Transformed By Tough Times by Steve Reed (Interview and Giveaway!)





I jumped at the opportunity to read Transformed by Tough Times and join in with the book tour through Christian Speakers Services. Steve Reed has a message of encouragement that seeks to close the gap between suffering and the Christian experience in a way that has the power to transform lives, attitudes and beliefs… continue reading my book review HERE

Read on below for a brief interview with Steve Reed and how Transformed by Tough Times came into being.

I have been provided with a signed copy to give away. Please leave a comment on this post OR the book review post if you would like to be included in the drawing! 

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A book about tough times usually implies that the author has had some personal experiences that connect to that topic. Where did the book start for you? 

In college, I was a kicker and punter at Oklahoma State University under a demanding head coach, Jimmy Johnson. (Football fans might recognize him as the coach for two college national championships in the 80’s and a couple of Super Bowls in the 90’s for the Dallas Cowboys). Just playing for Coach Johnson was tough enough, but my sophomore year, I got my knee bent backwards in a Junior Varsity game in Lincoln, Nebraska. When surgery and rehab efforts didn’t get me back to playing football, I eventually had to hang up the cleats. Looking back now, that experience made me more aware of how other people dealt with adversity and caused me to pay more attention to how I could respond when faced with tough times.

Your book transitions pretty quickly from your football days to life as a church planter and how that actually prompted you to write this book. How did that all happen? 

When football didn’t work out, I found myself drawn to ministry in a great church near the OSU campus. Charlie Baker, the pastor of that church, invited me and other college students to partner with him in creating a weekly worship service for students. In doing that ministry I fell in love with the church and decided to go to seminary and be a pastor myself. After getting married and going through seminary training, we eventually moved to Kansas City to start churches. For nearly 20 years we were involved in the roller coaster rides of starting five different churches in our region. Most days, I absolutely loved it. But in one of those church starts we had a train wreck that knocked me for a loop and out of a church that I loved perhaps more than I loved my wife and family.

So after that you went on an even deeper quest for figuring out what was happening to you?  

Right. With a new intensity I began to systematically search the scriptures to find some help for my pain. And I collected information and stories from others wiser than me and from many who had suffered greatly and come through with amazing faith and character.

You write about a day in Costa Rica that changed your life. What happened?  

After the break up from the church, I wound up going to Costa Rica on a mission trip with my parents. My parents, by the way, were missionaries when I was a kid and 30 years prior we had actually lived in Costa Rica. For me, going back was a fun, blast to the past. But more than that, the people there were cathartic for me. I was an emotional mess much of the time. And one day I must have cried with three or four people who needed to know Christ, but who were in pain. God used my pain and my weeping with others to both minister to them and to me. That day I discovered something about God’s ministry of tears and how sometimes He does more through our weaknesses and frailties than He does with our strengths.

So this is where your international ministry began? 

Yes. While in Costa Rica, a Guatemalan man by the name of Cesar Gonzalez invited me to come to his country and dream about ministries and churches for people in Guatemala who don’t like church. To hear the whole story you’d have to pack a lunch! But let me briefly say that Cesar would have been a mafia hit man if God hadn’t gotten a hold of him! With a little encouragement from some pastor friends in Kansas City, I took him up on his invitation, and for two weeks Cesar and I drove around the country looking at dozens of different situations and groups of people. Little did I know then, that 13 years later we would be working in over 55 locations covering Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. I mention this because I have learned a lot from believers from other cultures and have put much of that into the book. Many of us in North America aren’t aware that both Guatemala and El Salvador have been through recent civil wars. Many people there have shared first hand stories of unimaginable grief and heartache. As I have walked alongside them, my faith has been challenged and I have an increasing desire to not just mindlessly go through my tough times, but to actually think deeply and grow through my tough circumstances. As I’ve done a little bit of that, I think it’s time that I pass some of this on to others who can benefit like I have.

Where can people find your book?
For now it’s only available from the trunk of my car! Or, more conveniently, it can be ordered from the website www.TransformedbyToughTimes.com. By the way, before Christmas we finished taping the audio book and I can’t wait to unveil that in the next couple of months too.

 Please note: Transformed by Tough Times is now available on Kindle

You also have a companion Bible study available as well right? 

