Today I posted an email to over 1,800 readers of my ACT3 Weekly, a regular Monday letter. I would love to have many more of you receive this regular email. You can sign up at www.act3network.com. This allows you to pray for me and to read new material that is not normally posted here on the blog site.
Here is today’s letter in full.
Dear ACT3 Friends–
I am going to take a break from the Holy Spirit & mission series I’ve been doing for several weeks. (I will return to these articles next week and complete two more; July 28 and August 4). This Monday I want to provide an important update for all of you who are my praying friends and faithful donors.
Most of you know that for nearly six months I have been writing a book tentatively titled: Our Love Is Too Small.
I have never undertaken a writing assignment that has been so difficult. Yet this has been some of the most personally rewarding work I’ve ever done. I began writing in late January. I believed then that I could “knock this project out” by summer. Somewhere, around mid-May, I realized that this goal was a preposterous assumption. I then scrapped my plans. Now I have no deadline. I merely want to continue to immerse myself in this amazing subject through further prayer, meditation and interaction. This is precisely where you can help me.
First, I need your prayer for this work more than ever. I cannot write the book that I believe the Holy Spirit wants me to write without prayer. Would you pray that I will “hear” God more clearly by listening to the Spirit? Will you pray that I will listen to others, both through my reading and personal conversations? Almost every day someone, or some writer – through prose, a poem or a hymn – is used to flood light into my heart. I find myself saying: “This is perfect for the book.” (Now, finding precisely where such thoughts fit into the book becomes another part of my challenge.) I am arranging a retrieval system, with Anita’s helpful input, so that every thought I get on a daily basis can be written into a digital file and marked so I can recover it at the right time. I feel so overwhelmed by the breadth and amount of my thoughts about God’s love that this system is needed just to help me rest my mind from constantly thinking about “the book.”
Second, I have decided that I will have three or four times more material than I will ever use in this particular book. I do not want to write a massive and comprehensive book on love. Thus I would like to solicit your input about some of my ideas and then use your input to make this book much, much better. I believe a community of friends, united in the spirituality of divine love, can help me write the best book that I can offer to my publisher. To this end I want to share a number of ideas I’ve already written via my blogs. I will post insights, quotes and ideas in order to solicit your response to these blogs. By this means I can use all the material that I have written and get the kind of response that can make the book much better. You can actually help me by your public and private responses. To this end I humbly ask for your input. You can comment either publicly or privately. Please visit the blog site week-by-week. The best way to do this is to subscribe to the blog through the RSS feed. Then each time a new blog is posted you will get an email with the opening lines and a link to the blog site. The blog site is www.johnharmstrong.com. These blog posts will also go to my Facebook wall thus another 4,500 people can see them and respond there as well. This gives me the potential of reaching 7,000-plus readers. Out of this pool of people some great ideas will surely emerge.
Finally, by posting some of my content (whether it ends up in the book or not) I will be “using” everything I have written while saving myself time for the hardest work that comes in producing more new content and improving what I’ve already written. This process will help me to know that this content (which will not be in the book) is still useful to many people.
As of today I have written almost 50,000 words. That is well more than half of the total word count I intend for the finished book. The problem is that I am no where near the mid-way point in my outline. This book has three sections: (1) God’s Love for Us; (2) Our Love for God, and: (3) God’s Love Working Through Us in Loving Others (e.g. friends, neighbors and enemies). I am not quite finished with the first section of the book, which I believe is the hardest part to write. This means that I may have already written 20,000 words that must be cut. But a great deal of this material can be shared via the blogs.
One of the great blessings of the social media is the vast potential it has for community and interaction. I would like to utilize this media to the end that I will complete a book that will make a lasting contribution. I cannot rush this process but then I cannot stop writing either. There are days I want to give up. Then there are days when I am so thrilled with the writing that I can hardly control my joy. I believe this new approach I have outlined will help me persevere and do better work. It will also help me manage my thoughts and emotions much better. Through this approach I hope to reach a joyful end result that brings about a book that was worth writing and reading.
Please consider helping me. Your reading and commenting could be a great gift. Your financial gifts make it possible for me to stay focused on this writing, not on dealing with financial pressures. And your prayer will surely help me to say what should be said while I remain actively involved in ministry with people every week. I am not a “full time” writer. I am both a writer and a spiritual networker who believes that my relationships are central to my divine calling. I cannot give up writing or being with people and groups. The two are intimately connected. Please pray that I will walk with God day-by-day and clearly hear the Spirit.
Well over a year ago I invited readers to become a part of a small group of “intercessors” for me and ACT3. Quite a few responded. I have not asked for new recruits for months. Today is a great time to ask again. You can email my dear friend Phil Miglioratti to receive these extra reminders and personal requests: firstname.lastname@example.org.