Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Put It on the Calendars!

Okay, I don't know how many read this blog from southeast Idaho (Hi Jenny, hi Chris). If you're in the Upper Snake River Valley, then you want to put February 7th and 8th on your calendar.

Tom Brock will be at our church, Harvest Foursquare Church, speaking at 7 pm both nights. He is a wonderful teacher, who challenges us deeply each time he comes. He was the one who told us about Calling All Nations in Berlin, and was a big blessing in helping us go there this summer. If you want to know more about him, check out his ministry's site at Wave of Life.

If you want to be challenged and encouraged by Jesus' heart for you, then don't miss this!

"Po-pourri, not Pot-pourri"

I'm still getting a handle on my schedule and getting blogging time in. The problem is with not having time to come up with anything worth reading! So in my internet perusals, I offer up the following menagerie of posts:

- Brandilyn Collins is a wonderful fiction teacher, and she has shared a lot of good insight on her blog. This week she is discussing the important topic of "Author's Voice". The first post is at this link: Forensics and Faith. Subsequent posts will follow.

- From writing to the importance of reading, see what J. Mark Bertrand has to say about the reader being as important as the author. And here's a link to Mike Duran's article, Unfashionable Reading, that Bertrand refers to.

- Charis Connection is a group blog of many of Christian fiction's top novelists. Last week they had a good series called Ask the Authors starting on 1/22 through 1/26.

- A new blogging buddy over at Think Virtue! has an encouraging post for writers dealing with the need for discipline and how to develop that in their lives.

(The title of this post refers to my mistaken pronunciation of "potpourri" for a long time as a kid. I was always something of a smarty pants, so my mom thought it amusing when I would blow it. Can't let the kid's head get too big, she thought.)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Blog Tour - If the Shoe Fits

Busy lady! How would it be to have two books coming out in one month! Here's the CFBA's take on Marilynn Griffith's other new book, If the Shoe Fits.

No, you aren't seeing double. This month we are reviewing not one, but two books by Marilynn Griffith! This prolific writer has TWO books coming out this month! This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is posting about If the Shoe Fits (Steeple Hill Cafe', 2007) by Marilynn Griffith (fellow CFBA member, blogger, writer, and mother of seven)

Marilynn Griffith is wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. Her novels include Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006), Pink (Revell, Feb. 2006), Jade (Revell, June 2006), and Tangerine (Revell, January 2007). Her other credits include Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Cup of Comfort Devotionals and her Shades of Style series (Revell, 2006). She lives in Florida with her husband and children. To book speaking engagements or just say hello, email: marilynngriffith (at) gmail dot com.

Have Glass Slipper, Need Prince...

If the Shoe Fits is the second book in the Sassy Sistahood Novels. The first in the series was Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006).

In all my thirty-five years, I, shoe designer Rochelle Gardner, have never had so many men interested in me! My teen son's dad is back in my life after suffering from amnesia (yes, really). The church deacon has had his eye on me for years (and never said a word). And the young waiter (from the restaurant I've visited for singles' events) is trying to steal my heart. I've been struggling with my faith, trying to figure out which man God has chosen for me and wondering if I have the courage to step forward, on my not-so-pretty feet, to accept love. It's almost too much for the Sassy Sistahood to handle, but my girlfriends always have my back!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Pray for Your Favorite Atheist!

Brandilyn Collins had a post today that I could whole-heartedly support. It seems there are a couple of guys running around saying that they have the truth, and the truth is that us religious folk are out of our minds.

Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have written two best-selling books that promote the idea that Christianity (and other religions, but we know who they're talking about) is irrational. Well, having read Francis Schaeffer I would disagree.

However, Brandilyn's point is not debating them, but suggesting prayer for them. To us, it is the best thing possible that we can do for them. To them, as BC puts it:
Of course, these two men and their followers can’t be the least offended by our campaign. No point in them leaving nasty comments on this blog. After all, there is no God, and we’re talking to thin air. So if we want to waste our time, why should that bother any of them in the least? What is the point of arguing with the deluded?

So check out the post from Forensics and Faith today. Here's a link to Isaiah 50:4-5 (NIV). If it so moves your heart, then I encourage you to partake in this prayer challenge as well!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I'm not officially part of this month's Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog tour this month. Starting my new job is a little too much right now - plus I haven't been able to partake of the feature this month: The Door Within trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson.

