Book Blast and Giveaway, The Christian Writer 101

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About the Book

The Christian Writer 101 (Fourth Edition) is author, Nina Fitzhugh Wells’ updated version of this concise guide to Christian Self-Publishing. Within the pages are step-by-step instructions for writing, publishing and promoting your Christian book. This educational manual offers all you need to make informed choices concerning your publishing focus.
As an update the third edition, it not only boasts the technical and practical pieces, it also extensively covers such topics as: 1) A Complete social media chapter, and 2) Proven marketing and promotions strategies. As well, there are foundational scriptures, wisdom winks, and motivational quotes from literary professionals to further educate and inspire you. This Concise, Precise, Advice Guide is for ALL writers, authors, and self-publishers.

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Nina Fitzhugh Wells has served in education for more than 25 years; in the book publishing business for nearly 15 years; and in the Christian counseling for 10 years. Her calling and passion is for teaching, counseling, and evangelistic outreach. “God has commissioned me to educate and inspire all people; and to offer hope and healing to the lost and hurting,” proclaims Wells, who serve diligently to help others discover, develop, and use their gifts to their highest potential.
A native of Philadelphia, PA, Nina Fitzhugh Wells is a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) student at Walden University in Baltimore, Maryland where her focus is Higher Education and Adult Learning. She earned her Master of Arts Degree in Christian Education from the Union Theological Seminary (Now Union Presbytery Seminary) in Richmond, Virginia; and did her undergraduate studies at the Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania. She is the author of seven books, including her profound autobiography: “Lost FOUNDation: From Foster Care to God’s Heir” (2009), a highly acclaimed top seller. Currently, she is penning her eighth book – a research-based study – entitled: “Emancipation Revelation: An Exploratory View at Resources and Supports for First Year College Students Who Age-Out of Foster Care,” to be published in 2014.
Wells is an ordained evangelist and adult educator who serves as Education Director at Kingdom Publishing Group (KPG), a Christian book publishing and promotions company in Richmond, VA. She is credited with helping a diverse group of authors to birth nearly 300 God-inspired books out to the world. Her ministry, books, and education have afforded her many opportunities to reach and teach multitudes of people from diverse communities. She continues to be in high demand as a keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, educator and Christian counselor.
In addition to publishing, teaching, and motivational speaking, Nina Fitzhugh Wells dedicates much of her time to advocating for youth who age-out of the foster care system. She is the Founder and Executive Director at “Excel HIGHER, Inc.” Through this non-profit organization, Nina works closely with local, state and federal agencies, and colleges and universities by offering resources, programming, and finishing workshops to prepare foster youth as they transition from state support to self-sufficiency. In August 2013, she began hosting a radio show entitled: Revelation For Elevation, which serves to bring awareness to the plight of youth who age-out of foster care; as well as promote advocacy.
In July 2010, Nina was inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society for Education. As well, she is a member of the Foster Care Alumni of America (FCAA), the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and the Independent Book Publishers’ Association (IBPA). As well, she is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA).
Nina currently resides in Virginia; and is married to her best friend, Minister Leon Wells, Jr. She purposes to live each day based on the Philippians 4:8 scripture: “Finally Brethren, whatever is things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of a good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.”

Social Links
Email:nwells@kingdompublishing.org
Website: http://www.kingdompublishing.org
Facebook page: kpgbooks
Twitter handle: @kingdomp
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One winner will be chosen to win a paperback copy of The Christian Writer 101

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Book Title The Christian Writer 101 (Fourth Edition)
Genre: Instructional

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Where’s Waldo in the Land of ED?, a guest post

Today I have an article featured on Pamela Black’s blog. Pamela is a fluent, focused and faithful Christian wife and mother. She writes reviews and features guest posts by numerous Christian authors. There’s a wealth of information on her blog, so look around while you’re there.

Welcome to hot-seat, please sit down

Christian, let me put you on the hot-seat. Don’t worry, I’ll sit there with you. We can warm our buns together and talk about sensitive subjects.

