Books by John Michael Helms

Books by John Michael Helms

Endorsed By Well-Known Baptists

In this section of Michael’s website, you can explore his books which have been endorsed by well-known Baptists such as Dr. Walter “Buddy” Shurden, Dr. David Gushee, Dr. Emmanuel McCall, Dr. Pamela Durso, Dr. John Pierce, Dr. R. Alan Culpepper, Dr. Amy Butler, Dr. Bruce Gourley, Dr. Richard Wilson, Dr. Jim Barnett, Dr. Olu Q, Menjay, and Rev. Ken Smith.  His books have also been endorsed by authors Ronda Rich and Jean Sasson and by the President of Community Newspapers, Inc., Dink NeSmith.

Writing Style 

Michael writes with a contemplative, reflective style.  He’s able to take events or experiences that happen in everyday life and find a lesson that works its way back to the words of Jesus, to a Proverb, a Psalm, or to another a biblical story, which contains truth and wisdom that is useful for guiding us along our way.

Royalties Are Donated

Royalties for all of his books are given to the Bricks for Ricks Foundation.  When you order a book from Michael, not only will you receive food for the soul, but you will be assisting those in third world countries who benefit from the efforts of this foundation to establish sustainable housing and to provide other life essentials such as food, water, and medicine.

Children’s Book

Finally, from this section you can also link up to Michael’s latest creation as he venture’s into the world of picture books and storytelling for children. Yob and the Bird Dog is the first in a series of books featuring Yob and Lerig.  These books are designed to teach children about making good choices.

Hoping Liberia–Stories of Civil War from Africa’s First Republic 

The slave trade, which African and African-American scholars sometimes call the “Maafa” (meaning holocaust), affected between 9 and 12 million people.  The fourteen-year civil war in Liberia killed between 250,000 and 300,000 people, about 1 in 10 Liberians.  Hoping Liberia is dedicated in their memory.  The labor on this book is on behalf of Ricks Institute in Virginia, Liberia and of approximately 1,000 displaced people from the war who still live on the Ricks campus.  The royalties from this book and all the books written by Dr. Helms go to the Bricks for Ricks Foundation.

What Others Say

Ricks Institute and Olu Menjay’s struggling school and committed Christians are working together making a huge difference to the restoration of previously war-torn Liberia.  Ricks and Olu have captured the hearts and pocketbooks of a number of Christians and churches in our country. But no person has been more passionate for support and success of Ricks than Michael Helms.  An inspiriting book about hope, Hoping Liberia is also a magic story of Christian stewardship.

Dr. Walter B. Shurden
Minister at Large, Mercer University

Hoping Liberia is an inspiring work in every way.  It tells a story, not just about what God is doing among Christians in Liberia, but also about the way God has tugged on Michael Helms’ heart and changed him and many others through their friendship with and service alongside Christian brothers and sisters in Liberia.  This book indeed brought me much hope; maybe we Baptists can once again be known for our love and service and not for our fighting and politics. I strongly recommend Hoping Liberia.

Dr. David P. Gushee
Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University

In past generations God has raised up Baptists in the South with prophetic voices on the matter of racial reconciliation, such as T.B. Matson, Henlee Barnett, Foy Valentine, and John H. Claypool.  Today it is John Michael Helms.  While this book reads like a novel, it is a well-researched history of Liberia, reaching back to the slave trade with its attendant evils, which Helms mades fresh and revealing.  We see how “the sins of the fathers have planted sour grapes so that the children’s teeth have bee set on edge.”  In addition to its prophetic voice, “Hoping Liberia” is insightful, purposeful and missional and will move the reader into “missio Dei.”

Dr. Emmanuel McCall
Founding Pastor of the Fellowship Group, East Point, Georgia

Every good story needs a good storyteller. This story of Olu Menjay and Ricks Institute is a very good story.  Michael Helms is a very good storyteller. Now the story will be shared far and wide. Thanks be to God for the story and its teller.

