Tuesday, August 01, 2017

RENEWING YOUR MIND - Dennis Jernigan - One Free Book

Welcome back, Dennis. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?
In 1981, I left a homosexual identity and have walked in freedom from it for almost 36 years now. From the time I was a small boy, I felt different. As I grew older, I began to have feelings for the same sex. Walking in confusion over my sexual identity for years, I gave into the temptations and believed I was born that way. Expecting peace to come, it never did. Out of desperation and after trying to take my own life, I turned toward God and His Word and asked Him to reveal to me His intention for my identity as a man. What I discovered has been revolutionary in my life.

Tell us about your family.
My wife, Melinda, and I will celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary on August 12. We have raised our nine children (Yes, they are all ours and yes we meant to have them, lol!) in northeastern Oklahoma. We are empty-nesters now but are about to welcome our 9th grandbaby! We are experiencing heaven on earth as a result.

Those grandchildren and great grandchildren (James and I have three of these.) are priceless gifts from God. Have you written other nonfiction books?
I have written several other non-fiction books. My favorite is my autobiography titled Sing Over Me. It details my life from my earliest memories to present-day, detailing my journey out of homosexuality. It is available at https://www.amazon.com/Sing-Over-Me-Dennis-Jernigan/dp/1613141769/ref=sr_1_3_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499880506&sr=8-3&keywords=Sing+Over+Me+Dennis+Jernigan

Another favorite is called Giant Killers. This book takes a look at why David took five stones out to face one giant. Did you know that David and his mighty men had to face 4 other giants according to God’s Word? It is an interesting study and very applicable to modern life. It is available at https://www.amazon.com/Giant-Killers-Crushing-Strongholds-Securing/dp/1578567750/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499880609&sr=8-1&keywords=Giant+Killers+Dennis+Jernigan

One more I would like to share is called How To Write a Book. This was written because I have so many people ask me how I started writing and how to write a book. It is available at https://www.amazon.com/How-Write-Book-Jernigan-Dennis/dp/1613142994/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499880828&sr=8-1&keywords=How+To+Write+a+Book+Dennis+Jernigan

Do you have any other books in the works right now?
Yes. I am always working on something. The book I am presently working on with my publisher is a brand new children’s book called The Incredible Growing Basketball Goal. This is the true story of an episode from my own childhood when I asked my dad for a basketball goal. He informed me that we did not have enough money for a goal. As I turned away in disappointment, my dad replied, “But I do have enough money for a basketball goal seed! We will grow one, son.” This book is my recounting of this real adventure and is intended to be read to children by their parents and grandparents. It is a real-life laying-down-of-life story I was fortunate enough to live. It is illustrated by an amazing artist and friend, Debbie Grizzle. She has captured the heart of the book and has rendered pictures that take one back to a more innocent time. Vintage in look, I dare say the illustrations alone will sell the book! This book will be available in mid-September!

I’d love to feature it on my blog. What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I enjoy fishing and exploring in the woods with my grandchildren. One of my passions is writing stories and songs for them. You can find some of the songs on YouTube, like “The Grandpa Song” - https://youtu.be/-R4PST51nFs - or Aussie Lullaby 0 https://youtu.be/3HcM5wyZfz4. You can find the fantasy series I wrote for them called The Chronicles of Bren at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The+Chronicles+of+Bren+Dennis+Jernigan&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AThe+Chronicles+of+Bren+Dennis+Jernigan. My wife and I thoroughly enjoy being grandparents but simultaneously love ministering together as we travel around the nation and world to share our story and music.

Why did you write the featured book?
I wrote Renewing Your Mind: Identity and the Matter of Choice for the simple reason that, due to the many times I share my story publicly, I am inundated with people asking me how I came to such freedom from my temptations and freedom from my past. I needed a concise yet thorough way to do that. Another reason I wrote the book is because I remember being a young man wishing someone would tell me freedom in Christ was possible - but no one ever did. My hope is to point young people to Jesus. He is the Answer. I am just a man.

