Romance and Realism

It might seem cheesy but I’m listening to my Pandora Radio and Bryan Adams just started singing “When You Love Someone”… you know the song that goes “you’ll shoot the moon. Put out the sun… when you love someone.” It popped up on my Josh Groban radio and all the sudden it’s playing romantic songs. (I didn’t think I was a hopeless romantic… really). But you know there are times when my heart longs for romance. A definition of romance, out of the many is:

to invent or relate romances; indulge in fanciful or extravagant stories or daydreams.

I romance about walking on the streets of Italy, breathing the air, tasting the food, and experiencing a different culture. I dream about being somewhere different than here- on the turquoise blue ocean, basking in the sun. I daydream about peace and living in a world that is perfect. I create stories in my imagination of what heaven will be like and the house that Jeremiah will live in next to mine. I often allow the beauty in music to wash me away to an unfamiliar place.

Romanticism though, is the opposite of realism. The world as it is- Imperfect. Sinful. Ugly. Struggling. Destructive. Relationships as they are- sometimes hurtful, filled with conflict and strife. Not really the world we want.

But I know God gives us glimpses of what our hearts truly long for. Because He wants us to see there is something more than this life- It’s a life lived in perfect harmony with Him. A life lived with him forever where there will be no more tears, pain, and war.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.   – Revelation 7:17

When I start daydreaming again, I want to be more reminded that God is enough and that one day, those things will be attainable. But for now, they’re on hold… until He returns. And when I daydream of what my heart craves, I’m ultimately longing for the one thing my heart was created for… to love and worship God.

Well now my Pandora Radio is on to playing Michael Buble’s, “Dance for Me.”

Susan, Max Lucado and Publishing

booksToday I had the opportunity to meet with Susan Ligon- she works alongside Max Lucado not as his literary agent but in the area of marketing and consulting the Max Lucado brand. She’s been involved in publishing for more than 10 years and helps make many of the decisions in what Max will or will not commit to in his publishing and writing career. Before our meeting, she got a text message from him as he’s in Ethiopia with Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson and a few others big names with World Vision. Max went there to experience what’s happening there with World Vision and for research on his upcoming book. Really exciting stuff.

Anyhow, the purpose of Susan and I meeting was to ask advice on a few things regarding publishing and writing and my ideas for an upcoming book for young women. She was extremely encouraging and really passed some wisdom on to me. She suggested that I start little by little with the book proposal, while also realizing I’m a new mom and need to focus on my marriage. It would be difficult to work on a proposal every night without something suffering. I figured if I worked little by little on it for the next  6-8 months that would be realistic. She encouraged me to then start sending it to agents and they will help in the process of getting it to publishers.  

Publishing is such a crazy world right now. Sales aren’t where they need to be and it’s pretty difficult to get a manuscript in to the hands of a publisher who will give it time. Publishers invest a lot of money in you as the author and in your book so they are taking a great risk. I had read this before, but it was good to hear it from Susan who’s fully immersed in that world.

She was also encouraging when it comes to who I’m writing for. She said to write as if I’m writing directly to my girlfriends (since that’s the primary audience for my potential book). And to let who I am just pour out on the pages.

While I know publishing my own book in the next few years may or may not happen, she was encouraging that other opportunities may come up in the mean time and she mentioned a potential one I could potentially be a part of so we’ll see what happens. My honest heart’s desire is to be faithful where I’m at and to use my gifts however God wants.

Towards the end of our time she said something that has stuck with me all day. She said in our culture we’re told we can have whatever we want, when we want it and it’s true. But it doesn’t mean we need to have it right away. We may need to wait for it and have it later. In a better season.

Nonetheless, I was really honored to have met with her and hear more about her work with Max and to hear from someone I truly respect.

Recap: Interviewing Christian Authors

img_8971img_8972img_8977This past weekend, I had the opportunity along with Marc McCartney to interview some really gifted writers at the Christian book expo here in Dallas. The questions in our interviews focused on small group ministry and what it looks like to put our faith into action. Each author answered the questions with their particular message and passion in mind. The interviews will go on SmallGroupExchange.com and RightNow.org as free video training.

On Friday, our line-up was Andy Crouch (see 1st photo), Alex & Brett Harris (2nd photo), Max Lucado (3rd photo), Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell. On Saturday, we interviewed JI Packer, Kevin Leman, Jimmy Dorrell, Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Steven Arterburn, and Bill and Kathy Peel.

I helped with the Friday portion. It was great to hear from Andy Crouch about his passion in creating culture rather than criticizing it. He has some great insight in his book Culture Making: Recovering our Creative Calling.

I got to personally interview Alex and Brett Harris. You may initially know them from their brother, Josh Harris (Author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye). These guys were exactly what I thought they would be. Full of passion for this generation of teenagers and mature beyond their years. Their book Do Hard Things and the conferences they are putting on are encouraging teens to live above culture’s expectations. It was also neat to hear that the person with the greatest impact in their life has been their parents. I definitely figured that!

Max Lucado was a joy to meet as well. When he walked in the room, he had a smile on his face and was genuinely interested in who we were and what we were doing. He talked about how God can use ordinary people for extraordinary purposes and he helped define what “missionary” means in our culture today. He remembered all of our names at the end. I think every Christian on the planet knows who Max Lucado is so it was definitely an honor for him to offer his wisdom to us.

