long, read exclusive interviews with Christian authors and get great recommendations. Don’t miss a post in this series—subscribe to Vyrso’s RSS feed, follow Vyrso on Twitter, and like Vyrso on Facebook!


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3 Ways We Find Freedom in Christ: An Interview with Nancy Alcorn

Ditch the Baggage

We had the privilege to interview author Nancy Alcorn about her new release, Ditch the Baggage, Change Your Life. 

This exclusive interview is part of Vyrso’s author recommendation blog series, where you can read exclusive interviews with Christian authors and get great recommendations on ebooks that have impacted their walk with Christ.

Nancy, tell us about Mercy Multiplied and how your experiences and your faith played a major role in establishing this program.

It was during and after college that I spent eight years working for the state of Tennessee at a correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls and investigating child abuse cases. Working for the state on a daily basis gave me direct encounters with secular programs that were not producing permanent results that exemplified changed lives. I saw many of the girls pass the age of 18 and end up in the women’s prison system because they never got the real help they needed.

I began to realize that only Jesus could bring restoration into the lives of girls who were desperately hurting and searching for something to fill the void they felt in their hearts. I knew God was unfolding a plan prompting me to step out in faith to help hurting young women.

I was determined to establish a program in which lives would truly be transformed, so in January 1983, I moved to Monroe, Louisiana to start Mercy Ministries of America (now Mercy Multiplied).

Mercy Multiplied is dedicated to helping young women break free from life-controlling behaviors and situations, including eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, unplanned pregnancy, depression, sexual abuse, and sex trafficking.

We hope to help every woman we serve experience God’s unconditional love, forgiveness, and life-transforming power.

What sparked you to write your newest release, Ditch the Baggage, Change Your Life?

It doesn’t matter how put together or “un-put” together somebody looks. We all have pain. We all have fear. We all have problems. But we don’t all have freedom in Christ!!

Again and again I’ve asked myself, what can we do? What can Mercy do to help all these thousands upon thousands of hurting people who can’t come to our homes? Now, this year, I believe God has provided Mercy with an answer. That answer is to expand our outreach efforts in deeper and broader ways to help others, of all ages, near and far, realize lasting freedom.

A big part of these outreach efforts is my new book Ditch the Baggage, and it has one simple message that some people have been waiting a lifetime to hear: you were born to live free. [Click to Tweet!]

Ditch the Baggage, Change Your Life focuses on finding a lasting freedom through Christ. What are three key ways to find this freedom?

The book focuses on the primary seven keys to freedom that we use in our homes, and three of the keys discussed are:

Total Commitment—This includes being committed to Christ and being committed to freedom. In order to live and walk in freedom, you must have a relationship and a commitment to the actual freedom Giver!

Healing Life Hurts—Every one of us experiences hurt. When those hurts remain unhealed, they cause us to shrink back from life, to operate out of fear, and to build our lives around avoiding more hurts. Any person who has a deep hurt will find their decision making affected. Total freedom means no longer allowing hurts to direct our lives, tarnish our relationships, and shape our personalities.

Renewing the Mind—The Word of God says that when we renew our minds, our lives will be changed! Renewing your mind means to do away with ungodly thought patterns and to replace them with godly ones. Behind every bad habit or bondage is a lie. When we commit our minds completely to Christ, lies can be erased and He can do a powerful work of grace in us.

Through the years as you’ve grown in your faith, which authors have been influential to you, your ministry, and your writing? 

Obviously in their own individual areas of expertise there have been a number of authors who have affected my life in different ways for different reasons.

Joyce Meyer inspired me to be honest, open, and transparent in my writing. Joyce has always used those things she has dealt with in her life as a way to help other people. I have specifically been influenced by her teachings about how God wants us to be whole spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

John Maxwell has significantly influenced my leadership with his awesome teachings and books. He has inspired me specifically through this teachings on adding value to every person with whom you come in contact.

Dr. Myles Munroe’s teachings on realizing the potential of every person has inspired me to believe in every young woman who walks through the doors of Mercy. He has helped me to remember that these young women may be in our program because of life-controlling issues, but the truth is that there is potential in every one of them to become a world changer!

Dave Ramsey is not only a close personal friend of mine, but has had amazing influence in my life and the life of every young woman that walks through the doors of Mercy through his books on giving, financial peace and stewardship.


Learn more about finding freedom in Christ in Nancy Alcorn’s Ditch the Baggage, Change Your Life on Vyrso today!

