Being Realistic: Audio Devotional #3, ‘The Turning’

April 9th, 2014

The Turning 300Our souls hunger for a deeper connection with our Lord. Will you pledge to try to listen to God — without seeking perfection?

In today’s 2-minute devotional, I offer some practical suggestions. Click to listen:

Being Realistic: Audio Devotional #3, ‘The Turning’

Subscribe to my blog and receive my latest audio devotion via email — I’ll be posting a new audio devotional several times each week.

You can download all 40 devotions at TheTurningBook.com

‘The Turning’ Reader Reviews: Ordinary People Transformed into Conduits of Hope

April 8th, 2014

The Turning 300Reader reviews for The Turning are flying in. Today’s reviewers are:

  • Vickie Taylor
  • Mary Arndt
  • Michael Winskie
  • Mary Ann Esque

Please click the link next to their bylines to read their full review.

Walk the unlikely road

By Vickie Taylor, Book Marks blog (full review)

“Take the turning, and walk the unlikely road.”

These eight words transform seven ordinary people into conduits of hope for an entire nation. Imagine a group of strangers being drawn together by an unshakeable conviction that they must change—not the world—but themselves. Each has a weakness to face or an obstacle to overcome, and none of them is comfortable with the task. Yet, they persevere and find that this new path leads them straight into the heart of the storm.

Entertainment and advertising conglomerate Global Communications has decided to challenge the status quo of advertising. Instead of capitalizing on an established trend, an ambitious young executive convinces them they should create their own and focus every division on selling one message: Hope is dead.

Meanwhile, those seven strangers, all in New York at the same time, find each other. As they spend time talking and praying together, they realize they were brought together for a reason. None of them came looking for controversy, nor did they anticipate how their lives would change once they met. They only knew they had to make a stand.

Carrying them beyond their expectations and individual abilities, this turning forges the disparate group into a mouthpiece for the message of the ages: Hope is alive. The Turning is ultimately a book about possibilities—a portrait of the unlimited reach of ordinary people who willingly put aside their own agenda to pursue God’s purpose.

This story has a different rhythm than most of Bunn’s other works. Having the plot revolve around seven strangers requires the reader to sift through separate back stories before the reaching the main event. While the absence of a central hero and the inclusion of fewer action sequences give the story a more sedate pace than what I’m used to seeing in a Davis Bunn novel, this, too, only emphasizes the overall theme of the book.

With this novel, Davis Bunn focuses on giving color and texture to the words of Prison Fellowship founder Chuck Colson: “The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people.”

Reading The Turning, not only creates a yearning to see that kind of change in society, but it also offers hope that that kind of change is actually possible.

Hope is NOT dead!

By Mary Arndt, Goodreads (excerpt)

Sometimes we need to stand up against wrong and have the courage to speak out and be different, even when that means the “world” will not accept us.

If Jesus is Lord…?

By Michael Winskie, The Author’s Page blog (full review)

I became a fan of Davis Bunn through his Marc Royce trilogy (Lion of Babylon, Rare Earth, and Strait of Hormuz). These books were adventure stories – fast-paced with intricate plots. Yet, the main characters were struggling with real issues just like we do. So, I was unsure what to expect in The Turning.

I knew the writing would be good. But what could a story with that title be trying to convey?

The Turning is a beautifully crafted story that shows what can happen when Jesus’ sheep hear his voice and truly respond to his call. Five people from different back grounds experience the Lord’s call to step away from their own plans and follow his leading- even though it appeared to make little sense to them. The first step was to do something difficult that each of them had avoided doing for a long time- make peace and try to repair broken relationships.

From there, bonds are formed and new trails are blazed that shake the nation and stand in the way of corporate greed. Five ordinary people against the world’s system and message. All because they had the faith and strength to hear and obey the call of the Lord.

This book should sound a clarion call to a world gone crazy. But, more than that, it should speak to believers. How different would the world be if we, as followers of Jesus, would spend our time listening to Jesus? How much better would our society be if we would spend our days obeying his voice, rather than chasing after selfish gain.

Our nation has turned its back on God and his ways because we, his people, have ceased being the salt of the earth. Yet, we have the gall to complain when the world steps on us and tries to destroy us. We are in a culture war and it’s high time we got out of our comfort zones and became engaged.

It’s not an easy path. It’s definitely a very narrow way. But, if God can use 120 ordinary and uneducated people (beginning on the day of Pentecost when the church was born) to turn the world upside down, how much more can he change our modern world?

If the thousands and millions in the earth today that claim the name of Jesus would allow him to be Lord (supreme controller) of our lives, a revival like the world has never seen is possible. Jesus gave his all for us, can we not give our all to him in return?

