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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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 6

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ve been posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 5. Today I give you the sixth chapter, and from there you can navigate to earlier chapters if you like.

Chapter 6: Ruth

-Ruth-

The morning fog had crept from the lake, slithered through the streets, poured into my hut, and seeped into my bones like poison. Dampness always made the pain worse. I groaned through clenched teeth as I pushed myself out of bed and stood shivering on frozen feet.

“Come on Ruth, unlock the door!” my sister called again, fear rising in her voice. By now, her imagination was probably painting her a picture of my withered corpse. A bittersweet smile crossed my lips. Me dead—if only.

“What?” I yelled, yanking the door open. The effort left me wheezing. I swayed on wobbly legs, nausea creeping up my chest, sweat chilling the back of my neck.

“Finally! Listen Ruth, you remember the man I told you about? The healer? Well he’s on his way to our town and I heard he healed a man of leprosy in the village up north and now he’s on his way here and I’m sure he can heal you so you can finally be healthy again and you won’t feel any more pain and you can leave your house when you want, isn’t that great!”

“Yes. Great.” I marveled less about her words, and more about how my squirrel of a sister could say so much in one breath. “Now. Let me go back to bed.” I tried to close the door.

“No!” She wedged her leg against the door jam, knowing I didn’t have the strength to resist. “You need to go to him, so he can heal you.”

“Okay, I will. After he gets here. Now leave me alone.”

 

(read the rest of Chapter 6 on my cjpenn.com website)

Copyright CJ Penn, 2020


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 3

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ll be posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 2. Today I give you the third chapter, and from there you can navigate to earlier chapters if you like.

 

Jared

 

Jared

“Jared, something must be done about her,” Simon whispered to me as he glared down the table at Anna collapsed at the prophet’s feet.

“What? Who?” Oh, yes … Anna. Something should have been done, though not what Simon had in mind. Poor Anna—I wanted to help her, always had, partly because I knew more about Anna and her past than even her brother knew. But it wouldn’t do for a royal official to show sympathy for a prostitute—yes, I admit, a weak and cruel excuse.

Then there was the prophet, Yeshua. He intrigued me and confused me. As Anna wept at his feet, Yeshua didn’t treat her with lofty disdain, as most religious men would have. Instead, he showed nothing but gentle kindness, and a compassion that seemed to strengthen and empower her. The compassion Yeshua gave Anna made her look nobler to me than any priest.

Leaving Simon’s house before anyone else, I rushed home and to my son’s bed. His breathing had eased a bit, but he still looked as pale as bleached parchment, and the fever remained. My poor Jonathan, my little boy … was dying. I’d seen the symptoms before, in my wife, and I feared there was no way to stop it. Before going to Simon’s dinner, I’d sent my servant Jacob to summon the doctor. But he still hadn’t arrived. My chest tightened, my stomach quaked, and I almost forgot to breathe as I stared helplessly down at my son.

 

(read the rest of Chapter 3 on my cjpenn.com website)


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 2

In the weeks leading up to the launch of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua, I’ll be posting the first several chapters. Last week I posted chapter 1. Today I give you the second chapter…

Before the Beginning

 

Anna—two months earlier

I imagined myself resting in the shade of my sandalwood tree, surrounded by soft waves of crocus flowers blanketing the rolling hills. Those flowers, gentle and free, distracted me from my ugly reality, distancing my thoughts when I didn’t want to be with my body. It was only temporary. Reality soon struck back.

The straw of my bed poked out from under the rumpled blanket, scratching my breasts. The stench of sweat, rotting teeth, and dead fish choked the air in my small hut. At least the man was quick about it, soon collapsing on top of me, gasping for breath. A moment later, he pushed himself off, grunted, and pulled down his tunic as he rose to his feet. I buried my face in the blanket, trying to fight off the tears.

I opened watery eyes as two small coins landed on the dirt floor—standard payment. Quietly, the fisherman peered around the blanket hanging in the doorway, again grunted, and crept away down the dark alley. He took less time than it takes me to shit, a typical visit for that customer. Easy money? Never.

 

(read the rest of Chapter 2 on my cjpenn.com website, and it gets more cheery from here)


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Chapter 1

They knew his love not by the written word of an apostle or the spoken word of a preacher, but by Jesus’ hand on their shoulder, or the thrill of his healing touch freeing them of a disease, along with his ever-present peace that filled them to overflowing.

We Called Him Yeshua is the story of Jesus as told from the perspective of these people—the ill and diseased, the deaf and blind, the worried and frightened, the overwhelmed and depressed—people who were in some ways just like you and me. And where we may know Jesus by his divinity, those who will tell this story knew him by his humanity. Their stories will show you both the Son of God, and the son of man.

As Anna, one of the lead characters, puts it: “It may be hard to feel close to the divine, but it’s easy to feel close to the human.”

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting chapters from my soon-to-be-published novel, We Called Him Yeshua. I’ll keep doing this until it’s released around the middle of March, 2020. Today I give you the first chapter…

 

It is Finished

Smoke from distant campfires drifted up the hill. Anna crept closer, the evening sun throwing her shadow along the path and onto his legs, his body hidden behind a boulder, his feet bare and splattered with dried blood. I hoped Anna wouldn’t see the rest of him, his throat slit, abdomen split open.

A raven glided down, flapped to a stop, and perched on the boulder, watching Anna inch closer. With knees trembling, eyes watering, and jaw quivering, she rested her hand on the boulder, trying to steady herself. The raven watched. Then, she leaned around the boulder and looked down. I could almost see the terror writhe inside her, constricting the tendons in her neck, contorting her face, overpowering her as fast as an avalanche roaring down a hill.

I feared for Anna—could she cope with more death? Could she survive mine?

(read the rest of Chapter 1 on my cjpenn.com website)


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New Novel, New Website

In support of publishing my first novel in a couple of months, I’m now launching my new author website, at cjpenn.com. The site went live late yesterday. This is a big step on my writing path, and I’m a bit nervous about it.

Working cover – final cover in design

Regarding my novel, I had previously posted a little something (link), and now I’d like to tell you a bit more.

We Called Him Yeshua

You know him by his Greek name, Jesus Christ. We see a lot in the Bible about Jesus’ story and his messages, as written by some of His closest disciples. But we rarely see the point of view of those outside the inner circle, whose lives Jesus changed with his acts of love and compassion. This soon-to-be-published novel tries to see Jesus and those times through the eyes of such people.

They knew Jesus by his Hebrew name, Yeshua. (read more on my new website)

In the weeks leading up to the book launch, I’ll be posting sample chapters on my cjpenn.com site. Once the book is live on Amazon, I’ll post a notice for a promo week, where the Kindle version will be free, and the paperback will be priced as low as Amazon will allow. If you’d like me to notify you about these upcoming events, please follow the link (cjpenn.com) and sign up to receive book launch email notices.


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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!