A Reluctant Writer

Archive for the ‘Testimonies’ Category

Is God Up to Something?

microphone-1024x768I walked into the church expecting the same old thing. The finely polished band would entertain us for forty minutes; announcements of upcoming events and the offering received. A few more songs to set the mood before the pastor shared a message, prayed for those who came forward and then dismissed the congregation. The monotony had been wearing on me for years. I usually left at the conclusion of the message.

About twenty minutes into the service, the worship leader, set a microphone on a stand in the middle of the stage. “Anyone who wants to say something about Jesus come to the microphone,” he said, then resume his place behind the piano. That was different and perked me up a bit. A few people made their way to the stage to thank God for the things he had done for them.

I had not seen a testimony service in a very long time. The first church I attended in the mid-1970s often called upon the congregation to tell what God had done for them. In fact, the first time I walked into a church they were in the middle of sharing testimonies. Eventually, the practice was abandoned. After sharing the initial salvation experience several times from different perspectives people had a hard time thinking of things to testify about.

I expected the stream of people walking to the microphone to wane and the service to move to the next order of business. The stream of people continued. The pastor spent the whole service sitting on a pew. For the first time in a long time, I actually enjoyed the service.

Then the unexpected happened. Teenagers and adults, who had been attending the church for years, stood behind the microphone to confess their sin and repent. I have witnessed a number of pastors caught in sin forced to ask forgiveness before their congregations. I had never witnessed people voluntarily stand before their fellow Christians admitting their failures and asking God for help.

Thirty minutes into the testimony service that turned into a time of repentance I realized something unusual was happening. John the Baptist prepared the way for a visitation of God by calling people to repentance. The only person who called upon the congregation to repent that morning was the Holy Spirit. Is he preparing us for a visitation of God?

The next morning, I called my prayer partner to inquire if anything unusual had happened at her church. “Nothing out of the ordinary,” she said. I told her what happened and my thoughts.

She told me about a conversation she had with a friend over coffee Sunday evening. Her friend told her, “I feel in my spirit that God is up to something. I don’t know what it is. I don’t know how to describe it. But God is going to do something.”

“I wasn’t feeling it,” said my prayer partner. “We hear that kind of talk all the time, and it usually amounts to nothing. When I went to bed that evening, I asked God if it was true. What you just told me gives me hope that it is.”

PGerogeThe following Sunday the pastor told the congregation that he had seen people coming to a microphone in a vision, and there was more to come. Apparently, he thinks God is up to something too.

Only time will tell if that service was an anomaly or the beginning of something greater. My feelings about the matter are neutral. I have witnessed a lot of corruption in the church, and wished I could find a church that sincerely loves God and God’s people. The church is sorely in need of a revival, but revival is a mixed bag of blessing and persecution. To some it would be a sweet odor. To others revival disrupts their lives with a foul stench.

 

 

From Surgery to Cosmetics

Christine Collier

Christine Collier

Look in Testimonies for part 1 God “Wants You in His Hands” and part 2 “I Want You To Do It” of Christine’s story.

The weight of working full-time as a surgery nurse and running a ministry growing by leaps and bounds grew heavy. Christine broke under the weight at 4:30 a.m. on her way to the hospital to setup for a heart surgery. She loved the new life God had given her, but she was tired and longed for a break. She wept, “God, I’m exhausted. If you don’t stop this train, I don’t know how I will get off of it. I can’t tell my employer I am taking three months off because I’m tired.” That evening, after teaching a group at Jacob’s Well Women’s rehab, Christine fell and broke her foot. The following morning she was in a cast and given three months off work to heal.

The leave was welcome but painful. She filled her free hours writing and promised that God she would not return to her exhausting schedule. At the end of three months, the hospital wanted her to return. Instead of making real change, she reduced her schedule to a four day week instead of five. Two months later, she ran out of surgery to get something and slipped in a puddle of water. She sprained the same ankle, injured both her shoulders and hurt her neck. This time the injuries were serious. She was out of work for more than two years.

