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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Stress – It’s an Epidemic… But with a Cure

Stress Time cover

Check out this small sample of statistics from The American Institute of Stress:

  • 44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did 5 years ago
  • 1 in 5 Americans experience “extreme stress”
  • 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful;

Follow this link (http://www.stress.org/stress-is-killing-you/) to even bleaker statistics on the effects of stress. Or maybe don’t – the data just might add to your stress.

I read somewhere that stress is considered an epidemic in the United States, and probably all over the world. After all, humanity has a talent for creating stress-inducing situations. I sure suffer from it, though not as often and not nearly as intensely as I used to. In fact, feelings of stress are getting rarer for me.

Several months ago I made a decision to escape the stress in my life, without actually escaping life. And I kept a journal of what I learned and felt as I eventually found a way out of the stress pit I had dug for myself. And I’ve turned that journal into a book which I’m giving away for free. (more on that here: Not for the Money).

Now to be perfectly candid, if you don’t think you could ever be open to believing Jesus Christ is who he said he is, then my book won’t help you – you’re on your own in dealing with your stress. But even if your thoughts on Jesus amount to only a mild curiosity, it’s possible this book could lead you to true peace, and freedom from the stress pit that may hold you prisoner.

Now I’m not quite finished with the book – it’s currently at my editor for final fixes. Just a few more weeks and then it will be ready to release. Would you like to check it out? Why not? After all, it’s free. So if you’re interested, sign-up to receive your free pdf copy by clicking on the link below. And then when the book is released, I’ll send you an email with a link to download the book.

And whether you try out this book or not, I wish you the best of luck in your own journey to escape stress.

(Sign up here)


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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 Surrender

Am I here? Have I found it? This feels like it could be right. This feels like it could be the absolute surrender I’ve been chasing for such a long time. Just sitting here in front of my computer, my copy of The Practice of the Presence of God sitting in my lap, eyes closed and mind open to the Spirit of Jesus living within me. And I believe I’ve sincerely offered to Him my life. And by that I mean, I’ve freely and without my own agenda, offered Him my time. What would He like me to do right now? What would He like me to write about?

And I’ve made a mind shift this morning. I have so many writing projects I’d like to work on; books, website changes, blog posts, and more books… lots of planned books to work on. But I’m no longer calling them “planned” books. Instead they are just “ideas” for books. And I’ve offered those ideas to Jesus. If He sees value in any of them, then I believe I have sincerely chosen to trust Him to do something about it, hopefully through me.

Is this true surrender? I think so. I hope so. I’ve been chasing surrender for such a long time, off and on. I hope I’ve finally caught up with it.


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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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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.