Do You Want Restoration? Or Relief? by James L. Rubart

It’s been a tough year. Tree goes through house, living out of a hotel, dealing with insurance, contractors, mortgage company, wife going through PTSD, youngest graduates from high school and heads off to college (hello empty nesters) … you get the picture.

In the midst of the above, a friend of mine asked a penetrating question: When life is tough, and the end of the day comes, do you seek restoration? Or relief?

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The truth is I seek relief far more than restoration. Relief comes from flipping on the tube, going to a movie, grabbing that extra chocolate chip cookie. Those things DO bring relief. Temporarily. But not restoration.

Restoration comes from sitting in silence and solitude. From reading a book that draws us into the deep places of our soul. From immersing ourselves in music that sends our spirits to the Lord.

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But getting restored is much harder than getting relief. I understand that, believe me, I understand it.

Just wanted to let you know I’m struggling just like you to choose restoration over relief. But today, just today, let’s choose restoration.

As Paul says, it’s a race, and we want to run well.

About the Ice Bucket Challenge by Julie Arduini

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last week, chances are you’ve seen the Ice Bucket Challenge gone viral to raise awareness and donations for ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Along with the videos, you’ve probably read the comments.

  • How does pouring water over your head help a cause?
  • Why would I participate in something just because someone tagged me?
  • Why not just give the money?
  • Wait, are people donating, or just getting wet?
  • I’m pro-life and have heard organizations use embroyonic stem cells to fight ALS. I don’t want to donate if that’s the case.
  • I’m uncomfortable jumping on a bandwagon that’s so massive, just because.
  • How can we dump water on ourselves when Africans don’t even have wells drilled?

I admit, when I saw it start, I hoped I wouldn’t get tagged. I don’t look great on video, and less so wet. There’s a vulnerability to put myself out there and share.

I also was fairly sure I heard about the embryonic stem cells, and that’s a deal breaker for me. I would want to give to an organization that uses adult stem cells.

I also interacted with people affected by ALS and their response to the videos was incredible. If the world could respond with as much passion to the issues I personally live with and around as they have ALS, I too would be choked up and overwhelmed. It is a terrible disease and I understand the need for awareness. I also know a cure can’t be found without donations.

My step son, Matt, in his ice bucket video.

My step son, Matt, in his ice bucket video.

So, what do you do with all the opinions out there about a video that challenges people to learn about ALS and send money?

My answer is to prayerfully remember your God-given convictions.

When I got tagged by my nephew, my own kids were so excited to respond that they didn’t even wait for me to move ahead. They researched ALS and created the video. They did wait on me to learn about donating.

When I was tagged by one of the girls I minister to Wednesday nights, I knew it was time to make the video. All the girls in the class were tagged and I thought it was a great opportunity to be foolish for Jesus, if you will. They saw me take the time to buy ice and put a call out on when and where we’d do it. They were so giddy to watch and participate, they couldn’t contain themselves, and the parents gave money.

My turn came and it was important for me to say in the spiel that although I was taping on behalf of ALS awareness, I wanted people to respond to a charity they felt comfortable with. For me, I planned to take the monies and donate them to a charity close to these girls and me that I knew where and how the monies were spent. (M’Pact Girls Ministries.) I tagged people who I felt made an eternal impact in the lives of children. I challenged viewers to do the same.

My convictions are different than yours and I think too often and too easily we trip over ourselves about it. I’m not about to participate in anything demonic, but I’m not going to go after anyone that throws water over themselves. I know that it’s a first world excess and I’m aware of third world issues. But my conviction is to be relational with kids and this challenge was a way for me to share the gospel and be with kids. That might work for you, it might not. But it was my conviction.

I might not agree with where all the funds are going, but my answer has been that I am uncomfortable sending to a place that uses embryonic stem cells. I follow with my interest in using adult stem cells, and that I understand the world doesn’t agree with me. That’s my conviction.

