Huge Book Giveaway: “Sons of Grace”

February 24, 2012

Happy Friday everyone.

Today, we’re taking a short break from Parenting Month to bring you the chance to win a free copy of a great book, Sons of Grace.  It’s made up of the stories of ten tough men who found Jesus.  There are some incredibly redemptive stories here, like the guy who went from an abusive home to being an “enforcer” in a bike gang, to finding Christ.  There’s a sniper, a cancer patient, and even the author himself, Mark Hughes, an obsessive career ladder climber (read: corporate tool).

Yes, there are some tough, gut-wrenching stories and language.  But they are all true and need to be shared.  And none of the situations you will read about are tougher than the grace of God.  The book perfectly illustrates how God still penetrates the toughest hearts.  You need to read this book.

Fortunately for you, I’ve got a great Q and A with Mark Hughes, who has generously provided ten copies for giveaway.  All you have to do is leave a comment to be entered to win!

Mark, it may seem incredible that a business executive would cross paths with a motorcycle gang member, a convict and a marine sniper.  Can you briefly give us the scenario that was the beginning of this book?

A marine sniper was in a Friday morning men’s reflection group I started attending (I was quite scared at first because God wasn’t in my life and didn’t know what to expect at this group).

But I was known as “the author” in the group because I had written the book, Buzzmarketing, which had been read widely by pastors.  He had done some hard living (alcoholism and suicide attempts), and wanted to share his story.  As a self-centered, successful executive, I’d wreaked a lot of havoc on my family (almost divorced twice and alienated my children at the expense of my ego), and was thinking of sharing my story too.

We both knew our stories wouldn’t fill an entire book, so we searched for two years for eight more men with dramatic conversion experiences.

All ten stories are of men whose lives people probably wouldn’t want.  Can you give us a little preview of the story you felt was most gut-wrenching, or the man who made the biggest leap from hell to happiness.

The motorcycle gang member’s story is raw and gut-wrenching.  As a seven year old, he was subjected to the most hellish mental abuse by his own father.

At eleven, he wanted to kill his own father.  He proceeded to enter one of the toughest motorcycle gangs in the country.  It got a lot worse.  He murdered.  Then the feds came after him.  He ran, but he had a Saul-to-Paul moment where God commanded him to turn himself in.  He didn’t have to turn himself in (resulting in a 50 year sentence).  But he did.  He’s a pastor in prison as well as an inmate.

It’s a life that nobody would want, but it’s his life, and God recycles us for the purpose of showing others that hope is alive.

For 42 years, you had everything except peace in your life, a thread that is similar between all the stories.  Maybe some reader out there doesn’t really know what peace from God looks like.  Tell us what God’s peace can do for a really broken person.

Maybe it’s the difference between driving a car to a foreign place without a map and with a map.

Without a map, you’re worried that you’re headed in the wrong direction, wasting time, wasting gas, and never getting to your destination.

With a map, you’re still headed to a foreign place.  You may not have traveled the road, but you’ve got a general idea of where you’re headed, less worried, and less stressed with a map.

One thing I do know though:  the best way a teacher gets his students to learn is by giving them partial information.  If a teacher connected the dots for students, they’d never learn.

A common sentiment I hear from people raised Christian is that they feel they don’t have a very interesting conversion experience.  What do you say to someone who had a decent life and who may be envious of an “interesting” conversion story?

A body has different parts.  Hands are different from ears.  Eyes are different from hip bones.  Knees are different from elbows.  But on this earth, when walking with God, we’re all part of one body.

We just have different roles in the body.  Our purpose is to help each other using either our time, treasure, or talents.  And each one of us has different capacities in each.

Okay, now it’s your turn to win a free copy of the book.  Want one chance at the book?  Just leave a comment.  Tell us who has the toughest conversion story you know.  Want two chances?  Follow Sons of Grace on Twitter and leave a second comment telling us you did so.  And if you’re super ambitious, you can triple your chance at winning by Tweeting the following: “Win a FREE copy of “Sons of Grace” from @MattTCoNP! http://wp.me/pSZSu-12y”

22 responses to Huge Book Giveaway: “Sons of Grace”

  1. Wow looking forward to reading this book, I love Saul to Paul stories being one myself. I went from hanging out with a gang, living on the streets for a while and doing things I shouldn’t have done in my younger days to meeting someone starting a family returning to the church, going to Bible school, becoming an Ordained minister and now working on planting my own church. I thank God for the Blessings everyday and thank Him for keeping me alive back then to be here today to testify His great works.

