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Carla McDougal’s 911 Prayer

Carla McDougalThis post is a giveaway to celebrate the release of Carla McDougal’s new book “Sold Out: Live for Jesus.” Read below for how to enter!

Have you ever prayed the 911 prayer? It’s a regular prayer for my friend Carla McDougal.

Shortly before she was scheduled to speak at a women’s retreat, she felt a heavy oppression. Although she knew it was a spiritual attack from the enemy, she began to doubt her  reason for being at this women’s event.

Earlier that day, during her morning prayer time, she had opened her Bible to Psalm 91. The first verse seemed to jump off the page:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 NIV

Peace washed over Carla, and God’s Word strengthened her for the event that evening. The next day she shared this experience with a close friend who said, “Next time, text me to pray for you!”

Later in the day Carla went back to Psalm 91:1 and this is what she saw—­ 911. Her heart started pounding with excitement and she decided from then on, when oppression comes her way, she will text PRAY 911 to her prayer team. Sometimes there isn’t time to do anything more. But they don’t need to know why Carla needs prayer, they just need to know to pray.

Carla jumped up and started praising God. Even now, she smiles when she thinks of how God used that real life situation to teach her a spiritual life lesson.

Carla shares about 911 prayer  and much more in her new book “Sold Out: Live for Jesus.” “Sold Out” reflects Carla’s desire to live her life for Jesus and not for herself. When she was 40, she heard the phrase, “Life is not about me, but all about Him.” She took this to heart, and it became the focus for her life and ministry. Today she strives to reflect Paul’s words in Philippians 1:21:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

SOLD OUT Cover2 RvCarla’s close, “sold out” relation with Jesus is evident even by reading through the Table of Contents of her third book, “Sold Out: Live for Jesus.” Titles such as “God Appoints: His Kingdom Puzzle,” “Forgiveness: Fresh Start, and The Word: Spiritual Nourishment” entice the reader to hear what she has to say on the subjects. The chapters are short, but the content is mighty. “Sold Out” is a wonderful devotional tool, with each section containing scriptures, personal anecdotes, a life challenge and a place to journal your thoughts.

Related links:

Carla is giving away a copy of “Sold Out” to one of you! The giveaway will end at noon on Wednesday, September 16th. You can enter in up to four ways:

  1. Comment on this post
  2. Share this post on Facebook, then comment here to let me know you shared
  3. Share this post on Twitter, then comment here to let me know you shared
  4. Share this post on Pinterest, then comment here to let me know you shared

Note: You are entered when you comment, so you will need to comment here each time you share!

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Who Said Moms Have to be Perfect?

We’ve all felt it. All us women have bent under the weight of it.

The pressure for moms to do everything just right. The push to be perfect.

I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I tried to meet the unrealistic expectations. To keep a squeaky clean home. To turn out well-behaved, academically-advanced children preschoolers. To cook tasty, healthy, budget-conscious meals seven days a week.  And to do it all looking great!

But you know what happened. I did my best, but I wasn’t perfect. I messed up and so did my kids.

Looking back now, I know that the greatest pressure to be perfect came from me. I was pushing myself too hard and expecting too much.

WonderWomanWannabe_final frontThere is a brand-new resource for moms I wish I’d had back then. In “Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe,” author Jenny Lee Sulpizio gives moms practical advice from a Christian foundation. Her helpful hints are shared with honesty and humor.

Jenny tackles topics from the best way to manage drive time and peeing in peace to handling homework, meal planning, stress, and more! She also shares wisdom to not only help moms continue to pursue Jesus but also gives tips for moms to help the kiddos fall in love with Jesus too. And today, you have a chance to win a copy! (Be sure to read to the end to find out how!)

Here’s a sample:

Our faith, our passion for Christ, and our adoration for all things biblical is a love that must be shared with others. As mothers, the first disciples of Christ we look to create should be those of our offspring. We are raising the next generation of Christ followers, which means that every aspect of our children’s journeys in faith should be focused on the truth as depicted in the Bible. This is a routine that needs to be shared, and impressed upon your sweet children, as well. Luckily, I’ve got tips to do just that.

