Todd Rhoades Interviews Jon & Me About Our Hopes For “Finding Your Way Back To God” Book.

Todd Rhoades of Leadership Network spent a few minutes interviewing Jon and me about our new book ,“Finding Your Way Back To God.” During this engaging conversation we discuss the 5 awakenings, the 30-day wager, how other churches are using the book as a church-wide teaching series and our hopes and dreams for how it could reach thousands and thousands of people. Listen and learn…


That’s Exactly Why We Wrote “Finding Your Way Back To God.”

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 Finding your way back to Godof  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!”

Mark HowellAnd 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.

Read it.

Share it.

And hpftwbtG!


“Finding Your Way Back To God” – Phase II: Delivery

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.

2a. Landing pageJon 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!

2b. Ed StetzerWhile 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!

2c Shock! ARCAnother 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.


“Finding Your Way Back To God” – Phase I: Conception

1a. Jon, Kopp and meWhile “helping people find their way back to God” has long been my personal mission statement and the mission of the church I lead; the writing of the book, “Finding Your Way Back To God” began here.

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.

1b. 6 Awakenings...?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.

1c 1,2,3 post its 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.

1d. manuscript notebookIt 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!



“May Your Message Reach Multitudes!”

FYWBTG book from CarrieLook 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.


A Dangerous Dying Man

Lane HunterNo one has been a greater encouragement to me in the writing of Finding Your Way Back To God than Lane Hunter.  Lane has repeatedly said to me, “Dave, I need you to write this book for my friends” or “Dave, I think this is the kind of book that will help so many people who feel distant or disconnected from God’ or more to the point, “Dave, get that book written!!!” This is a picture of my good friend Lane Hunter who stopped by COMMUNITY’s Yellow Box today. Because of his friendship and persistent encouragement it was privilege to give him one of the very first copies of Finding Your Way Back To God.

Whenever, I see Lane I always think, “There is nothing more dangerous than a dying man.”  Lane is dying. Lane is dangerous.  Dangerous in a good way. At the very end of the book, Jon and I have a section titled, “Deathbed Messenger” where we tell Lane’s story.  Here it is…

“Eight years ago I sat in Lane’s living room, where hospice workers had placed a bed to make him comfortable for his last days on this earth. He asked me to come over because it was time to plan his funeral. As he told me what he wanted to have said, sung, and celebrated at his memorial, I couldn’t help but think back to just a few years earlier when Lane found his way back to God.

 Lane was a type-A, driven personality who would start his workday at five a.m. and not finish till late in the evening. His obsessive hard work paid off as his company went from being a $100 million business when he started to being worth more than $9 billion when he stepped down because of a terminal illness. The illness brought this ambitious workaholic to a complete stop. When Lane paused long enough to reflect on his life and success, he realized there was something very important missing.

 As a kid, his parents took him to church and he had a genuine faith in God, but Lane realized that in his unbridled pursuit of success God had gradually become a faint and forgotten memory. That was when we met.

 Lane was sick. The kind of sick that would slowly kill him, but until it did kill him, it would torture his body with constant pain sixteen hours a day. The illness was his wake-up call that something was missing and he needed God. Lane told me, “Dave, the best thing that ever happened to me was getting sick. From the time I got sick, it refocused me. It caused me to find my way back to God and feel so close to God. I would give up everything for what I have now.”

 I still have the notes for Lane’s funeral. They have gone unused. It has been nearly a decade since hospice was called, and Lane hasn’t died yet. But neither has Lane been cured. He is in pain every day of his life and only has energy to go out for a meal and spend a little time online exchanging e-mails. Since finding his way back to God, Lane has also found a new identity. He’s not a workaholic creating his own kingdom. Instead, he is a follower of Jesus, sharing his story and helping others find their way back to God.

 The experience of being brought back from dead to alive, from lost to found will do that you!

 Since planning his funeral, Lane more than anyone has encouraged us to write this book. He is still alive and living one day at a time. I asked him what he would say to you and me. Here it is in his words:

I know that life is but a minute in God’s eternity. So we must take the time we have and make the most of it. Each of us has friends that are aching for peace. Each of us knows people who are dealing with health conditions, loss of jobs, divorces, problems with kids—you name it and someone has it.

 Do not be nervous in your efforts. Pray to God that he will use you as his messenger. Ask God to give you the words to write or say. I know everyone doesn’t have the time I do now, but all of us can take time every day to reach out to one person.

 It is my plan to do this until the day I die. If I can help anyone to take that first step back to God, I will. My life seemed good for years, but I was missing that personal relationship with God. Now I have found it and it is so important. My hope is for everyone I care about, everyone I know to find their way back to God too.”

If you are wanting to find your way back to God or you want to help a friend find their way back – join Lane and I on this journey and get your copy of Find Your Way Back To God.



Catherine’s Story – Finding Your Way Back To God

Finding your way back to GodThis past weekend at COMMUNITY I heard another amazing story of someone finding their way back to God. I’m convinced that God redeems our pain and uses our stories to help other people find their way back to God. One of the purposes of this website is to share stories. Here is Catherine’s story…

I was born and raised in the Catholic church ~ my parents had me baptized when I was an infant; I made my first communion when I was in elementary school; I attended Catholic school for junior high but when it came time for me to be confirmed in high school, I made the first individual decision concerning my spiritual journey and chose not to go forward with my confirmation. I stopped going to church except for attendance on holidays and set my eyes on the ways of the world. I didn’t know Jesus. I knew very little about the Bible and the little that I knew was scary and sad. I believed that God was angry, vengeful and mean. I didn’t love Him and I didn’t believe that He loved me. I believed that when bad things happened to me it was because He was punishing me for being a bad person but I had no idea what I had to do to be a good person in His eyes. I viewed God from a place of guilt and fear rather than from a place of love and grace. Confused, lonely, exhausted and very angry, I gave up on trying to please God. I decided to focus my time and energy on pleasing myself and spent the next two decades locked in battle with a vicious enemy that almost cost my life and I was miserable every step of the way!

