Books as Tent Making

In my “spare time,” I will be writing a book again. The initial idea received some good, constructive feedback from various people that will help guide me as I plan the chapters.

The book will answer the question: “Where can I get one-stop shop resources to learn how to intentionally use social media for the Gospel?” Or, at least, that’s the rough idea.

You can get resources that are technical, experiential, marketing tips, and personal opinion how to use social media as a church or business, but I find it requires me to view that information through the lens of the Gospel and rewrite it so people can see its usefulness as a missions or evangelism tool (or I have to go to different websites to get this information for translation). 

The book will probably be self-published as a tent-making way to make a little extra on the side to fund expenses as I raise 100% support and yet help churches and individuals engage with the synced culture (heard a pastor use this word so I adopted it) in meaningful ways.

It’s been two years since I attempted a book. Before this project, I finished two (unpublished) fiction pieces. Those may still be sent in after substantial editing after this book is finished, especially the first novel. It received a partial manuscript request in 2012 from an agent at my first writers conference in Denver, Colorado.

Writing will remain secondary to what I do with WorldVenture. It is yet another tool in my belt to reach the UN’s. Meanwhile, pray the Holy Spirit prepares the hearts of those I meet to build up my support as a Social Media Missionary.

Your support helps me help others realize their potential in how they use their social media and technology to reach people around them in the marketplace, neighborhoods, and families.

FAQs: Why Do I Review Books on This Site?

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Reviewing books is a way for me to refuel my creativity. Unashamedly, it is also a way to receive free books. On a missionary budget, this is helpful. All books will be reviewed from a Christian perspective, but not all books are Christian in nature.

Reading secular books and novels allow me to understand the world in which we live. It’s easy to sequester myself in the coziness of the Christian world, reading safe fiction and nonfiction, but that doesn’t help me learn how to communicate with people from other worldviews.

Writing and grammar also change. This means I have to continually educate myself in trends and new writing styles. With my field being in social media, I also have to read and learn marketing trends. My goal is to make marketing human. Just because I have to market, doesn’t mean I don’t think of people as individuals. I put people and relationships first above my agenda.

 That’s a promise. 

Book Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living

51Whg08igcL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Olivia Rawlings’ life could be summed up by how many different colors she dyes her hair: restless, rootless, and ready to run when life gets complicated. The only thing constant in her life is her baking, Salty (her dog), and Hannah, her friend. Even her relationships are complex.

The scene opens up with Olivia setting fire to the restaurant because the restaurant owner is the man she is having an affair with and he won’t leave his wife. She’s not an arsonist. It was the combination of a wobbly food tray, vertigo, and 150-proof rum on sweet desserts set on fire. She finds her way to Guthrie, Vermont after quitting the Emmerson Club and in the employment of Margaret–a troubled and cranky Bed and Breakfast owner who doesn’t keep bakers around for too long.

While two different colored threads seem unrelated, the book begins to bring the fibers together at long last and we learn more about Guthrie, its gossip, its people, and why Margaret is cranky. We learn about Olivia’s friendship with Alfred. It is my sincere hope that Alfred gets his own story in the next book. He was too nice a man not to find his own, “happily ever after.” The only blemish was something that clashed with my own worldview as a Christian, but that part appeared and passed; almost felt preachy. Almost. 

The whole book doesn’t align with Christian beliefs, but it does reflect the rough areas and choices of life. Having worked as a hostess, the people I worked with were like Olivia–jaded and foul-mouthed at times. Olivia’s character is perfectly outlined. She starts out rough, runs as per her character from a perceived situation, and in the end, makes the right choice. We grieve when she grieves and cheers when she finds her way out of the entanglements of her choices and own prejudgments of a town that had come to love this fiery, outspoken, and unusual baker.

I closed the book with a contented sigh. Never prejudge one chapter. I wish Christian fiction would write realistically like this, because we all began broken and God made us whole. We make mistakes, but when we repent, wonderful blessings abound. I love how Olivia became whole again. It’s amazing what happens when you stop running.

Now when does Alfred get his own story? I would love to see him find happiness. 

*Book given by publisher to review. Reviewed from a Christian perspective. 

What About Christian Basics?

51aPh-rr-0L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Part of my requirements as an appointee was to read each chapter of Wayne Grudem’s, Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know and relate it back to someone else.

Many thanks to Pastor Dave Droste of Solid Rock Christian Fellowship for volunteering to talk over each chapter with me. I enjoyed the back and forth conversations, and even got a course correction in my own theology. It’s so easy to think you understand something in the Bible and realize you’ve misunderstood its meaning for years.

Maybe that’s why, besides free or affordable education, I have started a database of logging full scholarship opportunities I find as I seek to find affordable options to getting a degree in Biblical Studies. Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know simplified the Christian belief system for me.

I bought the paper version so I can mark it up and dog-ear it for future reference. In conversations online, you have the generosity of time. Online conversations don’t have to be replied to right away like face-to-face conversations. I can have a browser open to research questions I lack answers to, and even this book next to me to refer to my highlights and notes. Because online is about community, what Christian Beliefs said on page 91 resonated with me:

“Not all gospel calls are effective. The job of believers is to explain the gospel message; it is God’s job to make that message call effective.”

Grudem uses Acts 16:14 to explain:

“The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.”

Acts 16:14 was talking about Lydia, the seller of purple:

“A seller of purple – Purple was a most valuable color, obtained usually from shellfish. It was chiefly worn by princes and by the rich, and the traffic in it might be very profitable. Compare the Isaiah 1:18 note; Luke 16:19 note. (from here)

This section was a reminder to me to make prayer a priority in my life. Without prayer, I discovered the gospel call is empty. It can so easily become about us as the savior instead of Jesus as the Savior. In Perspectives, I learned God prepares the people’s hearts for the missionaries to come and harvest by putting into place bridges in that people’s culture and history for God’s people to point out and draw them to Himself. It reminds me daily I have no power, but Jesus.

In this ministry of online work, I get to disciple people, and for me to do so effectively, I must continually educate myself in the Bible, make prayer a priority, and honor a “flexible Sabbath.”

My vision is to mobilize the church to get online for discipleship and prayer and to bring the community online into a fellowship of faith through community and service. I believe social media is a positive force if used well, and a balance between the online world and the face-to-face world is important for our development as humans.

Getting Into Their Hearts and Heads

“In the eighteenth century, the Enlightenment spread across Europe…the skeptics of the Enlightenment questioned every aspect of thought and practice in life, including philosophy and religion. (10%, Kindle)”

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When considering the mission field (i.e. online ministry), it’s important to get into the head and heart of the unbeliever.

The Ten Most Common Objections to Christianity by Alex McFarland briefly goes over the ten most common objections, like Jesus’ resurrection. What struck me was how many theories existed to disprove Jesus’ empty tomb. In order not to believe, people really stretched their imaginations.

Once again, I am convinced the reason to not believe is buried beneath pride or the scar tissue of the battered heart. A great book to read whether you are a believer or not.