I am putting the finishing touches on a new manuscript. Here is the Dedication and Introduction:

Title: Do You Have An Exit Strategy?

DEDICATION: To individuals in the final season of his/her life. I wrote these words for you. I hope that as you read my words and the words of others you will realize that when your physical body dies, you still exist. Further, you have the power to choose where you will exist.

                                                            INTRODUCTION

                                    For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.

                                    A time to be born and a time to die. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

No one is going to get out of this life alive. No matter how much we may not want to think about this, it is an undeniable truth. Since death is inevitable, it is wise to plan for it.

            By planning for it I am not talking about preparing a will, designating powers of attorney to make decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so, filling out medical advance directives, leaving enough money for your loved ones to pay your final expenses, and so forth. Though these things are good things and important things, I am talking about having an exit strategy for what will happen to YOU when your body dies.

            When that happens, you are released from your body’s physical bonds into eternity. You have no choice about this. You do, however, have a choice as to where you will spend eternity. Your home for eternity is entirely in your control. It will be determined based on where you’re at with God when you die.

            Now I know that some of you reading these words already disagree with me. You don’t believe in God, you don’t believe there is more to us than our physical bodies, and you don’t believe in an afterlife. If this is you, I urge you to hang in there with me and read this. It is written for you.

            Some of you reading this book do believe in God and do believe in an afterlife, however, you either don’t know where you’re at with God or you don’t understand what I mean by that. If this is you, the first two chapters may not be necessary for you to read (unless you want to, of course). You can pick it up at chapter three. The rest of the chapters will pertain to you and I encourage you to read them carefully and thoughtfully.

            Finally, since I never NOT believed God existed, I find it difficult to communicate with atheists in a way that may open their hearts to believe in him. Therefore, I leaned very heavily on the words and experiences of others in the first two chapters.

            Since I believed in God’s existence long before I had a relationship with him, the remainder of the book consists primarily of my own words, as well as my own experiences and struggles to enter into a relationship with him. I am sharing my story in the hope that my experiences and struggles will resonate with some of you and will encourage you to take the leap of faith to put your life in God’s hands. They are the only hands, in my opinion, that will hold you safely and lovingly in this life and in the life to come. I hope this becomes your exit strategy. 

                       

As I am still impatiently waiting to get a covid vaccine, I am reminded once again of some more words I wrote in When Doing Isn’t Enough. Those words are: “We have all experienced times of waiting in our lives. We might not have liked it or chosen it; however, we have experienced it. We may have tolerated it or hated it or waited in anger or waited in fear or waited in expectancy. We may have decided to put the time to good use like reading a book or working on a laptop while in a waiting room or we may have paced or we may have slept. We may have smoked cigarettes or drank coffee or did any combination of any of these or any other of a multitude of additional coping mechanisms. However we have chosen to wait though, we have waited.”

If you are also having a hard time waiting you might find this book helpful. It discusses the benefits of waiting and the consequences of not waiting, as well as tells the stories of both individuals who waited and individuals who refused to wait.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Doing-Enough-Waiting-Plenty/dp/1625860838/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508523850&sr=8-3&keywords=books+by+mary+detweiler :��B

James Collins is a preacher who writes a newspaper column titled The Point Is… Each column consists of a short story which illustrates a biblical truth. This book is a collection of stories from his column.

Collins has a very versatile writing style. At times he writes with a marvelous tongue in cheek humor that I really like. Example: “I want a motorcycle. My wife wants a new kitchen. We can’t afford both. Well, I am the king of my castle. I am in charge. I am a man. I have my pride. I want a motorcycle… Did I mention that we are getting a new kitchen? Maybe I can get a scooter and some leathers…”

At other times he writes with heartfelt sincerity and transparency. Example: “l preached Patricia’s funeral today. I really don’t know how to process her death. Patricia was my mother, biologically speaking. She was pregnant with me when she was fourteen-years-old, and wisely, made the decision to sign over custody to her mother. So, I was raised by my grandmother…deep down, I was bitter toward Patricia. My grandmother died when I was still a little boy, and for several years, I was shuffled around from one foster home and family member to another. Feeling unwanted and unloved, I blamed Patricia for my heartache…The point is: The Bible teaches we should forgive one another just as Christ forgave us. I have failed to forgive. With tears in my eyes and a heavy heart, I ask the Lord to forgive me, and I ask you to learn from my failures.”  

