Thursday, March 28, 2013

8 IS ENOUGH - Shannon Alford - One Free Book

Today, we have my friend Shannon Alford, who blesses me so much as she serves on the Praise Team at my church. Welcome, Shannon. What would you like for our readers to know about you personally?

Shannon Alford serves regularly on the Gateway Worship team as a vocal director and vocalist. She and her husband have written songs for the worship CDs released nationally. She finished her first book September 2012 called 8 Is Enough which is available in the Passages bookstore at Gateway Church, www.24/, Amazon or Barnes&Noble in Paperback or on Kindle.

Shannon and her husband, Sion, are originally from Florida and have released six albums prior to moving to Texas. One album called Fresh Fire was released nationally over fifteen years ago. Shannon and Sion have traveled to many churches over the US and Internationally teaching on Praise & Worship.

She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Clothing, Textiles, and Merchandising. She also has a Bachelor of Theology degree from Christian Life School of Theology in Macon, Georgia.

Shannon and her husband, Sion, an executive worship pastor at Gateway Church, have been married for twenty years and are blessed to have eight children from 8-19.

Have you written other nonfiction books?

Do you have any other books in the works right now?
No, but I will start writing 8 Is Enough-4 Years Later when I have four in college and four at home.

What kinds of hobbies and leisure activities do you enjoy?
I love leading worship, writing, reading, playing tenni,s and any water sports.

Why did you write the featured book?
My hope is to bring understanding that worship is not what you go and do but it is something you live. Also, to build faith in individuals to believe God despite the circumstances and bring healing and restoration to families.

What do you want the reader to take away from the book?
God is amazing and His love never fails.

Where on the Internet can the readers find you?
Facebook: 8 is Enough
Twitter: @shannonalford     
Telephone: 877.646.5640

Readers, I want to share with you this devotion that Shannon wrote for our church's beginning of the year devotional book for 2012.( Gateway always gives the first month of the year to the Lord by the whole church studying the book together as we dedicate our individual and corporate year to what God has for us in that year.)

Living Worship
Shannon Alford

I urge you therefore, 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 not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:1–2 (NASB)

It was a typical Thursday morning in May. My two boys, Si and Austin, stumbled out of bed, quickly dressed for school and ran downstairs to fight over who would eat the last of the toasted waffles. Just as I yelled up the staircase for my daughter, Brooke, to come down and eat, our phone rang. It was only a few minutes after seven. Who could be calling this early in the morning?

I answered the phone and heard the anguished sound of my mom crying on the other end. I couldn’t understand a word she was saying. I stepped out of the kitchen and went into my bedroom where I could calm her without alarming the children.

“Mom, take a deep breath and start over,” I whispered.

“Oh, Shannon,” she sobbed, “Stacey had a heart attack in the middle of the night and passed away.”

I immediately fell to the floor and began to weep. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Now all I could think about was the commitment my husband and I had made to my brother three years earlier, just before he died of cancer. We promised him that if anything ever happened to his wife, Stacey, we would take in and raise all five of their children as our own.

How could this be happening? We already had three children of our own … adding five more would bring us to eight! What were we going to do?

We often wonder why life is so full of situations and circumstances that cause us to constantly stop and ask for clear direction. The truth is God never intended for us to be separated from Him. And only when we’re placed in a difficult situation and our backs are against the wall do we tend to realize we need power and wisdom greater than ours to make the right decision. That’s when we all want a God who is larger, stronger and wiser than we are.

For 15 years, my husband and I had been worship leaders and songwriters and had taught others how to be worshippers. But now, God’s will was leading our worship to be a living sacrifice. Overnight, we went from being an aunt and uncle to being a mom and dad. Our kids went from being cousins to siblings. And instead of five people living in a house together, there were now ten.

I used to think worship was just the goose bumps I felt during slow songs, but God showed me true worship isn’t something I go out and do; it’s something I live. True worship begins when I place my life on the altar—seven days a week, 24 hours a day, offering myself as a living sacrifice to God.

Most of us long to know what God created us to do and have a desire for Him to reveal His will for our lives. In Romans 12:1–2, the Apostle Paul gives us three steps to knowing His good, acceptable and perfect will for our lives. First, give your life to Him daily as a sacrifice. In other words, develop a consistent prayer life, so you daily give God your life and ask Him for help to live like His (Matthew 16:25). Second, give up your natural, carnal nature that is like the world. The only way you can do that is through God’s grace—the supernatural power that enables you to do what truth demands (1Corinthians 2:12–16). Finally, give in to allowing the Lord to change you by daily washing yourself with the Word of God, because the truth you know sets you free (John 8:32).

No matter who you are or what you’re doing, your life is worship. And as I learned, worship isn’t something you go and do; it’s something you live. When we live in God’s will, we learn to be thankful for Him and His promises. We know it’s not us that does anything; it’s Christ who lives within us. So I urge you, go out today and be “living worship” as you allow His will to be done through you.

God makes no promise life will be fair
But He does promise He’ll take you through every storm because He cares
If you’re struggling with past hurts and pain
Lay down your life and you will gain
Far greater than your eyes can fathom
The glorious hope His love has ransomed
Don’t let yourself be deceived
You serve a master every day in word and in deed
So willfully give your life up for His
And receive the reward of being living worship for Him
Shannon Alford

Thank you, Shannon, for sharing your book and life with us today.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (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 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

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Norma S said...

I can not believe i am first, this is the first time i have been first. Your story is amazing. It so wonderful that you took in your brother's children and raised them as your own, making a total of 8 children.It is awesome what you said, that God is amazing and His Love never fails.It is also amazing that you are bring up the children to know God and His Love.God bless you and i hope i win your book. Great interview.
Norma Stanforth from Ohio

Lyndie Blevins said...

This is a story I would like to know more of.

Thanks for the opportunity to get this book.
Lyndie Blevins
Duncanville Tx

apple blossom said...

love to be included in this book giveaway thanks
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Library Lady said...

I would love to win a copy of the book, "Eight is Enough" to give to my church library.
Thanks for the opportunity to do so.
Janet E.

Julie said...

I consider Gateway Worship music an important part of my praise and worship music collection. You and Sion are an important and integral part of leading us as worshippers into the presence of God. I greatly anticipate reading your story of worship in life in this book.
South Dakota

rubynreba said...

I would enjoy reading this book and sharing it with my friends too.
Beth from Iowa

Beverly Lewis said...

I read this awesome story and LOVED it. So encouraging. I live in Florida. Happy to find your blog.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome God and what an awesome story! This book will make you laugh and cry and trust God for sure!

Jorie said...

I would love the opportunity to read about this blended family full of faith, hope, and love, in the most difficult of circumstances! I think their story is one that is encouraging as much as it is uplifting! :) Thank you for this chance to win a copy!