Get your copy of my debut book this weekend at the Perryton Arts & Crafts Festival!

For those of you who live in Perryton and the surrounding area, I’m excited to let you know that I will have a book booth featuring my debut book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, this coming weekend at the Perryton Satellite Center’s Annual Arts & Crafts Festival at the Expo Center.

My booth will be open at the following times:

  • Saturday, November 18, from 9 AM – 6 PM
  • Sunday, November 19, from 11 AM – 4 PM

Your name will be entered in a drawing for a FREE eBook when you join my e-mail list at the festival. There will be a drawing at the end of both days, so there are two chances to win!

Would you do me a huge favor, please?

Will you help me get the word out by sharing this announcement (with the buttons below) on your Facebook and Twitter feeds?

Thanks in advance!

God Built this House for Us in 1923!

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two years since Steven and I signed the papers on our new old house. I still can’t believe we get to live in this 94-year-old home. I’ve said many times, “God built this house for us in 1923!”

Yeah, I know we were both born forty-one years after it was built, but God exists in the eternal now (outside of this time dimension) and knows everything. I believe Steven and I were on His heart while it was being built from the ground up.

I wish I could go back in time and watch it being built and meet the families who lived in it before us. The families who loved it so much, they didn’t paint the beautiful woodwork inside or change the ornate light fixtures and antique doorknobs .

We got married in 1997 with a mountain of combined debt, so buying a house was a seemingly elusive dream.  Up until we bought this, we lived in two different rent houses and a duplex for all of our married life.

All I can say is that God’s timing is perfect. He knew all along when this gorgeous, antique house would become ours. And the inside and outside face lift didn’t involve anything major. Mostly, it was just cleaning, painting, and replacing some light fixtures in the kitchen, guest bedroom, and bathroom.

If you would like to take a look at “Our New Old House,” please click here or on the above photo.

I just wanted to share a little bit of our personal lives in my post today. Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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What God Taught Me through Mrs. Stuart’s Cookies

Today's sweet and slightly spiritual lesson

I will never forget that day in Mrs. Brown’s third and fourth grade class (our school was so small, they combined classes). It was Dennis Stuart’s turn to bring class refreshments.

That’s the hallowed day when I was introduced to Mrs. Stuart’s No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.

All I could think as I was relishing every divine morsel and washing it down with ice-cold milk from my half-pint carton was Where have you been all my life? All ten long years of it.

To this day—if I even smell these mouth-watering goodies—I’m a goner. Any sense of self-control is just an illusion.

That’s when I try to rationalize my decision to indulge: Oatmeal is in one of the four major food groups, right? 

Can you relate?

I’ve spent lots of years trying to make No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies as delicious as Mrs. Stuart’s, but I think she will always be the “No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Queen” in my eyes.

Here’s one recipe I got out of my bright pink Perryton Full Gospel Church cookbook almost twenty years ago (Thanks, Edna Lee Grimmer for the wedding present and Alice Pingleton for the recipe!):

2 c. sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1 stick oleo
1/2 c. milk
3 c. quick-cooking rolled oats, uncooked
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. nuts
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, cocoa, oleo and milk and bring to a boil. Mix in other ingredients, drop on foil and let cool.

I guess I have a lot of my mom in me when it comes to cooking and baking. I like to tweak recipes just to see if I can make them even tastier.

So, what follows is my tweaking:

Start with a medium-sized sauce pan on medium-high heat.

Just like the recipe says, add your 2 cups of sugar, 1/2 cup of cocoa (any brand will do), and whatever you do, DO NOT substitute margarine for real butter! (Butter is always better.)

Then add 1/2 cup whole milk (the creamier the better!) and stir with a wooden spoon (not sure why wooden; that’s just what I’ve always used). Hey, that reminds of the story of the inquisitive daughter watching her mom bake a ham.

Anyway … bring all of those ingredients to a boil. Remove from heat, then add 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (don’t skimp with the imitation stuff here).

Now, here comes my biggest tweak in the recipe; one that took me a few batches to figure out.

Instead of 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/2 cup of nuts, add 1 heaping cup of crunchy peanut butter and stir until it’s all melted in the chocolate mixture.

Then add 3 cups of oats (I use Old-Fashioned Oats because they’re just oatier—sorry, English teachers!) and stir well. (You could also add 1 tsp of cinnamon if you like chocolate and cinnamon together.)

Finally, drop by large tablespoons full onto a sheet of aluminum foil.

I double-dog dare you to try to wait until they’re cool before you get a taste. (Insert big smiley-faced emoji here.)

Now, lest you think I’ve done a 360 and gone all Betty Crocker (instead of Bible-based blogger) on you, God taught me a major spiritual lesson when I was trying to get these cookies to turn out like Mrs. Stuart’s.

When I followed the original recipe, my cookies were too soft; they didn’t set.

