Today Only: Get 70% Off the Inside-Out Transformational Bundle

The Jesus Life

For one day only, get 70% off the Inside-Out Transformational Bundle! With this bundle, get The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning, Unexplainable: Pursuing a Life Only God Can Make Possible by Don Cousins, and Stephen Smith’s latest book, The Jesus Life: Eight Ways to Recover Authentic Christianity!

The Jesus Life offers eight compelling ways to help us rediscover what it really means to follow Jesus, even amongst the busyness of twenty-first-century life. In today’s guest post by Stephen Smith, he explores the consequences of seeking the life Jesus never offered.

The busy life we’re living—running on empty and spinning and spinning on the proverbial hamster cage—is not the abundant life. To put it simply, the exhausted life is not the abundant life. We’ve lost our idea and notion about what it looks like to live the abundant life that Jesus promised. We’re clueless, and we feel trapped by all our appointments, agendas, and schedules.

In my work with thousands of leaders throughout the world, I’ve discovered that most leaders feel imprisoned by their lifestyles. They feel like they can’t make changes that would help them navigate the whitewater they’re experiencing.

We violate the words of Jesus because we have not understood them. We live in a state of perpetual breathlessness—moving on, hurrying there, and scurrying here. It’s an awful way to live.

In my book, The Jesus Life, I talk a lot about rhythm. I explain that living in rhythm works, while trying to live in balance doesn’t work. Balance is bunk! The word balance can’t be found in the Bible, which means many people are trying to live the life that Jesus never actually offered. He never offered us balance. He offered us rhythm—the key is learning to live our lives in a rhythm that sustains us rather than drains us.

If you’re tired, worn out, and burned out, I highly encourage you to try the ideas I lay out for you. It’s not rocket science, and you don’t have to have a PhD to understand the words of Jesus and his promises. But it does require a paradigm shift in how you look at balance and rhythm.

Here’s to the life Jesus offered us—the life that you and I can foster, nourish, and actually live.

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Today only: get Stephen Smith’s The Jesus Life, along with The Furious Longing of God and Unexplainable, for 70% off with the Inside-Out Transformational Bundle!

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Return to the Vine: How to Confront Spiritual Drought

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John 15:1–17 contains one of the Bible’s most powerful metaphors. Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” Your relationship to the vine affects whether this passage offers you encouragement, a challenge, a warning, or some combination of the three. No matter where you are physically, spiritually, or emotionally, Jesus calls us to remain in him—and by remaining in him, we can bear fruit. So ask yourself: are you remaining?

After years of following Jesus out of duty, nineteenth-century preacher and missionary Andrew Murray discovered the passionate, fruitful life to which Jesus calls his followers. Murray prayed, “May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love, and joy of God’s presence.” Murray pursued a life filled by the joy of Jesus, and put missions work at the forefront of his ministry. Thousands of miles from the place where he discovered his faith and far from his home, Murray remained in Jesus.

Running on empty

Murray understood the feeling of being withered. He knew what it was like to feel spiritually empty, emotionally drained, and weary from the troubles of life. In the devotional Abiding in Christ, he responded to the euphoric joy of experiencing God’s provision, “And yet you have had some disappointment. As time went on, your expectations were not always realized. The blessings you once enjoyed were lost; the love and joy of your first meeting with your savior, instead of deepening, have become faint and weak. And you have often wondered why, with such a mighty and loving savior, your experience of salvation was not a fuller one.”

Maybe you used to read the Word more. Maybe you used to pray more. Maybe you’ve stopped going to church, or meeting with a friend to talk about what Jesus has been teaching you. Murray writes that when we experience this spiritual dryness, “The answer is very simple. You wandered from him. The blessings he bestows are all connected with his ‘Come to me,’ and are only to be enjoyed in close fellowship with him. You either did not fully understand, or did not rightly remember, that the call meant ‘Come to me and remain with me.’”

