Don’t Pity the Working Mom

Chasing Superwoman

Today’s guest post is by Susan DiMickele, a lawyer and author whose work touches working moms struggling to live an authentic Christian faith in a fast-paced world. DiMickele’s first book, Chasing Superwoman: A Working Mom’s Adventures in Life and Faith, is a funny, intelligent, and relevant exploration of living out your faith while juggling responsibilities at home and at work. Get Chasing Superwoman today!

I was picking up my daughter from Sunday school when another mother started cross-examining me about my job. We’d met once or twice, and she didn’t realize I was a lawyer until my daughter (then age 6) announced my occupation to the class.

After explaining to her where I worked, she wanted to know why I work for a large law firm, why I don’t work part time, and why part time isn’t an option. And she genuinely felt sorry for me.

“You poor thing. You must work all the time.”

Mind you, I don’t believe this woman was judging me. She just appeared confused and genuinely concerned that I was missing out on a more fulfilling life.

In response, did I explain to her that I’m actually quite satisfied in my daily work, that I have new opportunities every day to serve God in my profession, and while my job isn’t perfect, I’m more than grateful for my work as a lawyer?

Not exactly. I found myself apologizing for my occupation and even being dishonest: “Oh, I don’t really work that much. And it’s really quite manageable.”

Who am I kidding?

I started to walk toward the exit when I ran into another mother. We used to serve in mid-week youth programs together and hadn’t seen each other in months. She greeted me with a hug and smile and said, “Hey, Susan, how’s your book doing? Are you still writing?”

In response, did I seize the moment and explain that writing is my passion? That I write for sheer joy and privilege and I’m even part of an online community of writers where we integrate both faith and work?

Not exactly. I found myself downplaying my writing and again being dishonest. “Well, my writing is more of a hobby than anything else. But thanks for asking.”

I can’t explain my response. While I champion the integration of faith and work on paper (and even encourage readers to do the same), I’m obviously struggling to be authentic. When given the dance floor, I’d rather pass and revert into a cycle of dualism, completely separating my spiritual life from my daily work. And if I can’t be honest about my passions with my own church family, how can I be honest with myself?

Maybe I don’t have the guts to admit that I love my work. Maybe I’m too prideful to call my work spiritual or even good. Yet even though I work too many hours, travel more than I’d like, and struggle to find time to write when I’m not tied to carpool duty or a billable hour, I actually believe that God is involved in each and every detail of my day. And that my work makes a difference.

In Ephesians 2:10, the apostle Paul explains that “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” In other words, regardless of whether I’m in the courtroom or the kitchen, I’m supposed to be doing good works. In fact, God even prepared these good works in advance. My pastor once explained that the Greek word for workmanship is actually poiema. It’s where we get the English word poem, and it’s often used in Scripture to refer to God’s creative activity.

I have never thought of my work as a poem, have you? Not just a poem, but a poem that God himself is writing. A poem that God has even prepared in advance. The next time I make excuses for my work, the next time I doubt that God is really involved in my daily grind, I’m going to start speaking Greek. I’m not just a lawyer, a mother, a wife, a daughter, or an author. According to God, I’m a poet! And that’s reason enough to stop chasing superwoman and embrace my daily work.

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Discover how to juggle responsibilities at home and at work while confidently living out your faith: get DiMickele’s Chasing Superwoman: A Working Mom’s Adventures in Life and Faith today!

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Introducing 10 Days of Parenting Bundles: Get 70% Off!

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Today we’re kicking off Vyrso’s 10 Days of Parenting! Through May 14, we’ll introduce a new 24-hour book bundle every weekday that’s perfect for moms and dads everywhere! We’ll also feature practical, biblically sound parenting advice in interviews and guest posts from some of your favorite Christian authors.

Stay tuned to Vyrso Voice for a new parenting bundle every week day!

Get 70% off the Wise Parenting Bundle

Today only, we’re offering the Wise Parenting Bundle for just $11.99! You’ll get these four books for 70% off:

1. God’s Wisdom for Your Life: Parents’ Edition by Tina Krause

Get over a 1,000 biblical insights on parenting in one concise and easily searchable book. Broken down into 70 key life topics, this book offers a short explanation along with relevant Bible verses on faith, attitude, commitment, doubt, and more. Just go to the table of contents, click on any of the topic links, and it takes you straight to the information and encouragement you need to grow as a parent.

