Tuesday, December 10, 2013

PUYB Virtual Book Club Q&A + Book Giveaway with Ronald Kirk, Author of Thy Will Be Done

We welcome Ron Kirk to PUYB Virtual Book Club! Ron is here today to talk about his Christian living book, THY WILL BE DONE. Ask him a question in the comment section and we will pick one of you to win a copy of his book! The contest will begin today and end on December 13. Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Only those leaving comments and an email address are eligible to win. Residents of the United States to win.

More about Ron:

Jesus Christ confronted Ron with His salvation late in his college career at the University of California, Berkeley. Graduating in 1974, he became a professional landscape architect. In entering his first church ministry, a lack of a Biblical material on education led him to the Christian History Movement and the works of R.J. Rushdoony. Since 1980, Ron has studied and taught the Biblically and historically identified applied-faith theology and philosophy outlined in this book. Its principles have now long proven themselves in the curriculum and methods of pioneering day and home schools founded and administered by Ron. His work has been published internationally and translated into Spanish. Gloriously married since 1971, Ron and Christina have five children, five more sons- and daughters-in-law, and eleven grandchildren, all walking with Christ. American Heritage Christian Church ordained Ron as a minister of the Gospel in 1984.

Ron and Christina are now staff members with New Hope Uganda Ministries. According to Jay and Vickie Dangers of New Hope Uganda Ministries, “Through what you have imparted to us, your lives have touched thousands of people on at least four continents, probably five, and the ripple effect is continuing.”

Professional website: www.getwisdom.us

Welcome to the Pump Up Your Book Virtual Book Club, Ron. How nice to have you with us.
Before we get into your book, can we talk about Nordskog Publishing? I’ve represented several of their titles over the past few years. Can you tell us the goal of this publishing house?

Ron: After a long successful career as founding publisher of Powerboat Magazine, Jerry Nordskog wanted to contribute to the Gospel and the Biblical worldview. Our mutual friend, Chris Hoops, accordingly persuaded Jerry to enter book publishing. Nordskog Publishing seeks to provide important Biblically-based content on subjects largely neglected by the Christian trade press. We want to expand exposure of the church to the view of the faith that says everything belongs to Christ, and that He uses all of life to serve His Gospel and Kingdom purposes. We are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ—a much larger duty than we might often assume.

How did you come to be involved with Nordskog and how does your role of theology editor impact the books they publish?

Ron: Jerry and I have a long history. My dad worked for his dad from the early 1950s when I was a toddler. So I have always known Jerry. In the 80s we met up again after over a decade, both of us attending Marshall Foster’s monthly Christian history seminars in his home. Since then, Jerry has been a faithful supporter of my educational ministry and a very dear friend.

After Chris Hoops, could no longer serve as theology editor due to illness, Jerry asked me to give it a try. We found our views of the Bible and Christian life very well corresponded, and therefore, he asked me to review submitted manuscripts for possible publication. In addition, once we accepted a manuscript, I would further assist our authors to refine their Biblical thinking, where needed, in order to make every book a true partnership between author and publisher.

Let’s talk about Thy Will Be Done: When All Nations Call God Blessed. The Publisher’s Preface provided by Gerald Christian Nordskog states the Lord’s Prayer and The Great Commission are the focus and goal of your book. While most are familiar with the former, perhaps they are uncertain on the latter. Can you talk about The Great Commission?

Ron: Yes! Jesus’ charge to the church at the end of the Gospel of Matthew is known as the Great Commission. Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”  (28:18-20).

Our assignment, our commission from Jesus, is to make disciples. Unfortunately, unlike the powerful early Protestant period, this has come to mean mere verbal preaching. Jesus spoke of His people being salt and light. We are supposed to exert influence that helps prepare the hearts of our neighbors susceptible to the Good News, the Gospel. What part of life can so influence our neighbors? The premise of Thy Will Be Done is that everything can and should do so. There are no neutral areas in life, and no areas of life except the occult that cannot be used to the Gospel’s advantage and God’s glory. I try to demonstrate this with very specific examples of Biblical thinking and its possible results—from the personal, to business, to arts and sciences, on out to the greatest civil relationships!

Do you believe a disregard for The Great Commission has drawn us away from fulfilling the Christian worldview of the Gospels?

Ron: I wouldn’t say a disregard, but rather an unfortunate historical development that slowly became mainstream. Our typically secular educations haven’t helped either. Still, there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Yet, He does correct us. The Gospel in this life should be a much greater adventure with much greater impact than we have settled for in this age. It was not always so. I think the church is increasingly getting God’s bigger picture. I see evidence of it all around from many different corners. I hope the effort Thy Will Be Done represents may make a significant contribution. I believe every serious believer will benefit from it, regardless of previous knowledge—great or small.

Thy Will Be Done offers practical applications for all areas of life. How should readers digest this information in order to avoid being overwhelmed?

Ron: Take it easy. The book does cover much territory. However, this is not an academic or strictly theological book. I strived to use a friendly, even intimate style.  I also tried hard to avoid technical jargon and overly detailed explanations. I tried to write in the way a good teacher would reach a student, or the way a poet would reach the heart of his reader—through repetition of ideas and diverse, interesting content. It is not so important to get every detail, but in reading through the whole book, to enjoy the ride, even though you may find a puzzle or two. In the end, the basic ideas will shine through, inspire, and even provide some basic tools, practical principles, for personally thinking and acting Biblically in all things God brings in life.