Refuel your spirit

Murray sought to live every moment for Christ, and to continually find the joy that comes with abiding in him. In the midst of this, Murray wrote over 240 books and treatises. He poured out his passionate pursuit of Jesus in his prolific writing, encouraging you to answer Jesus’ call to “come” and “abide.”

If you’re experiencing spiritual drought, Jesus is still there for you—he wants you to remain in him as he remains in you. There are so many resources out there that help us remain in the vine. Scripture and prayer are crucial, but when you’re in a season of drought, sometimes those spiritual elements can feel dry, too. Sometimes it takes a little inspiration from another imperfect human to point you back to the perfection of Jesus and to remember that apart from the vine, us branches shrivel, and our fruit dries up.

To learn more about abiding in Christ, and to find the encouragement to remain in him, I highly recommend Andrew Murray’s daily devotional, Abiding in Christ, as well as Teach Me to Pray. Explore all of Murray’s powerful titles on Vyrso today.

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Winning the War against Depression and Anxiety: An Interview with Perry Noble

Perry Noble

Today’s interview is with Perry Noble, founder and senior pastor of NewSpring Church, a multicampus church whose mission is to reach 100,000 people in South Carolina with the gospel. Noble’s first book, Unleash! Breaking Free from Normalcy was a New York Times bestseller. His second book, Overwhelmed? Winning the War against Worry, gives a candid account of Noble’s personal struggle with depression, and offers key insights into unlocking the chains of anxiety and despair, and living a joyful life focused on Christ.

1. In just 12 years, your congregation has grown to more than 30,000 people—what makes your church unique?

Honestly, this is a really hard question to answer. Our average attendance is 32,500 people, and we don’t believe there’s one specific thing that’s been the driving force in our growth. We believe God is working through people who work in our church. We can’t say it’s just all God because that implies that God is absent in other churches who aren’t growing like we are, and we don’t believe that’s true at all.

When we started NewSpring, we wanted a church where we could be excited about inviting our friends and family, and they would feel comfortable coming. Now 14 years later, we’re still focused on getting people excited about inviting friends and family to church, and we have a vision to reach 100,000 people for Jesus across the state of South Carolina.

2. On your blog, you never shy away from voicing your opinions on controversial subjects, like affairs within the church, treatment of homosexuals, and oft-ignored sexual sin. How do you stay motivated to continue sharing your concerns when there are so many outlets for critics to tear you down?

I honestly think one of the biggest problems in the church today is that it’s obsessed with answering questions no one is asking. Most people just aren’t struggling with understanding deep theological issues, and because of that we want to engage people like Jesus did—meeting them where they are and bringing them to where they need to be in a relationship with him.

People will always get offended—it’s inevitable. The question we have to ask is: would we rather offend religious people or lost people? When Jesus healed on the Sabbath, he offended the religious people at the same time he healed a lost person. I will take that trade any day of the week!

3. You started preaching about your personal struggle with depression about two years ago—what was your congregation’s reaction?

I was overwhelmed (in an awesome way) with an amazing amount of encouragement and support by my church when I shared my struggle with depression. Through sharing my experiences, I also realized this was something a lot of other people were dealing with. We did a series in 2012 called Overwhelmed, and it was by far one of our most viewed series online.

4. You’ve said Americans are “the richest and most depressed people in the world”—why do you think that is?

I think people are searching for fulfillment and meaning through their own efforts—jobs, money, cars, kids, hobbies—whatever the next big thing might be. The reality, though, is we’ll only be truly fulfilled when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

5. So often, when people struggle with depression, their knee-jerk reaction is to get medicated—what are your thoughts on this?

I think if someone is legitimately struggling with depression they need to ask for help immediately. For so long, I thought I should be able to pray away how I was feeling or snap out of it and if I did tell anyone what was going on, they would think I was a bad Christian or didn’t really love Jesus. That’s just not true and only by speaking up and asking for help was I able to see this. I don’t think anything is wrong with medication if it’s something a doctor recommends. If you needed medicine to fix your heart you would take that, so why wouldn’t you take medicine to help fix your brain?

