Saturday, August 27, 2016

“Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo” by Dr. Dwayne Mercer




Press Release
   New book helps believers overcome “spiritual vertigo”

For Immediate Release (Oviedo, FL) – In his new book, “Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo” (CLC Publications), Dr. Dwayne Mercer points out that, according to recent research, only 13% of the millennial generation consider any type of spirituality to be important in their lives. Mercer says this is a symptom of a larger problem—what he describes as a disconnect between what people have been taught about God and the experiences they are having in their lives.
“Physical vertigo is a condition where your brain cannot process what your eyes are seeing,” says Mercer. “Spiritual vertigo is a state where your faith cannot process what you see, hear, or experience. You know what the Bible says, but real life seems to contradict what you believe.”
Recommended by leaders such as Dr. Johnny Hunt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention as well as Michael Catt, Executive Producer of Sherwood Pictures, “Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo” addresses central issues where Christians struggle with faith, and often, give up their faith altogether. Using examples from his own life, Mercer helps identify factors that lead people to lose their faith, offering them tools to regain an understanding of what true Christianity is all about.
“Faith stands between the no longer and the not yet,” says Mercer. “Our greatest struggle is how God relates to us. Developing a better understanding of how He is working in our lives, and His purpose for that work, will help us in our faith journey.”
Mercer has served as Pastor of CrossLife Church in Oviedo, Florida since 1993. During that time, the church has grown from 650 to 5000 members, and over 4000 new believers have been baptized. He has seen people from all walks of life gain new perspectives on God in the most difficult of circumstances.
“If we believe God’s world revolves around us, disappointment is inevitable,” explains Mercer. “There are many expectations people have that are built on assumption and perceived promises that are not biblically-based. God is not on trial for His performance. In order to overcome spiritual vertigo, we must change how we view faith. We need to learn how to see life from God’s perspective.”
For more information, visit www.crosslifechurch.com or www.drdwaynemercer.blogspot.com.
Interview

Q. Talk about what inspired you to write the new book.
A. Our greatest struggles are often the struggles we have with God. There is a disconnect between what we believe and how God seems to be involved in our lives. We may desire to do great things for God, but often find ourselves not having enough faith for even the everyday challenges of life. These thoughts came to fruition for me when I listened to a friend describe the overwhelming problems he was experiencing. He said, “I know God is my heavenly Father, but I believe I treat my kids a lot better than He treats His.” He was simply voicing what many others in the church are thinking. Because of this lingering doubt, some are dropping out of church and some are even turning away from their faith altogether.
The title for the book originated with my personal experience of physical vertigo. Physical vertigo is a condition where your brain cannot process what your eyes are seeing. Spiritual vertigo is a state where your faith cannot process what you see, hear, or experience. You know what the Bible says, but real life seems to contradict what you believe.

Q. What would you say are the top issues people struggle with when it comes to their faith?
A. Our struggles with God are not as much about God as they are about how God relates to us. In our daily lives, we experience health issues, loss, family problems, or temporary setbacks. When we feel overwhelmed with problems and become discouraged, the difficulty is usually grounded in one of two things: 1) we do not understand how God relates to us or 2) we do not understand the biblical concept of faith. My book addresses these issues with the goal of developing a courageous, everyday faith.

Q. You list some specific circumstances that cause people to truly change. What are those?
A. Change is difficult for most people. However, if we are going to become more like Christ, change is essential. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)
There are several things that contribute to people experiencing true transformation in their lives. One, when we hurt enough from difficulties in life, we feel forced to change. Trials get our attention in a powerful way. Two, when we are overwhelmed with problems, we often become introspective. The pain of changing becomes less than the pain of remaining where we are. Three, we change when we see God at work in our lives and remember His work in us. We learn to become grateful and see the value of change. And lastly, when we experience Christ enough, we desire to change. Early on in my college years, I was challenged to read the Bible. Through my reading, I drew close to God and Him to me. A change of desire and dedication took root in my life, and I have never looked back. The change is still effective in my life today.


