I’ve listened to singer/songwriter Eric Peters for years. My devotion to the Rabbit Room and the Square Peg Alliance came from my son. We started listening to the artists of the Square Peg Alliance years ago. And, when I discovered the Rabbit Room website and their devotion to not only music, but to classical Christian writers I was sold.
In 2010, Sean and I attended the first Hutchmoot gathering in Nashville. Eric Peters sang at that gathering. In 2012, Sean and I were fortunate enough to make the 90 second window during online registration and we made it back for Hutchmoot. During that gathering, I was shocked to hear Eric’s story during his “Recovery Through Song” breakout session. I had no idea about his struggle with depression. He was very open with that young adult audience about his depression. Afterwards, Sean and I sat under an outside tent for a personal concert by Eric. I was stunned and moved as Eric was brought to tears and almost speechless trying to share more about his battle with depression. I totally understood.
When you get this kind of email, it is startling; amazing; humbling. Let me tell you about the book that has changed thousands of lives. It is my book. It is our book. It is your book.
In 1995 I went through a horrific depression and in the aftermath developed tools to help me keep depression at bay. These LifeFilters, as I called them, intrigued my pastor, Mark Sutton. Mark professed to me that he suffered from depression also. This was a shock. After all, if you have enough FAITH, then you should NEVER suffer from depression. Which is a lie from the pits of hell. In fact, the statement that set me free came from my counselor who said to always ask, “What is the lie?” And, who is the father of lies? Satan!
If you think that depression is a spiritual disease then you are WRONG! Depression, as Mark and I discuss in our book, “Conquering Depression” is a multifactorial illness. If you have enough faith, why do you wear your glasses? No! God gave us our minds so we could learn. And, as a physician called by God to medicine, my mind may be the answer to your prayer!
Mark asked me to help him write a book on depression and we did. It was published in 2001 by Broadman & Holman (Now, B&H Publishing). Over the past 12 years, this book has refused to die. And trust me, the publisher has tried time and time again to let the book fade away and have a peaceful death. This past summer, after a change in editorial management, B&H came to Mark and I and asked us to consider updating the book. Conquering Depression lives on!
So, here is the message in a nutshell. Depression is currently approaching epidemic proportions. It’s cause is multiple and our current culture is fostering a hopeless, helpless, depressed populace especially among young adults (see the latest issue of Relevant magazine). In order to conquer depression, Mark and I developed a 30 day plan, a chapter a day, along with the tools of the LifeFilters. Our approach is that depression is a physical, emotional, and spiritual disease. You have to use a comprehensive approach with a doctor, a counselor or psychologist, and a Christ centered community for spiritual support.
If you are suffering from anxiety or depression this book is for YOU! If you love someone who may be depressed, this book is for YOU! Come by tomorrow and let’s chat. I’ll be signing copies of this book and I’d love to meet you. This is a new year. The old year is gone as Eric Peters sings in his wonderful album “Birds of Relocation”. But, soon, our current hopeless, helpless, dark, nihilistic culture will depress you. When it does, have the tools you need to “Conquer Depression”!
Okay, so in my last post, I told a very bleak and scary story. We live in a state of fear and there is a reason. In my two books in the “Chronicles of Jonathan Steel” I deal with this state of fear and its cause, EVIL. Want to read a good book that has an ultimately redemptive message? Want to see what evil is REALLY like? Want to know how you can have assurance that evil will not win the day?
Pick up a copy of “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” and “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”. If you like Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, Stephen King, or Peretti, you will like these books. They are written for men, women, and older teenagers.
Have these two books changed lives like the depression book? In fact, they have. I received an email from a man who read both books and then passed them on to his younger teenage brother who was dealing with doubt about his faith. After reading both books, the younger brother came to his older brother and they had a conversation about the young man’s faith. The books helped the younger brother strengthen his failing faith in Christ. In fact, both books are a good alternative to the Twilight Series or Vampire Diaries. If you want to hear what people are saying about these two books, checkout my tab for book reviews.
Tomorrow, January 5th, drop by the Shreveport LifeWay on Youree Drive between noon and two PM. I will be signing all three books and giving away FREE TEE SHIRTS. Even if you don’t buy a book, come by and support our local Christian book store! Come spend some of those Christmas dollars! I’ll see you there!
I have seen the hand of God this summer in ways I have never seen before in my life. He reached out to me from the utter blue and totally changed my direction. I am the co-author of “Conquering Depression” published by B&H Publishing way back in February 2001. We had given up on producing a new book and I had decided to move on to my fiction. But, God started stirring things up.