That’s why we pray: Get your days, and those of your children started off right by spending time in prayer with them each morning. Ask God for strength, wisdom, and protection over those little guys of yours. And pray that they will honor God in everything they do. Include Scripture in their lunchboxes, along with notes of encouragement and love. Follow this up at dinnertime with prayers of gratitude and appreciation. Teach them that one can never pray enough, and to pray hard and pray often.

Word up!: The use of chalkboards within the home are all the rage these days. Well, why not use one of these fun boards as a means to present Scripture to your children each and every week? Every Monday, select a verse from the Bible and spend the rest of the week committing those words to memory as a family. Discuss this verse daily. Ask your children questions about the meaning behind the words selected and how they can be applied to each of your lives. Get your kiddos discussing God, memorizing Scripture, and get them further in touch with their spirituality.

Daily Devotionals: I’ve already mentioned praying together, but investing in a devotional geared toward your children is yet another way that they can further their walks with God. Devotionals such as these are not only age-appropriate, but can assist your child with exploring biblical passages in depth and applying them accordingly. God online or visit a Christian bookstore near you for your best options when it comes to purchasing a children’s devotional.

Hump Day hallelujahs: Obviously, Wednesday is smack-dab in the middle of our calendar week, which makes it the perfect night to bring your family together to spend some time with on another. After homework is done and dinner is finished, after baths have been taken and the kids are winding down (yah, right), use this designated time to play games, watch a movie, pray, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Heat up some popcorn, sip on some hot cocoa, and make it a night your kids can look forward to experiencing each and every week. They’ll relish the moments spent together as a tight-knit clan, soaking up the Word and one another.

Jenny’s book gives moms permission to be less-than-perfect while giving us encouragement and practical help to be our best. “Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe” is well worth your precious time!

Want a chance to win a copy of “Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe” for yourself? You can enter up to three times. First, respond to one of the following questions in the comments section. Second, like Jenny’s Facebook author page and tell me you did in the comments. Third, sign-up for Jenny’s newsletter, then tell me about it in the comments! Contest ends at noon on Thursday, September 26!

What’s the toughest area for you as a mom? What message do we hear from the world that we most need to ignore?!

Jenny Lee SulpizioJenny Lee Sulpizio is a wife and mother of three who enjoys writing about anything and everything under the sun, but especially loves to instruct, motivate, and guide other moms with practical advice, tips, and a whole lot of comic relief in the process. Jenny is a contributing writer for The MOB Society and Moms Together, and is the author of the recently released guide for all mamas titled, “Confessions of a Wonder Woman Wannabe: On a Mission to Save Sanity, One Mom at a Time.” To find out more about Jenny or to follow her blog, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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For Anyone Expecting or Who Expects to be Expecting

Before you ask – I’m not expecting a baby and don’t expect to be. But, I have “been there and done that” three times. I’m sure I even had some corny t-shirt with something like “Baby on Board” scrawled across the front.

Expectant, Julie SandersHowever, many of you are expecting or know someone who is. Whether it’s your first, second, or fifth, big changes are ahead. It’s really impossible to fully know what to expect. That’s why I’ve invited my wise friend Julie Sanders to visit with us today about her brand new book “Expectant: 40 Devotions for New and Expectant Moms.”

Julie’s first baby has grown up and gone off to college and the second is close behind. Having a baby looked different than she expected, but the motherhood journey has exceeded all she imagined. As a pastor’s wife, Bible teacher, and women’s ministry leader, Julie enjoys walking the path of motherhood with moms in all seasons.

Julie, how is motherhood different than you expected?

Julie Sanders, ExpectantI knew I would love our children, but I never imagined how much I would enjoy our children. Every season has been amazing, but moving through the changes of childhood, along with the accidents and surprises, has kept me prayerful. Being a mom is great for your prayer life!

Being a mom has stretched me more personally than I ever expected. God uses motherhood to expose my weaknesses, my failures, and my sin. While I’ve been watching our kids grow, God has been growing my heart and life.

What was most difficult for you during the “young years?”  How did you grow as a mother?

When I delivered our first baby, nothing happened the way we anticipated. I was left with fear and disappointment, and it took a long time for me to feel whole again. Feeling fragile was not only hard, it wasn’t what I expected.

