Tag Archives: Charles Martin

Don’t Miss This Great Read for Guys or Gals: What If It’s True? by Charles Martin

Friends!  Gather a group or just your sweet self and grab this must-read book ASAP!

Already a fan of author Charles Martin and his novels, I was surprised to learn he’s crafted his first work of non-fiction. Trust me when I say it’s a doozy. It will open your eyes, boost your faith and maybe even step on your toes, but you’ll find that’s a good thing.

We readers get the best of both worlds in that Charles, being a talented storyteller, retells various Biblical stories as only he can, gifting us with fiction, followed by non-fiction, and loads of Scripture accompanied by gut-level vulnerability. This book would be good for guys or girls, and especially great for accountability groups to consider.

Charles has his own group of guys he’s been doing life with for a number of years.  They each give endorsements in the beginning of the book. His friend, Hank says,

His friend Rick says, “This book is a refreshing and anointed reminder that the gospel is true and does change everything.”

The title itself, What If It’s True?, causes you to consider your faith seriously.  Charles reveals his own doubts while guiding us to answers, along with a moving prayer at the end of each chapter.  Thirteen powerful chapters are included plus Appendix A and B which are Scriptures Charles has collected over the years.

Appendix A has Scriptures “where the Word talks about itself.”  Charles tells us he reads these to his boys at breakfast every morning. He says, “The Word tells us that God wrote the Word on our hearts, so I’m hoping to remind their hearts what it says.” Appendix B includes verses that “speak to or promise the breaking of curses and of being overtaken by blessing.” Both are rich resources.

His chapters address many sins and how to break their stronghold.  Just a few include:  addiction, unforgiveness, pride, anger, fear, lack of zeal, running from the Lord rather than to Him, spiritual blindness. The last of which literally opened my eyes to my own spiritual blindness to, oh yes, good ole’ pride.  Gulp.

His probing questions throughout pack a punch. (That’s the getting your toes stepped on part and it’s good for all of us!)

Charles shares some of his private practices which cause us readers to consider trying as well.  One favorite visual he gives us goes like this:

“I have this thing I do in the mornings…After we get the kids to school, I take my Bible and walk outside with my coffee. Then I walk around my backyard reading God’s Word back to Him. Usually Psalms. I do this to remind me, not Him. He knows what it says. When I’ve done  that, I set my Bible down and I walk, praying, with my hands in the air.  Doing so humbles me before God. It’s how I walk into the throne room…The thing this walk does for me is take my eyes off the waves threatening to swamp the boat and put them on the Savior who beckons me, ‘Come.’”(This is in Chapter Five, one of my favorites.)

Charles also equips us with powerful Scripture to thwart the devil, distractions and even our challenge du jour. For example, when he and his wife Christy are stuck, as in praying for something and getting no answers for a long while, they cling tightly to these letters:  JCILOA (Jesus Christ is Lord of All).  This helps them to not even consider resigning their requests.  They put this “rock” (JCILOA) between themselves and their enemy, “driving it like a stake in the ground.” Powerful!

He also offers sample discussions he has with satan (He never capitalizes satan’s name, purposely dissing the devil.), also calling him “resignation”. The prayer in this particular chapter demonstrates what Charles does with each chapter in that it focuses on its main idea.

Look with me at a few sentences from the prayer in Chapter Five:

“Lord Jesus, I confess that I have given in to resignation. I have listened to his lies and given in to his claims on more than one occasion…I’ve been giving more air time to the enemy’s blue sky than Your Word. I want to take back that ground. I want to hold up a stop-sign hand and declare, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord of all!’

So, come in like a flood. Renew our strength…Father, touch my lips with a burning coal and set Your words on my tongue. I say to the spirit of resignation sitting on my couch, ‘Get out in the name of Jesus! Get out of my heart. Get out of my wife/husband’s heart. Get out of my children’s hearts. You are a liar from the pit of hell. You’re a defeated punk. Shut up!…’

Tear down any and all strongholds in my mind that would argue with You. Please seal me—all of me— and grow me into a man/woman who will stand beneath Your Word and declare, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord of all!’”

In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

So, this is just a little glimpse into What If It’s True? I highly recommend it for all ages, men and women, and also suggest you try any of Charles’ novels.  My all-time favorite one is Wrapped in Rain.  John is currently reading When Crickets CryHis newer novels are great also.  One novel, The Mountain Between Us, was made into a movie in 2017. (I believe he’s written thirteen novels so far!)


Charles’ blog and website are also good resources.  Checkout www.charlesmartinbooks.com

To close, allow me to tell on myself.  Many moons ago, about ten of us from Southeast’s book club, including my cousin’s son who’d gone to school in Jacksonville with Charles, trekked to Lexington to Joseph-Beth Booksellers as Charles was going to be there doing a book signing.  Book signings are highly unpredictable in that some are well attended and some not so much.  This one happened to be the latter.  Only two others were there, so Charles said, “I’m not going to do my dog and pony show, y’all can just ask questions.”

