Nearing the Finish Line

coffee.jpegMike, the pastor of the Redding City Vineyard Church, and proprietor of Yaks Coffee Shop gave me a pound of their new coffee blend yesterday. They roast their own beans now, and he gave me a “beta version” to test.

Delicious.  The only other better coffee in town, I think, is our own Neighborhood Church blend.  Dark, smooth, comforting.  I can think of no better way to start my Wednesday than by drinking coffee, having devotions and blogging.

And almost finishing my Inner Mess book. Amazing. Yesterday was a milestone: I printed out all 230 pages and stuck them in a notebook. It’s so cool to see it, heft it, feel it, and read it on paper. My kids asked, “Daddy, is that your book?” I said yes and explained some of the process. My son asked, “Is one of your jobs an awfor?”

So now it’s time for another round or two of proofreading. Its amasing hou misteaks creap inn an hou yoor mine trix yoo intoo misssing then.

worldmap.jpegOn paper I catch a different set of typos than on the computer screen. Which leads to some thank yous: to everybody who’s commented, helped, proofread, prayed, encouraged, and invested in me and this book. I pray that God uses it mightily to communicate his grace for people who struggle with a highly active flesh. The book is slated to be published in: US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and most other English-speaking places. It blows my mind. It’s scheduled to come out in March 2009.

To me (and to Margi), it’s been really cool to consider God’s providence in the whole thing. We would have never predicted that God would have to lead us out of Chicago–a megacity and home to many Christian publishing houses–to a tiny city in order to open the door to writing. God’s ways are higher than our ways.

printing-press.jpegAnd how surprised we have been to meet the number of published authors in our region and even in our church. I’ve been leaning on them–especially on Dave Meurer, whose coaching has been invaluable. And to discover that the premier Christian Writer’s conference in America is only a 3 hour drive from here. (Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference). One author in my church (Dave) dragged me there. Another author in my church (Ken) encouraged me to go–and he turned out to have been a Mt Hermon “Author of the Year” some time ago.

While there, I met my extraordinary agent (Janet Grant), and got a great emotional boost from an acquisitions editor who expressed interest in publishing my book, only later to reject it as “too fussily theological.” Ouch. I understand though–the book proposal (not the book) could have been taken that way. Another publishertyperwriter.jpeg (Chicago-based, conservative) thought the tone was a little too flippant.” Who me? But their rejections opened the door for a different publisher with a worldwide-distribution, which was a completely unexpected blessing. See how Providence works?

What is providence, you ask?

“Divine providence is that work of God by which he preserves all his creatures, is active in all that transpires in the world, and directs all things to their appointed end.” (Louis Berkhof, Read more here at p. 111.)

And now I’m in the right place at the right time with the right people to actually have a book published–and I could have never orchestrated any of it.

God shepherds my life. In both micro- and macro-details. He has not abandoned me; nor does he dip into and out of my life (deism). He does not control me or merge with me (pantheism). Rather, he works in and through and in spite of me to bring about his desired ends. And when I’m not being an idiot, when I’m not in my Inner Mess, what he desires, I find desirable too. My life is not a series of accidents. It is far more than the sum of my choices. It is part of the outworking of the plan of God. And for that, I am thankful. Eighty-seven percent of the time. The other thirteen percent, I’m just an imbecile.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Ro 8:28. NASB

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What’s next?

After the Inner Mess project goes to the publisher, I’ll focus on Living Large with Other People’s Craziness. The book proposal is already in my agent’s hands, and she’ll start pitching it. This one is based on Esther, and I’m excited about it. Now it becomes “wait and see” if anybody wants to run with that one (only 3 chapters are done).

Then, while she’s pitching that one, I’ll be working on The Nine Secrets of a Highly Contented Life. This one’s based on Joseph. (I’ll just write 3 chapters as part of a proposal.)

Meanwhile, I’m supposed to write as many magazine articles as I can… which shouldn’t be too hard, since I can excerpt them from the Inner Mess book… so that I can get the word out.

I usually write early morning (before heading off to work and bringing the kids to school)… and at night after they go to bed. And often during lunches… but I enjoy the creative process.

So, please pray. Again, the object is to preach Christ, proclaim grace, uplift God’s people, and draw lost people to the Savior.

In case you can’t tell, I’m excited. Stoked. And grateful to have this chance to fulfill a lifelong ambition. Thanks, God

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PS: If you haven’t read the Love Monkey article, here’s the link.

PPS: We’ll be in Chicago this summer… hope to see a lot of you guys then. Can’t wait. Gyros anbody? Lou Malnati’s?

PPPS:  Yes, I know, WISEGUYS! is overdue.  So sorry.  I’ll get to one ASAP.  Sign up for the newsletter (click the mobster at the top right corner) to get the free theological newsletter and to get updates when the book is out.

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4 thoughts on “Nearing the Finish Line

  1. Bill,

    Cuban Poet and Journalist, Jose Marti (1853-1895), named the things that every man ought to do before he dies. He named these three important tasks as: Plant a tree, have a son, and write a book.

    I think you’ve now done all three. (smile)

    Grace.
    Joe

  2. A little envious… I forget which “inner mess” character that might be. Really, though, I’m duly impressed with your writing production. CS

  3. Being technologically challenged, I finally logged on to the church website, and was blown away by what is here. I guess I will have to repeat the experience. I enjoyed Margi’s Proverbs 31 article. She looks like a Proverbs 31 gal to me, and should add conference speaker to her list. Congratulations on your book, Bill. Offensive as sitting in front of a box hours at a time is to me, more of my time will be spent in front of ncredding.com in the future.

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