Richard F. Wilson
Columbus Roberts Professor of Theology and Chair, Roberts Department of Christianity, Mercer University

In Hoping Liberia, Michael Helms weaves  together multiple stories of his friendship with Olu Menjay, the director of Ricks Institute in Virginia, Liberia; the story of their partnership in ministry; and the story of the nation of Liberia.  Through historical narrative, theological ponderings, personal confession, and thoughtful questions,  Helms immerses readers into a period of political turmoil and violence, a devastating civil war, and the immeasurable suffering experienced by the Liberian people. In the midst of aftermath of these harsh realities, Liberian Christians held on to hope.  Hoping Liberia is ultimately an inspirational and uplifting story of faith being lived out and the body of Christ coming together and joining hands to do God’s work.

Dr. Pamela R. Durso
Executive Director,Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia

Finding Our Way Through the Wilderness–A Journey for Lent or Other Days of Spiritual Reflection and Prayer

Finding Our Way Through the Wilderness is designed to help those who are in a wilderness by no choice of their own and those who choose to enter the wilderness to prepare spiritually for the arrival of Easter or the next part of their journey. Readers will emerge from the wilderness stronger, healthier, wiser, and better equipped to continue on their way.

What Others Say

Like muscles, our spiritual awareness needs to be stretched if we are to become strong and spiritually mature. This is a book that will stretch you spiritually. Michael Helms and Erica Cooper are not only gifted writers, they also see spiritual realities in the whole sweep of human experience. Spend a few minutes each day with this book, and it will make such a difference in your life that you will return to it regularly.

Dr. R. Alan Culpepper
Dean, McAfee School of Theology, Atlanta, Georgia

Written so plainly that a child will understand, yet laced with the kind of depth and history that scholars will embrace. What an extraordinary achievement that is!

Ronda Rich
Best-selling author of What Southern Women Know About Faith

The simple straightforward stories of the Lenten journeys are spell-binding and captivating. The prayers are refreshing and penetrating and the total journey is a delight. I cannot wait to use it as a guide at Lent or even on my next spiritual retreat. Wow, what a great read and adventure! This is a great addition to my own journey.

Rev. Ken Smith
President, Ken Smith Ministries

Michael Helms and Erica Cooper have written a book that will inspire many. Their uplifting messages, stories, and prayers are powerful and revealing. While reading Finding Our Way Through the Wilderness, I felt calm coming into my chaotic life. I highly recommend this book to any and all.

Jean Sasson
New York Times and international bestselling author of: Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia and Growing up Bin Laden: Osama’s Wife and Son Share Their Secret Life

If ever the world were a wilderness, it would be today. Economic and social unrest have created a maze with confusing twists and turns. More than a GPS to guide us, we need a sense of spiritual direction and the confidence to find our way, with His help. In Michael Helms and Erica Cooper’s Finding Our Way Through the Wilderness, the safe route is clearly defined. Just as our GPS speaks to us, their masterful storytelling offers a calming assurance that we can navigate through the wilderness. I didn’t read it once. I read it twice. And I’ll read it again. It’s that good.

Dink NeSmith
President, Community Newspapers, Inc.

Finding Our Way with the Magi–A Daily Guide Through the Season of Advent

For those of you who want something deeper than the commercialized trappings of the Advent Season, Finding Our Way with the Magi gives readers a daily opportunity to be spiritually challenged, encouraged, inspired, and confronted with Jesus’ admonition to lie out our faith in an increasingly secular world.

Seamless shifts are made from common, sometimes humorous life stories to biblical truths that all of us need to apply to our daily lives.  Creative “Advent Actions” appear at the end of each day’s reading to give concrete, practical suggestions for putting that day’s focus into practice during Advent.  Guided prayers help readers begin a conversation with God based on the reading for the day.

Praise for Finding Our Way with the Magi

Michael Helms clears away the layers of wrappings, ribbons, and assorted commercial glitz so that once again we can gaze upon the Christ Child. These delightful, often touching reflections usher us gracefully through the Advent season.

Jim Barnette  
Professor, Samford University

Finding Our Way with the Magi offers a unique opportunity for those who long for a meaningful spiritual discipline during the season of Advent.  The imposed busyness around us, and the often painfilled associations of the holidays often distract us, if not prevent us altogether from encountering God, even in this holiest of seasons.  With the narrative grace of a gifted pastor, Michael Helms offers meaningful devotional engagement along with thoughtful direction for actually living through the Advent season with purpose and intention.  The inclusion of helpful and accessible appendices offers even deeper encouragement.  Even for the casual reader who longs, as we all do, to put aside the trappings of our cultural Christmas celebration and remember, in deep and life-transforming way, the promise of God With Us.