All month long, read exclusive interviews with Christian authors and get great recommendations. Don’t miss a post in this series—subscribe to Vyrso’s RSS feed, follow Vyrso on Twitter, and like Vyrso on Facebook!


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Navigating Negative Change: An Interview with Kristen Strong

Girl Meets Change

Today we are featuring an exclusive interview with author Kristen Strong about her new release, Girl Meets Change. This interview is part of Vyrso’s author recommendation series, where you can read exclusive interviews with Christian authors and get great recommendations on ebooks that have impacted their walk with Christ.

Tell us a little bit about your blog, Chasing Blue Skies, and what inspired you to create this refreshing site.

I’ve loved journaling and writing stories since I was very young. Blogging became an easy, natural forum for me to practice the art and discipline of regular writing.

As a nature lover who can’t get enough sky gazing, I liked the idea of creating an online space that reflected this. Hence Chasing Blue Skies was born, and it truly is a natural fit for my style, personality, and interests.


Through the years as you’ve grown in your faith, what are some specific authors and books have been influential on you and your writing?

In what ways have you been influenced by these authors and books?

I am drawn to authors who help me see myself—my place, purpose and value in this world—as Jesus does. Within the pages of each book mentioned above, I am able to see myself in a more accurate light as I find myself in their stories.

Each author referenced is a master at showing how the Bible is alive and relevant to my life. Each lives (or lived) authentically in the freedom Jesus offers as well as makes a relationship with Him look so attractive, it’s something I naturally want too.

Tell us about your new release Girl Meets Change.

Girl Meets Change is a book written to help women see their difficult life change in a new hopeful light. It is a place that meets women at the crossroads of their anxiety about change and God’s purpose found in it. Inside its pages are not only my story of change, but also the stories of other women and stories from Scripture.

What are few healthy ways to navigate negative change?

  1. Make an intentional choice to regularly enter into the presence of Christ.

We all know spending time with Jesus benefits us, but we don’t always realize how much Jesus truly enjoys our presence too. [Click to Tweet!]

He delights in us. Once we start to get a taste of that, we want to spend more time with him. And the more we spend time with him, the more we know the hardship brought on by change is still very much within the care and concern of Christ. Therefore, we are better able to live by faith that God intends to use the difficult change in our lives to bless us.

We better see the change in our lives not as the end of our story but a part of it. Our change is never the end. God’s grace and goodness are. [Click to Tweet!]

  2. Make your questions surrounding the change work for you.

I’m a big question asker, so when change lands in my lap, questions want to tag-a-long with it. I haven’t always directed those questions in a “for me” way.

For example, when my husband and I couldn’t easily start a family, my questions sounded like Why can’t I get pregnant? Doesn’t God think I would be a good mom?Instead of asking questions that focused on the outcomes of my circumstances, I needed to reframe them to focus on the purpose of my circumstances.

So better questions for me to ask here What else does God want to give me? What else is he working out in me through this situation? Then I could dwell on healthy, truth-based answers rather than answers based on my topsy-turvy feelings.


Want to learn more about working through life’s transitions? Get Girl Meets Change on Vyrso today!

All month long, read exclusive interviews with Christian authors and get great recommendations! Don’t miss a post in this series—subscribe to Vyrso’s RSS feed, follow Vyrso on Twitter, and like Vyrso on Facebook!

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How Christians Can Combat Lies: An Interview with Tim Chaddick

The Truth About Lies

Today we are featuring an exclusive interview with author and pastor Tim Chaddick about his new release, The Truth About Lies. 

This interview is part of Vyrso’s author recommendation series, where you can read exclusive interviews with Christian authors and get great recommendations on ebooks that have impacted their walk with Christ.

Tim, tell us a little bit about your background and how it impacts your preaching and your writing?

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area I spent my early teens embracing the “unholy trinity” of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. I became sexually active in the ninth grade and consented to my first abortion by the tenth. I experimented with a host of drugs before getting hooked on several.

But the center of my life was undoubtedly music. Playing in several bands, I saw music as my savior – the one thing that brought value to my existence. It wasn’t until I heard the gospel at a Christian event 1999 that I saw both the depth of my sin and the beauty of Christ. I trusted in Him that day and my life has never been the same since.

Whenever I am preaching or writing I find myself asking this question: Could I reach my former self?

After finding Christ, which specific authors and books have you read that deepened your faith? 

I know this is pretty cliché, but when I first read C.S. Lewis I felt as if I was hearing explanations of Christianity custom-made for my own personal questions.