A year after her first books released in Spring 2012, she was ready to go back to work. Things had not happened as she imagined, so she consulted her pastor. He advised her to leave the book in God’s hands and continue in the work of the ministry. “God will make things happen in his time,” said her Pastor. This time Christine found a less demanding nursing job working two days a week.

The first day on her new job she was walking down the hall and received a strong impression, “You are done here.” The thought left her distraught. She loved working and being around people. “God, what am I going to do?” she prayed. An appealing idea entered her heart. Go to cosmetology school. Her daughter was a cosmetologist and owned a salon. Christine had been looking for a way to be closer to her daughter. The idea seemed perfect, but she wanted to be sure God had planted the idea. She prayed, “God don’t let me go through a door I am not supposed to go through. Please confirm this to me.”

Christine could not get the thought of cosmetology school out of her mind. She called the school to discuss her possible career change. The teacher invited her to visit the facility. On her drive to the school Christine asked God to “please confirm this decision for me, I don’t want to do anything out of your will.” As soon as she walked in she spotted Michelle, the beautician who cut her hair for years.

“Michelle! What are you doing here?”

“I am the lead instructor at the school. What are you doing here?”

Christine choked out, “Having a mid-life crisis.”

“Let’s go to my office and we will talk.”

Christine sat down in Michelle’s office and started the conversation. “I think I am losing my mind. I am a nurse, but I keep thinking about cosmetology school.”

“Honey, this is what you don’t know. A lot of nurses go into the beauty business when they retire.” That revelation put Christine at ease about making a career change.

Christine, Permanent Make-Up Artist

Christine, Permanent Make-Up Artist

The following weekend, she held her first My New Life NOW Leader training day. Five churches sent representatives. During the question and answer time, a man said, “Christine, I understand RN, how that could be really helpful in ministry to the addicted, but what is this Certified Beauty Technician thing all about?”

Her mouth fell wide open, “What did you say?” exclaimed Christine.

“Well, your credentials say Christine Collier RN, CBT. Certified Beauty Technician.”

Christine grinned. “CBT means Certified Belief Therapist. But you will never know what you just did for me.”

Convinced God had confirmed his direction for her life Christine enrolled in Cosmetology School.  But God wasn’t finished. One day she was telling a friend about her upcoming school when the friend stopped her and said, “You need to learn how to do permanent makeup. It’s been twenty years since I had mine done, and I need a retouch.”

Once again, Christine could not get the thought out of her mind. Two weeks later she flew to Dallas and took a class at Bella Institute in Permanent Makeup.

Christine leaned back in her chair and smiled. “Now I am Christine Collier Registered Nurse, Certified Belief Therapist, Author, Cosmetologist, Permanent Makeup Artist and anything else God may want to add. In fact, I am seriously thinking about going to Bible School.”

I don’t doubt Christine will go to Bible College. I have been acquainted with her for years, but never knew what a treasure she is until I wrote her story. And I love my new eyebrows. If you are in the market for permanent makeup, contact Christine at 601-347-6512 or doxapermmakeup@yahoo.com.

Christine Collier is a native of New Orleans, married to Dennis Collier since 1981 and has two children and seven grandchildren. She and her family reside in Picayune, Ms. where they are active members of Resurrection Life Church. Both she and her husband teach recovery groups in the church and in correctional settings. She enjoys writing, working, gardening and spending time with her family and church family. Christine has won awards for her writing at the Southern Christian Writers Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  She is available for speaking engagements on a multitude of topics: Her Testimony; Impacting Your World; Dream Again; Beginning a Fruitful Recovery Ministry; Personality Workshops.

Contact Christine Collier by mail: 795 Memorial Blvd., Picayune Ms. 39466; phone (601)-347-6512 or email: newlifeinchristnow@yahoo.com  www.mynewlifenow.net

I Want You To Do It

Christine Collier

Christine Collier

Christine’s salvation instantly transformed her life. Her family thought she had lost her mind. The fits of anger and despair were gone. Filthy language no longer flowed from her lips like sewage. The woman who washed their clothes and cooked their dinner was excited about life and wore a never ending smile.