Q. You talk about spiritual warfare in the book, something many pastors speak little about anymore. Why did you feel that was important to include?
A. When we engage in spiritual vertigo, we are engaged in spiritual warfare. I know we often find the subject of Satan and demons uncomfortable. In his book, The Death of Satan, secular liberal, Andrew Delbanco, states that our society hates the word evil because it places a value judgment on someone else. However, in recent times, we have seen the evil of terrorism, mass killings in schools, theaters and churches. Delbanco states that we can no longer hide from the concept of evil. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.         (1 Peter 5:8) Spiritual warfare is not only seen in society, but also in our personal lives. Satan’s place of attack is our minds. Each time we doubt God, every time we become angry with God, the original thoughts are placed in our minds by our enemy. When we face adversity, Satan reinterprets the incident to cause doubt. He leads us to remember past hurts and problems and places fear in our hearts about the future. In fear, we lose our perspective of God. To consistently overcome spiritual vertigo and move forward with courageous faith, we must deal with the issue of Satan and spiritual warfare.

Q. You dive a bit into apologetics as you discuss the inerrancy of Scripture. Why is understanding biblical truths so important in today’s society?
A. Our faith is not designed to be dualistic. When we do not receive all of the Bible as God’s perfect Word, we have great difficulty believing any of it when we go through difficult times. Even the parts of the Bible we choose to believe become doubtful because we have failed to trust God completely. Not believing His Word is “without error” is saying that God is either not powerful enough, or He does not care enough to give us a reliable handbook for life. The need to believe in something does not make it necessarily true. Therefore, I used apologetics to discuss the reliability of Scripture. I look at its source, its integrity, and how Christ’s resurrection authenticates what we read. 

Q. How can this book help Christians renew and reestablish their understanding of their faith?
A. I believe the reader will be helped, knowing that it is permissible to question. It is freeing to know that others are often experiencing the same doubt and desperation you are feeling. Secondly, understanding what faith is and how to increase our faith is crucial. Faith stands between the no longer and the not yet. The key to building faith in Scripture is realizing the heroes of faith consistently remembered how God worked in their lives in the past and were grateful. A thankful heart becomes the first step to future faith. Additionally, I feel the reader will reach a better understanding of their relationship with God. Since our greatest struggle is how He relates to us, a better understanding of how He is working in our lives, and His purpose for that work, will help us in our faith journey. Lastly, by seeing that our circumstances, although true, are not the whole truth, we will ultimately be inspired to embrace our faith and endure till the end—waiting for God to bless us and fulfill His promises.


Q. What can Christians do to become better disciples in a society that is becoming more hostile        toward the things of God?
A. There are four steps we can take:
1.  Stand in truth. Surrendering truth for peace or to avoid confrontation is compromising our witness. If people do not act in truth, they are at a disadvantage in life. We are to be the bearers of that truth.
2.  Offer grace. Jesus came to us in truth and grace (John 1:17). When we look down on others because of their sin, we are saying that we somehow contributed to our own salvation. We begin to erroneously think, “Jesus died for me, but it really helps that I am a good person, born to a good family, and not involved in great sin.” When we operate in grace, we are acknowledging our own sin and our need for a Savior. This helps us to relate to others in that same grace. Grace, however, is not about ignoring sin. Grace in the New Testament does not change the way God feels about sin, only how He deals with it.
C.  Expect rejection. As Christians, we will be rejected by those who feel we are judgmental. We will be called intolerant and be viewed as unreasonable or foolish. We must be prepared for the rejection or persecution.
D.  Endure. We must be willing to be misunderstood. Jesus was misunderstood and He was killed for it. But in His death, He brought forth redemption. We may be persecuted and suffer for our faith, but we must have faith that God is going to bring about redemption through our circumstances. All of us want to be loved, but if being loved or accepted becomes more important than our ability to witness, we will never be able to lead people in our culture to the truth.

About Dr. Dwayne Mercer:

A native of Georgia, Dwayne Mercer is a graduate of Toccoa Falls College, Southwestern Baptist, and Mid-America Baptist Theological seminaries. He is the contributing author to seven devotionals, including “The Pathway to Discipleship and “Walk through the Word.” Dr. Mercer has served as pastor of CrossLife Church in Oviedo, Florida since 1993. During that time, the church has grown from 650 to 5000 members, and over 4000 new believers have been baptized. He and his wife, Pam, have three adult children and six adorable grandchildren. For more information, visit www.crosslifechurch.com or www.drdwaynemercer.blogspot.com.


