The Lost Art of Reading Christian Biographies

Reading biographies and autobiographies of great people of faith is a lost art, or at least a fading interest, for many.  There is actually some biblical precedent for it:

Hebrews 6:12 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Imitating the saints who have gone before us is a command, and the primary way in which we can know their stories is reading their books.  In reading their story, we learn what faith looks like in…

War – Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

Suffering – Surprised by Joy by CS Lewis

Revival – Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther

Missionary Service – A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael

It is a rich study to dwell on the thoughts and acts of faith of Christians who inspired so many.  Reading their books insures that their lives will influence Christians for years to come.

If you are interested in reading a few more stories, Gospel Rich Books has published two biographies.

The first is “I am my father’s son”.  This is the story of Thom Duncan and his faithful service as a bi-vocational minister.

Secondly is our biography of his wife, Ann, entitled, “Bedside – a Memoir of Care”.  Ann faithfully supported her husband, helped raise five children, and served the Lord faithfully for over 60 years.

We also offer a 2-1 hardback edition.  Please note, this edition will be taken down soon as it will be re-edited to remove several printing errors.

No matter who you study, seek out great people of faith and learn from their lives.  It is a study worth undertaking.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

 

Advertisements

Wanting to Be Anonymous Even When You Are Hurting

I had the enormous privilege of attending an overnight pastor’s retreat earlier this week.  Present were a group of men who I see only every twelve months, yet they remember my prayers year in and year out.

Each year, new church planters show up, we pray for them, and they are quickly enfolded.

Our music is a ragtag band of talented musicians who play without worry of appearance or fear. The worship is vibrant and soul-churning.

Yet, this year, I arrived and was surprised by how quickly my heart closed.  Recent challenges and disappointments tempted me to remain on the periphery.  As the old saying goes, “Man plans; God laughs”.  I soon discovered that every attendee was assigned to a prayer group of 8-10 men, and there were at least four hours set apart for prayer.

We were promised anonymity, yet I didn’t budge.  A pastor or two shared, and I sat quietly.  Finally, from the Spirit’s prompting, I said, “I don’t really want to share anything with you guys, so I guess that means I need to go next.”  What followed were attentive ears to my pains and sympathetic prayers of care.  The time spent with those men was sweet.

How about you?  Most of you will not have the opportunity to get away for an overnight retreat this week.  Many of you may not have a trusted friend who you feel will keep your concerns confidential.  However, we all are called to move towards intimacy in the church and to offer up our fears and worries with honesty before the Lord.  I Peter says,

1 Peter 5:5 Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

So, friends, if you are weary and burned out, cast your cares upon the Lord, and if you have been burned by the church, pray for great faith and press forward in humility.  Know that at the proper time, God will lift you up.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to move towards greater intimacy with God, Gospel Rich Books offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

 

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

 

 

 

Smart Phones and Our Need to Feed

Our worlds revolve around our feeds.

Facebook gives you a feed of your friends’ activities mixed with your interest in groups, pages, with some ads tossed in.

LinkedIn provides the same, but the concept is more professional and less personal.

Even workout apps like Strava, and the like, provide the same.

The joy of our feeds is they keep us connected (at least digitally) and they inform us with news and updates that we choose (for the most part).

But we get lost in our feeding as well, don’t we?  One survey says that up to 80% of smart phone users check their feeds within 15 minutes of waking up.[i]  That’s an amazing stat that might very well be convicting as you consider your own patterns.

The true question is, “Are we better or worse off because of this reality?”

If that question is beyond us, we should at least ask, “Are my phone habits and tendencies spiritually and even physically healthy?”  The answers have incredible impact.  Consider these practical considerations in light of our constant need to check the feed.

Physically, am I doing damage to my eyes and even my brain by my “feeding” patterns?  Do I move less because I’m more attached to my phone’s screen?

Spiritually, am I feeling my soul with information that will encourage me and benefit me or am I filling my soul with data that tempts me to frustration and even jealousy?

Cognitively, am I losing connection with real people in real time by my need to feed.

Wherever you find yourself, choose discipline over being disciplined.  Practically, put disciplines in place where you are choosing to check your phone instead of your phone dictating to you.  Don’t let the need to check your phone function like the need to smoke a cigarette.

