Book review

Amy Lawson reviewed the book on her blog, Snoodlings, and said:

I think what I love most about this book is its practical application supported by God’s Word. But this isn’t stuffy, over-your-head theology. Even if you’ve never met Jeff, if you read this book you would feel like you were sitting across a table from him at a Starbucks, talking about living life between Sundays in the places God put us to represent Him. I certainly didn’t feel like Jeff was preaching at me, but in several chapters I identified ways that I’m missing out on living out my relationship with Jesus.

Why did I write the book?

I grew up in the South, just to left of the buckle of the Bible Belt. My family was faithful to be “at church” every time the doors were open. Both my parents were active in serving. In college and on my own, I too found myself heavily involved in church life. After sensing a call to ministry and later graduating from seminary and beginning full-time ministry, these many years of church involvement and service were rungs upon which I climbed to get a better view of what I now call “churchianity.” What I saw disturbed me and led me to write Super Center Savior.

I saw thousands of people attending church semi-regularly, but very few of them being the church, much less enjoying their relationship with the God of the church. These ideas coalesced into a conviction that not only does God deserve our whole-hearted devotion (which results in our joy), but our world desperately needs Christ-followers who live a God-saturated life 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The world doesn’t need to see our church-building gatherings. It needs to see our love.

Because Wal-Mart is a commercial and social staple of many of these Bible-Belt communities, I took a familiar cultural icon and hopefully have used it and its practices in a way to both challenge and encourage Christians and church leaders to experience the joy of 24/7 Christian living. This happens when we allow our Savior to be center of lives.

Super Center Savior launch update

First of all, what an amazing and surreal day yesterday was. Friends, family, acquaintances and even a few strangers participated in the BUY LAUNCH of Super Center Savior yesterday and the results are below. By the end of the day on Amazon (EST):

For Best Sellers:
#5 under Inspiration
#86 under Spirituality
#31 Kindle Inspiration

For Hot New Releases:
#2 under Inspiration
#8 under Spirituality
#27 under Religion & Spirituality
#88 under ALL books
#17 Kindle Spirituality
#87 Kindle Religion & Spirituality

From texts and a cornucopia (sorry, Katniss) of social media, friends, family, acquaintances and even a few strangers participated in the BUY LAUNCH of the book. I spent quite a bit of time on the Facebook page, and I told Carolyn by the end of the day that I probably need to recant some of the nasty things I’ve said about Facebook. It does have uses, and yesterday in particular, it was truly phenomenal to receive hundreds of those little translucent window updates in real-time, announcing “likes,” comments or shares. Thank you all.

I’m surprised I have any Twitter followers after yesterday’s incessant book updates. Thanks for those of you who didn’t unfriend, unfollow or otherwise sh-un me.

The hold-your-breath part of it all is this period of time. Books are in the mail, and some of you are already reading Kindle versions. It’s not the buying of a book that impacts someone, but the reading of it. In the days and weeks to come, we’ll see if the words I’ve put on paper go beyond the eyeballs to your thoughts and from there to your heart. We’ll see if the book was only a catharsis for me – getting a project completed – or if it resonate with people – and perhaps encourage, shape and beautify our world a little.

So here are a few beyond-this-point instructions for those of you willing to hang in there with me for the next month or so:

  • After you read the book, please post a review on one (or preferably copy and paste to all) of the following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CrossBooks, GoodReads, LibraryThing, etc. If you HATE the book, just be vague about it. 😉
  • Finally, if you will, please post an occasional digital update on the book THIS WEEK to keep it in front of people’s eyes.

Any other ideas? Share on the book site or on


The day is here!

square-coverIt’s snowing and massive, blustery winds as winter descends on Blacksburg in force. We have a wedding to go to today of a great couple in our church, and it is scheduled to be outdoors. Brrrr.

In the meantime, I’d really appreciate you stopping by Amazon today and buying a copy or three of Super Center Savior. Just in time for the launch and the holidays, the Kindle version of the book also went live overnight, so it’s available as well.