6. So many Christians are feeling weighed down by depression and stress—what can the church do differently to help people?

Depression is a very real issue and it has impacted everyone—either it’s happened to us or someone we know. I think the church needs to talk about this issue and help people understand what the Bible says about overcoming fear, anxiety, and stress. The church should be a place where people meet Jesus, find hope, and have the courage to ask for help!

7. You’ve said, “Four of the godliest people in the Bible struggled with depression.” Why is it that churches don’t address this more often?

Depression is dark and lonely, and there is a misconception that Christians shouldn’t struggle with depression; if you love Jesus, you should just be able to pray it away. But that’s just not true!

Many times, if things are messy, the church doesn’t want to talk about it.

8. How can we use pain for our benefit?

In most cases, people will identify with your pain more than they will your success. Sharing stories of your past and where God has brought you from could help someone take the next step with Jesus. If God can use my pain for someone else’s progress, then I want him to use it!

9. What’s the number-one thing you hope readers take away from your book?

My hope is that this book brings people to a place of victory where they are hopeful, not despairing; peaceful, not anxious; and free, not overwhelmed! Depression, anxiety, and fear are very real struggles, however, in Christ we can overcome it! I am living proof that it is possible to overcome being overwhelmed.

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Stop being held back by life’s everyday struggles, and learn to overcome stress and anxiety. Get Perry Noble’s new book, Overwhelmed? Winning the War against Worry, and discover how to live a joy-filled life that’s free of depression and focused on God.

 

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Get 32 Titles for 99¢ Each!

Shepherd Press Image--26 titles

To kick off our new partnership with Shepherd Press, we’re offering 32 of their books for just 99¢ each! Choose from books by top Christian authors, including Paul David Tripp, Rick Horne, John Crotts, Tedd Tripp, and Dave Harvey. These titles run the gamut from parenting resources to devotionals to books on loving the church.

 

For a limited time, download all 32 titles for just $31.68!

Hurry—this deal only lasts through April 14. Save on powerful resources and apply them to your life: shop all Shepherd Press titles today!

Here are just a few of the books you can choose from:

Instructing a Child’s Heart by Tedd and Margy Tripp
Provide solid instruction and guidance for your child so they can confidently answer fundamental questions like, “Who am I?” “How can I find happiness?” and “Why do I exist?” It’s the parents’ job to provide children with a consistent, biblical framework for understanding the world and their place in it. This book guides you through being a strong source of wisdom and love for your child so they can grow into the faithful person God designed them to be.

Everyday Talk: Talking Freely and Naturally About God with Your Children by John Younts
Learn to use ordinary conversations to show your kids God’s goodness and wisdom. With clear biblical teaching, John Younts illustrates how to lead your children into a greater awareness of the presence and glory of God.

Get Offa My Case! Godly Parenting of an Angry Teen by Rick Horne
There is no silver bullet that will transform an angry teen into a respectful, responsible young adult. However, there is a God who can transform us, the way we parent, and the atmosphere we allow to develop in our home. This book teaches parents to pursue and be satisfied with God’s glory, which in turn allows them to seek change in their teenager’s heart. Rick Horne shows parents how to reestablish godly family leadership and find the joy of the Lord–even if their teen doesn’t change.

Loving the Church: God’s People Flourishing in God’s Family by John Crotts
One of the most important relationships for all Christians is their involvement in God’s family. Loving the Church lays the vital foundation for applying his glorious plan to our lives. Pastor Tony Carter says, “This book reminds us that there is no greater joy on earth than to be in God’s family, the church.”

Lost in the Middle: MidLife and the Grace of God by Paul David Tripp
You do not have to be paralyzed by regret, defeated by age, and discouraged by the passing of your dreams. This middle period of life, which can seem like the end of many things, can actually welcome you to a brand-new way of living. Paul David Tripp shows you how the Bible can address any of life’s experiences—because it was written by the one who made them all.