So, I reasoned that adding more oatmeal should fix the problem. Makes sense, right?

It didn’t work, though. They had more oatmeal in them, but they were still gooey.

That’s when I thought about exchanging the 1/2 cup peanut butter and the 1/2 cup of nuts for 1 heaping cup of crunchy peanut butter.

Guess what? Making that exchange made all the difference! Mrs. Francis’ No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies ended up turning out pretty good. (Still not as good as Mrs. Stuart’s.)

Now, for the spiritual parallel:

When life stops working the way we want it to, what we usually do is add more “TRY” to the mix, thinking that should do the trick.

Instead, what we end up with is one big WEARY mess.

The thing is, God doesn’t want us to crank out our self-sufficient, natural strength and “try harder” when life gets especially hard. (He doesn’t even want us to live from our natural strength in the not-so-hard times.)

Rather, He wants us to acknowledge that the God of the universe lives in us 24/7/365 and exchange our “do it ourselves” attitudes with “God, I’m going to trust in Your supernatural strength within me to do it all through me!”

“God, instead of living my life for You, I choose to live from Your all-sufficient life that is inseparably fused to mine!”

What do you say? Are you up for the challenge?

Are you willing to exchange your 1/2 c. peanut butter + 1/2 c. nuts (your self-sufficiency) for 1 heaping cup of crunchy peanut butter (God’s All-Sufficiency)?

All it takes is a little mental tweaking and a lot of practice. When you learn this way of living, I think you will find a skip in your step and a smile on your face a lot more often.

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed my somewhat silly illustration today. I’m wondering, has God ever taught you spiritual lessons through your day-in and day-out activities?

Everything’s spiritual when we are depending on the Spirit of Christ to live His life through us!

Until next time,
Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I post, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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New Seasons & Next Steps

Even though September 1 does not mark the beginning of the astronomical fall season, it does mark the beginning of the meteorological fall season. I’ve always sided with the weather man’s definition of my favorite season.

It’s fall, y’all!

I get strangely giddy every year at this time. (Smile.)

Wondering if giddy was the right adjective to describe how this season makes me feel, I looked up the definition at Dictionary.com. And guess what I found out?

The word comes from the phrase “possessed by a divine being.” It’s true! I am possessed by a divine being—the Spirit of Christ.

I love it that God is continually reminding me that I belong to Him and He belongs to me. I am His and He is mine (Song 6:3).

Okay, now I’m getting even giddier.

Allow me to tell you why fall is my “savorite” season:

  • Gorgeous colors of the leaves on most trees
  • Pumpkin spice flavored goodies begin to appear and quickly disappear from grocery store shelves (You better grab your can of Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Mix while you can!)
  • Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin cake, carrot cake (Did I tell you I have a sweet tooth?)
  • Breathing in the scent of my “Leaves” Bath & Body candle
  • Breathing in the fragrance of my “Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin” Bath & Body hand soap
  • Decorating my house with fall colors
  • Morning coffee is more enjoyable in cooler temps
  • Going for walks any time of day in the brisk cooler temps
  • Grilled cheese and tomato soup season (Whole30, move over!)
  • Soup season
  • Makes me want to revert to my childhood and watch Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day
  • Makes me want to watch Dan In Real Life and every autumn-themed Hallmark movie ever made
  • Thanksgiving
  • September is my birthday month. I’ll turn 53 on the 29th. I’m so thankful to be forever alive in Christ on planet earth at this time in history!

I would love it if you would comment below by sharing your favorite things about fall.

Not only does September 1 mark the beginning of the meteorological season of fall, it also marks the beginning of a new phase in the publishing of my book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love!

Just this morning, I signed the final approval  for it to go to print. Whew!

It’s been quite a journey.

I started writing this book back in 2008, did a pilot study in 2010, purchased a self-publishing package from WestBow Press, the Christian self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson/Zondervan in 2012, submitted my first manuscript in 2014, resubmitted it in 2016, and now, after several revisions, it’s about to be released.

If all goes as planned (we’ll see), it will be in traditional and online bookstores by September 24.

This book is an intimate, interactive devotional study on the first two chapters of the Song of Songs. It highlights God’s pursuing love for His bride, the church (Christian men, you’re the bride too), and the great lengths He goes to in order to reveal His personal passion for her—to her (it’s a spiritual role, not a physical gender).

I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for the 83 people on my Pursuing Love Launch Team. These team members will be sharing the news about my first book with people they know through e-mail and social media, which is a huge blessing to me.

If you regularly search the Internet, you already know there are tons of people self-publishing new books everyday. That said, it’s not an easy thing to get your work noticed in this noisy cyber-world.

To be completely honest with you, promoting my book is my least favorite part (my favorite part was the actual sensing of God writing its words through me) of this process.

When you publish a book, you put your work out there for the world to either ignore, criticize, or praise. And let’s be honest, no one likes being ignored or criticized (I’m not talking about constructive criticism).