He began by asking us if we’d read one or more of his books.  We giddy little schoolgirls shot up our hands, showing him we’d read every single one of his books so far.

When he finished speaking, he offered to sign our books.  I proudly whipped out Wrapped in Rain.  When he opened up the title page, there was a phone number on that page.  He turned twelve shades of red and said, “Uh, ma’am, are you trying to give me your phone number???”  To which I then turned twelve shades of red and replied, “Oh, mercy, no!  My husband just finished your book and whenever he receives voicemails, he jots down the phone numbers  wherever he can find a piece of paper.”

I’m still dying over that little encounter, fully aware he very well may not have believed me.  I wanted to say, “Charles, I could be your mother, and I’ve been happily married for thirty-five years!”  God bless him, no telling how many women readers and fans he has, or how they behave!!!  My friend, Betsy, also got to meet him recently in a LifeWay store in Nashville.

Book Club from Southeast at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY. Pictured left to right:  Sharon Cicardo, Jennifer Wright, Susan Thorne, Yours Truly, Nancy Aguiar, Charles Martin, Bonnie Johnson, Fay Bloyd, Mary Lou Leidgen and Bill Johnson.

 

oh, the phone number scene…

 

My friend, Betsy Heady, with Charles in Nashville

If you’ve not read any books by Charles Martin, give him a try.  You’ll love his novels, find Christ in the stories, and you’ll flip over What If It’s True.  

‘Til next time!

 

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You’re Invited to a Super Fun Book Club! Monday, 3/27 at 6:30 p.m.: “The Promise of Jesse Woods” by Chris Fabry

Friends!  Grab  as many friends as you can find and dash over to Middletown United Methodist Church next Monday, March 27th from 6:30-8:00 p.m.

11902 Old Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243 http://www.middletownumc.org

 The girls at Branches Book Club will be discussing a beautifully written novel by Chris Fabry called The Promise of Jesse Woods and you do not want to miss a minute of it! 

Because there’s a mouth-watering church picnic scene in the story, we decided we’ll be having our own potluck supper Monday night.  Please bring a side dish to share if time allows.  The main course and drinks will be provided. Just one more incentive (read “bribe” and smile) to get you and your friends coming to Book Club!

One more teaser:  Chris has graciously sent us a twenty plus minute personal message about this book, so you won’t want to miss him either!  

Every single book I’ve read of Chris’ I declare it to be my favorite, and The Promise of Jesse Woods is no exception.  What’s fun about Chris’ writing is my sweet Hubster, a/k/a John, enjoys Chris’ books too and we have a blast discussing them.  This book received the 2017 Christianity Today Book Award Merit in the fiction category.

Some of his other books have won the coveted Christy Award (Dogwood 2009, Almost Heaven 2011 and Not in the Heart 2013)  and the Christian Book Award (also Almost Heaven 2011).  Click on his website and check out all the other books Chris has written:  fiction and non-fiction. And don’t miss his daily radio show, Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. (www.moodyradio.org )

One of many endorsers of this book happens to be author Charles Martin. Many of you know how much I like his writing and you’re in his camp as well.  Charles says Chris’ book is “a tender coming-of-age story of first love, innocence lost, and the soul-freeing power of truth.”

Before we get into a few glimpses of this novel, you guys out there may be interested in at least two of Chris’ non-fiction books. My guess is you had no idea he wrote these very cool, true stories:

Coming Back Stronger—Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity by Drew Brees with Chris Fabry

The Winners Manual—for the Game of Life by Jim Tressel with Chris Fabry

(Fun sidebar:  John and I happen to have a copy of this book, signed by Tressel.  This came about when our dear friend Joe Daniels was Coach Tressel’s Quarterback Coach.  Like Tuesdays with Morrie, Jim Tressel sat at Joe Daniels’ bedside every single Tuesday while he battled cancer.  He gave a most poignant speech at Joe’s funeral.)

Back to our book:  You’ll love the characters in The Promise of Jesse Woods and feel as if you’re riding bikes down the roads of Dogwood, West Virginia with them.  You’ll sympathize with Matt whose extra pounds he’s packin’ bring him relentless teasing.

He and his family have moved to Dogwood for his Dad to be the town’s new preacher.  This makes Matt not only the new kid in town, but the Preacher’s Kid, and we all know what comes with that…

Matt quickly makes two new friends, both dragging a wagon full of baggage.  Matt’s new friend Dickie, is biracial, which brings that whole component with the story’s setting in 1972, while his other friend in the trio happens to be a girl named, Jesse Woods.  She becomes Matt’s first love which complicates matters just a tad.

