Roger Bruner: Tired From Leading All The Time?

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Everyone’s Story gives a big welcome to author Roger Bruner. I had the pleasure of meeting Roger as a fellow client of the amazing literary agent Linda S. Glaz, although prior I’d visited his website and seen him as a guest here and there. His message of leading vs. exhaustion and what happens when you quit one is sure to inspire so do check it out! Also, please take a moment to have a peek at the excerpt from his novel The Devil and Pastor Gus, which Roger’s offering as a BookGiveaway. Both Roger  and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

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BookGiveaway:

Roger is offering either 1 print or Kindle edition of of The Devil and Pastor Gus to US residents, or 1 Kindle version to anywhere else. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 20th between 5-6 PM EST.

** Please note regarding BookGiveaways: to further protect your privacy, and since email contact info is appearing for “my eyes only” when the comments go into my moderation box, emails within comments are no longer required. However, if yours does NOT appear I will leave a comment for you to forward it in order for you to chance winning.

 

Here’s an excerpt of The Devil and Pastor Gus for your reading sampling:

 From The Devil and Pastor Gus by Roger Bruner

“Good day, my man.” The stranger might have been addressing the doorman at the finest of five-star hotels back on Earth and not Heaven’s renowned gatekeeper.

Simon Peter leaned closer to the bars of the outer gate to get a better look at the man. Black hair. Short goatee. Custom-made flesh-colored suit. Anything but average in appearance.

“I have an appointment with God.”

Simon Peter grabbed the golden clipboard from a nearby stool and glanced over the names on the top sheet. Then he flipped to the second sheet. And the third. Just as I thought. No new arrivals expected for another eight earth minutes. And nobody shows up here before his appointed time. Ever.

The stranger swaggered to a prominent spot several feet from the outer gate. Peter narrowed his eyes in shock. New arrivals didn’t do that. They stood back a respectful distance, their heads bowed as if they were already in God’s presence, and waited for Peter to call their names.

What was with this guy?

After giving him another discreet once-over, Peter mentally clicked through each of the pictures he’d viewed moments earlier—the people who hadn’t arrived yet that day. He shook his head. The stranger’s picture wasn’t among them.

He rubbed his chin and looked at the man. “I’m sorry, but I don’t know who—”

“Call me B.L.ZeBubb,” the stranger said before spelling his surname—twice. “No spaces, and the accent is on the L. Bee-EL-zuh-buhb. The Bible misspelled it as B-e-e-l-z-e-b-u-b.” He crossed his arms and looked into Peter’s face. “As I just told you, I have an appointment with God.”

“Bee-EL-zuh-buhb,” Peter said to himself as he ambled over to the computer at the check-in station and typed the name into The Lamb’s Book of Life search field. He double-checked his spelling before clicking Go. If he didn’t get a hit on the correct spelling, he would try the misspelling.

A blood-red “No matches found. Be on the alert!” exploded across the screen. Peter narrowed his eyes. He’d never seen anything like that.

A message from God popped up on the screen before Peter could wonder what to do. “Not a problem, my child. Here’s how I want you to handle this…”

#

Twenty yards into his stroll towards his appointed meeting place with God, B.L.ZeBubb glanced back over his shoulder. Peter was still watching. And laughing his fool head off.

“This is what I think of you, Simon Peter.” His eyes glowed red as he spat, and the saliva sizzled as soon as it hit the ground and burned straight through to…wherever.

Even though God had long been his worst enemy, B.L.ZeBubb deserved better treatment than this. The very thought of His refusing to grant a visitor’s pass or speak to him in person. Unwarranted.

But making him walk halfway around Heaven’s outer wall to talk on an intercom? Preposterous. He almost turned around to leave. But this mission was too crucial to his well-being to give up on that easily.

He walked only a few yards further before one foot slid out from under him. He barely caught himself in time to keep from landing in…mud. Conditions ahead appeared worse. He looked this way and that for a way around the bog only to discover that Heaven’s foundation extended a mere five or six feet outside the wall, and that part was completely mud-covered now.

An immediate drop—probably bottomless—surrounded the foundation’s outer perimeter.

Why hasn’t God installed warning signs and guardrails? Especially to protect someone as important as I am?

The closer the path came to the edge, the more often B.L.ZeBubb lost his footing.

He glared at the mud and sensed that it was glaring back at him. Scuffing his custom calf-high boots through the shallow mire and leaving little toe troughs in his wake, he mumbled a string of the most profane curses he knew. And he knew a lot of them.

He would’ve preferred to shout them at the top of his lungs, but his mission was too important to chance offending God. These aggravations wouldn’t mean much once he got what he’d come for.

