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How "The Essence" came to be

As early as 2013 I began thinking about choosing 50 chapters from the Bible (25 from each) to walk people through an overview of God's message throughout history. At that time, I had been involved with a ministry to international students and scholars at Mizzou for about 4 years. Every Friday night we would read the Bible with them and help them understand the Gospel as it was revealed in each particular passage.

However, the idea of me being an author seemed completely absurd. After all, I'm just an old farm boy who became a computer programmer. The longest paper I had ever written was my term paper in Mr. Francis's senior English class, and that was quite a few years ago. Writing a book seemed like too daunting of a task Over the years, though, the idea never went away.

Finally, right after Christmas in 2019, I dove in. I had no idea how long it would be, or if I would ever finish. Yet, after a few months of consistent writing, I had completed a decent rough draft, which then sat undisturbed for a while.

A bit later, I did started doing a few revisions. I finally mentioned the book to my parents, and my mom, of course, was excited to read it. I gave her a copy and, to the amazement of no one, got raving feedback. A little later, she passed it on to someone else--a woman named Garlett--who also gave a good review. Finally, a good friend (Brad) suggested I give a copy to his wife who is quite skilled in English and is very well read. She also gave very positive feedback. About that time, the pandemic hit and everything shut down. I had both the time and the encouragement needed to continue revising and refining.

A few months later, someone suggested it was time to get a professional manuscript critique. I found a small evangelical Christian publisher that offered that for free. I submitted my manuscript to them and eagerly awaited their response. Was the book too long? Had I misinterpreted some Scripture? Was it boring? Would they even read the whole thing? I didn't know what to expect, but then the response came!

The reviewer stated that the manuscript was well written. In fact, it was even nearly ready for publishing. Then he said that they would also be interested in partnering with me to publish it! I was ecstatic! This was a really solid company with a great statement of faith and very high values. I had already decided that I wanted to partner with them if they would be willing.

In my response to their offer, I mentioned the people of Israel when they were backed up against the Red Sea. God divided the waters behind them. There was no mistaking where God was leading them. All they had to do was to start walking. That's how I felt when I received their offer.

I had requested a manuscript critique from one and only one publisher. I received back an offer to publish. As David asked when God poured out His blessings upon him, "Who am I?" All glory to Jesus Christ! May His Name alone be forever praised!

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