2. 14 Secrets to Better Parenting: Powerful Principles from the Bible by Dave Earley

Need parenting advice? Go to one of the best resources on parenting ever created—the book of Proverbs. This book outlines prayer, humility, honoring God, wisdom, and more. Dave Earley skillfully guides parents through 14 parenting secrets found in Proverbs, and he offers his own personal experiences and advice to drive each point home. This is the perfect resource for biblically sound parenting advice!

3. Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate: Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries by Debora Coty

When you’re worried and stressed, it shows. And there are few parents out there who haven’t, at one time or another, taken out that stress and anger on their children. It’s time to stop the problem before it starts. This book is perfect for any woman wanting to tackle fear and anxiety with a healthy dose of humor. Learn from popular speaker, columnist, and award-winning author Debora Coty, and discover how to overcome your fears so you can become a better friend, wife, and mother.

4. 3-Minute Devotions for Women: Daily Devotional by Briggita Nortker

Running short on time? This is the perfect devotional for any woman wanting a daily dose of the Word on the go. Spend one minute meditating on Scripture, another minute on a short devotional reading, and the last minute on a prayer to jump-start your conversation with God. No matter how busy you may feel, there’s always time for God. Get this devotional to help draw you into the Word every day.

Today only: get the Wise Parenting Bundle for just $11.99! Then check back tomorrow for the next 10 Days of Parenting bundle.

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3 Ways to Pray More

Prayer

Today’s guest post is by Julia Roller, author of the new book, Mom Seeks God: Finding Grace in the Chaos. Roller received a master’s in journalism from UC Berkeley and a master’s in theological studies from the Pacific School of Religion. On top of editing books, writing for her blog, and being a wife and mother, Roller just published Mom Seeks God, which explains the 10 essential spiritual practices she discovered while trying to reconnect with God in the midst of being a busy new mom. Discover how you can overcome the chaos of life and be a solid spiritual role model for your children—download Mom Seeks God today!

At a church meeting, we were discussing our prayer requests—a list of concerns from our church family and community that we all receive, sometimes several times a day, by email. A woman raised her hand and asked, hesitantly, “How do all of you manage these emails? I mean, I want to pray for all of them, but there are just so many!”

Silence. A long silence.

I think she had put her finger on a huge problem. All of us in that room wanted to lift up each of those requests to God, but she was right. There were so many, and none of us felt we had enough time to address them all.

Most of us, I believe, want to pray more than we do, but we’re not sure how or when we can fit it in. Here are some easy ways to bring more prayer into your daily life:

1. Pray in the moment

If you’re on a prayer chain or email list, whenever possible, pray as soon as you get that email. I know that my instinct was often to put it aside, save it for a moment when I had peace and clarity and adequate time to really do those requests justice. It probably won’t surprise you that those times rarely, if ever, came.

I realized that if I was going to pray about the requests at all, I needed to do it immediately, or they would just get lost.

I find myself coming to the same realization in my interactions with other people. When I say or email or text someone that I’ll be praying, I take a moment to do so right then. Not only do I then know that I have lifted them up in prayer, but something about bringing it to God once helps me to remember to pray about the same matter again later.

One more tip: instead of worrying about finding the right words to say to bring that person before God, instead I just picture that person with God’s light and peace shining on them.

2. Claim certain moments in family life as prayer time

I view the time before the kids’ nap time and their bedtime as prayer time—for them and for me. I sing songs to them and to God, and I pray both for them and with them.

What’s so special about that? Like most moms, I’d always done these things with my boys before bed, but the difference for me is not in what I do, but in the way I think about it. I used to think of this time more as an example for them—it was for their spiritual benefit rather than my own.

Thinking of bedtime as my prayer time helps me feel less rushed and more calm. It helps me appreciate the time and be in the moment rather than just wishing for them to be asleep already. And the truth is, praying with them is often the most connected I feel to God all day.

3. Find a time when prayer works best for you

I struggled for years with guilt over the fact that I never managed to get up in the morning and have a quiet time of prayer and Bible study to start the day. I know a lot of people are successful with this, but it’s never worked well for me. (I was so relieved to hear John Ortberg admit once that even Jesus wouldn’t like him early in the morning.)

I’m a night owl. My kids get up crazy early, and I just have no desire to beat them out of bed. In fact, I kind of like it that they wake me up by jumping into bed and snuggling with me. So I’ve realized that nighttime is a great prayer time for me. And having an agenda helps me tremendously. So I pray the Examen at night before I go to bed. The Examen is a kind of examination of your day, so it works perfectly for nighttime prayer. I ask myself where I felt close to Christ that day, and where I felt furthest. Then I think about where I erred and ask forgiveness. It’s a powerful way to end the day.

