Let me share about a fun side-project I’ve been working on. I’ve spent the past few months compiling the past 10 or so years of Daily Illumination writings into a collection of self-published books for my personal library and to share with family and friends.
The original intent was to collect all my best blog pieces into physical books for my own shelf — solely as a personal keepsake and something for my kids and grandkids to discover and enjoy long after I’m gone. I thought I could cram it all into 1 or 2 large volumes. Boy, was I wrong!
The more I dug into the vault of old posts, the more the scope of the project grew. I slowly began to pull from beyond just Daily Illumination Blog. I also ran into several projects that were 90% completed that I now feel motivated to finally bring to completion after being shelved for many years (e.g., The Father’s Song, Dear Philippians).
What was supposed to be one large volume has resulted in 9 volumes (200-300+ pages each) completed so far with many more still on the way. These are not “real” books that would ever be sent to a publisher. Many are half-baked blog posts with little or no editing, and many are very personal writings during my years of development. But they are still a large body of work, displaying hundreds of hours of personal and pastoral reflections on faith, the Bible and everyday life by a young disciple and up and coming pastor.
Now, the main purpose for this project is to quite literally close the chapter on these more informal, experimental writing years, and to hopefully begin a new more serious and focused chapter of writing soon. You could describe the previous 10+ years of writing as “quantity over quality” as I often wrote quickly and without much attention to style and depth. I wrote to communicate naked truth, with little attention to how that truth might be more beautifully adorned. Moving forward, I would like to slow down a bit, and make the goal of the next chapter of writing more about “quality over quantity.”
(I should also add that I am a bibliophile, and that means the creation of a book is far more than the words (as in an eBook) but the creative process and artistic attention to font selection, formatting, and especially cover design. There’s something special about getting that package in the mail, holding your finished work in your hand, smelling it, paging through it the first time, appreciating the tight binding, admiring the cover jacket, and stacking a pile of finished pieces on the fireplace for others to see and touch and read if they so desire. And, of course, the ability to give a copy of my writings to my grandma yesterday (who is not online) was really special, too.)
If you’re curious, I used Lulu.com for this project and have been rather impressed with the quality and price.
So, see the fruit of my Lent 2017 labors below. If interested, you can order a copy directly from me. Send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAILY ILLUMINATION BOOKS:
Scraps From the Master’s Table
A random collection of scraps best described as “leftover thoughts, reheated wisdom, stale sermons and microwaved movie reflections.” Consider it a late night spiritual snack for the hungry (or insomniac) soul. 243 pages
Fixed to the Rock: My Formative Years Vol. 1
As I close the chapter on my formative years (age 19-35) I have compiled my personal writings on my faith, family and ministry development into two volumes. They include old college & seminary journals, accounts of my first dates with Keri, original songs/poems, birthday reflections, and insights into my “Tumultuous Twenties.” 304 pages
Fixed to the Rock: My Formative Years Vol. 2
Volume Two continues giving a window into my growth as a young husband, new father, emerging leader, and growing follower of Christ. It includes letters to my kids at their births on the significance of their names, and many essays about my journey into vocational ministry and ordination. 300 pages
Everyday Parables: Extraordinary Truths in Ordinary Places
This collection of modern parables or “sacred analogies” finds extraordinary truths in very ordinary things. From a youth backpacking trip in the mountains to pulling weeds in the garden, from learning how to drive a car to playing a round of golf, or getting lost in the rhythms of your favorite album; each of these chapters is an attempt to answer Jesus’ question: “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God?” 224 pages
Thinking Out Loud: On Theology, Culture & Faith
This is a collection of thought experiments from a mind early in its theological development including miscellaneous musings on Heaven and Hell, sex and politics, teens and technology, suffering and salvation, culture and the church, the perils of preaching, and more. It also includes several academic essays from my graduate studies. 386 pages
Daily Illumination: Thoughts from the Intersection of Faith & Everyday Life
This is a collection of 69 pieces published on my Daily Illumination blog from about 2009-2017. I hope you find here evidence not of a brilliant thinker or seasoned writer, but a devoted follower of Jesus with an undying thirst for God-reality. I have done my best to share the light I have received with others, hoping to provide some daily illumination for fellow pilgrims making their way through an often dark and dreary landscape. 292 pages
The Word is Alive: Scriptural Reflections on New Life in Christ
This is part of a two volume collection of Bible expositions which includes incomplete treatments of both Ephesians and 1 Peter, as well as some reflections on the Jonah and a favorite text from 1 Corinthians. We begin by exploring some different ways The Bible Speaks to us, and the various attitudes and postures we ought to bring to our engagement with God’s Word. These were all written during a season of church planting and learning how to pastor my first church. I’m certain this background and personal context will surface many times throughout. 204 pages
The Word is Active: Scriptural Reflections on Missional Living
The bulk of this volume is reflections on the Gospels. We also step into the action-packed narratives of Joshua and Nehemiah who both live lives of active faith and obedience. Undergirding all these Bible expositions is a sense of adventure and a call to join God in His mission, and were all written from the front lines of church planting, where I had the chance to walk in the shoes of Jesus, Joshua and Nehemiah in raising up a people willing to leave comfort behind and join us in our missional task. 202 pages
Dear Philippians: Pastoral Advice from a Prison Cell
My Daily Illumination blog was born of an ambitious New Year’s goal to provide a substantial post each day in 2009. Some of the best fruit of my voracious binge-writing that year was my reflections on Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. Pull up a slab of rock and light a candle. Grab a quill, some ink and a scrap of papyrus to take notes. We’re journeying back to the year AD 58 to a wet, dim lit Roman prison cell to eaves drop on Paul as he pens his letter to his friends in Philippi. What does this ancient letter say to us some 2,000 years later? 146 pages
The Father’s Song: The Divine Symphony of Scripture
One divine melody permeates the grand narrative of Scripture. In this creative overview of the Bible, Jeremy helps train our “ears to hear” the penetrating God-beat at the center of redemption history. The story of the Bible sweeps and flows, builds and develops like a masterful musical piece with many movements. From the explosive energy of the opening of Creation, to the somber sounds of Sin and Lament along the way, the song rises and falls and rises again to the grand crescendo at the end. Leave the dissonance of the world and learn to move in step with the “unforced rhythms of grace” (Matt 11 The Message). 112 pages | Download PDF