By Brenda H. Andrews
Publisher, New Journal and Guide
Several of my dearest friends have published books recently and asked me to give them a personal shout-out in the New Journal and Guide. One of them is Elder Gerald D. Tyler, who writes the column, “The Pastor’s Corner” in the newspaper and has penned “Three In One.”
After reading his book which is a memoir (and finding out some things about Jerry I didn’t know!), I decided to give him the chance to share in my review by doing an interview.
This book provides the catalyst through which the meaning of the author’s life comes together as the “good, bad and ugly.” While it is no “tell-all” by any stretch, I’m sure, it does keep the reader engaged. Tyler pours out his life for examination and triumphs its elevation from living for the “world” to living for God.
He insists that the book is not just “his” story but that of others seeking to make their lives worthwhile so their living was not in vain when they arrive at the pearly gates. He says in more than one place in the book he hopes his words will help transform the lives of others as they grow in awareness and love of Jesus Christ.
The book has three distinct sections that detail his life in education, ministry and writing. I had the honor of writing the introduction to the “writing” section.
Publisher: When did you know you were going to write this book?
GDF: I had been wanting to write a book for the past 20-25 years. However, I really committed myself to doing so and began the writing on January 6, 2015 and completed the entire book writing process four and one half months later.
Publisher: That is remarkable to me and shows a great deal of self-discipline and determination. How did the actual writing of the book come about?
GDT: Well, once I retired two years ago now, I had more time to actually get it done after having served 38 years in the ministry, 36 years in higher education administration, and serving on about 26-27 different boards and committees across the Hampton Roads Region, Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation all during most these same years. I knew I had an interesting life and story to share with others (i.e., the good, bad, and ugly), so I simply wanted to share that story before I left here to go to my eternal home in glory with God, Jesus, and perhaps who knows how many millions of other “true-believing” saints of The Most High God! Yes, it took me four and a half months to begin and complete the writing of my book until it was published.
Publisher: What was the “driving” force that kept you on track with completing the book?
GDT: The driving force was me and how I’ve always been wired. Now, of course, it goes without saying actually that God was with me and behind me all along the way. I’m one of those who realizes quite well that I can’t do anything without God and/or Jesus Christ being in as well as with me – energizing, empowering, equipping, sustaining, leading and guiding me all the way. So to Him be all the glory!
I’m wired such that I tend to motivate myself to accomplish things that I set out to do without a lot of prodding or pressure from others. I’m positively aggressive, proactive, and generally stay the course in completing most things that I initiate or undertake to get done. I’m not a quitter! Usually, if I begin something, I also complete it with very few exceptions in life.
Publisher: It seems to me in reading the book that there was a “release” of sorts that emerged at times in the book. Am I on track?
GDT: Well, I don’t know if the book was more of a release or a relief?
One thing that I’m most certain of is that writing the book was tremendously therapeutic for me personally from a spiritual growth perspective. I mean, while writing and continuously looking back over all the years of my life and where God has brought me from; how He’s cared for me; how He’s protected me; how He’s kept me; and so very, very much more – it’s like what can I say – Hallelujah! Thank you God!!!
Publisher: What “feelings” did writing the book arouse? How did you deal with them?
GDT: Feelings of sorry and regret for all of my past sins, shortcomings, disobedience to God and His Holy Word. While at the same time, feelings of joy and eternal peace with God and Jesus knowing of a certainty that God loved me so very much that He forgave me for all my sins past, present, and future. I dealt with it all by loving God, thanking, worshiping, and praising Him all along the way because I knew that He was most worthy of my praise. He’s an awesome God!
Publisher: The great poet Maya Angelou said that the “caged bird” sang for “freedom. Did writing the book free you in anyway?
GDT: What a great lady – Maya! I would say yes. Yes because I’d wanted to write the book for so very long believing in my heart, and know knowing already that my book would be a great blessing to many folk. I know that because I’m getting such positive feedback pursuant to the book and what it has done and yet doing for those who have already read it and still reading. It’s really not me merely just saying that the book will be a blessing to its readers.
The Holy Spirit inspired me to write the book, therefore, I truly believe that He’s using it perhaps in manifold ways to reach people, to encourage and let them know that they’re not hopeless nor helpless in this life. To let them know that God is of no respecter of persons – what He’s done for one (me), He certainly is able, can, and wants to do for so many others who might catch faith and put their trust God. Also, the book should give to people who are already saved a greater sense of their blessed assurance of eternal salvation because of the biblical and scriptural manner in which it was written.
Publisher: What is the consistent theme and/or message throughout the book?
GDT: Sooooo glad you asked this question! The overriding theme throughout all three sections of the book (i.e., educator, preacher, and writer), is the fact that one simply cannot sink too low, or so low, that God and Jesus cannot reach them wherever they are and save them from their sins. Except for the sin of “UNBELIEF” all of us can be saved and not have to spend eternity in a “devil’s hell!” I don’t care how bad, hopeless, or helpless a person may think that he or she is in this life – God can still save him or her.
And that is the overriding theme of the book that I want to get across to all who read it. Trust God and Jesus, put your faith in them and you can be saved forever! God is the one who saves, and God is the one who keeps us saved for Jesus Christ’s sake – PERIOD!
Publisher: Would you change anything if you were to re-do the book?
GDT: If I could go back and change something, it wouldn’t be the book. It would be a changing of my past sinful life knowing what I now know of and about God and His unmerited and unearned eternal salvation. I would give my life to God as early as possible if I could do it all over again. Since that’s not possible, I love Him for saving me when He did. I’m His now and forevermore!