His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)


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Silence Outside – Racket Inside

Even though I’ve been rather silent on my blog the past few weeks, the rest of my life is loud with activities.

For example, I’ve been building a new website. I bought myself a crispy new URL… http://www.cjpenn.com. Don’t bother going there – it’s not live yet. But when it does go live, I’ll shut this website down. I’m hoping to make that cut-over in about a month.

I’m also in the middle of a crunch with my newest book, “Oh… Jesus!” I recently received the manuscript back from my editor. She filled it with lots of fantastic red mark-ups. I felt a bit of pain with my first glance at the large amount of suggested changes. But as I’ve worked through it, I’m now embracing all those edits. This book will be greatly improved thanks to my editor.

Here’s a random image for you. Consider an author is like a gardener. You plant a seed, water it, fertilize it, and nurture it to grow into a lushes bush. But not all the branches are even, and it’s a bit scraggly in places. The editor is like a hedge trimmer, who skillfully cuts out the scraggly parts and smoothes over the uneven patches.

Anyway, though I may be silent on my blog, there’s a ton of racket going on elsewhere in my life.

Cheerio


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Not for the Money $$$

dollar

I’ve shaken up my purpose for writing… or one of my purposes anyway. My dream for a long time has been to make enough money with my books to quit my day job and be a fulltime author. Common dream. But I’m giving it away.

While in the midst of my current book project, I discovered a better purpose, a better dream. I no longer want to sell books. Instead, I want to give my books away for free, to as many people as possible. Why? Well, the detailed answer is within the pages of the book I’m about to start giving away. You can check that out if you like when the book is released in a few weeks – more about that on my Home page.

But the effects of this decision are unexpected, and really cool.

Oh, I had studied up on all the popular book marketing techniques intended to maximize sales. Growing my email list; building up my “tribe” of followers; asking followers for help in selecting book titles and cover designs (I like this idea); leveraging all forms of social media to draw people to my website and build my “platform” (I’m tired of that word). Anyway, it all made sense, but it was getting complicated and stressful.

But that stress is now gone – I gave it away. Yet if I really want to give my books away to as many people as possible, the techniques are similar to selling books. But by removing money from my purpose, it’s all a lot more fun.

I’m still asking people to give me their email address, but not so I can send them some funky newsletter and periodic sales pitches to buy a book. I never liked that newsletter idea – I don’t want to contribute to email inbox clutter. But I will send an email when I have a new book ready to give away. And I may send an email when I need help on a book project, like selecting a title or cover design.

Anyway, I’ve discovered that by removing one of the foundational purposes for my writing – selling books – there’s much more room for the real purpose: to help people discover a better experience of life in their growing intimate relationship with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. And, to help people see and accept that the solution to all of life’s problems is found in a personal relationship with the Spirit living within them.

Look, Jesus turned my life around. Without Him, I’d be miserable. Okay, not totally miserable. My wife is very special to me; I love her intensely, and her love gives me purpose. But Jesus’ love gives me a higher purpose, and a fuller life. I want to share that with other people – that’s why I write. NOT for money. This feels great!


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The book is ready… finally… almost… and for free

It’s finally almost ready to release… the book I’ve been promising (see Home page). It’s currently with my editor for final edits. And based on the questions she has so far, I’m getting excited about the improvements she’s going to make. By the way, my editor is my niece Johanna, helping me out while in the midst of her own publishing career.

I’m also excited about giving this book away for free to as many people as possible. Seeing that I’ve spent about six dedicated and sometimes difficult months working on this book, you may wonder why I would just give it away. Well, if you read it, you’ll then understand.

And I’m excited about the possibilities within the pages of this book. I hope and feel that it will help other people deal with the stress in their life. You see, this book is a record of my journey to escape stress and find a deep peace that I believed was out there, but I had a hard time seeing it.

Anyway, stay tuned. I hope to have this book available for download within the next two or three weeks. I have a feeling these weeks will be filled with a mixture of anxiety, more excitement, and lots of fun.