Bottom line: Sometimes we all long for the perfect conditions for prayer—candles, lighting, calm, and quiet—but it’s the prayer itself that matters. The more we find ways to fit prayer into the fabric of our days, the more naturally it comes. The more we reach out to God, the better we’ll be able to hear his voice reminding us to reach out again.

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Discover 10 essential faith practices that help you grow in your spiritual walk, and practical tips for making them a habit in your busy life: download Mom Seeks God: Finding Grace in the Chaos today!

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5 Ways to Get Your Ideas Noticed in an Overstimulated World

Unique

Today’s guest post is by Phil Cooke, who’s a rare find in today’s culture. In addition to being an internationally known writer and speaker, he’s also a Hollywood producer and has a PhD in theology. While producing media in nearly 50 countries, he’s been shot at, survived two military coups, and fallen out of a helicopter. During that time, he’s used media to promote nonprofits and share their stories across the globe. Get his latest book, Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media for 35% off, then shop all of Cooke’s books on Vyrso!

Every generation lives out their faith and calling within the context of their particular culture. The apostle Paul lived out his ministry in the context of Roman domination; William Wilberforce campaigned in Parliament under the shadow of the British slave trade; Dietrich Bonhoeffer struggled under Nazi occupation. Today, we live in a media-dominated culture and must operate our churches, ministries, and nonprofits in that technological context. In a previous age, all a preacher needed to be successful was a good Bible, a calling from God, and strong lungs. But in today’s digital culture, where a typical American deals with as many as 5,000 media messages a day, how does the voice of your church, your ministry, your nonprofit organization, or your great idea rise above the racket?

Here are five ways you can get your ideas noticed amidst today’s many distractions:

1) Understand that your competition is fierce.

Your nonprofit or church may be fantastic, and your movie or book idea may be life changing—but that’s not enough. You need to cut through the clutter and get noticed. Even though you may not be a marketing expert, words like “marketing” and “branding” matter today, so take them seriously and get good advice on how to tell your story more effectively.

2) Be unique.

Marketing experts call it your “unique selling proposition.” In other words, what makes you different from the competition? Stop trying to be like everyone else, and start looking for ways to separate your idea or project from the pack. To be noticed, you need to be different.

3) Think about packaging.

In the old days, a great message or purpose was enough. But today, with so many other choices, how you deliver the message is just as important as the message itself. How your church looks, your book cover, the movie trailer, the quality of your product—all can be the gatekeepers that decide if a potential donor, customer, or audience member takes the next step.

4) Become the best in a smaller niche.

I tell young Hollywood directors, “Don’t try to be the best director in the industry—start by being the best director of a certain type of film, or a certain budget level, or a certain genre.” The smaller the niche, the less competition, and the easier to get noticed. Once you’ve become the king of your niche, then you can grow to greater levels of recognition. But start by becoming the best in a very narrow area of expertise.

5) Get your ideas out there.

I started writing for really small industry magazines for free, and speaking at tiny media conferences nobody even knew about. But after a while, I started getting noticed. That opened the door to my blog, which opened the door to self-publishing, which opened the door to traditional publishing, which opened the door to major magazines and platforms like Fast CompanyWiredThe Huffington Post, and more. That opened the door to bigger conferences. All of which is what brings potential clients into the door of our media production and consulting company, Cooke Pictures. But it all started with getting my ideas out there on a small level and building from there. Are you taking social media seriously? Are you writing a blog? Are you offering to speak at small, even insignificant workshops or conferences? When it comes to media and publicity, people don’t really care about you, they care about your ideas. Get them out there and watch them work for you.

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Learn more about getting your ideas noticed in a distracted world from highly respected media producer and consultant, Phil Cooke: download Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media on Vyrso today!

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Your Most Powerful Tool against Spiritual Warfare

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“. . . if you are a Christian, you are a child of the living God. You have power that the human mind cannot fully comprehend, and this power is unleashed through prayer.” —John Bornschein

For the last 23 years, America has set aside one special day dedicated to lifting the world up in prayer. The National Day of Prayer, organized by the National Day of Prayer Task Force, was initiated in 1991 under the leadership of Shirley Dobson. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have filled stadiums to pray together on this momentous day, and the power of prayer can’t be understated.

