Jon and I were interviewed by Mark Taylor, the Senior Publisher of the Christian Standard. Mark’s questions were all about our new book Finding Your Way Back To God. He asked about the 5 Awakenings, 30-day wager and the power behind the prayer of “God if you are real, make yourself real to me.” There is a print edition and also a 30-minute podcast of the interview.
Three different times in the last couple days I felt my heart begin to race with excitement!
The first was a conversation via text with a pastor friend who told me that a young couple in his community had been given a copy of Finding Your Way Back To God and they were in church for the very first time on Easter. He was texting to thank me and tell me that as he looked out into the audience on Easter morning he could see them sitting there with tears in their eyes. That young couple is finding their way back to God.
The second conversation was through Facebook with a buddy of mine who had given away a copy of Finding Your Way Back To God to a friend. After reading only one chapter his friend called and said, “This book is all about me! Can I go to church with you on Sunday?” Then my buddy told me, “Dave, thanks for writing this book; this is the second friend this month who read your book and asked if they could go to go to church with me!”
And thirdly, I got an adrenaline rush while reading Mark Howell’s review of Finding Your Way Back To God! Why? After reading the book Mark wrote this in his review, “One of my favorite things about Finding Your Way Back to God is its built-in potential to be used as an “I’ll read it with you” resource. If you have a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker or a family member that you’ve been hoping and looking for ways to help them take a step toward God, this is a book you need to know about.” YES!!!
I was telling my wife, Sue about this last night and she said, “It’s starting to happen, isn’t it?” Yes it is. This book is helping people find their way back to God! That is exactly why Jon and I wrote this book.
I am constantly hearing amazing stories of people finding their way back to God. Here is Derek’s remarkable journey in his words…
“My faith in God was absolutely destroyed at 10 years of age when my father died unexpectedly in an accident. I remember being in the room holding his fingers when I heard the noise of the monitor go to a flat tone and we were rushed out of the room. I hated God for that! I hated God for taking away my father and I struggled for a long time growing up without a dad.
Even after losing my father and walking away from God I would still pray at night. I mainly prayed for my Mom and sister asking God for help when times got bad. I refused to ever thank God. Prayer was just a way to avoid pain for myself and others.
It was a long journey, but I finally “forgave” God when I was 27. I forgave God, but our relationship was not reconciled.
It was six years ago that I began an amazing journey with my wife and son of finding our way back to God. Along the way, the people in my small group have shaped my life in so many positive ways. I was also given with the opportunity to go on a trip to Haiti to work with impoverished children. As a result of that trip we have begun sponsoring two children from Haiti and are grateful for the opportunity to remove some pain from those children’s lives.
I recently choose to be baptized with my wife and son and marked my journey back to God. The journey has been an am amazing full circle experience. The beauty is that my son is now 10 years old and is accepting God as his Holy Father – the exact same age when I walked away, he is saying yes to Jesus!
I know there will still be struggles ahead. But this is for certain: I know without a shadow of a doubt that God will be next to me every moment of each good day and bad day – just like he has been every day since my Father died.”
We are a family of prodigals, each finding our way back to God. And we can learn a lot from one another. Share your story using the link at the bottom of the page for me to share with others in a future post.
If you are wanting to find your way back to God or you want to help a friend find their way back – join us on this journey and get your copy of Find Your Way Back To God.
The publication date of the book was set for February 24th, 2015 – and that meant there was much to do in the delivery phase of this new book. I had intentionally chosen to wait several years to write this “Finding Your Way Back To God” until I felt like the book could get the kind of marketing horsepower behind it that an important topic like this deserved. When we got the news from the mother company, Random House in New York that they were excited about the project and would get behind it and support our publisher WaterBrook Multnomah we agreed it was time to write the book.
Jon and I both created new websites to create a platform for marketing this new book. Jimi Allen and Chris Rudd of Bureau Gravity led the way in this creative effort. In addition, they created this landing page that you see to your left. The landing page would serve as the first stop for anything someone wanted to know about the “Finding Your Way Back To God” book. It included links to free samples, endorsements, free church resources and more!
While we were working on websites our publisher was creating an “advance reader copy” (ARC) of the book for us to distribute to influencers and potential endorsers. For about five months whenever I spoke to a group of church leaders the ARC of “Finding Your Way Back To God” would accompany me as a handout. Here is my buddy, Ed Stetzer, who you see holding an ARC of “Finding Your Way Back To God” was kind enough to invite me to Church Planting Leadership Fellowship. This is a gathering of the most influential church planting leaders in the country. I got to talk about movement-making and tell the Community Christian Church and NewThing story. At the end of my talk Ed gave a plug for our new book designed to help people find their way back to God – which he explained as the motivation behind all that we do!
Another one of the groups that received our free ARC of “Finding Your Way Back To God” were leaders of our NewThing tribe. Here are Rob Wegner and Brian Phipps poking some fun at us by pretending like it was a shocking “tell all” book. I kept telling our team, “it doesn’t matter if you write a book if nobody reads it.” So, with that in mind, Jon, myself and WaterBrook Multnomah did all we could to prepare for the delivery of this new book.