The Sunday after Christine accepted Christ, she visited Resurrection Life Church. The congregation greeted her and hugged her as though they had known her for years. A lady Christine was acquainted with spotted her from across the church. She invited Christine to sit with her. She immediately felt like family and continued to attend the church.

In the past, Christine had tried to read the Bible but could not understand it. Now its message fed her soul as she grew stronger in her faith.  Christine could not force her husband or daughter to attend church but told her teenage son, “Until you are eighteen you will go to church with me.” He was reluctant to go, but within weeks he was radically saved. Christine and her son could not get enough of God and their newfound church home. They attended every service together.

Her husband attended a church service out of curiosity. He wanted to know who was “brainwashing” his wife and son. He had been saved as a young man and fallen away from his faith. His relationship with God was restored. Then Amanda began attending services. She prayed to receive Christ and was baptized in water. Her family soon learned a difficult lesson. Salvation will not make life perfect. Amanda’s healing would take years.

Four years later, Amanda was sentenced to prison on drug charges. Feeling slighted by God, Christine became very upset. She had devoted her life to God and faithfully served in her church. “How could you let this happen?” Christine demanded of the Almighty. “You promised to save my whole family.”  Her anger dissolved into tears as she told God how disappointed she was that her daughter had not found the peace that the rest of her family did. “Why didn’t you send someone to help us? There are lot of families in the church who have family members or friends struggling with addiction. Why isn’t anyone doing anything?” Christine cried.  Then she heard, “I want you to do it.”

The thought scared Christine. She abruptly stopped praying and went to the kitchen to wash dishes. As she filled the sink with water a list of reasons why she could not do whatever it was God wanted her to do flashed through her mind. She spent the rest of the week pretending she had not heard God say, “I want you to do it.” But it was too late. She knew what she had heard. She knew it was not intentional, but there was a huge need in the church that was not being addressed.

By the end of the week, Christine was exhausted. She could no longer run from God or ignore his call.  She slipped into her closet of prayer and cried, “Lord if you show me how, I will do it. If you open the door, I will walk through it. If you shut the door, I won’t go. If you don’t teach me how to do this, I know there is no way that I can do it.”

Christine close upLater that week, she received her daughter’s court date. She wasn’t required to attend but wanted her daughter to know that she still loved her. Christine entered the courtroom and sat down. Amanda turned to look at her. Christine was aghast at her daughters beaten and bruised face. She was sure her daughter’s facial orbits were broken. Before she left the court room, she demanded that her daughter receive medical care. She left knowing there was nothing else she could do for her daughter.

Christine walked out of the court room feeling helpless. There was nothing more she could do to help her daughter. On the long ride home, she remembered happier times and sobbed. Deep in her heart, she knew that Amanda was never meant to be a drug addict. She was a beautiful young woman with many gifts and talents. She recalled a recovery group a friend had told her about that met in a church an hour from her home, and decided to attend.

Counting Christine, there were twelve people at the meeting. Each of the eleven people gave their name and spoke for a few minutes. Then all eyes turned to Christine. All she could do was cry. They handed her tissues and waited patiently until her sobbing stopped, and she told them about her day.  They listened like they really cared, then encouraged her and prayed for her. Christine left the meeting knowing this is what God meant when he said, “I want you to do it.”

For many years, Resurrection Life Church had practiced a small group ministry called Life Groups. The ministry helps people connect with one another and grow in their relationship with God.  Each group was designed by the leader based on his or her passion and schedule. The program was a perfect place to launch a Recovery Group. Christine’s pastor fully supported her request to start a Life Group for people seeking freedom from addictions.

In September 2003, Christine held her first Life Group meeting with seven people in attendance. She had used a Bible study about the Beatitudes, but found it inadequate for her purpose. At the conclusion of each meeting, Christine returned home stirred to write. She spent hours recording whispers from God’s Spirit, which she incorporated into her group teaching time. Five years later, she had enough material for her first published work. She had also begun writing a new study on the Beatitudes. The group grew steadily over the years reaching 20 to 30 in attendance at every class. She eventually abandoned the initial curriculum and taught her Bible study course, which proved effective in helping addicts find freedom.