I’ve seen arguments rise up over music choices, movies, several things that we end up fighting over and missing the bigger picture. God’s done amazing things using movies like Spiderman to help me share a nugget He revealed to me about unforgiveness. If all I did was watch Biblical movies, I’d miss that. But I understand some people have that conviction. I don’t watch R movies, but I know some very strong Christians who do. It’s their conviction. Alcohol? I know denominations struggle with it because Christians can be all over the map about it. Alcohol is a stumbling block for me and many people I know. That’s my conviction. I’m not afraid to walk into a bar, nor do I look for one. 

Anyway, I thought I’d share my observations. If nothing else, the person/people who created the ice bucket idea are marketing geniuses. As someone who studied marketing, they thought out of the box and it cost them nothing to come up with the idea as far as I can see. Pure genius.

I’m not interested in being a wet blanket. I am passionate about showing people Jesus. 

And I had fun getting wet.

What are your thoughts?

It’s Been A While … by James L. Rubart

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here. My apologies. Having a 20,000 lb tree rip through a corner of your house eight feet from where your wife was sleeping will keep you busier than normal.

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But it’s okay, because God is in it, and he’s taking us through some incredibly difficult things that we can see will be incredibly glorious once we get out the other side.

The other thing going on with me is the release (today!) of the final novel in my Well Spring series. I’m so pumped about this novel because Spirit Bridge is the final book in the series and I think it’s an epic conclusion to the story I started in Soul’s Gate and continued in Memory’s Door. Battles, romance, great healing of the soul, this one is really fun and (I hope) powerful for my readers.

Spirit Bridge cover FINAL

 

Here’s a brief description of the novel: 

The Warriors Riding have battled in astounding supernatural realms, set captives free, and awakened thousands of hearts. But now their only chance of survival depends on calling forth the Spirit Bridge.

Reece, Dana, Brandon, and Marcus have achieved staggering success in the spiritual realm . . . but each is reeling from vicious attacks. They need rest. A break from the war.

But the warlord Zennon is raging and will give them no quarter. The demon holds what he believes to be the trump card—a hidden strategy set in motion before Warriors Riding even began—that will detonate the team from the inside out. And he’s just set it loose.

The street magician Simon—finally free of Zennon’s alternate reality prison—is racing to remember his past before his ignorance obliterates his destiny. Then there’s Miyo—a brash young warrior with advanced knowledge of spiritual realities and supernatural armor even Reece doesn’t know about. These two will be pivotal in the final war.

If only the Warriors knew which side Simon and Miyo are truly on.

Spirit Bridge is the epic conclusion to acclaimed author James L. Rubart’s Well Spring series, which will propel each of the Warriors Riding on a quest of true identity, ultimate freedom, and a final battle that will leave them changed forever.

Just in case you’re interested, here are a couple of links:

Amazon   Barnes & Noble   CBD  LifeWay

And if you do have the chance to read Spirit Bridge, would love to get your thoughts.

Much freedom!

James

http://jameslrubart.com/

 

 

Star Trek Version of Let it Snow!

As authors, we stitch words together in a way we hope will impact our readers.

In this video you’ll see another type of word stitching that will crack you up. (Yes, even if you’re not a Star Trek fan.. Uh, at least I think you’ll laugh.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2Nz2LPnNq8

Just in Case You Haven’t Seen This … by James L. Rubart

On the off chance you haven’t seen this video, take 1:52 out of your day and give yourself a treat.

Okay, tell me, did you like it as much as I did?

A Secret for Dealing with the Exasperating People in Your Life by James L. Rubart

(I previously published the following post on my James L. Rubart site, but due to the response I received, I think it’s worth running again for those of you who aren’t subscribed to my personal blog,)

Do you have anyone in your life that treats you poorly again and again in ways that makes no logical sense? I might be able to help you deal with it.

But first—to set up my insight–I have talk a little Survivor (the TV show.) There’s a contestant on the show this season that is the epitome of treating people poorly.

