Over 290 Devotional/ Reflection or stories based on everyday life mixed with Bible stories to bring to life the Bible in our everyday life. This book is filled with God's mercy, forgiveness, grace and love. This book is for the beginner or veteran Christian. For Prodigals, seekers, or anyone who wants inspiration, love and encouragement.
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A Prodigal Return
This book is meant to bring glory to God for the love, grace, and mercy he has shown me throughout my life. This work is a collection of devotionals, thoughts, and reflections intended to share the love, grace, and mercy God has shown me. For five years of my life, I was an alcoholic and was saved from that lifestyle by God and a twelve-step program. I have not had a drink since August 13, 1978, by the grace and love of God.
My eternal life was saved by the sacrificial death of my Savior, brother, and best friend Jesus. The love he has given us all inspired me to think thoughts and transfer reflections from my heart to paper. I hope that the love and encouragement I have been shown transcends from this book into your heart through the amazing love of God. Also, as counseling and involvement minister, I am able to share the love and encouragement I have been given.
My goal for this book is to bring love and encouragement to all who read this volume and give glory to God for all that receive this gift.
Monster in the Mirror
They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them besides streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my first born son.
Jeremiah 31:9 (NIV)
Growing up I was a good kid and was involved in many wholesome activities. I was a cub scout, boy scout, alter boy, sang in glee cub, helped around the American Legion, played little league base ball and was a real daddy’s boy. Adults and older people loved me I was polite, listened to their stories, helped others by cutting grass and was just a pleasant little guy. I would go everywhere my father went I was his shadow, they called him big Kenny and me little Kenny, and I loved being little Kenny. I loved God and everything about my church. When I looked in the mirror and made funny faces I smiled to myself at the way I could contort my face.
Around the age of sixteen my father died and it seemed my world crumbled. I was always kind of shy and not involved in anything at school except showing up. I had a few friends and am grateful for them. Also around the age sixteen I began drinking beer, lots of beer. At first I had fun I even made new friends, people that said I was fun to be around when I was drinking, so I drank. About two years into drinking it wasn’t fun anymore, I again felt lonely and out of place. I began to hurt those who loved me and those who barely knew me. I became a very angry and vengeful young man hurting friends, family and strangers emotionally and physically. My mother said she didn’t even know me anymore. I didn’t really know myself. I began to do unspeakable things. When I would look in the mirror I didn’t even know what who or what I was looking at any longer. What I saw was a monster and I welcomed death, I even prayed for it.
Around the age of twenty I could not take it any longer and the Prodigal Son came home. As Jeremiah records God’s words; “They will come with weeping.” I came weeping, who had I become, where had little Kenny gone? Turning my life back to God and later in life accepting Jesus into my life things have changed for the better. My sins have been forgiven; I have been forgiven because of Jesus sacrificial and submissive death on the cross to pay my sin debt. I was welcomed home, welcomed back into the family of God. I have been given the ability to share my testimony of forgiveness, mercy and love. I can again look in the mirror and smile and watch the contortions my face can make. There are no more monsters in the mirror.
Jones, minister for the Melbourne, Fla., Church of Christ, seeks to help people build their faith. He weaves stories of his own struggle with alcohol — and later experiences as a counselor — with biblical insights about Christian fundamentals.
Most of the one- or two-page chapters begin with a Scripture citation, followed by a personal and often-humorous story and a spiritual or encouraging point.
Home Town News
Ken Jones wins readers by applying Bible verses to everyday life
By Dan Garcia
For Hometown News
WEST MELBOURNE - Ken Jones admits he is no writer. He simply created his MySpace and Facebook profiles to stay in touch with his sons' computer activities.
That led him to write short blogs on his home page about how he sees life. Friends at the Melbourne Church of Christ started reading Mr. Jones' occasional missives, and his homespun snippets found their way into the weekly church bulletin.
That led members of the congregation to e-mail Mr. Jones' short and inspirational messages throughout the cyber world. Inevitably, someone suggested that he should write a book.
"I don't know how to write a book," Mr. Jones objected.
His friend replied: "You already have a book, it's in your blog."
