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Pastor’s book offers ‘hope’

Recessions, wars and international tension, record unemployment — the modern world is a sometimes depressing place, and it is often hard to find a silver lining.

Dr. Steven Dohoney, pastor and founder of Open Heaven Ministry Church in Andalusia, has written a book he hopes can help troubled souls find the positive things in life.

Dohoney’s book, Hope: Experiencing Hope in Perilous Times, acknowledges the trials and tribulations of the modern world and offers suggestions on how to find hope in even the darkest times.

“We’re living in uncertain times,” Dohoney said. “I think questions are starting to be raised, doubts and suspicions about our leaders — not only in the church but also our political and social leaders. People are really beginning to look for something they can trust in, and rely upon.”

Dohoney said the book is based on a series of messages he gave at his church. He wrote his first book, Developed Under the Master’s Hand, 30 years ago.

“I just never really felt the need to write anything else after that,” he said. “I gave these messages on hope, and some of the members of the church told me I needed to write a book about it. I showed the early manuscript to a pastor friend of mine, and he encouraged me to do the same thing.”

The message of hope resonates throughout the book’s pages, starting with the cover — a photograph of a lighthouse in the middle of a stormy sea. As Dohoney explains, hope is often the one thing that keeps mankind pressing forward.

“If you don’t have hope, then your helplessness will turn to hopelessness,” he said. “And when we feel hopeless, that’s what all kinds of possibilities, like suicide, can open up.”

Dohoney uses an analogy — which is not his original story, but one he felt was noteworthy to include — in his book to describe the difference between helplessness and hopelessness.

“A guy parachutes out of an airplane and gets caught in a tree, about 90 feet up in the air,” he said. “But he thinks he’s all right because the tree is right near a road and he figures somebody will come by and call for help. Several days pass with nobody stopping to help, and he pulls out a knife and thinks to himself, ‘Well, if I cut this rope to my parachute, at least I’ll be free … I’ll die from the fall, but I’ll be free.’

“That’s an example of somebody losing hope, and going from being helpless to being hopeless. That’s the crux of this book, is to find ways to have hope even when you feel helpless.”

Dohoney said the book is religious in nature, and contains a number of references to Biblical passages, but it also contains a good amount of “common sense” that will be applicable to any person’s life.

“I wanted to make it practical, not preachy or stiff-shirted,” he said. “My target was Christian people, but my goal is for the book to be relatable to anyone. I just think it’s a very timely book, on a very timely subject, that can speak to a lot of different people.”

Dohoney added the word “hope” can also serve as a useful acronym — “Helping Other People Excel” or “Helping Other People Escape.”

“It is one thing to just tell someone that things are going to be okay,” he said. “It’s another thing to actually take them by the hand and lead them.”

Tabby D’s Christian Book and Gift will host a book signing for Hope: Experiencing Hope in Perilous Times today from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Dohoney’s book is 155 pages long and can be purchased at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com or www.xulonpress.com. The book has a listed price of $14.99 and can also be purchased directly from Dohoney by calling either 334-488-4119 or 222-4542.

Dohoney’s book will be included as one of the “new featured authors” at the International Christian Retail Show in Denver, Colo., in July.