I began with the essays such as The Problem of Pain and slowly worked through everything else I could get my hands on. I realized very quickly as a new Christian that I was drawn to writers who, like Lewis, had the ability to weave logic and beauty together in service of the Christian faith.

Another great influence for me would have to be John Stott

His blend of theological precision and personal application has very much shaped my teaching. His book Between Two Worlds is still one of my favorite books on preaching to this day. My sermon preparation owes much to Stott’s emphasis on listening to Scripture as our ultimate authority while also listening to and attempting to answer the questions of our culture in a Biblical way.

What drove you to write your new ebook, The Truth about Lies?

I began to notice a two-fold reaction to the topic of temptation within my own life and within the church—Denial and Despair.

For example, whenever I read in the news a story of moral failure, part of me wants to say with a surge of confidence, “I would never, ever, do such a thing. I’ve got this!” On the other hand, part of me trembles. I am reminded of how fragile humanity is. And I begin to think of my mistakes in the past, and I slowly spiral downward, concluding that because I am vulnerable, defeat is inevitable.

The truth is that neither response can help us face the reality of temptation.

Yet through dependence on Christ within a world of temptation we can not only avoid sin but also learn to flourish in our faith as we learn to choose truth in the face of lies.

What are common lies that Christians often believe and how can we combat them?

The easiest lie to believe is the lie that says we don’t need help. Though it can appear to look like freedom, it actually keeps us from it. This mind-set lies beneath the surface of so many other lies: you need to earn your own salvation or you don’t need saving at all.

The truth is that we are dependent creatures. [Click to Tweet!] We need food, water, shelter, and relationships. We need God. 

The great lie believed by many is that we are independent of God, [Click to Tweet!] looking to enjoy the gift of life without acknowledging a Giver. Daily we are told that the missing ingredient for unleashing unlimited liberation is found from within. It may sound like freedom, but in fact, it’s a sham.

Jesus unmasks this lie and teaches us what true freedom is. It’s found in dependence upon the God who gives life.


Through October 6, save 46% and learn more about overcoming temptation when you get his new release The Truth about Lies for just $6.99!

All month long, read exclusive interviews with Christian authors and get great recommendations! Don’t miss a post in this series—subscribe to Vyrso’s RSS feed, follow Vyrso on Twitter, and like Vyrso on Facebook!


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Project Inspired: An Interview with Nicole Weider

Project Inspired

Nicole Weider was a model and actress living for fame and fortune, until she found Jesus. Now she is on a mission to help young girls be true to themselves. We had the chance to talk with Nicole about her latest release, Project Inspired: Tips and Tricks for Staying True to Who You Are.

In Project Inspired’s introduction you talk about chasing your dreams in Hollywood and the trials you faced during those years. How did you find God during that time?

It was actually only when I got myself out of Hollywood that I started to realize I needed God in my life. When I was involved in the Hollywood scene and focused on chasing the wrong things, I was actually really lost but I didn’t know it yet. God needed to remove me from Hollywood and from all of the negative influences I had in my life, in order to remold me into the person he wanted me to become.

When did you realize your passion for helping guide teen girls?

After I gave my life to Christ I knew I had a story to tell—I wanted to warn teenage girls about the struggles that come from trying to make it in the entertainment industry, along with my own mistakes and shortcomings that I knew I could help teenage women avoid.

You started in 2010 and today it’s a prominent online community for Christian girls—how did you do it? How did you decide on the name?

I’m so grateful and blessed that Project Inspired has been able to touch millions of lives—it’s truly an honor from God. I knew when God placed the dream in my heart that I needed to have a great team put together to help me run it. My team is so wonderfully smart and creative, and we’re able to create content that’s relevant to what teenage girls want to know about, and we listen to what the girls have to say. I personally know many of the Project Inspired girls—we’re like a big online family. We decided to start [the title] with the word ‘project’ in front, because our mission is ongoing and it’s to influence the next generation of women for Christ.

Why did you feel like it was important to write Project Inspired now?

I get so many questions from all of the Project Inspired girls asking me for advice about everything—from friendships, to the media, to skin care and fashion you name it—so I compiled all of my most asked questions and concerns from girls and put them into different chapters in the book. I’m so excited because this book covers all the issues teenage girls face in today’s world, but also focuses on the central message which is that God loves us, and we need Him. [Click to Tweet!]

What does it mean to live a “Project-Inspired life”?

