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Experience Joy During the Holidays

The holiday season can be hectic, stressful and difficult for many people. When we compound that with issues of unforgiveness in our lives we are not able to fully rejoice and enjoy the season of gratitude and thankfulness.

Wounds that are not completely healed often cause unmet expectations, sadness and regrets. The litmus test to see whether a wound is completely healed is to ask yourself if you are uncomfortable when you see that person or you hear their name. If you feel discomfort, your wound is not healed. If your unhealed wound is a result of someone’s offense against you, there is a way to find healing.

Author and speaker Nan Brown Self unlocks the secret to experiencing and practicing this fundamental key to walking in freedom from our past offenses in her book Forgiveness: Making Space for Grace (Brown Books Publishing Group, 2017).

Nan has a passion for applying the teachings of Scripture to everyday life and has taught on the subject of forgiveness for over thirty-five years. But it was her own exhaustion and load of emotional baggage carried far too long that brought her to the foot of the Cross. “Why do you continually bring your burdens of unforgiveness but never leave them there,” she sensed the Lord saying. In seeking to answer His question, she found fresh perspective on one of the most fundamental teachings of Scripture and more importantly, experienced the grace of forgiveness that left her “past” where it belonged – at the Cross with Jesus.

With biblical insight, Nan helps the reader identify the roots of unforgiveness, experience healing of old wounds, begin the journey of restoring relationships, and maintain their walk in peace and freedom. Each chapter concludes with practical questions, a worksheet, and a prayer, making it ideal for study groups or private devotionals. Drawing from her personal encounter with the grace of forgiveness and the immutable truth of God’s Word, Nan charts the course to freedom from our past grievances and offers a prescription to maintaining that freedom on a daily basis.

“Forgiveness is the gift of grace from the heart of Jesus,” states Self. “He carried your sins to the cross and bore the pain of those sins so that you might be pardoned from their binding power and consequences. Through His grace, you receive a release from sin that you have not earned or deserved. In order to receive this gift, you need to accept His forgiving grace.”

www.ForgivenessByGrace.com

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Q &A with John J. Dwyer, author of Shortgrass

The stories of our past, real or imagined, serve as classrooms for today’s traveler. They reveal humanity at its best and at its worst, and as spoken often throughout history, those who fail to learn its lessons are doomed to repeat its mistakes. In the first of a two-part saga, author and historian John J. Dwyer draws from the written and unwritten pages of American history, to weave a story that could parallel today’s headlines.

Q: You are not only an author but a professor of History, what drew you to the subject and how did you become a historian?

A: I was raised by a widowed mother in a home where history and heroes were all around us. Since my younger brother Paul and I did not have a father, nor really any other positive male role model close to our lives, she looked for every way possible to fill in the gap with admirable examples of men who exhibited attributes such as courage, faithfulness, determination, honesty, sacrifice, perseverance, and selflessness that she feared we might miss without a dad. For instance, both the actor John Wayne and the historical figure Davy Crockett that he played in the movie The Alamo could contribute. So could other pioneers, athletes, presidents, war heroes, cowboys, lawmen, etc., as long as they were the sort that exhibited those attributes.

I think it is also in my blood. With a great grandfather named Joseph Jay O’Dwyer, who came to America on a boat by himself at age 17, I have come to realize that I come from a long line, a Celtic culture really, of storytellers. There seems to be an innate sense of wanting to discover an exciting truth, then share it with others, wowing them in the process if at all possible! With that in view, as I look back over my life, I see now why I have been drawn to journalism/writing, theology, and history as my main vocational and avocational pursuits.

Q: Although Shortgrass is a fictional story, you’ve stated that its lessons are timeless and real. What are some of those lessons and how are they pertinent for today’s reader.

A: I think there are many. Keep in mind that on the surface, Shortgrass is a lively story of adventure, romance, action, sports, political intrigue and suspense, a modern Western of sorts, and a historical epic of the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, mass American migration, the Big Band Era, and World War II. Also, numerous famous and colorful characters populate the journey. Shortgrass and its sequel Mustang, which releases early next year, comprise a twelve-year-long Twentieth Century American odyssey of love and war for a clean cut young heartland fellow who sets forth into the world in a time of singular drama, danger, and historical movements.

