I clicked SEND!

This is an announcement. And it is one excuse I have for not writing blog posts for the past year or so.

Tuesday evening I wrote an email, attached several documents, and clicked SEND. That email represents a big milestone in my life. Here’s why.

Old Typewriter

Several years ago while I was pastoring, a church member encouraged me to develop one of my sermon series into a book. The idea was very appealing. My administrative assistant transcribed the audio of some of the sermons so I could edit them for publication. I heard that’s how John MacArthur did it, so surely it couldn’t be too hard.

That process didn’t work for me. When I read over my sermons, I realized the way I speak would not read well in a book. I marked up pages and pages of text, drawing circles and arrows and rewording sentences. I finally decided the best way for me to turn sermons into books was to use the research and ideas, but start from scratch and word it for reading rather than listening. And of course that takes a lot of time and effort. I started and stopped a few times, then finally gave up trying.

Since then, I have turned some sermons into articles that have been published here and elsewhere. But the idea of a book has stayed on my mind. I just didn’t have the motivation or blocks of time to make it happen.

A little over two years ago as I considered what was next for me after pastoring, I wished and prayed for a role that would allow me time for writing. God in His wisdom and goodness placed me in a teaching job. And teachers get summers off.

During the summer of 2017 I started writing the manuscript for a book. Preaching trips, vacation, and home projects filled those summer months as well, so I couldn’t devote the whole time to writing, but I got off to a good start. I worked on it here and there through the next school year. Then last summer I devoted significant time to pushing it toward completion.

Writing does not flow easily for me. There are occasions when my fingers can hardly keep up with my thoughts. But most of the time it is laborious and I agonize over each sentence. I’m a plodder by nature, so I just keep at it.

A week ago, I texted my wife, “I’m about to jump out of my chair!” I could physically feel the excitement as completion was in sight. Reading over the manuscript later, I realized I had left out an important section. So I had to go back and fill that in.

Tuesday night I completed and collected all the necessary elements:

Cover letter: Check!

Manuscript overview: Check!

Table of contents: Check!

Biographical information: Check!

Manuscript: CHECK!

Earlier in the process, I had sent a proposal to a publisher and was invited to submit the entire manuscript when complete. I entered my contact’s email address, wrote a note, attached the documents, and clicked SEND!

Now a new process begins – waiting while the publisher evaluates the manuscript and, if approved, going through the steps of preparing it for publication. It’s a new adventure and I’m loving it. And I will be thrilled if the fruit of my labor helps others.

One of these days I’ll tell you what I wrote about :).

 

 

My Blank Page

mikol-notebook-6-600x505What do you do when you’re 53 years old and not sure how to spend the rest of your life? That was my status at the beginning of 2016.

Last week, I heard Dr. Vernon Rosenau speak. As he encouraged college students to fully yield their future to God’s leading and plan, he illustrated his point using a blank piece of paper with his signature at the bottom. We naturally make our own plans, then ask God to sign His approval of what we’ve already determined to do. Yielding our lives to Him means we sign the bottom of the blank page, hand it to Him, and then He fills in His plan.

As I heard the illustration I realized that is what I did last March. Although I enjoyed a secure and rewarding local church pastorate, I knew God was leading me out of that role. But I had no idea what would be next. The night before I made my decision public I told my wife, “I feel like I’m about to jump off of a cliff.”

By God’s grace and in response to His work in my life, I reached a place of being fully yielded to Him. It was as if I were signing a blank piece of paper and handing it to God to fill in.

Now it’s one thing to do that when  you’re a college student about to embark on your life’s journey. It’s a little different when you’re already pretty far down that road. I had fears, and yet I trusted my Heavenly Father.

I had no idea of the opportunity about to open up to me. Soon after my decision, I was offered the teaching position I am in now. I am using everything I have learned in 26 years of pastoring to equip men and women to serve in ministry around the world.

I handed God the blank page. He filled it in with His perfect plan. I’m now on the next stage of the journey, the grand adventure of living a life yielded to Him. The blank page is a great way to plan the rest of your life.