I also don’t want anyone to think that I’m saying, “Hey, look at me! I’m somebody special because I wrote a book.”

The thing is, I was somebody special before I ever wrote a single word of His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love.

If you think I’m being arrogant, think again.

I am somebody special because Father God knit me together in my mother’s womb, re-created me in Christ when I believed in (into) Him, and loves me with the same intensity in which He loves His Son, Jesus Christ (Ps. 139:13; John 17:23, Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:17, 21).

My identity is found in Christ alone, not in the Amazon Best Sellers list.

Whether His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love flops or flourishes, my one desire is that God would draw every one who is ready to receive His extravagant love in tangible ways to relish this study.

If you are excited for what God might do through my book, would you pray for me and my launch?

Also, if you would like to be “in” on my publishing loop, you can:

  • Like my Facebook author Page, Kim K Francis, click on the “Following” button to adjust your notifications to “See First.”
  • Follow me on Twitter.
  • Subscribe to this blog by going to my Contact page and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Then fill in your name and e-mail address and you will get a FREE PDF copy of “Who I Am in Christ IS Who I Am!” 

Just so you know, I have already started writing the sequel, His Banner Over Me Is Sustaining Love. The overriding theme of this study of Song of Songs, chapters 3–5, is how God sustains us in the midst of heartbreaking, gut-wrenching circumstances.

God has been preparing me to write this second installment in the series through sustaining me during one of the most difficult nine-year seasons in my life. (I’m still on the tail-end of it.)

Nine years is a long time.

Well, maybe not to God—who sees the whole picture and holds our times in His hands (Ps. 31:14-16). I’m choosing to trust and rest in His superintending guidance of the time I have left on planet earth.

Speaking of rest (and in closing), I would like to wish everyone in the U.S. a safe, restful, and happy Labor Day weekend!

Fall-lovers: Don’t forget to share all of your favorite things about fall by commenting on this post!

photo credit: Dave Hilditch Photography Autumn Textures via photopin(license)

Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links in post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Until next time,

Live Christ—Live Happy!

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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Are You the Ideal Candidate for My Launch Team?

If you love Jesus, you might be!

No man (or woman) is an island. My efforts alone will not get my book into the hands of every believer in Christ who longs to enjoy a richer love relationship with Him.

Are you one of those believers? If so, you might be the ideal candidate for my debut book launch team.

I’ve got an extensive marketing and promotion plan to launch His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, my six-week intimate and interactive study of the first two chapters of the Song of Solomon, dynamically designed to help Christians enjoy profound intimacy with Christ through a crystal clear understanding of their pure, righteous, and holy identity in Him.

This plan has included inviting Jesus-loving people I know to help me launch my book. I am so thankful and super excited that, as of today, almost 70 have said yes!

My goal is to have at least 100 people on my team who are committed to helping out during launch week (approximately four weeks from now) and at regular intervals throughout the year following its release.

So, I decided to open up a brief window of opportunity (until midnight, Wednesday, August 9, 2017) for those who follow my blog, Facebook author page, and for Facebook friends and Twitter followers  to apply for my launch team.

What Is the Role of a Launch Team Member?

  • Praying that God will cause my book to get the attention of Christian men and women who long to enjoy a richer love relationship with Him.
  • Reading a digital copy of my book before its release and posting a review at Amazon and Barnes & Noble the day of its release. You could also copy and paste the same review on other e-tailer sites where my book will be available, including the WestBow Press Bookstore and Christian Book Distributors.
  • Promoting my book through word of mouth, social media, e-mail, and your blog (if you have one). With the help of my social media publicist, I will be creating shareable Facebook posts, tweets, and e-mails, so all you would need to do is share on your existing accounts. (I won’t ask you to create a Twitter account.)
  • Joining my private Facebook group, “Pursuing Love Launch Team.” This will be an online hub where I will interact with my team (and they with each other) by posting prayer requests and shareable promotional posts. I will also do Facebook Live updates on my book’s progress. This group will be in existence for one year.

Are You Interested in Joining My Team? If so, fill out this FORM to apply. (Please let me know if you have trouble submitting the form here.)

Please give me until midnight, Wednesday, August 9, 2017 to collect applications and pick the team.

If you get picked, you will receive an e-mail with a digital copy of my book so you can begin reading it right away and more information about the private Facebook group I will be adding you to.

I’m looking forward to receiving your application!

photo credit: Flying Jenny Liftoff via photopin (license)

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.  If you want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

 

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact

This Man of Mine

Twenty Years Together and Holding Strong

He’s my best friend on this earth, my truth-teller when I’m whiny, and my hard-working-so-I-can-stay-home-and-write cowboy. Today’s post is a tribute to my husband of twenty years (July 19, 1997), Steven Dean Francis.