However, I want to point you in the direction of the CSFF tour. These books sound great, and I think that there is a mild groundswell of popular support for more quality speculative fiction from a Christian Worldview.

So check out A Christian Worldview of Fiction for the list of participants in the tour. I should be back on the tour next month.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Calling All Nations Live CD

Whoo-hoo! Just got the CD for Calling All Nations, back in July 2006. We were hoping for a DVD of the event (which doesn't seem to be in the works right now), but the CD is great to bring back memories of the day.

There was a little disappointment with a few aspects of this. The Psalm Drummers opened the day with amazing anointing and power, but the CD segment of them is very short. Some songs on the CD were edited such that they don't come across as live performances as much, until the end when the crowd cheers. (Side note: we also were bummed not to hear ourselves in the international choir on Brian Doerksen's song "Come", but I figure we were pretty hard to pick up properly)

We could argue about the choice of songs, but with 10 hours of worship, it is an impossible task to pick them all! Some highlights on the CD are "Consuming Fire", "Mercy Is Falling", "One Hope", "Don't You Know", and "All Over This World".

I know it was one day, and life in the Kingdom goes on, serving Jesus day by day. Still, it is important to remember where and when the Lord has met you, so when you are in a desert place you recall the faithfulness of our King in all we do - even in a time of trial. Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 19, 2007

Blog Tour - Arms of Deliverance

I don't have time to read every book the CFBA reviews, but this one is on my list of to-reads right now. My wife is in the middle of it, but wasn't able to finish it in time for the tour. So I'll leave you with the CFBA promotional blurb, and follow up with Beccy's review when she's done!

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is posting about Arms of Deliverance (Moody Publishers, 2006) by Tricia Goyer (fellow CFBA member, blogger, writer, and homeschooling mom!)

Tricia Goyer is one the members of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (Tricia's Blog, "It's Real Life" Tricia's Parenting Blog, "Generation NeXt") and we are pleased to be able to review her exciting historical fiction book, Arms of Deliverance.

She was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. Tricia was also a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award and won ACFW's "Book of the Year" for Long Historial Romance in 2005 AND in 2006. She has written hundreds of articles, Bible Study notes, and both fiction (three other WWII novels, From Dust to Ashes, Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights. Night Song, the second title in Tricia’s World War II series, won ACFW's Book of the Year for Best Long Historical Romance.) and non-fiction books.

She's married to John, and they have three great kids whom she homeschools: Cory (17), Leslie (14), and Nathan (12). They make their home in Northwest Montana with their dog, Lilly.

The fourth and final novel in this exhilarating series capturing the tales of men and women swept into World War II.

EUROPE, 1944
Katrine, a Czech Jew, is so successful in her attempt to pass as an Aryan that she finds herself dating a Nazi officer. Having convinced him of her genetic purity, the officer sends her to stay at a Lebensborn home--a Nazi breeding program in which children are raised and indoctrinated by the state.

Meanwhile, two friends, Mary and Lee, one a socialite, the other a working class girl, land similar reporting jobs at the New York Tribune on the eve of the war’s outbreak. Now rivals with assignments on the frontlines of war-torn Europe, Lee joins troops sailing for Normandy, while Mary's destiny lies in the cramped quarters of a B-17 bearing down on Berlin. Before the presses roll, their lives will be indelibly marked by a caring American navigator, brave French resistors, and a maniacal Nazi officer. Arms of Deliverance is a story of unexpected redemption.

Read Chapter One on Tricia's Blog.

Monday, January 15, 2007

New Beginnings...Or Not

Well, I was supposed to start my new job today. I did start it, despite their best intentions!

It seems that HR got confused and had my start date as next Monday. It caused a fair amount of consternation to get me into orientation and get me going today. I had to wait all day for a computer password. I basically didn't get anything done today.

I would've liked to have more info about what I'm going to be doing, what the schedule and situation is. I like to plan and know what I'm getting into. Of course I know some of what is going on, but normally one would have a better idea at this stage in the game.

I have to do some training later this week and I'll need to do some studying at home for it. I may be AWOL for a few days. Understandable, I know. I've just been spoiled (snicker) at having my own schedule.

