Thursday, July 01, 2010


James and I are members of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas. One of the things we like so much is the Freedom Ministry. Our pastor, Robert Morris, wanted this ministry established to help people live a life of freedom. Bob Hamp is our Freedom Ministry Pastor. I'm really pleased to introduce him to you. I've taken several of the freedom classes at the church, and they are truly wonderful. Welcome, Bob. You are writing nonfiction. Do you also write fiction?

The approach I took in this book is unique because I want to do much more than impart some information. I want people to see in new ways, I want people to think differently. The method of this book is as important as the message.

This book, actually my first, contains, and is built around an extended parable. I’m not sure if this qualifies as fiction, but it is a fictional story. My mind works in parables, and I have a few ideas for fiction type stories, but it is hard for me to not follow these up with teaching.

What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?

I come from a non-religious background, in fact for years I was an argumentative atheist. My approach is at least partly based on a core value that religious language can water down significant, life changing truth.

I spent 16 years as a professional counselor and still get a great thrill from seeing people break through the barriers in their lives. When my parents divorced, while I was fourteen years old, I decided to do whatever it took to not fall into the same traps that they had been in. This was really the beginning of my journey.

I really see every person as unique and created to carry a particular attribute of God’s Nature. This is a significant part of my motivation in wanting to help people. I believe God designed the human race to represent His Nature on the earth.

Tell us about your family.

I have been married to Jackee for 25 years, and we have four kids, one of whom got married this summer. I have a son with a handicap, two daughters and another son, and of course now a son-in-law. They are great humans each with their own unique personality and approach to life. I admire my children for the journeys they are on. They are all very creative in their own ways.

My family began and grew in Abilene, TX before I dragged them all on this adventure to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I think they have forgiven me now.

Have you written other nonfiction books?
Not yet.
Do you have any other books in the works right now?

I have several in my brain, but I have this full time job, that makes it difficult to give time to writing. I will get these others done, as this book has shown me the power of writing as a tool for changing peoples’ lives.

What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?

I love music. I have played the guitar since I was young, and still find it very relaxing. I love being outdoors, and I love to travel to interesting places.

Why did you write the featured book?

For years, I have explored the communication of the message Jesus shared. I feel that overall, believers do a mediocre to poor job of communicating the gospel to non-believers. This is often true because they themselves don’t have a meaningful understanding of the message. My desire is to make the power of Jesus’ message clear to those without any church background. I have seen that in doing this it becomes more clear to those who are in the church. Jesus did not come to motivate the lazy and scold the misbehaving, He came to reclaim and restore His sons and daughters. This is a powerful message.

Please give us a peek inside the book.

The Journey Begins

Why Did He Go?

I can still see her face as she answered my question. The stress on her countenance faded into a faraway look as if she were in a trance. It seemed as though she had suddenly left on a vacation without moving from the chair in front of me. The lines around her eyes softened and the look of fear and frustration momentarily melted. Having mentally arrived at her new destination, she was ready to answer me.

I had been working as a juvenile probation officer for a few years. This, like many other meetings, took place in a moment of crisis. The strands of life this single mother had been holding together were unraveling fast and she viewed me as another agent of fear in her life. What would happen to her son? Would she lose him to long term detention or any one of multiple placement options? Like so many other parents, she came to my office swimming in a sea of competing emotions.

She had come to pick up her son who had stolen her car and run away from home. After a frantic period of waiting and searching, he had been located several states away – Florida, if I remember correctly. Out of gas and out of resources, he had left a trail of forged credit card receipts. After many attempts to fill up and drive-off, the boy had finally been picked up, claimed by his mom and returned to our small West Texas town. Now she was sitting in the sterile office, wondering what this probation officer was going to do and trying to figure out her next step. We had established the basic information about his age, family background and the nature of their relationship, but I was still curious – why Florida? Was her son running to family, friends, or even a girlfriend who had moved out of state? So I asked the question:

“Ma’am,” I said, “why did he choose Florida? Is there someone there he knew?”

This was the question that had prompted the shift in her body language. Her eyes narrowed and looked as if she were scanning the horizon in my diminutive office. Her imagination departed on the journey, although part of her remained behind to answer me. “Why Florida?” she repeated, “I wasn’t sure either until I went to pick him up. But the further I drove and the further Texas fell behind me, the more I began to understand.” She paused, eyes still distant, “We don’t know anyone there, and I am not even sure if he knew exactly where he was hoping to get to … but having driven the same way, I know exactly why he went.” She seemed to have reached that faraway destination as she summed up her explanation in a single word, laden with emotional significance to her. As she uttered the word, it seemed weighty enough to reach beyond her and her son to include all of us.
“Freedom,” she answered. “He went for freedom. The further I traveled, it was as if I was leaving behind every care and every difficulty. The more I drove, the more I considered joining him, because life just seemed easier in front of me than it did behind me.”