When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey
C.J. Mahaney says, “Dave Harvey not only offers a biblical diagnosis of marital strife, but prescribes the cure as well—the gospel.” Jerry Bridges says, “This book will be helpful for any married couple whether they’ve been married five weeks or fifty years.”

Guiltless Living: Confessions of a Serial Sinner Captured by the Grace of God by Ginger Hubbard
Removing her “good Christian” mask, Ginger Hubbard opens the dark chapters of her heart in order to share about the glorious grace of God toward repentant sinners. Get ready to laugh. Get ready to cry. Get ready for a deeper, more authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.

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These aren’t all of the titles! There are over a dozen more books you can add to your library for just 99¢ each! Download all 32 titles for just $31.68 or shop individual titles. This deal won’t last long, so take advantage of huge savings today!

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A Dinner Party with Lazarus, Mary, and Judas: What Role Would You Play?

Dinner PartyToday’s guest post is by Gregg Matte, pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church since 2004. Prior to that, he served as the founder, speaker, and director of Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University. What started as a Bible study with 12 participants in his apartment grew to a weekly gathering of more than 4,000 students each Tuesday night. Download his powerful book, Finding God’s Will: Seek Him, Know Him, Take the Next Step on Vyrso today!

Imagine showing up to a dinner party with John 12:1–8’s guest list: Lazarus, the one listed in the obituary column; Martha, the hospitality guru; Mary, the worshipper; Judas, the scoundrel; and Jesus, the son of God. You pull up a chair and sit down, just listening to the conversation trying to throw in a story or interesting fact when the chance presents itself. Martha has made sure everyone is comfortable, but she isn’t going overboard like before when Jesus reminded her to enjoy him and not frantically pick up the house. This time, serving is still her gift, but Jesus is her focus. The food is good, the home warm, but what is that lovely smell? Hot apple pie? No, it hasn’t been invented yet. A Glade PlugIn? Still a few centuries away from that too. Ah perfume—beautiful, costly perfume.

As you turn around, there is Mary at her favorite place, Jesus’ feet, anointing his feet, wiping them dry with, of all things, her hair. Her love has blossomed so brightly that others’ opinions, poor finances, and having a bad hair day dim in comparison. Conversely, Judas stands in the wings questioning and stealing. His question seemed valid, “What about the poor?” At first glance he appears to be taking this issue to a higher plane. But the “spiritualizing” of it actually was a thin veneer of a selfish heart. Isn’t that exactly how Satan deceives? He doesn’t come with horns and a pitchfork, but as an angel of light; the misdirection sounds correct and even appears to be biblical, but the true target is missed by a country mile.

As I read this passage, I was struck with a couple thoughts:

1. What perfume do I possess that should be poured at the feet of Jesus? The words that popped in my mind were time, faith, fear, trust, money, and hope. What are they for you? Our deepest desire as Christians isn’t sin or the toys of the world, but to pour ourselves at his feet. The intimacy of that love is unimaginable and, truthfully, seldom experienced in our lives. But such joy comes in pouring out. Martha poured out service, Mary the aroma of love, Jesus his blood, Lazarus a new appreciation for life, Judas deception, and you and me with ______. (I’m not sure yet either. But I’m listening for his requests and staying at his feet.)

2. No cost is too great. She poured out the best and the costliest. It seemed crazy to “waste” such a perfume, but isn’t the essence of love to be a bit crazy? Deep, grateful love has a hint of craziness to it. It throws caution to the wind while taking responsibility to heart, and goes for broke. That we would love Christ with such a heart. We live cautiously with God, keeping him safely at arm’s length, and choosing our ambiguous guesses over his sovereign plan. Mary visibly showed the true aroma of her heart’s love for Jesus as she poured the perfume. Then the room was filled with a lovely new smell that gave testimony of the Messiah’s feet and Mary’s faith.