As far as the lessons conveyed through the story, one is the danger of seeking to impact the world for good, and becoming the one who gets impacted. Put another way, how even the noblest of intentions are fraught with snares and dangers. Lance Roark, the Mennonite farm boy and cowboy protagonist of Shortgrass grows up with an escalating desire not only to leave the hardscrabble Dust Bowl farm in which he feels cooped up, but to go forth and do good for his country and the world. This derives from his heritage of Irish immigrants, American pioneers, and devout, often persecuted Mennonites, all of whom are seeking something better for themselves and to create something better for others. In Lance’s case, he possesses great natural gifts, including working with young people—in particular Comanche Indians—as an athlete—he rises to college football glory—and as an aviator—he becomes good friends with and a mentee of the legendary Charles Lindbergh. And his winsome gentleness wins the heart of the most sought-after woman at his school, who becomes one of the greatest female vocalists of the Big Band Era. Yet, all these accomplishments and associations affect him, almost imperceptibly at first, but gradually, and ultimately very greatly.

Another lesson is how precarious are the freedoms and blessings we possess in our country. As Shortgrass builds to its climactic sequence at the outbreak of World War II for America, we see “behind the curtain” as it were—through Lance’s interactions with friends and even a family member who hold important positions in industry or the government, in a very factual and historically documented fashion—a government that is telling its people one thing, yet acting in a very different fashion, as it tries to maintain power in the midst of the worst economic calamity in U.S. history, a calamity its own policies are unable to solve. This deception and the subsequent actions to mask it, create confusion, division, and ultimately tragic consequences for the nation.

And, Shortgrass depicts, for us, a generation so inclined toward self-seeking, instant gratification, moral compromise, and complaining, what true challenge, danger, and heartbreak—on an immense scale over a period of many years—was faced by an earlier generation of Americans, those who lived through the Great Depression, Dust Bowl, and World War II, the latter which was the most colossal disaster in world history.

Q: You’ve indicated that Shortgrass, and the sequel Mustang, are the closest thing to your own written testament to those that will follow you that you have done. How so?

A: Through the years, people have often told me that they can “see” me in my books, that is, my perspectives, opinions, attitudes, or that they can almost hear my voice telling the story. Others have been able to see this more clearly than I have. I guess I’ve been too close to the forest to see the trees, as they say. This time, with Shortgrass and its sequel Mustang, despite their comprising a fictional American adventure odyssey that takes place in a different era than ours, and despite my not explicitly declaring those elements that form a “testament” of sorts, I believe the characters, story, events, and themes, as they unwind through a twelve-year saga that takes place in multiple countries over the course of two books, truly summarize so many of the convictions, questions, and observations I have after a somewhat lengthy life. For example, they depict what I have learned (thus far) about love and loss, history and heroes, conflictedness and unanswered questions, God and America, and life itself. They deal with inexplicable tragedy, the glee and hope of youth with everything in the world to live for, bad things happening to good people, God often silently yet decisively directing events for His own purposes, when and how and with whom is often least expected.

Also, the capricious nature of worldly pleasure and glory, the ambiguous nature of so many well intended efforts, and the inescapable reality that despite the best of intentions, we are all human, we are all flawed. None of us shall escape the sometimes grievous consequences, to some extent, of a marred, fallen world with resident evil.

And the great responsibility incumbent in leadership, whether of a family or a nation. How greatly the peace and happiness of those under a leader’s influence can be affected for good or bad by that.

Finally, how such sources as the Scriptures and wise parents can guide us toward so much that is good and preserve us from so much that is hurtful, but how we so inconsistently pay heed to these exemplars and even when we do, we may face great challenge and trial, even as part of God’s plan for our good and His glory. “Now we see through a glass darkly…”

Shortgrass and Mustang, though, are historical novels filled with the action, adventure, romance, and intrigue I earlier mentioned, not philosophical tracts. These themes will not necessarily be readily apparent to many readers. And some of them may be so only upon reflection, as with many of the lessons of life itself. But rest assured, they are there.

Q: What can readers expect in the upcoming release of Mustang?

A: The literary ride of their lives. Shortgrass has been compared to Herman Wouk’s classic The Winds of War, which covered the pre-World War II years, up through Pearl Harbor and its aftermath. Mustang has been compared to his sequel, War and Remembrance, which covers the war years. Mustang takes place entirely during World War II, largely in the cockpits of Flying Fortress bombers and Mustang fighter planes fighting the Nazis in the bloody skies over Europe. I spent years researching both this historical era and the unique and crucial military campaign that it involves, and I am confident it will be unlike anything anyone has read before. And it is absolutely unpredictable, as were the real events. I say that having read everything available in the genre myself, both fiction and non-fiction. Plus, those who have already read Shortgrass are going to be very vested and involved in the lives of Lance Roark the protagonist and his friends by the time they begin reading Mustang. I will also say that some of the events, themes, and messages I intended to convey when I began Lance’s long journey through Shortgrass and Mustang remain as I initially intended, but some changed dramatically as I came to better know him, his friends, and the historic events they were part of and helped make.

