“The House that Richard Built” New from All Star Press

The House That Richard Built

Download this wonderful book today

All Star Press, Books That Change Lives, is proud to release the ebook version of “The House That Richard Built.” This is a powerful book from James D. Smith that details the life lessons he learned as the son of a carpenter. It is available exclusively through Amazon.com for the Kindle eReader, Kindle App, and online through the Kindle Cloud.*

It’s true that we are all carpenters; we are all building something. We are building families, marriages, careers, relationships, and legacies. Do we have the right type of tools and instruction to build the life we want? You can learn about these power tools for life in the new e-book “The House that Richard Built” by author James D. Smith, a regular contributor to the blog here on AllStarPress.com

God has told us that He has “plans for you: plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)

If God has these great plans for you, wouldn’t you want to build the awesome things that He has in store? The House that Richard Built will take you on a life-changing journey into the world of a master carpenter! Some of the things you will learn in this powerful life guide: What it means to “measure twice and cut once,” what to do when the roof comes crashing down, how to ensure you’re building on the right foundation, how to focus so you hit the nails, and much more! Lessons you will learn in The House That Richard Built include:

  • Start with a plan
  • The foundation must be strong
  • Measure twice, cut once
  • While it was still dark
  • Focus on the nail
  • No pain, no gain
  • If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right
  • You can’t do it all
  • You can’t judge a “house” by its cover
  • Nothing survives the fire!
  • Book sense but no common sense
  • People do you wrong, do right anyway
  • When the roof comes crashing down
  • Gone fishin!

It’s your life that’s always under construction. This book is the power tool you need to ensure that you build an awesome house, not just for you but also for your friends and loved ones! Author James Smith learned the lessons that he shares in this book by working with Richard, his stepfather, as a young man. In his life, he has been a soldier, a high school teacher, a college instructor, a trainer, and a graduate Bible student. He combines his varied life experiences and the skills of carpentry with biblical wisdom in a way that readers will find both useful and refreshing.

With sincerity and openness about his own life mistakes, James helps his readers identify and apply life lessons that will help them build the life that God has planned.

Download “The House that Richard Built” today and share it with your friends. You will not regret the day you learned the lessons of a carpenter.

* The Kindle Cloud is no different than reading a book online. No special software or reading device required.

FREE Kindle book from All Star Press – Monday, April 30th

The House That Richard BuiltWe are all carpenters; we are all building something. We are building families, marriages, careers, relationships, and legacies. Do we have the right type of tools and instruction to build the life we want? You can learn about these power tools for life in the new e-book “The House that Richard Built” by James D. Smith. It is FREE today, until Midnight, on Amazon.com, so please take advantage.

God has told us that He has “plans for you: plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)

If God has these great plans for you, wouldn’t you want to build the awesome things that He has in store? The House that Richard Built will take you on a life-changing journey into the world of a master carpenter! Some of the things you will learn in this powerful life guide: What it means to “measure twice and cut once,” what to do when the roof comes crashing down, how to ensure you’re building on the right foundation, how to focus so you hit the nails, and much more!

 

  • Lessons you will learn in The House That Richard Built:
  • Start with a plan
  • The foundation must be strong
  • Measure twice, cut once
  • While it was still dark
  • Focus on the nail
  • No pain, no gain
  • If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right
  • You can’t do it all
  • You can’t judge a “house” by its cover
  • Nothing survives the fire!
  • Book sense but no common sense
  • People do you wrong, do right anyway
  • When the roof comes crashing down
  • Gone fishin!

It’s your life that’s under construction. This book is the power tool you need to ensure that you build an awesome house, not just for you but also for your friends and loved ones! Author James Smith learned the lessons that he shares in this book by working with Richard, his stepfather, as a young man. In his life, he has been a soldier, a high school teacher, a college instructor, a trainer, and a graduate Bible student. He combines his varied life experiences and the skills of carpentry with biblical wisdom in a way that readers will find both useful and refreshing.

With sincerity and openness about his own life mistakes, James helps his readers identify and apply life lessons that will help them build the life that God has planned.

All Star Press, Books That Change Lives, is proud to release the ebook version of The House That Richard Built. Read it today absolutely FREE and share it with your friends. You will not regret the day you learned the lessons of a carpenter.

Do You Want to Get Well?

by James Smith,

There’s a story about a man who had been sick for 38 years.  He would be taken to this pool that had healing properties.  Whenever the waters would stir, the first one to get down into the water would be healed from their ailments.  Understandably, a large number of sick people would gather by this pool and try to be the first to get in.  Being lame, there was no way that this man could get into the pool before others.

