Be Careful What You Ask For!
In the late 1970’s I was teaching adult classes at Kailua Community Church, a Christian & Missionary Alliance church in Kailua, Hawaii. After a few of years, a number of friends encouraged me to write down and distribute some of my lessons. This began a process of thinking through the possibility of writing.
My wife, Beverly, and I left Hawaii and moved to Marin County, just above the Golden Gate Bridge. We had no children and both had careers so we settled into a typical working life.
I was asked to speak at churches all over Northern California whenever a pastor was gone, sick, or no longer there. I did this almost every week for five years. I began to develop two or three messages that received particularly positive comment because I had the time to present them over and over modifying and polishing them each time.
I had a pastor friend tell me, “every time you give a sermon, you actually deliver three different messages; one you prepare, one you actually give, and the other you wished you had given.” Each time I gave one of my “repeat” messages; I changed and improved the delivery. This began to develop editing skills.
It was during this period that friends, again, began to ask if I had ever written a book. I said that I’d considered it but never got around to getting started. My friends, my wife being the foremost, strongly encouraged me to begin. My wife agreed to provide our sole income for a year as I tried writing. She worked and I struggled. I produced a manuscript over the course of a difficult year and my first manuscript, “The Peanut Butter Jar Principle of Serving God” (unpublished), was born.
The Rejections of Writing
I recall sending the title and table of contents list to one Christian publisher and received a polite “no”. I really wasn’t disappointed. I had wanted to write a book and I did. Getting it published was way down my list of needs. So, I put the manuscript on my shelf where it still sits after 30 years.
Then, in 2009 we were living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was unemployed and looking for work. Being fantastically skilled, my wife was working… of course. Between networking meetings, internet browsing, rare job interviews, and an absence of results I attended a number of weekly Bible studies sponsored by The Christian Business Men’s Connection. On Monday mornings a number of unemployed men met in a local restaurant and had a time of devotions, discussions, and dissemination of advice. I found this group, called “Men In Transition”, a terrific blessing and encouragement. Spending time with a group of people in the same unemployed circumstance taught me that there were mutual struggles in all our lives.
Another group I attended was on Fridays at lunchtime. We met at the Chattanooga downtown YMCA. This group of mostly businessmen spent its time in general study and discussion. One day, an announcement was made that a man who had written a book about personal finance was coming to town. At this point, I made an off-handed remark that it was too bad there wasn’t a book called “What the Bible Says About Personal Unemployment.” A number of guys agreed with me and laughingly suggested that I write it. I laughed along with the joke.
When I got home that day, I began to think through the idea of writing a book on being unemployed. I couldn’t write about getting a job because, obviously, I didn’t know how to get a job. So, I thought about my friends in the Monday meeting and their need for spiritual encouragement while they were struggling with being without work. I decided that if I was going to write it would be about actually being unemployed.
I wrote out a rough table of contents and introductory thoughts. I prayed for what I thought would be a huge undertaking. When Monday came I asked the Monday group what they thought of my writing a book and received almost unanimous support. So I began. To my amazement, the writing just poured out. I researched a chapter for a day then wrote for about 4 hours the next day. When Bev came home from work she was greeted with the latest chapter for her to proofread and react to. In 5 weeks I had a manuscript, and the editing began.
The Old Reality
I was encouraged by the fact that I found someone who wanted to be my literary agent. She gave me the necessary steps to professionally preparing a manuscript, present it to publishers, and we found Eloquent Publishing. The book was published and widely distributed. Now after almost 4 years that first book has gone out of print. With a few old, dusty copies kicking around here and there. Who knows maybe I’ll do a 2nd edition someday.
The New Reality
BUT my writing continues. I am so encouraged to share with so many people the thoughts and lessons God has given me over the years. This blog is a wonderful place to express myself AND have the reader respond directly. That’s the fantastic thing about the comments section at the end of each blog post. You the reader can share your thoughts as I share mine. What a wonder!
Please enjoy these posts as the story continues……………… and always remember to, think about it…