Q: What makes you different from other authors of historical fiction? How is your work unique?

A: Unfortunately for me, my work probably contains sufficient elements to offend or at least challenge just about everybody. I have always written from a providential Christian worldview, featuring the notion that no matter what happens, God has redemptive and uplifting purposes for His people, of which He has chosen some but passed over others, not because I desired it that way, but because that is how He has clearly explained to us in His Scriptures He has done it. So, not everyone is going to be happy with a literary universe of that sort. Yet, these are imperfect people in my books, with questions that sometimes don’t get answered, dilemmas and choices that frequently defy easy answers or even any answers, and disappointments and even tragedies that remain mysteries inexplicable in this life. Plus, though my literary universe possesses overarching standards of right and wrong, my “good” characters are not always good, and my “bad” characters are not necessarily one-dimensional villains constructed in accord with society’s current trends and mores. So, as in life, but not necessarily some Christian-inspired literary universes, my readers will hopefully depart my books moved and even inspired, but also with things to contemplate or reflect upon, things that are not all formulaically packaged and all tidied up for them by the final page.

Q: What would you say to today’s generation to convince them of the value of history?

A: Mainly, that if we don’t learn the right lessons from history, the wrong ones will damage us worse than learning no lessons at all. We need to learn whom from history we should emulate and whom we should not. For instance, telling our children that a villain is a hero, putting that person on or in our money, calendars, and movies, then exhorting our children to emulate him or her, is a dangerous thing to do.

www.JohnJDwyer.com

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Q & A with Don Black regarding the In God We Trust Proclamation Part 2

IGWT-TMlogo-bannerThe In God We  Trust Proclamation is an acknowledgement that our rights as human beings are endowed by our Creator and that the Constitution ensures our right as Christians to openly live our lives based upon God’s divine Word. It upholds our belief in the sanctity of life as well as that of a traditional view of marriage between one man and one woman. In signing the proclamation, people will be pledging themselves to pray, to fast and to vote in November. People will have the opportunity to sign the proclamation online through our television affiliate partners.

• What will be done with the signatures?

We hope to secure hundreds of thousands of signatures and send them to both houses of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the White House. We will also send them to all presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

• Tell us about the In God We Trust 21 Day Action Plan.

The In God We Trust 21 Day Action Plan is a downloadable devotional guide that will lead participants through 21 days of prayer and fasting for the nation. It will be made available through our television affiliate partners free of charge to those who sign the proclamation.

• What are the different program options and how can people find the program for their area?

The program was shot on location in Washington, D.C. and is hosted by Kristi Watts former co-host of The 700 Club. It will begin on Labor Day and run up to the election. The program will air in 30 minute or 60 minute lengths on participating networks and stations.

• What is your broadcast plan and goals?

In God We Trust is being offered to select Christian television networks and stations for airing. Our goal is that more than 100 million television homes will be able to watch this special at least once in a 60-day period leading to the election. Our prayer is to impact 1 million Christian citizens to vote in November who did not go to the polls in 2012. Many broadcast ministries have agreed to partner in getting this message out quickly. Keep checking our website for networks, stations and air times.

For more information and to sign the proclamation visit, www.ingodwetrust.tv

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Q&A with Jeanne Nigro Part 1

JeanneNigro.jpgI was prompted to write UNSHAKEN as a result of my own experience of the paralysis that occurs over fear of the end times, as well as my observation that I was not alone in this fear. Many others are experiencing it as well! What made this fear even more unsettling for me, was that I had been teaching others about fear for years and thought it couldn’t happen to me! However, when it came to the end times, none of what I knew about dealing with fear seemed to apply. This began a process where the Lord showed me a lot about fear of the uncertain end times, and the lies I was believing about myself and about God that were fueling the fear. After He showed me how to use our spiritual weapons of warfare to combat these lies, He then began to reveal to me His heart for the end times and the Millennium to come. It was through that experience that I have been compelled to share those truths so that others can be liberated from their fears and experience an exciting and fulfilling partnership with God, regardless of the times!” Jeanne Nigro

* What makes Unshaken different from other books that address the end times, or these last days?

