Sunday, November 3, 2013

Malo Bel's "Four Given" interview & book giveaway

Hey all! Please join me in welcoming Malo Bel to my blog. He's here to tell us a little about himself and his book "Four Given."

Tell us a little about yourself.
Full On Life – I suppose those would be the three words that define me and the life I like to live. Words taken from Jesus’ offer – “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly (full on)”  - John 10:10. And so in everything I seek, in Jesus’ power, to live a life of abundance. So whether physical – such as having run many 56 mile marathons, or mental – such as completing a PhD – whether at home with my awesome wife and children or in front of a thousand people, I give my all, through him who gave me all. Yet all of this is so unimportant compared to whom I am related. My dad wrote the world’s best selling book. He also made the originals that everyone from DaVinci to Michael Angelo copied. And in case that is not enough, he breathed and the stars came into being. He. “…merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed, and all the stars were born.” (Psalm 33:6). I am a child of God.

Why do you write the kind of books you do?                                                                                               
Wow. Jesus was different. He did things in a way that shook up society, and now is shaking up the world. He thought, taught and touched in ways never heard of - never imagined. And so too, led by his incredible Spirit, I seek to write books that inspire, that touch, that teach – but in a way that is different.
I am passionate to share what it means to live the life that Jesus offers. All too often we as Christians are burdened by sin, or by trying harder, or doing more. Yet we never come to him that we may have life. His message is so simple that we miss it, it is so life-changing that we think it cannot be true. And so I seek to share my own experiences and those I have met in a way that is easy to follow, yet contains the deepest of truths, the most important of messages.  Quite simply I am obeying what Jesus said -  “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you.” (Mark 5:19)
Besides writing, what are some of your favorite hobbies?

T3 – The Three T’s - I am passionate about teaching, technology and travel – I love teaching, especially the youth. I love technology – and my PhD brings these first two areas together as it is in Educational Technology. Thirdly I love travelling. I love God’s beautiful canvas upon which he has painted such a perfect world. And I love marveling in what he has made and meeting the people who live in so many different places around the world. Terrific…Ok, too many T’s now J

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have written several technology books – but I have always had a passion to write Christian books. Even in my technology books I pushed the boundaries. They are never “normal”. I always looked for new an innovative ways to communicate what might be deemed complex content in a simple and inspiring way. I took this love, and inspired by some awards for this work, and wrote books on running, living outdoors, etc. – all different but motivating. But none of these were important. There is really only one story that needs to be told. The story of Jesus at work in my life – a story that we all must experience, because living his eternal life is beyond words. And so I think we all need to be writers – every single one of us -– “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” (Psalm 107:2)

What advice would you give to a beginning writer?

Write passionately – Edit precisely – Market persistently
Start with passion. Write what is in your heart. Don’t over think it. Of course you need to plan, to some extent, but let the story write you. I believe this is really true when we write for our Lord. We can open to him and let him direct us. It’s so exciting to see what will happen next as the chapters unfold. I was as much surprised by the twists in my story as you will be, and I was right there as it was happening. Amazing.

Then edit and edit and edit. Did I say “edit”? There is nothing worse than a book that is full of editing errors. We are all human and these errors are always there. However, while one or two grammar errors will be overlooked, a book full of bad grammar – no matter how good the story – will be seen as unprofessional and will not succeed.

And then the hardest part of all – marketing. Here is the true test of an author. This is the test of whether you really love what you are doing. It may take you 6 months, a year, two years to write your book. Marketing will take 2, 3, 5, 10 years. On and on it goes. Something I have learned from running – if you don’t enjoy it, if you are not motivated, you will never continue to put one foot in front of another when you hit 7 hours, 9 hours, 11 hours…and still you have not reached the end. However if you love God, if you love sharing his message, it will seem “as a few days” because you will be doing what you love, as you blog, share, post, tweet, and do whatever is needed. It’s just awesome to tell your story, wherever you can, to who ever will listen.
What book are you currently working on?

