Hi Writers,

I want to let you know about a new compilation Jim Bell is doing for Bethany House. This one is called Jesus Stories, and I’ve attached the guidelines. I’ve also attached a sample story.

Another note…I’m gathering a list of authors who are affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. If you’d like to be on the Nazarene list, just let me know.

If you received this email forwarded from someone else and would like to be added to our writers’ list for call-outs, let me know.

I’ll be sending you another new call-out shortly that I’m VERY excited about. =)

Hope we hear from you on this project!

Jeanette

Jeanette Littleton

Editorial Associate

Jesus Stories

A Jim Bell/Bethany House Project

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Here are the guidelines:

Dear Contributor,

You may recall my role as editor for story collections such as: A Cup of Comfort, Life Savors, Extraordinary Answers to Prayer, Love is a Verb, and Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters.  At present I am putting together a volume of stories that will follow a sequel to the last volume mentioned and will also be published by Bethany House Publishers.

The content will be similar to these volumes in that the supernatural realm will be emphasized.  But unlike the earlier volumes these stories will not focus on angelic visitations, near-death experiences of the afterlife, manifestations of evil, apparitions, or miraculous rescues.  “Jesus Stories” (working title) would be a compilation of stories that focus on the invoking of the Son of God’s power and presence as we seek Him in prayer.  This could range from “Jesus sightings” or supernatural manifestations in some form of His presence to clear evidence of Jesus’ working in our lives in answer to specific prayer or even His unbidden presence when we most need Him.

It could also involve hearing direct answers to prayer in communion with Him — His words spoken to us to instruct or comfort us in our minds and hearts.  This would include the realm of miracles and transformation in lives that only God Himself in Jesus Christ (not mere angels) could do.  The purpose is to inspire, encourage, and comfort readers in terms of the love of Jesus and how he works in so many ways, large and small, to bless us, fulfill His promises, and make us more like Him.

For the sake of authenticity, we are interested only in first-hand accounts in the first person.  The stories need to go beyond subjective or speculative interpretations of events and be as concrete as possible, so if presented in a court there would be no mere human explanation of hard evidence.

We’ll consider original, unpublished stories of up to 2,000 words and they must be at least 1,000 words.  The stories should have a creative title, an attention-grabbing introduction, main body with a conflict or challenge, and a clear, satisfying resolution.  They need to be descriptive, rooted in time and place, with a realistic portrayal of the characters involved. They need to be substantive stories rather than mere testimonies or teachings, and the focus should not be on the supernatural realm alone, but rather the spiritual lesson learned.  Please include a personal biography of 30 words or less at the end of each manuscript.

Your manuscript will be due no later than December 31, 2013, but we would prefer it much earlier.  Please send your manuscript attached to the e-mail rather than pasting text in the email window.  Send your manuscript in normal manuscript formatting, with your full contact information–name, address, phone number, and e-mail address.    We are offering a one-time fee of $50 for stories 1,500 words and over, and $25 for stories under that word count.

We will send you contracts upon the publisher’s acceptance and would need them back promptly.  Payment will be made after all contracts have been received.  Please direct all inquiries and manuscript submissions to my colleague, Jeanette Littleton, at JesusStories@earthlink.net.  If this e-mail has been forwarded to you, and you can’t submit to this call, but would like to hear about other editorial needs as they arise, please send us your e-mail address and we’ll add you to our notification list.

Blessings to you and yours,

James Stuart Bell

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Sample Story:

 

A Visit from the Healer

By Dawn Aldrich

As I answered the phone, fear pierced my heart. My baby girl sat perched on my hip that day while her brother and a few daycare kids played in the next room. Holding the phone to my ear I listened intently while my husband’s anger roared above my silence and the toddler’s playfulness. He had lost his job.

I leaned against the kitchen wall while my heart pounded, and I searched for the right response. But no words formed.

Questions swirled through my mind as I stuffed the piercing fears behind my suddenly-anxious heart—questions only God could answer.

Will we be okay? Will he find another job? How will we pay the bills? Will we have to sell the house? What about insurance?

You know, the questions you have when all those scenarios you hope never happen suddenly became a real possibility.

I plastered a brave face over my tears for my kids’ sake and hung up the phone.

