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Writer’s Headlines: CWD Changes, Kudos, MoGo7000, & Who Won $100?

newspapersIt’s a full day of announcements, so let’s get started with the Kudos!

In the busyness of the Christmas and New Year holidays, we only had one reported success to celebrate:

Carol Guthrie Heilman (NC)Carol received a contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for Book 2 in The Adventures of Agnes Series. Congrats, Carol! And I know everyone wants to see Book 1, so here’s the direct Amazon link to Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar.

Congratulations on your second contract in the series, Carol. I hope there are many more contracts and books to come!

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Who qualified for another MoGo7000 entry?

Congrats to these friends who wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in the month of December:

#23: Amanda Everett – 13,049 words
#24: Tim Suddeth – 8,200 words

Congratulations, Amanda and Tim! It’s hard to get much done in December, but you two made it happen!

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100 dollars PixabayAnd now, drumroll, please! Who won $100 cash in the 2016 MoGo7000 Challenge?

The winner is:

Tim Suddeth!!!

Wow–Tim I couldn’t believe it when your number came up! Congratulations! I guess that just shows us that you don’t have to enter every month to win the prize! Tim is $100 richer!

Hope you have fun spending it, Tim!

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Changes at the Christian Writer’s Den…vonda-speaking

I hope you know how much I love and appreciate each of you. With a gazillion blogs out there, I’m honored you would spend time with me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Many of you dear friends have been with me since CWD began in 2008 . . . the same year my caregiving responsibilities began . . . the same year my third and fourth books came out. I’ve not completed a book since.

A lot of years have passed. I realize I’m getting older and I do have a few more books I’d like to write. So, after spending focused time with the Lord and seeking wisdom from my writing mentor, I know it’s time to take a break from weekly blogging and social media. In order to focus on my writing and family responsibilities, I’ll plan to post about once a month for an indefinite amount of time. I’m also limiting my social media participation in order to be in better control of my writing time.

Please know this isn’t a permanent change. I want us to stay in touch! In the meantime, I hope you’ll continue working on your own projects as well. Just think what we all could achieve if we could focus on writing this year!

Thank you again for your friendship and encouragement. I’ll look forward to meeting up again in February!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts in 2017,

Vonda

 

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Call-Out for Kudos & MoGo7000 & Who Won Crickett Keeth’s Book?

Megaphone announce Pixabay

(I’m sorry for the delay. I created this the week of Christmas and was shocked when it wasn’t delivered to my Inbox Tuesday morning! I finally sat down to rewrite it, but the more I thought about it I KNEW I had written it.

I was write, I had written it. But guess where I found it . . . in the bowels of the archives, dated January 3, 2016!)

It’s Time to Share Kudos of Your First Successes of 2017!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Has something exciting happened recently to start your new year off right? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

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Who MoGo’d in December?mogo

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in December, you will receive one last entry for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your December results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in December. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2017 challenge has begun! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. But remember, this week’s reporting is for the month of December 2016 only.

All words written beginning January 1 will apply to the 2017 MoGo7000 Challenge, so get started now and you could have 12 chances to win next January!

Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner of the 2016 MoGo7000 cash prize of $100!

The Gift of Rest cover Crickett Keeth~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And who won a copy of Crickett Keeth’s new book, The Gift of Rest?

The winner is . . .

Judith Robl!

Congratulations, Judith! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Crickett will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, you know you still need this book. And as I write this, it’s on sale for only $8.38 or $2.99 for Kindle! So here’s a direct Amazon link to The Gift of Rest. Enjoy!

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New year’s blessings as you face the blank canvas of 2017. What will your canvas show at the end of the year? I pray mine will show only what was God-led. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Vonda

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New Year. New Goals. New Purpose?

Goals 2017 PixabayHappy New Year, dear Christian Writer’s Den friends!

I can’t believe I just said that. It seems only a few months ago that I wrote last year’s greeting and yet, 2017 is here. How did that happen?