Christine bookAbout the time she completed writing her material, a man in her church was elected Sheriff. A month after he took office, he invited Christine to teach her Life Group for addicts in the jail. Soon people were encouraging her to compile her writings into a book that could be printed and distributed through her growing ministry. She realized that she had written more than random Bible studies. She had written a curriculum that could and should be used by others. She named her labor of love My New Life NOW (No Other Way).

Christine ministered to addicts’ for years while her daughter was shuffled from one rehab to another and jailed multiple times. Sometimes people asked her how she could minister to others when her daughter was in need. Christine persevered believing the promise God gave her through prophecy, “If you minister to God’s kids, he will take care of yours.” Five years ago that promise was fulfilled. Amanda’s life was radically changed when she was released to Jacob’s Well Recovery Center instead of serving a two year prison sentence for breaking her parole.

The Light House Ministry Home

The Light House Ministry Home

Amanda returned home with a passion for helping women, who had successfully completed rehab, to reestablish their lives.  Amanda and her husband opened The Light House for New Life; the only Christ centered half-way house in their area. They help women find employment and housing, teach them goal planning, help them with education, transportation and family restoration.

Christine smiled broadly, “Today, my daughter is the most radical, extreme, beautiful Christian I have ever known. She is pure, so pure, because God is faithful.”

Christine is the first woman board member of the Pearl River County Jail Ministry Association. Her Life Group is in its eleventh year. Since the groups beginning, Christine has mentored and raised up a strong team of Leaders and Volunteers who devote their life to teaching the New Life Now curriculum in their local Correctional Facility, the Church, local and regional Christ centered rehabs and halfway houses. Today churches, correction centers, work release and rehab settings around the USA are beginning their own My New Life NOW recovery mentorship programs. It is estimated well over 4,000 people have attended a My New Life NOW meeting, many finding restoration, healing and deliverance.

Christine has written six manuscripts. Two are published, My New Life NOW Leader’s Manual and My New Life NOW Participants Workbook. She recently completed her My New Life NOW Recovery Devotional/Journal, designed to complement the My New Life NOW program. The Devotional is filled with inspiring real-life stories and testimonies from My New Life NOW graduates. Readers are challenged to overcome their addiction with humor, humility and daily scripture readings. She is currently working on her second Bible study course A New Attitude for A New Life Now, which is an in depth study of the Beatitudes.

Christine holds a firm belief that Jesus Christ is still in the business of saving, healing and delivering people and that no one is too far from his grace, forgiveness and healing; even the addicted.

A Call to Action

Christine Collier, author of My New Life Now Curriculum for people seeking freedom from addictions talks about her call to ministry.

God Wants You in His Hands

Christine Collier

Christine Collier

When I received an email about permanent make-up, I was mildly interested. I knew Christine Collier, the sender of the email, from the Southern Christian Writers Guild. She is the author of My New Life NOW: Recovery Course. I also knew she is a Registered Nurse who specialized in Surgery, which contributed to my interested in her new venture. She had trained to be a Permanent Make-up Artist at Bella in Fort Worth and needed clients to practice her new skill during her apprenticeship, which is a requirement to fulfill the Mississippi Board of Health regulations.

Over plucking had left me with eyebrows I hid with colored makeup pencils and glasses. Correcting the damage I’d done appealed to me. The apprentice prices for her services were deeply discounted, so I indulged my vanity, and Christine reserved time at the Beauty Center for her new client.

The morning of the appointment my husband said, “Are you sure you want to do this? It’s permanent and it’s on your face.”

“I know,” I replied. “I have reservations, but the photos she sent look good, and she is going to tell me her testimony after she does my eyebrows.” I departed for a two hour drive to Mississippi with my husband’s blessings.

