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Rod was reluctant to go to my friend’s church because of the pastor’s belief in Amillennialism. The Assembly of God churches we attended considered Amillennialism a false doctrine. The AG churches believed Jesus will return in the flesh to reign on earth for a thousand years. The Amillennialist believed the kingdom of God came to earth when Jesus was born, and he now ruled from heaven. I was ambivalent about the pastor’s beliefs. The AG churches taught things I did not agree with as well. After much discussion we decided to become members.

When the pastor learned we were ministers he asked Rod to teach a class for children and me to teach a class for adults on Friday nights. Rod developed the BBK club. BBK being an acronym for Blood Bought Kids. I continued the series about Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness and wrote Epiphanes of Patriarchs.

I had forgot about my manuscript and publishing until a friend sat next to me in church. We were listening to church announcements when she stuck an offering envelope in my hand. Perplexed, I looked at the envelope and said, “Do you want me to put it in the offering basket?”

“No,” she said. “It’s for your ministry.”

“What ministry?”

“Your writing ministry,” she replied.

I shoved the envelope back into her hand. “Put that in the offering basket when it comes by. I don’t have a writing ministry.”

She shoved the envelope back into my hand. “No, it’s for you.”

I pointed to the name of the church on the offering envelope. “It’s not for me. It’s for the church. See the name on the envelope.” I shoved the envelope back into her hand.

She glared at me and tried to shove the envelope into my hand now formed into a tight fist. “I’m not taking money in a church’s offering envelope,” I whispered through clenched teeth.

She ripped open the envelope. Dropped the cash onto my lap and said, “It’s for your ministry.” The look in her eye threatened physical altercation if I dared give the money back.

Lest we start a World Wrestling Federation Smack Down in the middle of a church service, I put the cash in my Bible and said, “Fine.”

I didn’t know what to do with the money, so I put it in my file cabinet to await a burning bush experience or at least a voice from heaven offering direction.

The following Sunday, she donated more money to my non-existent ministry. I put the money in my file cabinet. After receiving donations for several months, she said, “So what are you doing with the money?”

I wasn’t doing anything with the money but was reluctant to disappoint my benefactor with the truth. Then I remembered the editor’s discounted offer to fix the grammar in my manuscript. I smiled, “I’m paying an editor to prepare my manuscript for publishing.”

Lest I burn in Hell for being a liar, I sent the editor an email as soon as I returned home from church. He was still interested in doing the work at the discounted price. I matched the money she had given me for my non-existent ministry and sent the editor my first chapter. When the work on the manuscript concluded, the editor recommended a new publishing house called Publish America.

Publish America’s website said “traditional publisher” but used, at that time, a new technology called print-on-demand that revolutionized the publishing industry and changed the stigma of self-publishing into something trendy. They did not charge authors to publish their book but did little to help them market.

They were a secular publisher, so I researched well known Christian publishing houses. The same sign hung on each of their doors. “Don’t call us, get an agent.” My paraphrase of, “We don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts.”

Getting a manuscript published was not going to be easy, and “published author” was never on my bucket list. Publish America did not need an agent, so I sent the information they required and tossed the edited manuscript on a shelf in my closet thinking I’d come to the end of the road.


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