I always wanted to have children, but I also loved being a teacher. Making a transition to spending the day with the baby at home was not as easy as I thought it would be, and before long I found myself overcommitted and worn out. I was challenged to take a close look at where I found my identity and where I placed my trust. Motherhood turned out to be as much about growing me as growing our children.

Your website is called Come have a Peace. How do you find peace as a mother?

God means for us to live out our days experiencing His peace in the practical, real life, relational stuff. For a mom, it seems impossible sometimes, but we don’t have to live in discouragement. God desire to fill us with peace, and Jesus said we find it in Him, (John 16:33). Mamas need that message all day, every day, and often through the night.

God has used major transitions, distance from family, and multiple crises in our lives to show me my “peaceful mom’s heart” does not depend on my circumstances. I’ve become a “pray all day” kinda mom who cries out often and openly to the only perfect Parent we know, God Himself. I’ve learned to give myself a lot of grace, not expect perfection, and to refuse to compare myself to moms around me.  And I give our kids a lot of grace, trying to keep the “big picture” in mind as God unfolds His plans for them.

In Expectant, Julie honestly shares her heart, her own experiences, and the truth of God’s Word to encourage young women as they enter into motherhood. The devotions are organized into sections about you, other grown-ups, the baby, and your new normal. Each one includes words from scripture to grow your heart, as well as questions to get the conversation started with a friend, mentor, or dad-to-be. It’s formatted so that it would be easy to do with a partner or small group of moms.

Connect with Julie at her website Come Have a Peace, where she offers peace for your days by sharing God’s truth for the things of life, marriage, and motherhood. As you grow your family, she will help you grow your Expectant heart on the journey of motherhood.

Find Julie on Twitter at @JulieSanders_ and join in the conversations about EXPECTANT on Facebook. Purchase the Kindle version now!

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Let Justice Roll

One of the blessings of a speaking and writing ministry is that God allows me to meet "Let Justice Roll" by Virginia Kreimeyermany godly women who have been called to the same kind of service. And I love the opportunity to share them with you from time to time!

I met Virginia Kreimeyer just about a year ago when I spoke at the Annual Women’s Conference at Highlands Lake Camp near Austin, Texas. She was on the leadership team for the conference. But what I didn’t know until recently is that Virginia is also an author. She has just released her second Christian novel.

Here’s a brief summary of “Let Justice Roll”:

Based on a real event, “Let Justice Roll” tells the story of Thomas Whitehall, a young policeman injured during a SWAT competition, and his wife Savannah who struggles to find justice in the midst of tragedy. The accident leaves Thomas in a coma with debilitating injuries.

Meanwhile, his wealthy parents seek revenge against whoever is responsible and sue Savannah for divorce on their son’s behalf. Savannah, is left to fend for herself against one disaster after another while clandestine forces bear down on her from every angle. Who is at the center of it all? Is there no justice for her?

Virginia makes use of her own life experience in her newest novel. The story is set in Jackson, Mississippi where she grew up. The characters are composites of people she has known throughout her life. Since Virginia has a background in public relations, she gave the lead gave Savannah the job of Director of Communications at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Virginia hopes her readers will not only enjoy the book, but that their faith will also be encouraged by the solid biblical truth woven through the story. “The story reflects how we as Christians respond to life when we know that God is in control of everything—even when life is very difficult.” 

“Let Justice Roll” is available at Amazon in print and ebook.

Lets talk: How does the truth that God is in control affect how you respond to the difficulties and trials of life?

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“The Deliverer” by Kathi Macias

The Deliverer, Kathi MaciasI’ve been waiting and now it’s here! I’m reading “The Deliverer” by Kathi Macias, is the third and final book in her Freedom Series. Kathi writes fiction with a message. Her stories both engage and inspire to action. Today we get to talk to Kathi about “The Deliverer,” her writing, and the topic of human trafficking.

Kathi, what is The Deliverer about?

The Deliverer picks up just months after Special Delivery leaves off, continuing with the stories of Mara, freed from slavery but still struggling with scars and memories from the past; Jonathan, attending Bible college but strongly drawn to Mara, despite her past; and Lawan, having escaped the brothel in Thailand and miraculously reunited with her younger sister in the US and adopted by the same family. Will Mara be able to move past the pain and hatred that bind her, even if it means traveling back to the place where her parents betrayed her and sold her into sexual slavery? Will she allow The Deliverer to set her free—once and for all?