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If you’re a fan, all I have to do is write the word, “Colton.” If you’re not watching, here’s a ten second recap:

Colton was a contestant (he quit the show last episode) who played a few seasons back, and returned for this season, called Blood vs Water. Previous players have come with a loved one and have been split into opposing tribes.

Colton  is probably the most racist, bigoted, cruel, bullying person I’ve ever seen. Viewers loathed the guy, but CBS had to secretly love it. (To be compelling, a story needs an intriguing villain, right?)

After he quit a few weeks back, Colton skittered over to the other tribe and sat on his guy’s lap. (Colton is gay.)

Opening Pandora’s Box

When he did this, something tweaked in my brain. Sit on his loved one’s lap? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a grown man sit on the lap of their significant other, gay or straight. It was extremely strange behavior. That’s when I realized something that has helped me with my difficult relationships for many years now.

Colton’s behavior was completely appropriate, because Colton is two, maybe three years old. Not physically or intellectually, but emotionally. My guess is something traumatic happened to Colton in his very early years and he’s been frozen emotionally at that age ever since.

So when he was put in a particularly difficult situation (Survivor ain’t easy physically or emotionally from what I’ve seen and been told) the three-year-old came out. What three year old isn’t going to crawl up on the lap of the person they think can comfort or protect them?

 A Light Bulb Went Off in my Life

A number of years ago, I had a close friend who continued to behave in a way that frustrated me deeply. But when I learned he had a brutal incident happen in his life at age 12, and I compared his actions to my then 12-year old son, all his strange decisions and hurtful actions made sense.

Darci and I started looking at our extended families this way. Bingo! Instant insight and understanding.

Is this making sense to you? Can you look at some of the people around and start to understand why they act like they do?

 You Might Want to Stop Reading Here

The truth is 99% of us have been wounded when we were young, and if you’re willing to buy into my theory above, it means we probably need to admit we might be much younger emotionally than we realized. That we’re also frozen.

But that’s okay. That’s when healing can begin. It’s when Jesus can come into the broken area and start to put the pieces of our heart back together.

Also, when we realize most people’s strange behavior comes out deep pain from long ago, we might start having more compassion for them.

Even for a guy like Colton.

Even for little boys and girls like you and me.

What’s Wrong with My Taste in Novels? by James L. Rubart

What’s wrong with me?

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Out of the five novels I’ve read over the past month, I would only recommend one of them to friends. (The one I really liked was A Cast of Stonesa fantasy novel from Bethany House.)

The Others

  • A  thriller from a multi-bestselling author. I would rate it as good, but not great. It certainly didn’t stick with me. Yeah, it moved along okay and the writing was strong, but nothing distinguished it from any number of thrillers I’ve read.
  • A suspense story from a multiple award winning novelist. Suspense means we’re not supposed to know what’s going to happen, right? Not much of that in this novel.
  • A modern day mystery novel from a major publisher. Slow. Tedious. Lots of telling and not so much showing. Language that would have been swell and marvy and keen in 1950, but not so much today. Plus I didn’t care about any of the characters.
  • A historical novel a friend of mine raved about where the author seemed to use an exclamation point on every other sentence! Maybe he didn’t use it that often! Maybe it just seemed like he did! Maybe that distracted me from the story! I’m not sure! I think it was the predictability that lost me.

You see why I ask what’s wrong with me? Award winning, bestselling, friend-endorsed, major publisher novels. These weren’t self-pubbed vanity books. Am I too picky? Maybe. Probably. But there are certain things that make a novel great for me:

  • Interesting, compelling characters that surprise me
  • Writing that isn’t riddled with clichés
  • A plot that takes twists and turns I don’t always see coming
  • A innovative, unique theme that makes me think about the novel weeks, months, and even years later

I’ve been told my own novels aren’t fluffy reads. That’s good and that’s bad, because some people want to read light. And the four books that didn’t make my fresh list were on the lighter side. So likely the fault is in me, rather than the novelist.