It seems these days you can’t turn around with hearing someone decrying the shame of homosexuality, the evil of abortion, the wickedness of corrupt and dishonest politicians. From nearly every pulpit and Christian media outlet, we hear of pending doom, the unbearable wrath of God looming over society’s collective shoulder as it marches into hell.

Seriously, where do we get that??

Despite our pious followup of “grace” to this vehement condemnation, we hardly live out what Christ the embodiment of LOVE actually exemplified. Think with me.

We’ve heard it and likely said, “Hate the sin and love the sinner.” Is that anywhere in Scripture? NO! In fact, the closest we can get is re-wording Ephesians 6:12, which says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

What we wish it said, what we often act like it says, is, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood sinners, but against all the evil things they’re doing.

Or take, John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life.”

What we seem to think this verse says, For God so loved those who believe in Him that He gave them eternal life. 

We act as if Jesus never met a homosexual or prostitute (think of the woman at the well). We seem to believe He didn’t know any corrupt politicians or evil government officials (think Roman soldier and Pilate and Herod). And maybe Jesus didn’t ever actually see a thief or a murderer (who hung on the cross next to Him?).

I challenge us who grew up in the protective boundary of the church, and who have the privilege and honor of reading the Bible whenever we desire and knowing Christ, God’s Word, personally – I challenge us to name one time when Jesus rebuked an obviously evil person.

The people Jesus spoke against most often in Scripture were those who not only thought they were good people, but from all outside standards, really were keeping the “whole law”. Except, to love their neighbor – the Samaritan, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the sinners. Christian – who do we most look like today?

Do we keep the whole law, behaving well and even performing outreach and being faithful to our spouses and being activists in our communities – but then, hold our neighbor at arm’s distance, telling them first of their sin and finally of the God who loves THE WORLD?

Another couple verses that often pop up in this delicate conversation are John 16:7-11, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”

Usually, I think, we read this as if the Holy Spirit is standing indignantly within us, slapping our wrists when we miss behave and giving us the authority to point out sin in the world. But I don’t think that’s what it means. Follow along to the next verse…

“…concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;” What is the sin that the Holy Spirit convicts of? It is the sin of unbelief. No other sin is unpardonable. Lay it along side that other verse we struggle over and worry about:

Luke 12:10 “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is to deny what He says, namely that we must believe. What if we quit beginning our conversations with rebuke, and changed our public arguments to stop railing against the evils of society and simply pleaded with everyone to know the God who loves them and believe in Him?

“…concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father;” because Jesus became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. All righteousness anyone could ever need to perform has been taken care of, all that’s left is belief.

“…concerning judgement; because the ruler of this world is judged.” IT IS FINISHED. There remains no means by which to condemn anyone, except unbelief. So perhaps we’re wasting our breath by tackling all the blatant sins in the world. The only good thing that remains to be done is to believe in the fully sufficient righteousness of Jesus Christ.

And after all, “It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.” All of our indigence and law quoting is for naught. Jesus never quoted the law to an unbeliever. He merely and only loved them, and that drew them to Him, that they might believe and have eternal life.

Christmas Colors: Black and Red

One of the most contentious issues around Christmas is money. It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about digging themselves out of holiday debt come January. Retailers revel over the black in their checkbooks, while consumers cry over their bleeding bottom line.

For many Christians, the concept of debt is a touchy one. There are the pious few who shun credit cards, and a majority who long for the day when they can pay off all their plastic.

Recently, I heard a financial adviser speak on debt-proofing Christmas. She had tons of wonderful ideas for keeping Christmas traditions while eliminating or minimizing the cost. Wonderful ideas, good ideas, useful ideas.

However, following that interview, I got into a discussion on marital finances with my sisters. That prompted me to re-examine my perspective on money, debt, borrowers and lenders. What exactly does the Bible say?

Once when I was young, my dad loaned me money to purchase a bike. The plan was for me to earn my allowance and other funds to slowly pay off my debt. Truthfully, I don’t recall how many nights passed, but I couldn’t sleep. I lay awake thinking about how sinful, terrible and scary it was to owe someone something. One night, I climbed out bed, ran to my dad and begged him to let me take the money out of my savings account so that I could be free of this terrible debt.

