Being Faithful with a Multitude of Small Things: An Interview with Josh Kelley


Today we have the pleasure of interviewing our author of the month, Josh Kelley. Josh is the author of Radically Normal: You Don’t Have to Live Crazy to Follow Jesus and has been a pastor for 15 years. Originally from northwest Washington, he is currently on a year-long, cross country speaking tour, joined by his wife, Marilyn, and their two daughters.

Josh has graciously offered to give away Radically Normal for free when you sign up to receive Vyrso’s daily deal email alerts! With Vyrso’s daily deals, you can get a new 24-hour deal through November 27. Enter your email address on the Radically Normal product page and you’ll receive your free ebook in an email and daily deal alerts through November 27.


Could you provide a little background for us on your story?

The backdrop for Radically Normal was the year and a half I spent as a bi-vocational pastor/Starbucks barista. As challenging as that time was, it really helped me see things through the eyes of my congregation. Pastors can easily forget what it’s like to be a Christian in the midst of everyday life, when you are not being paid to study the Bible and pray!


Tell us about the inspiration behind Radically Normal.

Radically Normal is basically the book I wish I had when I was younger. I worked very hard to be a good Christian (which is a good thing) but I never felt like I was going far enough. If giving 10% was good, was 20% better? Was 100% the gold standard? I also struggled to understand why the people who looked and sounded the most radical were the ones I couldn’t stand being with, and why the Christians I really enjoyed were pretty normal. Radically Normal is about 50% my stories and 50% guidebook to loving Jesus without being a religious nut.


What’s one of your favorite Scriptures that encourages people to live ordinary lives as they follow Jesus?

“Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him” (1 Corinthians 7:20 NIV).  C. S. Lewis put it this way:

“Before I became a Christian I do not think I fully realized that one’s life, after conversion, would inevitably consist in doing most of the same things one had been doing before, one hopes, in a new spirit, but still the same things.” (On Learning in Wartime)

While God does call some to go out and do spectacular things (Billy Graham and Mother Teresa come to mind), most of us are called to be faithful in a multitude of small ways. I think that the church needs to do a better job of honoring daily faithfulness instead of just focusing on the “great” Christians.


In the book you say, “Wholehearted devotion to God consists of radical obedience lived out in surprisingly normal, joy-filled ways. This is what I mean by being radically normal. It’s the biblical art of fully engaging this life while focusing on the next.” Can you give us an example of what that looks like in practice?

Imagine three Christians who all work as programmers at Microsoft. The first programmer does his job, but not much else. He isn’t interested in advancement. All he cares about is getting through his day so he can get to church. In his mind, that’s where he does stuff that really matters.

The second programmer works hard and is very ambitious. In fact, nothing will get in his way as he climbs the ladder. Taking credit for another person’s ideas or sabotaging their work, it’s all part of the game. At church, he sings just as loud as the next person and doesn’t even think about his questionable ethics. Work is work, church is church. Besides, he reasons, it just means more money to tithe on. Maybe.

The third programmer also works hard and is ambitious. He loves his job and feels God’s pleasure when he does well. He works hard to advance, but isn’t crushed if he gets passed over. He believes that his day job and his weekend at church are inextricable connected. He sees work as part of his worship and it’s obvious to his coworkers.

I want readers to think about which one of those three they are more like. Are they so heavenly-minded that they are of no earthly good? Or is it the other way around? Instead, the Bible calls us to be fully present in this life, while never forgetting that we are citizens of heaven. [Click to tweet!]


For someone that is conflicted with their Christian faith, what advice would you give them to live a satisfied life following Jesus?

I think Chapter 11, “Happy Holiness” might be very helpful to them. I can’t cover it all here, but the key point is that obeying God brings joy. The church frequently praises “obedience for obedience’s sake,” but the Bible consistently calls us to obedience for joy’s sake. (Speaking of joy, did you know that the Bible talks about joy more often than peace, grace, or even love? I share my research on joy in Chapter 8, “In Defense of Earthly Joys.”)

Just as my daughters have an easier time obeying me when they know it is for their benefit, it becomes easier to avoid sin and follow Jesus when we know “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)


What is one takeaway you hope people embrace after reading Radically Normal?

I hope they walk away understanding that they can, by God’s grace, live fully pleasing to God right where they are—without becoming a missionary or going to Bible college. And furthermore, I want them to learn that they’ll have more (not less) joy in by doing so.