None of us are completely perfect.  We all have some type of ailment, whether physical or not.

Jesus comes by one day and sees the man.  The question he asks the man is profound.  Jesus looks at him, knowing he has been sick a very long time, and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  (John 5)

Why do you think Jesus would ask this man if he wanted to get well?  Don’t sick people want to get well?  Isn’t the answer obvious?

I think the question “Do you want to get well?” is a question that must be asked and it must be answered by us all.  There are a lot of people in the world who are sick from a lot of different ailments.  Some ailments are physical, but others are emotional, spiritual, psychological, or physiological.  There are even some socio-economic ailments related to poverty or the cultures in which we belong.  Some people seem content to live life in continual sickness.  We’ll think, or even say, that we would like to change, but we seldom ever do.  Why?

So along comes Jesus, or someone else, into our lives and they see the sickness in which we live.  They see the scars and the hurt in our emotional or psychological lives.  They see our poor physical health from our poor habits connected to our diets or smoking or lifestyle choices.  The see the spiritual emptiness that characterizes our spiritual lives.  In some way, we are asked, “Do you want to get well?”

Do you want to change your health?  Do you want to change your relationships with those around you?  Do you want to change your family?  Do you want to change your marriage?  Do you want to change you economic situation?  Do you want to change your emotional or psychological condition?  Do you want to change your relationship with God?

The answer may never be expressed in words.  The answer is expressed in what you do and what you change.

Jesus asked the man at the pool, “Do you want to get well?”  On getting an affirmative answer, he told the man, “Get up, pick up your mat and walk.”  For the first time in 38 years, the man got up and walked.

None of us are completely perfect.  We all have some type of ailment, whether physical or not.  Yet God wants us to be whole and well.  But we have to want it.  We have to want to get well.  We have to want to change.  We have to want to break our destructive habits, heal the hurts and scars, give up our laziness or crutches. We have to get up, pick up our mat and walk.  We will never do that unless we want to get well.

So, do you want to get well?  Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

— James Smith is the author of “The House That Richard Built” coming out in April 2012 at All Star Press.

It Never Fails

Loveby James Smith,

Looking at the world around us, most of us would have to concede that there is something wrong.  But there’s always been something wrong, hasn’t there?  You can’t explain the Hitler’s and Khan’s and Nero’s of the world without admitting that something is just out of sync with God’s intention for mankind.  Even if we call these obviously “evil” men abnormalities, what do we call the hundreds of thousands who follow them and twist our world into something dark and chaotic?  For every Hitler, there are thousands who pick up guns to follow him.  For every Pilate, there are thousands screaming “Crucify him!  Crucify him!”  Yes, something is wrong in our world.

Coming closer to home, it is hard not to recognize that whatever is wrong with our world is also wrong with our families, our friends, and with us.  Marriages and relationships that we thought and intended to last forever end almost every day.  Somewhere along the way, the wheels fall off!  What is wrong in our lives?!

A Bible verse that seems to fly in the face of our culture today is 1 Corinthians 13:8.  It reads “Love never fails.”

As defined by wikipedia, “Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. Love is also a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection; and “the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another”. Love may also be described as actions towards others or oneself based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.”

True “love” encompasses all of these attributes.  It is emotion, virtue, and action.  When we have all three attributes, Paul says that love “never” fails.

Mirriam-Webster defines “never” as 1. not ever : at no time and 2. not in any degree : not under any condition.  At no time and under no condition will love “fail.”  That’s a pretty big claim!

Why then do marriages fail?  Why do kids rebel against parents who love them?  Why do men and women commit atrocious acts of evil against one another?  Culture and society are not getting better.  If we enter marriages with love, why are so many of them failing?  If we’re trying to love one another, why is there so much discord and hatred in our society?  Why has our culture become a breeding ground for division, whether it is over politics, race, religion, or sexual orientation?  Why did the “love revolution” of the 60’s fail to transform our country and our world?  Did love fail?

I don’t think that love failed.  I think we failed to love.  We failed to love “one another” the way God designed and wants us to.  Husbands, we have failed to love our wives the way God wants us to. Wives have failed to love their husbands the way God wants us to.  Republicans fail to love Democrats and Democrats fail to love Republicans.

All the hatred, discord, division, and animosity would stop if only we could learn to “love one another.”  Jesus called this the 2nd greatest commandment after “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.”  We have to learn to love as an emotion, virtue, and action.  Love is NOT just an emotion.  We have to learn to love even when the emotion is not there.