Two decades of marriage may not seem like much to most people, but it is nothing short of miraculous for me. My marital track record up until this cowboy and I started sparkin’ (his word for our romance) wasn’t good.

It wasn’t good because of the mess of lies that lived in my head for most of my life:

  • “You’ll be happy when you marry the perfect man (I sometimes tend to be idealistic).”
  • “You’ll be happy when you have children.”
  • “You’ll be happy when you have a teaching career.”
  • “You’ll be happy when you get a nose job and lose that extra weight.”
  • “You’ll be happy when you make enough money to buy … what will make you happy.”

Can you relate?

I’m still amazed that Steven chose me. Our union is a perfect example of God’s love, sovereignty, grace, and faithfulness.

Ours isn’t a love-at-first-sight story.

In the fall of 1964, we were both delivered by the same pipe-smokin’, suspender-wearin’, kid-scarin’ doctor in Spearman, Texas. Steven grew up there, but my family moved around the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles a lot—due to my dad’s work in the oilfield.

Steven was in the same grade as my cousin and knew my extended family well. But I didn’t meet him until 1992. That was when I started waiting tables at my mom’s restaurant—the Palo Duro Cafe in Spearman, Texas. He was farming at that time.

We knew each other as acquaintances for four years.

I remember well the morning I got down on my knees and asked God to put the man of His choice in my life. That was the first time I ever did that, so I knew He was at work.

Two weeks later, He placed His heavenly spotlight on Steven. God had answered my prayer in a most unexpected way and at almost lightning speed.

We started dating on my thirty-second birthday and were married before both of our thirty-third birthdays. I’m almost two months older than him. You would think I was a lot older by the way he tells everyone he married an “older” woman. (Smile.)

One day at lunch (about eight months into our love story) over sandwiches and tropical punch flavored Kool Aid, he popped the question.

Well, sort of.

It sounded something like this: We’re together all the time anyway, so don’t you think we might as well get married? (Pretty romantic, huh?)

I could hardly believe it. He actually wanted to say “I do” to someone whom most eligible, never-been-married bachelors might have considered “damaged goods.” I had a twelve-year-old son. And (this is a big AND) I couldn’t have any more children.

I almost backed out … for his sake. In my mind, he deserved better. (Tears.)

But God was unrelenting. He would not allow it. And I’m so thankful!

Steven and I both knew God put us together. So, all we’ve wanted to do from that point forward is to live our lives as a thank offering to Him.

We moved to Perryton, Texas, on our first anniversary and have lived here ever since—still seeking God’s direction for our lives and loving (almost) every minute of it.

Our love story in a nutshell? We fell in love with each other. Then, we fell in love with Jesus.

I’m sure if Father God had His druthers, He would have liked for our romance to have happened the other way around. But it didn’t.

That’s amazing grace.

I’m going to take next week off from blogging to celebrate God’s miraculous match-making abilities with this man of mine.

I will be posting this Friday, though. I’ll share the message in MercyMe’s song, “Hello Beautiful,” from their newest album, Lifer (what would’ve been today’s post in my Wednesday Summer Song Series).

If you haven’t read all of my posts since launching on March 1, there are over forty in the archives. Next week would be an opportune time to catch up!

Also, if you would like my posts delivered every Wednesday and Friday at noon to your e-mail inbox, please subscribe in the upper right-hand corner (or bottom left) of my blog.

When you sign up, I will send you a free PDF of “Who I Am In Christ IS Who I Am!”. It contains over two hundred illuminating passages on the believer’s identity in Christ.

In closing, do you have a love story to tell? If so, I would love to hear it!

Until next month!

 

 

 

 

 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact

Have You Ever Been Kissed Awake?

Have you ever been kissed awake? This question might remind you of the sweet, memorable line by little Pattie-Cake Spencer in the 1963 film, Spencer’s Mountain (The Waltons was a spin-off from this movie). Her oldest brother, Clayboy, has come upstairs to wake her up, but she doesn’t want to get out of bed yet. So she says, “Kiss me awake, Clayboy!”

While I watched this endearing scene, I immediately thought about all the times I had been kissed awake. And I’m not talking about being kissed awake by an affectionate human being or pet.

I’m talking about being kissed awake by God.

It happened again just this morning. Right as I was waking up, the song that was playing in my head was “Silly Love Songs”—one of my favorites from the 70s by Paul McCartney & Wings.

The chorus, I…love…you…was playing over and over in my mind. Can you hear it?

I could’ve thought, Hmm, I wonder why that song is playing in my head. But I didn’t. I knew exactly where it was coming from.

It was Jesus wooing me—first thing in the morning. He was reminding me that I am the object of His supreme affection and that I am always on His heart and mind. Even while I’m sleeping.

Christian, do you realize that Jesus never dozes off and continually sings over you while you are sleeping?