Get Radically Normal for free when you sign up for daily deal email alerts! Through November 27, you can get a new 24-hour deal each day. Once you enter your email address, you’ll receive your freebie in an email. Be the first to know what’s on sale—sign up for the daily deal!

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3 Reasons to Vote Today

3 Reasons to Vote

Voting is complicated. Decision making is difficult when the media and our conversations (and even our Facebook streams) become saturated with opinions that prove to be more vague and loud than honest and helpful. Oftentimes we see voting as an inconvenience—did you remember to turn in your ballot on time or to fill it out at all? The answer to this difficulty is not inaction. Today is Election Day in the United States—so why should we vote?

To keep leadership and government accountable

Governments and the governed are meant to be accountable to one another. That’s—ideally—why we vote. In Honoring God in Red or Blue: Approaching Politics with Humility, Grace, and Reason, author Dr. Amy E. Black writes, As part of a political community, we can and should pay attention to what elected officials are doing and speak out when government appears to veer off course. But we need to do so while still showing respect for those in authority and the offices they hold.” The act of voting is a respectful way to keep elected officials accountable to their responsibilities. 

To care for one another and seek justice

While it’s important to understand the limitations of government, voting can enact change that can better the world and care for the people that God created. Isaiah 1:17 tells us to do good, seek justice and correct oppression. It’s easy to think about how a policy would affect us personally, but it’s worth thinking about how policy helps “secure the common good,” Black writes, thinking about others who are more vulnerable than ourselves. A typical ballot may not always contain policy that directly decides the fate of the oppressed, but with the resources at our disposal to voice our opinions, it seems foolish to pass up the chance and privilege to influence policy in a way that fulfills our calling to care for others.

To avoid apathy when it comes to complex problems

Voting, itself, is responsive. It is a step towards finding solutions to the complexities of government policy. Instead of tapping out when issues get complicated, we need to choose to lean in a little further. What if no one had stepped up to ensure voting rights for all citizens of the United States regardless of race or gender? The 15th and 19th Amendments may seem like no-brainers today, but at the time they were landmark pieces of legislation for American culture. Fast-forward to this year’s elections. We still encounter complex social and economic issues on the ballot, but that can’t deter us from voting. Conduct your own research and take the time to make a decision.

Voting is important, and we need to remember to pray for our political leaders. You may not agree with all policies and stances from your current political leaders, but prayer shows the respect that God asks us to have for leaders and government. In 1 Timothy 2:1-3, Paul writes “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. . . .”  In a culture where we expect instant gratification and change, it can be difficult to remember that prayer has the power to change things.

Today is a good day for change. Election Day in the United States is about more than turning in a ballot and getting an “I Voted!” sticker. It’s about speaking up in a way that respects our leaders and seeks government accountability, justice, and progress. If you do anything today, make sure to vote. Make your opinion count.

Not sure where to vote? Use this handy tool to find a location near you.

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Get Daily Deals Through November 27

Vyrso's daily deals

Through November 27, we’ll be offering exclusive daily deals on some of our newest ebooks and 2014′s best-selling ebooks. You’ll get a free ebook, Radically Normal by Josh Kelley, when you sign up to receive daily deal email alerts. Submit your email address on the Radically Normal product page and we’ll send you your freebie, as well as email alerts on the daily deal through November 27.

To honor the Sabbath, we won’t be sending you emails on Sundays, but you can still get awesome deals Monday through Saturday on the daily deal page.

What’s today’s deal? We’re featuring a brand-new ebook by Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz, God is Amazing, available for $2.99 until 11:59 p.m. (PST) today, November 3. In God is Amazing, Bickel and Jantz call us to take on a bigger view of God. This new ebook aims to help you lift your gaze above the complications and concerns of this life and rediscover the wonder of God. Get God is Amazing today!

Want to sweeten the deal? God is Amazing is a great resource to read in the free Vyrso app. You can highlight memorable quotes with a variety of colors and emphases, and use our one-touch Bible reference technology. One-touch Bible references—in my opinion—make Vyrso stand out compared to other ebook readers. While you’re reading God is Amazing, you can simply tap a Bible reference in the ebook, and Vyrso displays the passage directly in your reading without opening a separate window. If you haven’t experienced how one-touch Bible references can transform your Christian reading experience, try it out with God is Amazing. Download the Vyrso app for free!

Normally, God is Amazing is $16.99, but when you download it today for $2.99, you’ll save $14.00—over 80% off the list price! Because God is Amazing was released on October 1, discounts on this new title are few and far between—make sure to take advantage of this exclusive, 24-hour deal. Get it before it expires at 11:59 p.m. (PST) today!

