< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: William P Young, author of The Shack

Monday, November 09, 2015

William P Young, author of The Shack

I went to hear William P.Young, author of The Shack, at our library tonight. And I am SO glad I did! When I read the book, I have to admit I thought it was a little new-age and wondered about the author.

Meeting him tonight and listening to him I know now he is a godly man who loves God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If you've read the book you know what a great story teller he is, so you can imagine how entertaining and interesting his talk was.

It was like a beautiful 2 hour sermon filled with; stories that were funny, encouraging and enlightening, his background and writing the book and the making of the movie coming out in 2016.

One quick story he told was how right before he wrote the book he lost everything - his house, cars, etc. He, his wife and six children were living in a small rental house and he was working 3 jobs. He had always written things; songs, stories, etc. but just for family and his wife said, "I wish you would write something for your children for Christmas."

So he wrote The Shack and had it bound at Office Depot for their Christmas gifts that year. He had to print 15 so he also gave one to his wife and the rest to a few friends. (The friends read it and passed it to more friends and on and on.The Shack has sold 22 million copies now!)

Anyway, fast forward to 2010 when it was printed in Germany and a German company wanted to do a documentary on the author of the best seller. They followed him around Europe while he was on a book tour and then asked if they could come to Oregon a few months later to film his home and where the story was set. He said yes and they asked if he knew a videographer in the area so they wouldn't have to fly one over. He happened to know one and put them in contact with each other. He didn't know it at the time, but that one had to cancel and gave them another name who committed, but then who also had to cancel, but found a replacement too who worked out.

While filming in Oregon they asked William about that first Christmas and he told the story and they wanted to go to the rental house and film it. William called the people living in it to get permission and the team all went over. Kevin, the videographer, pulled William aside when they got there and said, "Do you remember getting an envelope of money under your door one Christmas?" William said, "Yes, but I've never told anyone that!" Kevin said in 2004 he felt the nudging of the Holy Spirit to give money to someone who had nothing and he couldn't think of anyone. He was standing in Best Buy and got into conversation with a man about it and the man wrote down an address and gave it to him. That's where he took the money. And William used it to print and bind the first 15 copies of The Shack.

It turns out the other man was a friend of William's and William had never let him help him.

His talk was full of stories like this. I would highly recommend going to hear him speak if he is anywhere close to where you live. I'll end with a quote from him below:

"For me, everything is about Jesus and Father and the Holy Spirit, and relationships, and life is an adventure of faith lived one day at a time.  Any aspirations, visions and dreams died a long time ago and I have absolutely no interest in resurrecting them (they would stink by now anyway).  I have finally figured out that I have nothing to lose by living a life of faith.  I know more joy every minute of every day than seems appropriate, but I love the wastefulness of my Papa’s grace and presence.  For me, everything in my life that matters, is perfect!"

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