We are his hands and feet. We are the light of the world. Like it or not, our lives are glass houses. When we claim Jesus as our Savior people start watching us. We need to pray the words of John the baptist, “I must decrease and he must increase.” Let’s allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives so that others can see him in us.

Thank you Davis Bunn for sending us a wake-up call. I pray that God will use this book to stir his people and help to spark a major revival. May the church arise in the power of truth and mercy and change.

Remember:

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Thought-provoking page turner

By Mary Ann Esque, Goodreads (excerpt)

Davis writes so eloquently about something that our world desperately needs – hope. You only need to look as far as the news to see that our world is permeated with a lack of hope. War, natural disasters, corruption, scandal. It’s all there on a regular basis.

As believers, it is our privilege and responsibility to combat the message of no hope with the truth – that there is hope and it comes from being connected to God. If you choose to spread the message of hope, you can expect to encounter opposition. But when you follow the path that God has placed you on, then you will find and fulfill the purpose that God created you for.

The characters took me on quite a journey as they discovered this truth, and the end was perfect for this story. I may have finished reading this story for now, but I don’t think it will be too long before I will be back to dive within these wonderful pages again.

Our Protestant Heritage: Audio Devotional #2, ‘The Turning’

April 7th, 2014

The Turning 300Attentiveness to God means joining a long-time tradition that was set in place by the early Protestants 400 years ago.

Click here to listen to my 2-minute audio devotional:

Our Protestant Heritage: Audio Devotional #2, ‘The Turning’

Subscribe to my blog and receive my latest audio devotion via email — I’ll be posting a new audio devotional several times each week.

You can download all 40 devotions at TheTurningBook.com

Setting the Foundations: Audio Devotional #1, ‘The Turning’

April 4th, 2014

The Turning 300What does it look like to listen when God speaks?

How can we prepare ourselves to listen?

Click here to listen to my 2-minute audio devotional:

Setting the Foundations: Audio Devotional #1, ‘The Turning’

Subscribe to my blog and receive my latest audio devotion via email — I’ll be posting a new audio devotional several times each week.

You can download all 40 devotions at TheTurningBook.com

Reader Mailbag: Marc Royce in ‘Strait of Hormuz’ – Will he be lonely forever?

April 3rd, 2014

Larry writes:

Ouch!! We’ve just gotten into Strait of Hormuz, and you go and release another hot one—The Turning!

Despite the added pressure on us to catch up with you, congratulations on the great reviews.

We’ve have just begun chapter 8, and I wouldn’t want you to spoil the ending of the Marc Royce trilogy for me, but I’m telling you, if things don’t improve rapidly between Marc and Kitra, you’re going to have to spin off two separate—and very lonely—story lines. Sad!

Dear Larry,

I’m glad that you feel pressure, as it means you’re still caught up with the stories on offer. Do so hope the pleasure-meter continues to run in the green as you race to catch up. And by now you’ve hopefully discovered that Marc and Kitra have managed a fairly solid end to this trial.

Gary writes:

Just finished reading Strait of Hormuz for the fourth time. The reason I read it this time: we are moving to South Africa to help in a missions work there. We are excited about it. It has been a desire for 15 years, but now (at 65 years of age) the door is open for us to go.

Of course, I am feeling overwhelmed: we are taking very little with us, so we need to sell everything, we need to raise monthly support, and we need to get tickets and pay for the little we are shipping over — some books and household items.

That is where Marc Royce comes in. In the Strait book, I have always seen him as not knowing what to do, but knowing how to lean on the Holy Spirit as his go-to man. Out of nothing, he comes up with ideas and plans. And though you never say how, I know that he is quite adept at listening to the spirit within him and obeying blindly, but in faith. So I re-read the book for encouragement in my situation. Trusting the Lord one day at a time, even one hour at a time. We just made the decision two weeks ago, and it is amazing how the Lord is putting things together.

I say again, Davis. I think you have no idea the effect that your writing has on your readers. The deeper insights that run between the lines, the constant cascade of spiritual revelation. Your life with God is deeper than you think, and it shows up on every page of your writing. Please keep writing, no matter what!

Dear Gary,

Your lovely words mean more than I can say. I have completed work on my first non-fiction project, an online devotional intended to assist readers in learning what I have termed the discipline of listening. It is available at theturningbook.com.

The project is tied to my latest novel, The Turning, which released from Moody April 1. I have also at their invitation taped 40 radio lessons on this same subject, which will be available as podcasts on moody radio’s website beginning around the middle of next month.