As I said in a previous post, here are some action items to help with:

  1. I’d appreciate reviews left on Amazon, B&N and CrossBooks. Anything that you leave will be helpful in generating interest.
  2. If you’re on Facebook, please like the Book Page. Leave a comment there if you’d like! I’ll be responding to as many as I can keep up with.
  3. If you’re on Google+, do the same there.
  4. Please use your digital influence to spread the word.
    1. Facebook page for the book
  5. I’d also welcome your ideas for how to promote it in different venues.

Also, the book’s main website is also live! It’s at Swing by and check it out. If you send me a quick review via email at [jeff at], I’ll post it there. I’m working on trying to create a comment box on the site.

Buy-Launch date for the book!

square-coverWe’re setting the “BUY LAUNCH” for Super Center Savior at this Saturday on It’s available on other sites (including Barnes & Noble and CrossBooks), but we’re asking folks to buy it from Amazon this Saturday to help create a buzz about it and generate more interest outside our influence circles.

I’d sure appreciate your help, and I apologize for the “last minuteness” of it. I only found out that it was live in online stores yesterday! I’m new at this, can you tell?

A few other things:

  • I’d appreciate reviews left on Amazon, B&N and CrossBooks. Anything that you leave will be helpful in generating interest.
  • If you’re on Facebook, please like the Book Page. Leave a comment there if you’d like! I’ll be responding to as many as I can keep up with.
  • If you’re on Google+, do the same there.
  • Please use your digital influence to spread the word.
  • I’d also welcome your ideas for how to promote it in different venues.

Thanks, everyone, for joining me on this journey! I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts in the comments on this blog!

Cover for Super Center Savior

At long last, my book project is fully complete! Super Center Savior has been a labor of intense joy and adventure. It began while we were living in Monticello, Arkansas, and it was finished earlier this year. Now, it’s heading to online stores, and I hope next month to some brick and mortar ones as well.

It will really depend upon you, my faithful reader of Notes from the Trail, my friends, my church, and acquaintances from sea to shining sea to help promote the book. It is a self-published project with Cross Books. They’ve been great, but honestly, we couldn’t afford the package with a publicist and hot air balloon.

So, if you see if popping up online in the Amazon store or Cross Books website, don’t order it yet! I’d like to pick a day soon to heavily promote it and ask everyone to buy it together on that day to help drive the sales and book up on the list of “best sellers” to create buzz and attention.

I honestly feel a bit weird and awkward about “self-promotion” of this nature. I’d rather get stung by a wasp. Ok, not really, but it is just as painful to me. So I’d appreciate the help. Leave a comment below if you’re interested in a copy or have questions about that book.

Book update

“A book!? When do you have time to write a book?!”

An early mockup for the book.

That’s usually the response I get when I share sheepishly about a writing project I’ve been working on. I mentioned it in this blog entry in January 2011. It’s been a long time coming. I think I started it in 2008.

I love to write. That’s probably self-evident from this blog which I’ve maintained since 2005. Most people don’t realize that Notes from the Trail started the entire blogging revolution and is also responsible for hanging chads. I imagine you’re tingling from digital enthusiasm right now. My love for writing expresses itself occasionally here, weekly in sermons and semi-regularly in other venues. It has not, I repeat not, ever expressed itself on a bathroom wall.

With four years to work on a book, it should rival the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series, but mine is more shaped for my attention span. It will most likely come in at around 100 pages. It’s called Super Center Savior: The Joy of Living Between Sundays. I’m anxious about it, of course. We elected to go the self-publication route and chose Cross Books as our publisher. They’ve been amazing, and we’re grateful for their help. Yet all the details of publication far exceed anything I was prepared for. Page color. Cover design. Marketing. Phasers or tricorders.

The message of the book is intended for the Bible Belt. Christians who are more attendance-centric than intimate in their relationship with God will benefit the most, I believe. I’ve used a comparative analogy in the book of Wal-Mart and the church. There are both good and bad ways to compare and contrast the two.

As the last few weeks prior to the publication and promotion process wind down, it looks like it may be set for a December release. Feel free to ask questions, and I’ll respond here. I’ll also keep you updated on the progress. In the meantime, set aside $10-15 so that we can drive up sales when it is released. My goal for the first day is 10 copies… (hear that, mom?) It will be available online at Amazon and other outlets. If you have connections with bookstores, tell them to be watching for the promos for the book in publication circulars in the next few months.

Nuff said.