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Inside Scoop: Vyrso’s Daily Deal (Get a Free Ebook!)

Vyrso's daily deals

Starting Monday, November 3, through November 27, you’ll find a new 24-hour deal each day on Sign up for daily deal alerts and get Radically Normal for free!

The daily deal is a great way to build your ebook library. You’ll find new releases and some of our best-selling titles from 2014 on sale for 24 hours only. Without spoiling any surprises, Vyrso has some great upcoming daily deals (up to 90% off!) from publishers such as Zondervan, Harvest House, Thomas Nelson, and more.

The best way to stay in the loop and get updates on these limited-time offers is to sign up for daily deal email alerts. Like free ebooks? You can get Josh Kelley’s Radically Normal for free (through November 27) when you sign up to get daily deal email alerts! Head over to the Radically Normal product page and submit your email address in the sign-up box. You’ll receive your freebie shortly in an email along with daily deal alerts through November 27.

Radically Normal is packed full of personal, true stories, from author Josh Kelley, that aim to show how our normal, everyday lives can be pleasing to God. Kelley examines how God’s grace is the key to joy and how, even if you don’t have a radical lifestyle, you are just as important as any other member of the church. You won’t want to miss this free ebook—get it today!

Daily deals begin on Monday, November 3. Don’t miss any of the deals—sign up for daily deal alerts (and get your freebie!) before Monday.

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Last Day: $2.99 Leadership Ebooks and Pre-Order Discounts

Today is the last day to get 20 leadership ebooks on sale for $2.99 each and save with our select pre-order discounts on Vyrso.

It’s the last day of October, marking the last day to save with two sales on Vyrso—$2.99 leadership titles and discounted pre-orders. Whether you want to sharpen your skills as a leader or add to your ebook library, both sales are great opportunities to stock up and save.

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Quick Fixes to Deep Problems: an Excerpt from Radically Normal


Today’s excerpt is from Radically Normal: You Don’t Have to Live Crazy to Follow Jesus by Josh Kelley. Josh has been a pastor for 15 years and holds a BA in biblical studies from Pacific Life College. Originally from northwest Washington, he is currently on a year-long, cross country speaking tour, joined by his wife Marilyn and their two daughters.

Get Radically Normal for free when you sign up for Vyrso’s daily deal! Enter your email address on the Radically Normal product page and you’ll receive your free ebook in an email.

One fine summer afternoon, I was working in the drive-through at Starbucks and had a customer order a Venti sugar-free, heavy-cream, no-whip Caramel Frappuccino Light. Allow me to translate. That’s a 20-ounce Frappuccino made with sugar-free caramel syrup, but instead of milk, she wanted unwhipped whipping cream. But (and she was very clear about this) she didn’t want any whipped cream on it.

As she pulled up to the window, I was curious to see what sort of person would order a Venti heavy-cream Frappuccino. I don’t want to be insensitive, so I’ll just say she looked the part. I chatted with her as her drink was being made and asked (as casually as I could) why she didn’t want any whipped cream on her drink.

“It’s because of the sugar in the whipped cream. I’m on a diet that lets me have as much fat as I want but no sugar.”

As I handed it to her, I said, “Just so you know, the base syrup we use has a little bit of sugar in it. Not much, but a little.”

“Oh,” she said. “That must be why I haven’t lost any weight.”

I’m rarely left speechless, but words failed me. I just grunted some sort of goodbye as she drove off. Let me get this straight—that drink had almost 70 grams of fat, and she thought a couple of grams of sugar was the reason she wasn’t losing any weight?

Even now I have to wonder. Did she really believe the sugar was the reason for her weight problem? Somewhere deep down, she must have known that losing all that weight might require a little more work than skipping the whipped cream on a 750-calorie drink. It’s easy to point fingers because her problem was so visible, but all of us crave quick fixes to deep problems. And quick fixes usually make problems worse. [Click to tweet!]

When I was young (but old enough to know better), I hated to stop playing when I had to go to the bathroom, so I’d just pee my pants. Cold days were the worst. I vividly remember that feeling of having to pee so bad but not wanting to go inside. There were a few glorious moments when I enjoyed the relief and the newly acquired warmth. But the relief was short-lived. Soon the warm turned to cold, and then came the chafing of my skin against the cold, wet denim, followed by that distinctive smell. I continued doing that until the third grade, my only year in public school. The shame of peeing my pants on a field trip motivated me to start using the bathroom.