Your comments regarding the Spirit moving in Royce’s decision-making process was remarkable, as this forms the moral of the new novel.

In the meantime, I wish you every blessing in this new phase of your own ministry, and every success in your sojourn and service.

Readers Begin Taking The Turning

April 2nd, 2014

The Turning 300The Turning released Tuesday, April 1. Here are excerpts from some of the first reader reviews I’ve received. I hope you’ll click each byline and read their full review.

I’m taking a turning after reading this book!

By Deb Killian, Missionary to Missionary blog (full review)

I have a full time job, run an active global ministry and am a lead intercessor at our church. Few things pull me away from the 3 God has given me responsibility over except in the few minutes before sleep when I allow myself the luxury of a good novel. Until this moment. Until this book. Not only did it demand my full attention, it commanded my response.

My life took a turning of its own while reading this incredible new book by Davis Bunn. I have read almost every book he has written and what happened to me while reading this now-relevant novel has only occurred while reading 2 of (his) other books.

I heard God speak. I felt the Holy Spirit take me to the Throne of God and introduce me to a new season of Kingdom Life.

Is there intrigue?

Yes.

Is there a dynamic plot intertwined with a love story?

Yes.

Does it speak to where our society is headed & how God’s love can turn that around for those of us who believe?

Again, Yes.

But it will also call out to you and ask you to reply. From the depths of your heart.

I encourage everyone to take a few hours (with a good cup of coffee) and settle in to one of the best books I’ve read in a long time… The Turning. It will turn your life around.

Did I really hear God speak to me?

By Renia Snyder, Desert Dwelling Mama blog (full review)

Have you ever thought you heard God’s voice, but then decided it was just your imagination?

Or maybe you thought you heard but were afraid to act?

Maybe you thought you heard and felt compelled to respond.

Davis Bunn has captured this felling and experience thru 5 individuals that come to together through no power of their own to stand up against something beyond them. How will they respond?

Davis has me in every chapter. I can relate to so many of the characters in some way. I really like the (free) follow up materials that can help readers learn more about what taking the turning can mean.

Will you take the turning?

Ideal for YA and Adult Book Clubs

By LuAnn Worley, LibraryThing (excerpt)

..A very realistic drama of opposing forces that will certainly catch every Christian and even non-Christian’s attention!

Several people are brought together without knowing why. Other individuals are set on their “course” unwilling to let anything or anyone interfere. The two will certainly eventually interact with each other.

This novel was very difficult for me to “get into” at first while the author was establishing the foundation for the story. Once the foundation was set, the story became captivating. It inspired the reader to contemplate what his/her own position would be in similar circumstances.

This is an ideal book for YA and Adult Book Clubs. There are some very good discussion topics prevalent to today’s world.

Called by God to step out of my comfort zone

By Joy Fry (full review)

Get ready for a fast-paced novel of suspense, intrigue, and spiritual battle. The action scenes will leave you trying to guess what happens next.

John, one of the key characters, introduces us to his private world. As the story begins his desire was to stay in the background and let others get all the attention. Instead, he felt called by God, time and time again, to be in the forefront. He learned to speak about his faith on public television and be a leader for other believers.

My favorite quote in the book was spoken to John by a fellow believer:  “God does not call the equipped, he equips the called.”

On the other hand, Trent, the instigator of all the trouble described in the book, was easy to dislike. He was constantly planning his next battle to demolish the church and had no regard for the feelings or plans of others. His description fit well with my experience of those seeking worldly financial success.

The other main characters allowed the reader to explore their experiences with being “called.” Their journeys lead to my own take away from the book. A greater desire to make time to know and then do the will of God.

I hope Davis Bunn writes additional books based upon these main characters so we can learn more about their continued steps of faith.

You Could Win an iPad Air or Prize Package from Moody Publishers

April 1st, 2014

To celebrate today’s release of The Turning, I’ve teamed up with my publisher, River North Fiction, to offer some great prizes.

TurningShareAd1_600x225

Grand Prize:

Apple iPad Air

First Prize:

Ryrie Study Bible, Moody Bible Commentary, and $100 Gift Card for ShopMoodyPublishers.com

Enter Daily

Entering is easy, and you can enter on my Facebook page once per email address per day through April 15! You can also get bonus entries by sharing the contest with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers (follow the prompts on your screen after entering).

Enter Now!

Click this link http://woobox.com/m7ur8y to go directly to the app. Like my Facebook page (if you haven’t already) and input your name and email address.

Or go to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/davisbunnauthor and you’ll see signs and arrows that point to the app.