“I won’t be satisfied until I have Gus Gospello’s soul,” he muttered. “And every bit of my lost respect.”

He snorted like an unbroken colt and clenched his fists. He wanted to shake them in God’s face, but that would cost him his case before he could present it. And would also mean losing his balance and falling in the mud—and possibly sliding over the edge.

Ugh. He shook his head.

After rolling his pant legs up just above his hairy knees, he slipped off one boot and—balancing awkwardly on the other leg—peeled off a sock that matched his flames-and-pitchforks necktie. He almost fell backward into the mire before getting the second boot and sock off and leaving them standing Satan-less near the edge. As he worked his way closer to the wall, the mud oozed and squished between his toes.

It was cold. Oh, so cold. After thousands of years in a much warmer climate, he couldn’t stand anything that wasn’t superhot.

His movements slowed. The mud had grown deep enough to bog his steps down with a distinctive, sucking thlurp each time he lifted a bare foot to move forward. He proceeded that way for several minutes, each an eternity longer than the one before, until he spotted a waterfall washing—no, flooding—the way ahead.

The outlet from Heaven’s central heating and air conditioning system. He’d once gotten into big trouble by turning the heat up all the way as a practical joke. Maybe that’s where God got the idea for Hell.

Sounded like a God-thing.

Grrr. Something small, silvery, and cylindrical sat on the mud at the base of the wall, where his chances of avoiding an ongoing drenching ranged from nil to zero. That must be the place.

After thlurpping closer, B.L.ZeBubb grabbed the empty can, pulled the handwritten note out, and held it up to the light that spilled over Heaven’s wall. What in the…?

Letting God Lead by Roger Bruner

The year was 1982.

My parents knew I wasn’t overly thrilled with my job as a counselor/interviewer at the local Maryland State Job Service office where I’d been working with a Federal jobs program, serving basically as a paper pusher.

My mother suggested that I might find computer programming a better outlet for my creative nature. She offered to pay for programming classes.

So I soon enrolled in my first class at a community college ten miles up the road. Even before class started, however, I bought one of those early Texas Instrument computers—could you imagine only having 64K of memory now?—that hooked up to a TV.

I soon picked up enough BASIC to write a Yahtzee program that worked. And that was before starting my first BASIC class. I loved it. I seemed to have found my calling. Over the next year and a half I continued taking night classes, one or two at a time.

Other people in the computer lab came to me for help because I could usually figure out their programming problems. And much to my amazement the college offered me a chance to teach a BASIC class at the local Black and Decker plant during my final semester. After six years of teaching junior high English years earlier, I was elated to teach adults this time.

Twenty-four credits after beginning my training, I received two certificates. With my 4.0 GPA. I thought I was all set for my career change. Everyone needed computer programmers then, or so it seemed. Hmm. But they required experience, and my coursework didn’t count as real world programming.

My parents were living in Richmond, Virginia, then. Where the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is located. As a preacher’s kid and—more importantly—a Christian, I had a longstanding interest in missions. Not to become a missionary, you understand, but to support missions in other ways.

When I got in touch with the IMB’s personnel director, I managed to get an interview. But the IMB only needed experienced programmers. Not good.

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A short time later, however, I received an unexpected phone call. The IMB had just bought a new computer and software that experienced programmers weren’t available to work with. They were willing to take trainees.

So I had an interview with the department head and the fellow who would be my supervisor if I was hired. Although the interview went well, nothing was settled. I was still high on hopes—this felt like God’s calling—but I was losing patience as months went by without any word from the IMB.

I probably shouldn’t have written the personnel director to inquire about my status, but I did. He never wrote back. Was everything lost?

My wife and I vacationed in another state that summer. She wanted me to look for something in that area, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel led to.

Have you noticed something conspicuously missing in this story? Prayer.

I’m sure I prayed about the decision to study programming and about the teaching and about the interviews, but not as faithfully as I should have done. Looking back, I realize and regret that fact.

But things changed the afternoon we lay down on the bed and prayed as earnestly as we had ever prayed. “Lord, we’re tired of trying to make things work the way we want. You know what’s best. Please do whatever fits your purpose for my life.”

The resulting peace was overwhelming.

And would you believe I received a letter from my parents the next day? After trying unsuccessfully to get in touch with me, the IMB personnel director checked with my parents. He wanted me to call as soon as I got back home.

I did, and I started work at the IMB just a little over two weeks later. While I experienced some rocky times at the IMB, especially during the year prior to my being downsized after nineteen years there, I couldn’t have been happier or more satisfied. God had done what I couldn’t do for myself.