Your books – which you call “parables with a purpose” – are on topics such as human trafficking, the persecuted church, illegal immigration, and homelessness. Some might call you an advocate. Why is it important for Christians, and the church as a whole, to discuss these issues?

I believe Jesus is our example and that’s what He told to His followers—parables with purpose. He didn’t just tell them “nice stories” to entertain them. He told stories that would grab them right where they lived, and then challenge them to change their hearts, their minds, and their lives. The Church has always been at the forefront of serious social change, leading the charge to abolish slavery for instance, and leading the charge on these other issues is right where the Church needs to be now. The first step is to discuss the issues, to make people aware of them, and then to call them to action. I believe gripping fiction is one of the most effective ways to do that.

You always include a character in your books who is an intercessor. Why is that so important to you?

There were intercessors in my own life who prayed me through some incredibly dangerous and difficult times, and I appreciate those heroes of the faith more than I can express. Highlighting their importance in my books accomplishes two things: it enables me to honor those faithful intercessors who often get no recognition in this world, and it also calls others to get involved in intercession as well.

What was your original objective in writing the Freedom Series trilogy? And, how are your readers taking action?

Originally, I wanted to alert readers to the horrific crime of human trafficking and Kathi Maciaschallenge them to get involved in fighting it some way. That seems to be happening, but on such a larger scope than I had imagined. The response from readers is overwhelming! Pastors have written to say they are challenging their entire church to get involved on some level, and I’m being invited to speak all over the country on this topic. Readers tell me they are posting about my books all over the net to help snag people’s attention. I’m getting invitations to speak on radio and TV as well. I’ve also been contacted by readers who are getting involved in setting up safe houses for rescued victims, which is a huge need. I was even contacted by the Department of Homeland Security and invited to participate in group conference calls on the topic. Overall, I’m thrilled at the way God is using these books to help sound the alarm and to “rescue the perishing.”

For more information about Kathi, her writing, and her speaking ministry visit her website. 

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“Let My People Go”

Kathi MaciasHuman trafficking is a huge, heart-breaking problem around the world and in the United States. My friend Kathi Macias is doing her part to help bring awareness to this issue in order to help put a stop to this modern day slavery. Not only is Kathi my guest blogger today, she is also giving away a copy of her new fiction book “The Deliverer.”

The term “human trafficking” or “trafficking in persons” (TIP) often draws raised eyebrows and skeptical expressions—until statistics are laid out to show that approximately 27 million people are enslaved today, whether for the purposes of slave labor, prostitution, or involuntary organ “donations.”

The Salvation Army has made the rescue of those enslaved around the world their number-one goal at this time, holding seminars and conferences to educate people and to garner support from various individuals and organizations.

The United Nations describes TIP in this way:

“The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

In a nutshell, human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It is currently tied with the illegal arms industry for the second largest criminal industry in existence, with the drug industry being the only one to edge it out.

Oh, I know. Most people naively believe that human trafficking happens only in faraway countries—Thailand or Cambodia, perhaps. True, it does occur there at a tragic rate. But it also takes place right here in the United States daily, to such an extent that some states are instituting task forces to try and stop it. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot promises that their new task force “will take an aggressive stand against human traffickers, who have turned Texas into a hub for international and domestic forced labor and prostitution rings.”[1]

Another myth about human trafficking is that it only involves adults. Millions of children around the world are crying out in pain and terror over the heartbreaking error of that statement. According to Wikepedia, trafficking in children may come about as an “exploitation of the parents’ extreme poverty. Parents may sell children to traffickers in order to pay off debts or gain income, or they may be deceived concerning the prospects of training and a better life for their children. They may sell their children for labor, sex trafficking, or illegal adoptions.”

Can there be anything that grieves the Father’s heart more than the forced enslaving of people made in His own image—by others bearing that same divine imprint? I believe each time anyone becomes aware of such evil and cries out against it, that cry is spurred by the Father’s own pain. If ever the Church needed to be involved in helping to right a human wrong, it’s now. Human trafficking must stop! And each of us who names the Name of Christ must ask the Father what He wants us to do to help make that happen.