Sin is the moral equivalent of peeing our pants. It begins as a shortsighted solution to a genuine problem or a short-lived pleasure at the expense of long-term happiness. I basically see God’s rules like him telling us to use the bathroom.


Get Radically Normal for free when you sign up for Vyrso’s daily deal! Starting November 3, you can get a new 24-hour deal each day through November 27. Once you enter your email address, you’ll receive your freebie in an email. Be the first to know what’s on sale—sign up for the daily deal!

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3 Ways to Manage Challenges as a Leader

The Painful Side of Leadership

Equip yourself to lead. Through October 31, get 20 ebooks about leadership for just $2.99 each!

Being a leader isn’t easy.

People experience painful relationships, choices, and circumstances, but leaders are expected to make the tough calls and gracefully navigate these points of tension.

Leaders are people too. They’re still susceptible to anger, feelings of inadequacy, and disappointment. They collide—perhaps more frequently than we think—with people and situations that require a thick skin, incredible patience, and a steady hand.

Author Jeff Iorg in his ebook, The Painful Side of Leadership, unpacks three ways leaders can handle painful situations with grace and ease:

1. Have realistic expectations

Anger, disappointment, and frustration usually stem in leaders that have unrealistic expectations for themselves, the people they lead, and what is attainable. This doesn’t mean thinking the worst of people, it means balancing your vision—where you want to go—with the reality of where your team is.

2. Manage your emotions

Acknowledging and being transparent about your emotional highs and lows isn’t a bad thing, but allowing your emotions to run the show is a different story.

Jeff Iorg writes, “When we feel threatened, whether the threat is real or imagined, we often lash out in anger.” Learning to manage feelings of anger, discouragement, and inadequacy, especially when it comes to criticism, is important.

Celebration and joy are just as important to manage. Let positive emotions, praise, and excitement flow!

3. Practice spiritual disciplines

Reading the Bible on a daily basis, resting on the Sabbath, and consistent prayer habits build you up and connect you with God’s wisdom. These habits combat busyness and prevent emotional burnout. They serve as reservoirs of hope, patience, and wisdom to draw from during challenging times in leadership.


Want to read more on handling painful challenges as a leader? Get The Painful Side of Leadership for $2.99. See more ebooks like this in the $2.99 leadership sale.

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What Are You Supposed To Do With Your Life?


Today we have the pleasure of sharing an exclusive look at Johnnie Moore’s new ebook, What Am I Supposed To Do With My Life? This ebook aims to provide spiritual direction and clear guidance on the most frequently asked question Moore hears as the campus pastor at a Christian university. Take a look:

Young evangelicals are constantly told that our teen, college, and young adult years are a “waiting period.” We’re waiting for jobs, for spouses, for God’s calling. This isn’t the season to get to work, but the season to wait until God shows us what we’re supposed to do with our lives. So we’re supposed to pray and to wait for an answer, and when the answers don’t come, that’s when we start asking God to “send a yellow pigeon into our bedroom window at five p.m. on Thursday” if he wants us to be a missionary to a tribe of pigmy people. Since the end to the waiting period is vague, we start getting increasingly desperate to know what’s next, and then the prayers get crazier and crazier.

This kind of “spiritual waiting” isn’t helpful; it’s actually harmful. We may think it is grounded in faith, but it often comes out of fear. We are so afraid that we’ll do something God doesn’t want us to do that we demand proof after proof of his will so that we can make faithless, risk-free decisions. We are so afraid of taking a chance on what we might think is God’s will that we try to shift responsibility entirely to him, asking for him to give us a miracle and then while we’re waiting for the miracle we tell our friends that we are “waiting on God.” We want him to remove from the decision all of the ambiguity and uncertainty. That way, if things go wrong, we can shake our heads and tell ourselves that “everything happens for a reason,” and comfort ourselves with the thought that at least we did what God told us to do.

But did we? Is this how God speaks to us? This idea of “waiting for God to move” lulls us into the belief that these years—some of the most important years of our lives—when our habits and personalities are being formed, when we learn how to function in relationships and in the workplace, are not really that important after all. It shifts responsibility from us to God, leaving us free to waste our time with video games, fool around with relationships without serious intentions, and distract ourselves from our future plans with the technology and its drama we invite upon ourselves. This is one of the reasons why “thirty is the new twenty,” why our generation struggles to focus on serious things, and why we so egregiously delay adulthood. We agonize over decisions and often put them off, saying that we are waiting for confirmation from God that we are doing the right thing. In the meantime, we fill the space between “asking” and “hearing” by wasting valuable time on meaningless pursuits. Rather than swimming ahead, we’re just treading water, looking for a blinking sign to drop from the sky and tell us where to go and what to do.

