And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I do think the way you and I sometimes feel about desperate people (avoid them) is way different than how Jesus feels about desperate people (they attract Him).
I started writing this book out of desperate places in my own life, when my marriage was in a bad place and our family was hit with a devastating diagnosis. God met me in that place, and I started writing in a raw way to process that journey toward restoration. “Thoughts untangle when they move through lips and fingertips,” someone once said. That was definitely the case for me, a soul in crisis untangling itself through fingertips on a keyboard.
Christianity for me had become a set of neat Christian teachings whereby we become really neat Christian people. I wouldn’t have exactly said it this way, but spiritual self-sufficiency was sort of the goal. Give me some good principles and I’ll take it from here, Jesus.
But the rug got pulled out from under me and I cried out to Jesus in a heartfelt way, reaching out to clutch on to the hem of His garment like the hemorrhaging woman in Luke 8. Just like her, I felt His transforming power.
I also got a greater heart for desperate people during that season. As I looked up out of my own desperation and into the eyes of Jesus, I could see and sense His compassion for other people in desperation. He fully intends His church to be fueled with heaven’s compassion toward them. There’s a Part I on desperation (in us) and a Part II (toward them).
So that’s why I wrote the book and I hope you love it.
Here’s a short little promotional video and some other promotional, pluggy type stuff:
Book Release Party, with live music performances by Dave Nevland, Clark Zaunbrecher and Andy Combs, along with a dramatization of the Luke 8 woman by Crystal Kehn. Friday, September 23, Opa Coffee Bar, Austin, 7-9 PM
Book Signing at Barnes and Noble in South Austin on Saturday, September 24, 1-4 PM
A sneak preview in sermon form.
“Honesty is what you will find as you advance through the treasures that await you in this unforgettable book. The words are not the hollow ramblings of an academic, but rather the wisdom of a man who writes from the depths of his quest to find meaning and hope in the darkest and loneliest circumstances you have ever endured. My life has been profoundly and deeply shaken by my friendship with Mike O’Quin. I invite you to read his meditations on human desperation. Prepare your heart. I dare say, you will never be the same.” — Paul Richardson, author of A Certain Risk: Living Your Faith at the Edge (Zondervan, 2010)
“One of the biggest dangers for the Western Christian is to wrap our lives in so much bubble wrap, that we no longer remain vulnerable, raw, broken and, most of all, dependent upon Jesus. Mike carefully removes the bubble wrap we have put around our own souls as he reminds us that it’s only in our desperation that we can fully meet the perfect love that saves us. Growing Desperate reminds us that, in the same way Jesus noticed the desperate hemorrhaging woman, He notices our own, everyday brokenness as well, if only we would be desperate enough to reach up. After reading this book, you will be.” — Jessica Honegger, founder and CEO of Noonday Collection, author of Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared
“Growing Desperate offers a most inspiring and compelling insight into Jesus’ promise of the kingdom for the poor in spirit. It’s well-written and chock-full of fascinating stories of Mike’s experiences from his life and the lives of people he’s served both in the U.S. and Indonesia. His winsome, transparent style of writing invites the reader to be more than okay with our own neediness. Most refreshing is Mike’s call for us not to just look inward but to also look outward to others who are needy. Mike lives what he’s addressing in his book, thus it carries much authority.” — Ron Parrish, author of From Duty to Delight: Finding Greater Joy in Daily Prayer
“Mike O’Quin is equal parts storyteller and theologian. His writing is crisp and relatable, his stories are engaging, and he unpacks the Scripture with the insight of a seasoned pastor. Growing Desperate poses one of the most troubling central questions of my faith journey, ‘Where is God when I feel desperate and alone?’ It’s a question we’ve all asked, and Mike provides an answer we all need to read for ourselves.” — Rob Stennett, author of The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher and The Perfect Dad
“There are generally two types of writers who fill the pages of books in stores. The first are famous people who need some help to make their story readable. You’ll buy the book ‘cause you know who they are but struggle to finish reading their passable drivel. The second are people you’ve never heard of who have ridiculous writing talent. Imagery leaps off the page so vivid and real you forget you’re reading. You’re living the story. You can’t wait to read more, wished it wouldn’t end and ache to read it again. Mike O’Quin is that second type of writer. Even better, he’s lived desperation from Austin to Indonesia. You’ll feel his stories tugging at your soul. More importantly, you’ll hear the voice of God calling you to a life that’s richer, riskier and singing a new song.” — Peter Nevland, author of Exposing the Psalms and I’m Going to be a Zebra
“A much needed message for all who have come to the end of themselves and have realized their brokenness and desperation. Mike O’Quin eloquently shares how those who have exhausted themselves spiritually, emotionally, and relationally can find rest and healing for their weary souls. Growing Desperate is an excellent, moving explanation of both the heart of God and the Gospel. A highly recommended read that is sure to bless believers at every stage of life.” — R. Duncan Williams, author of the Thinkwave series
“Mike is a great communicator whether he is speaking, writing, or just in a group at lunch telling stories. Mike is also vulnerable and honest. He is good at opening up his own life and struggling with how he is doing at pursing his deepest values more than 20 years into his walk with Jesus in pastoral ministry and as a missionary. Growing Desperate will bring a challenge and comfort to you as the reader, or to a friend who really needs the encouragement.” — Mark Buckner, pastor, Community of Faith Christian Fellowship, Boston
Thanks so much — Mike O