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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 11)

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

As a young Christian, the Lord spoke to my heart, “Don’t ask Me why I want you to do something. Just do it.”

So, it’s been my desire to obey these words over the last thirty years. Have I made mistakes? Yes, but even then, I have learned to rely on the following —

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

Every command or direction we feel the Lord is speaking to us, we must accept by faith, and then act on it in faith, which is one way to test the spirits. If it turns out not to be the Lord’s voice, we have to trust that the Lord’s grace will cover our errors.

So far, the Lord’s grace has been more than sufficient for me.

Okay, in Part 9, I wrote that I felt the Lord wanted me to start a Noontime Prayer Meeting for Geezers. What happened?

I delivered flyers to every church in the city (75 or so) and posted signs directing people to the outdoor noontime prayer meeting along the roadway. For weeks, I fasted and prayed each Friday at an open air park shelter with numerous people watching on.

My results were perfect: I always showed up and no one else did – as in zero, zilch, nada.

Did this discourage me? No, not at all.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s my job to obey what I believe are His commands and it’s His job to act. If He wants me to look like a fool or to fail, that’s His choice, not mine because I’m His servant, always ready to follow His commands.

But then, four weeks ago, the Lord spoke a new word to my heart.

(Continued in Part 12…if you’re interested, the full series to date can be seen here.)

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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 10)

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

I began this series on January 10, 2015, but because nothing was moving forward for me, I placed it on hold. Now things are happening again. So, I’ve decided to rerun the earlier parts before I began anew. If you don’t want to wait, you can read the first ten parts in their entirety here.

 

Twenty years ago, if you would have asked, “What will you say when your publishing company is successful?”

I would have quickly answered by singing a Toby Keith song: “How do you like me now? Now that I’m on my way. Do you still think I’m crazy, standing here today? I couldn’t make you love me, but I always dreamed about…How do you like me now?”

You see, when you’re walking through the wildernesses designed just for you by God, there’s not a lot of people who believe in you because of your mistakes and how unsuccessful you appear to them. If you bother to mention your dreams to others, you invite ridicule and the inevitable questions: “How?” and “When?”

And all you can do is shrug your shoulders at their queries.

But in all this, you have to hold onto the promises given to you by God. You can’t ever let go of them. Each day, you must thank the Lord for your publishing company and your promises being fulfilled, even if you’re sleeping in a car and eating out of dumpsters. Walking by faith is not an easy path for anyone.

So, for a major part of my journey through the wilderness, I kept going for one major reason: the desire to prove my worth to others. I wanted to show them that I heard God’s voice and that He honored me for my perseverance.

Today, if you asked me the same question, I would answer, “It was by His grace and I deserve no credit for any success.”

Somehow, in the wilderness, it no longer became about me and my quest, it became all about Him.

(Continued in Part 11)

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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 9)

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

I began this series on January 10, 2015, but because nothing was moving forward for me, I placed it on hold. Now things are happening again. So, I’ve decided to rerun the earlier parts before I began anew. If you don’t want to wait, you can read the first ten parts in their entirety here.

 

From the articles I have read, most of today’s authors follow fairly rigid disciplines and begin writing at a set hour. Each has a certain amount of words they hope to write for the day. The number of words falls generally in the 1000 to 2000 words range.

Since, I did not know any better when the Lord told me to write, I set my early goals at 1200 words per day. This worked out to about four or five pages of new material per day.

Yet, I remember many, many days when I would bang away on the computer for a couple of hours and maybe had 650 words done, but then realized something was missing. Sadly, that something was the presence of the Holy Spirit. I would then end up deleting every word I wrote.

It  would be great to pretend that I am a quick learner, but the truth is that it took months and months for me to learn this process for myself. I now sit down and if the presence of the Holy Spirit isn’t there, I don’t write.

Just so you know, I do not claim to write straight from the mouth of the Lord…oh I wish I did! But I do claim that His presence needs to be there to comfort and encourage me as I write. 

Okay, a few days ago, I came up with what I think was an inspired opening for the next Luke and Cat Stoner novel. And almost 700 words later, the book was on its way. I saw the characters coming to life, where they lived, and a little bit of what would happen in the early stages. It was so exciting that I now fall asleep thinking about the story.