Meanwhile, check out some of the blogs and sites on the right. I'm sure they have some good stuff to keep you going!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Praise You in the Storm

How would you respond if in 1 week:

Your van's back door was hit and no one told you?
Your three kids got sick with the stomach flu?
While washing up from #2, the washing machine broke?
You had to call in sick due to the family being wiped out from the flu?
The next day your car breaks down on the way to work?
The day your washer is fixed, the dishwasher breaks?

I can't say that I've been perfect in this, but my response has mostly been to praise the Lord! Why, you ask?

Because this didn't happen two months ago.

In October I was just interviewing for my new job that starts Monday. I picked up some temp work in December, but didn't get paid for it until last week. Right when I needed it!

It seemed like a lot of bad mojo for us over the last week, but if it happened while I was unemployed it would've put a serious dent in our finances. Now, we can live with it because I have the money from the temp job, and will be on a regular payroll again.

The easy answer is that there are plenty of people that have it a lot worse than me. I got frustrated and wanted to pout and say, "Why all this Lord?" Thankfully though, my reaction was tempered by the timing in all of it. I could be an ungrateful lout, or realize the blessing in it. God takes care of His children very well, and He knows what we can handle.

Not a big storm by far (especially considering last June), but the choice is still mine. How will I respond?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Blog Tour - A Pagan's Nightmare

This week's blog tour is on the book, A Pagan's Nightmare by author Ray Blackston.

This will be the first time I've give a negative recommendation as part of the CFBA Tour. I have enjoyed each book that I've read so far (I haven't read all the books on the tour). I want my blog to be a reliable place for people to come on reviews about Christian fiction. I know it is just my opinion, and everyone has different tastes in books. However, I do try to give an analysis of what makes a book good, weak points, and hope that the info I give helps people decide whether to spend their money on the featured project.

I was intrigued by the premise of APN. The cover is delightful and grabbed my eye right away. (Tried to upload a picture of the cover, but Blogger doesn't like pictures lately. Anyone else have the problem?) It is written as a story within a story. An author conceives of a religious parody and pitches it to his agent, who loves it. The agent's Southern Baptist wife doesn't find it amusing. We follow the story of the author and agent interspersed with the novel in question: a world where almost the whole world has been "converted", and a few unlucky pagans deal with the new world. Gas for believers is 12 cents a gallon, while the pagans pay $6.66. McDonalds serves McScriptures fries. The holiest around speak in King James English.

Unfortunately, the book doesn't work. The parody story is just not very funny. I am all for tipping over the church's sacred cows. Evangelicals in particular are ripe for the picking as far as poking fun at their antics. The jokes just fall flat. Popular songs have their lyrics rewritten, such as the Beatles "I Wanna Hold Your Tithe", but they're not very creative. The pagans in the story's "novel" are looking for a girlfriend of one of them, but there is no tension in it. Similarly, the conflict between the agent, his wife, and the author also disappoints.

I normally don't think I should review a work if I haven't finished it. I made it over half way through, but I couldn't ever get into the book. Since it was a struggle to get that far, I thought I ought to offer my opinion so people don't end up with something they don't like. Take what I post with a grain of salt. I do encourage you to go to the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance website and see the reviews and comments of other members to make an informed decision. I thought the idea was clever - just the execution of it doesn't make it a worthwhile read.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Justice for All

Over the past few years I have become more aware of the great problem of modern-day slavery and sex trafficking. We think that we live in a world without such things, or that they occur in far away places. It is true that a lot of the torrid stories that do make the news are in places like South Asia or Eastern Europe. However, even here in Idaho we have people basically put into situations of forced labor, where they work to try and pay off their debts, only to have debts continually incurring in the process of working them off.

I am glad to see more publicity for these horrible crimes coming from more and more avenues. I've seen features on these subjects from Dateline NBC to my local paper. I think this is an issue that anyone can be against, but it should be particularly critical to Christians. We have a holy injunction to keep watch over "the least of these". We are to provide for widows and orphans. The Bible talks gravely about any who would cause a little one to stumble.

I have a link to International Justice Mission on my sidebar. They are a Christian organization that works with countries around the world to enforce their own laws in order to protect their citizens. (Some complain that Westerners are trying to impose their morality on this issue. First, as I said it does not require any faith to see that this is an evil practice, and secondly IJM specifically works within the legal framework of any country they're in.) They have a wonderful book discussing this issue in World Vision. Please check them out, and find out what is being done to combat this evil. We can make a difference through prayer and supporting the people who fight on the front lines, if nothing else.

