After 30 or so years as a professor, I have had the high privilege of meeting, knowing, and, in some cases, befriending well over 2,000 missionaries. Many of them are former students whom I have had; several I meet at such things as the Shepherds’ Conference every March at Grace Community Church. Many of these men and women are frontline warriors in strategic places. Some, because of the extremely sensitive and — in many cases — dangerous nature of their ministries, asked not to be named. The man whom I am about to tell you a bit about is such a man, so I’ll henceforth refer to him as “My Missionary Friend.”
By default, the longer I teach, I am more and more becoming “the older guy” at The Master’s Seminary and elsewhere. I am pushing 60; My Missionary Friend is about eight years older, so he is my older — and in so many ways — much wiser Brother. If you were to meet My Missionary Friend, you’d know very quickly that he deeply loves God and God’s Word and that he walks very closely with the Lord. He is a very bold and powerful witness with an incredibly fruitful ministry and is a choice vessel fit for service to his Master. God will reveal to what amazing depths this goes at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Because our schedules differ so much, I only get to see My Missionary Friend about two to three times a year. One time as we were finishing one of our meetings, since I knew My Missionary Friend was an avid reader (who has read thousands of books over his lifetime), I asked him if he had time to read The Stone and the Glory. He agreed to do so, and we went our separate ways.
After a few months passed, the time was approaching for one of our meetings. I figured it was safe to ask him about how the reading of The Stone and the Glory was going for him — plus, I was extremely interested in receiving his input about this.
He emailed me back, told me he was about three-fourths done with the book, and wrote, “Greg, this book is superb! I can’t wait to hear from you. How did God ever prevail upon you to write this book?” I told him I’d tell him about it at our next meeting.
So, towards the beginning of 2015, we were able to share a meal together. He had told me beforehand through emails that he had finished reading the book. Since I knew he had already affirmed in his emails about The Stone and the Glory, I pretty much expected a good report from him.
My Missionary Friend sat down at our table and said right away, “Greg, The Stone and the Glory is among the top five books I’ve read in all my life” (I did not expect that).
He asked a little bit about the process of writing the book. I told him I wrote The Stone and the Glory for the church to be edified, but especially, for those who would be saved in the Tribulation. Not that God had to use this or anything else from me, but I had prayed for almost 20 years that God would bring this to the ones He would have read this in the Tribulation: any of the 144,000 or Jewish remnant who would be saved; any of the martyrs of Revelation 6, any of the multitudes of Gentiles in Revelation 7. These were the people for whom I wrote the book.
My Missionary Friend told me, “Greg, would you consider doing something? If you were to remove all the Christian elements from the first two chapters and rewrite them where you removed the material from, this would be a perfect book to give to unsaved Jewish people. This is a long, beautiful, biblical tract to lead them to their Messiah. I have so many Jewish friends and acquaintances that I would love to hand that book to.”
It is one thing to agree to rewrite two chapters; it is quite another thing to have them not only accomplish the task at hand, but have them inserted seamlessly so that no one would know that these were entirely different chapters added on to the original work. I didn’t want them to be two separate chapters that awkwardly jutted out and opposed the rest of the book.
Do you have any idea how hard that is to do?
So, here was my process, as usual:
- Seek God’s answer to what He wants written.
- And then, write.
(To be continued 🙂 )