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Jesus Came for People Who Need Help

Michael Murray Author Interview

Nobody Left Out – Jesus Meets the Messes is an encouraging Christian-based Self-Help devotional for readers struggling in life. Why was this an important book for you to write?

I wanted people to see the love and compassion Jesus has for people who don’t have it all together. I have a heart for people who feel left out.

I have cerebral palsy, and while I love the life I have, I understand the feeling of being left out. So it was important for me to remind people who feel the same way that Jesus came for people like them. Jesus came for people who need help, not for people who are perfect!

The Bible can be an intimidating piece of literature, and it’s hard to know where to begin. If you are struggling in life, I would say the best place to start is by reading stories about Jesus. There are so many stories in the Bible about Jesus meeting people in their mess and brokenness. I chose eight of these stories to highlight in the book, and honestly, there were many more I could have included. I tried to pick stories that encompassed a wide variety of struggles and situations. In some stories, the characters find themselves in a mess due to their choices and mistakes. But in others, they were thrown into a mess through no fault of their own. Either way, Jesus doesn’t forget them. He includes them in God’s story.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The biggest theme is Jesus’ love for people in the middle of a mess. My heart breaks for people who think their lives must be “perfect” for God to love them. It also breaks for people who have been harshly judged by Christians. As Christians, we should be the least judgemental people on the planet! The theme that Jesus meets us in our mess and brokenness is one that I hope will resonate with people. I know it’s a message I need to be reminded of every single day.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

That God’s love is big enough for everyone! It’s my hope that as people read these eight encounters, they will see themselves in the stories. I think we can relate to a lot of these messy situations. By seeing how Jesus met the characters in their mess, I pray people will see how Jesus can meet them in theirs. I want readers to know that no matter what situation they are dealing with right now, Jesus doesn’t want them to be left out of the story God is writing.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The next book in the Nobody Left Out series is titled Waves of Grace. It’s based on the book of Jonah in the Old Testament. Most people are familiar with the story of Jonah getting swallowed by the big fish. But there’s so much more to the tale than that! The story of Jonah is a true “Nobody Left Out” story. It’s a story about how God’s love is for all people and the lengths God will go to prove that. It’s also a pretty funny book that uses satire to get its message of grace across. I’m excited to “dive into” this story with others. Nobody Left Out: Waves of Grace will be released on May 17th, 2022!

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

A lonely thief.

An unwelcome dinner guest.

A death-row criminal facing his final hours on earth.

What do all of these people have in common?

They all faced the messiness of life. Some made the mess themselves. Some were thrown headfirst into a mess through no fault of their own.

Then something changed. It wasn’t that they suddenly became unmessy. But they each came face to face with Jesus, and he invited them to be part of God’s story. He didn’t leave them out.

This 40-day devotional looks at eight encounters Jesus had with messy, broken people. In short, daily readings, you’ll explore each story and see how Jesus met each person in their mess.

The eight stories we’ll be walking through together are:
Jesus Meets The Lonely Thief
Jesus Meets The Know-It-All
Jesus Meets The Unwelcome Dinner Guest
Jesus Meets The Woman Who Was Exploited
Jesus Meets The Sick Woman & The Dead Girl
Jesus Meets The Blind Man With Perfect Vision
Jesus Sees The Invisible Widow
Jesus Meets The Honest Criminal

Whether you’ve been following Jesus your whole life or have never cracked open a Bible, Nobody Left Out: Jesus Meets the Messes will remind you that God’s love is big enough for everyone….

He doesn’t want anyone left out!

Nobody Left Out – Jesus Meets the Messes

Nobody Left Out – Jesus Meets the Messes: A 40-Day Devotional for Messy, Broken People (Like Me!) is an upbeat book that will help you get out of the mess you are in and also help you know yourself better. Michael Murray uses biblical stories and real-life experiences to talk about the complexities of life and how we can make our living experiences better. The author makes readers feel like they belong and is not judgmental. He understands that all his readers have their shortcomings.

Want to live a righteous life? Picking yourself up? Struggling with understanding the purpose of life? When you read Nobody Left Out, readers will feel the presence of other people that have gone through similar struggles. Reading this book will expand how readers think and improve their reasoning abilities. The author makes readers feel like they are a child of God and unique in everything they have. Michael Murray is not only a talented writer, he has the ability to give readers an encouraging outlook. This book is inspiring and eye-opening.

There are many lessons and messages shared in Nobody Left Out, patience, forgiveness, hope, faith, peace, tolerance, and much more. The biggest lesson, however, is about love. The author, through his text, preaches about the love of God and how God never leaves his people. By loving God and other humans, we get to live graciously and contentedly.

