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July Message From Pastor Mike: “Devotions With Jesus”

Over the past year, I have wondered what good may come from the COVID-19 pandemic along with the many challenges and sorrows we have endured. For some, spending more time at home instead of at work or traveling has been a blessing. Others may have developed healthy habits that will continue into the post-pandemic world. I hope you have seen God working in redemptive, healing ways in the midst of recent hard-ships.

I believe our church has seen several blessings over the past year, some of which we may not have experi-enced but for the pandemic. Adding online resources like live-streaming worship has been a benefit to many people. We have also rediscovered ways of connecting with each other outside of church, and our fellowship has remained close and healthy.

For me, despite the challenges and changes over the past year, I am grateful to have added a new dimension to my ministry by writing devotions for our church family, and now I have turned these into a book. While I don’t imagine Devotions with Jesus will be a best-seller, it fulfills an ambition I have had for many years.

Thank you to those who encouraged me to keep writing devotions. It has been a joy to share God’s word in this way with our church, and maybe by publishing this book, what I have written will reach a wider audience. Devotions with Jesus includes over 90 devotions from the Gospels covering Jesus’ birth, the Sermon on the Mount, the parables, and Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is available on Amazon in both paperback and as an eBook. Amazingly, the first copy sold was an eBook purchased by someone in India!

Through the Spirit, God has given me the ability to teach, preach and write about His word. It is a joy to help people understand and follow scripture, and I am grateful to witness God changing lives as He uses me to share His word. I hope those who read these devotions will be touched and drawn closer to Jesus.

Along the way, I have learned a few things about publishing. First, traditional book publishers aren’t interested in authors they have never heard of. In fact, some publishers make it clear that they will not consider manuscripts from people who don’t have a large social media following. That rules me out! So, I chose to self-publish the book through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. They make the process fairly painless, if like me, you enjoy doing all your own editing, layout, graphic design and marketing.

I have even learned about Bible translation copyright issues. It turns out the copyright holders of the NIV and other modern English translations allow authors to quote only a limited amount of the Bible before charg-ing a fee. In my case, Devotions with Jesus fell just within the free usage limit, but if I were to publish a sec-ond volume with the devotions I have written from Philippians, Colossians and 1 John, I would have to pay for copyright permission because it would include the entire text of these books of the Bible. I guess that’s fair.

So, without turning this into too much of an advertisement, you can find Devotions with Jesus on Ama-zon. My motivation for promoting the book is not about any profit I may receive but instead about getting God’s word into people’s minds and hearts. If you know someone who would benefit from this book, please share it with them. Thank you for your encouragement and support that allow me to teach God’s word in our church and beyond.

And watch for new devotions in the fall. I plan to write a series from the Psalms of David beginning in September.

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