Jennifer Camp, co-founder of Gather Ministries, and author of Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both Facebook and Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.
Justin Camp is a guy I want you to meet. I kind of like him. I kind of like listening to what he has to say.
Okay, I am totally biased. This is the guy I married. And I like him. . . a lot. But, I promise, even if we weren’t married, and we didn’t work together, and we didn’t love cheering one another on . . I would still want to profile him here. And it’s because his new book can be the gift you absolutely need.
Invention is the resource that will change how you live, and how you experience God.
Justin’s new book, Invention: Think Different; Break Free from the Culture Hell-Bent on Holding You Back, is not just your normal “Christian guy” book. Invention is the much-needed guide for men who want the practical, real-life scoop on how to dig deep with God on who they are, how they’re made, what God has for them to do, and why it matters.
It is a book written for men–and you should absolutely grab a copy for every guy you know. But, as a woman who has read each word of this book–and all of its drafts over the years . . . many times, I have to tell you, it is special. And you just might want to read it, too.
Each chapter begins with a story of an innovator–a regular guy, with not-so-regular dreams, who made choices to do the hard work of paying attention to what he loves to do. That desire, combined with this man’s natural talent and spiritual gifts, resulted in societal changes that have forever impacted the world. And then it’s the reader’s turn.
We are each designed to make that kind of difference–in our lives, and in the lives of others, too. And the book, Invention, shows you why and how.
Early readers have echoed, over and over, these three things about Invention:
Invention allows them to better understand God and how much He loves them.
Invention breathes energy and direction back into their lives.
Invention speaks right to the hearts of men and what men are going through.
An opportunity for true life change? This is too good of an opportunity to miss.
Q & A WITH JUSTIN (FROM THE PUBLISHER)
Q) Invention seems to target a particular type of man. Who is that man? What’s he going through?
A) I think most men, believers or not, fall big-time for the lie that checking life’s boxes—a great job with a great title, a great big house and a great big bank account—will bring purpose and significance, peace and joy. But the truth is, only the Giver of Life can give us those precious things. Only our God and King can bring to our lives that kind of fullness—which we’re all made for, by the way.
Q) The book is full of stories about entrepreneurs and innovators from the great age of invention of the industrial revolution. Why did you decide to feature these in your book?
A) The idea was to use short, relevant “nano-histories” to captivate and engage Christian men—while, at the same time, teaching some really fundamental stuff about God and our identities in Him. I chose these particular men because I found their stories timely, given the current age in which we find ourselves, but also very applicable to the notion of identity. In them we find suffering and success, failure and grit, selfishness and sacrificial love. They’re human, and they are massively fascinating.
Q) Tell me about your story. What got you to where you are now and led to writing this book?
A) Well, I’m a guy who has spent a lot of time in the marketplace. I’ve been out there. I know firsthand what it feels like to push ahead not knowing where to go or what to do, in order to answer these momentous kinds of questions. But God gave me a “Jerry Maguire” moment and began to teach me about His intent for my life—mine specifically. And, I believe His intent involves me writing and being a catalyst for those kinds of moments in the lives of other men.
WHAT FOLKS HAVE BEEN SAYING ABOUT INVENTION:
“a life changing experience”
“Thank you for this!!”
“Invention has revitalized my heart and mind”
“blows the roof off of all the lies we’ve been made to swallow”
“Love this book”
“This book will spark many flames”
“an amazing read”
“I can see this book helping a ton of Christian men out there who, like me, seem to have lost their sense of direction”
Invention is, at last, a clear blueprint for men to discover their God-given identity—their spiritual gifts, calling, and much more. New York Times bestselling author Eric Metaxas called the book “a super, startling, step-by-step guide for Christian men.”
Here’s the big news:
But the publisher, Elevate, has decided to offer the best launch week deal around: 30% Off + Free Shipping. To get this deal, just grab your promo code below, click over to Elevate Publishing (click here), and simply paste the code into the ‘Apply Promo Code’ field when you checkout. But don’t wait.
The code expires on Monday May 22 at 11:59 PM Pacific.
PROMO CODE: FREESHIP30
What do you think? Does this sound like a book to get excited about?
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com
THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF OUR TESTIMONY
I wonder where the quiet is sometimes. It feels scarce, precious. Like I don’t know how to reach it. Still, I am greedy for it. I convince myself: nothing I can do will make it available to me. My heart beats too fast, surely. Slow me down, Father. There, there You are.
I watch a movie that shows me God’s face. An actor depicts Him as the father who loves with intention. He watches his son, and He protects him. He pursues, and yet He lets him, if the son chooses, to fall.
And the son falls.
I wouldn’t know God unless He let me fall.
HOW OUR INITIAL REJECTION OF GOD MIGHT NOT BE A BAD THING
I wonder about this story of mine–why it is that I had to fall, to sin, to know Jesus like I do. But I know I wouldn’t have understood, even just a little, the sweetest of his forgiveness. I wouldn’t have understood, even just a little, the redemption that comes from grace. After all, it was my thinking–I didn’t need God–that ultimately pulled me toward Him. He knew. He knew, I think, I had to fall.
I talk to Him about how I wish it didn’t have to be this way–my pushing and pulling, my rebellion against His goodness. I have been an expert wrestler for independence when separateness from God was the last thing actually good for me. But this I know: there is one way independence is beautiful. Choose Me. Or not. Love Me. Or not. There is no half way. There is no second guessing. We choose Jesus to be in our life, or we reject Him.
MAYBE WE NEED TO FALL
I know a lot of us can tell stories about our experience of rejecting God. And maybe, actually, those stories are not so bad. The wrestling with God–maybe even the temporary rejection of Him–is just what we need. The act of wrestling propels us to make a decision. And in that decision, we come face to face with God’s heart.