Therein, I think, lies one of the Biblical cautions against debt. It invokes fear. There’s a feeling of inferiority to the person who holds the debt. That emotion, in and of itself is not Biblical. As children of God, we are not beneath or subservient to anyone. Neither should our lifestyle reflect that we are.

The problem with debt is that from either side, it is completely contrary to our personhood in Christ. We are called to be like our Father. Our God is beneath no one, in need of nothing and under no fear or condemnation. Neither are we. To live in a lifestyle of borrowing and owing is not to look like our Father.

In the relationship between a borrower and lender, Proverbs tell us the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7) Consider these two roles. Both encourage an attitude that is un-Christ-like. The lien holder has the tendency to feel superior and to lord his influence and power over the borrower. The borrower is beholden, and legally bound to his benefactor.

Throughout the Old Testament, God laid out parameters  for borrowing and lending. If to do either was sinful, God would not have explained how to do so honorably. God tells the Israelites to lend freely but never to be in debt to another nation. I believe God does this for the sake of His own name.

“The LORD will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.” (Duet. 28:12)

“And I prayed to the LORD, ‘O Lord GOD, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin,lest the land from which you brought us say, “Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.” (Duet 9:26-28)

For the glory of His own name, God protected and provided for His people. He does the same today. Essentially, borrowing displays a lack of trust in God’s faithful provision.

A final criteria for Christians to consider regarding debt, is motive. More often that not, debt is acquired by greed. There is an insatiable longing for something that God has not previously provided, so in self-sufficiency we run to our own means for satisfaction.

Finally, in the New Testament, Paul instructs his listeners to own no man anything but a debt of love. Think of how you feel when you owe someone money. It is usually a pressure, a frustration, a burden. However, when love has been given, to return it ten fold is a joy, a pleasure!

God longs for His people to reflect His nature. God longs for His people to trust his sufficiency. And God longs for His people to experience the joy of effusively giving love.

Can we apply this to our checkbooks?

 

 

Colliding Christians

My mind feels like it’s firing on 16 cylinders and none of them are intelligent enough to start a volley of thought on one topic. So spare me if this post isn’t quite up to snuff. (:

A myriad of colliding persuasions have assaulted me in these recent weeks of reading Apocalypse Code and Christ’s Prophetic Plans. It seems every Christian is poised on pins, holding bated breath, hovering over the newspaper – wondering if this is it.

Is it soon? Will all the Christians disappear and start a seven-year countdown? Are we in the middle of the tribulation? How do we know?

It seems every generation has posed this question. In Matthew 24:3, the disciples weren’t the first to wonder even then. In our age, a quick Google search of “how will we know the end times” results in a .52 second search yielding 89,700,000 results. So wonder away.

In an unrelated study, I recently heard Beth Moore say, “When you completely figure out the Scriptures you will have gained authority over them. And you will never gain authority over Scripture.” It is our duty to spend our lives studying Scripture and never fully containing God’s infinite plan in our tiny minds. Perhaps there’s joy and true excitement in pondering, wondering, waiting. And while we wait, grasping the hands of our fellow believers and sharing the thrill of anticipation.

I think of two children waiting anxiously for Christmas presents. Though one is certain that Santa will leave their presents in time for them to open them on Christmas Eve and the other doesn’t expect his packages until Christmas morning – will they argue over the certainty and joy that Santa will come?

I am straying now from a strict book review, but I am suddenly inspired to pursue every theologian’s opinion and to inductively determine what I believe God’s word says about the end times. To that end, I offer you two resources. The first is a video by Hank Hanegraaff. In it he gives an overview of Dispensationalism and why he does not subscribe to that eschatological view.

The second is a link to David Brickner’s ministry, Jews For Jesus. I heard him interviewed last week by Janet Parshall who is a Futuristic Premillennialist.

I think one thing that has become crystal clear to me as I lay these two opinions alongside each other is that the hope of Jews and Gentiles is the same. I have no doubt that Jesus intends a wonderful reunion and ingathering of all Jewish believers. I believe He has that same plan for every Gentile believer as well.