    Thanks

    Rev. Marty Laporte

  2. Let’s be honest, aren’t we all tough conversions from a biblical perspective since all of mankind has been in rebellion since the fall in the garden. I understand the (I think) the reasoning behind the book. I would love to win a copy since I have set a goal to read at least 20 books this year. I would say I was a tough one as well since I grew up in an alcoholic home, did the drug thing, but mostly alcohol, joined the Navy, lived a sailors life of drinking and fighting…oh, then because of the love from another imperfect sailor who was concerned enough to care about my eternal soul I eventually trusted in the ultimate lover of my soul in 1982, got out of the service and went to Bible College, went in foreign missions for 18 years and now pastor here in the States. Oh that we would be concerned with all peoples in giving them the opportunity to receive the free gift that was given to us.

    Thanks for the opportunity,

    Gene

  3. My personal story of “coming to faith” is not quite as spectacular but still interesting. Newly married in my early twenties my wife and I were prophesied over. Me, that I would be a “pastor and leader of men”, which was hilarious since I am a total introvert. I spent the next 15 years trying to prove how wrong this prophesy was. At age 37I inexplicably became very ill with a sickness they never did identify. Admitted to the hospital with a fever of 105 degrees I spent five days flat on my back. Mid morning of day four, God spoke to me, not audible but through Holy Spirit. His question was, “You could have died earlier this week and then faced me, what would you have told me?” I knew the only answer was guilty as charged. I prayed the I’ll go wherever do whatever prayer with my wife when I was released. Two years later we moved with our family of teens and preteens to a different part of our country for Bible school and seminary for five years. I have now been a pastor for the last seven years.

  4. Amazing grace….how sweet the sound!!! If only we could all get our minds wrapped around how awesome and huge His grace is and how much He wants to extend it to us, our lives would be so much more effective in bringing others to the Cross.

  5. The greatest miracles that God works are bringing unbelievers to a living faith in Himself.

    Not with, or because of our help…but in spite of it.

  6. If this were a private message I would share my story, but the truth is… No matter how difficult the conversion was, all of them end the same… Covered in grace.

  7. Regardless of whether I win a copy or have to buy one, I want to read this book! I have some family members who have yet to “write” their conversion story. Until they do, I refuse to give up on them!

  8. I am definitely leaving a comment – love these kinds of testimonies and I think they bring encouragement to those of us involved in outreach and we wonder if it will “take.” Draw my name….plllleeeeaaasssseeeeeee!

  9. Gene at 7:56 a.m. has it right. All have sinned; all must yield to Christ, and that’s tough.

  10. I love hearing conversion stories. How would you speak to someone who thinks they have all the answers, is a decent person, and that God or “a god” doesn’t exist? I am definitely praying for them and will be totally content with a deathbed conversion, but part of me is afraid that someone who quietly ignores God for all of his life isn’t going to turn to him in death. He will just quote “Invictus” and die.

  11. Hey Matt,

    I usually read without commenting, but I’d really like this book so here’s the comment. I just hope I remember to buy it after I don’t win!

  12. Conversion testimonies are so wonderful, proof that nothing is impossible with God, and they offer so much inspiration when I feel down, or when I get overwhelmed thinking about those loved ones that are yet to write their stories. It always reminds me that it is not our timing, but God’s timing. One of the conversion stories I have seen most recently was the one I found via Scott Williams’s blog. I’ve included the link: http://www.bigisthenewsmall.com/2012/02/09/satans-assassin-sees-the-light/

    It is so amazing and powerful. If I don’t win this book, I am definitely going to get it. Thanks for the opportunity!

  13. Thanks for the opportunity to win! Sounds like a pretty powerful book.

    We’re involved with a local ministry that works with young people (16-25) from varying bad situations. Some come fighting drug addictions, some trying to overcome abuse, some come from living on the streets. It’s definitely an eye-opening experience–each story is unique, and each speaks strongly of grace.

  14. I was yet another one who was running so hard from God that I ran right into Him. Raised an atheist, Jesus came and got me my first year of college. I wasn’t even searching.

    It’s easy to forget how unlikely and amazing that whole experience was, especially after 39 years. Thanks for helping me remember.