I also loved meeting Dawn Herzog Jewell, author of Escaping the Devil’s Bedroom: Sex Trafficking, Global Prostitution, and the Gospel’s Transforming Power. She answered questions as to how people can get involved in the heavy topic of sex trafficking and how God gave her the passion to write on the topic and inform others.

I’m really excited that each of these authors will be on SmallGroupExchange.com and Rightnow.org.

Time with Max Lucado, Randy Alcorn, Andy Crouch, and more

cast-1On Friday, I’ve been given the opportunity to assist in interviewing Max Lucado, Randy Alcorn, Alex and Brett Harris, Andy Crouch, Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell at the Christian book expo here in Dallas. We’re shooting the interviews in a private room which makes it all the more exciting. The day will probably be crazy and really fast paced but I hope to interject some good questions and take some pictures. We’ll be asking questions specifically related to who they are, what they’re doing, and how it relates to small groups and twenty and thirty-somethings.

Max Lucado and Randy Alcorn specifically have impacted me through their writing when I was in high school. I was given Lucado’s book Just Like Jesus from a friend and it radically changed my view towards what it means to look like Christ. He is a master-storyteller. In college, Alcorn’s fiction book The Ishbane Conspiracy, couldn’t be put down by mom, sister, or I. It reminded me a lot about the C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters in that Satan is real and will do anything he can to destroy us even in the tiniest every day things.

The Harris boys are doing great things in their ministry with their blog TheRebelution.com and their book Do Hard Things is influencing teens and young adults everywhere. I am so proud of them.

As for Andy Crouch, Sue Edwards, and Dawn Herzog Jewell, I look forward to learning even more about them.

Partnering with RELEVANT

RELEVANT magazine is pretty familiar to most of us in Christian publishing today. Relevant first published in 2003 and since then, they’ve had a base of more than 75,000 readers. Relevant’s companion web presence, RelevantMagazine.com was launched before the print publication.

Relevant explores the intersection of faith and pop culture with the tagline “God. Life. Progressive Culture.” Their articles feature fresh spiritual voices, often profiling young musicians, authors and entrepreneurs like Paper Route, Donald Miller, Rob Bell, Margaret Feinberg and Sarah Cunningham. Relevant also offers political spotlights, social issues, and reviews of recently released media selections. I’ve enjoyed writing for their women’s online publication: radiantmag.com.

In the past few years, we’ve had the privilege of working with Relevant as they’ve sponsored our past three events through the RightNow Campaign. They’ve also exchanged ads in our leader magazine for sponsorship. Recently, we’ve partnered with Relevant in a different way and just this week, several of our small group Bible studies are now live on their store.

In the future, Relevant hopes to add video previews for each of our products. We’re really excited to continue building our partnerships with Relevant and being open to how God wants to use more of our resources on their site.

Paul in Rome Writing Project

 I was asked today by Phil, our director of production and Jackie, our Senior producer if I would write the leader’s guide curriculum that goes with our upcoming video series on the Life of Paul in Rome with teaching from David Nasser. The study is geared for youth and will release August 1.

I feel very honored and humbled to have the opportunity to write on this video series and reach teens in this way. One, I love that it is based in Rome and is about the life of Paul. Two, I am a huge fan of David Nasser. He spoke often at Liberty University when I was a student there and the Lord always used him to speak to me. I also love that he is scripturally-focused and has a heart for the next generation. Third, of course I love that Bluefish is behind it all. Our producers have worked really hard on it.

I am excited to start plugging away at this in the upcoming weeks.

 

Meeting Margaret

Yesterday was a highlight as I was able to meet Margaret Feinberg and have lunch with her and her husband, Leif. They flew in from Colorado to discuss potential projects with us. We sat in the conference room with our team for lunch (Margaret and I being the only women of course). They talked about their summer plans, upcoming projects, and Leif’s adventures/stories working with TSA- which made me laugh a lot. Margaret and Leif have so much life in them and it was a joy to just sit down, relaxing over lunch.

It’s an amazing thing when you read a person’s writing, (their heart & soul) you already feel like you know them. A friend of mine gave me one of Margaret’s books, Twentysomething: Surviving and Thriving in the Real World a few years ago and I loved it. It’s so evident Margaret’s passion is for people and for God alone. I love how she says she loves many things in life, but some of her best moments are spent communicating with her readers, like you and me.

Thanks for all you’re doing to reach twentys and thirtys, Margaret!

You can check out several of her books on her website and see what she’s up to on her blog.

Article on Radiantmag.com today

Two years ago, fresh into marriage, Jeremiah and I went through a major trial. Several months ago, I finally felt led to write about it and I submitted it to Radiantmag.com. They posted it today. Click here to read it. It’s called When the Clock Struck Two.

For Small Group Leaders and Pastors

 Are you currently leading a small group or community group at your church? Or are you the Community Groups Pastor? If you’d like to take a part in a huge project that will impact leaders across the nation, feel free to comment and I will contact you and give more details about how you can contribute to what is going on at Bluefish TV.

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