If you aren’t a Facebook user, go to the Official Rules and fill out the entry form that’s about halfway down the page. You’ll immediately receive an email asking you to confirm your entry. Click the link in that email and you’re all set.

Preview The Turning

While you’re at my Facebook page, read the first three chapters of The Turning instantly (‘like’ the page to open the chapters).

Free 40-Day Devotionals for The Turning

To prepare you to listen to God’s voice, I’ve put together a series of print, email, and audio devotions. Visit this blog post to get the links.

Three-Day Giveaway of ‘The Turning’ Starts Today

March 31st, 2014

My contemporary novel, The Turning, releases April 1, 2014. But the party starts today!

For the next three days, I’ll be giving away a copy of The Turning on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/davisbunnauthor.

Visit my page anytime between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time each day (March 31, April 1 and April 2) and leave a comment on that day’s contest post for your chance to win. How easy is that?

Click the image below to zip straight to today’s post on Facebook and enter right now.

Three_Day_Giveaway_Day_1

Sweepstakes Starts Tomorrow

Be sure to stop by my Facebook page tomorrow, April 1, when I kick off the sweepstakes for The Turning. The wonderful folks at Moody Publishers are giving away some amazing prizes, which I’ll reveal in tomorrow’s blog post.  You can enter daily from April 1-15.

Free 40-Day Devotionals for The Turning

To prepare you to listen to God’s voice, I’ve put together a series of print, email, and audio devotions. Visit this blog post to get the links.

Take ‘The Turning’: Get a Free 40-Day Devotional

March 28th, 2014

The Turning 300My novel, The Turning, releases Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

To enhance your experience of The Turning and to help you prepare to hear from God, my publisher and I have created a series of devotionals for you to download.

You can receive a daily devotional thought in your email inbox, download the complete 40-day devotional, or download 40 audio devotions. Try one or get them all; they’re free.

Sign up to receive 40 daily devotional thoughts via email: http://theturningbook.com/index.php/devotional/

Download a PDF of the complete 40-day devotional: http://theturningbook.com/index.php/download_file/view/90/194/

Download 40 audio devotions (MP3 files) http://theturningbook.com/files/TheTurning-Devotional_Audio_files.zip

Listen to the audio devotions individually: http://theturningbook.com/index.php/devotional/

I’d love to hear what you think of these devotionals.

Reader Question: Can Godly Characters Dabble in Deception?

March 25th, 2014

FloriansGateCoverBrad writes:

I’ve been reading Florian’s Gate, which I realize you released over a decade ago, and have been greatly enjoying it.

Last night, I was reading Gregor’s story about how he was able to get back into Poland after the death of his wife. Obviously, it involved deception—which I’m sure would be very realistic in an unlikely situation like that.

I’d like to ask whether you hesitated at all about having one of your godliest characters dabble in deception? He doesn’t seem to regret having lied to the officials at all when he tells the story to Jeffrey. Did the circumstances justify the lies?

I’m an indie author and I’m currently working on the second book in my Christian fantasy series. The protags are godly characters who are really defined by their relationship with God. The story has been working up to two of the magi going undercover amongst the enemy. Some people have shared their opinion that it is impossible for a Christian to go undercover without sinning (again, deception).

While I can cite a handful of passages in which people were commended for lying—the midwives in Egypt, Rahab—and even point to a prophet in 1 Kings 20 that God apparently instructed to flat-out lie to King Ahab to prove a point, I’m not sure how persuasive this evidence is.

So when I came across Gregor’s story last night, it reminded me a bit of this portion of mine. I wondered if you had any insight you’d be willing to share. I realize that this is a reference to a random paragraph in a book you wrote long ago, but any thoughts you have on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Brad,

 It is great to connect with readers on a level like this, where we’re discussing a substantive issue like the one you raised.

There is no cut and dry answer, for as you rightly pointed out, there are indeed times in the Scriptures where deception is apparently condoned. Doing the wrong thing for the right reason, is really what we’re talking about. In Gregor’s case, I justified this by the simple fact that he did it to save others besides himself. He was working for the benefit of others, in effect momentarily sacrificing the truth in order to keep them sheltered from the dark events threatening to overwhelm them.

As a rule of thumb, it would definitely be better if your characters representing the faithful adhere to the ‘rules of the road’. But sometimes this simply won’t work. In my case, I decided to write the scene in the manner that seemed most realistic, and in this particular case I was actually following real events that had been related to me by Baptist seminarians who had survived in East Germany under the Communists. In your case, working in fantasy…Pray hard, is basically what I would urge you to do.

P.S. All three books in The Priceless Collection were re-released last year. Click here to learn more about them.