Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's Next?

If you stuck with me through the thirty chapters of Christian Mythology, then thank God. I know it was tough. Sin is not an easy subject. It's personal. Whether it left you cold and indifferent or sensitive and awake, one with God perhaps for the first time since salvation, then thank God. It affected you. I know. I lived every one of those thirty chapters and more. For years. But there's more.

Thirty myths of sin certainly don't cover the full spectrum. The flesh and the devil are far too clever to limit the number. But the good news is that I will leave it alone. The point has been made. It's time to move on.

Shortly after I completed the first draft of Christian Mythology I started into its sequel, The Remnant. Now that draft has sat on the shelves for a few years waiting. It is waiting for me to live it. Once lived, then I shall edit that life into the story. The living is the thing and I'm right in the middle of it. I'd like to share a bit with you.

Life is a struggle. For Christians, it is a struggle between good and evil, sin and righteousness, death and life. I find that struggle played out dramatically between two groups of people on the internet monk: the works righteousness group and the grace group.

I think the monks in the grace group think I'm a works righteousness guy. They fight vehemently against works righteousness. Their favorite target is John Macarthur. I love his preaching so I guess I really am in that camp. I listened to one of his messages about the conscience last week at 11am on WFIL. By the end of the half-hour, I could see why the grace camp doesn't like Macarthur's message. Ironic that his show is called Grace to You. It was all about sin and repentance.

The next day I read a post from Jeff Dunn, a regular monk contributor. He was fed up with the works righteousness crew and wanted to let us know it. Grace, grace, GRACE was his message strong and clear. So strong in fact that like Macarthur, he left something out. The begged question and its answer.

Macarthur preached so strongly on repentance (a work of righteousness) that he included nothing about grace to balance it out. Dunn preached so strongly on grace that someone asked in the comments, "What? Then anything goes?" Hardly. But Dunn failed to balance his message. Seems like these guys always say you'll have to come back for more.

And that is what is happening with all of us. If you read the Christian Mythology series, then you didn't get the rest of the story. Not yet anyway. It's in the next book, The Remnant. There is the balance. But I'm not there yet because although the words are there, the story is not. I have to live it first. I'm right in the middle. It is a grand adventure with Jesus. I hope you will come along.

Because whether you endured Christian Mythology or not, whether you're willing to wait for The Remnant or not, I encourage you to do one thing in the meantime, walk with Jesus. He will show you the truth better than I, Jeff Dunn, or John Macarthur ever could.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review - The Noticer

Book review of The Noticer by Andy Andrews
via Thomas Nelson Book Reviewers

There’s a reason why this 156-page book ranked in the top 100 sellers for Christian books in 2010. It is worth reading more than once and buying for your friends. It’s a quick read but provocative too, with some worthwhile exploratory questions after the end of the story. As an introspective person, I couldn’t help ask myself those questions as I read along.

Andrews adopted a simple storytelling style making The Noticer appropriate for all age groups. I immediately recommended it to my son and wife.

The book came into my life about two years ago and sat in my inbox. After a major life issue and much soul-searching, this book came out of the inbox at just the right time. Every chapter had something to say to me. I even used some of its ideas on my children to give them a little perspective.

I highly recommend that you grab this book and read it now or keep it in the wings. God knows when you’ll need it. It’s easy to order your copy at Notice you just click here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I like the title of this book:

Imagine my surprise stumbling upon this book today: Awakening, by Stovall Weems. Although I have not read it in depth, that wonderful preview tool was enough to convince me that this book is worth reading. Check it out for yourself at

I am excited that a lot of books are coming out on the topic of what we call Awakening. If you haven't read them, I hope you will get a copy of these:

Radical, by David Platt
Mere Churchianity, by Michael Spencer
Jesus Manifesto, by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola

and now:

Awakening, by Stovall Weems

Why would I, a competing author, be excited about these books getting on the shelves before mine? Because I'm awake. And being awake means this life is not about me and what I can get out of it. This life is God's and I am here for His service. I used to worry a lot about getting published. Now I know that if the book I wrote, Christian Mythology, never goes beyond helping the half-dozen or so folks who lived through it with me, then that's enough if that's what God wants. But I know He wants more. He wants all of His saints awake.

What exactly does that mean? Here's a quote from Weems' first chapter:

"Since my awakening more than twenty years ago, I have been in a constant fight to keep that state of newness and freedom in my soul. And to this day nothing is as important to me as keeping my relationship to God fresh and new."

You take it from there. Pick up a copy of the book by clicking here.

Awake! Awake!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Great Writing Contest for You

I just discovered the Writing Spa and for my hard work, a chance to win some great writing stuff. The best news is you can win too. The prizes include the 2011 Christian Writer's Market Guide from Sally Stuart, a free non-fiction proposal tutorial, and a complimentary 5-page manuscript evaluation. All this comes courtesy of Mary DeMuth. Go meet her on Facebook to find out more on how easy it is to get seven entries for this contest. Thanks Mary for this great opportunity.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Authors and Journalists

I usually refrain from commentary on the media. However, the latest accusations against Sarah Palin are wrong. I see among my author friends agreement with this position. I wonder if the journalists are the polar opposite?

Ms. Palin caught the attention of a journalist when she used the phrase "blood libel" in connection with the recent Tucson shooting. Whether she (or her speech writer) knew the origin of this phrase is not the issue. The issue is why it became media-worthy in the first place.

I see perhaps three potential positions the journalist could have taken on this. They chose the approach that just feels like deliberate antagonism. They could have chosen rather to ignore the phrase altogether. Or they could have pointed out the origin and politely corrected Ms. Palin's misuse. But to say that her remarks were deliberate and malicious, just like her campaign crosshair picture, is absurd. Are we to believe that she knew this tragic shooting would take place two years ago when the picture came out? Are we to believe their is some conspiracy lurking beneath her smile and "golly gee" glib?

Some commenters do want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Some are looking for the next opportunity to gig her. Is this journalism? Authors can only get away with this stuff in fiction. Was the journalist just doing his/her investigative duty in digging up the etymology of this phrase? Perhaps. Was it and its results edifying? Hardly. Maybe someone gained by this but I cannot imagine who.

Jesus warned us that we will be judged for every idle word. He tells us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Therefore, we do have to be careful. Some folks would say, "Well, those weren't my exact words." This kind of double-speak means they only spoke what someone else wrote for them. I'm not saying this is what happened in Ms. Palin's case. My point is a question for us all:

What we say, what we mean to say, and what people perceive we say all matter. We can only control the first two. Shame on those in the third category who make it a living to associate and apply the worst to our words. That is not journalism of any sort. That's just bad manners.