If you need His Word and His Spirit to convince you, here’s the proof:

Isn’t it a wonderful thing to know that even when we are asleep, our Spiritual Bridegroom never sleeps and is continually serenading us?

I am so thankful that He lives in me twenty-four/seven and continually reminds that I am His and He is mine (Song of Songs 6:3).

I’m wondering, have you ever been kissed awake by God?

I would love to hear your story.

Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links in post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Until next time,

 

 

 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact

It’s Almost Time!

An Update on My Publishing Journey

Writing and publishing a book is a lot like having a baby.  Much preparation, anticipation, and jubilation (and some worry) fill each moment—from the positive pregnancy test—to our ever-expanding waistline—until our unseen miracle finally decides to come out of hiding.

I had an extremely easy pregnancy with my son. I wish I could say the same about the actual birthing process. My due date, December 6, 1984, came and went without so much as a cramp. Wesley just wasn’t ready to make his appearance, even though he was plenty big. (Well, his  five-foot, two-inch mother was anyway.)

My doctor was in Pampa, Texas, thirty-two miles from Mobeetie. So, there was a little bit of apprehension, given that I had never give birth before. My mom told me that she was in labor with my oldest brother, Mark, for more than twenty-four hours. I was sure hoping mine didn’t last that long. But then again, I didn’t have any idea what to expect.

There was another glitch. The Texas Panhandle was expecting a major ice storm, so my doctor decided to induce my labor the morning of December 10 (and he was leaving on a snow-skiing vacation that evening!). After twenty-six hours of labor, my doctor’s partner in practice broke my water, I went into hard labor, and the delivery room nurses began making bets about the sex of my baby (we didn’t have routine sonograms back then).

On December 11, at 4:30 in the afternoon, Wesley Ryan Hathaway, a bright-eyed and healthy eight-pound, five-ounce baby boy, entered this world. I was overjoyed and thankful that he was finally here! And today, I couldn’t be more proud of the Jesus-loving man he has become.

I didn’t know then that Wesley would be my only child. I had a hysterectomy when I was thirty years old, so when Steven and I got married in July 1997, we both knew that there wouldn’t be any children in our future—unless we adopted. We prayed about it, but never felt like that was something God wanted for us.

Now, after almost twenty years of marriage, we know that God had something entirely different in mind for us. And, in a sense, Steven and I are having a baby—my first book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love. While Steven didn’t cowrite this book with me, he has read and reread it at different stages, offering valuable insights.

Steven has believed in this God-given dream since the moment it was conceived in my heart and spoken out of my mouth. And he has done nothing but support and encourage me throughout this entire almost nine-year process. Steven believed in me even when I didn’t. Even when I thought I was going to have a miscarriage (at several different stages), he pushed and cheered me on. Nine years is a long time to see the birth—the realization—of a dream. But now, I’m so happy to say, “It’s almost time!

I have learned a lot (probably just as much about what not to do as to do) through this huge undertaking. In 2012, at the advice of a published author whom I respect, I purchased a publishing package through WestBow Press, the Christian self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. That’s when the commitment became real. It wasn’t cheap.

And now, over five years later, the only part of the process that’s left is for me to do the final review of the proofs of the manuscript I submitted this past Monday. If everything goes according to plan, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love should be in print by next month, July 2017—exactly nine years from when the dream of writing this book was first implanted in my heart and I began punching away at the keys on my laptop.

In 2003, I remember hearing a Bible teacher talk about coauthoring a book, saying, “We decided to write a book together … and ten years later, it’s finally in print.” I remember thinking, Why did it take so long? Now, I know how it’s possible. There are some things you just don’t understand, until you experience them.

Part of the process of publishing a book is asking people you know and respect to read your book and offer an endorsement for it—if they like it. So, I would like to close today’s post by sharing a couple of the endorsements I’ve received:

This book called me to deeper, more passionate love for our Bridegroom. With intensive research, thoughtful insights and personal experience, Kim Francis makes the Song of Songs come alive. Using contemporary examples ranging from ‘do not disturb’ signs and overdrawn checking accounts, she makes application to this timeless, and often overlooked, portion of Scripture. The book also provides diagrams, study questions, and book and song resources.”—Latayne C. Scott, award-winning author

A beautifully crafted, in-depth study of the Song of Solomon. A gifted mentor and writer, Kim Francis weaves relatable examples with biblical truths to bring deeper insights into this ultimate love story. I highly recommend this study for those who long for and are ready to seek deeper intimacy with Christ.”—Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Stardust


Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed today’s post. I’m wondering …

  1. Has God given you a dream?
  2. If yes, what is it and are you currently taking steps to see it come to pass?
  3. If no, ask Him if there is something that He would like to birth through the gift of your life on planet earth. 
 photo credit: rosenblume75 Babybauch 1 via photopin (license)

 

 Until next time,

 

 

 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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Are You a “Lifer” in Christ?

