I’ve tried running my life, and it landed me in a mess. The more I fight for control, the more that which I’m fighting for begins to control me. But surrender …
My guest today, novelist and pastor Nathan D. Maki, shares how God called him to give up something he held dear, and what resulted from that. Read his thoughts then share yours in the comments below.
Have you ever felt like giving up? Sure you have. Exhausted by the race, flattened by the burden, devastated by the loss…we all hit the wall at some point. If I can be perfectly candid, I’ve been teetering on the edge of giving up writing. Between pastoring a small church, managing a business to pay the bills, and being husband and father to my wife and son the thought of releasing one thing – my writing – is seductive.
“It’s more of a hobby anyway,” I told myself. “It’s not really taking off or paying off for the amount of work and time involved. Maybe you’re a hack anyway.”
Yes, that kind of uplifting, positive self-talk.
But then God told me to give up.
God told me to give up my selfish struggle for success. To relinquish the dream of quitting my day job and just writing and pastoring till He comes or my days end. To give up this book, The Keeper’s Crown. As a symbol of that surrender, he told me not to put a penny of its profits in my pocket.
I’ll be honest, that wasn’t easy. This book is my baby that I’ve worked on for three years hoping it would be my break-out novel. A year ago, when I was still querying agents and dreaming of a deal with a major publisher it probably would have been unthinkable. But God had brought me to a place of surrender. Of giving up. And instead, I gave it to Him.
And you know what? As soon as I agreed to give up peace settled over me. It’s like my whole perspective changed in that moment, and I suddenly realized that I’d become jaded because I was measuring success all wrong. I was measuring in copies sold and dollars and cents, in fame and recognition, in book deals and all the rest. But that’s not how God measures success. In fact, that’s what The Keeper’s Crown is all about, how to measure Godly success – which the Apostle Paul would say is simply obeying what God tells you to do, regardless of the results. I guess I’d kind of forgotten that until God smacked me upside the head at that altar on a Sunday morning not too long ago.
So half the proceeds of this book are going to Hope for Orphans, an orphanage my parents started in a little village in Congo. Half to our church’s breakfast fund, where my wife and our ladies have been serving disadvantaged kids a hot breakfast every Sunday for the past 8 years. That’s what God asked. Jesus sure does love the little children.
The Keeper’s Crown and my writing career are God’s hands now, and looking back through the Scriptures, that’s an exciting thought.
God asked a man named Abraham to give up his son Isaac, and he not only received his son back alive but became the Father of the Faithful. (Genesis 22:2)
God asked a nervous wreck named Gideon to give up the safety of his winepress, then turned him into a warrior who brought safety to his entire country by driving out the invaders. (Judges 6 and 7)
God asked three young Hebrew captives in Babylon to give up their lives to the furnace and then brought them out unscathed to make a believer out of King Nebuchadnezzar. (Daniel 3)
God asked a handful of fishermen to give up their ships and nets, and they founded the Church. (Mark 1:16-20)
God asked Paul to give up his freedom, and he preached to the Emperor of Rome and converted even those of Nero’s household and his Praetorian Guard. Paul gave up his life, but attained a victor’s laurel and immortality. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
What will God do with what I’ve given up? Only time will tell, but I’m crazy excited to find out!
What is God asking you to give up? And how will you answer?
Check out Nathan’s novel, The Keeper’s Crown!
As a boy, he dared to fight Nero. Worse, he won.
Stripped of his family, the love of his life, and his self-respect, he sets out on a quest to win a victor’s crown, rescue his parents, and restore his family’s honor. But his path to glory in the restless province of Judaea is threatened by the corrupt governor Felix, the murderous priest Melechi, and most of all by the rabble-rousing Paul of Tarsus.
When Quintus finds himself in Rome chained to Paul all hope of a crown seems lost, but Paul’s example makes him question the true meaning of success. And why does Jael, the mysterious young Jewess who once saved his life, now respond with barely restrained flashes of hate?
The Romans took her father and her brother from her.
Now Jael vows to fight for her father’s faith, fulfill her brother’s oath, and avenge their deaths. But the further she travels with Paul and Quintus the more she feels torn. Can she follow her heart and still keep her vow?
He turned the world upside down.
Paul never expected to end his ministry in chains, but even still, he is determined to carry the gospel to Rome and the Emperor Nero himself. But what if those who need the gospel most are those closest to him?
As the Great Fire strikes Rome, fanning Nero’s persecution of the Christians to a white-hot fury, murderous secrets, impossible choices, and steadfast faith will lead to tragedy and triumph.
Grab a copy HERE.
Join Nathan on Monday, April 2 from 11-3 for a fun, Facebook launch party. There will be Q & A with yours truly, trivia and games, a virtual tour of Rome via pictures he took on his trip, hourly e-book giveaways, and two grand prizes of signed proof copy paperbacks (of only 5 proofs ever printed.) Plus, you’ll get to connect with other book lovers!
Get to know the author!
A life-long love for historical fiction and a passion to create high-intensity, realistic novels from a Christian world view has propelled Nathan Maki into his writing career. He is the author of the War Within series of novels set in Ancient Rome, and most recently The Keeper’s Crown, a novel of the Apostle Paul.
A recent trip to Rome to walk the ancient streets, explore the Catacombs, and stand in the Coliseum plunged Nathan even deeper into the ancient world he brings to life for his readers. Nathan’s novels combine the faith and romance of Francine Rivers’s Mark of the Lion trilogy with the action and adventure of Bernard Cornwell or Conn Iggulden. Nathan lives in Ontario, Canada, with his wife, son, and three very spoiled dogs. He pastors a church and manages his own business in addition to his writing. Sometimes he even sleeps.
Connect with Nathan online:
Follow him on Twitter: @NathanDMaki
Email him at: NathanDMaki(at)hotmail(dot)com