“In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this. Amos 9:11-12

One Thing For Sure

It is not my desire to ignite controversy. But, I’m going to do it anyway (:

Isn’t that what blogging is for: to strike up dialogue, probe opinions and make you think?

I have been reading Christ’s Prophetic Plans, by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue. I picked it up just after re-reading Hank Hanegraaff’s Apocalypse Code, so my thoughts are tangled, my opinions mangled and the only thing I remain certain of this that JESUS IS LORD AND I WILL SPEND ETERNITY WITH HIM IN HEAVEN! Whew, at least that’s settled!

Caught between these two eschatological view points, each espoused by biblical scholars that I deeply admire, I have digging in unusual places (Google) for better illumination on each opinion. I have ferreted out audio and interviews with MacArthur, R.C. Sproul and Sinclair Ferguson. I have read about John Newton Darby (often regarded as the founder of Dispensationalism) and read about Margaret MacDonald (a woman whose entranced, hysteric mumblings have been regarded at different times both as extra-biblical and demonic.

This reading leads one into discussion of the rapture, the tribulation, the essence of salvation and the distinction of the nation of Israel. While I firmly believe that we are called as Christians to “… you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15) I confess that I remain unresolved on three of these issues.

If one accepted Darby’s view of the secret rapture… Benjamin Wills Newton pointed out, then many Gospel passages must be “renounced as not properly ours.”…this is precisely what Darby was prepared to do.

Too traditional to admit that biblical authors might have contradicted each other, and too rationalist to admit that the prophetic maze defied penetration, Darby attempted a resolution of his exegetical dilemma by distinguishing between Scripture intended for the Church and Scripture intended for Israel…

The task of the expositor of the Bible was, in a phrase that became the hallmark of dispensationalism, “rightly dividing the word of truth”.

From “The Roots of Fundamentalism:
British and American Millenarianism 1800-1930” (1970)
by Ernest R. Sandeen, University of Chicago Press
ISBN 0-22-73467-6, p. 65-67

Makes you think, huh?

It bothers me that as I read both view points, I find the authors of each, demeaning the others. Not only do they espouse a different opinion, but like politicians defending their platforms in an election year, they mock the opposing view. While we study and strive to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and wait expectantly for Him can we not remember,

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:1-3

Paul reminds us:

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

“And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’ Jew and Gentilef are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Romans 10:8b-13

Perspectives of Pain and Perfection

Is happiness dependent on whatever life throws our way or do we have a say in the matter? We can find peace amongst chaos, contentment despite limitations, and joy even in our lowest moments. It all comes down to Perspective… Craig Groschel in his recent series on Philippians

Everyone is blinded by their own perspective. Perspective is the angle at which you view something. A pauper views a sandwich and shelter as the essence of life. A king views those same principles of sustenance as bland and ordinary, nearly an assault to his majesty. Before I lived in Georgia, I believed that Oklahoma was humid. An athlete views a difficult workout as a challenge and something to be mastered, a couch potato views the same drills as agony and next to death. Do you see where I am going?

Recently I brought you some stories about the persecuted church. After a few days of reading about the physical abuses that Christians in Nigeria and Egypt were enduring, we read about discriminative abuses against Christian businesses in the United States. I am not diminishing the pain of the Christian businesses, but put in perspective, what is endurance?

I am going somewhere with this (:

Craig Groschel has convicted me on many occasions through his online sermons at LifeChurch.tv, but his series on perspectives has been very humbling. I’ve begun to consider the privilege of pain. “Count it all joy, my brothers when you encounter various trials,” says James, “for you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”            (James 1)

Like the example above, my own pain, in perspective seems minimal and sometimes petty. But my Father knows the testing that my faith requires in order to perfect me. Be it struggles in my marriage, the constant humbling need to destroy my personal idols of food and fitness, loneliness, feelings of failure or any other hurdle that God places in my path in the future, He is intentional.

