This book you’re holding, The Hope in Personal Apocalypse, was written from the heart of my great friend, Jeff. I am now on my third reading of this book, which he sent me to review at a time when I was slowly traveling through my own seven-year apocalyptic wilderness experience; my health had fallen into a deep life-threatening decline. The help, encouragement, and hope that Jeff's book continues to provide me were born out of his own hardships, the personal apocalypse he faced, and the resulting lessons he learned.
After working in law enforcement and serving as a hospital chaplain, I became acquainted with Jeff through social media, which wonderfully bridged the more than 2,000-mile gap between our locations. I first stumbled across Jeff five years ago on his Facebook ministry page which, even at that time, had a worldwide following – many of whom were terribly burdened with their own personal, spiritual, emotional, and/or physical apocalypses.
Soon after meeting Jeff, he graciously asked if I would consider becoming a contributor to his page by praying for those in need and possibly even write articles of encouragement based on the Bible; I eagerly accepted his offer. What followed, for me, was the truly spiritual, emotionally rich, and gratifying experience of being provided the opportunity to minister to others on such a large scale. Not long after, Jeff created a Facebook ministry page for me, and I am still actively mentoring several thousand people in need to this day.
While Jeff’s ministry page was neither designed nor intended as a vehicle for sharing his personal life story and the challenges he’s faced, with the expectation of helping others through first-person accounts and personal narratives, The Hope in Personal Apocalypse is crafted to do just exactly that. Every aspect of Jeff’s book has wonderfully ministered to me in unique ways and built up nicely to its final chapters.
Chapter Eleven of twelve, titled “The Hope in Harry,” is the true-life story of an older man, very near my same age, who Jeff knew very well; his story and Jeff’s message provided me with the determination and hope that I was desperately searching for and encouraged me not to give in or give up while fighting my own personal apocalypse. Like Jeff, I discovered that through God’s love, mercy, and grace, and through His strength living within me, I could, indeed, do all the things He has created me to accomplish for Him.
Unlike your typical novel, which is often read once and then discarded, The Hope in Personal Apocalypse is a book that I believe must be read more than just once. Each time I read its twelve chapters, I am supplied with a renewed sense of hope. My earnest prayer is that God, through the reading of The Hope in Personal Apocalypse, will minister His personal presence, love, comfort, and peace to you.
Chaplain Mike Connolly
I was deeply humbled to be asked to write a short foreword for The Hope in Personal Apocalypse. The author and I met, as I would like to think, only through ‘divine intervention’ around a decade ago. Though many might consider this meeting a random event, we both felt it necessary to stay in touch. Over the years, the author and I have built a special and important relationship. I am honored and blessed to have him as a friend. He has touched me and made such a significant impact on me. I thank the Good Lord that he is in my life.
Through his recent endeavor, The Hope in Personal Apocalypse, I believe he will make a similar impact on you.
The book is a work of art. As you will see with each turning of the page, the author truly has a gift with words and analogies. This is a skill we non-writers can only sit back and admire. The wisdom is displayed with every keystroke. Each chapter pulled me forward, wanting more. This is a book that calls to be read in one sitting and then draws the reader to start back at the beginning, highlighter in hand. I have found myself approaching it somewhat like a devotional, reading it through twice and then using it as a reference, reviewing highlighted passages that have helped me through difficult times. Readers will want to refer to it again and again, not just this month or even this year, but over the course of a lifetime.
I was particularly touched by the author’s personal stories and his use of the "handicap" concept, such as in Chapter 2 where he states:
"In spite of these problems, I try to put my best foot forward in every situation; and I am ever thankful for this gift of sight – partial though it may be.”
The author may not have perfect sight, but he truly sees things that even those with 20/20 vision may not see. Reading The Hope in Personal Apocalypse feels like a personal visit with the author, one in which you are allowed to really know him. He is approachable and vulnerable, allows you to discover that, though he may seem to be handicapped from the outside, the Lord has used his handicap as a gift that lets faith move mountains. It may sound strange, but through his partial blindness, he sees the physical and spiritual world more clearly. Some may feel intimidated, fearful, even cursed by such a disability, but this author recognizes the blessing and accepts it as a source of encouragement. I think of Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, where he describes the thorn in his flesh and prays three times to have it removed.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9 to 10 – New English Translation).
Through examples such as this, the author of The Hope in Personal Apocalypse helps us to see that we, too, can be so humble and see that His grace is enough and His power made perfect in weakness. Know that when you pick up this book, it may be the first time but it will not be the last. You will have to go back again and again to grasp all of its wisdom. If you are ready to be encouraged, get your highlighters ready, and turn the page!
In Christ's love,
Chaplain William H Schnakenberg IV
Blue Collar Believer
In this short video, a surviving daughter shares about Jeff and how his book’s message of hope inspired and renewed her father's spirit who, when his life was to be drastically cut short by ALS – one of the cruelest of incurable diseases – began to lose his sense of meaning and purpose.