Why?  Because love never fails.  At no time; under any condition will love fail.

So, you want a better marriage?  Love!  Want a better family?  Love!  Want a more productive career?  Love!  Want a better community?  Love!  Want a better world?  Love!  Want a closer relationship with God?  Love!

Love the way God designed you to love!  Love the way you were meant to love!  Love will never fail!

The Ticking Clock

by James Smith,

Dark Bedroom ClockIn my bedroom is a clock.  It’s not digital, but it has the round face with the numbers 1 – 12 and a couple of hands that spin around it.  And it ticks!  We get so used to the clock that we typically don’t notice the ticking anymore.  Last night I noticed the ticking.  Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick….

Each of those ticks represent a second of my life.  Tick, tick, tick, tick…  They go by so fast.  A second may not seem like a long time but when you add several together you eventually have a minute.  Add a few more and you have an hour.  The hours turn into days, the days weeks, and the weeks years.  All made up of individual seconds.

As the seconds of my life were ticking off that clock, I thought about the fact that with each tick a second of time was gone forever.  Wow!  How precious each moment of our lives are when we hear the wheels of time rolling.

The question becomes, “How valuable do we see those ticks of life’s clock?” The answer is found in how we spend them, what we do with them.  For me, I want every second to count for something.  I want every tick of my life’s clock to be valuable in some way to someone.  Whether it’s God, my wife, my children, my church, my friends, my community, or myself, I want to use those valuable seconds to make me or others better.  It all comes down to how I choose to spend them.

My Bible says in the letter of James that our life is a “mist.”  It’s here today but tomorrow may be gone.  Several psalms compare life to grass of the field, here today but gone tomorrow.  We have no idea when our clocks are going to stop ticking, that makes every tick a gift from God – a gift to be treasured and used for something marvelous and wonderful.

Thoreau wrote in Walden, “I went to the woods to live deliberately; to drink deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”  Drink deep of this wonderful gift of life.  If you’re reading this today, God gave you a gift of another day in time.  What are you going to do with it?  How are you going to show your appreciation to Him for it?  Do you value the gift?  What are you going to spend your time doing today?

Watching TV?  Playing video games?  On Facebook?  Or maybe talking to God?  Spending time with people?  Reading God’s Message to you?  Serving the poor?  Making your community a better place?  Connecting with co-workers?  Loving your spouse and children?

There’s a million choices that we can make each day on how we’re going to spend the ticks on our clocks.  How are you going to spend yours today?  How valuable do you see them?  Are you going to make them matter?

Tick, tick, tick…

 

— written by James Smith

 

Do the Impossible…So now, go!

Ever feel like the task before you is impossible? Ever feel like what you’re being called to do is beyond your reach?  This blogs for you.

“So now, go.  I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”  God said these words to Moses.  Exo 3:10

Never in the history of mankind has a man been given a task as impossible as that which Moses was given by God.  When God gave Moses the mission, it reads like a passing comment tacked onto the end of God’s expression of concern.  Here’s my paraphrase:  “I’ve seen how my people are suffering and how much misery they are in.  I’ve come down from heaven to rescue them and lead them to the promised land.  I’ve seen how they’re being mistreated and I’m going to do something about it.  So now, go on.  Here’s the bus ticket to Egypt, Moses.  Go and bring my people to me.”

“So now, go.”  Moses must have been stunned.  I’m sure he was expecting God to do it Himself.  Maybe he expected that God would ride in on chariots of fire with lightning bolts and thunder and angels all around.  But God’s plan was different.

“So now, go.”  I can imagine God saying this the way I would tell my daughter, “We need some milk.  So now, go.  I’m sending you to the store to bring home some milk.”  Or maybe it was like a boss telling an employee, “We need to make this sell; it’s a huge client.  So now, go.  I’m sending you to make the sell.”

There are any number of things in our lives that may seem impossible to us.  But consider Moses’ task.  Walk into the throne room of the most powerful ruler of the biggest superpower on earth and tell him to let his largest labor pool (2-3 million slaves) leave!  Moses was surely feeling inadequate.  Afterall, he was a foster child who was rejected by his people (the Hebrews) and condemned to death by his adoptive family (Pharaoh).  He had fled to the wilderness as a fugitive when his family tried to kill him.  He had murdered a man so he was carrying the baggage of being a wanted criminal.  He had a low self-esteem at this point and possibly even a speech impediment (or at least in his eyes).  He had fallen in life from being the son of Pharaoh to being a sheep herder in the desert!  He had just had an experience with a talking burning bush that probably made him doubt his very sanity.