In fact, one study found that although 70 percent of Christian teens and young adults walk away from the church during college, kids that grow up in praying families are 30 percent more likely to stay grounded in their faith. Likewise, an article that appeared in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that couples who participate in the same religious activities—namely, prayer—have a higher level of marital satisfaction and are less likely to get divorced. The moral of the story? Prayer has power. And it’s making real, life-altering changes in the world around us.

Preparing for spiritual battle

According to John Bornschein, vice chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force and author of The Front Line: A Prayer Warrior’s Guide to Spiritual Battle, the most powerful weapon a person can yield is prayer. He said, “To be a true prayer warrior is the highest, most effective level a combatant in the kingdom can attain. Everything done under the heavens is accomplished through prayer. Nothing will stand against the forces of evil without it.”

For Bornshcein, this is a critical hour for America. He explains that the only way to awaken the church and ignite spiritual revival is by using prayer to both draw us closer to Christ and gain the wisdom to change the world. The Front Line offers a field guide for exploring the depth and power of prayer:

“The front line is the threshold where the battle is won or lost. It is the turning point for victory or defeat, where the will of the mind prevails over flesh through faith and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Just as Gideon and his 300 warriors stood firm in the face of the enemy, we must be bold for truth in a society of moral relativism. Courage under fire requires a necessary balance of prayer and Scripture study within the church body—harmony between order and discipline. It is the fortitude of knowledge and unity to bring down barriers and move mountains in our culture.”

Get fired up to “pray without ceasing,” and discover the real, life-changing power of prayer. Download John Bornschein’s The Front Line: A Prayer Warrior’s Guide to Spiritual Battle on Vyrso for just $7.49.

Then get Bornschein’s latest book, For Life: Defending the Defenseless for just $2.99. In this new book, Bornschein makes a passionate plea for us to stop regarding abortion as an abstract political argument, and instead accept it as a matter of life and death for individuals—download For Life today!

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Get even more prayer resources by taking advantage of Logos’ three-day sale in honor of the National Day of Prayer. Check out all 50 prayer resources on sale now!

 

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Last Chance: Get 32 Books under $2 Each!

Shepherding a Child's Heart

All month long, we’ve offered big savings on Shepherd Press titles, and now we’re down to the wire: you only have three days left to choose from 32 books for just $1.99 each.

Shepherd Press titles offer powerful Christian-living resources by top authors. Are you preparing for marriage and need a book to guide you through establishing a healthy marriage? Get When Sinners Say “I Do”. Want to learn to better communicate with teenagers? Download Get Outta My Face! How to Reach Angry, Unmotivated Teens with Biblical Counsel. Want to have a clearer understanding of God’s plan for the church? Get Loving the Church: God’s People Flourishing in God’s Family.  We have titles for everyone, ranging from books on grace, family worship, parenting, and even commentaries for kids!

Parenting resources

Teenagers, young children, adopted kids—you name it, we have a book for it. Become a stronger parent and loving role model with these powerful books on parenting:

Books on grace and devotionals

What does a truly loving church look like? How can we recover from brokenness and sin, and be free in Christ? What are the hardest things God asks of women, and how can they respond with open hearts? These books answer all of these questions and more:

Children’s books (including commentaries for kids!)

The free Vyrso app is perfect for helping kids familiarize themselves with Scripture and grow closer to the Word. Any time a verse is referenced within a book, they can use the one-tap Bible-reference tool to instantly display the verse text. This is the perfect tool for Scripture memorization. Check out these $1.99 books, specifically designed for children:

Hurry! Prices increase in just three days. Shop all $1.99 Shepherd Press titles!

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A Treasure of Incomparable Value: The Power of Scripture Memorization

An Approach to Extended Memorization

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Andrew Davis, a breakout author whose recent book, An Infinite Journey: Growing toward Christlikeness, has received glowing reviews from big-name authors like John Piper and David Platt. Over the past few months, Dr. Davis has received a lot of attention for his Scripture-memorization techniques. To date, he’s memorized 35 books in the Bible, and his approach has been recognized by the likes of Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. To share his strategy and encourage others to commit Scripture to memory, he’s just released An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture, which invites readers to adopt his proven memorization methods. Get this powerful book for just 99 cents!