What a dinner party! What a guest list! What an aroma! What a savior!

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” —Romans 10:15

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Discover how to find God’s will and better serve him: get Gregg Matte’s Finding God’s Will on Vyrso today!

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Get 70% Off Today’s Soul Shaping Bundle!

Soul Shaping

Today we’re kicking off Vyrso’s Journey to the Cross. Through April 22, we’ll feature seven 24-hour bundles, all about growing closer to Christ and strengthening your spiritual walk. For the next 24 hours, get Stephen Smith’s book, Soul Shaping: A Practical Guide for Spiritual Transformation, along with Floyd McClung’s Follow: A Simple and Profound Call to Live Like Jesus and Hugh Halter’s Flesh: Bringing the Incarnation Down to Earth for 70% off with our Soul Shaping Bundle.

Stephen W. Smith is the founder of Potter’s Inn, a Christian ministry devoted to the work of spiritual formation and care of the soul. Smith has pastored and planted churches in both the United States and Europe. Today, he’s walks us through the four main steps of soul shaping, and how discovering how our soul has been shaped in the past can lead us to a brighter Christ-focused future.

The image of the potter and clay is a timeless one that helps us understand the spiritual journey. As long as there have been human beings, there have been potters who form pots.

The Bible is clear—we come from the clay of the earth. I have North Carolina clay in my soul. I was born there, lived there most of my adult life, and worked there. My wife is from the clay of Africa. Her parents were missionaries, and she was born there and lived there throughout her childhood.

I wrote Soul Shaping to help people see and understand their spiritual journey. It’s a practical workbook, specifically designed for individuals and groups. As you begin the workbook, you’ll see lots of creative ways to explore your history and story. The exercises are designed for different learning styles and folks who think in a more linear fashion and those of us who are visual.

Soul Shaping explores the four basic movements in our spiritual formation:

First, we are formed.

Second, we are reformed.

Third, we are transformed.

Finally, we are conformed.

As you walk through each of these phases, you’ll be given the opportunity to think about your beginnings—your start on the spiritual journey. Who helped shape you? Where did you first experience the love of God? Who helped you grow in your walk with God? To remember is a good thing. We reflect, remember, and become aware of how God has been working in us all along.

As we are reformed, we think about mistakes, hard times, failures, and disappointments that have happened to us in life. This section helps you remember and explore what you learned—what you “got” from these challenging seasons in life. In this phase, we learn to trust the Potter’s hands as they work gracefully and sometimes firmly in our lives and on our clay.

As we experience transformation, we learn how God is at work to bring about change. Deep change is God’s goal for us, but we must always remember that God’s love does not rest upon our ability to change. God loves us too much to allow us to remain the same. Transformation is the process we experience as we change. The Potter presses here, squeezes there, pounds here, and gracefully touches there. It’s all a process. It’s how the Potter brings about change.

We are finally conformed. Being conformed means that there is an ideal goal for us. God is up to something in our lives throughout our life. It’s all for a reason, and in this book, we explore what the ultimate goal and plan for our life is all about.

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Soul Shaping is an invitation to see yourself as you really are and imagine who you can become: download Stephen Smith’s powerful book on Vyrso today.

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Get 17 R.C. Sproul Books for Free!

R.C. Sproul Forever Free

Logos Bible Software is now offering 17 R.C. Sproul books—free! The icing on the cake? These books will always be free. And they’ll always be more powerful when used with Logos 5’s smart tools and datasets. Share this post with friends and family so they can take advantage of this awesome deal!

All 17 books are part of Sproul’s Crucial Questions Series. This series aims to address the toughest questions Christians face, including: How can I be sure I’m saved? How can I know God’s will and incorporate it into my life? How does God control everything, and how can spiritual prayer affect the corporeal world? How can I deal with my guilt and find joy in life? Sproul answers these questions and more, while offering practical tips to shape everyday Christians into active disciples of Christ.