I was blessed by this book. It touched my heart, it made me laugh, and it made me think. Where Was God? touched me the deeply; A Bad Day At Chick-fil-A made me laugh out loud; and Learn On Someone Else’s Nickel made me think. If you decide to purchase and read this book, I would be very surprised if it did not bless you too.

Some of my favorite excerpts:

My wife, Amanda, would like for me to lose twenty pounds. I would like a new Ferrari Sports Car, but that’s not going to happen either.

We live in a busy, fast paced world. It is easy to let the voice of God get lost in the confusion. It is easy to ignore God. Perhaps God is speaking to you? Will you hear Him? Will you ignore Him? Listen to His voice and follow Him.

Have you heard the three biggest lies that have ever been told? Number one, the check is in the mail. Everybody has told that lie. Number two, I am from the government and I’m here to help you. Whatever you do, don’t believe that one. And number three, I am a Baptist Preacher and I’m here to say a few words…

We don’t have a gun problem – we have a heart problem.

It is difficult to be spiritual on the side of the road when the police have pulled you over.

I have discovered that one of the main reasons to stay married to is to help each other find stuff.

In the Christian race of life, we are not running to win – we have already won. We are just running to finish. Jesus has already finished the race, and He is standing on the other side. The point is: Jesus didn’t fail in what He came to do. He said on the cross, “It is finished.” Since Jesus finished for you, shouldn’t you run for Him? Don’t run for your church, your pastor, or to please people. Run to finish the race for the Lord Jesus Christ. Hit the tape with a blaze of glory. Look to Jesus and finish the race.

I have been in writing mode the last several weeks. I am working on a new manuscript which will be titled Do You Have An Exit Strategy? Here’s the introduction:

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

No one is going to get out of this life alive. No matter how much we may not want to think about this, it is an undeniable truth. Since death is inevitable, it is wise to plan for it.

            By planning for it I am not talking about preparing a will, designating powers of attorney to make decisions for you when you are no longer able to do so, filling out medical advance directives, leaving enough money for your loved ones to pay your final expenses, and so forth. Though these things are good things and important things, I am talking about having an exit strategy for what will happen to YOU when your body dies.

            When that happens, you are released from your body’s physical bonds into eternity. You have no choice about this. You do, however, have a choice as to where you will spend eternity. Your home for eternity is entirely in your control. It will be determined based on where you’re at with God when you die.

            Now I know that some of you reading these words already disagree with me. You don’t believe in God, you don’t believe there is more to us than our physical bodies, and you don’t believe in an afterlife. If this is you, I urge you to hang in there with me and read this. It is written for you.

            Some of you reading this book do believe in God and do believe in an afterlife, however, you either don’t know where you’re at with God or you don’t understand what I mean by that. If this is you, the first two chapters may not be necessary for you to read (unless you want to, of course). You can pick it up at chapter three. The rest of the chapters will pertain to you and I encourage you to read them carefully and thoughtfully.

            Finally, since I never NOT believed God existed, I find it difficult to communicate with atheists in a way that may open their hearts to believe in him. Therefore, I leaned very heavily on the words and experiences of others in the first two chapters.

            Since I believed in God’s existence long before I had a relationship with him, the remainder of the book consists primarily of my own words, as well as my own experiences and struggles to enter into a relationship with him. I am sharing my own story in the hope that my experiences and struggles will resonate with some of you and will encourage you to take the leap of faith to put your life in God’s hands. They are the only hands, in my opinion, that will hold you safely and lovingly in this life and in the life to come. I hope this becomes your exit strategy. 

       

As I am impatiently waiting to get a covid vaccine so I can begin to live with some semblance of normalcy, I am reminded of words I wrote in When Doing Isn’t Enough. Those words are: “Waiting is not popular in our modern society. Immediate gratification is popular. We want what we want now, and we do everything possible to get whatever it is we want now and avoid waiting. Sometimes, waiting is unavoidable though and we have no choice but to wait.”

If you are also having a hard time waiting you might find this book helpful. It discusses the benefits of waiting and the consequences of not waiting, as well as tells the stories of both individuals who waited and individuals who refused to wait.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/When-Doing-Enough-Waiting-Plenty/dp/1625860838/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1508523850&sr=8-3&keywords=books+by+mary+detweiler

Ten challenges that each of us most likely face at one time or another are discussed in this book. Some of these challenges are anxiety, doubt, rejection, temptation, and comparison. Each discussion includes a description of when the author faced this challenge and how he dealt with it. Descriptions of various biblical figures who struggled with these challenges are also included in each discussion, as well as strategies the reader can employ to deal with the challenge.