Yes! Thank you for mentioning that. I think I am about as excited about the study guide as I am the book. On the website, http://www.TransformedbyToughTimes.com is a 24-session small groups Bible study guide that can be downloaded for free. It matches up to chapters in the book and then goes deeper with pertinent Bible stories and information related to the topic. Incidentally, when someone wants me to coach them through their own tough times, this is essentially the material I use. In early tests, we are getting positive feedback from groups going through the book and the Bible study together. Do check it out!

Find out about more opportunities for a free copy of TRANSFORMED BY TOUGH TIMES, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/338690666247617.

ABOUT STEVE REED:

Steve Reed is the Chief Encouragement Officer and Cross Cultural Catalyst for Daybreak International, a missions organization he founded that is dedicated to planting churches for the marginalized and forgotten peoples of the world. Currently, his two major projects focus on cowboys in Central America, and Kekchi Indians in the jungles of Guatemala. Those who know Steve best speak of his relentless encouragement and undying loyalty to people who face tough times. When not traveling in Central America, Steve comes home to Kansas City. He is married to Nola, and they have three young adult sons, a beloved daughter-in-law, and a grand baby on the way!

This blog host was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the author’s interview and/or book review on this blog. CSS Virtual Book Tours are managed by Christian Speakers Services (http://ChristianSpeakersServices.com).

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Transformed by Tough Times (Book Review & Giveaway)

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I jumped at the opportunity to read Transformed by Tough Times and join in with the book tour through Christian Speakers Services. Steve Reed has a message of encouragement that seeks to close the gap between suffering and the Christian experience in a way that has the power to transform lives, attitudes and beliefs for those experiencing difficult times. 
Initially Mr. Reed had released this book under a title aimed primarily at ministry leaders. After much feedback was received and considered, Steve realized that what was good for the leaders was also good for all Believers. The bottom line is we all will face adversity in our Christian walks. As Steve puts it it’s not optional, and he spends a good portion of this book addressing the reality of what he calls “The Suffering Clause”. It’s like the fine print in your Christian contract…the one we want to avoid, but ultimately cannot. Learning to live in it, and through it and ultimately with the same attitude as Paul when he penned these words: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” is the prayer and goal. 
This book is one encouraging chapter after another. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of ways the subject was addressed. When one looks at a diamond, there are many facets, angles and layers to be seen and appreciated. I think Steve does this with the topics of suffering and adversity. He guides us into looking at the aspects from a variety of ways so that we may see more clearly how much we need what we want least of all. Through biblical and historical accounts, his own journey, and through the lessons of fellow “strugglers”, the point is driven home that God does not waste our pain. “The greater the depths of your pain, the greater your potential for encouraging others-even if you are not delivered or healed or fixed yet.” Wow. Isn’t that the message we all need to hear? 
In one of my favorite Chapters (Chapter 17: Sheep Among Wolves), Steve reminds the church of it’s primary purpose. But I don’t think many want to hear it! I so loved the analogy of believers being “wolf bait”. But you will have to read it for yourself as I don’t want to spoil it. Worth the read for sure. Steve does not mince words. He speaks accurately into some of the challenges facing the Body of Christ today. 
The book is broken up into two sections. Book 1 is called the Suffering Clause and has four parts, including Steve’s story, Jesus and the Suffering Clause, Further Implications of the Suffering Clause  and Heroes of the Suffering Clause. Book 2 is called Transformed by Tough Times and delivers a tool chest of helps for walking through adversity well. This section of the book is very practical, applicable and encouraging. 
I would recommend this book to those walking through difficult circumstances and anyone in ministry or leadership. Pretty much if you are a walking, breathing, being you will be uplifted by the straightforward approach. Steve coaches well and has honed this down to a timely message for God’s own people right now. 
I’ll leave you with one more quote, as I loved so much of what was communicated throughout the reading. 
“In God’s eyes, there is one thing that distinguishes a man or woman for His Hall of Fame. What is it? It’s faith. It’s not intelligence or beauty or social status or talents or abilities in certain areas. It is faith.”
(Chapter 19: The Suffering Clause Hall Of Fame).
Steve Reed has some specials going on during the book tour on his website at http://www.transformedbytoughtimes.com/store/
Christian Speakers Services and Steve Reed have provided me with a signed copy of this book to give away. Leave a comment to be included in this giveaway! 
If you need encouragement and hope to be transformed by tough times yourself, you will want to enter to win or go ahead and purchase this book. 
* I received a copy of this book through Christian Speaker Services in return for a review. All opinions expressed are my own. 
Join me for an Interview with Steve Reed!

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