In my case, that includes writing about it—every chance I get, including blogs, letters, The Deliverer by Kathi Maciasarticles, and a new fiction-based-on-real-life “Freedom” series: Deliver Me From Evil; Special Delivery; and The Deliverer. Will you pray for these books to be effective in reaching people and calling them to action? And will you also pray and ask God what you can do to answer His heart cry of “Let My people go”? Millions of enslaved human beings around the world are depending on you to respond.

Were you aware of the depth of the problem of human trafficking? If so, do you know of ways to help?

To enter for a chance to win a copy of “The Deliver” leave a comment below. You can also enter by sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter. Please be sure to comment to let us know you shared it! Contest closes Tuesday, Sept 4th.

***Kathi Macias (www.kathimacias.com; www.boldfiction.com; www.thetitus2women.com) is the award-winning author of nearly forty books, including the Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and Carol Award finalist, Red Ink. She is also a popular speaker at writers’ and women’s conferences and retreats. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Al.

 



[1] www.humantrafficking.org, “News and Updates,” April 5, 2010.

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Lynn Dove’s “Wounded Trilogy”

Family violence, bullying, gossip, and teen pregnancy doesn’t just happen “out in the world.” Author Lynn Dove knows that Christian families deal with these painful situations too. In fact, the characters in her latest novel for young adults, Love the Wounded, face these issues and more.

Wounded Trilogy, Lynn DoveLove the Wounded

Love the Wounded is the final book in Lynn’s “Wounded Trilogy” for youth and young adults. The gripping story lines accurately portray the world young Christians must deal with today. These books would make a great gift for the young readers in your life.

Lynn and I became friends through church when my family and I lived in Canada. Our sons are the same age and were good friends! I asked Lynn to join us today to share a bit more about her 3-book series.

Wounded Trilogy

Lynn, would you tell us more about your “Wounded Trilogy”?

Shoot the Wounded, the first book of the Wounded Trilogy, addresses how lies and gossip destroy a person’s spirit and speaks to the heart of relevant themes such as bullying, teen pregnancy and family violence. The story points the characters, and ultimately the reader, to hope in Jesus Christ. STW was a finalist in the 2010 Readers Favorite Book Awards.

Heal the Wounded, the sequel to STW, is the second book of the Wounded Trilogy. HTW delves even deeper into the real world of teenagers trying to live out their faith in the midst of upset and struggle. Heal the Wounded, continues to follow the characters, Jake, Leigh, Mike (Jake’s best friend), and Tim (Ronnie’s brother) each of them dealing with the aftermath of their friend’s death in the first book. Jake is especially dealing with a variety of disappointments that cause him to question why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Cassidy, a young cancer patient with unquenchable spirit and faith, impacts Jake, Leigh, Mike and Tim in a way that allows them all to experience God’s grace and the power of His healing in each one of their lives.

Love the Wounded is the final and dramatic conclusion to the Wounded Trilogy. Released May 30, 2012, the book has already received a five star review from Readers Favorite.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people?

I have three children and because two of them are teenagers and I write novels for teenagers, I have been very purposeful not basing my characters on any one of them. It would mortify them! Instead I try to draw on my experience with working with teenagers in general as a high school teacher and as a youth leader, so I kind of create characters that have a smattering of many individuals I know personally all rolled up into one cohesive characterization. My kids still say that they see themselves in the characters. I suppose that’s to be expected, but I pray that when they recognize themselves they see the character as positively portrayed and not the otherwise.

Enter to Win

Lynn, how can readers join you in celebrating the release of Love the Wounded?

Lynn Dove, Love the WoundedAnyone who purchases Shoot the Wounded, Heal the Wounded and/or Love the Wounded on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca (or on the website) by June 27th will receive several FREE e-gifts as well as being entered to win other great print books !! Click on my “landing page” to get more information and enter to win all the prizes!

For more information about Lynn and her writing, check out the following:

Readers may connect with Lynn on Twitter, Facebook,  on her blogs: “Journey Thoughts”, “Word Salt” and on her website: www.shootthewounded.org

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Stories for a Life-change

“Once upon a time…”

We love stories. Fictional stories. True stories. Someone else’s life story. Our own story. Stories capture our attention, hold us captive by the action, and teach us valuable lessons.