2017 MercyMe Summer Song Series

I love wholesome Christian music that you can’t help but marry. Music you can dance to, walk to, work out to, clean house to, listen with your kids and grandkids to, worship God to, cry to, sing for joy to, and experience new covenant truth through. That’s why I decided to do a summer song series on MercyMe’s newest album, Lifer, released in March of this year.

I would have never chosen to devote ten Wednesday blog posts to share the message in every song on this album unless I was passionate about what this twenty-three-year-old Christian band is belting out in their newest albums. It started with The Hurt and the Healer (2012), progressed to Welcome to the New (2014), and now, ladies and gentlemen, Lifer. Their albums just keep getting gracier and gracier. Yeah, I made that word up. But I think it fits.

Last Wednesday, in my premiere post for this series, I shared the backstory of MercyMe’s transition into writing and performing songs that stress the grace message. The finished-work-of-Christ message. The believer’s brand-new-flawless-righteous-and-holy-identity-in-Christ message. The message that changed my life over ten years ago. It was just what the Great Physician ordered for this performance-based-acceptance junkie. My life will never be the same. This Jesus + Nothing = Everything message is the eternal lifeblood that courses through my veins. I’m a lifer in Christ.

The first song (track 1) is titled “Lifer“—the same name as the album. Here’s the brief story behind the song:

Did you catch what Bart Millard, the band’s leader, said? “Christ consumes our heart and shows up in our music.” I love that. When Christ overwhelms our hearts with Himself—His love, grace, mercy, and truth—it’s going to spill over into everything we do.

Now, let’s listen to the entire song.

Aside from the fact that this song makes you want to put on your boogie shoes, forget your worries, and just plain have fun, the message surging through the lyrics is, “No matter what happens to me in this life, whether good or bad, we’re lifers in this together, God.”

The first time I heard the word lifer, it was a dreary reference to someone who was serving a life sentence in prison. The song’s meaning is at the complete opposite end of that bleak spectrum. It is filled with freedom, hope, joy, and the anticipation of life eternal (which has already started – see Track 9) in Christ Jesus. To sum up what Millard said in the Heart Behind the Song video above, “No matter how hard we try, we can’t mess this thing (our walk with Christ) up. Because He’s in it for life, so are we—even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.”

You might ask, “How can he make such an incredible claim?” I think Millard would be the first to tell you that MercyMe is merely one of many messengers sharing the good news of the gospel of grace. Eternal security in Christ is based in God’s infallible Word—because of the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ. The following are just a few of my favorite Scriptures which speak of the believer in Christ’s eternal security:

  • “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
  • “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
  • “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13 NIV).

These aren’t promises that are going to happen some day in the distant future. They are true right now—because of our eternal spiritual union with Christ’s Spirit. I believe Christ’s greatest longing for every believer in Him is to get the revelation that we are eternally and flawlessly fused to Him the moment we actually (literally) believed into Him (His Spirit). Signed (Rev. 22:4). Sealed (Eph. 1:13). Delivered (Col. 1:13). We’re His (Song 6:3). Forever.

MercyMe’s “Lifer,” the first track on their newest album by the same name, is filled with life-giving grace-based lyrics. The group intends to keep sharing what they consider to be the best news ever (see Track 4) as long as they have breath. Not only are they lifers in Christ, but they are twenty-plus years and counting in the Christian music business. Kudos to MercyMe for sharing the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ through their music!

Dear reader, I hope you enjoyed the second post in my summer song series, “Why I Think MercyMe’s Newest Album, Lifer, Is Their Best Ever.” I’m wondering,

What do you think about the song, “Lifer,” and how does it speak to you?

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links in post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Until next time,

 

 

 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

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Not Especially Fond of “The Shack”?

The Shack Cons

Three weeks ago, I published the first post in a series of Wednesday posts titled “Not Especially Fond of ‘The Shack’? The Shack Facts.” In it, I shared facts about The Shack book and its author, William P. Young, for those who knew little or nothing about either. In last Wednesday’s post, I shared what I believed to be the pros of reading/watching The Shack. In today’s (lengthier than usual) post, I will be sharing parts from book and the movie (the movie held true to the message of the book) that raised major red flags of concern in my mind regarding Young’s beliefs about salvation.

I would like to remind you that I am not a scholar or a theologian, but I enjoy researching and then passing on what I’ve learned (spoiler alert). Because The Shack book is a publishing phenomenon and runaway New York Times bestseller that has affected gobs of people (including myself), I believe we should be informed concerning its messages, both biblical and non-biblical.

If you are riding the fence on whether or not to read/see The Shack, I pray that the information provided in my 3-week Wednesday post series will help you make an informed decision, at the very least. At the most, I pray it will encourage you to do your own research. I will warn you, though: it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the sea of information the Internet freely provides.