Separate chapters are dedicated to Christians as individuals, as family members, and as members in the Body of Christ. How is this helpful in moving us toward restoring God’s Kingdom on earth? 

Ron: Well again, the idea is that every area of life matters to Jesus. When He prays Thy will be done on earth, He speaks of those things that matter in eternity. The Two Commands of Christ are love God and love your neighbor. Thus God’s purpose is toward perfect relationship with all. Also, he made us in His image—creative and built for productive work. There is no reason to think that these things are not eternal also. Thus, God uses everything in this life to speak of eternity—in both the tasks He assigns and the blessings we are to receive in this life in anticipation of eternity.

What do you feel is the greatest obstacle to transforming our communities?

Ron: We are all products of our heritage and upbringing. Overcoming the predisposition of these things is difficult. God designed men not to be moved by every wind of doctrine. Therefore change comes hard. The cure for this is heeding the message of Christ from the beginning of His earthly ministry—repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. We must actively seek how God wishes us to change, educating ourselves, and then endeavoring to practice by faith what we learn of Him.  God works through one obedient person at a time, until He produces a great cloud of witnesses.

Is there anything else you would like to share with your readers?

Ron: The Christian life begins with the conviction of our sins unto salvation. Yet this is not the end. God has a plentiful and rich life awaiting those who realize our sinfulness runs deep and are willing to submit to the lifelong adventure of faith in repentance. God rewards those who diligently seek Him. I pray Thy Will Be Done helps many to take up this great adventure with all its blessings.

Lastly, I would like to say that the nation of Uganda has for the last twenty-five years enjoyed an increasingly great influence of the kind in this book through the ministry of New Hope Uganda. They took my educational work with them to serve orphans—bringing the fatherhood of God to the fatherless. Through successful family and school education according to the expansive view of the Gospel represented in Thy Will Be Done, this ministry has caught the attention of Christian leaders in business, government, church and education. Recently, the vision for truly Christian education has begun to catch on in the form of a movement to establish a teachers college—the Master’s Institute for Education—to serve the entire Ugandan school system with thoroughly Biblical content and methods—a relational, covenantal, faith and character based system designed to produced true excellence in accomplishment. This work promises to revolutionize Ugandan education and redeem a whole nation. Since this effort is based upon my own worldview and educational work, the Ugandan principal leaders of this MIE have asked my contribution. Any royalties from Thy Will Be Done to the author will thus help to finance my ongoing assistance to this work. God is moving in our age.  I pray many will join in.

Read, enjoy, share!

Questions for our readers:
  • Is regular Bible reading a part of your daily life?
  • Do you find it difficult to follow through with The Great Commission?
  • What is one time forgiveness made a difference in your life, receiving it or giving it?

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  1. The book sounds fabulous. Ron, when did you feel the biting bug hit?

  2. Thanks for joining us today, Ron. I can't wait to read your book. I've looked through it and you definitely cover a great deal of ground.

  3. I'm guessing you meant, writing bug, hey Dot?

  4. This is Ron. Thanks for the kind thought. The book has been seeking a vent for a long time. My publisher Jerry Nordskog primed the pump. I am first an educator and approached the book as I would in introducing a school topic to a classroom of diverse accomplishment. For some a light touch, for some greater depth. The important point is that without Christians generally living out their faith, self-consciously and well-prepared, on Biblical grounds in all their lives, we can't expect the Gospel to succeed. Jesus is Lord of everything, and we must take every thought captive to His obedience, by faith. Blessings!

  5. The book sounds interesting and I have enjoyed reading through the interview. Do you still do any landscaping, even if it is just around your house? And what is your greatest accomplishment?

  6. Ron, Do you find in your daily life that people has lost the ability to let prayer be the center of their life and to wait for things to come to them?

  7. Hi Tracee. I'm a designer, not really a gardener or landscaper. Landscape architects do for everything outside the building what architects do for the building itself. I have designed public parks and multi-use public works, commercial design, planned residential, and home garden design. Yes, I am still practicing.

  8. Hi Rebecca. Perhaps so, yes a decline in prayer. But I think that is a direct result of limiting the importance of all our activities in this life for the Gospel. In other words, if only our salvation is important, and we have it, there is little to pray about. I have said I see two kinds of Christians. One seeks primarily to find personal comfort. Now, God loves him too much to leave him alone. The Lord brings difficulties to refine his character and faith, his sanctification. But the self-centered one feels the trials much because he concentrates on himself. The other kind sees the Christian life as an adventure. He goes out, like Jonathan and his sword bearer did into the camp of the Philistines, trying to find ways to glorify God. He, too, suffers trials toward growth, but doesn't feel them so much because he expects them. I think this latter kind of Christian will be the one with the bigger prayer life. I know, at least, that I am constantly in over my head on the frontiers of my ability, and constantly praying... Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  9. To All, I hope this book is an inspiration. If so, be kind to yourselves. Ultimately, what we do for Christ, He only does through us. We cannot make the crop grow, but only husband the field. The Lord brings the increase in due season! Merry Christmas!

  10. Some questions for our readers to consider have been added.

  11. Gosh, it's been a long time since I read the bible.