I laid down on the table. Christine adjusted her light and said, “There will be a little pain.” The pain wasn’t any worse than the pain of plucking my eyebrows. When she was finished, the shape of my eyebrows looked great. A little darker than I wanted, but Christine assured me they would be 30 to 40% lighter when they healed. (A week later they were lighter as promised, and I was pleased with my new eyebrows.)

After the new make-up artist completed her masterpiece we went to Piccadilly’s for lunch, so Christine could tell me her story. I prefer coffee houses when recording someone’s story. It’s difficult to talk and eat at the same time. Christine finished eating her meal before I finished my salad. I looked at her empty plates. She grinned, “Nurses learn to eat in fifteen to twenty minutes. I’m retired now, but I still eat fast.” That was fine with me. She was free to talk while I enjoyed my lunch.

“Start with your salvation,” I said.

“It’s a little hard to start with my salvation. My life now was birthed out of my old life,” said Christine.

Christine’s earliest memory of God was a visit to the Presbyterian Church when she was six years old. The experience left her in awe. She loved the singing and the peaceful feeling. The peace dissolved when she walked out of the church and eluded her until she was thirty-seven years old.

Her parents had married young. Her mother had become pregnant with Christine before her husband was ready for the responsibilities of raising a child. He left when she was an infant. Her mother remarried an older man, but the marriage was difficult. He was a hard worker that provided for his family, but could be mean when he was drunk, and he was drunk often. The marriage produced two step-sisters. Christine’s stepfather never let her forget that she was not his child. The rejection wounded Christine filling her with anger and disappointment.

Her parents liked to socialize and often attended parties. Christine tasted liquor for the first time when she joined some of the other children at a party who were drinking from glasses left near empty and unattended. Christine liked the way the liquor made her feel. By the time she was twelve years old, she often retreated to the backyard to smoke cigarettes and drink her stepfather’s Miller Ponies.  The high from the liquor dulled the pain of rejection. Before she turned thirteen she added smoking marijuana and even overdosed on valium. “I wasn’t trying to commit suicide,” said Christine. “I had no clue what I was doing to myself when I took too many valium. I was trying to get a better buzz than the weed gave me, but all I got was very sick. The sickest I’d ever been in my life.”

Her mother endured her husband’s alcoholism and verbal abuse until she could take no more and divorced him. By that time, Christine had begun a love affair with alcohol and drugs. Christine was seventeen when she met her future husband. He had a voracious appetite for Jack Daniels and coke equaled only by her appetite for pills and weed. Christine’s drug and alcohol abuse lead her to many bad choices and deeds she prefers to forget.

She became pregnant and married her boyfriend. The added responsibility of caring for a child did not change the whirlwind of chaos in her life until her daughter, Amanda, was three. An assailant broke into Christine’s house, assaulted her and robbed her at gunpoint. The experience left her shaken. She later learned the assailant was someone they knew. Christine knew the assault took place because of her drinking and drug use. It scared her straight.

Christine took steps to become clean and sober. Her husband also hit rock bottom and cleaned up his life. Free from the mental fog induced by alcohol and drugs, Christine and her husband decided they would live the “American Dream”. He found a job in the oil fields. She obtained her GED and went to school to become a nurse.

Christine paused her story to explain addiction. “People with addictions tend to be extreme, we moved from one extreme to the other. We were clean and sober, but the chaos continued. We traded that lifestyle only to become workaholics, making money, spending money – a new kind of empty.”

Her husband advanced quickly in the oil field industry, and she had become a good nurse. Life appeared fine. Until they moved to Mississippi, and she saw things in her daughter’s behavior that scared her. Christine and her husband had been sober for years. They had not raised their children with drugs and alcohol in the house, yet Amanda was making many of the same choices and mistakes her mother had made. “It was as if I were looking into a mirror of my life,” said Christine.

Christine focused all of her energy on helping Amanda. Amanda’s behavior became more and more destructive as addiction consumed her. The more Christine tried to control her and make her better, the worse Amanda became. When Amanda was sixteen, Christine learned her daughter had been assaulted by a young man. For the first time, Christine understood the seriousness of her daughter’s problem. She wasn’t just a rebellious teenager, but a wounded young woman trying to numb her pain. Christine tried everything she could think of to help Amanda. Nothing worked.