While our hope increased with every odd job and new daycare client so did our unpaid bills.  Our income was still insufficient, so we prayed harder and deprived ourselves of luxuries like date nights, cable TV, newspaper delivery, commercial garbage pick-up, and health insurance.

We believed miracles happened all the time, but we couldn’t see ours anywhere. In fact, the more we prayed and the more we sacrificed, the more distant God seemed until our faith teetered on disbelief.

Then, one night I sat rocking our inconsolable baby girl, desperate to sooth her while searing pain shot through her left ear. Between the prolonged unemployment, a hefty mortgage and unpaid bills, this mama’s heart just couldn’t take anymore. When it came to my own pain, I could tolerate most anything—sacrifice everything—but I couldn’t watch my own writhing baby girl; that just broke my heart.

Laying my screaming baby girl down in her crib, I shot a frantic prayer into the air on my way to the medicine cabinet to get a Tylenol, though I doubted that it would help.

“Jesus, if you’re really here, if you’re really listening, please, help us! Her pain isn’t fair and we simply can’t afford a doctor’s visit. Please help!”

Armed with a dropper full of cherry flavored relief, I stopped outside the nursery door and listened. Rather than screams and tears I heard coos and gibbering, then laughing and jumping.

What was going on in there, and whom was she talking to? Maybe someone had slipped into her room when my back was turned.

I crept inside and looked around, but no one was there except my baby girl smiling back at me like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland.

“He fixed it Mommy!” She beamed at me, jumping up and down on her crib mattress like a trampoline.

“Who fixed what?” I asked, bewildered, wondering if all that crying had just been a ruse for attention.

“My ear. He fixed my ear!” she repeated in her toddler language pointing to her bookcase lined with various stuffed animals and dolls.

I inquired, now a bit disturbed. “Who fixed your ear, honey?”

“He did!”

Pointing to her over-stuffed collections, I started the interrogation. “Did Teddy fix your ear?”

“No,” she replied.

“Did Bunny, or Bert, or Ernie fix your ear?”

“No, no, no!” She giggled a second, third and fourth time. “HE fixed my ear!” she exclaimed, indignantly pointing to her bookcase.

Still treating the idea of a miracle coolly, I played along. “Does this man have big wings? Is he an angel? Did an angel fix your ear?”

“No, Mommy. HE fixed my ear.”

How would she know the difference between an angel or a man, anyway, I scoffed to myself. Then, one of her board books, Jesus and the Children, caught my eye. It was her favorite bedtime story and we must have read it to her hundreds of times, including that night.

Holding it up, I turned to the picture of Jesus playing leapfrog with the children and dared ask her this question: “Did he fix your ear? Did Jesus touch your ear?”

“Yes.”

Jesus fixed your ear? He did?”

“Yes.”

I choked back tears and whispered one more question. “Is Jesus still here?”

“Yes,” she replied calmly and pointed over my shoulder.

Chills shivered down my neck, but not the same fearful chills that horror films cause or when someone unexpectedly yells, “Boo!” These chills signified something different—something cosmic and miraculous—when heaven meets earth in one split second.

Jesus was here! He was physically present in my house—listening, caring, and performing miracles all around me—but I couldn’t see Him. In her child-like faith, my daughter could see what I couldn’t because she didn’t wear spiritual blinders like me.

My daughter snuggled beneath her covers and fell fast asleep. I left her room pondering everything, thinking this might be some cruel joke. I full well expected her pain to return the next day. But, I awoke the next morning reassured that not only was Jesus our Jehovah Rapha (the God who heals), but he was also our Jehovah Jireh (the God who provides).

Slowly through the next few months, my own spiritual blinders fell loose. Not that I could physically see Jesus moving, but I knew from then on, He was ever present and everything would be okay.

It’s been more than twenty years since that night, and my daughter never experienced another earache. There is no logical explanation for how I left my daughter screaming and writhing in pain one minute and, without the aid of modern medicine, found her laughing, jumping, chattering, and pain-free moments later. Jesus is the only explanation.

My husband found work months later through people only Jesus could have placed in our lives, and through God’s grace and provision we kept our home.  Life moved forward and when tough times hit again—whether we needed physical, emotional, or financial help—God reminded of His faithfulness on that night, long ago.

Do miracles really happen, you may ask? Yes. Miracles happen every day. Expect them.

© 2013 by Dawn Aldrich