Both accessible and transformational, this series offers answers to your most pressing questions. Download the Logos edition of this 17-volume series for free!

Save on more Sproul titles

Sproul is an internationally renowned pastor and theologian. Save on some of his best-selling Vyrso titles today!

Get 35% off Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics

Almost every Christian, at some point or another, gets confronted about their faith and how it seems incompatible with reason. In this apologetics primer, Sproul sets forth the core claims of the faith to reveal just how rational Christianity is.

As Sproul surveys history’s streams of thought, he uncovers the common ideologies that work against faith and affirms four principles of knowledge that are necessary for all legitimate discussion. He then demonstrates how reason and scientific inquiry serve as allies in defending two of the most strategic priorities of Christian apologetics: God’s existence and the Bible’s authority.

Get 35% off The Consequences of Ideas: Understanding the Concepts that Shaped Our World

The greatest thinkers of all time still impact us today. From public-policy decisions and current laws to the arts and education, history’s most influential philosophies have wrought massive consequences on nearly everything we see, think, and do.

In The Consequences of Ideas, Sproul traces the contours of Western philosophy from the ancients to the molders of modern thought—including Plato, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, and Freud—and proves that ideas are not just passing fads; they endure for generations. And the greater our understanding of these ideas, the greater our ability to influence our culture for Christ.

Shop more Sproul titles on Vyrso today!

Take 25% off Sproul’s conference

Want more from Sproul? Register for his ministry’s upcoming West Coast conference: “Overcoming the World: Being a Christian in a Post-Christian Culture.” Held from June 6 to June 7 in Seattle, Washington, this powerful Ligonier Ministries conference features respected speakers, like Drs. Steven Lawson, Stephen Meyer, Albert Mohler, and R.C. Sproul Jr. Register by April 11 and get 25% off with early-bird pricing.

Register today!

To kick-start this conference, we’re giving away a MacBook Air, Logos 5 Gold, eight R.C. Sproul books, and two tickets to Ligonier’s Seattle conference. Enter to win today!   

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Enter to Win a MacBook Air, Logos 5 Gold, and R. C. Sproul Books!

Ligonier blog header--largeLigonier Ministries was founded by one of today’s most well-respected theologians: R. C. Sproul. To help kick-start Ligonier Ministries’ West Coast conference, we’re giving away a MacBook Air, Logos 5 Gold, eight R. C. Sproul books, and two tickets to the Seattle conference!

Save 25% on early-bird registration!

This year’s conference, called “Overcoming the World: Being a Christian in a Post-Christian Culture,” will be held from June 6 to 7 in Seattle, Washington. Register before April 11, and save 25% with early-bird discounts! Prices jump from $59 to $79, so register now and save.

This year’s conference is all about being an effective witness in the post-Christian world. Here are the details:

What: Overcoming the World: Being a Christian in a Post-Christian Culture

When: June 6–7

Where: Seattle, WA

Who: Learn from some of today’s top pastors, including Drs. R. C. Sproul, Steven Lawson, Stephen Meyer, and Albert Mohler

Register today!

Enter to win

To help launch this annual event, we’re giving away a MacBook Air, Logos 5 Gold, two tickets to the Seattle Ligonier conference, and eight R. C. Sproul books, including:

1. The Consequences of Ideas: Understanding the Concepts that Shaped Our World

2. Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics

3. Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology

4. Preaching the Cross

5. Saved from What?

6. The Spirit of Revival: Discovering the Wisdom of Jonathan Edwards

7. The Dark Side of Islam

8. The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel

Hurry—this giveaway ends June 1! Enter to win, and register for the conference today.

Entry closes June 1. We’ll select and notify the winner June 2. If you win and you already own Logos 5 and/or any of the above-mentioned books, you’ll receive Logos.com credit in place of the prizes. The grand prize does not include travel or accommodations. The winner will need to fill out a W-9 in order to claim their prize. By entering the giveaway, you’re opting in to receive emails from Vyrso and Logos. 

