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God sends what you need, when you need it.

I stood there completely humiliated. The young family ran away like I was some sort of stalker. All I wanted was their opinion, but they obviously thought I was trying to sell them something.

Thirty minutes before, I entered the bookstore and asked the manager if I could ask prospective readers to rate ten potential titles for my first book. The manager was reluctant since it was against corporate policy.

So I wandered out into the parking lot and started asking people who were heading for the door of the bookstore. In my mind, I had the perfect opening line, “Hi, my name is Jason, and I’m an aspiring author. Can I ask your opinion on a couple of book titles?” Translated into modern English, it sounded like, “Hi, I’m a weirdo, and I’d like to irritate you for at least twenty minutes and then get you to buy something you really don’t want.”

Then Kristina walked up. I didn’t even finish the first three words when she blurted out,

“Oh hi! How are you?”

I said, “Fine, thanks.”

“So what are you selling?” — she asked.

“I am not selling anything.” I replied.

“Oh, then why are you out here talking to everyone? Are you trying to convert people?”

“No.” I said. “I’m a writer, and I need to narrow down these ten titles to the one that’s most appropriate.”

“Oh how neat. Let’s have a look,” she said.

Of all the titles, she picked the one that is on the cover of my first book that comes out today, BREAKING THE BARRIERS. She did something more significant for me than simply rating a title, though. With her gracious attitude, she encouraged me to keep asking until I could survey all 100 people. God sends the right people at the right moment when we least expect it to encourage us to stay the course. “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Tonight, August 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., we will be launching the book and having a signing in the same bookstore where I chased down people in the parking lot two years earlier. And thanks to those 100 total strangers, there is a title on the cover.