Incidentally, my downsizing led to a part-time job that gave me time to write my first novel. God had once again done what I couldn’t do for myself. What I hadn’t even dreamed of doing until after retirement.

Roger’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Everyone’s Story: Author @RogerBruner shares writing gains when God leads. (Tweet This)

@RogerBruner: Tired from trying to make things work? (Tweet This)

#BookGiveaway of The Devil and Pastor Gus by @RogerBruner. (Tweet This )

Author’s Bio:

Roger Bruner worked as a teacher, job counselor, and programmer analyst before retiring to pursue his dream of writing Christian fiction full-time. Three of his thirteen novels have been published: Found in Translation, Lost in Dreams, and The Devil and Pastor Gus. He has also published two little books of his shorter writings: Yesterday’s Blossoms and More of Yesterday’s Blossoms. A guitarist and songwriter, he is active in his church’s choir, praise team, and nursing home ministry. Roger also enjoys reading, photography, web design, mission trips, and spending time with his wonderful wife, Kathleen.

Places to connect with Roger:

Website

Blogs:

        On Aging Gracelessly

         As I Come Singing

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon

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I’ve been blessed by some lovely reviews–check them out:

Amazon   Barnes&Noble

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I’ll be at this amazing event that unites readers and authors. Will you be there? Let me know!

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Christian Fiction Readers Retreat

 

Roger and I look forward to your comments. The comment area is below. 

Click “Comments.”

24 comments to Roger Bruner: Tired From Leading All The Time?

  • Ann Ellison

    Really enjoyed the interview. The books sounds like a really interesting one that I believe i would enjoy reading.

    • elaineadmin

      Ann, all my guests have interesting books 😊 And all my viewers are wonderful, like you 💗

    • Ann, I certainly hope you would like the book. My publisher recently changed the cover because the old one made it look too scary rather than suspenseful. I may write better books in the future, but I don’t think I’ll ever write one that has a more powerful message. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  • Marilyn R

    God definitely worked in Roger Bruner’s life. Thank you for featuring another new author to me. The Devil and Pastor Gus sounds like an intriguing read that I wouldn’t want to stop till I finished to see what transpired. Reading the brief excerpt I want to know what happened to the stranger at the gate.

    • elaineadmin

      Marilyn, I read and reread Roger’s feature several times as I formatted it for this blog piece and agree–one can see how He worked–works, indeed–in Roger’s life. I personally carried Roger’s message around these past few days regarding a concern and it wasn’t until I 100% surrendered the slightest bit of leading just this afternoon did I arrive home from work and saw an equally 100% positive resolution with this very concern. Praise God, right?!

    • Marilyn, I’m not going to give away anything, but I think you’ll be quite surprised at what ultimately ALMOST happens to him. *G* Thanks for your comments.

  • Deborah

    Sounds like a wonderful book.

    • elaineadmin

      Deborah, I’m so happy you’ve visited us on Everyone’s Story this evening.

      Hope to see you again!

    • Deborah, of the dozen books I’ve written (only three have been published so far), I think of this one as my personal legacy. That will mean more to you when you read the book. Thank you so much for your comment. 🙂

  • I don’t know why it takes us so long to get it that God loves us and wants the best for us, and that if we are patient, He will bring it to pass. No, we decide we know better than Him. Great post and the book sounds fantastic!

    • elaineadmin

      My problem, Pat, is that I “get” that He loves me but when the littlest thing in life goes blip I suddenly forget it, and this from a person who seems to remember all the little things in life. Ack.

    • Patricia, you are all too right. Why don’t we just give it to God in the first place? Hmm. Couldn’t be because we humans hate to admit we’re not really in control of our lives, could it? Thanks so much for your comments.

  • Hi Roger, this speaks to my heart as I’m looking for guidance. I pray a lot, but don’t always stop to listen enough
    and trust–resting in his leading. Thanks for sharing.

    And thanks, Elaine, for taking the time to post another neat article!

    • elaineadmin

      What I love, Kathy, is how He is always, always right, and the little community of readers and writers that assemble here 😊

    • You’re certainly welcome, Kathleen. I must admit the stopping to listen enough and trust-resting in his leading can be a challenge, but I pray that you and I will do a better job of it on a consistent basis and not just when the big issues arise. Thank you for your comment. My prayer is that my words may have a positive effect on others.

  • Hi Roger:

    I think I’m a little older than you. I started my BASIC on a Sinclair $99 computer which hooked up to a tv and used a cassette record to store data. However, starting early like that allowed me to be the first to program tutorial programs for my real estate school.