Let’s face it, in reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new one, it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to focus on all the things we didn’t get done that we had planned. Some of those unfulfilled plans are because of our own failures or distractions. Others are the result of changing seasons in life. But regardless of the reason, when another year dawns and we haven’t reached the previous year’s goals, it’s easy to feel like a failure. The focus is on what we didn’t get done.

That’s not what God wants us to focus on. If we’ve given our lives to Him and are seeking to serve and obey Him, He has a plan for our lives, our ministries, and our businesses. Sometimes it’s the same plan we have. Sometimes it isn’t.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

His plan is the right plan for us . . . every year.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts in 2017.

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Crickett Keeth

Picture of CrickettIf you haven’t met Crickett Keeth, you’re missing a lot. She may be a tiny, little thing, but she is a powerful messenger for the Father! We met years ago when I was teaching at North Texas Christian Writers Conference and it has been a joy to get to know her better through her writing, speaking, and as Director of Women’s Ministries at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, TN.

I’m honored to share Crickett and her newest book with you. And in this season of gift-giving, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Her title? The Gift of Rest. Can I get an AMEN? I know you want and need a copy of this book, so be sure to leave a comment and you might win it next week! Now, let’s get started!

Welcome, Crickett. Before we start talking about your new book, would you tell us how you got started writing Bible studies?

I was leading a small group Bible study with some girls in Dallas, and we were using popular studies on the market. To facilitate richer discussion, I would add thought-provoking questions to the book questions each week. One summer, my girls challenged me, “Crickett, why don’t you write our next Bible study?” After praying about it, I accepted their challenge, and I’ve continued writing Bible studies ever since.

The Father certainly uses a variety of ways to move us, doesn’t He? So what compelled you to write a Bible study on the subject of rest?

I meet with women all the time as the Women’s Ministry Director at my church, and I started to notice a trend in what I was hearing. “Crickett, I’m exhausted. I’m worn out. I need some rest.” And I was feeling the same way. We’re all in need of rest. And I can’t imagine that this is God’s plan for us – to frantically rush through life at breakneck speed. So I began to search the Scriptures to see what God has to say about rest, and the result was this Bible study. In eight weeks, we look at God’s perspective of rest from Genesis to Revelation. And as we understand His perspective, it gives us freedom to embrace the gift of rest instead of feeling guilty about it. When we see how God emphasized, even commanded, rest, how can we not rest?

I totally agree! Why do you think people aren’t making rest a priority these days?

The reasons I most often hear are:The Gift of Rest cover Crickett Keeth

(1) I’m too busy. I don’t have time to rest. If I stop to rest, I can’t get everything done. Once I get everything done, then I’ll rest.

God gives us 24 hours a day, and He will never give us more to do than we can do in a day. The problem is not having too little time, but taking on more than God ever intended for us to take on.

(2) I feel guilty. I should be doing something productive. People will think I’m lazy if I take time to rest.

Jesus rested, and He didn’t feel guilty for taking time to do so, and neither should we.

(3) It’s not spiritual to rest. People who love the Lord stay busy. It’s selfish for me to take time to rest. I need to be serving others. I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and she didn’t rest. I’m not a godly woman if I rest.

There’s nothing unspiritual about taking time to rest. It’s actually unspiritual to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion without taking time to be replenished in order to carry out the ministry He’s given us to do.

I know you were going through a time of “no rest” when you wrote this study. How did you find rest in that season of life when circumstances wouldn’t allow you to rest?

Yes, the timing of this study was perfect for me in that tough season of life. My 98-year old mom was in the nursing home in Memphis, and I was there every day after work and on the weekends. Emotionally, it was draining to watch my mom lose her quality of life. I would come home from the nursing home every day, exhausted – physically and emotionally. But during those times of no physical rest, I found soul rest – a peace that God was in control. I found rest in that season by meeting with God, and letting Him refresh me through His Word. I knew He would give me strength for each day, one day at a time. But I needed time alone with Him to be reminded of His strength and sovereignty in this tough season.

