I recently had a change in my book writing schedule. Some of you know I’ve been working on a book for Crossway since last March or so. The main part of my writing has taken place over the last four months. I had given the manuscript to my wise and discerning friend, C.J. Mahaney, for his thoughts. This is what he said:
1. Great content.
2. I could use an editor.
3. My audience is unclear.
Those comments led to some significant praying and discussion. The short version is this: I wrote the wrong book. You might think I would have figured that out earlier, but no one caught it, least of all me.
So, I’ve narrowed my focus. I’m heading back into the writing process and will be targeting worship leaders, with some thoughts for pastors as well. Crossway has graciously agreed to an extension, but the details are still being worked out.
I’m very excited about limiting my audience and believe this is what I’m supposed to do. It will be a much more practical book, although still rooted in theology. I’m guessing I’ll be able to use about 20-30% of what I’ve written thus far. In the mean time, I may steal some of what I’ve already written for this blog…Here’s a section where I described how the cross encourages us in our suffering.
I’m not sure I’ve ever suffered a day in my life. But I have had the privilege of knowing families that deal graciously with ongoing, chronic pain and suffering. There’s Luscinda and Luke Davis whose son, Micah, was born with an aggressive brain tumor. There’s Steve and Mary Murphy whose son, Ian, was in a car accident and is currently in a coma. There is Ken Bowers, a member of our church, who lost his wife to cancer this past year. There’s Drew and Diane Jones who have been caring for their son Reid for over 15 years. He has no ability to feed himself, and his every need must be cared for by someone else. I can’t relate to what there dear saints have experienced. But I know this. Everyone of us at some point will experience rejection, disappointment, loss, or tragedy. It might be emotional, physical, material, or relational. Does God understand?
I don’t claim to know the suffering you’re currently experiencing or may go through in the future. But one thing is certain. The God we worship is “acquainted with grief.” Grief of a nature that we will never have to experience if we have trusted in the saving death of Jesus Christ. Grief that one R.C. Sproul described as “the scream of the damned.” As bad as my suffering may be, our Savior has suffered more for my sins, that he might bring me to God (1 Pet. 3:18).
The cross assures us that our suffering is not purposeless, blind, unfair, or random. God has taken the most horrific event in all of history – the savage crucifixion of the Son of God – and transformed it into the supreme display of his glory and grace – the redemption of countless millions from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. His suffering means that the suffering of his chosen ones has profound meaning. We can rejoice in our sufferings because we know God is using them to prepare us for the glory that will be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). We can be comforted that our sufferings have caused us to run to God for strength (Ps. 59:16-17). We can thank God that our sufferings demonstrate God’s love for us, rather than contradict it (Rom. 8:35-39). We can be encouraged by the fact that we worship the One who has “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Is. 53:4). Forever.
I pray that meditating on the sufferings of our Savior will lighten whatever load you carry today.
All the best to you in the renewed book-writing plan. I’ve benefited greatly from your workshops & articles in the past, and I’m looking forward to something in book form that I’m sure I’ll end up recommending to friends & teammates in the ministry :)
May the Lord encourage you as you write!
Take your time, Bob.
It feels ironic to me that, at one point, you were receiving some counsel to spend your writing time on “more book, less blog”.
Apparently, the Lord has redeemed the time you’ve spent writing this little blog.
Wow. It must be tough to do so much editing and re-vamping. But even though it takes a lot of humility and a certain amount of “ruthlessness” to cut some and add some, I’m sure the book will be even better and more helpful when it specifically appeals to a particular audience. I was looking forward to seeing your book out soon, but it will be worth the extra wait to see your improvements in the “second edition”!
Bob – be encouraged. You have so much to say to worship leaders and pastors in this area. Thank you for being willing to work for the best book that this can be. God bless you. Alan
As a leader of corporate worship myself, I must say that I am even more excited about seeing the final product.
We can wait a little longer. Keep up the beautiful work, brother.
All things work together for good to those that love the Lord, Bob. Keep going – I’m sure that this pruning will make you & your book more fruitful. And Praise God for faithful friends.
I just wanted to drop you a note of encouragement. We had a new song training session with our worship team last week. We did 3 songs from our own stream (newfrontiers) plus ‘grace unmeasured’. Your song had the most positive reaction of all the songs and people we especially appreciative of the way I outlined the theology behind the songs (I got the idea from the worshipGod 2006 seminar!). One of our guitarists said “that’s the kind of song I could still see us singing in 20 years time”. I think he’s right. I’ll try let you know how it goes when we teach it to the congregation.
As well as just saying thanks for serving the body of Christ with your songwriting & teaching gift I wanted to say thank you for making it available as a free download. The reality is that I probably never would have come across the song otherwise. I love Sovereign Grace songs but like most artists I’ll listen in fits & starts, buy a few albums, then miss a few. The free download has made me want to get the album (& maybe a couple of others)
Lastly a suggestion that ties in with that. I notice looking around the various comments on blogs, people mentioning particular seminars or songs that have blessed them. If when you post a new song you put a mini-blog saying ‘here’s a new song’ people would leave their thanks/feedback there and it would all be gathered in one place rather then randomly spread all over your blog (like this!) and others might see ‘wow, this song is blessing a lot of people, maybe I ought to check it out!’ – maybe you could even put a little “this is why I wrote the song” type thing on there?
God Bless You
ps love the 2006 seminars especially Bruce Ware, Randy Alcorn and yours on Pastoral Care & ‘band on the run’
This is a book I am eagerly waiting to read. It will be worth the wait. Don’t stress on the timelines. He makes all things beautiful in His time! Paul
God has truly blessed me through your music ministry and leadership. I am so thankful that you have C.J. to guide you and a humble spirit to rewrite the book.
As you narrow the audience of the book, may God give you wisdom and clarity to encourage church leaders in worshipping God.
Your ministry has had and is still having a profound effect on me personally and as a minister of the Gospel. Everyday I check the blog in hopes that there is a new article there waiting to be read. I pray for you when God brings you and SGM to mind. Oh what a sweet gift of grace your ministry is to the body of Christ.
Ah yes brother, truly, “My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
praying for you mr. kauflin. thanks so much for the way you serve. also, thank you so much for not only being a worship leader, but a lead worshipper.