A friend noticed the stress in Christine’s life and offered her “a little something” to make her feel better. It wasn’t long before Christine’s old habits found a place in her life, but this time it was different. Being high wasn’t fun. By the time Amanda was eighteen, both Christine and her daughter were a wreck. Christine lived in fear of the dreaded phone call. The call no parent wants to receive. “Your daughter was found dead.”

Christine’s work was her only solace as she quickly came close to the end of her rope. About that time the hospital she worked at hired two new surgical technicians. She thought they were both weird, and did not like working with them. She often requested they would not be in her surgery room, but somehow she always wound up with one of them. The women that Christine could only tolerate in small doses were both Christians who loved the Lord.

Christine laughed. “It never failed. If you were working with them the conversation always brought up Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. He was all they wanted to talk about.”  They never condemned or forced their beliefs upon her. At separate times in their own individual ways, the women shared the love of Christ and what God had done in their lives.

The love that emanated from the women made them appealing. Christine’s attitude changed from one of disgust to a desire to her about Jesus. She stopped avoiding them in the lunch room and began looking for a seat near them. One day, the one named Marilyn told Christine, “If you ever need somebody, anytime day or night, just come to my house.”

The inability to help Amanda depressed her. The depression created marriage problems and kept her in a cycle of drinking to escape life’s unbearable realities. She often woke up in her beautiful house, on beautiful sunny mornings wondering if life was worth living. One day, she started crying and could not stop. She cried for days. Nothing made her feel better. Then she remembered Marilyn’s offer. If you ever need somebody, come to my house. Desperate for help she grabbed her purse and headed for her car.

Marilyn listened quietly and patiently as Christine poured out her grief and fear. “Christine, you have got to take your hands off of Amanda, so God can get his hands around her. And God wants you in his hands too. Will you go with me to my pastor’s house?”

“I accepted Marilyn’s invitation to talk to her pastor,” said Christine. “The pastor waiting for me. There was an awesome scent in the air and Christian praise music was playing. Marilyn and her pastor lovingly and gently led me to the Lord. We prayed. We cried. I screamed, ‘Jesus, I need you. Please come into my life and forgive me.’ I will never forget the day I called, and he came. It felt like a ton had been picked up off my body. When I walked out of the house it felt like my feet were not even touching the ground. My feelings of hopelessness and thoughts of dying were gone and have never returned. The desire to numb my pain in a destructive way was replaced with a desire to know Jesus.”

Women Keep Silent in the Church?

Pastor Jerry Davis

Pastor Jerry Davis

I recently read a Facebook note titled “Women Keep Silent in the Church?” by Pastor Jerry Davis. Clever title! If a man read it thinking he would find ammunition to keep women out of the ministry, he might have a change of heart before he reached the end. The comments revealed that the the note is a chapter in a soon to be published book.

I know more than one woman who has wrestled with this issue. What is a woman to do? She knows she has a call to ministry. Yet her gift either cannot find a place or she labors under the weight of oppression. Diehards’ tell her God does not use a woman in ministry “PERIOD”. Her ministry is bearing children and washing dishes. Moderates allow her to minister to male children or lead ministries in foreign lands but would never allow her to pastor a church in America. What difference do the age and place make? Let me move on before I tell you what I really think about doctrines that oppress.

I left a comment expressing my desire to purchase the book when it is finished. I know God calls women to ministry because he called me. I didn’t have the Apostle Paul’s blinding light, but I did hear an audible command to “Tell people about me.” There is a reason I tell people about Jesus on a secular website. Telling people about Jesus in church has never worked. I have a suspicion that being a woman contributed to the “never worked.”

The fellowship I attend has changed over the years. Today, they “proudly” ordain women to pastor. I hold ministerial credentials but have never pursued ordination. Frankly, I have a much larger audience writing than I would have teaching a class for five to ten people in a church, and I have never felt called to be a pastor.