The Bible is full of stories – historical narrative that tells us God’s story in human history and parables. Jesus taught with stories because He knows their impact.

Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament

Parables and word picturesAuthor Cheri Cowell also knows the value of stories. Cheri’s newly released 13-week Bible study, Parables and Word Pictures from the New Testament, is a comprehensive look at the New Testament parables. The study explores the parables of Jesus in the four gospels and those of Paul and the apostles in Acts.

Cheri Cowell tells the story behind the study

Cheri graciously stopped by today to chat with us about her new study. She is also givingParables and Word Pictures giveaway away a gift basket overflowing with her study and other great resources. Leave a comment on this blog for your chance to win! (The winners will be chosen July 6th. Please leave your email.)

What should readers expect to gain from this study?

This study will help readers develop an ear for the message the parables convey – that the Kingdom of God is both here and near. Through this study, readers will be challenged to live faithful and holy “Kingdom lives” in a broken and unholy world.

How can we use the power of parables in our own lives to reach people for Christ?

I believe this is the most important reason to study the parables. If we allow our own lives to be shaped after Jesus then when others “read our lives” they see Him. How we treat others, how we respond to sorrow and obstacles tells a story. When asked how and why we are able to be at peace, or turn the other cheek, we don’t need a canned presentation. We simply share our story of how God’s story has changed us.

The study concludes with a look at the Parable of all parables. Tell us about this because this is the heart of your study.

Jesus didn’t just teach in parables, He was also a living parable. Jesus lived His life as an example of what a life shaped by the truths taught in the parables should look like. Jesus invites us to live parable-shaped lives so we can show God to the watching world.

Comment on the blog for a chance to win the gift basket. Ask Cheri a question, leave a comment about the topic, or answer the following:

If your life was a parable, what would people learn from it?

More about Cheri Cowell and her new Bible study

Cheri Cowell+Parables and Word PicturesCheri Cowell, who describes herself as a “sidewalk theologian,” is passionate about discipleship and challenging believers to holiness of heart and life. Cheri’s love of story and the Word shines through in her writing and teaching. Cheri is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary where she learned the Inductive Bible study method used in this study to encourage, challenge, and equip the body of Christ to live story-shaped lives. 

You can purchase Cheri’s study at Amazon

Watch the book trailer now!

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A Visit with Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias has a God-given talent for fiction and an overwhelming passion to use that talent to point people to Christ. And that is exactly what she does.

I am thrilled for the opportunity to talk to Kathi today about her newest book. “Special Delivery” is the second book in the Freedom series.

Kathi, please tell us why you chose human trafficking as the focus for your Freedom series.

People often ask me why I decided to write about such a dark topic. First, I explain that I’m not writing about a dark topic; I’m writing about the Light that shines in that darkness. And second, I believe the Church should be at the forefront of the modern-day abolition movement to set the captives (modern-day slaves) free.

Can you share a bit about the story line in this series and in “Special Delivery” specifically?

The three books in this series specifically follow the life of a young woman named Mara, who was sold into sexual slavery by her own parents in Mexico, and then smuggled across the border into San Diego by her uncle who then served as her pimp. A strong sub-plot throughout the series tells of two sisters in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, Chanthra and Lawan, who are also trapped in a brothel. Finally, a teenage girl named Francesca, kidnapped in Juarez, Mexico, and forced into prostitution, is introduced in book two.

YouTube Preview Image

Special Delivery picks up two years after book one, Deliver Me From Evil, ends, and continues with the stories of Mara and Lawan, as well as others carried over from book one. Mara hopes she is finally free to pursue her own life because she was rescued from the brothel and her testimony helped lock up her uncle for life. But the man has underground connections and is driven by revenge to reach out from behind bars and deliver the ultimate punishment to his niece.

This isn’t the first fiction series you’ve written on nationwide and even worldwide social issues. Your last series focused on the persecuted Church. What draws you to these difficult topics?

