As most of you know I'm an amateur writer, amateur artist, designer, photographer, but in all truth: I'm merely mediocre, a dibbler and dabbler at best. However, thanks to the internet and social media, I have become acquainted with some extraordinary men of God that I would like to introduce to you. I encourage you to click the links I will give you and check them out for yourself. I assure you that you will be both blessed and awed by the works, the accomplishments, the talent, and the impact our world has been touched by through the lives of these men.
I met John Garland on the Redbubble Art Site. He has been a constant source of support, encouragement and prayer ever since. I have his Endor Series and his poetry book. And let me tell you ladies, like Solomon, he has a way with words that can make the coldest heart flutter. But his poetry is wide in range, not just romantic. John writes about sorrow, pain, hope, friendship, struggles and more. His words are deep, and if you dig down, you will find so many golden nuggets of wisdom and truth hidden in his emotive words.
John Garland is lovingly referred to in the Redbubble Community as Mountain Man. John sent me his bio and told me to make it my own, but to try to rewrite his awesome testimony, would be a shame. So with his permission, I have included his testimony below.
I was born in Norfolk, Va. and lived there until February 29, 1972 where I went into the Army. I was raised Church of Christ, which gave me the love of reading Bible and learned to love God and His Word until they convinced me that I had to “fear” God. I knew what fearing someone was all about from my dad’s actions growing up and vowed to never be afraid of anyone, especially God. So I threw away the Bible and started to break every rule I had been taught. The Army was the best place to do just that. My punishment was becoming a schizophrenic and I suffered that ever since. After being medically retired from the Army, I traveled the countryside and the immense fears associated with the disorder until I was hospitalized for shooting the porch lights off of houses from the ridge above them. While in the hospital I got quiet and started to ask God for the truth concerning the fear issues with Him. Unable to hear His voice over the many voices screaming in my head, I felt alone and lost. Then shortly after my release from the hospital I came across a group of people who did biblical research. They showed me from the old scripts that “fear” in the King James version, simply meant to awe and respect and not to be afraid of Him. Then they proceeded to teach me HOW to do research of the Bible so that I could get the real answers for myself and not be blown away with every wind of doctrine from the religious factions. They showed me, from the Word, that God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of love and power and a sound mind. Well I wanted a sound mind so I spent the next 18 years in intense research and learned what the religious world couldn’t teach. I had once again fell deeply in love with God. Now I can read and understand what is written so I now look at how to live my life for Him, His way. My insanity had become my salvation and I can now rejoice in the Word while not getting into battles with the religious communities who just consider my insanity as being the blame for my ignorance from their stand point. The world is a happier place to me.
John's inspiring testimony hit on a truth so many people in the church world need to understand: IT'S NOT RELIGION, TRADITION, DENOMINATION, OR FEAR that should drive Christians today. Rather, we should be seeking an up close and personal relationship with our Savior. And we achieve that by studying His Word and prayer. I remember hearing or reading a different interpretation of the Good Samaritan story. It hit home for me. I can't tell you who wrote this, or who might have preached it, but the highlights have always stuck with me. In this interpretation, we were the man who had been robbed, beaten and left half dead. Satan was the robber, beating us down, stealing our hope, destroying our spirit. When our spirit is destroyed, we are half dead. But then Religion passed by- it didn't help. Here comes Tradition filled with self-righteousness- No nothing there to help either. But then here comes Jesus pouring His healing oil and effervescent wine of hope into us. Then He took us to the Innkeeper, the Holy Spirit, paid the price for us and told the Innkeeper to take care of us until He returned. And praise God, He will one day. But until then, we need to look at the powerful truth in John's testimony. Seek God, study His word and get to know Him on a deeper more personal level.
You can find out more about John and his works at this link:
About a year ago, I joined Google communities. I was blessed to become acquainted with Tom Blubaugh. His list of credentials is phenomenal. Let me introduce you to Tom..
Tom Blubaugh is the moderator of the Christian Authors Community. They extended a welcoming hand to me, even though I am an unpublished author, bookwise. When I read Tom's profile and his list of accomplishments and credentials, I was blown away and completely intimidated, but after having the opportunity to be a part of the community and the pleasure of conversing with him via telephone- those nerves and inadequate feelings were quickly put to rest. Within the community (which currently has 1021 members), Tom treats everyone with kindness, love, and respect. He quickly responds to questions, prayer requests, and concerns of each individual. He is so supportive and encouraging. AND, he is super knowledgeable concerning marketing, publishing, social media and much more. One of the things I respect most about Tom, is his ability to motivate and bring out the best in you. He does this by being a great listener and then, with questions and tips, he brings your ideas into focus, "gets your mojo going", and before you know it- your storylines are falling into place. And he is there to help anyway he can during the entire process from brainstorming, drafting, editing, and publishing.
Tom is both a fiction and nonfiction author. I've been blessed to read Night of the Cossack, which combines historical facts, with what Tom imagines his grandfather's life to be. I am looking forward to reading more as I'm sure you will too. As I mentioned earlier, the ministry, the outreach, the accomplishments of this man is amazing. He has a heart for God, a desire to reach the world with the Good News of Christ, and a compassionate, kind, helpful and supportive spirit. I will list a few of his accomplishments below along with the links that will connect you to another man that is impacting our world with good, his friend at Alive In Christ Radio and The Strategist, Tony Marino. Tom has:
Published numerous times in denominational and business publications
Contracted to write for Barbour Publishers
Guest author in several books
Author of Night of the Cossacks and many more
Marketing and Development Specialist
Photographer And so much more...
Here's some of his links:
Tom has blessed my life with his articles, his wisdom, his knowledge, and his god-given gifts and talent. If you are intetested in writing or marketing, if you need a guest speaker that will encourage and uplift their audience, as well as impart life skills based on the Bible- then you can't go wrong with Tom. Not clicking on these links will be a great loss to you, clicking on them will be great blessings.
And now I'd like to introduce you to the man that has had the most influence on my life, my father, Rev. James E. McGinnis. My father was the son of a red-headed Irish father and a Cherokee Indian mother. Dad was called to preach at the age of eighteen. He was very well known minister and held revivals all around the South, as well as preaching over many radio stations before being called to service for his country.
God used my dad in some extraordinary ways during his time in World War II. He led around 200 men to Christ at Stalag 12-A before his transfer to Stalag 2-A. Dad and his comrades were captured north of Aachen on October21, 1944. In the days prior, they had been winning the battles, but as they neared their destination, the tide turned. Being a rifleman in the fartherest advanced group, they were taken prisoners. By the grace of God, they were able to get in the basement of the building where they were being held, seconds before the building was blown up, thus saving their lives.
Everyone told Dad not to let the Germans know he was a preacher, but he proudly took his stand. Dad was allowed to build a chapel at Stalag 2-A. He was also given a pass by the Germans, allowing him to go unescorted to visit the hospitals and work camps. He led over 300 more men to Christ there.
I am currently writing a book about my family, the main focus on my father. It will simply be called Daughter of a Preacher Man. My father was such an humble, loving man that touched lives with his smile, his heart, his kindness, and his devotion to God. His story is amazing and the thousands of lives he touched and led to the Lord is his legacy. The last eight years if his life, he was a total invalid. Massive strokes stripped him of movement and speech, but they couldn't dim the light of love for God and my mother that shone brightly in his eyes till the day God called him home. Testimony after testimony of Home Health and Hospice personnel, confirmed to us over and over that God still used Dad to preach His Word till the very end. Pray for me as I try to pen the love, the life, the impact that Rev. James McGinnis had on me, his family, his friends, his military buddies, his congregations and more.