Welcome to Rising River Media, a non-profit Christian publishing and media company, and to my personal "Author's Page"!
Here's some personal background so you can get to know us a little better. I am a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I studied Classics (Greek) and began my career as a "Campus Christian Radical" during the Jesus Movement of the early 70s and helped to lead a campus-wide spiritual awakening (starting in 1975). After graduation I served on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ for a couple of years, first in their media department, and then as a curriculum writer in their School of Theology. More importantly I met the love of my life, Gale, there. We've been married now for 37 years.
I attended Denver Baptist Seminary where I studied Christian apologetics under Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce Demarest. While there I was asked to serve as adjunct faculty to redesign and run their Department of Field Education. I also served on the staff of Bear Valley Baptist Church under the ministry of Frank Tillapaugh (Unleashing the Church: Getting People Out of the Fortress and into Ministry).
After seminary Gale and I moved to her home town of Spokane, WA where we have lived since 1982 and have raised two great kids. Our son is a successful web designer and our daughter is a youth pastor. I made the mistake of going into business rather than ministry and spent the next 15 years going broke doing something I was never gifted for or called to. But in the Kingdom of God it is never a mistake to discover what God has NOT called you to do.
In 1996 God surprised me and Gale with a two-fold call. First, to fast and pray for revival and spiritual awakening, and, second, to write a book on the Welsh Revival of 1904. That book ("When The Fire Fell: The Great Welsh Revival of 1904 And It's Meaning for Revival Today"), along with God's call to fast and pray for revival, became our call back into ministry. Since then, I have written two additional books on the theme of revival: "Preparing For The Coming Spiritual Outpouring" (a collection of newsletters I have written over the past 10 years on the topic of revival)and "When Jesus Visit's His Church: A Study of The Seven Church of Asia (Revelation 2-3)".
Since 2001 Gale and I have labored in the organic house church movement ("We don't go to church, we ARE the church"). Our experiences and the lessons we learned are reflected in my books, starting with my first book on organic house church, "You Wanna Do What?!: Straight Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions About House Church." My artistically talented better half did the illustrations (You can view her art work at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-gale-smith.html).
Following that first book on organic church, I wrote a couple of additional books on organic house church. The first is entitled "River Houses Rising," and lays the foundation for the rise of organic house churches. The second book, "Safe Houses of Hope And Prayer," goes deeper into some of the practical aspects of functioning as "the church in your house".
In addition to working and writing on organic house church, Gale and I have spent the past 10 years working among the homeless, hungry and marginalized of our city, people whom Jesus referred to in Matthew 25 as "the least of these". Those experiences formed the basis for our book "The Least of These: The Role of Good Deeds In A Jesus-Shaped Spirituality." This book is a call to ALL Christians to embrace our calling to engage in practical "good deeds" toward those in need.
Another book which arose out of our work with organic house churches is "All Dogs Go To Heaven, Don't They?: Biblical Reflections On Christian Universalism and Ultimate Reconciliation." I became motivated to write this book when my wife and I discovered that friends of ours (and house church practitioners) were wrestling with the issue of "universalism" (is there a literal "hell" or does everyone eventually end up in heaven). I wrote this book because I believe that the issue of Universalism is quickly becoming one of THE watershed theological issue of our generation. In the book, I explain why.
"The Inextinguishable Blaze: God's Call To Holiness, Repentance, Intimacy and Spiritual Awakening" is a book that laid around like a "burning coal in my pocket" for three years. I am thankful to have it "out of my pocket" and into print. Now it can burn a hole in your pocket! It embodies my personal study on the issue of personal holiness and its role in spiritual revival and awakening.
Currently (Fall of 2015) I am working on Volume 2 of a three volume set of books about the Kingdom of God and what it means to be "a disciple of the Kingdom." There is a lot of talk today about the idea of "discipleship" and what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Unfortunately, far too much of the discussion and writing has little to do with the Kingdom, and more to do with equipping "worker bees" for our church programs. In these books I examine how Jesus made disciples, what He taught them and what those lessons should mean to us today! The series is entitled "And They Dreamt Of A Kingdom: Bibical Studies On Discipleship And The Kingdom Of God." Volume 1 is currently available on Amzaon, and I am personally using it for a weekly discipleship meeting with 10 men at the local men's homeless shelter where my wife and I have been very involved. If 10 men in a homeless shelter can read this book and see their spiritual lives changed (and that's what's happening), then there's hope for your church, Sunday School class or bible study! It will absolutely challenge you to re-think what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and the Kingdom! I have designed it with the idea that a church Sunday School class or weekly small group discipleship group could use it as a group study (taking one lesson per week), complete with "Questions For Reflection" at the end of each lesson for personal application. You could also use it for personal devotions and bible study.