So, the other day, I sought the presence of the Lord and this is my latest writing:

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Yep, we’re talking about what looks like another major detour in my publishing career. What’s new, huh?

Who ever thought that I would end up attempting to start a Noontime Prayer Meeting For Geezers?

(Continued in Part 10)

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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 8)

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

I began this series on January 10, 2015, but because nothing was moving forward for me, I placed it on hold. Now things are happening again. So, I’ve decided to rerun the earlier parts before I began anew. If you don’t want to wait, you can read the first ten parts in their entirety here.

 

Ten thousand and seventy-four days ago, a female minister named Linda Sutter (Olson) pointed to me as I sat in a pew of a small church and asked me to stand up. She then began prophesying to me: “God is doing a quick work in you…”

Even today when I look at her prophetic words, which I wrote down in the back of my Bible, I laugh at God’s idea of a “quick work” versus mine. I thought it would be months, certainly not 10,074 days or nearly thirty years.

But let me tell you a little bit about Linda Sutter Olson.

During the early 1970’s, the Lord told her to go into full-time ministry as a teacher and a prophetess, but she had at least three  problems. First, she was a woman. Second, her pastor would not endorse her ministry. Third, she did not have any contacts.

What could she do?

She sent out a few flyers to area churches, but had no responses. No one seemed to need her ministry.

One day, Linda was driving through rural Iowa and stopped at a diner in a small town. She sat down at a table and ordered her lunch. Linda noticed the couple sitting at the table next to her had received their meals and were praying before they ate.

She leaned over and said, “It’s nice to see a couple pray together in a restaurant.”

“Oh, you’re a Christian,” replied the husband. “Why don’t you join us for lunch? We would enjoy fellowshipping with you.”

The couple turned out to be a pastor and his wife. The pastor ended up inviting Linda to minister at his church that evening.

Linda eventually ministered in numerous large churches and then traveled to Russia, Albania, India, Eastern Europe, China, and the Philippines. But every door that opened to her calling could be traced back to that chance encounter at a diner in a small town in Iowa.

So, when I look at the boxes of books in our closets, I like to think that I’m just one divine encounter away from publishing success.

(Continued in Part 9)

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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 7)

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

I began this series on January 10, 2015, but because nothing was moving forward for me, I placed it on hold. Now things are happening again. So, I’ve decided to rerun the earlier parts before I began anew. If you don’t want to wait, you can read the first ten parts in their entirety here.

 

One of my favorite prophetic words was spoken to me in the Spring of 1994. It happened when a friend and her husband stopped by the house to see me on their way to a restaurant.

“Larry, the Lord knows how much you love to preach, but He wants you to do something first for Him, before you do any more preaching. Then afterward, you can preach all you want,” she said.

The “something” the Lord wanted me to do first turned out to be – start a paint contracting company, which ended up being a total disaster. I am still suffering from its fallout, twenty years later.

And preaching? I still laugh when I think about the Lord saying to me: “Then afterward, you can preach all you want.”

You see, what was missing in the prophetic words was that the Lord was going to squeeze every drop of desire out of me to preach and be on a stage ever again. The guy who used to love to preach died often in countless trials over the last twenty years. I absolutely do not miss him and, in fact, I abhor the guy I used to be.

Okay, how does this fit into publishing?

I have two thousand copies of The Day LA Died, ready to be marketed through whatever way the Lord shows me, like Christian book stores, churches, and advertisements. The two thousand copies weigh a total of 1900 pounds and are stored in closets throughout the house. It would be nice to free up the closet space again.

But first, I feel the Lord wants me to do something for Him, something which, of course, has nothing to do with publishing.

So, if you believe that walking with the Lord is the shortest distance between point A and point B, I have bad news for you. That is usually not the case. There will be plenty of time-consuming zigs and zags and stops along the way, but I also guarantee, it will be the greatest adventure of your life.

(Continued in Part 8)

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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 6)

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

I began this series on January 10, 2015, but because nothing was moving forward for me, I placed it on hold. Now things are happening again. So, I’ve decided to rerun the earlier parts before I began anew. If you don’t want to wait, you can read the first ten parts in their entirety here.

 

Have you ever heard of Fred Smith?

When Smith attended Yale in the 1960s, he wrote a term paper, which invented an industry and dreamed of changing the impossible into the possible. His professor couldn’t visualize the revolutionary implications of Smith’s ideas and gave Smith’s term paper an average grade. The professor’s reasoning: the business was not feasible.