Living a Project-Inspired life is truly about letting God mold you into the person you were created to be. To use your God-given talents and passions to not only glorify yourself and others, but to glorify God. Living a Project-Inspired life is also about being authentic, and letting your light shine outwardly so that others may be drawn to God.

Why do you feel that it’s so hard for teen girls to embrace their true selves?

I believe the media impact is especially hard on women. Every day we’re inundated with photoshopped pictures of celebrities, models, advertisements—it can take a toll on our self-esteem. Also, many television shows and movies portray women’s worth in only being attractive and getting the guy. When in reality, our true worth comes from our Savior. Also, the media very often doesn’t emphasize having great character and good morals. With all the pressures from the entertainment industry, many times women try and just keep up with all of the false images portrayed instead of trying to have a heart for God.

What impact do you want this book to have on teen girls who read it?

My hope and prayer for this book is to be a great guide on everything that teenagers want to know about, because being a strong Christian in today’s world is often hard with so many temptations and frustrations.


Learn tips and tricks from Nicole and dig into what it means to live true to yourself in Project Inspired. 

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Simply Tuesday: An Interview with Emily P. Freeman (Part 1)

Simply Tuesday

Last January—as we looked forward to the release of Simply TuesdayEmily P. Freeman was featured as one of Vyrso’s top authors to watch in 2015.  

Today we are sharing the first part of our interview with Emily. Read the second part of her interview on Faithlife Women, posting September 4! 

From authoring books, to blogging, to raising three kids, life sounds busy. Tell us more about your background and what drives you.

I’ve been married to John for 14 years and together we have three kids—twin girls and a son. John served as a youth pastor for the first 12 years of our marriage and now he is the director of a local non-profit ministry called Grace Discipleship here in Greensboro, North Carolina where we live. I served as a sign language interpreter in the public school system for several years before writing my first book.

These days we look at our lives with a hefty dose of wide-eyed wonder and gratitude that we get to do work we love. Although there are times when I want to burn my laptop but that’s normal, right?

I met Jesus when I was young and spent most of my early years as a believer living like a good girl, following the rules as best I could. It wasn’t until shortly after college when I began to discover that Christ isn’t interested in my performance or in what I can do for him.[Click to Tweet!]

He simply loves me, wants to be with me.  It makes all the difference.

Tell us about your newest release, Simply Tuesday. What was your inspiration behind writing it?

Tuesday offers the gift of now, of seeing how the kingdom of God hides in small things—beneath the pile of laundry, woven into the dinner conversation, stacked against the mudroom wall.

This feels counter-intuitive in my world. In our culture and even in the church, we always seem to praise the big and important: the growing congregation, the rising star, the giant donation, or the big and amazing dream. But Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, he said God’s people are like salt, he said his kingdom belongs to the children.

Growing congregations, rising stars, giant donations, and big dreams are lovely. But the truth is that isn’t where most of us live.

The Bible says we are not to despise the days of small beginnings. I admit, that sounds lovely and offers relief maybe. But when you have to actually live the small beginnings, when you have to get up every morning for what feels like an eternal Tuesday, it’s hard to not despise that.

Too often my soul feels held hostage by hustle—which basically looks like me trying to hustle my way out of the Tuesday moments and grab on to something that looks more like a Friday night.

These themes kept coming up over the years. Even in my previous books I wrote about the gift of Tuesday. I finally realized I wanted to immerse myself completely in small-moment living and, as a writer, the only way I knew to do that was to write through it.

The cover art on your book is gorgeous, is there any significance behind the bench?

We have a pair of simple benches that sit in the center of our cul-de-sac and one day shortly after we got them, I noticed some of our neighbors sitting out there talking for over an hour. They had never done that before, not because they didn’t have things to talk about before but because they didn’t have a place to do it.

The benches weren’t a complicated solution to an unsolvable problem. They simply gave the neighbors a place to be, a place to rest, a place to come together on an ordinary day. The bench soon became a symbol of small-moment living for me, reminding me to find connection and simplicity—“bench moments”—when life gets too complicated. I realized if I didn’t start paying attention to my ordinary Tuesdays, I was in danger of missing my whole life. [Click to Tweet!]

If readers take away one thing from this book, what do you hope that will be?

To release our obsession with building a life and trust in the life Christ is building within us, one small moment at a time.


Get Simply Tuesday today and find encouragement to truly take back your Tuesdays.

Emily is a monthly contributor for (in)courage, has traveled as a blogger with Compassion International, runs a successful blog, and has published multiple books including A Million Little Ways and Graceful (For Young Women). 

