5 Questions for Dr. Jerry D. Ingalls
Dr. Jerry D. Ingalls is the author of Seize the Moment: New Testament Devotions for Today! and Live Like a Champion Today! The 40 Promises in 40 Days Challenge. We took a moment out of Dr. Ingalls busy ministry and writing schedule to ask him a few questions.
1) What inspired the idea for Live Like a Champion Today?
The inspiration for this book was two-fold, specifically God working through two different people. One of the elders in our local congregation testified to me for years about the importance of learning and living according to the promises of God in his own life. His consistent messaging to me helped me focus on this idea and create a year-long series of messages on the promises of God, with the goal to equip the congregation to follow this way of experiencing God’s victory in their daily Christian lives.
Secondly, I was having dinner with a US Army Colonel who asked me how he could live out his faith in everyday life, and not just as a component of his life, or as a distant heavenly hope. That is where the emphasis on “today” came from; he wanted help in applying the promises of God to today, not just to future realities. That conversation solidified the need for this book to be published for a larger Christian audience, as well as my next book that I’ve already started, which has a military focus, much like this book has an athletic focus. Both are in response to my friend’s everyday need.
2) How much research did you need to do for your work?
While all my books are a culmination of thirty years of professional life and educational experiences, this book took over a year of research and writing, after the idea was formulated into a workable teaching concept in the fall of 2020. There was significant biblical research to decide on how to approach the promises of God as theological concepts unto themselves, then the work to cultivate each of the promises I wrote on, as unique teachings.
In addition, I had to develop the athletic imagery from the Scriptures as a workable metaphor so that we can learn how to apply the promises of God as daily praxes, without losing out on the eternal hope of the promises of God categorically. That process started in the fall of 2020 and the details were worked out during the 2021 year-long sermon series that finished before Advent. I then utilized the Advent season to reformat the material and write some additional material for this book, followed by the time necessary to work with my editor, Emily Hurst, and publisher, Sean Slagle, to see it published in February 2022.
3) How did you come up with the title for your book?
My original concept was along the lines of experiencing the victory of Jesus Christ because I really wanted to utilize that which motivates athletes – winning! But winning in and of itself can be very end-game oriented, so I tried to think about the process of winning the victory, which is where the idea of living like a champion arose. The “today” was added because I really believe an emphasis of my ministry is empowering people to experience the abundant life of God, as Jesus promised it in John 10:10. The promises are an accessible reality for today.
The subtitle of “The 40 Promises in 40 Days Challenge!” was my effort to, once again, appeal to the athletic audience and remain consistent with the athletic imagery. Athletes in general, and champions specifically, like to set goals and work toward accomplishing them. Simultaneously, I wanted to appeal to the 40-Day devotional rhythms of the Christian traditions, such as Lent, which is why the book was published a week before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lent season.
4) What is your writing process like?
Unapologetically, I write for my congregation and local community first. I view my audience as primarily a Christian one, but on a spectrum when it comes to their understanding of faith and practices, the Bible and theology, and the extent to which they apply their faith to their everyday lives. I write with a desire to equip Christians to live out their faith to the glory of God in increasing measure in cooperation with the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work in and through them.
For my four-book Seize the Moment devotional series that I am nearing the half-way point of writing, I write 5-days per week with a hope of covering five (5) chapters of the Bible per week. I have coupled this with my morning devotional time, as I read and study the chapter of the day, pray through God’s Word, and then ask God how I should write about that chapter for my local congregation’s edification for that day. I am always seeking a fresh word from God, as I never want to give stale bread to the people. I then share that initial effort with my congregation through our daily devotional call, forward it on to be posted on our church’s webpage as a blog entry immediately, and then as a video after we record one, all of which is done in partnership with our media and webpage teams at the church, specifically Richard Kinnaird and Michael Dabrowski. It is later edited and formatted for the book in partnership with my editor, Emily Hurst, and publisher, Sean Slagle. For perspective, I wrote the 260 New Testament devotionals from March 18, 2020 to March 29, 2021. It took us nearly six months after that to edit and reformat for the published book. It was a big project. The devotionals on each of the 929 chapters of the Old Testament were started the very next day on March 30, 2021, and I expect the writing of the first book of 313 chapters (Genesis - 1 Kings) to be completed in July 2022, the second book of 315 chapters (2 Kings - Psalms) to be completed from July 2022 to approximately September 2023, and the third book of 301 chapters (Proverbs – Malachi) to be completed from approximately October 2023 to December 2024. This timeline demonstrates that this 4-book project is a non-stop writing of daily devotions, 5-days-per-week, for nearly 5 years from page 1 of book 1 to publication of the final book. I decided to do the devotionals in canonical order so that they can be a resource for any Christian for generations to come.
For this recent book, which I hope to be the first of many like it, I wrote each of the forty devotional days, and each of the chapters of Section 3, one per week between January and November 2021. In November and December of 2021, I wrote the other materials such as the Section 1 chapters, the introduction, and the conclusion. It then was edited and put into book format in January and February 2022. Essentially, the process for the bulk of the material was to spend a week on a promise, study it and pray over it, then write it so that it can be understood in both its intent as a promise of God for all believers, and as a praxis of the disciple’s life as an athlete of God to experience that promise of God in his or her daily life as a member of God’s championship team – You are a member of a championship team, so play like it! The materials in Sections 2 and 3 were sermons first and a book second. Outside of the Seize the Moment devotional series, this is how I envisage my next two books being written.
5) What is the most valuable piece of advice you've been given about writing?
I think what has spurred me forward was being told that I need to believe that what I have to say is worth writing down and sharing with a larger audience.