The day after I read the note on Facebook, I was invited to write about Pastor Davis when he came to New Orleans to speak at a conference. He gave me enough material to keep me busy for a month. At the end of our conversation, I asked him why he was writing a book favorable to women in ministry. I will let Pastor Davis tell you why in his own words.

http://youtu.be/p6Mk_MDElkQ

Women Keep Silent in the Church? is still in production. Whitaker Publishing House has not set a release date.

Pastor Jerry Davis was dubbed the Disaster Pastor by media for his tireless efforts to minister to the needs of people affected by disasters. He has served in 61 countries specializing in disaster relief evangelistic campaigns. Following Hurricane Katrina, he founded one of the primary relief camps in New Orleans, The Good News Camp, which provided $75 million in goods and services and hosted 17,000 volunteers.

He is known for powerful preaching, soul winning teaching and performances as a soul stirring musical artist. He sings, plays piano and guitar and has written over 150 songs, and released 3 CD’s. He has also made numerous appearances on Christian television and radio networks, including TBN, Daystar, 700 Club and KSBJ. His ministry has been featured in Christianity Today and Charisma Magazine.

An Author Interview with Rev. Allen Smith, Lighthouse International Ministries

Rev. Allen Smith

Rev. Allen Smith

An Author Interview with Rev. Allen Smith

Rev. Smith was born in the town of Neoga, IL in 1951. He was saved at the early age of 12 years, and started preaching when he was just 15. He has been preaching and teaching now for 46 years, 30 of those years as a pastor. He has been a featured speaker at camp-meetings and conventions down through the years. In addition, he spent 3 years as president of International Bible College and Seminary in DeSoto, Missouri, where he authored 9 different syllabi for the Seminary. He presently holds a Master’s Degree in Religious Education, a Doctor of Divinity Degree, and a Doctor of Theology Degree and has published several articles, in nationwide religious publications.

From October of 1993 until July of 2010, Rev. Smith published a nation-wide Southern Gospel news magazine called SGN Scoops Digital. He is currently the founder and President of Lighthouse International Ministries which is a missionary outreach ministry.

FAITH BLOG: What do you think prepared you or qualified you to write in your chosen genre?

ALLEN: I have been a minister now for 48 years. During that time, I have written articles for many religious publications that have been local, regional, and national. I also spent 14 years publishing a national Southern Gospel news magazine. That magazine is still in publication today. It is the first magazine of its type to go from print to digital.

FAITH BLOG: Tell us a little about your Non-writing life?

NEW PORQUÊ COVER - SMALLALLEN: I have been a pastor for over 30 years of my life. I am no longer a pastor, but I still work in my local church, where I teach the Adult Sunday School class, and I also preach on a regular basis. I am married, and I have 2 married daughters, who are both in the ministry with their husbands, I have 7 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. I write non-fiction Bible based books for the most part. My inspiration comes from God. I do have a lot of health problems that need to be dealt with, which makes my life very hectic at times. Because of this, I cannot spend as much time writing as I would like. However, when I am out, I do have a tablet and an Iphone with me, which allows me to do research, that does help out my writing. My wife, Susan, does help me out quite a bit. I often run things past her. She helps me proofread, and she translates some of my books into Portuguese. She was raised on the mission field in Brazil, South America, so we do all we can to reach the people of Brazil with the Gospel.

FAITH BLOG: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?

ALLEN: I do a lot of Bible study. That probably satisfies me more than anything. I am totally devoted to my wife, and I do everything I can to make her happy. Our church work is a total joy to me. In fact, I do not personally receive any royalties for my books. The royalties are set up to go into a church fund for missionary work. Of course, I do watch some TV. I especially enjoy the Sonlife Broadcasting Network. They have what I consider to be the best Gospel music and preaching anywhere.

FAITH BLOG: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books —Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?

ALLEN: I have already mentioned my wife. She helps me more than anyone else. I am both a reader, and a person who enjoys doing things myself. Because of this, I read a lot of do it yourself books. If it is something I can do myself, I will do it. If I can’t do it, I do find someone who can.

