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Monday, June 14, 2010

Interview with Bob Kellemen, author of "God's Healing for Life's Losses"

God’s Healing for Life’s Losses: How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting
Author Interview Q/A

1. What’s the “big idea” behind God’s Healing for Life’s Losses? What would you like readers to take away from it?

In a biblical sentence: you can grieve with hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). God’s Healing for Life’s Losses gives readers permission to grieve and offers a pathway toward hope. I want people to see their suffering from God’s perspective without denying the reality that suffering still hurts. What would I like readers to take away? The title and subtitle say it best. I’d like readers to walk away with God’s healing hope.

2. What motivated you to write God’s Healing for Life’s Losses? Why did you choose to write this book?

My ministry to real people with real hurts motivated me to write God’s Healing for Life’s Losses. People quickly grow weary of Christian books that pretend. They’re tired of Christian counselors and well-meaning friends who dispense far too much “happiness all the time, wonderful peace of mind.” They’re also gravely disappointed when the answers to their questions about suffering reflect more of the wisdom of the world than of the truth of God’s Word. The purpose of the book, as the title and sub-title suggest, is to assist people on their grief and growth journey to find God’s healing hope in their hurts and losses.

Life is filled with losses. God’s Word is filled with compassionate wisdom to help us to find God in the midst of life’s pain. That’s ultimately my purpose in writing the book: to help people to find God even when they can’t find relief. God’s Healing for Life’s Losses offers no pabulum, trite platitudes, false promises, pretending, or “easy steps.” It is real and raw as it enters into the abyss of suffering and empathizes with the gravity of grinding affliction. And, like the Apostle Paul, it deals simultaneously with grieving and hoping (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

3. With all that’s going on in the world, why this book now? What’s unique about God’s Healing for Life’s Losses?

Some grief books, even some authored by Christians, follow the world’s model of grieving—the typical denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance stage approach. They rarely seem to move beyond a “secular” way of looking at grief. Other Christian authors seem to minimize the grief and hurt, and attempt to race people quickly to healing hope. So we end up either with secular help or shallow help.

There has to be a better way. Christians long for an approach that faces suffering honestly and engages sufferers passionately—all in the context of presenting truth biblically and relevantly. We need to be able to face life’s losses in the context of God’s healing. Jesus did. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

God’s Healing for Life’s Losses deals honestly with the full range of human emotions—from a biblical perspective. We explore and journey together through four parts of the grief process: from denial to candor (honesty with self), from anger to complaint/lament (honesty with God), from bargaining/works to crying out to God, and from depression to comfort (finding God even when we can’t find relief). God’s Healing for Life’s Losses then journeys with people through four aspects of the growth process: waiting (when God says, “Not yet”), wailing (pregnant with hope), weaving (spiritual mathematics), and worshipping (finding God).

4. How can people learn more about God’s Healing for Life’s Losses?

On my website at people can find and download a free sample chapter of the book. Also at my website, people can order the book at 33% off. Additionally, I offer seminars around the country on God’s Healing for Life’s Losses. People can find my speaking schedule at the website. If a church or para-church group is interested in seeing if I could speak for their group, they can contact me at

5. God’s Healing for Life’s Losses is the first book ever officially endorsed by GriefShare. Tell us about your connection with this organization.

GriefShare produces a small group video series used in thousands of churches across the world. It is a ministry of the larger group, Church Initiative, founded by Steve Grissom. Several years ago they updated their video series and asked me to participate. I connected with Steve and with their VP, Sam Hodges. When God’s Healing for Life’s Losses was in the first draft stage, Sam and Steve read it and got very excited. They both appreciated the combination of compassionate care that did not minimize the pain of suffering with the focus on Christ-centered, biblically-based hope. Sam graciously wrote a recommendation, Steve graciously penned an endorsement, and my publisher, BMH Books, and GriefShare agreed to have this book become the first book ever officially endorsed by GriefShare. It’s our joint prayer that the GriefShare video and God’s Healing for Life’s Losses could be used together to assist 1000s of churches and para-church groups as they minister to hurting people.

6. Who should read God’s Healing for Life’s Losses?

Sometimes the second we hear words like loss and grief, our minds focus exclusively on death and dying. God’s Healing for Life’s Losses focuses on any type of loss—from the grand loss of death, to the daily casket experiences of the loss of a job, the loss of a dream, the loss of a relationship… So anyone struggling with any life loss would benefit from reading God’s Healing.

God’s Healing for Life’s Losses also equips spiritual friends, pastors, and counselors. When we’re helping hurting people, it can get messy and confusing. A few “handles,” a few “road markers” on the journey sure would help. That’s what God’s Healing for Life’s Losses offers. It provides a “map” without becoming a straight-jacket. It suggests eight “directional markers” that become something of a GPS—God’s Positioning System—for the grief and growth journey.

God’s Healing for Life’s Losses examines Scripture relationally and practically so that helpers grow in their ability to explore passages with hurting people—and do so in a natural, loving, caring, skillful way. Also, the two built-in discussion/application guides benefit small group leaders—providing an ideal forum and format for candid discussions about grief, emotions, hurt, hope, healing, God’s purposes, and much more.

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