If you are in a place of authority or encouragement, like a parent or a doctor, be clear with guidelines that will healthfully instruct others to make good choices.

And finally, take a break every now and then.  Choose an evening or a lunch when your phone is not near you or perhaps even in another room.  Recognize your need to check your phone and suffer through the absence until it feels more comfortable.

Who knows?  You might even pick up a book.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

 

[i] http://www.adweek.com/digital/smartphones/?red=at

Spiritual Training Has Greater Value But We Can’t Neglect Physical Training As Well

1 Timothy 4:8 For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Paul makes a wonderful point in this short verse.  He teaches us to value the spiritual training that calls each child of God into greater intimacy with their Savior, Jesus Christ.  Each Christian is called to train themselves in the disciplines of prayer, study, etc. just like an athlete trains themselves to run, lift, and swim faster, stronger, or with greater endurance.  These spiritual disciplines have greater value and have a greater impact on the life of the believer and all who are around them.

But, the Apostle doesn’t devalue physical exercise.  Instead, he reminds us that physical training has value, just not as much as spiritual training.  Why is this so?  Because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.

We glorify God by how we care for our body.  Again, the greater glory is spiritual, but the body, and our care for it, gives glory to God as well.

Unfortunately, the Christian culture rarely speaks of physical training and care.  Many spiritual leaders are out of shape and don’t recommend any measure of discipline or restraint.  Very few teachers speak on the sins of gluttony.  Even fewer offer Godly examples of what care for the body should look like.

So, while spiritual training has the higher value and greater impact, physical training is important.  If the body fails, spiritual ministry will be hindered and at times, prevented.

Let’s not be those who neglect one truth by over-emphasizing another.  God desires us to glorify Him both physically and spiritually.

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich Books, Editor

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

A Monthly Resource for the Spiritually Thirsty

I love coffee.  It is my favorite beverage.  I don’t use cream or sugar.  I just like good coffee.

But I know I can’t drink coffee all day.  If I do, I’ll be over-caffeinated and massively dehydrated.  You see, what my body really needs is water.  Lots and lots of water.  The body just functions better when hydrated, and the body fails when it doesn’t have enough.

The Bible describes our need for God in a similar way as our need for water.  Psalm 42 says,

“1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

Because of this, the Christian is in constant need of soul nourishment.  By God’s grace, we have corporate worship, the sacraments, the scriptures, and so many other means of God’s grace.  Additionally, there are a host wonderful resources (books, podcasts, etc.) which help explain and apply God’s word in our day to day lives.

In humility, this is what Gospel Rich Books hopes to provide:  resources that are rich with the Gospel that feed the soul.  This blog is one of the avenues by which we attempt to do this (as is our newsletter), both of which will always be free of charge.

However, we do have a brand-new monthly resource:  the Gospel Rich Journal.  This is a digital journal emailed directly to subscribers.

If you are a subscriber, at the beginning of the month, you will receive an email with your journal, each with articles focusing primarily on three areas:  your spiritual life, your physical health, and your professional life.  That covers a lot.  Examples articles might be:

“Creating a Pattern of Rest in Your Busy Day”

“Prioritizing Exercise Without It Consuming Your Life”

“Practical Applications of Growing in Your Identity in Christ”

“Fighting Loneliness at Work and at Home”

These will be exclusive articles as well as works curated from prior publications.  Every now and then, we might just through in a free digital copy from our Gospel Rich Books catalog.

And to say, “thanks” to our subscribers, we will include a copy of our international bestseller, “Joy in Trials”.  If you have read it before, enjoy it again or even share it with a friend.  All of these things cost only $2.99 a month. You can subscribe here.

If you have ideas or topics that you would like for the Gospel Rich Journal to pursue, just email our editor, Gordon Duncan, at gordon@jgordonduncan.com.

Thanks for walking with us on our journey to know Christ fully and to provide Gospel Rich publications to the world!

As always, you can find a wealth of resources online at:

The Gospel Rich Blog is www.gospelrichbooks.com

The Gospel Rich Amazon Catalog

Thanks again for taking the journey with us!