Edmond Dantes’ heart was beating wildly as he opened the treasure box on the small Mediterranean island of Monte Cristo. The treasure map, given him by the Abbe Faria while they were both imprisoned on the Chateau D’If, had proved to be genuine—not the hoax he feared it was. As he looked inside the great chest and saw a thousand gold ingots (each weighing two to three pounds), rare jewels, diamonds and coins—worth over 13 million francs—he knew he was instantly one of the wealthiest men on earth.

So it went in the compelling tale written by Alexandre Dumas over a century and a half ago. But that was fiction, and it fed people’s worldly dreams. There is a true treasure chest of infinite value awaiting anyone who opens the Bible, reads its words with faith, and allows its powerful influence to draw them into a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And the treasure is not just the beginning of that relationship, but the joy of discovery as the sinner is conformed day by day into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). Psalm 1 promises lavish blessings on any who will meditate day and night upon the Word of God. Colossians 3:16 commands us to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” as we discover line upon line of perfect truth. As we can imagine Edmond Dantes picking up each gold ingot or rare jewel and looking at it glisten, so can we lift out one verse after another of God’s holy Word and meditate on it with delight. Every Christian is eternally wealthy, made so by the treasure box of God’s Word as it testifies to Christ.

Experience transformation through memorization

One of the greatest activities any Christian can do to maximize his or her enrichment by this treasure is the memorization of long portions—even books—of the Bible. I have been so enriched by over 30 years of this discipline. God has instructed me, commanded me, counselled me, encouraged me, convicted me, challenged me, promised me, comforted me, and transformed me by this discipline. How delightful it is to have a mind filled with Scripture—“whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy!” (Philippians 4:8). How essential it is to have Scripture ready to hand when Satan’s flaming arrows of temptation are streaking toward my heart (Ephesians 6:16)! How powerful it is to have detailed sections of Romans ready for a witnessing opportunity that God had prepared in advance (Ephesians 2:10)! How comforting it is to have Psalm 51 memorized when we feel so guilty for sins! To have a mind saturated by the perfect Word of God is a treasure beyond compare.

I’ve been feeding at this banquet table for three decades. One afternoon, a young man I was discipling asked me to teach him how to do it. So in about two hours I wrote down what I’d been doing for years. I’ve changed that pamphlet hardly at all since that day, and now it’s available as an ebook through Vyrso and my publisher, Ambassador International, and I’m deeply grateful that God may use it to open up a lifetime of treasure for many of his precious children! May you be one of them!

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Saturate your mind with the beautiful treasure trove of God’s Word: get An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture for just 99 cents, and start memorizing Scripture today!

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The Power of Your Story

Billy Coffey

Today’s guest post is by Billy Coffey, author of When Mockingbirds Sing and The Devil Walks Mattingly. Coffey dreamed of being a published author ever since high school, but vowed he would never be a novelist. Four novels later, God had a different plan in mind. Coffey’s novels tackle faith’s big questions against the backdrop of the rural South, where history is long and things are seldom as they seem. His latest book, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, is about how a suspicious murder that changes the lives of three small-town people—download it on Vyrso today!

As hard as it is for someone like me to believe, there are people out there who’d have you believe they don’t like stories. They’ll say that they don’t have time for books, that they’re too boring and require too much effort. They’ll say they have no need for imaginary things, for characters born of thought rather than flesh, or for places conjured rather than built. It’s reality in which they are most interested. So they would have you believe . . . In the real world, there is little time for fairy tales. Living is serious business, but stories aren’t. Those who waste their time in tales are the ones who fall behind—they’re the ones who lose the game.

I suppose that means I’m losing at best. And at worst, I’m contributing to the delinquency of otherwise good and responsible people. Not only do I enjoy reading stories, but I enjoy writing them. I enjoy seeking them out. And what I’ve found in my seeking is something those interested in the serious business of living would perhaps find very disconcerting—stories are everywhere. They’re buried in every person we meet and every conversation we overhear. They are present in the pictures that adorn our walls and the music that fills our ears. They wait in every rock and puff of wind. In everything there is a beginning, middle, and end, and nestled in the spaces between those three legs of every journey lies all the magic and knowledge any of us care to seek. The poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, “The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.” I believe finer words have never been spoken.

What’s your story?

There’s more to Rukeyser’s maxim than poetic truth, however. There’s a deeper meaning as well. Whether you call yourself a writer or a reader or an unbeliever in both, the truth is that you’re a storyteller. That fact cannot be ignored. It cannot be brushed aside. And most of all, it cannot be denied. You are the chronicler of your own tale. Your every day is but one small chapter in the larger story of your life, some part of the beginning or the middle or the end, written upon pages granted by whatever God or random chance you ascribe meaning to. Pages bound together by time itself, filled with your minutes and hours.