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AHA: The 3 Key Ingredients to True Spiritual Transformation

Kyle Idleman

Today’s guest post is by Kyle Idleman, teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky—one of the largest churches in America. He’s also the author of two best-selling and award-winning books, Not a Fan and Gods at War, and he regularly speaks at conferences, events, and churches around the world. His new book, Aha: The God Moment that Changes Everything, draws on Scripture to reveal how three key elements can draw us closer to God and change our lives for good.

The word “aha” is defined this way: “a sudden understanding, recognition, or resolution.” For our purposes it’s “a sudden spiritual understanding, recognition, or resolution that brings about lasting transformation.” Instead of self-help we’re asking for God’s help.

In some ways AHA can’t be explained; it must be experienced.  For that reason it’s best understood through stories. AHA is the moment in someone’s life when there is a beautiful collision. At just the right time there’s a God moment and their life collides with God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Everything changes in that collision, which is why watching it happen is one of my favorite parts of being a pastor. I love witnessing AHA. I see it almost every weekend at the church where I serve. I listen to people as they tell about the spiritual awakening that they’ve experienced. They were lost and now they’re found. They were blind and now they’re able to see.

One woman told me about her impulsive eating habits. For her, there was nothing a day could throw at her that she couldn’t eat away. Facing anxiety from an upcoming project, she would preemptively bring home two or three desserts and eat them all in one evening. Despite trying every diet and exercise fad, she reached 325 pounds. This seemingly unstoppable weight gain put her at a point of absolute depression, which only furthered her eating habits. After months of the vicious cycle of depression and binging she realized, food is never going to fill the emptiness in my heart. She had been trying to satisfy her soul by feeding her stomach.

When she came to church she heard a message from John 6 where Jesus describes himself as the “bread of life.” She suddenly realized in that moment that she had been turning to food to do for her what only Jesus can do. That was four years and 170 pounds ago. But the outward change is really just a byproduct of the inner transformation she experienced when she started to look to Jesus to fill the emptiness of her heart.

AHA.

Another couple told me their AHA story: “My husband and I both had an AHA moment about two years ago when we realized we were living as fans of Christ instead of completely committed followers. We decided then to totally surrender our lives to God. Soon after that we felt led to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia. We didn’t know at the time that God’s plan was actually for us to adopt a sibling group of three! Our lives have never been crazier, but neither have we ever felt more joy or fulfillment!”

AHA.

3 essential ingredients

So what is AHA? My wife has this cookbook at home, a gift from our wedding. It’s called The Three Ingredient Cookbook. She would want me to tell you that she doesn’t really use it. When she cooks there are typically more than three ingredients involved. The truth is I’m the one who uses The Three Ingredient Cookbook. On the rare occasions I’m allowed in the kitchen, this cookbook is my go-to cooking companion, because honestly, three ingredients is about my capacity.

One of the things I’ve learned the hard way is that when using The Three Ingredient Cookbook,  all the ingredients are necessary. Apparently when making _____, _____ really is necessary.  This is the downside to The Three Ingredient Cookbook. You can’t cheat it. If you only go with two, it doesn’t work out very well for you.

The same is true for AHA. I have listened to the AHA experience of hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the years and I’ve studied numerous transformation experiences of biblical people. With striking consistency, AHA always has three ingredients. If any one of these is missing, it will short-circuit the transformation process:

1. A sudden awakening

2. Brutal honesty

3. Immediate action

If there is an awakening and honesty but no action, AHA doesn’t happen. If there is awakening and action but honesty is overlooked, AHA will be short lived. But when God’s Word and the Holy Spirit bring these three together, you’ll experience true AHA in your life.

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Have you had your “aha” moment? Understand the reality and power of spiritual transformation with Kyle Idleman’s Aha: The God Moment that Changes Everything—get it for just $9.74.