In the book, Chris flips back and forth from 1984 to 1972, however you figure this out easily and read that much faster, trying to figure out where the plot will take you next.  One of the bad guys in the book will make you so mad because of how he affects so many, Matt’s Father, included.  His name even sounds like a dark cloud hovers over it:  Basil Blackwood.

At one point in the story, Matt wonders when his Father may grow a backbone no thanks to the very wicked Mr. Blackwood. Seems Mr. Blackwood minds the church’s business more than his own.

When Matt moves away to Chicago, he loses touch with these friends who’d been inseparable.  He says, “After high school I had ripped the rearview off my life.”

It’s back in Chicago where Matt gets a blast-from-the-past phone call from Dickie.  They really needed to patch things up, but the more pressing matter comes with Dickie’s announcement that their beloved Jesse is getting married in a few days.  Oh my…

Will Matt return to Dogwood?  And if he does, will he stop the wedding?  Will Jesse’s fiancée go after Matt?  Ah, my friend, you must read the book to find out!

Before we close, I’ll share just one of many beautiful quotes I’ve highlighted and dog-eared.  Matt is talking with his father who says, “Life is never easy…it may seem like it on the surface, but there’s a struggle to it all.  When Jesus told the disciples to go across the Sea of Galilee, they got in the boat and obeyed. And that was when one of the biggest storms blew up. So obeying God’s will can sometimes get you into trouble. But it’s better to follow him into a storm than to stay on the shore alone.”

One thing I always hunt for in a book is the meaning of its’ title.  You will flat fall out of your chair when you reach the meaning of The Promise of Jesse Woods.  I never saw it comin’…

Run, don’t walk, to your nearest book story and grab this book.  Even if you don’t finish it before Monday, you’ll still enjoy and be blessed by our lively discussion, fun fellowship and delicious food.

We’ll look forward to seeing you Monday night, March 27th at 6:30! 

‘Til next time!

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The Power of an Intentional Text….

Belated Easter Greetings! I pray you and your families had a most Blessed Easter.

Our family was beyond tickled to celebrate Easter. We had the awesome privilege of observing the new little cousins (now two years old) run and play together, while their new siblings, only two days apart (Now just three months old), slept or were passed around like a slow-mo football game.

Baby With Bunny

The “E.B.” (Easter Bunny) was good to all as we munched on jelly beans, peeps (!!!), and decadent dark chocolate dove chocolate eggs. Can you say, “Aren’t you forgetting something???”

Case in point: Friday afternoon (Uh, that would be Good Friday), I was scrambling thru’ Kroger’s aisles on the hunt for desserts to take to my brother-in-law’s on Sunday, as well as Easter basket “stuff” for our children. (Yes, our children are grown adults, but the “E.B.” can’t help herself.) Forever the procrastinator, thankfully supplies were still plentiful.

Easter Eggs

All of a sudden two texts beeped on my cell phone. The first of which was yet another storm warning. “Tornado watch and flood warning.” My first reaction was, “Great! My umbrella’s in the car!!!”

The second text stopped me in my tracks. I was so dumbfounded, that when a friend approached me and hugged me, all I could do was show her the text. (She, too, was playing beat-the-clock, buying a darling birthday cake for her daughter complete with peeps on top.) Hmmmm….again, aren’t we forgetting something???

“Oh my, “ she said upon reading the text. “Please forward that to me! I need it!!!”

Here’s the text:

“Hey Girls!

Just a reminder that JESUS died at the 9th hour, which is our 3:00 p.m. (Just thirteen minutes from now!!!) At that moment, the Temple curtain split symbolizing that we have DIRECT ACCESS to God!!!

Oh LORD JESUS we praise you and thank you.

May you ALL have a Blessed Easter.”

Concept conceptual black cross or religion symbol silhouette in

See what I mean? My cart and I came to a screeching halt. It was pitch black outside too, complete with a storm brewing. Coincidence? I think not.

A good reminder? I think so.

Not only did my dear friend, and mentor, and Bible study leader, Jane send this to me, but she sent it to our Wednesday group. She is always intentional with us. That just could be my favorite thing I love about her.

And my friend Teresa, whom I’d just run into, was blessed by her intentionality as well. I forwarded Jane’s text to her and she then shared it with her family. Ripple effects are a win-win!

One more powerful perspective on Easter,

      and the Power of the Resurrection,

           and the freedom that comes from forgiveness

hails from a favorite author of mine, Charles Martin. While it’s a long post, it is more than worth your time to read. Perhaps in snippets if your days are wild. You will be blessed. (It’s the post from 4/5 called What Now?)

www.charlesmartinbooks.com

May we all be more intentional post Easter….

Easter Christian Motive, Resurrection

‘Til next time!

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