First, I did the RIGHT thing back in May. I said, “God, I am giving up on any future with a new depression book. It is in your hands. Show me the work you want me to do. I will no longer worry about this book. Instead, I will focus on my fiction books.” The next day, an email arrived from our agent telling us we should write a brand new book on depression. Well, I wasn’t completely convinced. I was working on the prep for my fiction books with another publisher. But, I reached out to my co-author, Mark Sutton. Turns out he was in the worst depression he had in years! The last thing he wanted to do was write a new book on depression. He just wanted to see the sun rise again!
I won’t belabor the details, because I can’t really go into them but in July, we were offered an opportunity to do a new book and possibly an entire series! Out of the blue! With no input or planning on our part. Literally, an editor walked up to me at a publisher’s meeting room and recognized me and asked to meet regarding a new book on depression. I mentioned it earlier in my previous post that I felt at that time God might be telling me depression was my top priority instead of fiction. And, that came to pass while I was at Hutchmoot!
Now, here is what I want to share. I don’t know what each person took away from Hutchmoot. I am convinced it was totally different and totally unique for each of us. God told us exactly what we needed. And, I would bet that it wasn’t exactly what we WANTED! I needed to hear that a new depression book was essential! That it was needed! I had decided that only older people suffered from depression. Imagine my shock to learn that many of the under 35 crowd (the majority of Hutchmoot attendees) are churned under by depression. In fact, I would say we are on the cusp of an epidemic. God showed me this as I have said in the previous posts.
God told me in no uncertain terms, “Bruce, get with the program. Don’t just do a halfway job on updating a depression book. Give it everything you’ve got. Now! Today!” I heard God speaking.
And so, I met with my co-author yesterday. We spent six hours going over the tentative plan for the book. But, I showed him some really important things. I told him about Eric Peters and Jason Gray’s “Recovery Through Song” session. I had made copious notes and now several phrases that both men used will become brand new chapters in the depression book. I played Eric’s “Voices” for him. He wept and we will be doing a chapter on the voices that can lie to us. I played him some of “Light for the Lost Boy” and we talked about a mutual acquaintance of my son that Mark Sutton knows well who has lost his faith. We talked about all the “lost boys and girls” who are alienated by our culture. So, we will have a chapter on that! We will be building a website as a platform for this book and we are VERY excited about it.
And here is what I want everyone who attended Hutchmoot 2012 and everyone who planned and worked at Hutchmoot to know. God used this simple gathering for a huge purpose. I walked with God into that meeting and, as Phil Vischer said, God showed me the work He wanted me to do. I could NEVER have seen this without Hutchmoot. So, Pete and Andrew and Eric and Jason and all of you wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ, one day someone will send us an email and say, “Your depression book saved my life.” and you must understand that you had a hand in that. Your love and compassion and devotion to God will play out in ways we can never know. People will come to find hope and peace and joy again because of the influence of Hutchmoot.
So, here is what I’d like to offer. We want to begin to build a database, if you will, of testimonies regarding depression. When we launch our new book in the summer of 2014 (tentative plans) and open our website, I’d like to have as many video, audio, or written testimonials as possible to put on the website. So, here’s the deal. If you would like to be a part of the “Conquer Depression” project, simply let me know. Drop me an email through the form below. I will send you a link to my Dropbox account and you can put anything in there you want — a video, an audio recording, or simply something in writing. And, I have about 50 of the current “Conquering Depression” books as promotions. They are hard to find, but you can order them online and book stores will order them for you. But, I’d like to offer you a copy FREE of charge. Now, this is the current book and the new book will be ten times better thanks to Hutchmoot! But, if I send you a book, and it helps you, we would love a follow up testimonial for the website.
Mark Sutton and I struggle daily with depression. Remember I said he was in the deepest depression in years? Once the ball dropped in July and we were offered a possible new book deal, he changed totally. Turns out his current episode was due to chronic illness, a simmering infection. Once treated, he was different man and now his on fire to write this book! Satan is already after us and attacking both of us. Satan is the father of lies and his biggest lies are the ones that discourage us and send us into his darkness. Help us fight that! Join us in “Conquering Depression”.
In the form below, note it is NOT FOR COMMENTS. Simple fill it out and send me your email and I will get back to you with more information.
Friday at Hutchmoot. First full day.
Sean and I made it for breakfast and sat once again under the tent outside in the cool morning air. We both sipped lattes from the most excellent coffee cart upstairs. What should we do? There were multiple sessions to choose from. Frankly, my first choice seemed untenable to me now. “Recovery Through Song” would feature Eric Peters, Jason Gray, and Andy O’Senga talk about emotional issues like depression and how song helped them cope. I was sliding into depression even as I sipped my coffee. I know it was silly. So I had just lost the remainder of my contracted books with one publisher the afternoon before. So what? My plans over the past 12 years would come to a stop unless I could somehow get my second book onto the New York Times Bestseller list. Unlikely in this age of crazy quilt marketing. How do you market “Christian speculative fiction” to Christian book stores? Horror, science fiction and fantasy get lost amongst the Amish romances and the female lead thrillers — all good books but not likely to attract the demographic that liked speculative fiction.
