#Called2Speak for the Lost

What makes you want to speak out?

Today I have the honor of participating in #Called2Speak Blog Hop which is promoting the dystopian novel, A Time to Speak by the fabulous Nadine Brandes (the awesome book two in the Out of Time series which released October 16 so you can go buy it now). On the #Called2Speak hop, we’re supposed to speak out about something we’re passionate about.

P.S. – there’s a giveaway at the end! :) :)

Hashtag-Called2Speak-5I thought about a bunch of different topics I could write about, but nothing knocked me off my feet. I’m passionate about a variety of things, but none of them… fit. I wasn’t called to speak about any of them.

Instead, after praying and more thinking, it turns out that I’m called to speak about something I’m not passionate about. I’m called to speak for the Lost.

Who are the Lost?

The Lost are those without Christ.

I’m called to speak for the Lost because I’m not the only one lacking a passion for them. In fact, I’d have to say that this dispassion is widespread and worsening day by day.

Honestly, I don’t really care about the Lost. Not truly. If I loved the Lost, I would share my Hope with them; I would share Christ with them. But I don’t. I act kind and convince myself that showing them Christ is more important, more effective, than telling them Who the Truth is. If I’m nice and smile, they’ll figure it out. No need for me to bring Him up and make things awkward. *shudder* We wouldn’t want that. No, no. I’ll stick to my sweetness and “glow,” and if they ask about Him – and I’m secretly hoping they won’t – I’ll figure something out. Yeah, this is a great plan. Osmosis all the way.

After twelve – almost thirteen – years of these genius tactics, I’ve lead a grand total of zero people to Christ. What, no applause?

The question is, am I going to throw away the next thirteen years “reaching” the Lost this way?

Now, some may think, “Come on. It’s not that big of a deal. If God wants them to get saved, they will eventually.”

Um, no. No matter how I slice it, according to Scripture, sharing the Gospel is a nonnegotiable.

In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus told the disciples (and us), “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Step one in disciple-making: share the Gospel. But I’m not. I’m not obeying this command, which begs the question, how much do I love Christ? He said that if I love Him, I’ll obey His commands (John 14:15).

And then there’s Acts 1:8 which says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”

To witness is “to bear witness to; testify to; give or afford evidence of” according to the dictionary. If I’m God’s witness, I should be declaring His Gospel. But I’m not.

I find the worst part isn’t that I don’t love the Lost. I don’t think it’s even that I’m being disobedient. The worst part is that I don’t care that I don’t love Christ enough to obey this command or that I don’t truly want to see souls saved to Christ.

There’s something desperately wrong with my heart. I can rattle off a list of excuses. Just watch and see.

I’m not elegant when I talk.

I’m haven’t studied enough to accurately share the Gospel.

I’m not brave.

But ultimately, I don’t want to.

And that right there is so many different shades of weak and wrong.

God says, “For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” – Matthew 10:20. That axes my whiny “I’m not elegant” excuse.

God says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” – 1 Peter 3:15. This command throws my lazy “I haven’t studied” right out the window.

God says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:7. That demolished my whimpering “I’m not brave.” Because of Christ, I don’t have to be, shouldn’t be, afraid.

So, where is my love for the Lost? How do I get a passion for them?

It’s simple.

If I truly love my Lord, He will give me wild love for the Lost. There’s hope for me yet. He can overcome my weakness, and He can strip away the selfishness in my soul if I want Him to, if I ask Him to, if I let Him.

I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with loving the Lost. I don’t think I’m the only one who has come up with a list longer than the Nile as to why I don’t, can’t, won’t share the Gospel.

But, friends, we’ve got to change.

This is not how it’s supposed to be.

I want to close with a quote from David Platt’s book Radical (which you can enter for a chance to win here): “Every saved person this side of heaven owes the Gospel to every lost person this side of hell.”

Tell me honestly. Do you love the Lost?

A Time to SpeakWhat happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.

The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.

Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

Book Two in the “Out of Time” series.

Read about the first book, A Time to Die, here.

To learn more about the author, Nadine, you can check out the interview I had with her last week and enter for a chance to win paperback copies of A Time to Die and Radical by David Platt, or you can visit her website.

ALSO, what makes you want to speak out?  If you want to participate in the #Called2Speak Blog Hop, just write up a post about whatever you are passionate about, and tag it with #Called2Speak!

The Giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Okay, I’m not going to lie.  The awesomeness of this giveaway is severely stunted because my blog won’t show the Rafflecopter widget (blast you, blog vs rafflecopter feud!).  If you click on the link, you will discover an opportunity to win signed (SIGNED!!!!) copies of BOTH A Time to Die and A Time to Speak.  Guys, do it.  These books are twelve different kinds of incredible.

