I'm not trying to trick anyone here, just have a little fun. Jake Colsen is a pseudonym. It's not that I'm too embarrassed to tell you who I am, it's just that I want to get the story finished before the religion police catch up with me. After that, I don't care if they know and they can take their best shot.

Actually I'm not worried about the religion police at all. I just want you to discover who I am as you discover where my journey has led. Periodically, I'm going to tell you a bit more about me, my family and my history. At the end I'll let you know exactly who I am...

On January 15, 2002 I told you:

  • I'm a former pastor, of both mainline denominational churches and of independent, Charismatic fellowships.
  • I've written a number of books under my real name.
  • I have been married to the same woman my entire adult life and am enjoying the rich heritage of being best friends with my adult children.

On February 17, 2002 I told you more about my family:

I've been married for more than 50 years (I hate to tell you how many more!) to the same incredible woman and have six children and to date three grandchildren (one can always hope for more). I have two grown, married daughters and three sons who are finding their way in the world. I did lose a son a number of years ago in a tragic accident.

On April 5, 2002 I told you more about my Christian background:

My work in institutional religion included American Baptist, Lutheran (Missouri Synod), Foursquare and interdenominational fellowships. Over the years I've also had significant touch with The Vineyard, People of Destiny, Christian and Missionary Alliance, and YWAM. I still teach among the body of Christ in a number of settings, including traditional congregations and informal home groups. I've traveled throughout the U.S., as well as to Canada, Asia and Europe. I enjoy most sharing stories with believers who have found freedom from the rigors of religion to discover the life and vitality that comes from friendship with the Living, Loving Father.

On January 16, 2003 I told you more about my geography:

You might say I started my life's journey back in the plains of the Midwest before settling down in California. Here I've lived the breadth of the State from Eureka in the north to the Los Angeles area in the south. Most of my time, however put me smack dab in the middle of the Central Valley. I enjoy a quiet walk on a lonely stretch of beach with my lovely wife or one up in the mountains during wildflower time of late spring. God's beauty is on no greater display than in his creation and in his people.

On July 1, 2003, I added some personal details from the last few months:

The last few months have been particularly difficult, as I've battled a bit of cancer. I've had chemo, radiation, surgery and now more chemo. The prognosis is good but the journey has not been easy. At the same time, however, God continues to shine his glory on my path. Relationships with my children couldn't be better. I continue to meet wonderful people on a similar journey to mine and that always warms my heart. Thanks to so many of you who have written to tell me how my story has impacted yours. May we all continue to live closer to him and swim freely in the vast pool of his life and grace.

On December 22, 2003, I began to unravel the puzzle:

As I warned you at the outset Jake Colsen is a pseudonym. But what I didn't tell you is that it is a pseudonym that represents the work of two different people who have been long-time friends and fellow-travelers in the journey of faith. Each has given a bit of their stories to John and me to help others find the joy of living free in Christ.

So let's unravel the previous information:

Person #1 has been married for 45 years and has four children, one of whom died in his twenties, the result of a tragic accident. He has three grandchildren and lives in the Central Valley of California. He grew up in the Midwest, was a pastor in the Lutheran tradition, and produced a television show in Northern California. He left 'pastoral ministry' more than 30 years ago and supported himself by hanging wallpaper. During that time he has frequented many different gatherings of believers and has encouraged and counseled others as God has given him opportunity. He is currently a chaplain for Hospice and over the last year has become a cancer survivor himself.

Person #2 has been married nearly 29 years and has two grown children. He grew up in the Central Valley of California where he pastored in two different fellowships over 20 years. He left that 10 years ago and now lives in Southern California where he writes, fellowships with others and travels throughout the world, encouraging brothers and sisters God to live deeply in God's life.

When I post the next chapter, I will identify by name these two culprits who are responsible for telling this story.

Why did we keep this secret for so long?

I know the secrecy of it all has given you some concern about our ulterior motives in writing this book. Fortunately, withholding our names for a time had nothing so sinister in mind. Originally we thought it would only be six months before we had enough chapters written to divulge who we are. Initially we just wanted to create a bit of interest and mystery by having people unsure who wrote it. We also wanted it to find its own audience without building on our reputations from the past.