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Announcement: The Discipline of Discernment

Several months ago I sat with my wife, discussing future goals and plans. I told her something she already knew: that I wanted someday to begin writing books. Writing runs in my blood and there are few things I enjoy more (though reading would have to come close). As evidenced by this blog, I have a great deal to say, even if I do not always say it particularly well. It made sense to me that I would target three or four years as a likely time to begin this type of formal writing. By then the children would be a little bit older and I would be, I trust, a little more disciplined and sanctified. I thought life would probably have settled down a bit.

Things change. A few months ago a couple of Christian friends, whose wisdom and godliness far exceed my own, suggested that I should think about writing now, for God had seen fit to give me an interest in a particular topic. As I began to research this topic, I found that there were no current books dealing with it. And yet there seems to be a good deal of interest in it. Sadly, many of those who seem to be accepted as experts in the field show great misunderstandings of the heart of the issue.

And so it was that I decided to submit a book proposal to a publishing company for whom I have a great deal of respect. I learned just a few days ago that my proposal has been accepted. The paperwork has been completed and all that now remains is for me to write the book. Tentatively titled The Discipline of Discernment, it will be published by Crossway, likely sometime in late 2007 or early 2008. It will be written for the “thoughtful general reader” (i.e. people like you and me) and will lead Christians with what I hope and trust will be helpful, biblical teaching about spiritual discernment.

You may recall that a few months ago I posted an article summarizing an interview I conducted with an expert in the field of counterfeit currency. In the hour or two we spent together, the point that struck me most was when she asked me if I am careful to always inspect the money I am given. I was surprised by this question and told her I did not realize that there was such an expectation. I simply did not know that the government expects that each of us will inspect money before accepting it. But as she patiently explained, once money has been accepted, it will not be replaced if it is found to be counterfeit. Once I accept it, I become responsible for it. In my mind, this stood as a metaphor for the church today. So few people are discerning because so few even realize it is a God-given expectation. It is my hope, my prayer, that I can encourage Christians to begin the discipline of discernment.

The reason I post this information is not to ask for congratulations or pats on the back for managing to secure a book deal. Rather, I post it to request your prayers. This is a major undertaking for me and I am both thrilled and terrified as I look at the 10 or 15 pages I’ve written and the 150 blank ones that still need to be filled. I know that this project will depend on prayer, without which I will get nowhere and accomplish nothing. And so I ask if you would consider praying for me over the next several months as I study Scripture and attempt to draw out biblical principles related to discernment. I ask you, because without you reading this site, there would have been no book to begin with. Your support, through visiting this site, has allowed this book to happen. And so I humbly ask you to pray that God would give me clarity of thought and the ability to communicate effectively. Pray most of all that He will glorified in all I do and all I write. Without His blessing this undertaking means nothing.

I hope to dedicate Fridays predominantly to writing (beginning today!) and wonder if you would consider marking Friday as a day you pray specifically for this book. I truly believe that Christians need some good teaching on this topic. I have nothing to offer but what Scripture says. I want to saying nothing other than what God says. If you would help me in this by holding me up before the throne, I’d be forever grateful.

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