As today (8/22) is Jeff’s birthday, I thought it fitting to post my review of his book. I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff at the International Christian Retail Show in July. These are some of his thoughts and my impressions.
When I [Deb] started to read this book, I was captured by these words, “When I [Jeff] was writing the book, it was amazing how many times God turned it back on me and made me realize how much I judged people.” Jeff learned he needed to grant the same grace to others that God grants to him.
He’d observed people walking down the sidewalk – and judged them. “That woman is too fat – she must stuff down the chips and snacks. That man is obviously homeless – he’s so scruffy and poorly dressed. Well, there goes an obvious drunk – must be an alcoholic.” – and on and on. Then he was shown pictures of these same people up close and realized as he looked into their eyes that they all had stories. “I didn’t judge the whole person, just what I saw on the outside.”
He and his wife are in a season of grace right now. They have teenagers – I can identify with that need for grace! They found themselves assaulted with the need to respond with grace to their kids – Jeff said, “It’s much easier to respond negatively to kids than with grace.”
He wrote Grace Like Rain when he felt God convict him to do so. “It was as if God was saying, ‘You are a storyteller. I want a book about people who have been transformed by grace.'” The book came floating forth – it took him only two to three months to write. The people in the book were “divine appointments.” Some were friends; some people he didn’t know. “God put the people into my life.”
Jeff spent most of the book talking about what grace isn’t, then what grace really is. “Grace is the only power to transform a person’s life.” Once you appreciate this, then you can have grace yourself [to others].
Generations of people have been so turned off by what they see as the hypocrisy of Christians and the church. What will win them back is when they see Christ by our actions and our lives.
Jeff related a story of taking his kids to the Rose Bowl parade when they were younger. After all the beautiful floats had passed by, they were followed by a group of “Christians” holding placards saying things like, “Repent – or spend eternity in hell, ” and “You’re going to hell unless you repent.” Jeff’s kids were shocked and said to their dad – no one is going to come to Christ that way!
Jeff is an avid sportsman and the family loves camping. He’s an adventurer. That sense of adventure follows into his career – he’s in investment management. “In 1991, I was managing a small cap mutual fund that was the best in the world.” Then things crashed and he spent several years in a depression.
When he was thirty-seven (he’s 50 now), he and his wife were in bed one night when he said to her that he felt they needed to turn their lives over to Jesus. She agreed – they prayed together and both accepted Christ at the same time.
He’s married to his high school sweetheart – they started dating when he was 17 and his wife 16. After college, they got married and are celebrating 27 years together.
We all need Grace Like Rain – you’ll read it with a highlighter in hand and learn something new each time you pick it up.
Jeff can be contacted through Elk Lake Publishing (www.elklakepublishing.com). Click below to purchase Grace Like Rain.