Preface – One Step at a Time

If you opened this book and are reading these words, something is stirring within you. Perhaps you are looking for help, guidance, encouragement, or simply hope. You may desire something for your life and relationship with God, but you may not be sure how to find it. The stirrings you feel are not uncommon. Others like you have felt such restlessness or yearning.

Sometimes what is stirring within us doesn’t yet have a name, and we don’t know if it pertains to God, a life-stage issue, unresolved childhood experiences, or something else. We may just feel a need or longing, and we are motivated to try to find the missing pieces. Perhaps something inside us is calling out for deeper understanding, more fulfillment, more authenticity, or more joy. Maybe we are suffering from great disappointment or grief. We may be craving greater satisfaction in our life and relationships. Sometimes we are very conscious that something is wrong in our life. Other times we just know that something needs to change.

Our awareness of our needs and desires may dawn on us slowly, while at other times it jars us awake or stings us in an instant. Most of us have had those times when we suddenly realize something very surprising, disturbing, or disappointing. Perhaps we don’t really like who we are, where we are, who our friends are, where we work, or any number of other major aspects of our life. We are almost shocked at the realization, and we wonder, how in the world did we get here? Or maybe we set out in pursuit of a dream or desire, only to get what we thought we wanted and discover it is not what we want at all. Such experiences can be very disorienting or troubling. Sometimes they are enlightening.

Others of us are seeking deeper meaning and purpose to life, and we want to make a difference somehow. Some of us are searching for love, to be loved and to offer love to others. We may also want a better life in some way—for ourselves personally, our families, our churches, our nation, and the suffering masses throughout the world—but we may not know what to do. We may feel powerless or overwhelmed.

Spiritually, many of us want to know and experience God more powerfully. We may hear a lot about “personal transformation”—buzz words in many circles today—but sometimes when we look at our own feeble attempts to improve ourselves or our circumstances, we wonder who truly changes and how transformation happens. We may also feel frustrated and disappointed that God doesn’t seem to be doing more to help, and, even more, we want to know if there is any hope for us.

If you struggle with any of these issues, as I have, I have written this book for you. I have written for those who want a better relationship with God and a more fulfilling life and who are willing to admit their limitations, struggles, disappointments, and longing.  believe spiritual growth is truly possible and that God is already at work drawing you closer to God and transforming you, whether or not you can see or feel it. The love, joy, and peace you are longing for is not reserved for a few special people but is available to you as well, as you learn to better recognize God’s activity in your life and how to flow better with the Spirit’s leading day by day.

The backdrop for each chapter is my own life-changing pilgrimage experience on the road to Santiago de Compostela, a relatively rare spiritual practice that helped bring me greater clarity and insight for my own spiritual life. On the Camino, walking five hundred miles across northern Spain in the summer of 2006, my marriage, relationships with my sons, perspective on the world, way of going about relating to others, and way of being in the world and relating to God, nature, and others were all profoundly affected. Through that experience, and ever since, I have been learning more about how the Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers and what it means to be filled and led by the Spirit.

Yet, this book is not about me, but about how God works in those who seek God wholeheartedly. I have written to help fellow spiritual pilgrims learn how to become more intentional on their journey and how to reap greater rewards from their efforts to know God and experience God’s power in every aspect of their life. I offer my experiences, reflections, and insights into Scripture and practical Christian living as possible catalysts for your own spiritual pilgrimage, your lifelong journey of seeking God, following Christ, and being led by the Holy Spirit. This journey will be marked by a series of transitions and changes; ups and downs; cycles of doubting, drifting, and renewal; new discoveries; and internal and external transformation—all of which can help you to keep growing and to experience more of the full life Christ intends for you.

If you want to learn more about my spiritual life coaching and consulting work, please see The ministries my wife, Jill, and I conduct in Africa, Burma, and France are described at Finally, if you are seeking more resources on spiritual growth and leadership, please visit my blog site at As this book goes to press, I will be preparing a leader’s guide for pastors and small group leaders to use with it; the guide will be posted on

May the Holy Spirit work powerfully to inspire, teach, and encourage you as you read this book as part of your spiritual pilgrimage.