I particularly appreciate Jennerich’s transparency throughout the book as he shares how he has struggled with each of the ten challenges at various times in his life. I believe that the more authentic and vulnerable each of us are willing to be, the more divisiveness will slowly morph into unity as we begin to see each other as more alike than different.

Favorite excerpts:

  • We can never be sinless, but we can sin less.
  • Live a life pleasing to the only One who matters, and don’t worry about rejection by the world…If the God of the universe thought we were worth dying for, why should we care if some person rejects us.
  • We are all different. God has a different calling for each one of us. When we start to compare ourselves with others, the results are often disastrous.

In Jesus Says Dr. Miller focuses on 18 scripture passages which quote the words of Jesus. He then discusses Jesus’s words in the context of the culture of the time, who he was speaking to, and why he might have chosen those particular words. Some of the passages he discusses are: The Kingdom of God is at Hand (Mark 1:14-15); If Your Eye Offends You (Matthew 5: 29-30); Take My Yoke Upon You (Matthew 11: 28-30); and The First Shall Be Last (Matthew 19: 28-30).

I found some of the discussions to be enlightening and eye-opening. Others lined up with my own thinking.

I particularly liked his discussion of Who Is My Neighbor (Luke 10: 25-37). In that discussion he stated “When the lawyer asked who his neighbor was, the question was posed against the backdrop of the narrow Jewish definition of neighbor: a neighbor was a fellow Jew…at the end of the parable, Jesus made a change so subtle that the casual reader would not notice it, yet so profound that we can scarcely grasp it. Jesus carefully constructed his illustration such that it could not be ascertained whether the wounded man was a Jew or not…Under the standard interpretation of ‘love thy neighbor,’ the hurt man was the neighbor that the Samaritan ‘loved.’ Jesus didn’t see it that way. The Samaritan was the neighbor…Jesus said you create neighbors by becoming a neighbor…Little by little our ‘neighborhood’ becomes populated as we live compassionate lives.”

In reading or hearing the account of the events surrounding Jesus’s birth you have ever wondered exactly who the wise men were or where they came from, this book is for you. Dean Miller wondered that and set out to “…solve the riddle of the wise men.”

His book takes the reader step by step through his process of determining the identity of the wise men and pinpointing where they came from. He presents his research and the conclusions he drew from that research in a thorough and detailed manner. Further, he does a brilliant job of recounting the history of the Jewish people, the birth of Jesus, and the journey of the wise men within the broader context of the various cultures and occurrences of the time. Due to this, I can see this book appealing to ancient history buffs regardless of any interest in the nativity story.

My only criticism of the book is that, for me, it was a little too detailed. In many places I would have preferred less detail and more headlines.

Favorite excerpt: Each of the three foreigners–these wise men/kings–presents his gift: one, gold, the second, frankincense, and the third, myrrh. Each of these presents has some theological meaning, gold signifying the kingship of Jesus, frankincense, his deity, and myrrh, his death.

As we are moving into the new year (fervently hoping it’s better than the old year), I invite you to check out my amazon author page.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B08KMYRZ72?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

As I’m de-Christmasing the house to get back to life such as it is right now, I’m stopping to share the following thoughts. I share them as a reminder to myself and hopefully as an inspiration for you.

Christmas does not have to be limited to once a year. The spirit of Christmas can permeate every day of the year. During the Christmas shopping season, I continually hear “this is the season of giving”. Each time I hear that phrase the thought runs through my mind: “why does giving have to be limited to a season? Why can’t giving be a lifestyle?”

IMPORTANT NOTE: Giving does not have to involve money.

We can’t out give God. He loves us with a perfect love and gives to us out of that love. Our love is tainted by an imperfect human nature. Nevertheless, we can allow God’s love to flow through us when we choose to love/give regardless of how we feel.

Real love is a verb. It is a choice. It is not a feeling. It is an action. When we choose to do something for someone else regardless of the cost to self, we bring light and hope to a dark world. When we do that Christmas can last 365 days a year.

Go Light Your World, Chris Rice – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsM5lt9tCFo ��sM