Most of us realize that there are significant theological differences within the body of believers concerning the last days and when certain events will occur. I didn’t want to focus on those differences that divide. I am more interested in preparing people spiritually not only for that time to come, but for what God is calling them to do now, and how they can experience intimacy with Him no matter what is going on around them.

The truths that I share will be helpful to people regardless of their end times theology or eschatology, as they provide practical, relevant action steps that will transform their lives. Also, UNSHAKEN is unique from other books in that it integrates the anchors of intimacy with God, the Millennium, Millennial Temple, and the Biblical Feasts into what we need to stand strong and unshaken lights for God in these uncertain end times.

* You state that intimacy with God is a key factor in our ability to stand amidst uncertainty. Why is that so important?

To begin with, intimacy with God is our primary purpose in life. He created us for relationship, and our relationship with Him is the only thing that cannot be taken away from us. Who He is and how He sees us is the only thing in life that cannot change. It is through our intimate fellowship with Him that we are protected from deception, a trademark of the last days, and through which we are empowered to stand against persecution and oftentimes frightening, opposing forces. His strength is perfect, and it is critical that we walk closely with Him to be able to draw from that strength.

* You provide some practical steps to achieving intimacy with God and drawing from the game of football, break them down in to offensive and defensive categories. How can we be proactive or on the offense in growing in our intimacy with God?

I go into great detail in the book, but the short answer is found in learning to dwell with Him in the daily moment by moment, focusing throughout the day on who He is, how He sees you, and what He’s done for you. An essential component of this is learning to connect with the many facets of His heart. For example, what is God’s heart toward you, for healing your heart? What is His heart toward others? What is His heart toward the end times, the Millennium, the Millennial Temple, and the Biblical Feasts? As you connect with these facets of His heart, you grow in intimacy with Him and you stand strong in uncertain times.

For more information visit www.JeanneNigro.com

Pray, Fast, Vote

IGWT-TMlogo-bannerIn an unprecedented partnership, a coalition of Christian television broadcasters is calling Americans to place their trust, and their vote, in God. To deliver their message, In God We Trust, a one-hour special (a 30-minute version is also available) will run on networks across the nation. The message is simple, powerful, and universal, crossing racial, political and socio-economic lines. It is time for God’s people to pray, to fast for wisdom, and then to vote for the candidates of their choice in the upcoming election this fall. Facing the stark reality that over 27 million registered Christian voters did not vote in the 2012 election, these leaders believe that a responsible turn-out of Christian voters this November will pave the way of hope for our nation and a return to the Christian principles on which it was founded.

In God We Trust viewers will be provided the opportunity to sign an online In God We Trust proclamation, pledging to pray, to fast, to vote and to place their trust in Divine Providence. A downloadable e-version of the devotional In God We Trust 21 Day Action Plan will be available to guide participants through 21 days of prayer and fasting for the nation.

This television special is spearheaded by Don Black, president and CEO of Cornerstone Network, along with other ministry broadcasting partners including Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and Pathway to Victory TV and radio program, Andrew Wommack, founder and president of Andrew Wommack Ministries and host of The Gospel Truth TV program. Also adding their voices are Joyce Meyer, founder and president of Joyce Meyer Ministries and host of Enjoying Everyday Life, Perry Stone, founder and CEO of Perry Stone Ministries-Voice of Evangelism/OCI and host of Manna-Fest TV show, Henry Fernandez, founder of Henry Fernandez Ministries and senior pastor of The Faith Center, and Gordon Robertson, CEO of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

“Most American Christians will agree that we have drifted far from our Judeo-Christian values and face perilous times as a result,” states Black. “We simply believe that, election or not, it is time to take our country back to our roots and to faith in Jehovah God. The upcoming election provides us an opportunity to begin that process.”

The special, hosted by Kristi Watts a former co-host of The 700 Club, will begin airing on Labor Day and continue up to the election. The program will air in various lengths on Cornerstone and other participating networks as well.

America is hurting and needs a miracle. In God We Trust aims to inspire millions of Christian Americans to exercise their authority in electing our next leaders and to petition Almighty God for His Divine mercy to sweep this great nation with a fresh move of His Spirit.

For more information please visit www.InGodWeTrust.tv

DO YOUR HOMEWORK… KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET

Building Your Public Platform Series Public Relations for the Author–Part 5

Author Series #5

Do you know who your reader will be? Beyond your family and close friends? I have had most first-time authors come to me and say, “My book is for everybody.” This is rarely the case.