Learn more about how Emily celebrates, remembers, and seeks God in every day moments in the second part to this interview posting tomorrow, September 4 on Faithlife Women

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Gaining by Losing: An Interview with J. D. Greear

Gaining by Losing

Tuesday J. D. Greear released his newest title, Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Church Belongs to Churches that Send. 

Vyrso got the inside scoop on why Greear wants big givers, key volunteers, some of the best leaders and friends in his church to leave . . . .

In the last few years, you have not only written multiple titles, but also maintained a blog, preaching career and grown The Summit Church substantially. What inspired you to write your latest release Gaining by Losing?  

I wrote Gaining By Losing because it is so easy for those of us in church leadership to focus on the wrong things when celebrating success. We only celebrate size. A large size is not bad, of course—we should be grateful when large numbers of people gather to hear our message like they did with Jesus.

But the promises Jesus gave about the greatness of the church related to sending, not gathering; through losing, not gaining.

The kingdom grows by the principle of the harvest—only what you give away can you really keep (John 12:24).

It’s taken me a while to really let that truth sink in. And the more I talk to other people in ministry, the more I realize that I’m not alone. Is it possible for us to be praying, “Thy kingdom come,” when what we mean in reality is, “My kingdom come?”

The true measure of success for a church shouldn’t be its seating capacity, but its sending capacity[Click to Tweet!]

Tell us more about the title Gaining by Losing.

Churches should be more excited about the people they lose than the ones they gain. When we raise up and send out leaders, we multiply the kingdom. It feels like loss, and it’s painful, but it is really gain.

Just as you can’t out-give God in your finances, you can’t out-give him with your leaders, either.

The more leaders we give away, the more leaders God raises up in their place. Again, it is the principle of the harvest: ministry surges when it gives, not when it hoards.

In Gaining by Losing, you confess to your original focus on filling the seats in your church and not growing the church by sending. When did you realize your focus was set on growing your kingdom instead of God’s kingdom?

It was embarrassing, but I remember it vividly.

One afternoon I was praying for massive revival in our city. In the midst of that prayer, it seemed as if the Spirit of God asked, “And what if I answer this prayer . . . and send a revival into Raleigh-Durham beyond all you’ve asked or imagined . . . one that they will talk about for hundreds of years. . . but I choose another church through which to do it? What if that church grows, and yours stays the same?”

I would love to say that my answer was an emphatic, “Yes, Lord! You must increase and I must decrease!”

But the answer that bubbled up from my heart was, “No.” 

Yes, I wanted to see the city reached, but I also wanted to see my church succeed, my kingdom enlarged, my name magnified. Somehow “thy kingdom come” had become all jumbled up with “my kingdom come.”

At that point, I knew that I needed to repent for my idolatry in ministry.

That afternoon marked a turning point in which, by God’s grace, the eyes of my heart began to shift to building God’s kingdom instead of my own.

What is the biggest challenge to being a “sending church”?

I am.

“Sending” preaches well, but it can be painful when it’s really executed. [Click to Tweet!]

I remember sitting at a table with our four church-planters-in-residence for the year, listening to them give their final report before being sent out from our church. We had given them a head-hunting license, and they had recruited 150 of our active members to go with them. I knew I was supposed to be excited, and I was . . . but I was also feeling a bit of panic.

Their lists included big givers, key volunteers, and leaders—even members of our pastoral team. Leaders whose absence would leave significant gaps.

As I listened to those four leaders give their reports, I put my hands under the table and literally forced them open to God. Opened in surrender. Open in the belief that God builds his kingdom as we let go, not as we hold on.

Tell us more about the myth of a calling, and what a new mindset around calling can mean for believers.

In the church I grew up in, “missionary” was a sacred and scary title, bestowed only upon the spiritual elite, the Navy Seals of the Christian world. We considered them heroes, sat in awe through their slideshows, and gladly donated our money to their ministries.

It was years later that I first realized that every Christian was a missionary, that all Christians were called to leverage their lives and talents for the kingdom.

God’s calling into mission is not a separate call we receive years after our salvation; it is inherent in the very call to salvation. Every believer is given a spiritual gift and a role to play in the spread of the Great Commission. [Click to Tweet!]


Read more insights from Greear and dig into why it’s so essential for the church to send out leaders in Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Church Belongs to Churches that Send! This new release will inspire and challenge you to reorient your church’s priorities around God’s mission to reach a lost world. 