Like her son, she had a picture of freedom in her mind. This picture, however inaccurate, would point her heart towards the pursuit of freedom. His picture had been so skewed that his greatest bid for release had actually resulted in the loss of all his freedoms.

Our brief conversation had already revealed that her life had been long and difficult. Many painful experiences had clouded her past and led up to this one. This day was another landmark – one more harsh and frightening experience. Even loving her son had become painful. And now here she was, putting one foot in front of the other with a hollow look in her eyes, and the only positive feelings she had were evoked by imagining a different life from the one she was living.

Yet, in the midst of all that weight, she had latched onto a universal dream. She knew something within her was crying out for something more. Yet that thing, whatever it was, seemed out of reach. No wonder life looked better in front of her than it did behind her. She ached for freedom.
Don’t we all?

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?

This book is particularly designed to help people use their mind in new ways. I literally want people to think differently about their lives and about the message of Jesus.

It seemed clear to me that when Jesus came to a town radical changes happened in people and in some cases in whole cities. I want people to have a chance for real and meaningful change. Beyond the common tr- harder approach to Christianity, I want people to understand how to connect to the power behind the message.

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?

Thank you, Bob, for spending this time with us.
Readers, here's the easiest link to where you can purchase the book: 
Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 6 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment. Here’s a link.


Carrie Belshe said...

Having known Bob for several years I am grateful that he has such a heart for those in bondage. I've heard the parable that is the basis of the book preached from his lips and gotten chils. I hope we have not seen the last of his insightful writings. The world is a far richer place for having men like Bob Hamp in it. Thank you for spotlighting this great writer!

Sidney W. Frost said...

Thank you Lena, for posting this interview. Bob's book sounds interesting. I especially like his answer to the question of why he wrote the book. His "desire to make the power Jesus' message clear to those without any church background," is wonderful. I'll be sure to read the book.

Debbie said...

Sounds like a god book. Please enter me.


A J Hawke said...

After reading the first page I'm intrigued.

Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

A J Hawke

Anonymous said...

please count me in...thanks :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

I always like to be challenged to think outside the box. Would love to read this book. Please enter me in the draw.

Jan Cline said...

This is a great subject matter for the Christian genre. It's a topic that needs more exploration.
Will have to get this one.

Lou Ann said...

Would love to read this book. Thank you for the opportunity to win it.

Terrie Coleman said...

This book sounds wonderful. Thanks for posting this. I want to read the book.

Coolestmommy said...

Sounds like a book that I'd enjoy reading. I appreciate thinking outside the box.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

I would like to read this book.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Judylynn said...

Please enter me in this giveaway - Thanks!


Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

Desiree said...

This book sounds very interesting. Our church has been focusing on "A Gospel Driven Life" and this would compliment that. Would love to win a copy, but will put this one on my list of books to get.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the good interview

Bob hamp said...

Sidney...thanks for the feedback...I find that if I communicate in a way that the "non-church" world understands and engages, the church world seems to receive afresh timeless and meaningful truth.
To those who like to think outside the box...let's leave this cardboard behind and plunge outside the lines...chapter one is an extended parable to help shift our minds...think differently....God is near!

Nancye said...

This sounds like a good book! Thanks for the chance.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Shawna K. Williams said...

My hubby and I met in Abilene, TX. We were both students at ACU. That was back in the late '80s, early'90s.

MaureenT said...

Bob your book sounds deep! My SIL is a non-believer, and I'm afraid imparting his views on my Grandson. I keep praying, heard him tell Grandson that the bible is a book of fiction!
I would love to read this book!

Bob Hamp said...

Maureen, I don't mean to sound self-serving, but I think this would be an ideal book for your chapter is on the Bible itself, since it is one of God's main modes of communication....
Let me know if you are going to pick it up...
Shawna ...did we know each other?

Lou Ann said...

Would love the opportunity to win "Think Differently, Live Differently." Thank you.

Marla said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview. I would really love to win this book.


Pain SUX said...

This book sounds right up my alley.


wmmahaney said...

This sounds like a book my husband would enjoy.

Unknown said...

Saw Bob and Robert Morris on Daystar dicussing the book and Freedom Ministry. This is a concept we really need to address in our congregation. Thanks for the ideas. The book would surely help.
Love from South Africa

Unknown said...

I feel that Bob hamp abounds in heavenly wisdom ...I'd love to know more about how can Godly people change the world...I'd love to have a copy of "Think differently live differently"
Thank you.