JB Shepherd grew up in a Christian home, school, and church in South Carolina. He had the facts from day one. But only after he ran to Christ did he come to true life. He wrote Anger of the King out of his passion to help others make that same run to Christ and then to marvel at it.
He lives with his wife and two children in South Carolina when they’re not traveling across the country in their blue Volvo wagon. The family plans to move to the Middle East in the near future for JB to pursue a teaching career.
I sat on the edge of my bed one night as a boy, talking with Dad. Deep down I could feel the Spirit of God convicting me. In spite of my good home and good church, I hadn’t been able to be a good enough person. I knew God’s expectations but hadn’t been able to meet them. Though some might have called me a good kid, I realized that before God I stood condemned.
Dad reminded me what I had heard many times before: God still loved me. He had provided for me to be forgiven and reconciled by sending His Son, Jesus, to take my sin and the death penalty that went with it. And Jesus had risen again and ascended to the right hand of God. If I would ask the Lord Jesus to save me, He would apply His death to my account, forgive me, restore me to God, and give me eternal life.
I already knew these facts. But that night, God made them real to me, and I accepted His gift of salvation as my own. It was that night I ran to the Lord Jesus, just by calling out to Him in prayer. I know He answered because from that point on I experienced a living relationship with God.
The Holy Spirit began to grow in me a special love for the Bible. As a kid, it was hard to grasp everything. But as I read and studied in my Bible daily over the years, I began to understand it and to recognize God’s voice speaking through it.
One night in 7th grade as I waited on the sidewalk for my parents to pick me up from an event, I told the Lord I would devote my life to Him 100%. I didn’t mean that someday I would serve Him. I meant I would serve Him from that moment on and do whatever He told me, no matter how scared I might feel.
He took me up on it. Looking back, I’m so glad He did.
He began to convict me, little by little, of a deep pride embedded in my heart. I tended to look down on my fellow classmates. God taught me to pray for them instead and to encourage them to know the Lord and His love for them. I remember getting up the courage one day in 10th grade to ask my locker buddy what God was teaching him in his Bible. That was a little step, but God helped me keep taking more, and by my senior year my best friends and I had gathered a group of almost 30 others who would come together and pray for revival every Thursday during lunch.
During those same years, He began immersing me in the Scriptures in a new way. I joined a Bible Quiz team in 7th grade through my church and got the assignment of memorizing all of Mark 4 in one month. Forty-one verses! Somehow, with God’s help I did it. And from that point on, I found out I loved memorizing God’s Word. That first year I learned at least eight different chapters.
In 10th grade, God helped me to memorize the entire book of John. I had to learn three verses every night and keep up with all the review, but I can testify that it was worth it, more than almost anything else I’ve ever done.
I wish I could say I never disappointed the Lord. But there were many days I had to run back to Christ for fresh cleansing. How graciously He forgave me again and again. When I struggled to be faithful, He never wavered.
During 11th grade, our Bible curriculum at my Christian school covered how to study New Testament Epistles. My three best friends and I decided to put it into practice. So every day during lunch we would open our Bibles next to our sandwiches and dig in. The process involved a lot of brain sweat, but I think we learned a ton about I John and even more about how to study God’s word. It was life changing.
I’m so thankful for my friends. We had a ton of fun together during those years, especially on some camping trips we took. We goofed off together. But the central point of our relationship was a desire for God and more of His working in our lives. The times we’d put our heads together and pray made a profound impact on our lives. Even now as adults, spreading out across the globe in different roles, we continue to pray for each other and stoke one another’s love for God.
I loved reading and writing as a teen. In 9th grade in particular I remember dreaming of writing novels and even tried my hand at some different short stories. But school, Bible study, and different outreaches kept filling up all my time. I remember getting half way through Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien and then stopping. I really wanted to read it (not that I hadn’t already read it three times before back in elementary school). But I sensed that God had higher priorities for me. So I put fiction reading into God’s hands and moved on. What was that to the sacrifice Jesus made in leaving everything for me?
Later, in grad school, God led me to memorize the book of Isaiah. It took me three years, and I’m still hungering to grasp the significance of all those great themes. Much of the message of Anger of the King comes from lessons God taught me in Isaiah.
And God is so good. When I had finished grad school and married, He gave me fiction reading back again. Now my wife and I enjoy reading together in the car and with our two youngsters. He followed up the gift of reading with a burden for writing a novel: Anger of the King. I am elated. And I pray He’ll use this book to help teens (and older) know the wonderful God I’m getting to know more and more.
Right now my family and I are preparing for an English teaching opportunity in the Middle East. We have tremendous challenges in front of us. But I have learned that God is faithful and good. There’s nothing more wonderful than being one of His servants.
I’ve been writing poetry long before starting Anger of the King, but I haven’t had many opportunities to share these pieces. If you enjoyed the book (or even if you didn’t), I think you may find some of these poems to be a blessing. Feel free to share them with others as long as you give credit to “J.B. Shepherd” and don’t use them to make money without written permission. Just to warn you, some are more artistic than others.
If you have questions I didn’t answer in my Questions and Answers section, feel free to reach me using the form below. I can’t make any promises about how soon I’ll respond. And just in case you’re wondering, I am working on the sequel.