In 2007, when The Shack book was first released, many Bible-believing Christians were concerned about some of the statements Young makes through the dialogue between Papa, Jesus, Sarayu, and Mack Phillips. “It is a work of fiction,” was a frequent response made in an effort to downplay some of those objections. But–and this is a very important but–no one can deny that most authors write in order to communicate what they most deeply believe. I do. This summer, my first book, His Banner Over Me Is Pursuing Love, will be published. When people ask me what it’s about, I tell them, “It’s basically my heart in a book.”

The following are some of the messages expressed in the novel that set off warning signals in my mind:

  • Page 100, where Papa is talking to Mack: “Humans … are created in my image.” Genesis 1:26-27 says that Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, but after the fall, Genesis 5:1-3 says that Adam “became the father of a son in his (Adam’s) own likeness.” The fall changed everything. The perfect union between God and man was breached when Adam and Eve disobeyed Father God–asserting their independence, rather than remaining perfectly dependent on Him. There are places strewn throughout the book where Papa refers to all of humanity as being her children. (Father God is portrayed as an African American woman through most of the book and movie.) This completely disagrees with Scripture. Only those who are born again (who have believed in Jesus) are referred to as “children of God” (John 1:12, 11:52; Acts 17:29;  Rom. 8:16, 21; 9:8; Phil. 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2, 10; 5:2) in the Bible.
  • Page 103, where Mack is talking to Papa after he noticed the nail scars on her wrists: “I’m so sorry that you, that Jesus, had to die.” God the Father did not die on the cross (God is Spirit, John 4:24). God the Son, who came in human flesh, is the only Person of the Trinity who suffered the horrific cruelty of the cross in His physical body (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:36).
  • Page 182, where Jesus is talking to Mack: “Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslim, Democrats, Republicans, and many who don’t vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian …” Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and 1 Peter 4:16 all refer to those who have believed in Jesus as Christians. I would also like to point out that those in the Bible who are not believers in Christ are referred to as sinners, not saints, and are defined by their sin (murderers, self-righteous). Believers in Christ, however, are referred to as saints and are not defined by their behavior, but by who they eternally are in Him (Rev. 20:12, 15; 21:27).
  • Page 192, where Papa and Mack are talking: Papa: “Honey, you asked me what Jesus accomplished on the cross; so now listen to me carefully: through his death and resurrection, I am now fully reconciled to the world.” Mack: “The whole world? You mean those who believe in you, right?” Papa: “The whole world, Mack. All I am telling you is that reconciliation is a two way street, and I have done my part, totally, completely, finally. It is not the nature of love to force a relationship but it is the nature of love to open the way.” I must admit that there were statements like this one that left me scratching my head, wondering what Young really believed about salvation. What he is saying about God having done His part in reconciling the world to Himself is true (Jesus Christ died on the cross), but a response of faith on the part of each person is required (which Young does not make clear) in order for them to be forgiven, saved, partakers in Christ’s eternal life (in Christ), children of Father God, righteous, and free from condemnation, judgment, and punishment (John 5:24; Acts 10:43, 26:17-18; Rom. 1:16-17; 3:26; 4:13-14, 22-24; 6:3-4, 17-22; 8:5-8, 9-10, 12-14; 10:4, 9-10, 17-23; 12:19; 16:7; 1 Cor. 3:17; 5:9-13; 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 2:15-17; 4:3-4; 5:18-20; 6:14-17; 11:13-15; 13:5; Gal. 1:8-9; 2:4-5; 3:22; 5:4-5, 19-21; Eph. 1:13-14; 2:1-3, 12; 4:17-20; 5:5; Phil. 2:14; Col. 1:21-23; 2:13-14; 3:5-10; 4:5-6; 1 Thess. 1:9-10; 2:15-16; 5:2-9; 2 Thess. 1:6-10; 2:12; 3:1-2; 1 Tim. 1:8-11; 2 Tim. 3:1-8; Tit. 1:15-16; Heb. 2:2-3; 10:26-29; 12:25; 2 Pet. 2:4-10, 17; 1 John 2:22-23; 3:10, 14-15; 4:5-6; 5:1; Rev. 20:12-15).

I’m happy to say that I am no longer scratching my head about what Young really believes. After spending quite some time researching the Internet, reading several different articles, listening to many YouTube videos of Young speaking, and watching the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) series, Restoring the Shack, there is no doubt in my mind that Young adheres to Christian Universalism. According to Wikipedia, Christian Universalism is a school of Christian theology which includes the belief in the doctrine of universal reconciliation, the view that all human beings will ultimately be restored to a right relationship with God in Heaven and the New Jerusalem.