You may recognize the two guys on the outside (Jon-left, me-right) but the guy in the middle was a huge help and influence in the conception of Finding Your Way Back To God. David Kopp was our friend, mentor and editor through this process. Starting about seven years ago, David would call me once or twice a year and ask, “Are you ready to write Finding Your Way Back To God?” After one false start five years ago we agreed to do start the process in 2013. This picture is of Jon, David and myself in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago after Kopp flew in to spend a couple days with us to get this book started in the right direction.
We interviewed about twenty-five people who described their journey as “finding their way back to God” so we could hear their story and see if we could find a pattern. We finally settled on the “5 Awakenings” as the path for someone to find their way back to God. But early on we struggled with how many awakenings and what words we should use to describe them. This is one of the early back-of-a-napkin drawings that included six awakenings and wording that is quite different than the final product.
Some good friends of our parents loaned us their condo near the lakefront in Chicago for a week so we could get a lot of writing done. It worked! Jon and I hunkered down and worked five eighteen hour days, and made a lot of progress. This is one of about ten giant post-it sheets covered with little post-its outlining the book. This post-it shows the first three chapters of the book. If you look close and have read the book, you can see that some of our ideas made the final edit and others did not. This kind of brainstorming lots of ideas made sure that we also got the best ideas. I would use this process again.
It was after that week in the Chicago condo that Jon and I had a yellow notebook of more than 60,000 words titled “Finding Your Way Back To God.” This version of the book also had twenty-two chapters. We thought we were done. Wrong! After a few more edits to make this book as readable as possible we eliminated about 15,ooo words and seven chapters. It was tough saying good-bye to all those word, stories and idea, but the book was better off for it!
While Finding Your Way Back To God will be published and available on February 24th, we are already getting some amazing feedback from individuals who have read the book. Jon had an advance copy of the book that he got from the publisher and felt led to give to a friend. Here is her note to Jon after only reading the first three chapters of our new book:
“Thank you again for the book. I’ve started reading and already had an “aha” moment. I realize that the destructive cycle I’m currently in is really just me being lost. On page 28 when you say “If you have the feeling that you are chasing something that will never fully satisfy, pay attention to that feeling. It’s from God”, that really resonates with me.
I can relate to Jake. Though alcohol and drugs are not my vices, food can be. Especially since my divorce I have neglected my health and wellness. I’ve been struggling with binge eating to squash my feelings of loneliness. (Wow can’t believe I’m writing this/spilling my beans). But I realize that I’m filling my void with the wrong thing. I know that doing so will never fully satisfy me, yet I keep doing it.
I know my divorce has been Gods way of getting my attention, but now as I seek happiness in this new chapter I realize that I won’t find it if I don’t give God control. I walk around all day with a smile on my face and pep in my step, but the truth is that is the opposite of how I feel on the inside. But I’m ready for this journey. I’m ready for God to awaken me. I know He is what is missing in my life.
Thank you again. Only on page 30 and my mind is blown!”
This is exactly the reaction that we hoped for when we wrote Finding Your Way Back To God. This is a book that will help you find God and stay close to God. We all need that!
Yesterday we gave all our leaders at COMMUNITY the 60-page booklet, Can I Find My Way Back To God? This booklet is one of a many ancillary products that our publisher created to go along with our soon-to-be-released book, Finding Your Way Back God. This booklet is designed to give a friend, neighbor, classmate, co-worker or a newcomer to church a quick introduction to the journey back to God.
The publisher had given me several copies for free, so I posted on Facebook that anyone who wanted our booklet should just ask me for it. Adam Watts, who serves on our First Impressions team at COMMUNITY and is an all around good guy was one of the people that got a free copy of our booklet. Why? Cause Adam asked for it!
Look what came in the mail at my home?!? It was very kind of Carrie Freimuth, Vice President of Publishing at WaterBrook Multnomah to send me a personal copy of Finding Your Way Back To God with a the nice note. It has been a genuine pleasure to work with the good people at this publishing group. And I hope her encouragement, “May your message reach multitudes” comes true! That is my earnest prayer. After all, there is no more important message, than helping people find their way back to God.
With the upcoming publication (2.24) of Jon and my new book, Finding Your Way Back To God, the publishers have been encouraging us to do some marketing. Go figure!?! Since I don’t really like selling stuff, how about if I give something away for FREE? One of the really cool ancillary products that we have created is a 60-page booklet, Can I Find My Way Back To God? It is designed to give to a friend, neighbor, co-worker or a first time attender at church. Just for fun (and since I don’t really like selling stuff!) I will give away a FREE copy of Can I Find My Way Back To God to the first three people that ask me for it in person. I will be traveling over the next few days, but if you just come up to me and ask for it, it will be yours for FREE. Deal?
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