  15. Apparently I’m in the minority here. I’d love to read the book, but my “conversion” is about as boring as they come. I haven’t even had any “majorly bad” backsliding experiences. No drugs, no alcohol, never been much of an athlete. I don’t remember a time when God wasn’t real to me. There was no “life-changing experience” (which made FAITH training very difficult for me) – there was just one day when I knew it was time…so I made the commitment. At 8. So it’s not like I was even an angsty teen who then began to live for God.

    But as others have said, my sins are no smaller or less separating than those of the “worst” of offenders. I needed grace just as badly…I just feel like I look on life more from the perspective of the “other brother” (bad attitude and all) rather than the prodigal son.

  16. The book sounds interesting, but Melissa’s post got me thinking that it would be kind of neat to hear about some “boring” conversion stories (or perhaps, “keeping on in a similar direction” stories might be the more appropriate term.)

    Personally, C.S. Lewis’ conversion story is probably the best one I’ve ever read. (I’m reading “The Joyful Christian” right now.) Having lead a pretty boring life up until now, I’ve never been able to relate to stories of people that come to God in the midst of great personal turmoil–not that I want to discount people having those experiences, but it’s just not something I’ve been able to relate to and, for whatever reason, I’m a bit mistrustful of decisions that are too heavily based on emotions.

    Lewis is probably the only writer I’ve come across that made belief in God sound like a logical, reasoned decision. I guess that’s why I like his stuff so much–I’m hoping to read more when I get the time.

  17. One of the more interesting conversions I know is a man now known as Rev. Pickle (his last name), a Nazarene evangelist and prison minister.

    Pickle was the leader of a biker gang, grew and sold drugs, murdered, stole, did lots of unsavory things, and cussed, too. He buried millions of dollars in drugs, money, and guns around his property in upstate New York. All Federal and state authorities were after this guy. In the mid-80’s he went out for groceries, and he went right to the place all of these authorities were preparing to go get him ….and probably kill him. He was quickly arrested.

    During the trial, and while in jail, he read Corey ten Boom’s first book. He asked his believing mom to send the second book. She also sent the Bible, and he read both in 3 days (out of boredom). A pastor from a local Church of the Nazarene befriended him and discussed everything with him.

    To sum up, he converted and proceeded to convert 2/3’s of the prisoners and staff, get his degree and become ordained, and get out of prison 74 years earlier than his first parole hearing.

  18. Just last night at our family small group, my brother in law was saying that he feels like he has missed out on being blessed by being born again. He was raised in a Christian household, grew up knowing Jesus and never questioned, doubted or even thought about being disobedient. His biggest challenges in life were the absence of his father who abandoned his family, and his own wife leaving him with two small children.

    This is in contrast to how his wife, my husband and their brother were raised … an abusive alcoholic father and a powerless mother, raised in the Catholic church were children never EVER brought up their home discipline to the nuns or priests. They turned away from the church in their teens, left home as soon as possible – the boys to the Navy, their sister to a series of husbands and babies – 3, one of each – before meeting and marrying the bro in law above. My husband kept his faith on a low simmer over the years, finally reviving it after his divorce. His brother is just now beginning to search again, after years of living the hedonist life.

    My story is some what boring as well, although I did have a come to Jesus moment a few years ago that brought me into deeper obedience and faith. But that’s a story for another day.

    My actual comment is: This book would be wonderful if I could get my very lost, angry atheist son to read it. He’s had a tough, tough life, from the very day he was born, a never-ending struggle from illnesses, abuse from his father, bipolar disorder, drug abuse, and on and on … he is 24 years old now, having surgery on his hand this afternoon to repair the damage caused by punching the wall when his girlfriend dumped him the other day. But even better than the book would be your prayers that the Holy Spirit would grab him by the neck and give him a good wake up shake.

  19. What a fantastic opportunity! Thanks so much :)

    My father is still in his search for grace, and I see him struggle constantly to find peace and let go of his past. I think he often feels that he is not worthy or that it is too late; Sons of Grace may be what he needs to see that God never gives up and it’s never too late to become the man he wants to be. I hope someday soon I’ll be able to tell the story of how my father — a divorced, lonely, and recovering alcoholic at the end of his rope — found grace.

  20. Sounds like a great book. I’d love a copy.

  21. Sounds like a great read! Throw my name in the hat please!