To date, TBN has aired fourteen episodes of Restoring the Shack, and with each episode, Young reveals more about his adherence to Christian Universalism. I am not only surprised, but I am also disappointed that TBN is promoting Young’s theology. It makes me wonder if they really understand where Young is coming from.
 The following is an excerpt from an article titled, “The Shack and Universal Reconciliation,” on Young’s own website that should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about what the author believes:

Paul Young told me he is a “hopeful universalist.” He believes that our loving God sent His Son to die for every single sinner without exception. One day God will effectually reconcile every sinner to Himself. Paul uses the term “hopeful” universalism because he understands that the Scriptures speak of judgment, but Paul is “hopeful” that even in judgment, the love of God will eventually bring the sinner being judged to love for Jesus Christ. Paul Young is “hopeful” that the fire of God’s love will eventually and effectually persuade every sinner of God’s love in Christ.

In his March 9, 2017, post, Christian author, blogger, and book reviewer, Tim Challies, recently reviewed Young’s newest work, “What Does The Shack Really Teach? Lies We Believe About God Tells Us.” In much of his post, Challies quotes directly from Young’s latest book. The following part of his post, I believe, is the most important revelation concerning the lie of universal reconciliation that Young promotes:

(Lie #13) Chapter 13: “You need to get saved.” Here he (Young) turns to the matter of salvation. I (Challies) will excerpt this at length so you can see his full-out embrace of universalism—that everybody has been or will be saved by God.

So what is the Good News? What is the Gospel?

The Good News is not that Jesus has opened up the possibility of salvation and you have been invited to receive Jesus into your life. The Gospel is that Jesus has already included you into His life, into His relationship with God the Father, and into His anointing in the Holy Spirit. The Good News is that Jesus did this without your vote, and whether you believe it or not won’t make it any less or more true.

What or who saves me? Either God did in Jesus, or I save myself. If, in any way, I participate in the completed act of salvation accomplished in Jesus, then my part is what actually saves me. Saving faith is not our faith, but the faith of Jesus.

God does not wait for my choice and then “save me.” God has acted decisively and universally for all humankind. Now our daily choice is to either grow and participate in that reality or continue to live in the blindness of our own independence.

Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation?

That is exactly what I am saying!

Here’s the truth: every person who has ever been conceived was included in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. When Jesus was lifted up, God “dragged” all human beings to Himself (John 12:32). Jesus is the Savior of all humankind, especially believers (1 Timothy 4:10). Further, every single human being is in Christ (John 1:3), and Christ is in them, and Christ is in the Father (John 14:20). When Christ—the Creator in whom the cosmos was created—died, we all died. When Christ rose, we rose (2 Corinthians 5).

Young leaves no doubt that he espouses universalism. To further his argument, he includes an appendix on the matter.

 

Clearly, no one has to wonder at all about Young’s theology anymore. To be completely honest, I was so disappointed to find this out! As I mentioned in my post, The Shack Pros, much of this book/movie touched places in my heart as nothing else ever has.

In closing this series of Wednesday posts, I will give my overall opinion of The Shack. For biblically-grounded believers in Christ who have a desire to learn more about The Shack, I would encourage them to eat the meat of sound, biblical theology and throw away the bones of unbiblical ideology. Test every question you have against what the Bible actually says on the matter (Acts 17:11). The Shack’s personification of the Trinity’s compassionate and endearing love, grace, and mercy (among themselves and toward Mack) is sure to foster receptivity in the souls of believers in Christ to enjoy the gifts already lavished on them through their eternal spiritual union with Him.

For those who know little or nothing about sound, biblical theology (either unbelievers in Christ or believers in Christ with unrenewed minds), I would strongly caution you not to buy into Young’s theology of Universal Reconciliation, his “hopeful” belief that all humankind will eventually be reconciled to God through no choice of their own. It’s just not biblical (find out for yourself by reading the Scriptures listed in the fourth bullet point above). My heartfelt prayer is that no one would be sucked into the lie that a relationship with God is a done deal–whether we want it or not. A forced love relationship is an oxymoron.

For more information about The Shack movie, you can go to Focus on the Family’s Plugged In Movie Reviews.com.

For a more in-depth article concerning the theology of The Shack, please read Randy Alcorn’s “Reflections on The Shack.”

I would love to interact with you concerning the entire “Not Especially Fond of The Shack?” series of Wednesday posts.

  1. Had you read/watched The Shack book/movie prior to reading this series of Wednesday posts?
  2. If yes, has the information provided in these posts changed how you view the messages communicated in The Shack? If yes, please explain.
  3. If you answered no to question 1, will you read/watch The Shack book/movie now? Why or why not?

If you prefer to interact with me through personal email rather than commenting below, you can do so by clicking here.

Until next time,

 

 

 

P.S.  If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.

MY CONTACT INFORMATION:

Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070

EMAIL
MY BLOG: KimKFrancis.com
TWITTER: @KimKFrancis 64
FACEBOOK: Kim K Francis

Home     My Core Beliefs     About     Resources     Speaking     Contact