What others are saying about
“Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo”
“Are you dizzy from the doubts that surround you? Constantly plagued by a fear that prevents you from moving forward in faith? Dwayne helps us identify this ‘spiritual vertigo,’ understand how to operate in Bible-believing faith that takes God at His Word, and overcome the doubts and fears that hinder our spiritual maturity. If you want to be marked as a man or woman of faith, this book is an excellent resource for your journey.”Michael Catt, Senior Pastor, Sherwood Church, Executive Producer, Sherwood Pictures, and Producer of the movie, Fireproof
“Feel knocked off-balance? Questioning your faith? Dwayne Mercer has written a wonderful book teeming with biblical insights just for you – all grounded in real life experiences.”-- Patrick Morley, Author of the 18-time bestseller, Man in the Mirror
“Dwayne Mercer writes with clarity and a shepherd’s heart. He wants people to find confidence, direction, joy, purpose and rest as we walk with our Lord. I believe this book will encourage and help many.”Dr. David L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Is what you see, hear, and experience in real life causing you to wrestle with your faith? Do past disappointments cause your trust in God to falter? In ‘Overcoming Spiritual Vertigo,’ Dwayne Mercer addresses these difficult questions and offers the answer to experiencing courageous, bold faith for your future.” – Dr. Johnny Hunt, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church Woodstock and former President, Southern Baptist Convention

Monday, August 22, 2016

Action, Adventure, and Suspense - Hot Pursuit by Roderick Thorp



About
From the author of Nothing Lasts Forever, the basis for the movie Die Hard, comes a heart-pounding thriller! When a young coast guard lieutenant commander, Sam Merrill, finds a "ghost" yacht full of one billion dollars' worth of gold, money, and contraband, he becomes a national sensation and the poster boy for America's war on drugs. As a reward, the government sends Sam and his wife, Amy, on an all-expenses-paid vacation to the Bahamas. Sam's newfound fame becomes a nightmare when Amy is kidnapped not long after they arrive in the tropical paradise. Sam is confronted with the pursuit of his life, fighting to save Amy and ultimately himself as he faces death-defying challenges at every turn and a drug kingpin named Chino who will stop at nothing to see him dead. In way over his head, outgunned, and outnumbered when the chase leads him to Cartagena, Sam has to overcome overwhelming odds as he races against time to figure out why his wife was kidnapped and where she is being held-and save her from bad guys who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

About the Author
Roderick Thorp is the author of The Detective, Rainbow Drive, and Nothing Lasts Forever, the basis for the movie Die Hard. He has worked as a private detective and done extensive crime reporting, including a twenty-one-part series on cocaine traffic in Southern California, which was published in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Thorp's other novels include Into the Forest, Dionysus, Slaves, The Circle of Love, Westfield, Jenny and Barnum, Devlin, and River.




Book Readers Review
Hot Pursuit is lite action/adventure fun

Hot Pursuit written by Roderick Thorp in 1995 has not been published before he died in 1999.  This version is from the original manuscript with no revisions.  Thorp is well known for three of his books made into movies, Die Hard being the most famous.
In Hot Pursuit Sam Merrill, a Coast Guard Lieutenant, is called out to investigate an abandoned ship that is suspect.  It turns out the yacht is full of contraband and money.  Sam is not comfortable with how the vessel appears and conditions, no heavy weather but the rescue is made.  Merrill and his wife are rewarded for the recovery by the government with to an all-expenses paid vacation.  There begins the tale!
The action is fast-paced and the novel quite short.  It is a bit dated written over twenty years ago.  If you are looking for a quick thriller that has mystery, intrigue, kidnapping, and much more, then the book is for you.  I received a copy from Open Road Integrated Media in return for an honest opinion. There are many twists and turns in the story but parts of it may not appeal to all readers.  The novel is a fast read and I would recommend it with four stars.  Thank you Open Road for the opportunity to read this book. 

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