Intentional. Intentional and repetitive. As He is known to do, God has been echoing this one message in my life from various angles. I am also preparing to lead a Beth Moore Bible study in my home. God chose the book of James this time. As I read through the first chapter, I was skewered by the passage I quoted above…

For you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.

That’s what I want. I want to be perfect, clothed in Christ’s perfect righteousness, perfectly and contentedly reliant on Him for all my salvation and life. That’s going to require a change in my perspective – a new perspective on my own good works, my own sin, my own struggles and my own forgiveness of others. I hope you find the LifeChurch.tv catalogue of sermons effective for your own training in righteousness. Start with the series on Perspectives.

Trial of Trusting

God has used numerous people and resources to teach me. Those have been as diverse as a Christian mentor, an atheist friend, a book about finding my own appetite, a biography of an exercise addict, my little sister, a website, an inpatient hospital, a horse, a dog, a gym, a journal, a cup of coffee.  Go figure. He is the creator of all things and everything (whether it wishes to be or not) is at His disposal. (Ps. 50:10-11)

Tuesday morning was my first morning back in my house, in my prayer chair with an unlimited amount of time to seek God’s face. (Only Brave’s bladder would signal the end of my revelry!)

I have shared some with you this week about how God has used Finding Balance and Constance Rhodes to teach me. Did I mention that many of the experts on the website were professionals working at Remuda Ranch when I was there?

One of the biggest hurdles for me in my recovery was wondering if I could trust those who were instructing me. How did that nutritionist know what would or wouldn’t make me fat? How did that counselor know that I shouldn’t be exercising? How did I believe that any professional had my best interest in mind? And then, when I was absolutely exhausted by the anxiety that was devouring my mind, I wanted someone to teach me the ONE thing I needed to do to be well. I wanted someone to just tell me what to do!

Guess what? As I wondered who actually knew what they were talking about and who I could trust, God revealed something to me. As I sought His deliverance from my eating disorder HE WAS TRUSTWORTHY to give the right words to my advisors. I could trust the people and resources that He was choosing to lead me away from my path of destruction.

Are you anxious about a change in your own life? Are you worried about seeking advice and who you can trust? I can promise you this, if you are humble enough to listen to Godly counselors, you CAN, YOU MUST trust their advice. Finding Balance is one such Godly resource. Listen to God’s promises to teach you:

Behold you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Ps. 51:6

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps. 90:12

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit guide me on level ground. Ps. 143:10

Please, don’t flounder in fear. I promise you that whether your hurdle be an eating disorder, an addiction to pornography, self-harm, depression, anxiety, marital stress or a simple need for wisdom – God can be trusted to teach you wisdom in the inward being and you can trust the counsel of those who love Him.

Just Do It, Laugh

This morning, I was reading through my Bible in a Year plan.  I try to read with an attentive heart, listening for God’s application for me in each passage.

James 1:22-25  “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

Reading the Bible in rote commitment and then walking away in ignorance and oblivion makes God’s powerful word useless to me. It is forgetting who I am; forgetting what I am dressed for; forgetting whose I am. I remember growing up, my dad telling me to put on a smile and to pay attention to my composure in public because I was a representation of him. I can study and read God’s word and present an air of godliness, but without obedience, I can never be a positive ambassador for my heavenly Father.

OK, that was a long introduction to the verses I found in Proverbs that support the message of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage. 

Proverbs 16:26 “A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on.”  A worker’s appetite is his motivation. A husband or wife will be better able to motivate the spouse, to draw them toward their persuasion, if they understand the other’s “appetite”.

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Once I understood my motivation, that it’s OK and a good thing that I desire to please, inspire and bring joy to others, then I am even more energized to do it. God made us each uniquely and when we can use our drive for joy to enable us to be effective in our families and marriages – we will be pleasing to the Lord.

Patrick and I have been abundantly blessed in our own marriage both through the DVD series we did in Sunday school and the Flag Page Test we took at home. I have enjoyed the few episodes of Gungor’s radio show that I have listened to as well. I plan to buy Flag Page codes for my sister and her fiance for their wedding. It’s a fun way to improve your  marriage long-term. What could be better than that?