 

This article was adapted from AHA, 2014 by Kyle Idleman. Published by David C. Cook, www.davidccook.com. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

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A Look into A Christian Author’s Process: An Interview with Travis Thrasher

Travis Thrasher

Travis Thrasher is a critically acclaimed author who has written over 25 books. His work runs the gamut from supernatural thrillers to love stories to helpful resources for writers. He’s worked with filmmakers, musicians, and pastors; and one of his latest books, Home Run, is based on the major motion picture starring Vivica A. Fox and Scott Elrod. Download Home Run for just $4.99 on Vyrso today!

1. Many of your books feature broken people on their path to redemption. Where does the inspiration for these stories come from?

I have no idea. Because my life is pretty much perfect and I’m this glorious shining star . . . Oh wait. No, I get brokenness. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. But who hasn’t? I’m attracted to broken people. To me, the best stories out there are people who end up having nothing and finding peace there. Maybe some kind of hope. And to me, my faith is the only hope that I can point toward.

2. What inspired you to write Home Run?

I was fortunate enough to be contacted by David C. Cook Publishers and asked to do the novelization for Home Run. Some people don’t know what those are. Simply put, a novelization is when they make the movie first, and then follow it up by having someone like myself write a novel based on the screenplay. A lot of the big movies out there have had novelizations.

3. What was the process like to adapt the motion picture into a novel?

The first step was meeting with two of the producers on the film (Carol Mathews and Micah Barnard) to hear about the heart and the soul of the movie. Carol gave me free license to really do whatever I wanted with the story. They trusted me with their baby, so to speak. I was very honored by this and really tried to match their passion with the novel.

I feel with novelizations, the screenplay is the Bible. You start with that and then build outward. I tried a few things but eventually landed with the right tone and feel.

4. Tell us more about the research process for this book—what did it entail? Did you spend significant time watching baseball?

I would have been a lot more comfortable writing a story about a pro football player, to be honest. But Home Run is about a man who happens to play pro baseball—it’s not all about that. But I did immerse myself in all things baseball so I could get even little things right. It was like cramming for a final the night before. But I’ve been doing that my whole life!

5. What is your favorite writing process, and why? What’s the most difficult part of the writing process, and why?

I love trying different things out. Like in the Home Run novel, I thought of adding these little poetic things between chapters, which I called interludes, that feature glimpses into the main character’s life. It’s sort of a map that shows how he got from being this little kid with a mean father to becoming a mean drunk himself. I didn’t know if this would work out but everybody liked them.

I don’t find any part necessarily difficult. The tough part is writing something that you feel is wonderful and nearly perfect, only to have an editor come back and tell you otherwise. You have to trust them however. Every book I write teaches me a little something more about the art of writing a novel. It’s never easy, but it’s a wonderful thing to be able to do.

6. You have a new book coming out in May; could you tell us more about Marvelous?

Marvelous is the first in a four-book young adult series called The Books of Marvella. The premise is this: what if God spoke to a teen girl and told her she would end up dying for someone else. And what if you were the boy who fell in love with this girl?

7. In your new book, you make the switch to teen fiction. What pulled you to this genre?

I wrote another series for teens called The Solitary Tales. I really love that genre. Maybe because those years were so impactful on my life, for better or worse. Maybe it’s because I still think like a teenager sometimes. A lot of people have encouraged me with my first young adult series, so I decided to do another. I love these stories.

8. Do you have any tips for potential authors trying to get published?

Develop regular routines. Write as often as possible. Finish what you start. Don’t give up. Realize there are more publishing opportunities now than ever before. But also realize everybody is writing and publishing books. Have thick skin and remain persistent.

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Thrasher’s powerful book, Home Run, tells the story of an alcoholic baseball player forced to face down his demons and find redemption in Christ—download it today for free! Then preorder his latest young adult novel, Marvelous, for 35% off!

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