Crickett Keeth Sumatra coverI have learned to value the gift of rest as a result of this study. And I pray that those who go through this Bible study will also come to embrace that gift.

And I join you in that prayer. What better gift could there be than to rest in the Gift of Jesus and His love? Thank you for sharing your book with us today, Crickett.

And friends, be sure to leave a comment for Crickett and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! And return next week to see if you’re the winner.

Here’s more about Crickett:

Crickett Keeth is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of several published Bible studies, including The Gift of Rest and Sumatra with the Seven Churches (co-authored with Sandra Glahn). Crickett was on staff with Cru for ten years and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching regularly at her own church, she also speaks at women’s conferences and retreats. She offers free resources for discipleship and encourages others in their own walk with God through her website at www.CrickettKeeth.com. You can also connect with Crickett on Facebook and Twitter.

Blessings as we prepare to celebrate the beginning of a new year!

Vonda

 

 

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Jesus is Born!

From the Manger to the CrossAs we celebrate the Gift of Christmas today, let’s remember Him as

…the Son

…the Sacrifice

…the Resurrected Savior

…the Almighty God.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

I pray God’s richest blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver.

Vonda

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Another Christmas Gift (And no, it’s not writing opps!)

From the Manger to the CrossMerry Christmas, writing friends! What a joy to hear Christmas music during this special season, reminding me that yes, an innocent, helpless Baby came, but He grew to be our Sacrifice, and was raised from the dead to be our Savior! Oh, what a Savior!

And since I know everyone’s running around trying to get everything done (and NOBODY is interested in studying writing opps!), I thought I’d share another of my Christmas favorites with you today. Here’s another video I’ve shared the past several years, and I never grow tired of it!

This video was shot several years ago at my daughter’s church, North Point Community Church, as their praise band used iPads and iPhones to deliver a special gift of music to their church family.

It’s my gift to you, and isn’t it a fun, creative way to celebrate this season of joy? But in all the fun and excitement, let’s be sure to remember the greatest Gift of all…the Gift who was also the Giver…the One we celebrate all year long.

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 6:9

I pray God’s blessing as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,
Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos & A Baby Really Did Change Everything

newspapersLet’s start with this month’s kudos!

Congratulations to these Christian Writer’s Den friends who’ve been working hard and making things happen!

1.  Kristi Woods (OK): Praising God for two online published pieces in November on ibelieve.com: Why I Urge My Children Not to Follow Their Hearts and Three Ways to Keep the Spirit of Thanksgiving Alive All Year.

2.  Johnna Stein (GA): Part 1 of my fictional end of WWII story “The Iron Cross”was published
in Cricket Magazine for Kids ages 9-14 this month. Parts 2 & 3 will come out in 2017.

Way to go, Kristi and Johnna. So proud of you for your hard work and accomplishments!

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Your first Christian Writer’s Den Christmas gift

During the Christmas season, it has become my Christian Writer’s Den tradition to post this beautiful video and the life-giving words it proclaims. I’ve done it now for several years, and each time I hear it, I still get chills and my eyes fill with tears.

When Jesus was born, everything was changed.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the beautiful images from the film, The Nativity, and listen to the words of this powerful song sung by Faith Hill.

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For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:11-14 (KJV)

During this blessed Christmas season, I’m especially thankful a Baby changed everything for me. And He wants to change everything for you, too.

I was lost but now I’m found! Hallelujah!

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,

Vonda

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Call-out for Kudos & MoGo7000 Results and Who Won Sue Badeau’s Coloring Book?

fireworks PixabayCalling All Kudos!

Okay, friends, it’s time for us to celebrate YOU and celebrate EACH OTHER! After all, that’s the goal of The Christian Writer’s Den–-to encourage and instruct writers.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem to you or how recently it’s been, every step forward is a step that leads to the next one.

So I want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you. Everybody’s welcome to share.

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

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Did You Work on MoGo7000 in November? (And remember, your NaNoWriMo words count toward MoGo7000!)

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in November, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your November results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in November. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday).

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, you can still qualify in December! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project by December 31 and you’ll be in the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent.

