Friday, September 21, 2012

Reactions to the Call

                                   

Often a tragic event leads a person in a direction and ministry that given a choice, they’d decline the call to ministry. Two examples are: Candy Lightner who founded MADD in 1980 after her daughter, Cari, was killed by a repeat drunk driving offender and John Walsh who started America’s Most Wanted, after his son Adam Walsh was murdered.

 For me, three of the most interesting calls to service are found in the bible. First there’s Moses. He received a call to go Egypt to tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Moses immediate response was to make excuses why he couldn't do what God was asking of him.. He expressed concern the people wouldn’t believe him or listen to his message. After Moses witnessed God perform two miracles, he was not impressed. He said he was not eloquent, and that he was slow in speech. He concluded he was the wrong man for the job, then he asked God to send someone else.

Second, was Jonah, who received a call to go to Nineveh to warn them of God’s judgement. Jonah didn’t want anything to do with Nineveh. He decided he’d refuse the call. He hopped aboard a ship to Tarshish, which was in the opposite direction of where God wanted him to be.

Third was Gideon, whose call came from an angel of the Lord. His first response was to call himself the runt of liter and disqualify himself from the task of saving Israel from the hand of their enemies the Medianites. Though he was speaking to angel of the Lord, he asked for not one, but two signs before he'd have enough faith  respond to his call to service, which was to defeat the Medianites in battle.
Each of these great men of faith received a call from the Lord and initially rejected the call to service.

I discovered there’s a little of Moses, Jonah, and Gideon in me. When I experienced the call to write a book I was horrified. The Jonah in me flat out responded by saying “I’m not writing a book” I’ll write a diary instead. The Moses in me gave many excuses ranging from my lack of time, skills and talent to complete the task. When I discovered the average self published book sells between 100-150 people, which consisted mostly friends and family, the Gideon in me asked for a sign. I wanted my on line diary to have some measure of success before I began writing a book.

Ironically, as that began to happen, I kept moving the line forward. Once my the diary had a few hundred hits, I began writing, the book. However, as I looked at the book as a business investment I realized a few hundred books wouldn’t cover the cost of publication. So I moved the target to 1,000 hits before I’d seriously begin writing again.  After the diary had a thousand hits, I moved it to 2,000, then 5,000 hits. When the diary received 5,000 hits I wasn’t happy, but I resumed work on the book. When my diary reached 10,000 hits I stopped making excuses. After 15,000 hits I began experiencing excitement. After my diary reached 20,000 hits I decided (Mark 10:27)… for with God all things are possible.

In order to bring this book to the market place, a few things had to happen:
1. I needed to take time to live out and experience many of the challenges of post surgery life. It was necessary for me to make many mistakes and unhealthy choices. I'd need to find my way back to health, so  I could write about those topics with the voice of experience.
2. I had to earn enough money to invest a minimum of $5,000 for professional editing
3. I needed my wife to write about her experiences, so a woman’s perspective would be included
4. I had to find Christian publishing company to edit and produce the book
5. I had to accept the fact I make so many errors,  that paying for professional editing was a necessary cost I
     could not avoid.
6. I had to change my definition of success. My model was a business model. With that model in place, the
    book would be a success if  I made a good return on the investment. From God’s perspective the book
    would be a success if I was  faithful with the project. This meant if the book didn't sell a single copy, but I
    was faithful with the project, then from a heavenly perspective, the project was a success. The return on
    investment was not a Godly criterion for success.
7. I needed to learn prayer would play a vital role in this project from beginning to the end.
8. It is necessary to conquer my fears. There is no doubt in my mind that after publication, my book will
    provide opportunities to speak to large groups of people. The Moses, Jonah and Gideon in me are
    unanimous in their objection to this call.
9. Like Moses, Jonah, and Gideon, after expressing doubts, objections and fears, it’s necessary to accept
    the call, accept the challenges, and do exactly what God wants me to do.

At this point in time, the book is in the hands of the editorial staff of Westbow Press. In a few months, I Left My Prostate In San Francisco-Where’s Yours? will be published.  Then the next phase of the journey will begin.