Gospel Rich Books

https://gum.co/thegospelrichjournal

 

Fighting the Loneliness that Accompanies Responsibility

A note of an encouragement from one of our authors, Gordon Duncan…

Work, marriage, parenting, and every other sphere of our lives will be discouraging without support.

My life is busy like yours.  In the past 15 years, I’ve started two churches four businesses, while being married, and raising three girls.  Each one of those privileges is a potential area for loneliness and discouragement.

I think about the beginnings of my churches and businesses.  Each launched with great enthusiasm.  There was an initial idea and call that just wouldn’t go away that I had to act on.  As the structures of each came to place, my hopes rose, and the thrill of the first few interested parties was like their own drug to me.

Getting married and having children were the same.  Initially, my excitement was immeasurable.  The joys were greater than anything I could describe.

But of course, there are challenging, lonely moments.  Church attendance declines.  Sales in the businesses dry up.  Marriage and parenting are hard.  Left to myself, it is tempting to think that no one was interested in me, my mission, or my products.  Doubt crept in, and temptations to give up were frequent.

Thankfully, with good mentors and a supportive spouse, I’ve been able to persevere through those moments.  Some of my efforts have been successful, others not so much.  Even more so, the reminders of God’s grace and the never-ending love of my Savior, Jesus, keep me grounded.

The key, I’ve learned in the midst of the ups and downs is to remain focused on my goals.  For the churches, I knew we were doing good and honoring God.  I knew we were helping people.  I needed to focus on that.  For the businesses, I knew we were providing solid products and helpful services.  Educating my customers about those products and services, while tightening my procedures, were key.

What about you?  Do you ever struggle with the loneliness of your responsibilities, of ownership, or leadership?  What do you do to remind yourself to persevere?  I encourage you to do a few of the things mentioned above.  Remind yourself of your faithful Savior and loving God.  Remind yourself of the good that you are doing.  Double up your efforts to help others.  Pursue Bible studies of your identity in Christ and God’s promises of faithfulness.

No matter what, don’t attempt any of the above alone.  Speak to your pastor or church leader.  Find a mentor or consultant.  Entrust your thoughts to an honest, supportive friend.

No matter what you do, just don’t go it alone.

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich BooksAdditionally, Gospel Rich Books offers a host of resources to encourage you.  We have:

Come on Back – $.99 devotionals covering the book of Joel focusing on the people of God returning to vibrant worship.

Joy in Trials – Our bestseller focusing on the book of Ruth with a focus on enduring trials.

God Creates Joy – Finding joy in the book of Psalm 32

 

 

Have You Ever Wanted to Publish a Book? This Template is All You Need

In addition to publishing resources that will draw our readers to Christ, Gospel Rich Books wants to enable new authors to get their works to market on Amazon, Nook, CreateSpace, and wherever books are sold.

However, there is one thing that we have learned about the book market:  The challenge for the writer is not the writing.  Writing is what writers do.  No, the challenge is often creating professional looking books in the self-publishing world.  When books don’t look professional, they get poor reviews and aren’t recommended to others.

So, to help you out, we present the “BestSelling Template”.  The “BestSelling Template” is a 6×9 template that makes your work pop, and they help your books duplicate the standard sized book on the market today.  As a result, what you release will look professional even though you published it yourself.

All you have to do is cut and paste your images and manuscript into this re-usable word doc, and you will have ready-to-sell resources for Amazon (or wherever you have your books published) in no time at all.

We are presenting the “BestSelling Template” for an introductory price of $9.99.

In addition to this offer, we are also giving away a copy of “The 5 Steps to Publishing Your Own Books” – absolutely free. Our hope is that these resources will help you sell a ton of books.  Be sure to reply to this email if you have any questions.

So, if you have always wanted to get your book published, we hope these two tools will help you do just that.  And remember, the “BestSelling Template” is re-usable, so every time you have a book ready to go to market, this will be the resource that helps you get there.

Gospel Rich Books

P.S. On a final note, we have heard from several of you that you might want additional help publishing your books.  Gospel Rich Books will soon outline the details of how we can help you do just that.  Look for those details soon.  Our goal is to help you get published, not take a cut of your royalties once the book is on the market.