You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts — how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! (Psalm 139:15-17) I was born on Tuesday, October 7, 1958. At 8:20 AM, I breathed my first breath of life. I was born a basic barbarian with a nature of sin in my spirit and with a mind empty and clueless about life. As a child I absorbed my surroundings. The influences of my father and mother set patterns in my life. Some were good, others were hurtful, and in later years had to be broken. My young mind gained concepts of self, of how to relate to others, and thankfully I was taught that there as an unseen God that reveals Himself through His word, and that we should worship Him and honor Him with all we do. My mother taught me to read the Bible, to pray, and to respect others and their property. My father taught me the value of honesty, integrity, and of being truthful always. He taught me to work hard, to spend my money wisely, and to tithe. Mom and Dad taught me by example the golden rule: do unto others what you would have them do to you. As I aged I learned that I am responsible for all my actions and the choices they produce. In a large measure, God gives us what we draw to ourselves as a result of our choices. Some influences I had no control over when I was young, but I learned that I must choose to resist and change the ones that produce hurtful effects in me and towards others through me. Near age 18, I fully committed my life to Jesus, being restored to fellowship with Him, and then receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The principle purpose of my life changed from self-centeredness to seeking to live to please the One who redeemed my life from hell now and later. At age 18, the Father called me to preach His Word. Since then the passion of my life has been to obey Him. Though I fail Him often, I ask Him for His grace to help my weaknesses, and His power to enable me to fulfill His will. He created me as an eternal human spirit. One day, He will call me to Himself to live with Him in heaven, either in the rapture of the church or through the doorway of physical death. My goal in life is to be pleasing to Him, and to hear Him speak over me the words, well done, good and faithful servant.
 (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)