The eight stories the author shares in this book are all-powerful. There are, however, three stories that spoke to me on a different level. The story about Jesus meeting the unwelcome dinner guest, Jesus meeting the invisible widow, and Jesus meeting the honest criminal were the three stories that had me reflect on certain things about life.

Nobody Left Out – Jesus Meets the Messes: A 40-Day Devotional for Messy, Broken People (Like Me!) is recommended to any reader who wants to turn a new leaf, believers, and people who wish to strengthen their faith.

Pages: 126 | ASIN : B08MY583G8

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No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were?

No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were? by [Johnson, Christopher]

No Reflection: Are You Who You Thought You Were? By Christopher Johnson is an introspective religious and spiritual book. It contains many quotes from the Bible as well as quotes from famous people and some other religious figures with thoughts connecting it. Each chapter in the book covers a topic, such as love and forgiveness and then they all follow the same formula of having different quotes and speculation on these quotes. Johnson mentions in the book that his work is the result of conversations with different people in his life and his thoughts on these quotes.

Johnson’s work is interesting. He has quotes followed up with statements that are thoughts on these subject matters. The thoughts connecting these quotes are not always religious, some of them are statements referring to life, but the bulk of them are religious. In addition to quotes, there are topics for each chapter, and some contain metaphors. The metaphors, connecting quotes and thoughts are well done and seamlessly flow into one another. I quite enjoyed the vampire metaphor a lot. It fits into what the author was doing with that chapter perfectly, and I never thought of why vampires cannot go into the sunlight before, but his explanation of it made sense and fit so well with the text. Another analogy I greatly enjoyed was the tortoise and the hare. Johnson relates this to life and states that some are fast to separate but slow to come together, and I found that I agreed with that to a point.

I think for some, this book could be controversial, more specifically the parts addressing homosexuality. I personally do not agree with the sentiments made. I think when making claims similar to these, it would have been nice to have other sources other than Bible quotes and quotes from people that back up thoughts to make it more balanced. Without the balance, it comes off more as a strictly religious text. I do not think Johnson is intending to be biased, but I would have enjoyed other sources with similar statements.

Some of it seems contradictory at times too. For instance saying that God does not have a part in everything because He gave us free will and does not pull all the strings in everything, but then stated God supplies our money. But from the text, it would seem if we choose to work to make money, then we are supplying money through choice. Definitely a mind bender! The book is definitely thought-provoking at times, such as the chapter on forgiveness. That was an interesting read.

Overall, I liked the book. I would recommend this book to those who are open to religious talks, as the book felt like a church sermon in each chapter, or those who are of Christian faith. I am open to seeing others’ perceptions and thoughts who are different from my own, so it was an engaging read and food for thought.

Pages: 144 | ASIN: B07964NR4B

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Jesus is Coming Back Tomorrow at 4:30 pm, Pack a Bag!

Author Interview

Truth and The Serpent explores an alternate creation story that follows the serpent from the Garden of Eden. What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?

Once I decided to write this story, I immediately determined that I wanted it to be different in some way. If it’s the same old thing then why write it at all. Honestly, I didn’t know if that was even possible, as these stories have been overdone so many times.

The major theme of the story is true versus untrue or consistent versus inconsistent, unlike every other story you hear of about religion. Where God/ religion is all fake and the explanation is aliens, monkeys, and sun worship. Or its all real, and Jesus is coming back tomorrow at 4:30 pm, pack a bag!

The issue with stories dealing with religion is that they are usually examined through the scope of morality. But morality is not a constant, which changes with culture and time. So, as I was developing the Serpent character I searched to find something to argue other than morality, which is based on perception, and not facts. I decided that even though there were may inconsistencies in these stories there was information within them, that was consistent or true for everyone.

Then I realized that that was a good discussion to have, and one that I had never heard of with these stories. Thus the Serpent would argue consistent information, and the Man of the Present, would represent our everyday biased understanding of these stories. The discussion and theme soon changed from morality, to the impact that these stories have had on culture and society. This is why the Serpent does not debate the existence of God, or Heaven or Hell, because it’s irrelevant. As culture and society deem which acts are “wrong” and which acts are “forgivable.” Once I removed that from the narrative, I could then be honest with the Serpent Character.

I felt that there were a lot of great twists and turns throughout the novel. Did you plan this before writing the novel, or did the twists present themselves to you as you writing?