So talk to me. What do you like in your novels? Do you like both fluff and non-fluff? What do you look for in a novel? And what do you try to avoid?

Maybe I Don’t Hate My Kindle by James L. Rubart

I never hated it. I just didn’t like giving up the tactile sensation of feeling a book in my fingers. Being able to turn back ten pages in a blink, not a series of clicks. I liked being able to set a new friend on my bookshelf and know they’re there.

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BUT … having been on the road for most of the past three weeks, I’m giving a bit of room in my heart for the big K. And that’s one of the selling points, isn’t it? The big K is actually quite small and yet can hold thousands of books.

I like that I can highlight sections that impact me, and access those lines (and only those lines) much faster than I could access them by pawing through the physical book.

And yet … sales of e-books are slowing down. It appears they’re not going to take over the world.

How ’bout you? Are you reading more or less e-books these days? If you weren’t quite sold on e-books, are you embracing e-books more or still resistant? If you were an early adopter are you more convinced than ever, or have you pulled back a bit?

Christians Read Fall Catalogue Released

(Click below to view the Christians Read Catalogue, 2013 Fall Edition, which includes Chapter Excerpts!

Sanga Na Langa! by James L. Rubart

Sanga Na Langa means, No Worries, in the Fijian language.

Yes, I was in Fiji with my family for the past ten days. My friend and fellow author, Beth Carson hosted my wife and two sons at her resort home, Starfish Blue and it was paradise.

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While I was there I read three books and it made me realize something. I love to read. Yeah, I know, that’s one of the main reasons this blog exists; to celebrate reading and the worlds books can whisk us off to. But for the most part, reading for me these past three years has been limited to reading other author’s manuscripts for possible endorsement. I’ve read very few books of my own choice for pleasure. 

On this vacation I read for enjoyment again.

I realized that I’d forgotten how much reading feeds my heart, and guards my heart, gives it life. (“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23)

During our time in Fiji, I thought very little about e-mail, or Facebook, and worked for only a few hours during the entire ten days. There was certainly work I needed to do. But I let it go and told myself, “No worries, Sanga Na Langa!”

So what are you doing to guard your heart? Or better said in this context, feed your heart? What do you need to say, Sanga Na Langa to?

(You don’t have to go to Fiji to do it–but yeah, it certainly would be nice.)

What Novelists REALLY Do When You Think They’re Writing by James L. Rubart

So you want to know what novelists are doing when their novels aren’t being written?

Some friends of ours (Robin Lee Hatcher, Kristen Billerbeck, Terri Blackstock, and Angela Hunt) put this vid a few years ago, but the message remains 100% accurate. Enjoy!

Got Freedom? by James L. Rubart

got freedom

Do you? Have freedom?

I think it’s an essential question if you’re a follower of Jesus. Because that’s why he came–to set us free.

  • “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” Luke 4:18
  • “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
  • “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Gal 5:1

It’s all about freedom, friends. And if you’re like me, you have some, but you want more. Much more.

WARNING: Self-serving section coming up NOW!

I’m not sure how to write the next part of this post because it could come across as self-serving, but I’m going to give it a shot (and I think I redeem myself at the end of the post.)

My latest novel, Memory’s Door (the sequel to Soul’s Gate) releases today and I think it can help bring you more of that freedom we all long for. It certainly brought me freedom writing the book. I went through a deep personal and spiritual crisis during the weeks I wrote the novel, and in a way, Memory’s Door is a record of my dealing with a number of deep regrets and leaving them behind forever.

