Pick The One Best Thing

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (Luke 10:38-42)

Once there was a reader named Martha who hosted an author event.

  • Martha opened her home (but not her heart) to her guest.
  • Martha was distracted.
  • Martha was worried.
  • Martha had to to make preparations.
  • Martha petitioned others for help—her family (perhaps friends) .
  • Martha grew upset with othersher family (perhaps friends) due to their lack of help.
  • Martha questioned (doubted) her guest, Jesus, regarding his heart, compassion, and concern for her.
  • Martha commanded Jesus to act.
  • Martha pitied herself.
  • Martha praised herself.
  • Martha participated in many activities.

Martha’s sister Mary joined the others as they gathered around the guest of honor, the Author of all things.

  • Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.
  • Mary listened to Jesus’ words.
  • Mary chose the best: time with Jesus.

Pick The One Best ThingWhen we choose Jesus, no one can take him from us (John 10:28).

When we choose anything other than Jesus, those things we select will distract us from him. So much so, that often we miss the best and only thing we need for task at hand.

If you find that your efforts produce little and leave you tired, worried, upset, distracted, filled with self-pity, pride, and on the outs with others, take a break and sit with Jesus. Listen to his words. Rest in him.

Words matter. The Word matters most of all. Get into the Word. Then ask him to bless the works and words of your hands.

Expanding Your Book Sales With Little or No Money

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (Luke 9:12-17)

“You Give Them Something to Eat!”

Crowds came from all over to hear Jesus preach on the kingdom of God. For days leading up to this, Jesus had healed all who came to him. Demons were cast out and afflictions cured. Folks flocked to get more of this healing and help. So when the Twelve came to Jesus in private and warned that he needed to disperse the crowd so they could get a bite to eat, no doubt the Twelve thought their compassionate advice would be rewarded.

Instead Jesus basically says, “You take care of ’em.”

How often do you feel this is Jesus’ response to your prayers for book sales? You’ve written, pitched, published, promoted… advertised on Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Google… tweeted, flittered here and there on blog tours… held launch parties, post-launch parties, given away books, Amazon gift cards… and still your books languish, buried at the bottom of categories.

In response to this gentle rebuke, the Twelve answered Jesus, “Unless we…” 

You’ve given all you have. All your time, all your effort, all your hopes… And still your books will remain lost under a surging sea of new releases… Unless Jesus steps in.

That’s one of the main lessons from this incredible story. What you cannot accomplish, Jesus can. Let’s look at how Jesus created abundance out of scarcity.

  • Jesus spoke about the kingdom of his Father’s goodness and love. That’s step one.
    Jesus spoke to them about the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:14)
    When it comes to promoting your books, lead with God’s words, promises, and truth. Speak less about what you think might or might not happen and more about what our Father says will happen for those who love him, are in his Son, and whose Son is in them.
  • Jesus looked to heaven for his help. 
    I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1)
    You must look up as well. This is where active faith is born—in knowing that only he can do what we cannot.
  • Whether little or much, give thanks.
    Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)
    An attitude of gratitude opens the heavenly gates of provision. One book sale, two? Say thanks. No book sales? Say thanks for allowing you to publish a book. The world is filled with people who wish they could write, wish they had published book, but don’t. You are blessed. Reflect your gratitude for this gift of writing.
  • Break, divide, and sort what you have. A little can go a long way. 
    “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says. ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry.’” (1 Kings 17:14)
    Broken into small pieces, our promotional efforts become easier. Do those things that bring our Father glory, that give you joy, and cost little or nothing. Do those things that can be sustained for years, not simply weeks. Ours is a long haul delivery. Enjoy the journey, the scenery, the people you meet.
  • Distribute to those willing to help. 
    “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
    Don’t try to do it all yourself. You can’t. Give tasks to those who offer to help. Then hold them accountable.
  • Carefully place your promotional efforts before others. Don’t simply toss out your best work like you’re feeding hogs.
    The servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. (Matthew 22:10)
    Be gentle and wise, considerate and frugal. What you produce is precious. Treat it with care.  Share with all who are in need of your words and message, not simply those you think are your “target audience.” The least may very well become your best and most loyal evangelists.

If you do this, you will be pleased with the results. The remains will be gathered to feed others. You will not be worn out from your work. Joy and peace will follow and all who hear of you will be inspired by your example. That is the lesson for expanding your book sales Jesus’ way.

Let Us Stop Opposing Ourselves With Our Sins

2 Timothy 2:25

Did you know that your sins and filthy farming can leave your bountiful harvest mired in muck?Let Us Stop Opposing Ourselves With Our Sins

When we exchange our lives for the life of Christ, our old bodies rot away on scarecrow poles. With sin dead in our old bodies, we are no longer slaves to sin. In fact the only way sin can live in our new born bodies is to resurrect sin. But in hopes of living two lives, the life of sin we enjoyed and our new life in Christ, we often bring to life that old corps.

