It was the summer of ’88 and I bought my first laptop computer and then loaded a great Bible program (Swordsearcher.com) on it. I was about to embark on a great adventure… writing my first book.
Getting started can be the hardest part, so after doing all the research needed for the book, we rented a vacation trailer near a lake in Oklahoma. No phone. No distractions. 100% focus. There’s nothing like a set apart environment to focus on a project.
You don’t have to leave town to get that kind of focus, although I one time went to the Cayman Islands to write a book, but having a set apart place or time helps immensely. I still often go to a nature reserve nearby and capture the inspirations God is giving me. Other times, it’s just in a room with the door shut and my phone in another room and my email program closed.
The concept for The Bible Incorporated was simple… Instead of writing a business book with opinions, I chose to compile the Word of God conversationally on 101 work and business topics. No fluff. No interpretation. Just the pure Word of God.
I printed out thousands of Bible verses arranged topically and then spread the pages out on a kitchen table, reading them over and over again until it became clear how they fit together.
Then I got my pen and hand wrote every chapter, tying the verses together in a remarkably flowing pattern. So for example, look at how these verses flow together taken from chapter 26 (The Key of Stress Management)…
Cast all your burdens1 and cares2 upon the Lord, for He cares for you, and He will sustain you. Yes, Call upon the Lord in your day of distress, and He will hear you,3 answer you,4 redeem your soul,5 set you in a large place4 and bring you out of all your distresses.6
God is our strength, a very present help in trouble.22 Call upon Him in the day of trouble, and He will come to your defense, be your refuge,23 hide you in His pavilion,24 set you upon a rock,24 calm the storm and bring you to your desired haven.25 During troubled times, He will be with you and honor you,26 for His thoughts for you are precious, and great is the sum of them.27 Remember that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose,28 and He will perfect that which concerns you.29
It was a lot of work. I went through several BIC pens, draining their ink as I wrote furiously 10 to 12 hours a day. All the while, not knowing if this idea that I believed God gave me, would be well received in the marketplace.
Upon completing the hand written version of the book, I then had to have it typed with footnotes and references for each of the 101 chapters. While getting that done by a typesetter (this was 1988, remember), I turned my thoughts to packaging and marketing. At the time, Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power was probably the most watched Christian television program and it was carried on the secular networks.
I had an “in” with that ministry so decided to ask Robert Schuller to write the forward to the book and I would put his name on the front cover. I figured that would help ensure its success. But the Lord had other ideas. He told me that He was going to help this book succeed and if I had Schuller’s name on the cover, I would credit its success to the Schuller name and ministry.
The Lord made it clear that was not the path I was to go down. To this day, no one’s name is on the cover and it has become one of the best selling Christian business books of all time.
So you can see how I went from concept to prototype with a manuscript and mockup of what the finished book would look like. But how did it get launched and become so successful? That story is so amazing, but this blog is getting too long, so I will continue in the next one.
In the meantime, may I strongly suggest that if you haven’t already, GO HERE TO MY WEBSITE and order your copy now at special Christmastime discounts! It also comes in an audio version, narrated by Tennessee Ernie Ford’s son, Buck Ford and musically interpreted by acclaimed worship leader, Ray Hughes.
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I am following your process of discovery to get over the ‘ stuck feeling in my business/ life. Thank you
You are quite welcome Sheila… Keep pursuing Him.