I trust that you have a blessed week as we prepare to celebrate our Risen Savior. What a great opportunity and time to let others know how much Jesus means to you.
Today I have a privilege of welcoming one of the few men who have asked for an author interview. :) Hi, Jake, how have you developed a love of story?
I knew you would ask this question and I have wrestled with it. My first thought is that I don’t have a love of story. All of my reading and writing is non-fiction mostly factual. Although Spiritual Prepper bridges the non-fiction world with real life stories. But after further thought — I do love stories. My family is a story-telling family. If you ask any of us a question you are going to get the extended mix, but the queen of story-telling in our family was my grandmother. We called her Bunny. She could make the simplest of things fascinating. When I had my own kids I went out and bought the books she read to me — they seemed completely different without her ab lib. She passed away a week ago. She had been so excited about my new book.
I also think I should add to the equation that my family always fostered creativity. From the storytelling of my grandmother. To the encouragement of creative play from my Nana. To my mom taking a class in creative children’s writing. To my Dad’s drawing, and my uncle’s career as an artist.
I'm so sorry to hear about your recent loss. Know that you are in my prayers. Tell us a little about yourself, and how long have you've known you're a writer?
My life starts and ends with my walk with Jesus. I was blessed to grow up in an awesome family with a strong godly heritage. They had me in church every time the doors were open, and even when they weren’t. “Saved” at age 12, and then feeling a call to ministry at 16. Immediately after I made that call public, my pastor put me to preaching and God seemed to be in it since I have missed very few Sundays in the pulpit since that time.
I went to Central Baptist College where I met my wife, Amanda, and then I went to seminary at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. We are both 35, and have been married for 13 years. She has just recently gone back to elementary teaching after staying home with our daughters — Andrea (5) and Addie (3).
We just left a church a pastored for 11 years to launch a ministry called Prophecy Simplified. So now, I am speaking and writing full-time. It has been a step of faith, but I guess it’s just a further turn in my writing journey.
I had always felt I was supposed to write, even as a kid. In high school, I had a couple of teachers and an assistant principal who really encouraged me in this area. Then once I felt the call to full-time ministry I knew writing needed be a part of it, but I really struggled because ministry is about people. I struggled retreating to my office to write. I felt guilty. It’s crazy, but I finally pursued writing as an attempt for extra income. That was almost six years ago and I have still not received a cent. That’s being an author — not for the faint of the heart or for those who can’t handle being broke.
When we had our oldest daughter, my wife decided to stay home. I was concerned with the finances so I decided to do something on the side. First, I tried a nighttime paper route which didn’t prove to help enough. So, I had the bright idea to write. Initially, I would write on my off day. I basically tinkered around aimlessly, until I put together a team to hold me accountable. This got me writing, but still I got nowhere towards being published until I went to Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. It was there I came out of the closet as a writer, and God flung the doors open wide. Eventually, I was signed by Cyle Young with Hartline Literary Agency, and a few months later we had a contract with WND Books.
It’s so cool how God works, on the day I decided to take the step to resign from the pastorate and do this full-time – was the day I received news of the contract.
Wow. What a story of God working in your life. It's nice to meet a fellow author from Hartline. :) Where did you get the inspiration for your latest book?
My journey to the subject of my latest book, Spiritual Prepper: Tapping into Overlooked Prophecies to Prepare You for Doomsday, was less than spiritual. But that’s how God works when we are stubborn. He guides our steps. As I mentioned, after feeling called to write and doing nothing but jotting ideas down on scratch paper, I set aside a day to write. Because we had so much going on at our church, with volunteers working daily and a large construction project, I went to Starbucks on my day off. I got there early in the morning and would stay until six that evening. Not only was this my only day off while working around the clock as a pastor, but this was the only day my stay-at-home wife could get any break. She sacrificed — trusting God was leading in this direction.
I had years’ worth of ideas, but there were four in which I felt led by the Spirit to write. Week after week I got nowhere, but a Starbucks Gold Card status. For one I did not realize how difficult writing a book could be. I should have at least started with a blog post! My wife was growing frustrated, so she told me to just pick on something and finish it (still took four years from then to finish). So, I picked the current sermon series I was preaching through — Evolution’s Finale: Six Forgotten Prophecies that Describe Humanity and Especially Christians at the End of the Age. I had felt led to preach it, and thought it was a cool concept. As I finished the series and got into the book I became completely captivated by the message. One of those six passages was Matthew 24:10, where Jesus says many will turn away from the faith. This passage changed my perspective of the pastorate. I began to have this burning concern — had I prepared my congregation to withstand the current and future challenges to their faith? This message captured my heart so much that sharing that message and teaching on the end-times has now become my mission.
Sounds like you have a very supportive wife. What is one thing you hope readers will take away from your story?
Really. it’s three-fold. Like any good pastor, I must have three points — right? First, readers would realize how important not just their salvation or faith in God is, but how important their faithfulness in continuing to hold on to their walk with God is now and into eternity.
Second, that each reader would realize that their faithfulness to God is challenged daily and it will be even more so in the last days. Third, that these challenges have caused other Christians to stop practicing their faith, which can happen to anyone — even the reader.
Great thoughts. Tell your readers about a typical day in your life — when do you fit writing into your day and what does your writing space look like?
Other than not having any time to write or spend with my family, I had it made writing as a pastor with a great place to write, and I was always engaged in this perfect mix of studying the word and the hard realities of life those in my congregation faced. I had a large office with a Keurig table and that was decorated to inspire me. The room was filled with paintings, armor, helmets, and weaponry from different eras to remind me I was fighting a battle. Yet even with the comfort of my office — I rarely wrote there. I wrote most of Spiritual Prepper in the back-corner table of a Starbucks. Originally, I wrote on my off day. As leadership in my church saw how God was using my writing I took each Tuesday and wrote in my office or mostly Starbucks. Near the end of the project I found an upstairs study room at a nearby college library that was perfect. The writing spilled over to late nights, early mornings, and a couple weeks of around the clock in the library or Starbucks to finish.
Now my life is much different. I am writing and speaking full-time. So, my life is a bit like a stereotypical writer. My daughter just told me she was embarrassed because I was wearing the same thing in which I wore the day before when I picked her up from school — my writing gear: athletic pants, superhero shirt (I know it’s confusing a pastor wearing a Punisher shirt), and Arkansas Razorback hat on backwards. As we launch this ministry, we are living with family so I have a corner of the dining room with folding panels behind me. Far from my senior pastor office, and now I’m a full-time writer I can’t afford to go to Starbucks. It took me a while to get in the rhythm of this new life. I am finally finding it. If you are a writer you can’t get off the gas pedal. You gotta write. But it is a battle for me to sit down and do it. It is a fight until I get the flow going.
Regardless of where I am writing I’m gonna have my headphones on. Pandora blocking out the outside world. I might be dancing and headbanging while I type, but I gotta have the music. The Spiritual Prepper soundtrack is a mix of a little modern country, a little more praise and worship, and a whole lot of singer/songwriter sappy stuff.
Writers are a unique breed. :) Where can readers connect with you?
The book has just released, and it can be found on Amazon with everything else in the world. Barnes & Noble along with Books-A-Million are carrying it in their store. It’s online also at those stores along with the WND Superstore, Target, and CBD.
Readers can find out more about my ministry at www.prophecysimplified.com and then catch me on Facebook or Twitter.
I hope your book does well and that God blesses your writing, Jake.