Color Cover~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~00 Front Cover Bubbles Butterflies

And who won Sue Badeau’s coloring book?

Cathy Baker!

Congrats, Cathy! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and your book will be on its way!

And I know many of you want your own copies of Sue’s book for kids who have experienced trauma and the adult book for those who love and care for traumatized kids. You can make a difference!

To get your own copies, click here for Building Bridges of Hope for adults and here for Bubbles and Butterflies: A Calming Coloring Book.

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Thank you for joining me today, sweet friends. And thank you for all your words of encouragement and prayer support as Mother continues her healing. She has now moved to assisted living and is doing much better–Praise God! Today is the third of four doctor appointments I’m taking the moms to this week, so it’s another packed schedule.

But with each week that goes by, I realize more and more what miracles we’ve received with both our moms. My mother-in-love will be 93yo in January and still lives in her own home with the help of us kids, and my mother could have easily died from complications related to her fall. What a mighty God we serve!

Blessings as you rush through this Christmas season as well. I pray for those of you who aren’t receiving a miracle this Christmas, or your miracle is the gift of a loved one at the feet of Jesus. I’m praying for you today.

Christmas blessings to all as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver.

Vonda

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Parting Word From The WORD . . . How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

For most of us, we’re thankful to have the recent season of braggadocio, self-focus, and pride behind us. And for those of us who follow Christ, that season has left us even more aware of the condition of American culture and the depth to which we’ve fallen. It’s been a painful realization.

But the song, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us,” sung by Nichole Nordeman, provided a tender balm to my heart yesterday. As I sat alone listening to the clearly-rendered words, I was reminded that regardless of the culture, my Heavenly Father loves me, His Son took my sin, and I can boast in Jesus Christ, and Him alone.

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Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5 (NIV)

Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:31 (NIV)

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

 

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Lori Roeleveld

Lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015Friends, I’m so thrilled to have my friend, award-winning author Lori Roeleveld, back at The Christian Writer’s Den. This time she’s sharing her new book, Jesus and the Beanstalk: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life. Lori and I met at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference many years ago and it has been a joy to watch her career skyrocket. Now sit back and enjoy another entertaining interview with Lori Roeleveld . . . if you dare!

And don’t forget to leave a comment for Lori and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Be sure to come back next week to see if you’re the winner. Now let’s get started!

Lori, your book opens with the line, “We live in a land populated by giants.” Tell us what you mean.

God’s Word tells us there are persistent forces of evil at work in the world. This translates into giant problems of every type that we battle individually, as a church, and as a society. Giants are challenges that leave us feeling small and inadequate. We all face them but biblically, it’s always been the people who believed God over the giants who triumph.

How does the Jack and the Beanstalk fairytale relate to 2 Peter 1:1-10?

People who don’t share our faith often think Christians have traded in everything of worth for a handful of useless beans, much as Jack’s mother felt about his trade. When we view our faith through their eyes, it can affect our attitude toward our own faith. In the fairytale, Jack clung to the beanstalk and discovered his giant-killing potential. As Christians cling to the vine that is Jesus, we, too, discover that we are giant-killers. 2 Peter 1:1-10 lists eight qualities that the world sees as boring (and probably useless) but Peter tells us having these qualities in increasing measure will “keep us from being ineffective and unfruitful in our knowledge of Jesus Christ.” I don’t know about you but that makes me want to plant those beans in my life and prepare for spiritual growth!

Is that why you call those qualities the “eight boring beans of our faith?”

That’s right. Of course, they’re not boring but in the eyes of those who don’t share our faith, they can appear to be. It’s unpopular these days to talk about the value of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love, but Peter promises these hold important keys to effective living. It’s been exciting for me to unpack these qualities and explore how cultivating them, within a relationship with Jesus, increases our ability to defeat countless giants.

You talk a lot about how God loves our smallness and works through it. What do you mean?

One key to facing giants is understanding that God revels in using small people, places, tribes, and churches because through them, He reveals even more of His glory. Isn’t that the point? Not to draw attention to great men, women, tribes, and nations but to draw attention to the Creator God and His plan of redemption.