Perhaps that sounds a little too metaphysical for the serious minded. They may disagree with my notion. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t change a thing. Good people can stand on either side of a truth, but that doesn’t alter where that truth lies or what that truth means. We can deny that our lives are a story, but that will make our story one of renunciation. We can choose not to respect our place as authors of our own accounts, but that will make our accounts ones of failure. Do you see? There is no escaping it. You have no choice but to write your story, just as you have no choice but to live your life.

So I say live it for all it’s worth. I say wring every bit of beauty and truth from it. Let it drip down your hands and arms. Let it pour into your mouth and quench your every thirst. Bore down into your every moment and mine the gold you find. Scribble and scrawl on your pages. Write furious and true. Do not waste your days. Time is not a flat circle, it is an arrow that stretches from now into eternity. There is where you should look, on to that final chapter, because God put our eyes in front of us so we can see where we’re going, not where we’ve been. Whether quiet literary or screaming thriller, lustful romance or heartbreaking tragedy, bawdy comedy or uplifting inspirational, when all is finished and the final period is put to the last sentence on the end page, your life in this world will stand for something. Your tale will be set down, and that is what you’ll be remembered by.

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Coffey is a passionate and powerful storyteller—get his latest book, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, on Vyrso today! 

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A Devout Muslim’s Powerful Journey to Christ: An Interview with Nabeel Qureshi

Seeking Allah

Today’s interview is with Nabeel Qureshi, a former devout Muslim who was convinced of the gospel’s truth through historical reasoning and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion to Christianity, Qureshi joined the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias ministries, and has dedicated his life to spreading the gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating. In Qureshi’s first book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim’s Journey to Christ, he details his emotional journey from Islam to Christianity, while setting forth powerful arguments for Christianity. The book offers both a personal account and scholarly research, and aims to break down the barriers between Christians and Muslims—download it today.

1. What are the biggest factors that keep Muslims from converting to Christianity?

The environment and community they’ve been raised in keeps them from converting. For Muslims, Christianity is shameful, so to become a Christian would be dishonorable.

Also, for Muslims, believing Jesus is God is a sin. In fact, it’s the biggest sin there is. When I told my mom I’d converted, she said she’d rather I was an atheist or a homosexual. This belief precludes them from ever thinking about Christianity.

2. You said Christians’ reputation also keeps Muslims from converting—what sort of reputation do they have in the Muslim world?

Within Muslim culture, especially in places where there aren’t many Christians, Christianity is seen as a religion for lesser people, for people who need a crutch—who need forgiveness, and status. Especially in Pakistan and Indonesia, Christianity is viewed as a religion for lower-class people. Also, the Koran views the Trinity as polytheistic, so if you’re a Christian, you’re a polytheist. This isn’t the view all Muslims have, but it is in places where there are few Christians—like Pakistan, where my family is from.

3. How can Christians better understand and reach out to Muslims?

By spending time with them and being good witnesses. Everyone thinks other people are the same as them, so we transpose our character and feelings on other people. But not everyone thinks like a Westerner; this is why we have to build relationships. And this is why Christ spent time with the prostitutes and tax collectors—so he could relate personally to them, and that’s what Christians need to do too.

We need to show Muslims that Christians are loving, are intelligent, have thought through their faith, and honor God. Words won’t fix our reputation, but witnessing will. To reach Muslims, you must build relationships and friendships so they have a corrected image of what the gospel is.

4. What led you to first start pursuing Christianity?

I’d been challenging a Christian friend, telling him that the Bible wasn’t trustworthy and the Trinity was blasphemous. But throughout our debate, he gave me strong arguments for Christianity, and I began to see the strength in his case. He then asked me if I’d ever applied the same level of skepticism to Islam, which I hadn’t. When I began to apply the same critical criteria to my own religion, I realized the case for Christianity wasn’t just strong—it was the strongest. That’s when I began to accept the gospel.

5. In what ways are Islam and Christianity similar?

Christianity and Islam have two of the most similar views out there. They both believe in one omnipotent, omniscient creator; they both believe this creator established morality and that our eternal life is based on our sins, which send us to hell or heaven; they believe in angels and demons, and that there are holy scriptures that have been sent to us. We also share many of the same biblical characters—Adam, Eve, Abraham, Job, Noah, and many more—they’re all in the Koran.