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Big Hurts, Bitterness, and the Path to Forgiveness: An Interview with Sara Horn

Proverbs 10: 12

Today we are sharing the second part of our interview with Sara Horn. Read the first part of her interview on Faithlife Women!

Sara Horn is the author of  How Can I Possibly Forgive? Rescuing Your Heart from Resentment and Regret. Get it today!

In your ebook, How Can I Possibly Forgive?, you talk about your original desire to avoid conflict by focusing on success and less on the people you worked with. How have you worked to shift your focus? What inspired you to do so?

People are messy! Relationships can have drama!

I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel that way some days. For a long time, especially in my twenties, my way to avoid conflict or drama or the “messy” parts of life was to focus more on accomplishments than relationships. I mistakenly took it as a badge of honor when friends always started their phone calls to me with the words “I know you’re busy but . . . .”

If I was too busy to be bothered with relationships, than I would never have time to be bothered with fixing relationships.

But as I started really digging into what the Bible says, I realized that Jesus never put work ahead of people. His work included people. Messy ones, sinful ones, hurting ones. [Click to Tweet!] Learning this hasn’t happened overnight, but as I’ve slowly tried to view people the way Jesus does, starting with my family, I’ve moved from always putting work first to putting people first.

How would you define “big hurts” and bitterness? 

Big hurts are painful disappointments, betrayals of trust, a realization that a friendship or a marriage or a relationship isn’t what you thought it was. We can experience deep wounds. We can also experience small cuts—someone repeatedly puts us down or breaks their promises or talks about us behind our backs— that, if received over and over, can feel the same as a deep wound.

Bitterness grows when our cuts refuse to heal and an infection of unforgiveness and resentment spreads.

What are ways we can free ourselves of bitter feelings?

I’ve found in my own life that to work free from bitterness, I have to first give myself permission that it will take time but it’s important to refuse to hold on to the hurt and let forgive. Expecting to work through forgiveness overnight isn’t realistic. Can God work in someone’s heart and completely wipe away hurt so she feels only peace? Yes, absolutely. But that doesn’t happen on our own.

Hurts often remind us of loss—so it’s important to focus on what we have. Adjusting our perspective to remember everything we’ve been given versus what’s been taken away can sometimes help us realize that we are more okay than our feelings might want us to think in the moment.

When we choose to forgive, we let go of something negative so it’s important we fill that space with something positive.

Often it’s easy to recognize what went wrong, but what are practical ways on how we can look forward recognize what needs to happen?

Forgiveness doesn’t happen by accident but with intention. [Click to Tweet!That means you may not have planned for the hurt in your life to happen but you need to make a plan to let go of it and move on.

This starts with addressing how you’ve been hurt and what you can do about it. If someone else has hurt you, the most straight-forward way to move past it is to address it with the person guilty of the hurt. Write out what you want to say; practice saying it. Avoid making it personal towards the other person but keep it personal to you. Instead of saying “You were a horrible human being for doing what you did to me,” say “I was deeply hurt when you did what you did” and explain why you were hurt.

If the person who hurt you is unwilling or unable to talk or apologize, you still need to let go of the bitter feelings you hold onto. Focus on what you have learned from the conflict—are you stronger? Are you more understanding of others who have been in the same situation? Are you now able to offer encouragement to someone else who has gone through the same thing?

Saying sorry can be difficult, what are some milestones you have had to overcome in admitting you were in the wrong?

Well, first, I’ve had to be willing to admit I was wrong! That’s hard! We don’t like to think of ourselves as capable of doing wrong—it’s much easier to look at someone else and all of their flaws and mistakes.

Admitting that you’ve made a mistake—like the time I passive-aggressively unloaded on Facebook about a situation involving a nameless friend instead of going directly to her to deal with it—is a humbling experience but important for your relationships with friends and family as well as your relationship with God. Because we are going to do wrong things. When we refuse to apologize, even for our part in something we think is someone else’s fault, we’ll also find it difficult to truly forgive someone else when they apologize.

Often we are hardest on ourselves and our own mistakes. What are the best ways we can work towards self-forgiveness?

I think we have to remember that God gives us second chances when we acknowledge our wrongs, and we have to give ourselves second chances as well. As my mother likes to remind me often, I am my own worst critic. I can have three things go well but the fourth thing that I didn’t do as well, or messed up or disappointed myself or someone else will stay with me for days.

God didn’t create us to be perfect, He created us to be available. [Click to Tweet!Recognize that with each failure, we can learn and grow. And then be intentional about it.

How can we overcome angry feelings with God’s love?

