About J.L. Kelly

JL Kelly study at Colorado CabinJ.L. Kelly is an American speaker, Bible teacher & author of Christian novels that combine compelling story worlds with unforgettable characters in tremendously moving novels. Her writing is dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ in thanksgiving for the many relationships that have inspired, redeemed, sustained, challenged, encouraged and transformed the life God has invited her to humbly fulfill for His honor and glory.
She believes words are powerful. “Writing is a great privilege and carries a responsibility with its creative expression. I pray for inspiration and the right amount of balance in creating deep and compelling characters in a story world that is authentic and yet hopeful. My books are founded on relationships—spiritual, friendships, and family and forged through the real and raw stories that take place as sinners are saved by grace and sanctified through the Word of truth.”

J.L Kelly’s characters are connected from one book to the next. Ones you love will show up again in another story and like old friends, she hopes you're glad to see them. Ones you don't like might catch you judging them. Every good story needs an antagonist and we've all been that from time to time. We need grace for the proud and the hurting. She hopes you're open to changing your opinion of some of her 'bad guys' as they are transformed. We should never assume the arm of the Lord is too short to save any character. After all, we were all at one time that "character".

Her mission is to share the Truth in love. Reviewers agree that J.L. Kelly books are sometimes intense and might not be for readers who are looking for the classic sweet Christian story where characters do everything right. Unapologetically her style is to write it real—meaning what real life looks like, tackling issues with universal importance in a God honoring way. Her characters will never be perfect but they will proclaim to you the love, grace and mercy of a perfect God.

If you want to know more about J.L Kelly, read on...

On the young side of fifty, I thought I’d be farther along by now in my sanctification, but I’m not. The more I learn, the more I know that I'm a great sinner saved by a greater Grace. Yet I introduce myself to you first as a student of the Word, God’s Word, the Bible. As Brennan Manning defined so well my “Theology, faith seeking understanding and Spirituality, the faith-experience of what we understand intellectually,” were cultivated in me by loving Christian parents.

I was an only child in a middle class family and that beginning has beset me. The lonely1967 Lee Family Portrait one is often a dreamer. The storyteller is a schemer. And the spoiled one is rotten with her entitled self. So I have spent most of my adult life learning to share, serve, and surrender as that living sacrifice we're to offer that is holy and pleasing to God.

2008 BSF Institute TLs from around the world God's Truth never changes but how we understand God  changes--matures with our experiences of Him and our  surrender of self. God is impossible to fully understand and His  ways are beyond us which makes us seek and struggle and  want to sit and discuss Him and His living Word with other  seekers. This process of Bible study, discussion, and teaching was cultivated in me through Bible Study Fellowship International and has spiritually developed me through its training using accountability and application in disciplined daily study.

This wanting to know God and understand Him intimately produced an equipped prayer JL Kelly teaching Gospel of Matthew in BSF 2014wrestler. Sometimes I just didn't get it-what God was saying or what God did historically in the Bible or what He was telling me not to do that I really wanted to do--so I wrestled it out with him in prayer. God pens quite a story through my journal. My story of surrender. A life of triumph and traumas. Sky and shadow. Death and life. Failure and faith. His story, a Love story. Furious and frightening. Passionate and powerful. Redemptive and forgiving. Mysterious and offending. Faithful. His Story written through my story. Strategic sanctification of a great sinner saved by a greater grace.

As a teenager I experienced the grief of losing a mother to the brutality of cancer. As a Kelly Familyyoung adult I lost my mother-in-law to the evil of murder. For  more than  25 years I have fought the good and sometimes  ugly fight to stay  married and lovingly call my husband a  refining fire because marriage is  about holiness not just  happiness. I am a mother who really ‘began to walk with God’  after the birth of her beloved sons and now has watched with honor as they are shot like arrows into the world as godly young men. I’ve been abundantly loved and yet at times Love's fury made me furious. I’ve been offended by a sovereign God yet had no where to turn. To whom shall we go when we believe He is the Holy One with the words of eternal life? The lamenting 'why?' echoes in every heart at sometime in life and God faithfully answered the why question. And so I penned a story... People watching is a past time of mine. Understanding people-how we change and transform and the varied complexity of personalities was fascinating to me. I am a type 4
JL and M personality on the Enneagram- the Romantic Individualist. As Don Riso and Russ Hudson explain, "The Enneagram maps  out the 9 fundamental personality types of human nature and their complex interrelationships."  Understanding the 9 personality types-the Reformer, Helper, Achiever, Individualist, Investigator, Loyalist, Enthusiast, Challenger, and Peacemaker- has given my characters a depth I could never pen without this growing awareness of how God created personality. The Enneagram helps us understand there are 9 different points of view, distinct sets of values, different communication styles, ways of solving problems, with external behaviors, underlying attitudes, emotional reactions, defense mechanisms, spiritual barriers and potentials and much, much more. I agree with the Enneagram teaching that self-knowledge is an invaluable guardian against self-deception. Exploring the awareness of knowing who we are, practicing observing our own behavior to own the truth of who we are really acting out, then understanding or interpreting what that behavior information really means lined up against the Word of God is the basis of transformation work. We must know the truth about ourselves-we’re sinners--confess and agree with God about falling short to meet his standards and repent, 'think differently' as Bob Hamp teaches and set our mind against these false identity patterns and turn back to identify with Christ and through the Holy Spirit live Him out. And so I penned a story about a girl who is a four that meets a boy who is an eight...

