MARCH 16, 2005

Back in the ’70s, one of my many extra careers was painting apartments. Always in need of extra money as a full-time assistant “minister” (my pastor talked of congregations whose motto about their pastor was: “You keep him humble, Lord, we’ll keep him poor!” – and they practiced that doctrine on us), I somehow landed a job painting for this one apartment complex. Every time an apartment would become vacant, they’d call me, and I’d do it on the weekend leaving poor Janis with three children under six who were the very definition of “handful.” It was there I learned the law of “most everything takes at least twice as long as you think it will.” I would tell Janis I’d be through in about an hour and it would be three hours. It has continued that way ever since.

And in book announcements, it seems it is also the same. I thought Hearts of Flesh would be out about the first of April, and now I a little more gingerly say it looks more like the beginning of May. No need to elaborate on why. C`est le vie! Had my first phone conference with my “design team” today, and that’s what it is and we praise God for it in sincerity. All times are his

But since I said April and it’s probably going to be May, then here below is another preview. This is the first chapter and will be used on the publisher’s website to advertise the book.



Someone once said that the first time his son’s toy truck broke he realized that his son was beginning his acquaintance with the Man of Sorrows. It made him want to tear his heart out, but at the same time he knew it had to be, and that the end result would one day be overwhelming joy.

Paul said that the sign of Christ in us, rather than the rote keeping of the Law, is that we would have hearts of flesh, instead of hearts of stone. (2 Cor 3:3, Ez 11:19)

A heart of flesh has known what it means to have no hope. It has wallowed in its aloneness and fear of the dark. It knows disappointment, failure and barrenness, and more than once perhaps has wished it could die and be no more.

But this heart has also found light in the furthest parts of darkness, unexpectedly, seemingly undeserved, but nonetheless certain, solid and perceptible in the substance of faith. In its rising the heat of that light melts the cold stone of our hearts, changing them to soft, innocent, guile-free hearts of warm, loving flesh.

Then – we have become flesh instead of stone, and our hearts, through joy and sorrow, have been penetrated through and through with love that spills out of us like water




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