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
My hope is that people from all walks of life would understand a few things as they read this book. Every feeling we have is attached to a thought we have thought. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that “as [a man] thinks within himself, so he is.” In Romans 12:2 we the writer urges us “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. These 2 verse became life to me, telling me that I could change the way I feel by changing the way I think. In addition, my hope is that the reader would come away with a new way of thinking about the circumstances of life…that if we choose to see from God’s point of view - even the worst circumstances - we can see hope, restoration, freedom, and victory over our temptations. My ultimate desire? That God would be glorified and that people would define themselves according to God’s order and design rather than by their feelings or whims or cultural norm.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers about you or your book?
In addition to me doing all the talking, my wife wrote one of the 20 chapters included in the book! Although her temptations were different than mine, she discovered the same truths and experienced the same freedom I discovered as she simply chose to think and see life from God’s point of view rather than her own.

Please give us the first page or two from the book.
This is the preface of the book, Renewing Your Mind: Identity and the Matter of Choice:

Preface
My struggles were born of my confusion over my identity. This confusion resulted in chaotic thinking in regard to my sexuality. Before you proceed in reading this book, bear in mind that due to my own past mental struggles concerning my identity, I receive countless requests for help in this particular area. Even if your identity struggle is not of the sexual nature, the same principles of God’s Word—Truth—apply to you and your situation. It is my desire to make this book as simple as possible, yet as comprehensive as to be useful. Since I am no psychologist, I am offering only the wisdom I have gained from my experience in walking out the Truth I am trying to convey in this book. That being said, let’s dive right in to my journey.
           
I did not want to be defined as an angry man. I did not want to be defined as a fearful man. I did not want to be defined as a homosexual. I did not want to be defined as a recovering homosexual. I did not want to be defined as an emotional basket case—yet at one time in my life, I felt all those things. I felt that those things defined me, since that was the way I felt. Feelings define no one. Feelings simply tell us what we are thinking about. If we can change the way we think, we can change the way we feel. Easier said than done, right?
           
Just a thought on feelings: Why in the world would anyone allow the way they feel to define their entire being? I sometimes feel like lashing out in anger; yet, I don’t—and I do not call myself an angry person just because I felt that way. I sometimes feel like taking something that does not belong to me; yet, I do not call myself a thief just because I felt like stealing something. I sometimes feel like a loser; yet, I do not allow that feeling to define who I am as a person.
           
Every feeling I have comes as a result of something I have thought. Each feeling I have is attached to a thought I have had. What I have learned is that if I change the way I think, I can change the way I feel. Some have told me I am simply brainwashing myself—and I have to agree. I have allowed Truth to wash away the lies I have thought about myself and have replaced those lies with right thinking about who and Whose I am. And guess what? My feelings have followed suit!
           
Don’t get me wrong. This has not always been easy. It is a battle, but a battle worth fighting! Though I have fallen at times, I just keep getting back up. The only failure is the person who falls and chooses to not get back up.
           
I do not define myself. My Maker gets to do that. I seek Jesus. He reveals the lies I believe and shows me the Truth. It is up to me to put off those lies and to replace them with the Truth. A depth of freedom has come as a result of this mind renewal that I never thought possible. This realization keeps me seeking Jesus for more! It has afforded me something the world seems to think is impossible: self-control.

Just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is, and it—that feeling—certainly does not define who I am.
           
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
           
For the first twenty-two years of my life, I felt different. At first, I felt like I was something less than a real boy. I enjoyed drawing and playing the piano, and I loved dancing. My emotional sensitivity was interpreted as effeminate, and my sensitivities made the other boys uncomfortable…and I felt uncomfortable around other boys. I felt right at home with girls.
           
When puberty hit and sexual awareness set in, I felt as if I were something less than a man. I felt homosexual. I felt gay. That awareness—that feeling—lasted until I was twenty-two years old. At that age, something wonderful happened—or began to happen—that would change everything I thought about myself. What I discovered was something revolutionary and new, yet as old as time itself.
           