For me, I had to push Jesus away completely before I could recognize how desperate I am to be in his arms. And He loves me. He loves me still.
He loves you still.
WHEN THE CONFUSION STARTED
A friend asks me a question that makes me consider my story. She knows it; I’ve told it to her, leaving nothing out. She worries that the sharing of my story might make a person more anxious, more worried about sinning themselves.
I am confused. Conflicted. No, actually . . . I am none of those things. . . I am resolved.
The story of God’s rescue of us is beautiful. It is what makes us beautiful.
Jesus’ rescue of us makes our testimony–our testimony that includes our fall–a beacon of light in a night. Our life shines now that it has been redeemed. For me to tell you I know Jesus without telling you how I know Him, how He rescued me, would be to deny that I have sinned. It would be to wear a shroud of secrecy that brings deaths to any heart. Our rescue is the beginning of our truest self. And how do we tell the beginning of us without the context provided by the story of our fall?
REDEMPTION IS BEAUTIFUL, EVEN IN THE DARKEST MESS
I don’t know how to tell my story–tell a listener about the Jesus I know–without telling, also, of my fall. I don’t know how to point to Jesus and his love for me without acknowledging to anyone how I know, in the quietest, most truest place in my heart, how dark and desperate I am without Him. I cannot articulate how beautiful He is without remembering how He showed me who I am without him. I cannot explain how loving He is until I remember how He forgives me, again and again, when I deserve it least. I cannot speak of his grace without telling a story, without sharing how I saw His tears fall when He saw his daughter run into arms.
Jesus brings the dead to life. He brings the lost into the fold.
LET’S START HERE
What is your story, sister? How do you know the God you know? Can we start here, just now? I reject the lie that our stories are not sacred, that they need to be boxed up, shelved.
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death” (Revelation 12: 10-11).
God has given you a voice, redemption, life and light. What now, will you do with it?
How, now, will you let your light–before your Father and before your friends and family–shine? I can’t wait to hear.
Ten Things to Do To Get Yourself Closer to God
I spend the morning doing the usual last minute things you do when you and your husband are on your way out of town for the week and your mom is coming to keep the kids alive. Well it’s not the kids you’re worried about. They’re now old enough so that, hypothetically, not too many things should go wrong.
It’s the dog. He’s a big baby. To be more specific: he’s yourbig baby. He is super attached to you. When you leave he refuses to eat and he pretends he has go out to relieve himself only to hide under the neighbor’s bush and refuse to come out until you come home.
So, yeah, it was a morning throwing out the old food from the refrigerator and doing last minute laundry folding and trying to shove that last jacket in case it rains into a too-full/too-small duffle bag. (I’m asking for a rolling carry-on for my birthday.)
And then the dog.
There was a lot of worry about the dog. Can my awesome father-in-law come and hang out with him until my mom comes? Will he take him for a walk to cheer him up? Can he give him a massage? Can I get the dog to understand what I say when I tell him I will, indeed, not be gone forever? Please eat. I will come back.
I love him.
But, now we are on the plane, and I can think straight, and I have been assured by my mom that the dog, really, is fine. So, I am finally writing what is on my heart to say to you. What is actually not lame but important:
You are the beloved. You are adored. You are worth fighting for.
Even if the opposite of this feels most real.
Even if you don’t know how to take the first step to believing this.
Even if you don’t know how to get close to God.
Last month (how did time go by so fast?) I promised I would share with you what practical things I do to fight for my own heart when God feels oh, so far away. It has been a season of hard things—and a season of blessing.
There is so much more to say. But for now, let’s start with a simple list.
Are you ready?
Ten Things To Do To Get Closer To God
We need to keep the eyes of our heart on God. His abundance. His presence. Right here. Right now. So, be bold—and, even if you don’t feel like it, praise Him for His goodness. Praise Him for His love. Name His attributes and look up verses that remind us of who He is. Speak them aloud. Write them down. Declare their truth over yourself.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge” (Psalm 91: 1-4).
“Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts,
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139: 23-24).
Just say what is on your mind. Trust your heart. The Holy Spirit will guide you toward Him.
This is a prayer He loves to answer.
There are certain songs I turn to when I am lonely, when I am far away from my Father and I am desperate for Him to pull me close. They are songs that help my heart be receptive to the Holy Spirit. They usher Him in. They open up heart and mind and spirit to receive more of Him—more of all He has. Check out this playlist I pulled together, for you.
Get on your knees. Or stand up. Lie down. Or raise your hands. Dance. Or run. Walk. Or be still. Concentrate your whole self on thinking about who He is, how He loves you, how He is with you, how He never leaves.
What does He look like? What is He doing? What are you doing? Where are you with Him? How do you feel? Stay there as long as you can. Stay. Let him show you what it is He sees when He looks at you. Let Him love you. Let Him come.
Break the agreements you have made with the enemy about who you are, and who God is. Then you will hear Him and see Him and move with Him more easily. You can read more about this here. Go.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
The plane is about to land soon. And the whole time I am writing I am listening to this album on repeat. God is close, sisters. He is in us. We, the beloved. We, the ones who are loved.
Let’s fight for our own hearts now. He gives us the tools. He will guide us deeper into Him. We are not alone in this fight.
Father, let us step toward you now. Let us see You. Let us hear You. Remind us how we are Yours. Let us live this day believing You are right here.
Sister, what are your thoughts about this list? What would you add? What practical steps do you take to get yourself in the presence of God? I can’t wait to learn from you and hear.
Playlist for when I am stuck
“Here Now (Madness)” by Hillsong
“Inheritance” by Jonathan David Helser and Graham Cooke
. . .” by United Pursuit, featuring Andrea MarieSave
This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com