This man…this flawed imperfect man…was being asked to do the most impossible task!  “Uh…Mr. Pharaoh, will you let all your slaves go…this voice out of a burning bush in the middle of the desert told me to tell you that.  I’ll be waiting outside for them.”

How could this man even contemplate accepting this Mission: Impossible?  It was suicide!  Now consider God’s next words to Moses:  Exo 3:12 And God said, “I will be with you.”

What could you do if you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was going to be with you?  What could you accomplish if you were so confident that God was with you that there was NO doubt in your mind?  There are times in my life that I’m so confident that God is with me that I’m ready to charge into hell with a water gun!  And there are times that I cower in insecurity and fear over the simplest task that I know that I could do.  The difference is when you know that God is with you!

“So now, go.”

What are the seemingly impossible dreams and goals in your life that you know that God would want you to do?  Moses grappled with fear and insecurity over his impossible mission.  Yet, after that initial struggle, he went.  And we know the rest of the story!

Jesus told us that there is nothing impossible for God.  Paul told us that if God is with us, nothing can stand against us.  All we have to do is “go.”  And God said, “I will be with you.”

So now, go!

If Hillary can do it…

Mount EverestOn 29 May 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalesa Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed as having reached the summit of Mount Everest.  What most people don’t know is that before Hillary achieved this monumental goal, he had failed in an attempt the previous year.

The story goes that after his failure in 1952, Hillary was invited to be honored for his attempt.  Afterall, this bee-keeper from New Zealand had come closer to achieving the task than any man to that date.  As he took the podium to thunderous applause, Hillary turned to a large photo of Mount Everest and shook his fist at the mountain.  “You beat me this time,” Hillary told the mountain, “but I’ll beat you next time.  Because you’ve grown all you’re going to grow and I’m still growing.”

That story has always inspired me for the simple fact that the next year Hillary kept his vow…he defeated Mount Everest!  Failure is a part of life for people who dream big dreams and set lofty goals.  I have come to see that failure in itself is not all that bad IF we learn and grow.  Yet so many people that I see are scared of failure and it is that fear that keeps them from stepping out in faith to chase those Mount Everest size goals.

If you have failed recently in something you set out to do, learn from Sir Edmund Hillary.  Shake your fist at your goal and say with conviction, “You beat me this time but I’ll beat you next time because you’ve grown all you’re going to grow….but I’m still growing!”  Then go out there and climb your Mount Everest!!

Fear Itself

Climb A MountainOne of my favorite film series is the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Tolkien crafted a wonderful story centered around an ordinary hobbit named Frodo Baggins.  Frodo wasn’t the biggest, fastest, most skilled, nor most educated.  He wasn’t that good with the sword nor the bow.  He was given an impossible task…journey into enemy territory and destroy the “evil” ring of power.  In one powerful scene in the first movie, while all the more “qualified” people debated about how impossible the task was and who was going to take the ring, Frodo stood up and shouted, “I will go.  I will take the ring!”  And he did…and we watched (through 9 hours of movie) as Frodo and his companions braved all dangers (even the dangers within themselves) to achieve their goals.

None of us are going to have to achieve such a fantastic goal.  We don’t have to battle orc, and evil wizards, and Sauron the great, and Nazgul.  But all of us who set out to achieve big dreams and goals must fight that same inner battle with the forces that shackle us and keep us in our comfort zones.  The biggest obstacle that most of us have to overcome in achieving our goals is fear.

Fear, in my opinion, is the single biggest contributor to mediocre lives.  In my position as minister, I see people every day who are stuck because they don’t take that first step toward their goals.  Some don’t even set goals for fear of failing.  That’s not the way we were created to be.  When God made Adam and Eve, they had no fear.  They walked in perfect harmony and peace with God and with his creation.  They were so at peace that they were naked.  Fear does not appear until they break God’s only rule and eat from the wrong tree (Gen 3:10).  Then fear sets in and we’ve been battling it ever since.

How many people are crippled by a fear of public speaking?  How many people would be incredible singers but they’re afraid to sing in front of others?  How many people could have the dream job they wanted but they’re afraid to apply for it or to leave the job they have?  As humans, we tend to find comfortable spots in our lives and stay there.  “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation” wrote Henry David Thoreau.  Why are the majority of men and women living lives of frustration and mediocrity when they have it in themselves to be so much more?  Fear!

We all have dreams and goals.  If fear is the one thing keeping us from stepping out and pursuing them, then fear has got to go!  Most people do not realize that the most frequent command in the Bible is “Do not be afraid.”