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“Chasing Peace – Finding God”

This book has the potential to truly help people find and feel the Spirit of Jesus living within them. The Holy Spirit will no longer be a mere idea, but an intimate friend. This is the book I mentioned in a recent blog post, which is based on a series of posts about my journey to escape stress and find peace.

In working on the book, I’ve discovered it’s far from a collection of old blog posts. Those posts are just the starting point – I’ve found myself massively re-writing everything. And I’m excited about the result. I feel the messages are becoming more powerful, and helpful.

But I would like to invite you, if you’re interested, to join me on the final stage of launching this book. I’ll be looking for feedback on the next-to-final draft. Also, I’ll need help in choosing a final title. Chasing Peace – Finding God is a fine working title, but once you read a draft of the book, you might come up with a better one. And then there’s the cover design – I really need help here.

So if you would like to be part of this book project, please click the “Sign-up here” link below. This will bring up a window asking for your email address and first name – that’s it.

Now as mentioned on my websites home page and elsewhere, by signing up, I’ll of course give you a free copy of this ebook once it’s finished. I think this is what they call an ethical bribe for your help. I’d rather call it a thank-you gift. But actually, I’ll give you the book for free whether you help or not. All you have to do is sign up, and when the book is finished, it’s yours.

 

(Sign-up here)

 


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Re-designing my Purpose, and Website

God is still chipping away at me, gradually changing me. And He has a way of making the most out of this flawed block of raw material called CJ.

Anyway, since God has been making changes in my life, I figure it’s time for me to make some changes to this website. After all, this site is a reflection of who I am, and who I’m becoming.

And thanks to God, I now passionately believe that living with the Spirit of Jesus is the solution to all of life’s problems. My desire to share this truth is driving the changes I’ve started making to this website.

If you’ve been here before, you’ll notice a difference. One is a new Home page, with a special invitation. Check it out if you like.


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Hi Blogging Friend

This blogging thing is weird.

Friends made, not seen.

I notice you when you visit,

when you “like” one of my posts for some reason.

Your familiar postage-stamp image brings me a smile.

Comments help me know you better.

And sometimes I visit your blog home,

and hang out with you for a bit.

I feel we could be friends.

In a way, we are.

But it’s not the same.

It feels hollow; reality is missing.

A friend made, yet not seen.

This blogging thing is weird.

My heart wants more than this.

I think I need a hug.


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Time for Some Changes…

I’ve been re-thinking my purpose for writing, whether blog posts or the books I’m working on. I’ve been thinking about this in terms of peoples needs I hope to fill. This is what I’ve come up with so far…

  • Help people escape the stress in their life. Show them how to replace the stress with the peace they are looking for.
  • Help people feel the same freedom and joy we felt as children. Do you remember that, the days of fun and play?
  • Help people find a sense of purpose and fulfillment, and find this in their relationship with God.
  • Help people feel loved. I hope to help people find and feel the Fatherly love of God.
  • Help people find freedom from the influence of false ideas about Christianity. Show them the freedom that comes from the truth.
  • Help people know and accept that true Christianity is all about a relationship, not rules.
  • Dechurched Christians, like me, may be looking for a sense of belonging, like me. Show them how to find that.
  • Help dechurched Christians find freedom from any guilt they may feel because they no longer attend church.
  • Show people how to find and have an intimate and personal relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Help them know the Holy Spirit of God as a person, rather than an idea. And help them feel His presence in their lives.

What do you think about this? Please let me know. Does this look like too much to you? Does it leave you with the sense that I have an over-inflated idea of my talent for helping people? After all, this is a lot. But truth is, I’m just a searching human like you, with all the same needs I’ve listed above. I’m no expert in any of this – all I can do is share what I’ve learned, and continue to learn, in my own search.

Another change I’m planning to make is that I will soon start sending out periodic emails with stuff targeted to help fill the needs I’ve listed above. I’ll send these email messages to everyone who would like to subscribe to receive them. I will probably send an email once a week, or maybe every other week. I’m curious, what do you think of this email idea?

By the way, I really appreciate the ideas and comments you might share with me. These changes I’m planning to make are a bit scary, and the support I get from those who visit and follow this blog is like comfort food.

Thank you. From my heart, CJ