Now, to here is a list of all the other bloggers who have participated in the #Called2Speak Blog Hop so far.  Go ahead and check out what they’re passionate about by following the links below. :)

9.28.15 – Gretchen Engel
9.30.15 – Nadine Brandes
10.01.15 – Jason Joyner
10.05.15 – Gretchen Engel (part 2)
10.06.15 – Tricia Mingerink
10.08.15 – Gretchen Engel (Scriblerians)
10.09.15 – Emilie Hendryx
10.11.15 – Janeen Ippolito
10.12.15 – Zachary D Totah
10.14.15 – Brittany Valentine
10.15.15 – Andrew Swearingen
10.17.15 – Megan Besing
10.19.15 – Angel Roman
10.20.15 – Charles Franklin
10.21.15 – Lisa Godfrees
10.23.15 – Shantelle Hannu
10.27.15 – Natalie Walters
10.29.15 – The Artist Librarian
11.02.15 – Rosalie Valentine
11.17.15 – Amanda Fender


A Time to Speak Review (5/5)

* I received a free copy of A Time to Speak from the wonderful Nadine Brandes in exchange for my honest review. *

*****************WARNING!!!!! If you have NOT read A Time to Die, read no further! If you HAVE read A Time to Die, read without fear of spoilers!!**********************

“I’ve been robbed of my death. A date was set, a coffin prepared, and a grave dug in the earth, yet I breathe against my own will as my brother is lowered six feet down. The smooth wood coffin displays the best of Father’s carpentry skills. Did he originally carve it for me?”


Parvin Blackwater was supposed to die. She was ready to die. She wanted to die. But she didn’t. The clock she shared with her twin zeroed out, and he died while she survived – much to the chagrin of just about everyone. While battling grief, Parvin tries to protect Willow, schemes of how to rescue Elm, and tries to adjust to the strange place her home has become. And the faith and God Who carried her through the West seem hard to reach with Reid and Jude dead, Jude’s clock-matching invention in the hands of the Council, and Elm starving inside the Wall. When her situation goes from bad to worse, Parvin is called to lead, but how can she lead if no one wants to follow?


A Time to Speak feature imageI literally had no words when I finished A Time to Speak at 1:30 in the morning. I just stared at my Kindle questioning my existence. I’m not even kidding.

When I began reading, I drank up the first lines slowly, appreciating the rich detail and sinking slowly back into the world of A Time to Die. But I couldn’t go slowly for long, for peril was quick to rear its heart-pounding head, and I was soon swimming through pages as quickly as possible. It was as if I was getting reacquainted with the old friends who I had come to love in A Time to Die.

I had liked A Time to Die Parvin, but I loved A Time to Speak Parvin. She was amazing, and it wasn’t because she was so brave or always made the right choice. I loved that she moving forward and making progress in every aspect. Her character arc continues in a beautiful way, and I can’t wait to see where it ends! Also, the reader gets to meet several new characters who add adversity or encouragement to the story while Ms. Brandes continues to flesh out the veterans from the first book.

Next to strike me was Solomon Hawke, Jude’s brother. I just… I mean…wow. He’s simply amazing. I was so glad to get to know him better than I had in A Time to Die, but I can’t quite put my finger on why I like him so much! He’s kind, gentle, and wise! Just… read the book and find out for yourself. I can’t tell anymore coherently and without spoilers.

One part of this book that gripped me was actually fairly small. It was the relationship between Parvin and her brother’s widow, Tawny. It was fragmented and difficult; it was real. Family isn’t all flowers, and Parvin’s family is no exception.

Ms. Brandes continued to build on her expansive world in new and exciting ways! While the technology was intuitive and interesting, the landscapes that she paints are stunning! I wish I could say more, but I’d give spoilers! :(

Now, A Time to Die wasn’t a walk in the park and neither is A Time to Speak. It’s intense. The characters suffer a lot, and the body count is pretty high. However, Ms. Brandes doesn’t go into much gross detail; she shows enough for the reader to think, “Oh, wow. Oh, no. No, no, that can’t be good.” or “No, no, don’t do that! That’ll make it worse!”

Also, the stakes are much higher than they were in A Time to Die, but Ms. Brandes weaves in enough humor that the tension doesn’t kill the reader. I’m alive as a testament.

All of this was incredible. I love the style. I love the characters. I love the story. I love the conflict. I love the world. I love the detail. But it’s the fierce message that I love the most. A Time to Speak is about taking a leap of faith, stepping out, speaking for those with no voice, and trusting God with a wild faith.

It’s the idea that drawing near to God won’t solve problems, but that when you draw near to God, He carries you through the trials of life, fueling you as you do His will. I’ve been a Christian for almost twelve years now, and I’ve been told that very thing again and again all my life. But it never came home until I was reading about a girl with one hand who is so physically weak but called on God with faith that He would provide in His perfect will. Blast you, spoilers! I want to say more! I’ll just say that though Parvin has never existed beyond the imaginations and hearts of Nadine Brandes and her readers, the message she bears and the example she gives is clearer and more tangible to me than most deep spiritual discussions and complicated explanations.

When I finished A Time to Speak, I was exhausted but not from lack of sleep. I was exhausted from the emotional rollercoaster. I was exhausted from the strain of the story. I was exhausted from the spiritual hammer that continues ringing in my head.

A Time to Speak is the evidence that books can affect change in the reader. It carries an important message, and part of why it’s so impactful is that it’s wrapped in a well-written, witty, exquisite package. Therefore, I give A Time to Speak five out five wonderstruck, sleepless stars and a PG-13 rating.

Find it on Amazon and Goodreads!