They also believe in Jesus’ miraculous birth, his ability to perform miracles, and that his return to earth will initiate the final days. So superficially, Christianity and Islam are quite similar.

6. In what ways are Islam and Christianity most different?

In their understanding of who God is. In Christianity, God is your unconditionally loving father. He’s the most humble being in the universe, he’s willing to suffer for our sake, and he makes a way to heaven for everyone. That’s not the case for Islam. For Muslims, God is very conditional, he’s not willing to lower himself and enter the world, he’s unknowable, and unlike Jesus, he doesn’t live within you. This ultimately means he’s a more arbitrary God who chooses who to forgive and who not to forgive; he can send anyone to hell or heaven.

For Christians, we are children of God. We do things out of love for him—not to earn his favor. Whereas with Islam, most of what’s done is to please God and earn his favor so you don’t go to hell.

7. What are Christians doing wrong when it comes to Muslims?

If the Christian message is true, then the reason we’re here on earth instead of heaven is so that we can proclaim it. We are here to know him and to make him known. It’s not just a thing we can do—reach out to Muslims—it’s why we’re here: to love our God with all our hearts, and love our neighbors as ourselves.

We need to put aside our comforts and keep our eyes on God’s mission—to spread his name. And frankly, we’ve only sent one missionary per every million Muslims, and that’s shameful. We’re not reaching out to Muslims ourselves, so the Lord is sending immigrants here, so love them and share the gospel. Don’t just love people to convert them. No—God loves us because we’re his children. Love the Muslims in your life because that’s what God wants us to do—and that’s our whole purpose for being here.

8. What was your experience like being raised Muslim in the US?

We were very proud to be Muslim. We believed we had the truth, and that Christianity was false. We felt like a small group of people who had the truth amongst a sea of darkness. And looking at the immorality in culture and TV—like promiscuity, adultery, and immodesty—we set ourselves apart from that. I was taught to always tell the truth, to be the best student, and to be the best in everything I do, so we were proud to be Muslim.

Obviously, being Muslim in the US was difficult at times—9/11 and Desert Storm, especially. After 9/11, people broke the windows of our mosque. In Desert Storm, my aunt got punched in the stomach and my grandpa was refused service at a gas station. But we viewed all of this as suffering for the sake of the truth.

9. What do you hope to achieve with your book?

I hope to accomplish two things: one, to help Muslims understand the gospels and why they’re true, and two, to help Christians understand Muslims and love them as their neighbors and as themselves. I want my book to serve as a bridge to start sharing the gospel.

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Learn more about Qureshi’s powerful story and how Christians can effectively reach and understand Muslims: download Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus on Vyrso today.

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Stop Trying to Tame God: Rediscovering Dangerous Christianity

Yawning at Tigers

Today’s interview is with Drew Dyck, managing editor of Leadership Journal, a publication of Christianity Today. He’s written more than 100 articles for Christian and secular publications, and is the author of Generation Ex-Christian: Why Young Adults Are Leaving the Faith . . . and How to Bring Them Back. His latest book, Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying, releases May 13 and explores our dangerous attempts to domesticate our holy, awe-inspiring God. Yawning at Tigers directs people away from a “safe” harbor of sanitized Christianity into a deeper understanding of God’s majesty—pre-order it on Vyrso today!

1. You’ve said that this book “was born out of a deep burden.” What burden led you to start writing?

I worried we were losing sight of God’s holiness. Listening to the language we use in Evangelical circles is what tipped me off. We love talking about God’s love, but we don’t talk much about his holiness. Most of our worship choruses could be sung to God—or a girlfriend. Sermons drip with assurances of God’s affection but rarely seem to mention his holiness, let alone his wrath. We relate to God, it seems, almost entirely on therapeutic terms. Since many people find God’s majesty and holiness disconcerting, we gloss over those attributes and focus exclusively on love. Don’t get me wrong—we need to be reminded of God’s love. But something is missing. That’s why I wrote this book.

2. What is the danger of the church teaching a safe, one-sided God?

Without God’s holiness, we can’t understand the gravity of sin. And without an understanding of sin, there’s no need for forgiveness. You can’t proclaim the full gospel while teaching a one-sided God. Our worship also suffers. We lose the awe of God. We no longer marvel at his greatness and grandeur.