We want God to answer all the “W” questions for us first—the who, what, when, and where. But is this really necessary? I don’t think it is. I don’t think we should embrace this type of attitude; instead we ought to embrace an attitude that believes that now is as important as the future, and that so much of the will of God is realized in the everyday decisions and moments that we can let roll by unrecognized while we’re waiting for God to answer bigger questions and to provide us with supernatural signs. Meanwhile, every season of life is equally important and every daily encounter matters just as much as future goals, and somehow these passing moments, which you’re tempted to discount, are actually the building blocks for your future.

Nearly every twenty something I know is playing this waiting game; rather than jumping in with both feet, they are twiddling their thumbs, waiting for a dove to descend from the sky or a dog to walk around the corner of a building. Meanwhile God has them—us—in lives that keep on ticking, day after day, and he’s given us a book filled with words of advice that we’re to apply to our lives every single day. There is always a logical direction to follow, a next nearest step to take, and often the will of God is more about following that next nearest step than it is about waiting for God to send a sign. It’s about being the person God would have you be in whatever situation he has you at the moment.

Sometimes we say that we’re “waiting on God” when God is actually waiting on us [Click to tweet!] He is expecting us to start taking life seriously and start taking advantage of the opportunities he has already given us, as opposed to waiting for the next new thing. He’s expecting us to live our current season to its fullest.


Want to read more? Pre-order What Am I Supposed To Do With My Life? on Vyrso today!

Reprinted with permission from W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.


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Get Equipped to Lead with $2.99 Leadership Ebooks

Transformational Descipleship

We’ve partnered with B&H Publishing Group to bring you 20 titles on leadership for just $2.99 each through October 31. Get these resources today and get equipped to lead.

Improvement and growth in a skill or practice doesn’t just fall into our laps, we have to actively seek it out and look for opportunities to learn. What better way to grow as a leader than to explore different views, methods, and models of leadership from other professionals and leaders?

Through October 31, get 20 ebooks on leadership for just $2.99 each. You’ll find resources to help equip you for leadership in ministry and pastoral roles, the marketplace, parenting, mentorship, and more.

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5 Tips for Praying with Your Family


While contemplating what it means to be a leader in the home, I remembered a post that my friend Jayson wrote in 2012, 5 Tips for Praying with Your Children. Many of you might have missed the post two years ago, and I felt that this previous content would fit well within our leadership theme this month. Here are 5 tips for praying with your family:

1. Plan Your Prayer Time

If you don’t plan for prayer time with your family, it just isn’t going to happen regularly. It is amazing how life can get in the way of something that is so important. By the time you get dinner, bath time, and all of the other daily details taken care of, an evening can really get away from you. Make a plan for prayer time—even if you don’t have kids—and stick to it.

 2. Take Advantage of Impromptu Opportunities to Pray

Don’t compartmentalize prayer and the chance to lead. The more we can communicate that prayer and our relationship is something we set aside time for and a natural reaction to daily events, the better your family will understand their relationship with God. So when you’re on the way to Grandma’s and you pass an ambulance with its lights on, take a moment to pray for the people involved. When your child is having a hard time with another kid at school, take a moment to pray about the situation.

3. Make a List of Things You Can Pray for with Your Family

Get a little notebook and ask your family what you should pray for—even if it is just you and your spouse. Not only will it help them keep focused, it makes a wonderful keepsake that you can pass along to your kids or grandchildren.

4. Discuss Answers to Prayers

When you keep a regular list of things you’re praying about, you see God at work. Going over things you have been praying about regularly enables your entire family to see the different ways God answers prayer. The point isn’t to tell everyone how God is answering prayers but for your kids, your spouse, anyone to tell you. It’s spectacular to see your family growing more aware of God’s hand in their lives.

5. Incorporate Scripture into Your Prayers

Does your family have a memory verse this week? Are there some verses from your devotions that you can pray about? Help you and your family internalize God’s promises and character by praying those things back to Him. Encouraging your family to pray the Scriptures is a powerful way to make the Bible come alive.


What does praying with or for your family look like? Share your thoughts in a comment!

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