Red-Light Rescue
Child Sex Tours
Sex Isn't Work

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Blog Tour - Tangerine

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is posting about Tangerine (Revell, January 2007) by Marilynn Griffith (fellow CFBA member, blogger, writer, and mother of *GULP* seven!)

Marilynn Griffith is wife to a deacon, mom to a tribe and proof that God gives second chances. Her novels include Made of Honor (Steeple Hill, Jan. 2006), Pink (Revell, Feb. 2006), Jade (Revell, June 2006), and If the Shoe Fits (Revell, 2007). Her other credits include Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Cup of Comfort Devotionals and her Shades of Style series (Revell, 2006). She lives in Florida with her husband and children.

Tangerine is the third book in the Shades of Style Novels.

Fans of Pink and Jade will eat up Tangerine, the third book in the cutting-edge Shades of Style series. Jean Guerra, a designer at Garments of Praise design firm, doesn't like surprises. These days though, the unexpected meets her everywhere. Since Jean's return to the church a year ago, her God-encounters occur with increasing frequency, along with thoughts of her husband-the one she vowed to divorce and gave up on long ago. The one nobody at work knows about, not even her best friend, Lily, or her boss, Chenille. But when the designer assigned to work with Jean on a line of men's suits shows up, her heart flips. It's her husband, Nigel Salvador. Jean is finally rendered speechless. Can her bruised heart become whole enough to love again? Or will she remain in the trenches of loneliness forever?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Go Broncos!!!

No, not the Denver variety, the ones who dropped out of the playoffs on Sunday (my condolences for your fallen teammate - a tragedy).

Boise State University, of Smurf Turf fame, went and made all of Idaho proud, and shocked the big power-makers of college football. And they did it in the most imaginative, entertaining way possible.

Hook and ladder on 4th and 18 for a touchdown. Halfback option pass in overtime for a TD. The ol' Statue of Liberty play for the gutsy 2 point conversion that sealed the win.

Boise State proved against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl that they can play with the big boys. So here's a shout out online for the boys in blue! Way to go guys. For an excellent article describing the Boise State win, click here.

Oh, and if all this wasn't enough, the running back who scored the winning 2 points proposed to his cheerleader girlfriend while on national TV. Dude!

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year

Every new year brings resolution, changes, promises. And everyone knows that so many of these fall by the wayside. I am glad that my new year is a good, secure change.

I have my job.

2006 became a crazy year back in June, when I blogged about how my contract at my job wasn't being renewed. The timing was very interesting - just after I was preaching about living in the adventure God has for us.

I finished up at my old job right at the end of August, and thought I would have a couple weeks at home before getting a new job. I had a few interviews lined up pretty quick, so it seemed like it wasn't a big deal.

Except for what the Lord was speaking.

As I prayed, I had a sense this process would take some time. My wife felt that I wouldn't get a job right away. My pastor had the same leading.

Great. ;)

None of the interviews worked out. The places decided they weren't ready to hire, or I wasn't the right person despite a good resume and interview. One place just never got a hold of me again (not too bad, I didn't want to work there anyway).

So I had a long fall of hanging out at home, spending time with my family and with God. It was a good time of reflection and learning. I wish I could say I got a ton of writing done: I also had a wicked case of writer's block a lot of the time.

Right before Christmas I got the call that I was being offered the job that I was pursuing. It looks to be a great deal, with four 10-hour shifts a week and a steady schedule. More importantly, it seems to be God-ordained. My wife reminded me of when I said, "I would never work there" (I can't recall...).

One thing the Lord reminded me of during this time was the principle of letting Him work in His time. It was frustrating at times to be looking for a job for six months, and be out of work for four months (aside from a little fill-in work recently). But whenever I took it to Jesus, He spoke encouragement to me to let Him handle it. He provided for our needs. We didn't incur any debt during this time. He is faithful in all He says.

So 2007 promises to be a good year for me. I pray that whatever He has for you this year will be to your benefit. Of course, sometimes bettering ourselves means going through hard times to purge us, so be careful what you wish for!

Blessings (and thanks for the prayers and support to those who did)!