The Hilliard Institute

The Hilliard Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation offering sensory education programing, experiential learning, and academic research and publishing while also supporting philanthropic initiatives through fundraising and educational training and activities—all under the umbrella of the concept of Educational Wellness

The Hilliard Institute. 4440 Savage Pointe Drive. Franklin, TN 37064

Email Dr. K. Mark Hilliard at

or Professor Jessa R. Sexton at

Our devotional books take a scholarly, researched look into biblical and spiritual topics. Click on the book image for purchase. 

The Apostle John: A Blessed Life

by James Byers

ISBN-13: 978-0-9800285-2-2

The Apostle John: A Blessed Life takes a historical and philosophical look into the life and work of this son of Zebedee. Once a “son of thunder,” John’s spiritual journey led him to become the man called to write a special, personal account of the life of Jesus. This book guides the reader through the world in which John lived and the gospel, letters, and revelation tale written with divine direction and his unique perspective. From his days fishing with his father and brother on the Sea of Galilee, to his travels with Jesus, and finally to his last days writing and sharing Christ’s word in Ephesus, this apostle truly lived a blessed life.

Hope of Heaven

by James Byers

ISBN 978-0-9822618-7-3

“I have prepared a place for you, in My Father’s house where there are many dwelling places” (John 14:2). With these words Jesus encouraged His disciples, and future Christians, of a glorious heaven. His first coming made this hope of heaven possible; His final coming will make it complete. This book explores some of the expectations and descriptions of heaven throughout the Bible. Christ will come. His eternal kingdom shall be established. This is the great hope and fear of all generations. 

Hilliard's Proverbs: Inspired by Experience
by Jack Hilliard
ISBN: 978-0-9912792-0-3 

“Age should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom…but it is the inspiration of the Almighty that gives man understanding” (Job 7-8). Wisdom is not the automatic outcome of age, and maturity is not a given as we grow. But when we are willing to open ourselves to the Lord’s life lessons, we will find a perception, prudence, and practicality worth sharing with others. 

In this book, we are given the valuable advice of a man who has been a missionary, preacher, hard-worker, gardener, author, son, father, grandfather, great-grandfather—all in one. A man who calls his life blessed, not because it has been sorrow-free, but because it has been God-filled. And because of his openness to God’s perspective, he is able to give us countless counsel in this alphabetized list of Hilliard's Proverbs Inspired by Experience.

Of Grief and Greatness
Sonnets by Jessa R. Sexton
ISBN 978-0-999-009017

The poems in these pages weren’t written for publication. They weren’t written assuming you’d one day hold this book in your hands. They were the ponderings of my pencil and my heart. Called “brave and beautiful” by one of my pre-readers, this book is a mirror of my mind, reflecting, in an anxious intimacy, both how broken and how hopeful I am.

To complement this sometimes challenging art form, I’ve included concrete devotionals, inspiring coloring pages, a topical index, and brief introductions for each of the twenty-five sonnets. These poems are a journey for us. I’ve walked with them thus far, and now I invite you to walk through them with me.


"Jessa Sexton's collection of sonnets cut straight to my heart. I was looking at snapshots of my life. Honest words of real pain, hope, and redemption. Don't miss these encouraging gems.  I intend to spread them far and wide."   

-- Ken Davis
Speaker, Best-Selling Author, Communications Trainer

"In times of grief and despair, we desperately seek vestiges of hope to cling to. Beautifully written, Of Grief and Greatness gives us permission to feel depths of sorrow while remaining safely held in the Great and Eternal Hope we have in Christ. What a lovely gift to give someone who's hurting."

-- Cheri Keaggy
Dove Award winning singer and songwriter

Pain and Suffering: Friend or Foe?
by Jack Hilliard
with illustrations by Jennifer Savage Britton 
ISBN 0-9800285-0-7

“In many cases, whether or not pain is a friend or foe depends on our outlook on life. We can think of it as a privilege or drudgery. We look at everything that happens from some point of view. If we conclude all is bad, then no matter what happens we will see every experience in a bad connotation. If life is seen as a privilege, then this optimistic view can put a good spin on even our problems, disappointments, and suffering. If optimistic vision allows us to think of the future and others, we may be able to see past our brief pain to the possible good result. The future will be brighter, and the load will be lighter.”

In his seventh book, Jack Hilliard uses scripture, personal experiences, and a lifetime of study to explore the connection between suffering and blessing, pain and progress. Have you experienced hurt? The goal of this book is to help you see past your misery into God’s goodness and peace.

Proverbs through the Generations
By Jack Hilliard, K. Mark Hilliard, and Jessa Hilliard Sexton
With illustrations by Courtney Allen
ISBN 978-0-9860150-0-7 

Through the generations, the Proverbs have served as a source of wisdom. In this book, three generations—Jack Hilliard, his son K. Mark Hilliard, and granddaughter Jessa Hilliard Sexton—reflect on this wisdom and consider its lessons for families today. Though each author has his and her own unique writing style and perspective based on personal life experiences, all are brought together by their mutual love of learning, family, and God’s Word.

Spirit-Ritual: Exploring Spirituality Beyond the Sacred Veil

by Dr. K. Mark Hilliard

ISBN: 0-9717444-5-9

According to Dr. Hilliard, the greatest need facing humankind today is an activated consciousness of the spirit: an awaking of the inner-spirit and soul. Spirit-Ritual: Exploring Spirituality, Beyond the Sacred Veil, utilizes a variety of sacred rituals intended to guide the reader on a journey into the spiritual realm, a journey that all of us inwardly wish to take, though few gain the insight to lead them beyond the sacred veil. Hilliard challenges his readers to think through the assortment of eastern and western spiritual movements, which often bring about pseudo-spirituality, in order to find a personal connection with their true spiritual self. His extensive research into the spirit and soul, his years as a professor of spirituality, and his experience in working with Native Americans, make Dr. Hilliard's Spirit-Ritual a must read for those who have a passion for the mystery of that which we call spiritual.

Dr. Hilliard’s book utilizes a variety of sacred rituals intended to guide the reader on a journey into the spiritual realm, a journey that all of us inwardly wish to take, though few gain the insight to lead them beyond the sacred veil.


SUP: Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard

By Lori Bumgarner

Foreword by Candice Appleby

ISBN 978-0999009000

Lori Bumgarner began stand up paddling (SUP) in the early summer of 2014 at a time when she was questioning where her business and her career were headed. What started out as a hobby became an opportunity for spiritual and personal growth. For Lori, paddling provided a quiet place away from her day-to-day environment to truly hear from God as she was constantly reminded of His Word each time she was out on the water. These devotional entries share some of the lessons she learned in these times of reflection.

“While your interest may be something totally different from my love of SUP, I pray that, as you read this devotional book, you’ll be able to see God’s Word reflected in your own passions and pursuits. Don’t just listen to Him when you’re reading your Bible and praying, but also when you’re working and playing. He’s still speaking even then.”

Early sales from this book helped fund Lori's mission trip to the Amazon, and current sales will help sponsor jungle pastors for upcoming conferences. 

These Things I Pray for You: My Child
by Jessa R. Sexton

ISBN: 978-0-9912792-2-7  


This book lays out the characteristics I pray my children will have, exploring each characteristic by defining it, investigating it scripturally, showing how it should be present in my children, and then praying for it. 

As I began to think about the characteristics and blessings I pray for my children, I realized that a knowledge of the word and of The Word—what the dictionary and others say about the word’s meaning and intent, and what God’s Scriptures say—would make my prayers deeper, give better direction to my hopes. So this study creates that direction to a mother’s prayers.