During that time, I became addicted to prescription medication. I suffered a near fatal illness. I lost my law license and a law practice that I had build from the ground up. I miscarried twins. I was married and divorced three times. My driver’s license was revoked. I was forced to file bankruptcy a couple of times. I engaged in illegal and immoral activity. I had very few friends and my family relationships were extremely strained. I spent a great deal of energy trying to make everyone think my life was awesome ~ trying to make the outside look perfect while the inside was a cold, dark, desolate disaster. I was incredibly lost. I was completely alone; I hated myself and attempted to take my own life, convinced that nothing could change me, nothing was ever going to be better or different. I was worthless, hopeless, unlovable and beyond repair. I was never going to be able to please God and I was never going to be able to please myself. My life was filled with darkness and despair and I truly believed I would never be able to find my way back to the light.

But God brought that light to me. He strategically began to place incredible, loving, light filled believers directly in my path. Without even realizing what was happening, I literally woke up one glorious day and found myself surrounded by love, grace, unconditional acceptance and His light! God filled my life with believers who were committed to loving me unconditionally until I was able to love myself. These people included my husband, my stepmom and my Dad. It was like they held hands with God and each other as they formed a circle with me in the middle. They created a space that was safe and loving and showed me God. I don’t know any other way to explain it but God is in each one of them and His love, His grace and His light comes from each of them and flows to me. I have been delivered from that desolate, despair and my life has been transformed through God and He did that for me because He believes I have value and He loves me!!

Today, I have friends, I have close family relationships, I have financial security and I have recovery. I have been given a new life and a second chance that I did not deserve. I am committed to using that gift from God to bring that hope and renewal to others who may be in the same place that I came from ~ I am proof that with God…all things are possible!!

On February 24th a new book, Finding Your Way Back To God by Jon Ferguson and myself will be published. This book will include dozens of inspiring stories of people finding their way back to God. If you would like to pre-order a copy of this book for yourself or a friend, you can click HERE.


Glenna’s Story – Finding Your Way Back To God

Finding your way back to GodStories are one of the best ways for helping people find their way back to God. One of the purposes of this website is to share stories. The following story is one of the first of many that will be shared by the community of people who are part of this site. If you would like to also share your story, please use the form at the bottom of the page. Sharing your story will not only help others, but will also help you in your journey back to God. Here is Glenna’s story…

Although, I was raised in a Christian family and my dad was a pastor, I somehow missed the part about God loving me unconditionally. Instead, I understood that it was my job was to live up to a certain standard – obey the do’s and don’t of Scripture and of my parents – and then I would be “ok.” For a number of reasons too lengthy to detail here, I failed miserably at being a “good girl.” As a teenager I decided that I just wasn’t cut out to be a Christian. So from about age 17 to 24, I lived very intentionally, but sadly, far from God. I mainly was trying to find a man who would love me unconditionally, and commit to me for life so that I would feel worthy and finally ok as a person. With my very low self-esteem, you can imagine the men in pain I attracted and hooked up with.

I did make one attempt during that time to come back to God because I knew how messed up my life was. Some family members helped me make what felt like a giant step away from my crazy lifestyle back to Christ. But no one at my church really “got” me, because none of them had been in my shoes. No one knew how to help bring healing to the wounded places in my heart that led to my behavior. Instead, it was still all about “just behave.” But my heart was still longing for love and I wasn’t finding it at church or with my new church family. I continued to fail at living the obedient Christian life. My church actually “disciplined” me and said I could no longer fellowship with them unless I stopped my behavior. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t.

I turned my back on God and the church once again, and moved even deeper into sin and the most destructive relationship and behavior ever. I got pregnant and had an abortion; this injured my soul so much that I started to cry out for God. My relationship began to deteriorate and I discovered that he was cheating on me. I was so devastated that I again began to cry out to God to help me get out of the relationship before I totally destroyed myself. Somehow God’s grace was at work, and I was able to extricate myself from this very unhealthy relationship. Within a month, my ex was engaged to be married to the woman he was cheating with. I was devastated.

I often try to solve my problems with books, so I went to a bookstore and looked for anything about emotional healing. I found a book by Father John Powell called “Unconditional Love” and realized for the first time in my life that God loved me unconditionally. I breathed deeply of that truth and it found a permanent home in me. That unconditional love changed my life forever, and opened up my heart to the next work that God would do. I found another book titled, “Healing of Memories” and “Healing Life’s Hurts”, both by Matthew Lin and Dennis Lin. I read them both and performed inner healing on myself! Mainly it was all about forgiving myself and the many men who had hurt me through God’s love for me.

The people who knew me before and after this, almost didn’t recognize me! Seriously, I was a completely changed person. I went back to the church that had disciplined me and thanked them. They welcomed me back with open arms and even had a party for me! Several people told me they had prayed for me every day of the 15 months I was gone. I stayed in that church for the next 25 years. We raised our children there and became small group leaders and eventually a staff counselor. God is so amazingly great. As the Bible says, “God restored the years the locusts had stolen.” (Joel 2:25) I am so grateful.

On February 24th a new book, Finding Your Way Back To God by Jon Ferguson and myself will be published. This book will include dozens of inspiring stories of people finding their way back to God. If you would like to pre-order a copy of this book for yourself or a friend, you can click HERE.


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