Wednesday, August 09, 2017

DIVINE DETOURS - Sion Alford - One Free Book

Dear Readers, here’s a book by one of the pastors of my church. When I read the first thing in the book, I knew I had to feature it here. The opening is amazing.

 Welcome, Sion. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
I have served for over 25 years as a worship pastor and 10 of those 25 years have been with Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. I have a passion to help people connect their gift with their purpose.

And you do a very good job of that. Tell us about your family.
I have been married to Shannon for 25 years, and we have eight wonderful children. Shannon has been in ministry both at home and at the church during these 25 years and brings much wisdom to our marriage through her devotion and relationship with the Lord. All of our kids are serving the Lord and following Him with all their hearts. We are blessed!

That is indeed a great blessing. What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I love spending time with family, especially outdoors. I also enjoy fishing and hunting.

Why did you write the featured book?
Having served in the worship ministry for these 25 years I have seen so many good people deceived by their gifts and giftings. Many talented people don’t understand that you must go through process to get to God’s promise for your life. As soon as a talented person meets resistance they usually abandon the will of God and take the “short cut” or easy way to the promise. They don’t allow God to develop the necessary character they are going to need when they get to their “promise.” They chase the dream instead of the Dream Giver. They pursue the promise instead of the Promiser. What usually results is a person who doesn’t have the character to hold them while they stand in the promise. That is what this book is about: process. The process is a Divine Detour to God’s promise and calling.

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
Your identity is not determined by the gift God has given you. Jesus’ identity was defined by His Father, not His gifts nor His calling. He was the “Son of God” before He was the Savior of all! In order to be successful in life and in ministry you need to know WHO you are and WHOSE you are!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers about you or your book?
I believe this is an important book for anyone who feels called to ministry, whether professionally or in a volunteer capacity. Jesus was not “fit” for ministry until He had gone through 30 years of “process.” He prepared 30 years for a 3-year ministry! His public ministry did not begin until He had is Father’s affirmation: “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.”

Please give us the first page or two from the book.
The Lord directs our steps,   so why try to understand everything along the way? —Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)

I’ve been to “Moriah” many times in my own life.

Even as I write this, I am climbing several Moriahs. I clutch my dreams in my arms, wishing I could scale the heights of Moriah full of faith and trust in God. Instead, I keep searching for a way that is less painful, a path that costs less.

I am not alone. Who wants to see their dreams die? Who gets excited when God asks them to sacrifice their Isaacs?

God gives His most precious gifts; however, then He leads us to an altar and asks us to lay down everything, including His own fulfillment of the promises He gave to us. Does this sound crazy? I’m sure it seems counterintuitive, as if it doesn’t make sense. But, take it from me, I’ve had this experience, and I know.

Many years ago, God gave me a dream. In this dream, I saw ministry, music, success, and prosperity. It bore all the usual marks of a divine calling; it was improbable, supernatural, and grandiose. That dream made me feel extraordinary, as if God specially favored me. With that feeling, I believed that I could take only one path—I needed to devote myself to making this dream come true.

That’s what we’re supposed to do, isn’t it? We should examine our gifts, discover our calling, pursue our dreams, and never give up believing. Isn’t that right? People tell us that if we do those things, our dreams will come true.

So I zealously pursued my dream … I gave it my all. Through persistent prayer and diligent devotion, I set out to take hold of the dream God had promised. I would have my dream, and I’d trample over anyone or anything that got in the way. I was tenacious. I was fervent. I sacrificed. I practiced early and stayed late.

Somewhere along the way, however, the Lord interrupted my quest for greatness. Like a wrestler, He pinned me to the floor and let me watch my dream die. When the bleeding stopped and the dream breathed its last breath, I lay devastated. Broken. Hurt. Disappointed. Empty.
At the time, of course, I viewed this interruption as anything but a blessing. It felt like a curse. It was like the feeling we get at the end of a story, when the hero dies in the last chapter. That’s how I felt. Lousy story.

Here’s the good news, though (which I didn’t quite understand at the time): When God is the hero of the story, it never ends in death. In fact, it is quite the opposite. God’s stories always end in resurrection and life. Jesus’ story didn’t end at a cross; and neither does yours. Just as the cross wasn’t the end for our Savior, the death of your dream isn’t the end for you. The death of your dream opens the doorway to something better, more real, and more life-giving.

And so, my story didn’t end with the death of my dream. Eventually, the Lord delivered me from the depths of my own misplaced pursuit and lifted me up to a place of contentment. Ultimately, He resurrected my dream.

Resurrected dreams never look exactly like the original, at least at first glance. Think about Mary Magdalene. Three days after Jesus gave His life, Mary visited the garden grave of her dead “dream.” While she mourned, she discovered Jesus’ body was missing. At first, she thought thieves had stolen His body. Then Jesus, her resurrected promise, tapped her on the shoulder. “Woman, why are you crying?” He asked. She answered His question with a question: “Are you the gardener?” Her resurrected dream stood directly in front of her and she didn’t even recognize Him!

Mary was not alone in her confusion. Think about two men who had spent the last three years closely following the King of the world. They ate meals around hundreds of campfires with Him. They saw Him walk on water. They witnessed as He blessed a few fish and some bread and then multiplied it all to feed thousands of hungry people. And now, three days after they saw their promise killed and sealed inside a grave, a man who had been walking beside them on the road sweeps His hand like a Jedi and opens their eyes to see the resurrected promise. At first, He is unrecognizable, but now He is glowing with resurrected life.

Personally, I don’t think of my journey as complete. I know that at some time I may once again have to pick up the pieces of my life. Right now, I am living my dream. By that, I mean that I’m fulfilling God’s calling on my life. I’m living out my divine purpose and enjoying what He promised to me many years ago when I was a wide-eyed, idealistic nineteen-year-old sitting in the back row of a little church in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Even so, I haven’t “arrived.” My journey continues and may take me again through dark valleys and vast deserts. Nevertheless, I am in this spiritual season now and believe that God has given me this opportunity to share what I’ve learned along the way.

Even as I detail my own experiences, this book isn’t about my dream or me. Instead, it’s about you and God’s purpose for your life. As I tell my story and share the things God has taught me, my goal is to help you live out a better story for your own life.

The message of this book is my life’s message. It has burned within me for almost two decades. I have studied it, lived it, taught it, preached it, given counsel about it, and sung it. If you haven’t yet recognized your dream, or if you’re dealing with the discouragement of watching your dreams die, this book is for you. I pray that you will either discover your dream or rediscover God’s promises for you, in a way far better than you could have ever imagined. I also pray that this book will change your perspective and your life. I want to point you in the direction of the Dream Giver who will give you strength for your struggles.

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?

Thank you, Sion, for allowing me to share your book on my blog. I know there people among my readers who need the message you have to help them resurrect some broken dreams from God.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Divine Detours - Christianbook.com
Divine Detours - Amazon.com
Divine Detours: When God Messes Up Your Plans - Kindle

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8 comments:

Melanie Backus said...

Sure sounds like a book not to miss. Thank you for sharing, Lena. Melanie Backus, TX

Sion Alford said...

Hope you enjoy it!

Kim hansen said...

Sounds like a good read. north platte Nebraska.

Connie said...

This sounds very inspiring. Thank you for sharing!
Blessings!
Connie from KY
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Caryl Kane said...

WOW! A book not to be missed! Thank you Lena for the chance.

Caryl K in TEXAS

Edward Arrington said...

This sounds like a book that will challenge and bless the readers. I would love to read it.
Edward A in VA

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.

Sion said...

Thanks for all the comments and hope everyone gets a chance to check it out!

Sion