As a Christian, I believe I am compelled to use my God-given gifts to honor God in all I do—and that includes exposing the deeds of darkness, calling sinners to repentance, and taking a stand for righteousness by doing all I can to help rescue those who are suffering. I dare not turn my back on “the least of these.” I also believe that God placed this sort of burden on my heart even before I became a Christian at the age of 26. I’ve always been a champion of the underdog, a “soap-box” preacher, if you will. When I met Jesus, I simply redirected that passion toward His people, realizing I couldn’t effect real change in my own strength anyway.

With the topics of the worldwide persecuted Church and human trafficking under your belt, what other issues are you dealing with in your writing?

My Christmas 2011 book, A Christmas Journey Home, dealt with the immigration/border problem, and my Christmas 2012 novel, Unexpected Christmas Hero, will be about homelessness in America. The next issues-related fiction series I have on tap—which I am just starting to write, by the way—is called the “Patches of Courage” series and will begin releasing in late January 2013. Book one is The Moses Quilt, based on the life of Harriet Tubman, and will be followed by The Christmas Quilt and The Impossible Quilt. This series of books will highlight historical American women whose Christian faith enabled them to walk in great courage and make a difference in the lives of countless people.

Where can people find out about you and your books/speaking/appearances?

They can go directly to my website or my Easy Writer blog. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and various other social sites. Would love to hear from all of you!

Where can people find out about free book giveaways on this blog tour?

The blog tour host is giving away a set of two books from the Freedom Series –  Book 1 (Deliver Me From Evil) and Book 2 (Special Delivery). Also, readers can follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more book giveaway locations on the tour.

I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview on my blog. This blog tour is managed by Christian Speakers Services.

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Who is “The Church Lady?”

Who is The Church Lady? You may have an image in your mind of Dana Carvey dressed up like a gray-haired old woman in baggy hose. If you’re not old enough to remember this judgmental Saturday Night Live character, then you may think The Church Lady is a self-righteous woman who hits people over the head with her Bible. And some of you may picture the sweet, godly elderly lady who sits on the third pew at your church every Sunday.

Chandra & I had lunch this week. This is my signed copy!

My guess is that 99% of you reading this have a stereotypical view of The Church Lady. Friends, it’s time to tear down wrong images and allow the real Church Lady to step forward. My friend Chandra Peele has just released an exciting new book, Church Lady: Freed to Be a Woman of God. Chandra asked me to endorse the book, so I read it before it even went to print.

Here’s my endorsement:  Do you consider yourself a “Church Lady?” If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ then you are! In her book, “The Church Lady,” Chandra Peele tears down the old stereotype and breaks through preconceptions by painting a beautiful portrait of the Church Lady like God sees her. You will laugh, cry, cheer, and perhaps cringe as Chandra illustrates biblical truth through the stories of Church Ladies she has encountered all across the glove. She also personally and transparently shares her own journey to become the Church Lady God desires her to be. You will be encouraged. You will be challenged. But more importantly, you’ll find the freedom to be the Church Lady God designed you to be.

For years, Chandra has been asking Christian women if they consider themselves a “church lady.” Guess what? Nobody wanted to be one! Chandra also got three responses over and over:

  1. I’m not old enough to be a Church Lady.
  2. I’m not good enough to be a Church Lady.
  3. Please! Don’t call me a church lady because she is legalistic and judgmental.

Hear Chandra’s heart on what it means to be a Church Lady:

It’s heartbreaking that we’ve allowed the reputation of God’s daughters to become so tarnished.  Let’s reclaim the name and humbly, yet proudly consider it an honor to be called a Church Lady.  Can you see the damage done? Satan loves the fact that God’s daughters have been lumped into one negative stereotype regardless of our love for God, service to people and reflection of Christ.  We must lovingly and boldly reclaim the name.

 In Church Lady, I hope to shatter the stereotype and redefine the Church Lady. My hope is that the Lord will use these real stories, of real Church ladies, to set free those who may be held hostage by their past. For those who have been misguided or misunderstood.  Your heart is sure to be touched, perhaps changed. More than anything I pray you are freed-freed to be the woman God created you to be!

 Now…look in the mirror. Who is the church lady? You, woman of God, are the Church Lady!

Do you want to be a church lady? Do you long to be known as someone who belongs to God?

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