Smith’s impossible dream became a reality on April 17, 1973, when Federal Express began operations with 389 employees, 14 planes, and 186 packages in Memphis, Tennessee. The packages were flown to 25 cities and delivered the following day.

Today, we think little about dropping a package off at a Federal Express site or a competitive carrier and then expecting the package to be delivered the next day or soon after. Yet, the whole air/land express industry was just a dream fifty years ago and pooh-poohed by experts at the time.

Let’s say that I sat next to Fred Smith in his business class at Yale and also had to write a term paper on a proposed business, just like Smith did. For my business model, being the believer that I am today, I would have written:

1. My publishing company will have no partners, except for family.

2. It will never ask for money.

3. With the exception of book stores and eBook publishers, my publishing company will not set prices for its books.

4. My publishing company will operate under the U.S. and state business laws as a business and not as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax exempt organization.

5. The millions of dollars generated by my publishing company will help feed and care for the poor and needy of the world.

What do you think the professor would have said to me after reading my paper?

The professor probably would have called me into his office, closed the door, and stared at me for a few minutes in total quiet. Maybe he would have shaken his head and blown out a deep breath before saying, “Son, you remind me of the two guys who came up with the brilliant idea of buying watermelons in San Diego for $1 each and then hauling them to LA and selling them two for a dollar. Business was great, but it wasn’t long before the two men learned they were losing lots of money. One of the guys finally came up with an idea. ‘We need a bigger truck so we can be like K-Mart and make up our losses with bigger volume.'”

I can guess what my grade would have been on the paper. Can you?

(Continued in Part 7)

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The Rumors of Larry’s Death Were Not Greatly Exaggerated (Part 5)

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(Click on photo to enlarge)

I began this series on January 10, 2015, but because nothing was moving forward for me, I placed it on hold. Now things are happening again. So, I’ve decided to rerun the earlier parts before I began anew. If you don’t want to wait, you can read the first ten parts in their entirety here.

 

Basilea Schlink (1904 – 2001) was born in Darmstadt, Germany. After World War II, Schlink felt the need to repent for Germany’s cruel deeds. To do this, she became a Lutheran nun and along with Erika Madauss founded The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in 1947. Schlink wrote over fifty-five books, but my favorite is Realities of Faith:

In 1949, a year after the currency reform, the first products of the publishing house and our works of art were ready to be placed on the market. The question arose, should we actually sell our products?…

Within me a concept took shape, clear and sharply defined – a mental picture painted by the Sermon on the Mount, that for those who seek first the kingdom of God “all these things shall be yours as well” (Matthew 6:33). A word began to sound clearly in my heart – “Father.” He will provide, He will prove Himself a Father to His children. But that meant that we, as His children, must provide the opportunity for Him to do so…

How could all this take place? It became more and more clear to me. We must let loose our security and protection; we must surrender ourselves to utter dependence upon our Heavenly Father. This would give Him the opportunity to care for us and show His miracles. It meant the surrender of all security and steady income. We would depend on Him for everything. By faith and prayer we would stand upon His word, “give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over.” (Luke 6:38)

…We set no fee on our services. Our literary works, our arts and crafts carried no price tag. This meant that now we would be totally dependent upon the Father in heaven…

We began from that point to walk in this pathway. It made our Sisterhood truly a fellowship of prayer. Every day we started out with nothing. From a human viewpoint we stood before mountains of worries which had to be prayed away. So we had endless opportunities to present God with the many promises of Scripture – bringing them like an “IOU,” asking Him to redeem them. (Realities of Faith by M. Basilea Schlink, Bethany House, excerpts from pages 33 – 35)

That’s right! Schlink and her sisters did not put prices on her books. Did this cause them any problems?

Schlink tells the story about how the sisterhood had spent all of their money on printing books and pamphlets for a booth at an outdoor fair. A young man walked up with a black suitcase and learned that their publications were free. He dumped every book and pamphlet into his suitcase and walked away. Schlink wrote: “Wouldn’t this way of doing things bankrupt us?”

Yet, God always provided for them.

Okay, how can a businessman, like me, possibly hope to survive in the cutthroat publishing industry?

(Continued in Part 6)

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