I've mixed up wants and needs most of my life. Seduced by this world's pretty things, I full of clothes nothing to wearlust and covet and own too many shoes--too many of a lot of  things. I  want. My root sin is envy—it’s not that I don't want  you to have nice  things, I do, I just want the great thing that I  see in you that's missing in me, and that tells me envy's counterpart is greed. I just keep wanting more but we all know the 'more' is never enough. The more in my hand (an idol) is a lie because it never satisfies me because I keep replacing it. All I need is Christ to be fulfilled and satisfied. And so I penned a story...

A Christian once told me I needed to learn to properly fear God so I would obey His laws, citing, "Be holy for God is holy." I spent a season studying God's holiness FEAR LOVE AND HOLINESS and fearfully trying to "do" holy. It didn't work. We are to "be" holy. God's  holiness is terrifying and awe inducing and 'the fear of God' is the  beginning of wisdom. I am in awe of God because He loves me. God  means what He said about Sin- it's wages are death and He will ultimately judge and remove/separate all sin/sinners from His presence which is why Jesus came. I found loving God with heart, soul, strength and mind results in 'be holy' and resolves the tension in my soul because holy is not all that God is, He is so much more. There is no fear in Love. And God is Love. I am loved by ABBA. And love is the very best motivation toward holiness not fear. So I confess this application that I have a reverent respect that God is awesome in His holiness – transcendent and yet He is near, relational and personal in His love for us.  I love the Lord Jesus so much that it breaks my heart when I sin and violate God's will so I want to obey. And so I penned a story...

I'm proud of the fact that one of the things I hate is people who judge. Funny how pride makes us say ridiculous things. And judging makes us point our finger. And pointing our JL AND ZOEfinger at someone points four fingers back at us. All this pointing makes us forget that it is the law that points out our need for a savior and we were never commanded to judge, or point out sin, but we are commanded to love. So proud judging people are a necessary evil maybe to remind us how unloving judging looks. I strive to point out a sin by showing you its destructive result and showcase God's amazing grace in repentance and forgiveness and transforming power. And so I penned a story... 

Prose too titillating for you? I don't write unrealistic sweet stories and will make no PARABLES AND PRODIGAL excuse only give an account. We learn through experiences  and stories  help us experience truth. Think of Christ's  parables--was the prodigal  son or the good Samaritan sweet?  The ending was but the stories were about real life. I try to be  authentic and make characters that are  struggling with current  real universal issues. The saints in the Bible were all sinners save One. And the One, Jesus of Nazareth made it a habit to hang out with harlots and drunks and the greedy and the lowly because they knew they were hell bent sick sinners who needed a savior. He came to save sinners not the righteous. Although my stories are fiction, they are not sweet, pure and modest for the self righteous. They are raw and real and redemptive tales about sinners saved by grace. My writing has a warning label--I write it real. There will be a tension to my writing. A story world that is hostile to a Biblical worldview with characters learning how to live in it and not be of it. Themes are contextualized for the current culture and its hot topics. And if my prose are too titillating, if they stimulate an emotional response of tears, or anger, or outrage, bafflement or even lust then you're experiencing the lesson of the truth as it comes to you in its most understood form, story. This is why I pen raw, real, redemptive stories; they change us.

I follow the footsteps of the ragamuffins before me, apologetically in pretty shoes. My aS WE SHOULD BE by brennan manningmost common title for God will always be Love and for sinners,  the loved. You are loved by a God who says He is Love.  Amazing. Amen. Love saw us  while we  were yet sinners,  smiled and spoke softly in our ear  to tell us His Love  story.  God did that for me and now I hold the  pen to write His Story in my story. The Kingdom of God is like . . .  And so I penned a  story.