Archives For April 2013

Seeds of Thrills

April 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

thr3eThe-Sixth-Sense

 

I remember years ago, a certain show planted the seed in me to crave well-written thrillers with a twisted ending. It was an Alfred Hitchcock Presents half-hour show that centered around a female inmate that was desperate to get out of prison. She befriended a priest who eventually agreed to help her on her quest. The plan involved her sneaking into a casket at the next funeral, being buried, and then the priest would come dig her up and free her. For five minutes we watched the woman laugh and gloat inside the tight dark box. But as time elapsed, her smile faded, and you watched her grow nervous and concerned. Eventually she lit a match, and discovered the priest next to her. Her only savior, dead. It ended by the sound of her screaming.

It left my jaw hanging wide open. The same happened in high school when I watched the Sixth Sense for the first time. “I see dead people.” That line should have given away the ending, and I felt stupid at the end for not seeing it coming. I remember the shock as I watched the wedding ring roll around on the floor and Dr. Malcolm Crowe stare at his bare wedding finger. When the realization hit me that he was dead, all I could think was, “I should have known!” I loved it!

My hunger for good thrillers was burning inside of me. But there was still something missing. Then I read the book Thr3e by Ted Dekker. The same jaw-dropping moment occurred, but this time I was left with more than just a ‘Wow.’ I remember the novel because of the incredible story, but now when I think back on it, I also am reminded that there is a constant battle between my flesh and my new nature as a Christian. This story did more for me because it not only left me flabbergasted but taught me a very valuable spiritual lesson.

So fueled my passion. To write stories that leave people stunned and yet give them more than just a thrill. To give them something that lasts. Something eternal.

Ravenous Wolves

April 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

When I was in the 2nd grade, I was greeted off of the school bus by a little Golden Lab mix named Jaz. Over the years, she became a close companion of mine. She’d growl at anything or anybody that she perceived as a threat to me and the family. I could wrestle and get as rough as I wanted with her, and I always knew that Jaz would never turn on me. With her, I always felt safe.

One afternoon I was at somebody else’s house and found myself in the backyard with their dog. I was used to playing with Jaz and assumed I could do the same thing with this animal. Tapping the sides of the dog’s mouth, I anticipated it to respond the same way. Unbeknownst to me, the neighborhood boys had teased him in the past, and now he wasn’t so fond of children. He jumped at me and sank his teeth into my forearm and clamped down. I screamed as this dog hung onto me until the owner came and ripped him off of me. For years, I had three round scars where teeth had punctured my skin.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

Jesus warned his followers that not every “Christian” teacher and leader are safe. They may look and sound the part, but are secretly dangerous. Many different people have come into my life throughout the years and poured into me spiritually. They have guided me along the narrow path and encouraged me when I fell. I trust you have mentors in your life as well. Pastors who truly care about you. Love you. Nurture you. Friends and family who speak words of life into you, pray for you, and enjoy sweet fellowship with. These people are not to be taken for granted for they are treasured gifts from God.

But just as I assumed all dogs were the same because I only knew Jaz, we need to be careful when we listen to or follow Christian teachers and preachers because we know our pastors intimately. They may use the same terminology, speak in the name of Jesus, and even quote Bible verses. But if we aren’t careful, we could get bit. And sometimes those bite marks leave scars.

Paul commended the people of Berea for they compared all they heard preached with what they knew in the Scriptures. If what they received didn’t line up, they disregarded the message and the messenger. The Bible is the only source of truth. And for that reason, we must know our Bibles. If we don’t, we are at risk of falling for anything that sounds good. The devil quoted Scripture when he tempted Jesus, and he’s doing it today with millions of people.

Be careful for wolves who appear as one of us. They are deceptive and will use you to benefit themselves. Study and know what you believe. Then when you hear a truthful message, you can rejoice and take heed to the words. But if what they say contradict, you can run and save yourself from pain, agony, and scars.

Novel Inspiration

April 24, 2013 — Leave a comment

It sounds cliche, but “At the Corner of 6th and North” originally came to me in a dream. One night I dreamed that I was in a large house with many other people looking for a room to stay in. I discovered a pull down ladder like you’d see in a house that leads to the attic. But this led to another bedroom. A man climbed up into the room with me. In the room was a large bed and a dresser in the corner. The man opened the top drawer to find it packed with vintage baseball cards that were worth millions. He was ecstatic because he was a huge baseball fan and also in need of money. I suddenly realized that this house was providing for the needs of those looking inside.

My idea for the book was that very thought. People would enter the house with different needs and longings, and they would all be met in various ways. I even planned to include the man and the baseball cards. But the story still felt empty. And then it hit me. We all need Jesus. The story transformed into people from variety of backgrounds but all missing the same thing in their lives. They needed forgiven and the emptiness in their soul filled.

So instead of vintage baseball cards that could be destroyed or lost, salvation was offered to those looking. And that is the greatest gift of all.