There was glimmer of hope for me. Just weeks before I had been led by God to walk into a meeting room at the International Christian Retail Show, the largest Christian artistic trade show of the year. There, in a matter of breath taking moments I had been offered a new book series deal that I cannot talk about in detail. But, guess what the subject of that book deal would be. Depression! Man was I going to nail that book now! I had the biggest opportunity in 12 years to really give into the raging beast that was growing darker by the moment within my crushed heart. Want to know more about depression? Give me a few more hours and you’ll see it raw and bloody before you.That was why I really DIDN’T want to hear a session on recovery. It might give me hope! And hope was my enemy right now. I wanted the deep, dark shadows to swallow me; I wanted to wallow in the pain and loss; I wanted the sweet, sweet oblivion of not caring a whit about the next breath I would take; I wanted the darkness to take me again as it had in 1995.
There is a difference now from then. My son. Sean was there gently encouraging me; never nagging or telling me to “just get over it”. He just loved me. And, my friends, that is what I needed most in that hour. So, I followed him to the session on recovery.
First, let me tell you that I cried through most of the session. When Jason Gray shared the night he couldn’t get that beam in the attic off his mind, I was almost breathless with anxiety. There was that beam up there, he said. And, I kept planning exactly how I would put the extension cord over it and how to tie the knot. For hours he could not get that off his mind. Would anyone miss me when I’m gone? That lie!
That lie! It all came flooding back to me. My first session with my counselor. The day I dreaded asking someone for help after six weeks of helpless struggling with my depression. He very simply said, “Bruce, what is the lie?” Simple. Elegant. Like Jason, I had bought into a lie. My life is worth something. You know why? Because God loved me enough to become flesh and to suffer and die to bring me back into a connection with Him. And, God does not lie. Who is the father of lies? Satan. Lucifer. The Master of this Realm. The Leader of the fallen angels. And, he was alive and well in my personal space, sticking out his forked tongue and laughing at me and goading me and lying to me. It all washed over me like a cold shower. I had never once considered a beam in the attic. I had never gotten so depressed that death seemed the only release. That would be cheating. Rather, I had wallowed in the pain until I realized that this pain came from the lies. I looked up through tears and listened as Jason said, “How did I become my pain?” and later, “Wisdom can come only through pain.”
Okay, God, I get it. I still have Hope. It never left me. I was the one who walked away into the shadows. I’m coming back into Your light. Eric Peters talked then and tore me asunder with his song, “Voices”.
Voices, when I listen to the voices
Every shroud of anger is sorrow in disguise
The voices, when I believe the voices
That convince me I am worthless, bent on my demise
Hear, oh hear the saints’ and angels’ voices
Everything about my weakness that is strong
Everything about the heart that could go wrong
Every hope that ever lived there but has since flown
I’m finding again, finding again
In the garden, when we lived inside the garden
Creatures bright and shining, we were, dust brought to life
In the silence, when we lean into the silence
We choose the things that hate us most, and rest upon the lies
Everything about my weakness that is strong
Everything about the heart that could go wrong
Every hope that ever lived there but has since flown
I’m finding again, finding again
We choose to love the things that hate us most
Everything about our weakness that is strong
Everything about our heart that has gone wrong
Every light that ever shone in darkened halls
Is shining again, I’m finding again
Oh, the voices
When I listen to the voices
I listen to the voices
Of the saints and angels
We choose to love the things we hate us most and rest upon the lies!
By now, I am reeling, dizzy, sweating, awash in God’s merciful truth. And, this was the first session of the first full day! As I stumbled out of “Recovery Through Song” I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt the following.
My dream of becoming a bestselling Christian fiction author was now put on hold. Sure, my second book of “The Jonathan Steel Chronicles” would be coming out within the month and I would do whatever it took to promote it. But, as far as my daily writing, right now and for the short term forseeable future I had to focus unflinchingly, unfailingly, without distraction on the update to my depression book. This is what God was telling me. There is an epidemic in this country of stress, anxiety, and depression. God had laid in my lap the most awesome opportunity to write a new book on depression fueled by my own personal struggles, my own wisdom garnered in the valley of the shadow of death, my own walk with God. I heard the TRUTH and guess what, the TRUTH set me free!
If you want to know more about Eric Peters’ excellent album, “Birds of Relocation” check out this link.
If you want to know more about “Conquering Depression” go to this link.
I still have a limited number of promotional copies of my first book, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” and you can get a FREE book for no obligation by filling in the info below. I’ll send it to you FREE!