When life brings overwhelming disappointment—the death of a loved one, the death of a dream, the death of something we held dear—it’s tempting to point our finger at God and accuse him of no longer loving us, of no longer caring for us. But what we have to remember is that this life ISN’T about us.

Look to the two most important commandments that Jesus gives us: “. . .Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31.)

It takes faith to believe and trust God has our best in mind. But I can believe that and I can trust God with my life when I hold onto his truth like we find in Romans 8:28 —“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” We live to fit with God’s purpose, God does not exist to simply fulfill our own idea of purpose.

Tell God when you’re disappointed (it’s okay—he already knows anyway!). But instead of putting up angry walls, ask God to help give you clarity and understanding. Ask him to help you move on from the anger and frustration and disappointment you feel, and replace those feelings with joy.

Paul probably stated it best when he talked in Philippians about the contentment he knew in living for Christ instead of himself. “I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).


To learn more get Sara Horn’s How Can I Possibly Forgive? today!


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Empire’s End: An Interview with Jerry Jenkins

Empire's End

 Recently we were able to interview Jerry B. Jenkins, American novelist and biographer, best known as co-author of the Left Behind series with Tim LaHaye. Jenkins has written over 185 books, including romance novels, mysteries, and children’s adventures, as well as non-fiction. 

Jenkins’ latest release, Empire’s End is a novel telling the story of the apostle Paul from a first person narrative. In this fictional account, Paul, a devout Jewish scholar, emerges as the greatest Christian theologian in history.

Get Empire’s End today as Jenkins brings to life the Roman Empire and Biblical world through the eyes of Paul.

You have an impressive resume of accomplishments from co-authoring the best-selling Left Behind series to writing over 185 books in a variety of genres over the past 40 years. What drives you to continue to produce more content?

Had my goal been to become a successful writer, I suppose I could have quit a long time ago, and certainly after the triumph of the Left Behind series. But my goal has always been to obey my calling, and the only way to succeed at that is to continue to obey.

Tell us about your new release Empire’s End, was there anything that inspired you to write this novel?

I’ve long been intrigued by Paul as one of the most zealous and convicting personalities in the Bible. I had written fiction based on the gospels in The Jesus Chronicles (Matthew’s Story, Mark’s Story, Luke’s Story, and John’s Story) and Paul was the next logical place to go.

For a writer, working with an author whose work has stood the test of two millennia was an intimidating prospect. And thrilling. I teach writers to never let the Scripture become a mere text book [Click to Tweet!], and believe me, the writings of Paul can never become that. The majesty of his words lifted me out of my chair daily.

Empire’s End is set in Biblical times, what kind of research did you have to do in order to ensure that the historical setting was as accurate as possible?

The Scriptures themselves are the main source, but fortunately I also have access to countless commentaries and Bible dictionaries, as well as detailed texts on manners and customs of Bible lands and times.

As you brought Paul to life, we get to see beyond the pages of the biblical letters and into his heart, what was it like envisioning Paul and seeing through his eyes as you wrote?

Very convicting. Here was a man devoted to God even before he became a believer in Christ. He sincerely believed he was doing God’s will when he railed against the people of The Way, the Nazarenes he was convinced were worshipping a cursed martyr because He had been hung on a tree. Then, when Paul was forced to face the fact that he had been wrong, that Jesus was alive and had assigned him to be His messenger to not only the Jews but even the reviled Gentiles, Paul became the most zealous missionary ever.

Here was a man who proved every day that he meant it when he said that for him “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” He was stoned and left for dead, flogged, imprisoned, shipwrecked thrice, snake bit, tried, sentenced, and finally beheaded, but never once flagged in his determination to preach Christ and Him crucified.

Did you ever find it hard to identify with him?

Daily. Whose life holds a candle to such an example of devotion?

Can you shed light on the character of Taryn and her influence on Paul?

In the end Paul was not free to take her with him on his missionary journeys, despite that she was willing. I believe that could have been his thorn in the flesh—a longing to enjoy what others have, the privilege to love and be loved. And in my fictional construct, she went beyond beauty and virtue to bestow divine forgiveness, which put her on a plane that only endeared her to him all the more.

How do you see Empire’s End influencing and challenging your readers?

I believe in our culture we are getting only a glimpse of persecution—and even that is from our brothers and sisters overseas. We “suffer” when we are ridiculed or laughed at or scorned or marginalized. Paul faced the threat of death everyday and used it as fuel.  There is much to learn from his example. [Click to Tweet!]


