18 Mile Overview
I wanted to write a quick blog post about my new ebook coming out next week Tuesday July 18th. Hopefully this will help you understand why I wrote it, what it will be about it and other details about how you can get it and the organization I’m helping to support with any proceeds.
What It’s About
The title of the book is 18 mile. Many are familiar with the movie Eminem came out with called 8 Mile. I always thought it was interesting that we grew up so close to him and that both our streets had an 8 in it. It got me thinking what a movie about 18 Mile would look like. I started brainstorming about the similarities and differences, the spiritual parallels and all the experiences we went through. I created an outline just to see it on paper, then slowly started expanding upon it. This all happened around 2012, right before I started attending Bible College. I actually finished my first rough draft for 18 Mile all the way back then. Once I went back to school though, I didn’t have very much time to work on it. So it wasn’t until I finished Bible College last year that I was able to start working on it again. Obviously a lot has changed since then, so I made many edits to the rough draft and additions as well.
18 Mile turned out being an autobiography about my transformation from living for the world to relationship with God which takes place from my senior year in high school during the year 2000 to the present day. It’s not obvious at first glance of the logo, but the 18 surrounded by a circle is supposed to be indicative of the 180 degree turnaround in my life which is also portrayed by the two circles in the 8 going in different directions. The book is around 100 pages and 18 chapters long with about half of them being about my life without God and half of them being about my life with God. It talks about many of the issues a young person growing up in the early 2000’s would encounter, the influence Eminem and hip hop had on us, drugs, parties, relationships, work, religion and more. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive study on any of those topics in particular, but an easy read that touches on each subject and offers some Biblical truth to consider. Each chapter has a key takeaway at the end that discusses what you can learn.
Why I Wrote 18 Mile
Speaking of what you can learn, that is the main reason I wrote 18 Mile. As I was putting together the outline, one of the main things that struck me was how valuable it would be for younger kids to read this because of what they can learn, particularly from the mistakes I made. But I think everybody can learn something from this book as it speaks to many different struggles we all face and features a few chapters towards the end that teach Biblical truth about how to overcome them.
One of the biggest problems I feel Christians have in reaching the younger generations is that they are not presenting the Gospel to them in ways they can relate to and/or from people they can relate to. I grew up in a denomination that pretty much put the church leaders on a pedestal. When I had problems I didn’t feel like I could go to them because I thought how can they help me when they don’t even understand what I’m going through? Also, the way the Gospel is traditionally presented isn’t really attractive in general, but especially to kids who have their whole life ahead of them. Why would they want to give their life to God? There isn’t much that draws them to God, it’s mostly just fear based rhetoric that scares them into saying a prayer that they don’t really mean so that they won’t go to hell. It’s just like the “just say no” anti-drug campaign in the 80’s. It was largely unsuccessful and in my opinion it was because they weren’t giving people something better to say yes to.
When it comes to learning about God, I’m really passionate about reaching not only younger people but also those who don’t know the Lord in general or evangelism. I know how hard it is to overcome certain beliefs once you have been indoctrinated with them, whether they be from the world or the church. I have been very blessed to be able to learn from some of the best Biblical teachers in the world in my opinion, the main two being Greg Henry and Bertie Brits. However, because of my experiences in the world and in church, it wasn’t easy for me to allow their ministries into my heart at first because it was very different from what I was used to. Also, because of the apostolic nature of their ministries sometimes they can get very advanced and technical about what they are teaching. I feel like 18 mile can introduce many people to the life-changing truths taught by Greg and Bertie at a very basic level with real life examples that can serve as a bridge to their ministries and the message of grace.
So I hope people who read 18 mile are encouraged by the God presented in the book and are given something better to say yes to from someone they can relate to. In order to actually place your trust in God, you have to get to know Him. If a stranger comes up to you and asks you to just trust him, would you? No. Why? Because you don’t know Him. This book is just one tool for people to get to know God better by seeing how He worked in my life and some of the things He has taught me.
Here’s an interview I did with Rick Malone about the book in case you missed it yesterday.
Young Knights Organization
After I finished writing the book, one of the decisions I had to make was whether or not to sell the book or give it away. I decided it would be best to give it as a free download so that anybody that wants to read it can get one, but I wanted to try to help the Young Knights organization that I was introduced to from a friend of mine. They are a faith-based mentoring program for fatherless inner city kids in Chicago. Since my schedule wouldn’t allow me to commit to becoming a mentor for them, I thought this was the next best thing I could do. I have no idea how much exposure or proceeds I can help them get, but all of the donations I receive for the book will be given to the Young Knights. I have provided some more info about them from their website below. If you’d like to visit their website to learn more or get involved it is www.youngknights.org.
Info From Young Knights Website
The city of Chicago is in crisis. Young men growing up on the southside of Chicago live in fear without hope. Compared to their peers, they are 4 times more likely to live in poverty, 2.7 more likely to be convicted of gun and drug charges, and 2 times more likely to be incarcerated. Behind these statistics and the tragic stones played out on the nightly news, lies the epidemic of fatherlessness.
The Magnitude of the Epidemic
- One in three children are born to unmarried parents. (Gallup Survey)
- An estimated 24.7 million children do not live with their biological father. (National Fatherhood Initiative)
- 43% of urban teens live away from their father. (Gallup Survey)
- 42% of fathers fail to see their children at all after divorce. (Journal of Marriage of Family)
- Since 1960 the rate of U.S. boys without fathers has quadrupled. (US Bureau of Census)
Whether a boy’s father died, abandoned him or is emotionally unavailable, a teenage boy without a guide will lose his way. Fatherlessness is the single largest contributing factor to pain and hopelessness in children, especially in the inner-cities of America. It is responsible for some staggering statistics.
- 68% of teen suicides
- 90% of all runaways and homeless children
- 85% of children with behavior problems
- 71% of high school dropouts
- 85% of youths in prison
- Engage fatherless boys from 5th to 8th grade.
- Target the toughest neighborhood, 400 blocks of Chicago’s South Side.
- Enlist good and godly men to serve as mentors.
- Partner with churches in the community.
- Launch young men into biblical manhood.
You will be able to download 18 Mile on the free ebook tab of this site when it is released on Tuesday July 18th. Hope to see you guys back here then. If you’d like to have the book emailed to you the day it comes out so you don’t forget, simply add your email to the form below. Thanks for stopping by.