But enough of my thoughts. Here’s what Linda of Mocha with Linda says:

“Whew! Buckle your seat belt for this one! Soul’s Gate was simply a primer for the experiences that the Warriors Riding team have in store for them in Memory’s Door. James L. Rubart has created a gripping tale that will delight lovers of supernatural fiction, yet it is so much more than just a good story. Deeply thought-provoking, this novel puts flesh onto the usually unseen war of the spiritual realm as the team must discern who the enemy is and engage that enemy in a combat unlike any other. Rubart’s brilliantly woven plot depicts how devious and calculating demonic powers are, as well as how easily a seemingly strong believer can be deluded by their wiles and how those enemies feed off the regrets and baggage within a believer’s mind and soul. I pondered this one for days after finishing it, and eagerly anticipate the series conclusion. Don’t miss this important book and series!” Mocha with Linda. 

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Allow me a moment of bluntness: I’d love you to buy a copy (or ten. You can click the cover above to go to Amazon). But if you’re not sure you want to pass up two visits to Starbucks, don’t buy it. But at least check it out from the library for free. Because free is my sincere desire for my sisters and brothers in Christ, and I believe this book could do that for you in a deep and powerful way.

What It’s Like to Win a Christy by James L. Rubart

As you might know, I won a Christy (what I call the Oscars of Christian fiction)  at the end of last month in St Louis. It was surreal. Here are two reasons why:

Christy winners pic from Ty 6 '13

Christy winners ’13

I’ve dreamed of winning a Christy Award ever since I dreamed of writing novels. To be standing up there with many, many authors, agents, and editors who had helped me and inspired me was a thrill.

In 2002 I read a book that utterly captured me: Arena, by Karen Hancock. It truly is Pilgrims Progress for this age. I went on to read Karen’s Legends of the Guardian-King series and loved them too. She became one of my favorite authors.

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Karen Hancock and James L. Rubart

On awards night they gave out a Lifetime Achievement Christy to Karen. Yep, she was there was on stage handing out the Christys to all the winning authors. So cool to get my award from an author I’ve admired for a long time.

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Bad high five with Susie Warren

Also making the night special was that after six nominations, my great friend Susie Warren final won a Christy! Way to go Susie!

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Susie Warren, me, Tosca Lee

Okay, enough celebrating … gotta get back to writing. 

Recording Your Own Book is Dang Cool by James L. Rubart

Recording the audio version of my novels is so cool, and so incredibly exhausting.

Last week I was in Nashville laying down the audio version of Memory’s Door (e-book, print, audio on pre-order now, will officially release August 6th).

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This was my fifth time (I’ve recorded my previous four novels as well) and while this time was the least tiring so far, it still felt like I’d run ten miles at the end of each day. So I slump into a chair, babble incoherently for a few hours, go to bed, and I’m ready for the next session.

 

Recording MD

 

The recording process is pretty straightforward. Most times I simply read till I screw up. The engineer backs up the recording five or six words, I hear it in my headphones and when it gets to the point where I stopped, I jump in and keep going. It usually takes four days to voice the entire novel.

 

For 3Men

Producer Gabe Wicks, me, engineer Ben Holland

Some narrators read books straight. Me? It would be a lot easier, but I’ve chosen to do different voices for each of my main characters and 90 percent of my minor characters. And I love that my publishers have me read my own books because I know where the beats go, what should be emphasized and what shouldn’t.

Do you listen to audio books? If yes, does it make a difference if the author reads them or not?

Do You Ever Take a Chance on a Different Genre? by James L. Rubart

I did. On Sunday.

I was winging my way to Nashville to record the audio version of Memory’s Door (sequel to Soul’s Gate) when I powered my my Kindle and looked through the hundreds of free e-books I’ve downloaded but never read.

I came across my friend, Kristin Billerbeck’s novel, Perfectly Dateless: A Universally Misunderstood Novel

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I figured, that’s a genre I’ve never tried. Why not? True confession time. I loved it. Love her voice, it made me laugh out loud, I was hooked immediately.

Have you ever done that? Take a chance on a genre outside your norm? If you have, what happened? Good? Bad? Are you going to try it again? And those of you who haven’t; have you considered trying something new?

Inquiring James’s want to know.

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