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Showing posts from 2014

Book Review: Unchristian by David Kinnaman

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Unchristian

Merriam-Webster define Unchristian as:
\-ˈkris-chən, -ˈkrish-\
adjective 1 :not of the Christian faith 2 a:contrary to the Christian spirit or character b:uncivilizedbarbarous (http://i.word.com/idictionary/unchristian)
In Unchristian, Kinnaman investigates the 16-29 year Olds perception of Christians. First he analyzes Barna research and statistics, and then he discusses why it matters. The responses are not flattering. Words like anti-homosexual, judgmental, hypocritical, and too political are among the recurring themes from those interviewed. 
"What are Christians known for? Outsiders think our moralizing, our condemnations, and our attempts to draw boundaries around everything. Even if these standards are accurate and biblical, they seem to be all we have to offer. And our lives are a poor advertisement for the standards. We have set the gameboard to register lifestyle points; then we are surprised to be trapped by our mistakes. The truth is we have invited the hypoc…

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Congratulations, Debra Southern, you have won the Shaken Awake book Giveaway! Send me your contact information so I can get your prize in the mail ☺

Santa: For the People

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While out and about this weekend, we walked out of a restaurant in St. Pete and a billboard caught my eye. It read "Santa Claus: For the People".   I found this an odd message to spend a couple thousand dollars to communicate to the masses. I started asking questions. Did I miss Santa getting a bad rap? Are there individuals in our society who have begun questioning Santa's motives? Does Santa have his boot on the throat of the elves forcing them to endure the hardships of suppression, repression, and depressions? Who felt it so important to improve the fat man's reputation they were willing to part with thousands of dollars?

So I did what any red blooded first world citizen would do, I googled it. The super array of knowledgebases spun to life and quickly imparted wisdom into my quandary. The slogan "For the People" is the tagline for Morgan and Morgan, a law firm with offices in the Tampa/St. Pete area and Atlanta. Apparently, the bearded "Santa&quo…

Everyone Loves to Hear a Good Story

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Since the release of Shaken Awake, I have come across several writer friends that have encountered some block to writing. In the old days I remember hearing people say they had "hit the wall" or had "writer's block". As I listen to them, I hear them talking about trying to decide what their voice is and trying to decide if their writing is any good or not. The answer to both of these issues is simple - WRITE. You develop a writing voice by writing regularly and often. Your writing becomes better by writing - regularly and often. Everyone loves to hear a good story, and we all have hundreds trapped in our skulls.

I am over at Andlilit.com discussing this and more. Drop by and check it out. Read More Here!

Shaken Awake Book Giveaway

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To celebrate my birthday, I am going to giveaway a free paperback copy of my new book Shaken Awake. What do you have to do to enter the giveaway? Simple! In the comment section below, tell me you would like to win a copy and that you would be willing to post an honest review on Amazon.com. How easy is that? I will select a winner on November 30th. Ready? Set? GO!

Veteran Arrested For Feeding Homeless

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Maybe I am biased, but I am appalled at this story. Any government that thinks for a second that this is justice or that this is the best way to resolve homelessness is seriously misguided.

90 year old Arnold Abbott has been serving hundreds of free meals to the homeless every week in Fort Lauderdale,  Florida for the past 24 years. He was arrested for it Tuesday. “I love the city. I live here, it’s a beautiful place and I’d like to keep it beautiful, but you cannot sweep the homeless under a rug… There is no rug large enough for that.” - via Countercurrentnews.com


http://madworldnews.com/veteran-arrested-feeding-homeless/
http://countercurrentnews.com/2014/11/man-arrested-for-feeding-homeless-gets-arrested-again-one-day-after-first-arrest/

To contact Mayor Seiler, please call (954) 828-5003 or send an e-mail to jack.seiler@fortlauderdale.gov


Six Questions

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Had a few questions about Shaken Awake and sat down to answer them at Katdish.net


Q: What inspired you to write Shaken Awake? A: I wrote “Shaken Awake” to shine a light on homelessness and hunger in the United States and as a challenge to individuals and churches to become aware of the magnitude of these issues and their impact on families. I firmly believe that these are the people that Jesus talked about... Read the rest atKatdish.net

The Story Behind The Story

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I have had several people ask what led me to write Shaken Awake, and I admit I have wanted to ask several authors that question about many books I have enjoyed over the year. I think the story behind the story a lot of times is almost as good as the main story line, and I would be remiss if I left it untold.

For 14 years, I lived in the Metro Atlanta area and for five of those years, I worked in midtown allowing me to see the homeless situation first hand. For the last three years, I have worked with community activist working to relieve hunger in our communities. Initially, I was shocked to discover the level of hunger in our community....Read the rest in my guest post atBookwi.se

Shaken Awake!