Don’t miss out on a great read, get best-selling author Jerry Jenkins’s novel Empire’s End today!

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In Our Backyard: An Interview with Nita Belles

In Our Backyard

Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing author Nita Belles about her newest release, In Our Backyard. Currently she serves as the Managing Director of the non-profit In Our Backyard and the Regional Director for Central Oregonians against Trafficking Humans (OATH). A former Associate Pastor, she holds a Master’s Degree in Theology with a concentration in Women’s Concerns. 

Add In Our Backyard to your library today! You’ll get an ebook that is dedicated to raising awareness on human trafficking and it’s effects.    

Tell us more about your new release, In Our Backyard. What was your main inspiration behind writing it?

I felt there was a need for an easy-to-read book that tackled the horrific, but hushed facts about both labor and sex trafficking.

Some of my biggest inspiration was and continues to be notes and emails from those who have been informed by the book and are now doing something to stop human trafficking. Even more than that, I am overwhelmingly inspired by the notes and emails from survivors and/or their families who have read In Our Backyard and are receiving services and getting their lives back. I said when I started this, “If I could only help one person. . .” and I’m filled with enormous praise for a God who continues to multiply that number.

The book includes many stories of labor and sex trafficking victims, both children and adults. I tell stories of what it’s like to be a victim of these crimes, as well as stories of being a perpetrator—how the drive for more money and power feeds and increases that monster within. Woven throughout the stories are statistics and facts about human traffickingand ideas of ways that anyone can become involved in this fight. There are study questions at the end of each chapter to facilitate small groups who want to learn together.

What are some experiences that you have had in the field when trying to find and help set free victims of human trafficking?

Victims are often traumatically bonded to their captor, a condition commonly known as Stockholm syndrome. Often times I get word that someone wants out of the life, or has escaped, only to find that by the time someone arrives to help them, they have gone back to their trafficker.

The most rewarding moments are seeing survivors begin to come alive after they have been recovered. After her escape, one survivor was taken to a beautiful shelter. I stayed with her all day while she recanted her horrific story to multiple law enforcement personnel. As I was leaving the shelter that evening, she grabbed my arm. She said to me words I will never forget, “Today I am free. I am no longer a prisoner.” After living as a prisoner, locking herself inside closets so she wouldn’t be sexually assaulted in the middle of the night, she now lives free and happy. She sees her family, works full time, has her own home and is a valuable asset to her community. She is happy and free to love, to laugh, to worship regularly at her church. She is a beautiful example of a person coming alive.

Does your definition of human trafficking differ from how the public typically understands it? If so, what is your definition and what are the main differences?

The public rarely thinks of labor trafficking when human trafficking is mentioned, but labor trafficking is rampant in our country. It happens in restaurants, nail salons, farming, in people’s homes as maids/nannies, factories, really, any place that labor occurs could be an opportunity for a human trafficker to exploit someone. Typically, but not always, labor trafficking victims are foreign-born nationals.

Sex trafficking is often thought of as Asian women brought over in containers and kept in massage parlors. While that does happen, the large majority of sex-trafficking victims in the United States are American born [Click to Tweet!]. Once they are in “the life” it is very difficult to get out.

This world is real. While all trafficking stories share some similarities, here is no “ordinary” way that people are trafficked.

Many conversations about human trafficking focus on what happens in other countries, yet you emphasize that it is happening in the United States, literally “in our backyard.” How does trafficking in the U.S. differ from that in other countries? 

In some foreign countries, human trafficking is a part of their accepted culture to the point that there are laws that protect it. In the United States it is a part of our culture, but in more subtle ways.

In foreign countries it’s not uncommon for a person to go to a corner cop and ask them where they can buy sex. Here in the United States, for the most part, our law enforcement and other government do everything they can to enforce laws. Now we just need to continue to improve those laws, improve training and awareness about human trafficking for law enforcement, and provide better and more services for those who are getting free from this atrocity.

What are the best ways we can educate ourselves and our loved ones about the dangers of modern-day slavery?

My first suggestion must be to read In Our Backyard.  I compiled the best information I know in the book.

Second, talk about it! All the traffickers ask is that we remain silent about this, or pretend it doesn’t happen. We must not do either of those things. Go ahead and organize a community or church event. Bring in a speaker and then have opportunities at the end of the event for people to get involved in some way.

Awareness of the warning signs is the best prevention for our loved ones. [Click to Tweet!]


Keep yourself informed and get In Our Backyard today!   

 For more information on Nita Belles and her work, please visit

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