In Psalm 56:4, David writes “In God I trust, I will not be afraid.”  He wrote this when he was a prisoner of his enemies, the Philistines.  Ever since he was a young man, David showed the ability to face fear and overcome.  While Saul and the whole army of Israel cowered in fear from Goliath, David was the one that stepped out with a sling and a few stones “in the name of the Lord Almighty” and brought down a nation’s biggest fear.  Was David without fear?  No, he feared just like you and I.  In Psalm 56:3 he wrote “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.”  David’s philosophy was simple, when he was afraid, he took his focus off the fear and put it on God and did what he was afraid of doing.  That’s something we all can do!

So what are you afraid of?  Start attacking fear today so that you can achieve big things tomorrow!  Write down something of which you are afraid.  Now go out, face your fear, trust in God, and do it. Only by doing this will you see how big your God really is!

Touching the Leper

Homeless man on the streetsThis Sunday I preached about Jesus’ encounter with the leper in Matthew 8. What an incredible story told in just a handful of verses.  It seems as Jesus was coming down the mountain from delivering the greatest sermon in the history of mankind (the Sermon on the Mount), a leper came and knelt before him.  The audacity of this leper!  Imagine the moment.  The crowd is pressing in behind Jesus and they’re taking up the whole road.  When out of nowhere a leper appears and throws himself at the feet of Jesus.  Now lepers were outcasts…the most unclean of the unclean.  It was illegal for them to even be on the road at the same time as a non-leprous person.  Imagine the gasp that went through the crowd as this unclean leper steps into the middle of the road and brings the whole entourage to a screeching halt.  All eyes are on Jesus and this leper.  In one collective intake of breath, all wait to see what would happen.

Almost every time I read the Bible, I am blown away by Jesus.  Jesus could heal people with a word.  He could heal them from far off.  He could heal them by telling them some outrageous thing to do and if they had enough faith to obey him, they would be healed.  In this instance, Jesus does the most shocking, unthinkable thing.  He touches the leper!  In my mind, it wasn’t a nice little “lay your hand on the cheek” sort of touch.  The leper would have been clothed in rags from head to toe.  He was on his knees.  In what must have sent shockwaves through the crowd, Jesus probably got down on his knees and reached up and removed the lepers coverings…his veil and his head covering.  He would have looked at this outcast of society directly in the eyes and reaching out and placed his undiseased hands upon the flesh of the diseased man.  Why would Jesus do this, when he could have healed him with a word?

In my opinion, Jesus was into shocking those around him.  He had just got done preaching to the crowds.  He had told them “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”  Instead of being like so many who say the grandiose mottos and catchphrases of christianity, Jesus knew that the best way to drive his point home was to do.  One of the many things that I admire about Jesus, and why I want to be so much like him, is that he was not just a talker…he was a doer.  If he told people to “love others,” he went out and did it.  If he told people to “do to others what you would have them do to you,” he went out and did it.  He was so unlike the many church goers that fill up our churches on Sundays but live without love and compassion and faith the rest of the week.  This must stop if we are going to change the world!

This week we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr Day in the United States.  Why do so many admire this man?  Afterall, he was a living, breathing man not unlike us.  The thing that I think made MLK Jr a hero is that he didn’t just talk his faith, he walked it.  He had the courage to do what he knew needed to be done.  There were many who spoke out against segregation and inequality, but few that would put themselves out there to be stoned, spat upon, hit, jailed, mocked, ridiculed, and killed.  The people that we look to as hero’s, were hero’s because they “did” what they knew needed to be done.

What about you and I?  Jesus touched the leper in one of the most touching and loving stories in the whole Bible.  Do we touch the lepers in our society?  Do we practice what we preach?  If we truly did, this would would be a much different place.  If we followers of Jesus really imitated Jesus, there would be a lot more people attracted to him and to his church.  When we leave our church buildings after our weekly “sermon on the mount,” we have to “do” it!  We have to go against our societal and religious norms and reach out to “touch the leper.”

My friends, this week I challenge you to “touch a leper” in your life.  Some outcast, some down on their luck person, some abused child, someone whom society and the church typically turns their back on and looks down upon will come into your path.  “Touch the Leper!”  I dare you…and watch what God does in your life and in the life of that leper!

– James Smith serves as the senior teacher/preacher at Mt Carmel Christian Church in Cynthiana, Ky.  He is an author of The House that Richard Built (ebook coming in 2012 from All Star Press) as well as numerous magazine/study guide publications.  He is also a regular presenter at training seminars and conferences on a number of issues.