Where do you get your passion for small churches or people who feel small?Jesus and the Beanstalk

I grew up in a small town in the smallest state, Hope Valley, Rhode Island. There was nothing I wanted more than to be on the adventure with Jesus and I figured it had to be happening somewhere much bigger. What He’s spent a lifetime teaching me is that small places, churches, or ministries can have great impact when people in them obey Jesus.

How have you seen this play out in your life?

Since 2008, I’ve written a blog that for years had a faithful but small following. Still, posts I’ve written have had an impact on writers with larger audiences such as Ann Voskamp and Jim Rubart. Twice I’ve had posts go viral. One has been viewed more than 1.5 million times. In 2015, one week after the murder of nine Christians in Charleston, South Carolina, I was able to mobilize over one thousand believers on three continents to pray for their families, all from my small corner of the world. By my daily numbers, I’m a small-time blogger but God can use me to have a bigger impact than I can even imagine.

In Jesus and the Beanstalk, you tackle the subject of spiritual growth. What do you think are the challenges involved in discussing growing up as a Christian?

When discussing spiritual growth, we have to make frequent callbacks to the truth that we’re all saved by grace and not by works. That being said, God expects us to mature in our faith just as parents expect their children to grow up. We sometime hesitate to discuss spiritual growth because it can lead to comparisons or to a sense that some Christians are “ahead” of others. I address these challenges in Jesus and the Beanstalk and suggest an approach that helps churches and individuals navigate those challenges.

Jesus and the Beanstalk has a unique structure. Can you talk about that?

I wrote the book for individual readers but wanted it to be easy to study in small groups, too. The chapters are short and all have a closing section that includes questions I call “Small Steps toward Slaying Giants.” The first eight chapters explore spiritual growth using Jack and the Beanstalk and 2 Peter 1:1-10. The last eight chapters explore each of the eight qualities that Peter promises will make us effective and fruitful. Those are designed to meditate on one quality a week using five daily readings, one day with suggestions for ways to practice that quality, and one day with no assignment to allow for a day of rest.

Your chapter titles are intriguing: Jurassic Jesus, Why God Loves Empty Prayers, and Thou Shalt Pray like Sheldon Cooper.

I’ve been a Christian since I was a child and am a serious student of Scripture. I also came of age in the seventies and grew up watching sitcoms and late night TV so my quirky perspective comes through in the titles and in the humor of this book. I’ve wrapped my love of the Lord, my passion for His church, and my desire to inspire spiritual growth in an unconventional package. I like putting a fresh perspective on ancient truth.

That leads us to your tagline. You’re known as the “Disturber of Hobbits.” What is a hobbit and why do you want to disturb them?

Hobbits are the primary characters in Tolkiens’ Lord of the Ring series. They are creatures who love home, routine, comforts, and meals on time. Adventures are suspect to hobbits because they “make one late for dinner.” I can relate to that. I like to be comfortable and safe. Jesus adventures upset my applecart in that respect but I’ve come to love being on the adventure with Him despite my hobbit tendencies. My passion is to invite and incite other comfortable Christians into the Jesus adventure.

Al and Lori with AwardThank you, Lori. I always look forward to reading your books! Friends, that does it for another great interview. Be sure to leave a message and come back next week to see if you’re the winner of Lori’s book!

Bio: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored an unsettling blog since 2009; a pursuit that eventually resulted in her first book, Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus). Since then, two more books have been released: The Red Pen Redemption and her latest, Jesus and the Beanstalk. Her blog, LoriRoeleveld.com, was voted Top 100 Christian Blogs by RedeemingGod.com and has enjoyed over 1.5 million views. Lori lives in Hope Valley, RI.Though she has degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies, Lori learned the most important things from studying her Bible in life’s trenches. You’ll find her at her website www.LoriRoeleveld.com. If not, know she’s off somewhere slaying dragons. Not available for children’s parties.

 

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