    I was also a philosophy major at UCSB, which was on the top floor of the high rise building, that held the computer labs, which just happen to be creating the Internet at the same time! I did not know this was going on until decades later when I read the history of the creation of the internet.

    We, philosophers, always thought it was apropos that the philosophy department was on the top floor, then the math department was on floors below that, and finally the computer labs were on the ground floor up. Art mimics reality.

    I was trained to be a philosopher so I’ve read a great many converstations with the devil over the decades. One of the big problems with these is that the devil has the much easier argument to support and, as such, so many writers have been said to do a better job on the devil’s side! Even ones who did not intend to, like C. S. Lewis. In fact, in fiction, it seems that the bad guys are almost always more interesting than the good guys. The bad boys also seemed to get the good girls as well. It seems the good girls would rather ‘fix-up’ a bad boy to their liking rather than take some mother’s ready made good boy. : )

    I just downloaded your book, “The Devil and Pastor Gus”, to see how you treat the issues. I’ve also downloaded David Hume’s, “Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion,” to get back in a serious thinking modality. : )

    I must say, however, that ‘Pastor Gus Gospello’, which I assume means ‘Pastor Gus Goodnews’, seems a little ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress-esque’. More the fun, I say.

    I’m looking forward to a fun read.

    Vince

    • elaineadmin

      Interesting insights, Vince.

      Roger and I live several states apart, but I’m pretty sure I see him smiling with the news that you’re about to read his novel!

    • Wow, Vince! What a history you have! Thanks for sharing that.

      I’m delighted that you want to give Pastor Gus a test drive. I hope you enjoy it and find it beneficial as well. Or, as I like to often say when signing a book, that it will both bless and entertain you. With your background, you’ll certainly view it from a different perspective than most readers.

      Yes about “Pastor Goodnews.” A little obvious, perhaps, but I named him that in a short play I wrote thirty or forty years ago and wasn’t willing to change his name now. *G*

      As for Pilgrim’s Progress… Would you believe I’ve never read it? I bought a copy many years ago–probably still have it–but I just couldn’t get into it. So if Pastor Gus is at all, uh, Progress-ive, it’s coincidental.

      Looking forward to what you think, Vince.

  • Marilyn R

    Elaine, Praise God for your resolutation with 100% surrender. God gave us a free will but He really is in control and wants all of us. I’ve failed at times with full surrender initially when life gets in the way but I when I surrender the problem to God He never fails me. Blessings to all.

    • elaineadmin

      Marilyn, here’s to hoping that we all can remember to surrender from the get-go to Him. My problem is delayed responses… I need to work on this, especially since I know His outcome will always be for the best.

    • One of my original songs is called “Working behind the Scenes.” I wrote it after my layoff from the IMB and while I was searching for a new job. You can find it in the Yamaha recordings dropdown box at http://rogerbruner.com/AtHome.shtml. I think it expresses some very encouraging thoughts. 🙂

  • Hi Roger:

    I had the same reaction at first that you did to Pilgrim’s Progress when I first tried to read it. I was just out of high school and I was trying to read all the “Great Books” as listed by Clifton Fadiman in his “Lifetime Reading Plan”.

    Here’s the thing: I didn’t know it was an allegory. In fact, I had never read an allegory up to then, at least one that I knew was an allegory. So as soon as I figured it out and what John Bunyan was doing, I began to love it. I’ve read it once or twice again since and I admire what Bunyan was trying to do more each time.

    BTW: I read all the reviews of “The Devil and Pastor Gus” and I was sold on reading the book by how much readers enjoyed your ‘wordsmithing’ and creativity. That’s ‘voice’ and ‘voice’ is something I like most in fiction.
    Your book is on my Kindle and I started reading it late last night. I think I may have been meant to read this book. : )

    Vince

    • Vince, I actually do like some allegories, and perhaps I should try PP again. If I do, I’ll have you to thank–especially if I’m able to enjoy it this time.

      I’m glad you read the reviews for Pastor Gus. That way you know what you’re getting into. I’m pleased that you started reading last night, and I look forward to getting your reaction. 🙂

      I hope you were meant to read it, btw. That’s a pretty cool concept. 🙂

      Roger

  • elaineadmin

    It’s been another great week on Everyone’s Story, and this time thanks to my awesome guest, author Roger Bruner!! I love when a guest stirs viewers to think and to hope and that’s what Roger has done… Thanks so much, Roger, for helping us all to put things into perspective.

    And huge thanks for the generous BookGiveaway of The Devil and Pastor Gus. And the winner is…

    Patricia B. Exciting! Happy reading. Both Roger and I will be in touch with you via direct email.

    Blessings to all.

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