No, there was no way I could have planned that the story would unfold and then end the way it did. I had an idea for each chapter, but once I got in there they became something more. The original story was a page and a half, and was literally just rewriting the Garden of Eden story form the Serpent’s point of view. It came out well, and then I thought to myself, what would it look like if I continued…

To me most of it was not a twist, but merely a change of perspective. One thing to note, is that every time we are told these stories, we subconsciously put ourselves on the side of the “good narrative” or the “victim/ saved narrative.” By doing so we only see certain things. For example, while writing the chapter “The Earth” which covers Noah/ the flood. Once the flood came I instantly put the Serpent inside the Ark, because that’s just what our minds do. I came up with a scenario that the Serpent was camouflaged hiding in the haystacks, which I’m glad I didn’t go with. But then it hit me, why does the serpent have to be inside? The Serpent is a reptile, there are sea snakes, Sea Serpents of legend even… what would happen if I put the Serpent outside.

I did, and then everything opened up. My mind began to explore this world in a way I had never done before. I soon found that the Serpent was the perfect vehicle to do this with, as putting him outside would not affect our opinion of him, while the same couldn’t be done with the human characters. It was difficult to navigate these stories from this perspective, but once I separated my ego from the subject, I was able to write the story.

I felt that the biblical aspects in this novel were expertly used. What kind of research did you do for this story?

One I read the bible for myself. Second, I removed my ego from the equation. Writing this book was not about me, it is at its core a talking animal story that takes place in the what if universe. That is, in itself, about as fictitiously fantastical fake as you can get. However, once I started reading for myself, I quickly saw how inconsistent the biblical stories were. Then on top of that, there is the commercial understanding that we have been taught and sold.

One thing to note, is that Christianity does not own these stories, and they exist in many other cultures and beliefs. For that matter this could very well be Muslim Fiction, Jewish Fiction, or Zoroastrian fiction. We live in a western world, so that is our first thought, but these stories have existed long before there ever was a Christian church. Additionally, this story is not about religion, it is a story of humanity as seen through the eyes of the Serpent character.

Then, once I got started I didn’t limit myself to the bible. As you will note I make references to spirituality, mythology, history, science, and math. I researched and looked up everything, not just say Noah’s Ark the tale, but what Noah’s name meant. I looked up what causes a flood, what happens to flood waters, how does it impact species and topsoil and later plant growth. I viewed the events not as only divine wrath, but in natural real terms. i.e. the animals going to the Ark, is explained as animals changing their migrations. Then I asked, what could cause a change in animal migrations and so on. I then added these definitions to the biblical story, which then added new depth and meaning. I would say that I had about 100 pages of printed notes for each chapter. I looked up everything trying to find something tangible and meaningful beyond the everyday wrath, salvation, and lightshow.

Once I did that, the stories came alive and were now three dimensional, taking on new meanings that I didn’t see coming. But none of that would have been possible if I didn’t research meticulously. Most of all, I didn’t just ask questions, I sought out rational answers as if, I was actually having this epic discussion. So, in a way, it was me asking the questions that I never got an answer to, and using the “absurd Serpent in the what if universe” as a platform to have this discussion, which somehow worked.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

Next is Serpent book 2. It will be the Serpent and another human character who live during the time of Jesus. The Serpent will be his obnoxiously colorful self, adding sarcastic commentary to the events as they unfold. It has a title, but I’m not releasing it until I finish writing it. I have notes started and have started planning out the chapters, but I have not begun writing the dialogue and narrative. Hopefully, I will start officially on it January 2018.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Truth and The Serpent by [Rutledge, J.]What if you encountered a dark and sinister character of not so subtle reputation? One whose origins are the very meaning of temptation and sin. 

What do we really know of creation, myth, and belief? There was a Man, a Woman, a Garden, and of course… a Serpent. Yet, what we have come to know as temptation, and mortal sin are only one side of the story. You see, three sinned, and three were punished, but only two were expelled from the Garden, but afterwards…what happened to the Serpent? 

A present day man finds himself eye to eye with the infamous Serpent of curse and ruin. The Serpent who characteristically makes the man an offer to learn not just what happened, but why. 

A tale unlike any other, where the fall of man is not weighed on a scale of good or evil, but in truth and lies. The Serpent whose intellect, sarcasm, and wit cultivates over time as he appraises the history of man and religious lore. The Serpent who is also on a journey of self-discovery to learn the meaning of that ill-fated encounter and the purpose of his own life. 

Come to know the unsung story of one who lived through creation, survived the great deluge, witnessed a mass exodus, and the rise and fall of exalted kings of men. Could such a tale, as told by a forked tongue, be the end of lies, and the beginning… of the truth.

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