This book “Four Given” is the first part of a beautiful journey to bring us to life eternal. A life beyond comprehension, a life accessible now. I have already been blessed with a glimpse at three other books that could follow this one. However while the seeds of each of these are in my head, at the moment I have not started them. I am enjoying Four Given, rejoicing in the gift of those I am connecting with online. And so I am currently continuing my desire to write though my blogs and also sharing the message of God through my new micro-message ministry, 10 second videos. It’s all so exciting; I just wish I had more hours in the day.

Please tell us a little about your book.
It’s different.
As I said, I like to do things different – and never was it more important than with this book. Let me begin with how it began.

It started on a beach. Near the end of a great, relaxing vacation I was walking by myself towards the beach showers. As I walked I was thinking about my life. Sure it is great in so many ways - after all I was on vacation - but somehow it always seems to be about me. What I want. What I do. And so I asked God - isn't it awesome how we can talk to Him anywhere, anytime? - well, I asked him, "Lord, how do I let go of me and take in more of you?" However, rather than an answer I got a question back - "How do you let go?" For a moment I wondered, "What? How do you let go?" And then I realised and responded, it's obvious - "If you have to let go something you have to open your hand." It seemed logical to me. I sort of imagined me hanging and holding on a branch - an illustration that would return later when I wrote the story. And then He said, "That is how your journey to me begins, by opening your hand." By this stage I was at the beach showers, and was waiting for two girls to finish. I stood there staring out at the sea thinking upon what He had said. I must begin by opening my hand. What does that mean? An open hand is a hand that gives. My journey must begin by giving. Is that not the defining activity of love - "God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son..." And then it really hit me - the hand, it's the Hebrew letter Yod - and it is the letter that begins the most divine of names. Is it a message to us, a journey we should take? I could feel the overwhelming sense of God's presence wash over me as I stood there lost in my communion with him. An overwhelming joy, a peace, an excitement - there was a discovery, a journey that God was calling me on. But then doubt crept in...or was it just the vain imaginations of my mind? At that exact moment one of the girls at the shower said, "Excuse me." I turned around assuming they were finished, but she continued and asked, "What are you thinking about?" I was blown away. Why would a complete stranger ask someone they don't know what they are thinking about? How did she even know I was thinking anything and not just staring at the beautiful sea? And so I shared my conversation with her. I was forced to give voice to the conversation in my heart. She smiled and said that it sounded really deep and meaningful. I was left with my doubt washed away, for no sooner had it crept in than God answered me with a voice that I could hear, knowing that my limited faith needed it. And so began my journey, and my calling to write this story, and the beginning of many more miracles.
The main message is that Jesus is offering us the most beautiful life possible - "I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly" (John 10:10) - it is a life filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness etc. Yet sadly many of us are missing out on this for a number of reasons. Firstly because we don't know how to enter this life. We need to realise that entry is nothing to do with our efforts and everything to do with Jesus. Secondly many of us misunderstand what the "abundant life" Jesus offers is. We are often led to believe it is either only something we can enter in the future, or it is a life of happiness defined by money, good health, and worldly success. Yet is it neither of these - it is much more. It is a life we can enter now, a life that far exceeds our vain human understanding of "happiness" - it is a joy despite sadness, a peace despite worldly worries, a love despite a world of hatred. It is a life that transcends human experience. It is a life we can live now - the life of eternity.
Four Given is a story about the mystery of Godliness and life eternal, a mystery that I discovered is hidden in the most sacred place of all, in the holy letters that define God. A mystery so divine, so life-changing, so real it is embedded in the essence of every human being. A mystery that charts a divine path to God, a journey that once undertaken will bring you to a place called Eternity, a place where you will see “inexpressible things”.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
As one of my T’s is technology, I love connecting with people online and would love to share my story with anyone who love to hear it. I can be found in the following places:                                    
Website –                                                                                                                        
 Blog –  Would love you to subscribe J                                                                                                                      
YouTube – -                                                                                                   
See my book trailers and the micro message ministry                                                                                
 Twitter –                                                                                                  
Google+ -
There are other places too (Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram) and they can be seen on my website.

Drawing will be held November, 9

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