What I discovered was that I could change my feelings by simply changing the way I thought about myself—about the world in general. One of the first things that changed was my perception of homosexuality. No longer would I think of it as my identity. After that eventful day, I began to think of it as merely a temptation—an attraction that was contrary to the way God had made me, an awareness that somewhere along the way, my thoughts concerning my sexual identity had somehow been co-opted by what I now refer to as stinkin’ thinkin’.
           
I had believed a lie.
           
When one realizes they have been lied to—been duped—they feel betrayed. And I certainly felt betrayed. When one feels betrayed, they stop trusting the one who betrayed them, right? This book is my attempt to explain and express the journey toward mental and spiritual wholeness that set me free from something the world says one cannot be free of—something the world says you do not need to be free of. I wrote this book in the hope that someone else out there might be going through the same struggle I faced—regardless of whether that struggle involves their sexual identity or an addiction or a wrong belief system that leads to constant defeat—and find what they are looking for in Jesus: the Answer.
           
My desire is to operate in complete freedom—what my Maker calls freedom, rather than in what the world calls freedom: man doing what man feels like doing and calling it an identity in order to make them feel better about themselves. Feelings change according to the thoughts we think. Unless and until we deal with the underlying thoughts that lead to the feelings we have, we will never get to the root of our issues and never walk in true and real freedom, and negative feelings will rule the day. It is the man/woman who deals with their thought life—replacing lies for what is true—who walks in true freedom.
           
This book involves questions I have had to answer through the years that have led me from stinkin’ thinkin’ to right thinking; from feelings of rejection and confusion over sexual identity to feelings of knowing who and Whose I am and feelings of heterosexuality. I invite you to read on and challenge you to ask yourself the questions contained within these pages. I challenge you to see your life and identity from a Christ-centered point of view rather than from a humanistic/man-centered point of view. One leads to futility. One leads to hope. Which will you choose?

Dennis Jernigan

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?

Thank you, Dennis, for sharing this book with us. I'm sure it will be valuable for all my readers.

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Renewing Your Mind: Identity and the Matter of Choice

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12 comments:

Donna Reiners said...

Brilliant and real and practical and moving. I have been changed by Dennis Jernigan's music, books and presence He brings through them.

Dennis Jernigan said...

Thanks, Donna! that means so much to me!

Library Lady said...

What a powerful book!
Your life shows what the love of God can do and no one can take that away from you.
Janet E.
von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com
Florida

Dennis Jernigan said...

Thank you, Library Lady! You blessed me today!

Connie said...

This book is so needed in today's world. I personally know a young man who is dealing with addiction and homosexuality and I believe that they are both tied together. I am just an acquaintance and even though I've encouraged him to seek God's guidance as he struggles to stay clean I have never mentioned his sexual preference.
Thanks for sharing and God bless you!
Connie from KY
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Dennis Jernigan said...

Thanks for commenting, Connie from KY! My prayer is that this book would be a conduit or tool for many to find their hope and healing in Jesus.

Jag said...

Dennis, I have been following your worship music for more than a decade and I heard your testimony in the early 2000's. Your book is so God inspired and timely. I pray that many people struggling with addition and sexual identity are God led to it. God bless you ... I intend to buy the book to give away!!!!!!!

Jannette .... Texas

Dennis Jernigan said...

Jannette,
I appreciate that so much. Every time you give one away, you are taking part in setting the captive free! Thank you for your part in this ministry.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway SC.

Dennis Jernigan said...

Sharon,
You are entered!

Kristine Dessinger said...

Dennis, Thanks for writing this book. It is very much needed! God is taking me through a process of transforming my thinking especially related to anxiety and condemnation. I now realize that the enemy has been distracting me to rob me of my sweet communion with God. By the way, your song "Great Is the Lord Almighty" is one of my favorites!
Kristine from DFW

Dennis Jernigan said...

Thank you for letting me know, Kristine. I think this book will outlive me because of the great need out there. My prayer is that it will help millions of people find hope and healing in Jesus. By the way, that is one of my favorite battle songs!