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available now at  Community Advocate Allen Madding  Releases Thought Provoking Novella, Shaken Awake When a homeless man freezes to death on the steps of an Atlanta church, the church is forced to re-examine its mission
Community Advocate, Author, and blogger Allen Madding releases his debut novella “Shaken Awake!” the story of a church in downtown Atlanta, Georgia faced with a dwindling and aging congregation that has been forced to shut down the majority of their building and dismissed much of its staff. With limited funds, they shutter all of their ministries and programs leaving only a couple adult Sunday School classes and a Sunday morning worship service. When a homeless man freezes to death on the steps of their sanctuary, the church begins to re-examine their mission and priorities.
"This is the perfect story to get people motivated to make a difference in the live of others. Easy, quick book with a solid purpose." Jeannette Ringeisen, Director Feed St. Pete "I a…

Launch!

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I need your help. If you know me, you know that was difficult to type. But I admit it. I really do. We are approaching the release of my first book, Shaken Awake. For those of you who regularly visit my blog and enjoy my writing, I greatly appreciate your support over the years. Now,  I need your help in getting the word out about this book.

So what is the book about? Funny you should ask! A church in downtown Atlanta, Georgia faced with a dwindling and aging congregation has been forced to shutdown the majority of their building and dismissed much of its staff. Their budget barely pays the pastor's salary and the utilities. With limited funds, they shutter all of their ministries and programs leaving only a couple adult Sunday School classes and a Sunday morning worship service. When a homeless man freezes to death on the steps of their sanctuary, the church begins to re-examine their mission and priorities.

As a launch team member, you will received a free electronic copy of t…

Standard Procedure

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The other day as a couple co-workers and I were heading for coffee, we met our boss as he was walking into the data center where we have been working for the last few weeks. One of my co-workers mentioned he had requested a trash can for our area in the data center. Suddenly the conversation spirals into how the trash will get emptied since the cleaning crew does not have access to the data center, transporting the whole trash can verses just the bagged trash to prevent leaks, etc. We stood in amazement waiting for the detailed discussion for handling trash to wind down so we could get coffee.

Once we got our hands on our caffeine replenishment, we returned to work. I quickly set to work crafting a defined procedure for handling trash so that we might merit a trash can. I shared my well crafted document with several colleagues. One suggested submitting it to ANSI  for adoption as a national standard, while others suggested sharing it via social media and of course my blog. So, with ou…

Guest Post: Thunder Dog by Kramer James Madding

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Allen has been really busy lately with a new job, working with an editor to get his first book ready for publishing, and his infernal need to leave me and Sadie to fend for ourselves while he and mama go traipsing off to the beach. So I got my paws on his login and managed to reach the laptop and figured this was as good a chance as any to try my paws at a little writing. I have laid in that pillowy thing next to his chair and watched him do it for long enough. I figure how hard can it be. I lie around here on the back of the love seat all day looking out the window at the squirrels eating seed out of the bird feeder thinking about all the great stories I have to tell, so why not?

I thought I would write about my biggest fear. Nope, its not the possum that was in the backyard Friday night when I went out to relieve myself before crawling up the big ramp to the big bed and snuggling down between the pillows. Nope. I was not scared of that thing a bit. It looked like a hairless cat to …

Review: Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World? – Eugene Cho

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"We do what we do because we love God and we love the people whom God loves. We love the things that God loves and what reflects the character of God. We do justice not because it is sexy, glamorous, or trendy, but because God loves justice. Justice isn’t a clothing accessory we wear when it becomes fashionable, but rather it is something we live into because it reflects the character of God."
- Eugene Cho

Eugene Cho challenges us to truly pursue justice, and to be willing to make the personal sacrifices that the pursuit will ultimately force us to make. In an age of short-term mission trips and numerous opportunities to change the world, many people love the idea of justice and doing good until it begins to require some sacrifice, and it always will. Pursuing justice will come with a cost, and it will change us. Change is painful, but if we stick with it, the changes are good. Instead of pursuing justice because the world is broken, we need to recognize we are also broken. B…

Review: How Sweet the Sound: A Novel by Amy K. Sorrells

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In her debut novel, Amy Sorrells has established herself as a story teller and poet. How Sweet the Sound is a story of an Alabama family, the Harlans, and their generational struggle to bury the ugly pain that haunts them. All of their lives come crashing in around them when two brothers kill each other. The tension between the two had been brewing for years from dark family secrets of rape and abuse. Anniston, who lost her father in the double murder, struggles with all of the upheaval in her young life and her cold and hard-hearted grandmother.

I highly encourage you to read this well written book in a place where you feel safe to weep and have an ample supply of Kleenex at hand. It is a story of redemption and hope for those dealing with the brokenness in their lives - a stirring story of amazing grace and encouragement.