Ironically, Mr. Jones spotted a book publisher's advertisement on the MySpace website, and he e-mailed a few of his blog posts to the company in Oklahoma.
The result is "A Prodigal Return: Reflections from a Grateful Heart," a 448-page anthology of blog posts in which Mr. Jones selects Bible verses at random and uses them to steer people through the maze of daily life.
"I don't want to be rich and I don't want to be a famous writer," Mr. Jones said of his book. "I just want to bring people to God."
In "A Prodigal Return," Mr. Jones muses about the minutiae of everyday life, including its challenges, joys and frustrations. For every seemingly insurmountable crisis - or for every pet peeve - Mr. Jones pulls out an illuminating and insightful Bible verse.
Citing Genesis 32:26, in which Jacob physically wrestles with God, Mr. Jones recalls facing off against his high school's wrestling champion, who turned Jones into "a human pretzel."
In his book, Mr. Jones writes: "I have wrestled with financial problems, job problems, relationships, resentments, death, illness, what-am-I-gonna-do-now problems, all kinds of problems.
"Instead of wrestling, I need to trust God."
Mr. Jones' honest, thinking-out-loud style is whimsical, introspective and engaging. His thoughts meander from reminiscing about "Gilligan's Island," to the fate of Humpty-Dumpty. He writes that he sometimes feels like "strawberry" in a world that favors chocolate or vanilla.
Whether it's about spectator sports, GPS technology, garage sales, or what the Bible says about hugs, Mr. Jones tries to bring Bible scripture down to Earth.
"I want to make the Bible like a family album, where you can look at pictures of Paul or David or Moses and see them as real people who had foibles," Mr. Jones said. "They all messed up somehow."
Now 52, Mr. Jones, a native of Patchogue, N.Y., was 16 when he was crushed by his father's death.
"All I could do was get angry," Mr. Jones wrote. "I took it out on God. I yelled at him, I screamed, I cursed him. I told him I hated him."
Mr. Jones began drinking and continued until he was 21 and in the Navy. (He has been dry for 31 years.) Later, he joined a Catholic seminary but dropped out after three years. After fathering two sons, he was divorced in 1995, but later met his second wife, Janie, whom he regards as "my best friend."
While coping with his own issues over the years, Mr. Jones was always encouraging others.
After serving as a behavior specialist at a Maryhaven school in New York, he moved to Florida in 1989 to work for Devereux in Fort Pierce, counseling drug and alcohol abusers sent to him by the courts. He also worked for 10 years for the state of Florida as a supervisor of child abuse investigators.
Today, Mr. Jones is a pastoral adult counselor at the Church of Christ, a role which came about after he walked to the church nearest his home, hoping to find meaning in his life.
Church of Christ Elder Tom Fennell says "it's terrific what God has done with Ken.
"When Ken goes on the radio or TV to talk about his book, he talks more about God's work than about the book. It's a great ministry for our church," Mr. Fennell said.
Mr. Jones said he strives to connect with readers by examining his own shortfalls.
"I let everyone know I'm just like them," Mr. Jones said. "I've written about the scars we carry though life, about people wearing masks, about crying out for love, feeling guilt, hitting bottom.
"I consider myself a prodigal son," Mr. Jones said. "Everything in my book is about my gratitude to God. He will take anybody back."
Ken Jones of West Melbourne said he has an idea of what someone who is dealing with an addiction and struggling with how to reconnect with God needs to know.
After all, said Jones, a recovering alcoholic, he’s been there.
He’s the author of A Prodigal Return, a Christian devotional aimed at people recovering from addictions or anyone else who wants to learn about God.
The book offers a daily path for people who are trying to come to terms with their faith while dealing with other major issues.
It’s an expanded collection of some of Jones’ inspirational blog posts. When his readers told him to collect the posts into a book, he was flattered, but not immediately ready, he told the Sentinel.
“I never thought I would ever write a book and just laughed it off,” Jones said. “So the joke’s on me.”
Jones is a member of the Church of Christ in Melbourne, where he is a full-time counseling and involvement minister and worship and small group coordinator.
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