In order to survive sin needs energy and nutrients. Because sin is always dying in our new bodies, it needs more energy and more nutrients. This is one reason sin is never satisfied and always demanding more. In our old bodies sin found a natural source of nutrients in our carnal flesh, but it our new bodies sin faces a hostile environment—one purified by the Spirit of Christ.

To revive sin and allow it to once again become our master is to become a traitor, and in war traitors are shot. Jesus will can and will forgive us if we confess our sins, but the back and forth fighting over our heart’s desire will often leave our crops trampled.

If we wish to see a bountiful harvest we need to remove all filth from our fields and keep our tools clean.

  • Our obedience to God’s Word leads to righteousness in Christ.
  • His righteousness leads to holiness.
  • Our righteousness and holiness in Christ brings power and plenty and abundant grace for the work we do.

Let us stop opposing ourselves by resurrecting the corpse of sin. Claim the righteousness of Christ, live in his holiness, and stop feeding that old scarecrows corpse that is rotting away.


Let Us Stop Opposing Ourselves By Playing the “Yes, but” Game

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (2 Timothy 2:25)

Let Us Stop Opposing Ourselves By Playing the "Yes, but" Game“You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.” Haggai 1:6

Does this sound like your book promotion efforts? Lots of seed sowing with little to show for it? Sometimes it’s not the seed that’s the problem or the soil or the weather, but the farmer returning to the field to sow weeds among good seed.

When we mix God’s Truth with the devil’s deceit we sow doubt and destroy our crop.

The devil said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God …” (Luke 4:3)

The devil said to Jesus, “All this power will I give you if ….” (Luke 4:6)

The devil said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God …” (Luke 4:9)

If is a fine word when creating story. The “great if” often begats a great premise. “What if the Creator of the universe came to earth in the form of man, what would that look like? How would he be received?”

Playing “what if” for creative brainstorming is fine at a novel retreat, but when we begin questioning God’s words, debating in our minds his truths, we elevate ourselves above God and claim his sovereignty for ourselves.

How do we do this? Here are a few phrases we love to spout.

  • “yes, but”
  • “my god wouldn’t”
  • “how do you explain”

Such comments place limits on God—limits that do not confine him but will box us in. Only when we judge God to be trustworthy in all matters, unable to lie and full of truth, will we escape our Yes, But Box.

In the kingdom of God there are three kinds of faith:

  • Inactive Faith
  • Reactive Faith
  • Proactive Faith

Inactive Faith reflects the heart of someone who believes Jesus died for their sins. They have confessed this with their lips. Beyond that, however, they live pretty much like everyone else. Little about their life would lead anyone to guess that they are a believer in Jesus.

Such individuals may go to church occasionally, read portions of their Bible, even pray sometimes. These are those Jesus called “you of little faith.” The seed of great faith is in them but they do little to make it grow. Worse, they hardly sow any seeds of faith for others.

Reactive Faith is the heart of someone who responds to an event with earnest belief. Circumstances prompt them to put all their trust in Jesus. If he doesn’t come through, they are doomed.

And when Jesus does come through, their faith is strengthened for a while. No amount of explaining from others can remove the individual’s conviction that only Jesus could have performed such a miraculous act.

Proactive Faith is faith that relies on spiritual eyes and ears. The circumstances we see with our eyes matters only as a means of framing the mighty acts which take place after our lips have declared that what is not yet will be.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Proactive Faith is the sort of faith Elisha had when he prayed:

“’Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.’” the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17-20)

Proactive Faith comes by witnessing the powerful hand of God moving in our life, or the life of another. Proactive Faith begins to grow when the Holy Spirit comes upon us in power. The Apostle Paul went about preaching in the demonstration of the Spirit’s power. Though he spoke God’s words, it was our Lord’s actions that convinced the crowds that God’s power was in Paul.

People were healed, demons cast out, lives changed. Such power can only flow from those who are truly righteous in the Lord and filled with his power — an individual so convinced their sins are forgiven that they can stand before God without guilt and before the devil without fear.

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:1-2

The key to Proactive Faith is getting up, getting out, and getting filled with the Holy Spirit of Christ.

When you know that you are fully righteous, holy, and pure because of the blood of Jesus, you will do even greater things than what Christ did. (John 14:12-14)

When you know that you are fully righteous, holy, and pure because of the blood of Jesus, you will stop denying him and cease playing the “yes, but” game.

When you know that you are fully righteous, holy, and pure because of the blood of Jesus, you will expect and watch for a bountiful harvest from the good seed you’ve sown.

Let Us Stop Opposing Ourselves With Our Thoughts, Imaginations, and Fantasies

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (2 Timothy 2:25)

Let Us Stop Opposing Ourselves With Our Thoughts, Imaginations, and Fantasies.As we continue to study how we oppose ourselves, let’s examine how our thoughts, imaginations, and fantasies work against the desires God places in our hearts.

We feed our hearts with purpose and success when we build fantasy worlds in our minds with honorable thoughts, God’s word, and perfect and pure images.

Serve God with a perfect heart and willing mind, for he searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of our thoughts. (1 Chronicles 28:9)

Once good things are conceived in our hearts we can look forward in hope to the finished outcome.

Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23)

God gifts us with the ability to imagine what is not and create what will be. But when we use words, said or silent, in perverse ways, those things which we create can destroy. Consider how many times — by simply creating a conclusion in our mind and without any evidence — we’ve believed in the negative motives of others. We expect a reply from a text, email, phone call, but none comes. We assume the worst. We conceive a negative trait in the other party. we begin to rehearse in our mind what we will say.

Consider how many times you sought to accomplish something small, perhaps even great, but at the time of the “big reveal” you silently expect failure, loss, judgement. Novelist Sarah Dessen writes, “If you expect the worst, you’ll never be disappointed.” For many, these are the fantasy worlds we build: ones constructed without hope, expectation, or risk.

Jesus calls us to hope, expect, and risk all for him. He calls us to love our enemies, not portray them as evil individuals deserving of judgement and punishment. To do good to those who hate us, not shame them. To bless those who curse us, to pray for those who mistreat us, to give to everyone who asks and lend without expecting anything in return. The fantasy worlds created in the Spirit of Christ are large, often messy, sometimes dangerous, but seldom boring.

Rather than imagining the worst in others, expect their best. Help them reach their best.

Rather than preparing for bad news, plan for success. Risk your heart in hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 is perhaps the most misapplied verse in all of Scripture, but the spirit behind the verse accurately reflects the heart of God.

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If we will but claim the back half of this promise, hope and a future, our fantasy worlds will begin to more accurately reflect the creative character of God.

Let us stop opposing ourselves with our negative thoughts, imaginations, and fantasies and begin supporting ourselves with thoughts, imaginations, and fantasies inspired by God’s Holy Spirit.



Let Us Stop Opposing Ourselves With Our Ignorance of God’s character

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (2 Timothy 2:25)

The Kingdom of God Is Voice Activated — Let Us Stop Opposing Ourselves With Our Ignorance of God’s characterIn meekness the servant of the Lord should instruct those who oppose themselves.
(2 Timothy 2:25)

How might those of us in Jesus oppose ourselves?

  • With our words
  • With a lack of knowledge of God’s character
  • With our thoughts
  • With our sins and unrighteousness
  • With our passivity
  • With our actions

Let’s look at how we oppose ourselves with our foolish ideas of God’s character.

If you have ever heard someone say, “My god would never …” or “the god I worship would not …” then you will recognize how important it is to accurately know God and his character. When we misunderstand the God who made the heavens and earth and attribute qualities to him that are incorrect — or worse, slanderous — then we have created a little god, a different god, a god that more closely reflects our character than his.

God Is Constant

We change. Our minds, bodies, and feelings change. Our attitudes and beliefs about God change. But God never changes. He is the same today as he was light years ago and will be light years from now. God is constant. He never wavers.

I am the Lord, I change not. (Malachi 3:6)

The Father of the heavenly lights does not change. (James 1:17)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

We oppose ourselves and create barriers for our success when we change our view of God from who he is to who we wish he were. When we change God to fit our view of who we think he should be, we are creating an idol and idols have no power. Our little gods cannot help us sell more books or bring a harvest of blessings. Only God can do the miraculous. When we accept that he is the God of consistency, the God who never changes, who never tires, who never gives up and quits on us, we tap into the same power that created planets and stars and all that is good.

God Is All Powerful

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made. (Psalm 33:6)

All things were made by him. Without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)

There is nothing too difficult for God. No mistake, no poor book launch, no amount of negative reviews can prevent God from acting on your behalf. All things are made by him. If we lack anything, we should ask him. He gives generously to all without finding fault. (James 1:5) But when we fail to plug into his power, when we fail to ask — when we think it is beneath us to ask — we oppose ourselves.

Let us begin to ask God today to use his power for our good in order that we might do his will more perfectly. (Romans 8:28)

God Is Full of Perfect Wisdom

The depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge are God’s! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33)

We oppose ourselves when we fail to ask God for his perfect wisdom. Many a poor decision ends in failure because we failed to ask for God’s perfect wisdom at the beginning. Perhaps in pride, perhaps in ignorance, but thinking we know best is one of the worst ways we oppose ourselves. Ask God at the start and our endings will be certain.

God Is Full of Beauty, Faithfulness, Generosity, Gentleness, Goodness, Grace, Holiness, Kindness, Love, Mercy, Joy, Peace, Patience, and Righteousness, 

There are so many wonderful qualities of God that is perhaps easier to say:

Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, whatever is excellent, whatever is worthy of praise, these are the qualities of God. (Philippians 4:8-9)

Anytime we think less of God than he is, we oppose ourselves and hinder our success. Anytime we believe he wants less for us, we oppose ourselves and hinder our success. Worse, in doing so we diminish the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. He came that we may have life, and have a life so full that it’s pressed into our hearts and flowing out.” (John 10:10)

Know the character of God. Read his word and you will see him for who he is. Read the words of Jesus and you will gain a larger picture of God and his fullness. Finally, if you are in Christ, then pray that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19-21) When we reach this level of completeness in Christ, we will no longer have any desire to oppose ourselves.