FAITH BLOG: What do you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books?

ALLEN: I believe one of the best forms of promotion, is to have more than one book available, and letting those books cross-promote each other. I also use Facebook and Twitter. In addition, I am a member of several groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Goodreads. I also have a blog, that is starting to get a lot of attention. There are a few other things I would like to get into, but I do not have the time for them.

NEW WHY COVER - JPG - SMALLFAITH BLOG: Have you done anything writing-related besides your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?

ALLEN: I have already mentioned the articles I have written, and the Southern Gospel news magazine that I used to publish. Some of the things I post on Facebook attracts a lot of attention. The same can be said about my Blog. I do my best to help as many people as I can through all of my posting, and that seems to attract attention.

FAITH BLOG: What is the “message” of your writing?

ALLEN: For the most part my writing encourages Christians to get closer to God. I also add a “Sinner’s Prayer” to each of my Bible based books. That way, if someone who doesn’t know God, reads one of my books, they will have direction on how to come to God.

FAITH BLOG: Tell us one place you visited or person you met, that made a big impression on you, and why.

ALLEN: In 1974, I went on a missionary trip to the country of Haiti. I spent a week there, visiting little churches and orphanages. That week literally changed my life. I now encourage every Christian to take at least one short term missionary trip during their life.

FAITH BLOG: Tell us one place you want to visit, or person you want to meet, and why.

ALLEN: My heart’s desire has always been to visit the land of Israel. I pray that I will be able to make it someday. I would also like to make a missionary trip to Brazil. My wife was raised there, and she has a brother who is still a missionary there.

FAITH BLOG: Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it’s so stupid.

ALLEN: Seeing someone being blessed by God gives me so much joy. At times, it can be so joyful, that I simply cannot help but laugh.

FAITH BLOG: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.

ALLEN: The most amazing thing to me is how God can take someone who the world considers the worst sinner, and turns them into His child.

FAITH BLOG: What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written?

KINDLE PUBLISHING COVER JPG - SMALLALLEN: I have had books that I have been working on, that all of a sudden, everything seemed to go wrong. It did not matter what I did, whether it was typing, or saving, or anything, it simply did not do what it was supposed to do. It gets very frustrating, especially when you are almost finished, and you are looking forward to the finished project.

FAITH BLOG: What’s your next project?

ALLEN: My next project is actually a secular book. I started writing in May of 2013, which was on my first Kindle edition book. I wanted to do all the formatting and publishing, and marketing myself, so I began downloading Kindle how to books. I soon found out that most of them were almost useless. A few had a little information here and there. It was disappointing. I decide then, that when the Lord allowed me to, that I would write one that people could actually use step by step to format and publish a Kindle format book. I now have 20 chapters of that book written. It will be finished in just a few more weeks. Its title is “The Ultimate Guide To KINDLE PUBLISHING Using Microsoft Word”.

FAITH BLOG: How many books do you have out?

ALLEN: I now have 9 Kindle books, and 3 paperback books: A Daily Devotional called “One Day At A Time – A Daily Devotional Guide For Each Day Of The Year”, which is available on Amazon.com.  Four of my Kindle Ebooks are available on Amazon.com. They Are: “Why? – Answering Questions About The Crucifixion”, “One Day At A Time”, “The Sacrifice”, and “Porquê?”, a Portuguese translation of Why?

FAITH BLOG: What are your future projects?

NEW SACRIFICE KINDLE COVER - JPGALLEN: I have a plan to write a book on the Apostles, explaining where they ended up ministering and dying. Also a book on why Allah is not the Christian God. I am also working on a second daily devotional that will include both morning and evening devotions.

FAITH BLOG: What is your favorite book/character?

ALLEN: My favorite book is the Bible. My favorite character is the Apostle Paul.

Rev. Smith is running a promotion on Kindle this week. Download “The Sacrifice – The Only Way To God” (ASIN: B00ET685YO) for FREE Thursday 1/30/2014, Friday 1/31/2014 and Saturday 2/1/2014.

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