Book Review: Identity Crisis - 21 Days of Discovering Who God Says You Are by Michael D. Perkins

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For years many of us have struggled with trying to measure up to others standards for us and for our own. We walk around calling ourselves failures. We tell ourselves we are not smart enough, good enough, nice enough, and on and on. After spending years telling himself similar things, Michael Perkins discovered that none of those things were what God had to say about him. In his book, Identity Crisis, he provides 21 short devotionals that each highlight something God has said about who we are. At the end of each of the 21 devotionals, he provides a suggested prayer emphasis for asking God to affirm His words about us in our hearts and he provides a challenge to share what God is doing in our lives.

Identity Crisis is an excellent tool to assist us in moving away from the lies we have been listening to for years and towards the truth that God is speaking about us. This is an awesome piece of encouragement in a world where we are bombarded with criticism.

Review: Building a Life Out of Words by Shawn Smucker

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Often times when life throws us a curve ball, out natural tendency is to find some corner somewhere, cry in cup of coffee, and sing our favorite verse of poor, poor me. But what if we drew a deep breath, stepped back, and considered for a minute how we could use this opportunity to make a positive change of direction in our lives?
Shawn Smucker was faced with such a situation. After returning from four years of managing a large business in England, he felt lost working 10 hour days painting houses and living in his parent’s basement with his wife and two children. When his aunt called out of the blue and asked him to write her life story, he had no idea how his life would be impacted. He approached the project tentatively lacking the confidence of a career writer. But when a publisher reviewed the initial two chapters that he had written, the publisher contacted him wanting him to write the book. Had he pursued other unrelated temporary opportunities, his writing career would have ne…

The Beach

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(photo credit: the author)
One of my earliest childhood memories is a Christmas in the early 1960s. My family made a road trip to visit my grandparents who were spending the winter in Ft. Myers, Florida. When we arrived, their Airstream trailer was parked on the beach with colorful patio lights draped through the neighboring palm tree. Believe it or not, the Red Coconut RV Resort actually still has RV spots on the beach beneath the palm trees all these years later as it has since 1920. I have pressed my memory as hard as possible several time trying to remember more details, but that is as much as comes back into focus.



Growing up, we made several more trips down to visit them when they made the traditional migration of the blue hair. Eventually, they began settling on a spot across the road inside the Red Coconut RV Resort's main campground. I can still remember being in complete awe watching the manager, moving patron's travel trailers with his antique tractor to their spot…

Finding My Place

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One of the most painful processes associated with a new move is finding a the place where you "fit" in the new community. And in our case, after volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for many years and spending the last three years serving with Feed Forsyth, we knew a big struggle would be finding a nonprofit to serve. I mean you cannot just work furiously for three years addressing struggling families and then go to nothing, right? So once I could access my own deodorant and there was a clear path through the living room to the front door, we began the search for a new church home and a nonprofit that aligned with my passion.

The second church we visited was Pinellas Community Church. We parked in the parking spots labelled "First Time Guests" and started walking down the sidewalk following the signs to the auditorium when I was stopped dead in my tracks. I casually glanced to my right and was speechless. There was a building with a huge sign on the front of it, …

The Least of These

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You have seen them when you walk the streets of the larger cities: Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, Austin, TX, St. Petersburg, Fl, the list goes on and on. You see their stack of overstuffed bags, or an old worn suitcase, or a tattered backpack. You notice their tattered and stained clothing. You decide to avoid eye contact. Just stare at the ground to you get by and they will not bother you. One may call to you, "Can you help me with money for lunch?" You ignore them and walk on, quickening your pace. You catch a whiff that tells you they have not had a shower in a few weeks. They make you uncomfortable, and you wish they would just go away. How do you know if you gave them money that they would not buy liquor or crack with it? It is a growing problem, and several cities have decided to solve it. Their solution: make the homeless go away. Make it illegal to put up a tent under a bridge or in a public park.

A few years ago, the city of St. Petersburg, FL took an active stance …

Stepping Into The Vapor: The Move (Part II)

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We woke Sunday eager to see the rental house we had rented via pictures and phone calls, to unpack the truck, to find my suitcase, and begin to settle in to our new home. Kramer and Sadie were ready to quit being in pet crates and to have a backyard. At the same time, I was anxious about what we would find when we returned to the office parking lot where our rental truck was parked. Against their will, Kramer and Sadie were tucked into their pet crates and secured in the back seat of the car, and we drove across town to the office parking lot. I held my breath as we turned the corner into the parking lot. There set the rental truck and my SUV on the trailer behind it totally pristine and unmolested. I felt silly for being concerned. Where was my faith? Perhaps it was all the tension from the moving and upended-ness, but I felt ashamed of myself for allowing worry to overcome me.We said several "Thank You Jesus" prayers, and Kramer and I assumed our positions in the rental tr…