To create a public platform, it will be very important to know who your audience is and who you are writing your message to. Here are some steps to take to determine who the target market is for your book:

  1. First, start off by identifying your target consumer of your book. Is this person male or female? What is their age? Is he/she married? Do they have children? Where do they live?

This can look like: I am writing about how to raise a child that will not boomerang, move back home, as an adult. My target audience is the female reader over 45. Males would be a secondary audience. These females will be married, divorced and single. They have at least one adult child, over the age of 21. They live in the United States and possibly Canada.

  1. Then think through and answer the following questions:
  • What are they challenged with?
  • What problems do they need to solve?
  • What are their goals and values?
  • Where are they getting their source of information?

This can look like: I am writing to parents of foster children. They are challenged with children who have multiple emotional problems and some may have physical problems. Their biological kids may have difficulty accepting the new sibling. They need help to figure out how to blend their family with as little stress as possible. They value family and their goal is to have a loving household. They get their information from websites that cater to foster parents, seminars for fostering and church.

  1. Another thing you can do is solicit friends and family. You can email them with these lists of question tailored to your topic or put a question up on your Facebook page.
  1. Lastly, research. Once you know the profile of your reader, you will want to research the reader’s habit. Take note where the congregate online. See what they are buying. Find out where they get their information. In your research, you will want to also find out who your competition is and what they are doing to sell their books. You will need to search and see how well their books are selling. Here are some good places to gather information:

Once you have this information, you can make a profile about who your target market is. You will know what they like, where they meet/congregate, and how they like to receive their messages and news. You will be able to use this information to help inform you on the next steps, creating the written plan.

If you need help, we can coach you or do the work for you.  Just send a message and we can let you know what we can do.tina's first name signature

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HOW DOES YOUR MESSAGE STAND OUT? HOW DOES IT GET NOTICED?

Building Your Public Platform Series Public Relations for the Author–Part 3

Author Series #3

“Just call your contact and get me on The Today Show? Then I will sell a ton of books”

 “Let’s devise a clever video and get on Jimmy Kimmel. Everyone will know what we do then and donors will flood in!”

 “I am sure I can get my video to go viral by one post on Facebook then I can sell all the books I need too.”

 “You know the pastor at the largest church in the city, I am sure if you tell him, and your other contact, that they need me to speak at your church…I will sell my books and people will sign up to volunteer with our program.”

That’s all I need, just one big show, one or two large speaking engagements and I can sell tons of books and get all the donors or volunteers that I need. Sounds reasonable, right?

It doesn’t really work that way.

As a book writer (whether you are independently publishing, traditional publisher or want a traditional publisher), building your platform and delivering your message is up to you.

Your Message is Uniquely Yours

Author Series #3a

So how do I get my message to stand out?  You…

KISS it!

 Normally, this stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. But I have changed it to Keep It Short & Simple.  Here are 3 things you can do to develop your message.

  1. Create 60 sec and 30 sec synopsis of what your message is about. These are called elevator speeches. Why? If you find yourself on the elevator with a producer of a program, or even a person interested in your book, you need to be prepared to briefly tell them what your book/organization is about. These short bits of information should explain the problem, tell that it is an important problem with factual statements, and tell why now is the time to solve the problem. Explain why you are the only person who can solve that problem and include the benefits they receive from you or your group. It’s always nice to have endorsements secured from one or two celebrities or experts in your field so you can reference them.
  1. Create 5-10 talking points about your book/message. These are just for you to use to help you stay centered on the message. Print out the sheet and keep it as your cheat sheet for interviews or other opportunities when you have time to explain your message.
  1. Newsjacking—Reporters are looking for additional information for stories that they are working on. If you are an expert or have a legitimate tie-in to a news story, and you are quick to act, sending a comment to journalists on “new of the day” is newsjacking. You will want to consider how your message may fit before the news happens. David Scott writes in The New Rules of Marketing & PR, “Your goal with newsjacking is to get your take on a breaking news story in front of journalists at the moment they are looking for additional information to put in their stories.” Warning. Don’t pretend and don’t make something up for the sake of having something to say. Make your comments relevant and if you don’t’ have one, it is best to WAIT until you do. Don’t take a chance and blow your credibility.

Lastly, let me warn you that you may need to adjust your messaging during a campaign. In an article in PR Daily, the author gave two good reasons you might need to change: (1) the message is just not working, and (2) the message is not relevant anymore. Watch for these and, if needed, engage help.

We can help you create the message. We can craft it, or coach you…you choose.  Just give us a jingle!tina's first name signature

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