Archive for November, 2010

29th November
2010
written by Alden

The Kindle version has been available for some time at amazon.com. Now, Adobe ePub and MobiPocket versions are available from BooksOnBoard.com for $7.88.

It’s my understanding that ePub books can be read by the iPad, Nook, Sony Reader, and other devices. The Mobi format is supposedly supported by Palm, Blackberry and other smartphones, as well as by the MobiPocket reader.

I’m not an expert on reader formats, but you can check with BooksOnBoard to confirm.  As reported earlier, a number of eBook formats should be available within the next few weeks, and should be showing up on the appropriate sites soon.

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16th November
2010
written by Alden

There are people in every church I’ve been in who need to be set free.

This is not to say that some of these churches didn’t preach grace. But sometimes, it just takes a while for grace to seep in to where change needs to happen. Grace on the surface is one thing; grace in our innermost being is life-changing.

Much of Christianity teaches that we “miss the mark.” This is true, of course. However, much of Christianity forgets to teach that Jesus has hit the mark for us.  So, rather than hearing that we have succeeded in Christ, we only hear that we have failed and that we need to do more, and try harder. Once this concept is fully rooted in someone’s thinking, it may stay with them for years, in spite of their gaining an intellectual understanding of grace.

I suspect that some people first join these graceless, “miss-the-mark” churches because they already know that they don’t hit the mark, so they fit right in. They are given some guidelines that may help them hit the mark, sometimes, and they are promised that someday they will either make the mark in Heaven, or perhaps that the mark will simply be removed. And, being beat up every week for continually missing the mark helps assuage their guilt.

That’s the only reason I can think of to explain why people actually convert to a works-oriented form of Christianity. This parody of Christianity functions something like a 12-step group: The first step is admitting you are a sinner, and realizing that you will always be a sinner. The best you can hope for is God helping you to sin just a little bit less, or perhaps it’s enough just to know you’re surrounded by people who feel as lousy as you do.

This kind of graceless thinking gets into your core, because in your core you’re already feeling like crap. It simply confirms that what you have believed about yourself is really true. Here’s the irony about converting to a legalistic version of Christianity: In some ways, because you aren’t changing how you feel about things in your core, you don’t really have to repent all that much.

To accept salvation by grace takes real repentance. What you need to repent from is the thinking that your performance actually matters, in a spiritual sense. Yes, you’re a sinner, and if you ever think you can keep God’s law, it will condemn you. Now, get over it.

What you need to repent (turn) to is the truth that Jesus performed on our behalf; he kept the law, and more than that, he conquered death (the consequences of sinning). Think of the law as a video game (only with life or death consequences): Jesus has beaten all of the levels. In essence, the game is over. And not only that, the consequences for losing the game has been removed. You are now free to play the game (just make sure you log on under Jesus’ name).

The truth about repentance

Repentance (in a soteriological sense) has never been about changing your behavior; no behavior-mod program can save you. Repentance is about changing your core beliefs. For most of us, repentance is like peeling an onion; it happens layer by layer. With the discovery of each new layer of self-reliance, more repentance needs to take place. The good news is that it’s all by grace, the great onion-peeler.

So be free—because that’s why we’ve been set free.

(cross-posted at aldenswan.com)

8th November
2010
written by Alden

Just wanted to share a great little post that was referred to me this morning. Michael Wittmer is professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and the author of Don’t Stop Believing, which looks like an interesting read (but read The Gospel Uncensored first).

The post in question is entitled give up, which at first glance may seem to contradict his book title. But, you’ve got to read the post. Wittmer concludes with this powerful paragraph:

The gospel is counter-intuitive.  What serves us well in most areas of life can be a disaster in our walk with Jesus.  The normal secret to success is to try harder.  The secret of salvation is to stop trying.

Exactly.

5th November
2010
written by Alden

It is truly amazing how much work goes in to publishing a book in today’s marketplace.  I have to say, I’m glad I’m not doing this all on my own.  Because the book is “POD” – Print on Demand – large distributors like Baker & Taylor use their own POD printer, Textstream, to sell through such retailers as Borders. And, there are more than one of these mega-retailers who need to be notified about the book.  Apparently books don’t just magically appear on bookshelves… even the online variety.

Information about the book is slowly working its way through the book world, so you will find it listed, at various prices, at various locations. I am noticing that the cover image is someone slow to show up at some stores.

e-Readers

The book is already available for Kindle at amazon.com, retailing for $9.95.  It will also be available for download for the Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo at the normal places, as well as at places like Scribd.com and BooksonBoard.com.  They tell me it can take 6-8 weeks for the book to appear at various retailers.  There is no specific iPad version out yet, however there is a free Kindle app that will work.  WestBow is apparently looking into the iPad market.

Again, it is a very complex process, and this definitely falls in favor of working through someone like WestBow, who is set up to handle all of this.  For me, it’s just a matter of being patient, something I’m not always good at.