Below is the third and FINAL excerpt I'll be posting from my book, "WHATEVER, GOD": Rediscovering the One I Thought I Knew. Below is the introduction of the book, the very first pages.
For those who still haven't gotten a copy, I hope this whets your appetite. You can learn more about my book - including how to get discounts and freebies on bulk orders - by going to the "WHATEVER, GOD" homepage.
For those who have read it, I hope you'll do me a favor and consider leaving a review online. That's the easiest and simplest way to help get the book in front of more people. The more reviews a book gets, the more Amazon pushes the product, and the more likely the book is to get in front of someone who needs it.
THE POWER OF “WHATEVER”
"Yes, Marianne, whatever," I said to my lovely bride-to-be. "That's how we're going to live our lives. WHATEVER. Whatever God wants—we won't say no. No matter what He asks of us, we will do it. No matter where He takes us or what He asks of us, we'll do WHATEVER. Deal?"
"Deal!" she said as we both realized the magnitude of what had just happened.
Those weren't empty words we were saying. Neither of us took that word, "whatever," lightly. We both knew that we had done something big . . . something hard . . . something that wouldn't always make sense, but we trusted would always be best. We had just consecrated the rest of our lives to God—to go wherever, whenever, and serve however God wants. All that contained in that one little word, "whatever."
That conversation, which took place 17 years ago in the sitting area of a Borders bookstore (Remember those?), ended up being the most important conversation of my life. How could a conversation between two young 24-year-olds, sitting in a bookstore because they were too cheap to go out to a restaurant, end up being so meaningful and life-changing?
That's what happens when you say "whatever" to God.
Please don't get the wrong impression about me from that first story. If you're thinking to yourself, "Here comes another Christian book written by some preacher who’s going to throw a whole bunch of 'Christianese' at me, and tell me to just 'surrender my life,' or 'put my trust in Jesus,' or that I need to just 'crucify my flesh' so that I can 'die to the self,' and be 'led by the Spirit,' and 'just kiss dating goodbye.'"
If that's what you think this is going to be . . . YOU ARE WRONG! You can kiss those crazy ideas goodbye!
I'm not that guy. I've never been that guy. In fact, I don't even think I like that guy. It's just not me. I'm not the "in your face Christian guy," or the "think everyone should live in a Christian bubble" guy, or the "act like you got it all together and make everyone feel guilty about their messed-up lives" kind of a guy.
That just isn't me.
I pride myself on being nothing more than an ordinary guy—an ordinary guy who lived a mostly ordinary life, but then one day I said, "Whatever," and gave control of that ordinary life to an extraordinary God. I discovered firsthand the fulfillment that the word "whatever" can bring into your life. And my goal in writing this book is to show you what that looks like—to show you that nothing is more satisfying and more fulfilling than saying "whatever" to God.
That's my goal. I hope you'll give me a chance to tell my story.
STAINED GLASS WINDOWS ON AN EMPTY HOUSE
I wasn't always like this. I didn't used to care too much about God. Yeah, I went to church every week (this wasn't really an option in my family), and I went to Catholic school from kindergarten all the way through high school. But that was about it. That was the extent of my spiritual life—attending certain events or classes or services, and pretty much nothing else.
I didn't have any kind of personal relationship with God. I didn't even know what that meant(and to be honest, I'm still not sure I fully understand it). I mean, I believed in God. I thought He was a great guy and figured I should try to avoid upsetting Him as much as I could. But that was it. It never got any deeper than that. God wasn't really an important or active part of my life.
To me, God wasn't really a person. (Don’t worry, you're allowed to admit that. I just did and no lightning bolts so far.) God wasn't real to me. He was sort of a mix between a life insurance policy and a good luck charm. I figured that if I just went to church on Sunday, then when I died and was standing in line to get to heaven, maybe someone up there would say, "Yeah, I've seen him before. He looks familiar. Go ahead and let him in."
All I wanted from God was for Him to let me into heaven when I die—and if He could somehow find a way to help me on my chemistry test, that wouldn't have hurt either. And while He was at it, if He could have somehow convinced Jessica Morgan—the most beautiful girl in high school—that I was much more fun to be with than all those boring jocks on the football team, that would have been the icing on the cake. (“Jessica Morgan” is not the girl’s real name, so don't waste your time trying to find her on Facebook; my wife would KILL ME if I mentioned her real name.)
I never really EXPECTED too much from God, and I guess that's why I never really INVESTED too much into Him either.
Well, whatever pathetic "relationship" I had with God when I was in high school became even more pathetic when I went away to college. I was now living on my own, away from my parents. I no longer attended a school that required me to pray in the mornings or take a class on the Bible. I didn't have to wake up early on Sunday mornings anymore to go to church. THANK GOD!
I wasn't sure if I was allowed to thank God for not having to go to church anymore, but I did it anyway—still no lightning bolts.
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