The Story Behind Touch Bible
I never thought my picture would be on one of those money jars at a gas station. Yet, at twenty-five years old, I was given only three to five years to live. Scleroderma was the diagnosis, a brutal and deadly autoimmune disease without a cure which turns flesh into stone.
Life changes in an instant, doesn’t it? In mere months I went from being perfectly healthy to barely being able to move and looking at a grim future. Scleroderma, the kind I have, effects everything.
Five years to live? That may have been too generous!
To stand, I needed a lift chair or the help of a friend. Simply breathing was exhausting. My version of walking was more like waddling. My hands that once loved drawing and music making, were stuck bent and unable to go straight. I could barely open my mouth wide enough to brush my teeth. I often needed a wheelchair to get around.
A picture I drew seven years earlier foreshadowed my predicament. The man, exhausted from worry is sleeping on his desk while writing bills, where his worst nightmares play out: Death chases him, his wife and child are alone, his life is a balancing act while he screams and backslides.
Leaving something behind…
I did not want to leave this world without making some kind of a difference. Typing was almost all I could do anymore. I began working on a website, ChristianRevolution.net. I found myself in a hurry to put things right after hearing how little time was left.
The site needed an embedded online Bible, but I didn’t want to spend the precious time making one. Though I searched hard, I couldn’t find a Bible that would work directly on my site. Alas, I began to make my own online Bible despite my desire not to make one. Little did I know, that online bible would become very handy the following year.
An experimental study for the treatment of Scleroderma with life saving potential ‘somehow’ found me. Getting early access to an experimental study is unlikely, and yet here was my chance to live! Scleroderma is not cancer, but twelve months of chemotherapy was administered to reset my immune system.
I worked on my site wherever I could; at home, in the car to get treatments (four hours away from home), or while I was in a hospital bed. Somehow, I was able to build a site complete with christian comics, studies, music, news, and an online Bible.
In April of 2006 I was diagnosed with Scleroderma and by January 2007 I thought my work was finished. Yet, despite this work, it seemed like no one ever visited my site. Was it all for nothing?
This Changed Everything
My health was beginning to improve after six months of chemo. I was doing much better! I was beginning to get bits of my life back. Plus, I had a new Motorola® Razr® in my pocket! It was the phone to have at the time. But that was about to change. While the tech world just begin to love the Razr, an amazing new smart phone was in the works. No one truly knew what to expect, but on January 9, 2007 the Razr – and every other phone – went into the dark ages.
I watched as Steve Jobs took it out of his pocket and my jaw hit the floor! Like most people, I thought it was amazingly cool; but it had it’s fall backs. There wasn’t an App Store, only “Web Apps” existed. They were programs and games made out of web page code. Being a webmaster, that sounded like something I could do, but “I am not going to make a web app…”
…is what I thought until I saw an iPhone for the first time! The first thing I did was visit ChristianRevolution.net. I accidentally found my way to the online Bible. It really looked cool and it wasn’t even trying to be a web app!
I was curious about what Bibles were out there for the iPhone. I was very disappointed at what I found. They were hard to use. Worst of all, if you lost your internet connection (which was common), you lost your ability to read the Bible.
Why not send a Bible App via email so people can always have a Bible? No one was doing that and it really bothered me. I could see someone not being able to use the bible because the cellular network went out on them.
Remember that Online Bible I didn’t want to make?
I decided to fix these problems, and I had a huge head start. That online Bible I had hesitated to build turned out to a life altering event. Without it, I would have never had this downloadable Bible app idea. With a great starting point, that online bible was transformed into Touch Bible.
I tested the app on my iPod Touch. After weeks of calling it an “iPod Touch Bible,” it became simply “Touch Bible.” The final app came in two forms: a web app and an email app – The Web app was Touch Bible(Online) and the email app was Touch Bible(Go).
Touch Bible (Online) in 2008
The world needs to read the Bible, and I unwittingly became a part of the christian force that is getting it out there. It even brought a little traffic to my ChristianRevolution.net site! God used me to give away 11,500 copies of Touch Bible(Go). That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Touch Bible in 2015
Years later, the free Touch Bible apps would go on to be downloaded over a million times! What a blessing! Little o’ me with God’s help was finally able give the bible to so many people.
I am not bragging. I only say this to show how God can take someone, even if they are close to death, and pull them out of the waste basket, dust them off and use them in ways they never thought possible.
I credit God for helping me find a path towards healing, one that would buy me the time I needed to do His work. My wife who pushed my wheel chair down the long hall in clinics, family and friends truly came through for me. Whatever I couldn’t do my wife did for me. If we needed a hotel while we were away getting treatment, they helped.
Touch Bible would have never happened without the many people who literally saved my life.
I didn’t want to meet God empty handed.
Folks, I won the lottery of rare diseases when I was diagnosed with Scleroderma. My skin was on the verge of turning to leather, and somehow God still used me when I was at my weakest. I didn’t know how to start a website, I didn’t know how to make a Bible app. I tried anyway, and He helped me.
Touch Bible didn’t come to me in a vision. It wasn’t even Plan A (or even Plan Z). I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be distributing Bible Programs. I wasn’t a programer. I was more of a graphics dude who would occasionally make a video or cartoon.
There were these three men in the Bible. Their master was going out of town and trusted each person with money. The first person he trusted with the most, the third person he trusted with the least. The first two men invested that money, and made more out of it. But the third man hid his in the ground. When their master returned, the first two gave back more than they were given. The third man only gave back he already had. The master wasn’t happy with that man, saying that he could have at least put it in a bank where it would collect interest.
It isn’t a parable about money. It is one about using your gifts, and letting those gifts bless God and others. I didn’t want to be that third man, who sat on his gifts and never used them. I want my master to know that I at least tried to do something.
It has been over five years!
I survived past April 2011. That’s over five years, and I am still here. I am doing well, too! All of those problems I mentioned before are now gone. I still have trouble out of my hands and I am not as flexible as I used to be, but the doctors tell me that I am doing very well. I should have many years of good health ahead of me if things continue like they are! Moreover, God used these circumstances to bless my family with two beautiful children.
Let me be clear. The doctors told me I could die from this disease, but I didn’t really believe it. I accepted the warning as a wakeup call, but I never worried about tomorrow. Today has enough troubles of its own. I learned that from a very wise man.
He came through.
I want you to know how grave things were for me because it shows how God can use anyone. I am not looking for anyone to feel sorry for me. Neither am I trying to brag about myself. It was truly those around me who pulled me through. It was God’s work through others, not me. There is no room to brag about myself, but there is plenty of room to brag about God and those who helped me along the way.
I pray that if you read this, that you were encouraged to do something for the LORD. I guess we are all worried about our shortcomings. But trust me, that, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me,” is a very powerful truth. I couldn’t have made Touch Bible, at the sickest point in my life, without God helping me.
Imagine what He could help you accomplish!