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The most compelling reason to serve God is personally having seen him at work.

Condensed from The True Joy of Positive Living. Copyright 1984 by Norman Vincent Peale. Reprinted by arrangement with William Morrow & Co., Inc.

Prominent, and sometimes controversial, Norman Vincent Peale recalls in his autobiography the influences that led him into the pastorate-the model of his pastor father, his early encounters with God's life-changing grace, and his own early attempts to share his faith. This is one man's story of how God directed him into ministry.

Many people were surprised when I ended up a preacher, although I was not what might be called a bad kid. In the small Ohio towns of the early 1900s, a preacher's kid was considered "different" and made to feel so.

But several influences conspired to make a minister out of an unlikely prospect for that profession. One was Father's preaching. The way he described Jesus Christ gave me, early in life, a profound admiration and enthusiasm for the Master. He had an incomparable way of making Christianity real and exciting.

In ...

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