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler
Senior Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church
Washington, D.C.

Michael Helms’ Finding Our Way with the Magi: A Daily Guide Through the Season of Advent is a Christ-centered GPS that will navigate your family through the Advent season with a gentleness and grace that fosters the peace and hope so often absent in the daily bustle of life.

The daily reflections are memorable and personal, offering families a time to focus on the true meaning of the season.  Helms’ stories will cause you to pause for personal reflection and recollection, while “Advent Actions” will nudge you to put your faith into action in practical ways.  In addition, the daily prayer offers guidance for a few moments of focused quietness in communicating with the Giver of the Advent Season.

Bruce Gourley
Executive Director, Baptist History & Heritage Society

Michael Helms provides an exceptional and straightforward guide that connects Christmas to Christ especially in our world that connects Christmas to commercialization.  Helms’ Finding Our Way with the Magi is a reflective Advent reading that points the reader to the essence of the Christmas story.

Dr. Olu Q. Menjay 
Vice President Baptist World Alliance (2010-2015)                              Chief Administrative Officer/Principal–Ricks Institute, Liberia            www.ricksonline.org

Finding Our Way–An Introspective Journey Through the Labyrinth of Life

A maze is a frustrating journey filled with dead ends.  Many people feel as if their lives have a maze of dead ends.  They go from one closed door to another, searching for purpose and meaning.  Walking a labyrinth is different.  There is only one way to enter and one way to exit.  It is impossible to get lost in a labyrinth.  All one has to do is continue the journey.   As one is pulled deeper and deeper into a labyrinth, instead of frustration, one feels a sense of direction, purpose, and serenity.

The Christina journey is like walking a labyrinth.  Within God’s sphere of love, we can find our way.  We cannot get lost as long as we stay on the path blazed by Jesus.   When we do manage to run our own course, we do well to find our way back to the labyrinth of life, where prayer, contemplation, and reflection propel us back to a place where we find peace.  This book is written for that purpose.

What Others Say

Good writers use words to communicate ideas rather than to impress their readers.  Michael Helms is a good writer who takes us on soft childhood memory trips or into the hard issues of current news with a mature, inquiring faith as his lens.  Michael has expanded his pastoral ministry by discovering the secret of writing simply, yet intelligently.

John D. Pierce
Executive Editor, Baptists Today, Macon, Georgia

Michael Helms provides an honest and compassionate look at life’s journey in all its complexities and unexpected outcomes–both good and bad.  He prods and encourages us to embrace our struggles with humility, good humor, and with the reassurance that we are not alone.  Michael shows us there are lessons for us to learn along the way and more than enough hope and mercy to help us become what we are meant to be.

Dr. Michael Braswell
Professor, East Tennessee State University

Indeed, each of us begins each day find our way. For some, the struggle is much greater than for others. For some the path may seam clear, and for some there is much fog covering that road.  As Christians we plow through many Scriptures looking for answers, only to find that some issues will always be cloaked in mystery, and therefore we must rely on our faith to compensate for those time when we lack in understanding. And in all of this, applying lessons and testament put in print thousands of years ago remains an incredible challenge: what does this mean to me today?  That’s the prevailing question for many of us.  In Finding Our Way, the Rev. Michael Helms offers great insights in the application of centuries-Old Biblical wisdom in a time of rocket ships and cyberspace.  These nuggets of spiritual experience and exploration provide inspiration and enlightenment, helping us alone the course of finding our way.

Dwain Walden
Editor and Publisher, The Moultrie Observer, Moultrie, Georgia

There is a natural affinity between the gospel and good stories.  Like Jesus’ parables, Helms’ stories often draw from rural life, recall experiences we can relate to, and then stay with us long after we read them.  They heighten our appreciation for truth in the midst of the ordinary.  Read the book for the stories.  You will take away not only the stories, but a deeper appreciation for the struggles, the small pleasures, and the God-given goodness of life also.

R. Alan Culpepper
Dean, McAfee School of Theology, Atlanta, Georgia

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