3. What has your experience been like walking away from a tame and shallow faith into a deeper relationship with Jesus?

I’m as guilty as anyone of domesticating God, of choosing to live in the shallows rather than following Jesus into the deep. The times I have let go, when I’ve resisted the impulse to edit God, it’s frightening and invigorating. When I live with an awareness of both God’s love and holiness it brings a new depth and sobriety to my worship. This isn’t some buddy I’m engaging; it’s the Lord of heaven and earth, the one who Isaiah says, “dwells in unapproachable light.”

4. Why do you call God “dangerous” and “untamed?”

Because he can kill you. He can bring judgment in this life and the next. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus says, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Some assume he’s talking about Satan, but theologians agree he’s talking about God. God’s the only one who can destroy both body and soul. I’m not saying we should sit around just waiting for God to zap us. Paul assures us there “is no condemnation for those in Christ.” But for those who continually defy God, he is the ultimate enemy—omniscient, omnipotent, inescapable. He pursues in love but there comes a time when he pursues in judgment. We shouldn’t forget that.

5. How does the millennial generation fit into all this?

Millennials are skeptical of institutional religion, but they’re still thirsty for transcendence. But we’ve sidelined God’s transcendence and focused almost exclusively on his immanence. We’re seeing some young people gravitating to historical traditions. It’s not just because they like “smells and bells.” I believe it’s because they find a sense of the sacred there that is missing from most of contemporary evangelicalism.

6. How can today’s church redirect its course to focus on a more authentic and reverent understanding of God?

I believe it starts with a commitment to teach “the whole counsel of God.” Today nine out of ten sermons are preached from the New Testament. There’s nothing wrong with preaching from the New Testament, but I fear that ignoring the Old Testament is often a way of circumventing passages that portray God in a way that makes us uncomfortable. I also think we need to change the way we worship. There needs to be more reverence and sobriety in the way we approach God. Contemporary worship tends to be loud and celebratory, which is fine. But I think we need a little more of what the hymnist Isaac Watts described: “A solemn reverence checks our songs, / And praise sits silent on our tongues.”

7. For the younger generation of parents, teaching your children the “fear of the Lord” seems outdated and harsh. How can parents and children start accepting this fear as something healthy and necessary?

I have two young children, so this is something I think about a lot. We evangelicals pride ourselves on our high view of Scripture, but as soon as it comes to teaching the Bible to children, we’re quite content to mangle it. This usually involves extracting dubious moral lessons (the story of Joseph was about being nice to your brothers) or twisting the meaning of a text to avoid sin or judgment. In the children’s Bible I have, Jonah goes to Nineveh to tell the Ninevites that “God can’t stop loving you!” Well, kind of.

So we need to teach the Bible honestly. That doesn’t mean we get unnecessarily graphic. If someone dies, just say they died. You don’t have to get into details—but don’t say they went to sleep. Ultimately though, I think the best way to teach children the fear of the Lord is to model it. A lot more is caught than taught, as the old expression goes. And when they see a reverence for God in their parents’ faith it makes a big impression.

8. How does understanding God’s otherness and holiness help us engage culture?

I’m convinced the model for engagement is found in the very nature of God. The divine otherness and intimacy provides the clue for how we can relate to outsiders with both conviction and love. We are a “peculiar people,” citizens of a kingdom that Jesus said was “not of this world.” Yet we’re not called to withdraw from the world. We’re called to love people, and you can’t do that at a distance. So we dive into the needs and hurts of the world while maintaining our distinctiveness, which is precisely what God did in the person of Jesus.

9. You say that prayers for safety are not found in the Gospels. Is it bad to ask God for safety?

No, I don’t think it’s bad to ask for safety. Asking God to protect us and our loved ones is wise. But when petitions for safety dominate our prayer lives, it’s a sign our spiritual house is not in order. In Acts, when the disciples were threatened, they prayed for boldness, not safety. Praying for safety is okay, but if we’re too focused on our safety, we become paralyzed with fear and fail to carry out God’s mission.

10. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

A renewed appreciation for both God’s holiness and love. I hope it deepens their worship and inspires them to pray. I know that’s asking a lot of a book, but I believe if we open our eyes a little wider to God’s holiness, a lot of things start to change. We begin to see God for who he truly is and understand who we truly are. We gain a greater appreciation for his love, because we get a glimpse of how far he’s stooped to redeem us. We rediscover the awe of God.

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Learn to enter into a genuine and reverent understanding of Christ, and leave behind benign and predictable Christianity: pre-order Yawning at Tigers: You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying on Vyrso today!

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