"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Scriptural Basis For Fuss-Budgets

Based on the number of Nervous Nellies, Worry-Warts and Fuss-Budgets filling the average church's pews, we may assume that scripture give lots of foundation for fastidious fidgeting. There's a passage that says, "The Lord cares about what is important, but doesn't give a fig about life's daily cares." (Proverbs 18:26 DSP[Devised Substandard Paraphrase])
        Well, maybe that isn't the right scripture reference, but come on, it's got to be there somewhere. Fact is, churches have refined worrying to high-art, with Murphy's Law as their highest standard of behavior. Need proof? Try running the morning service's dismissal five minutes late. That's right, you would need a sharp knife to cut the atmospheric tension.
        Someone, if you dare, please stand at the end of a worship service and read the following passage from the Holy Bible: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? (Mat 6:24-27 KJVA) Be ready, though, to finish reading over the sound of appreciative snorting and throat-clearing. And the thought occupying the space behind all those stressed expressions staring at you would be something like, "Why on earth is Pastor so long-winded today? The line at the Smorgasbord will be around the block by the time we get there." Those thoughts harmonize rather well with Matthew 6:25, do they not? Though, this passage from Matthew's gospel has seen more Sunday-morning light than most, it has been heeded less than any other.
        Maybe this vital portion of God's word would garner better reviews if the church leadership believed it more deeply than the pew-sitters. True, the under-shepherd must use his time wisely, with all those wandering sheep that need tending. The lessons of scripture, however, must be taught more by example than by sermonizing. A pastor is likely to have the most nobel of motives for being in a hurry(unless he's also worried about the Smorgasbord line), but Jesus never once hurried during his ministry, except to arrive on time for his crucifixion. Are our worldly concerns nailed to the cross of Christ?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Elisha's Bones by Don Hoesel

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Elisha's Bones

(Bethany House March 1, 2009)


Don Hoesel


I would say, "Hoesel does it again," but this is Don Hoesel's first novel. As an editor, I could detect a touch of inexperience in places, but always in the form of non-effusive wordiness. Even so, Hoesel's command of language and subtle humor eliminated any potential boredom during the read and kept the entertainment level top-notch.
        As Elisha's Bones was published by Bethany House, I knew it had to qualify as a Christian novel, but this gritty tale never once preaches at the gospel-weary reader, and conspicuously avoids Sunday-school-style conversion scenes. How refreshing! CBA authors, take note: Esperanza's transformed life demonstrates how the Christian way should be modeled in fiction. Believe-it-or-not, CBA authors, the literate public gets it ... even without having Jesus pushed on them.
        Write on, Don Hoesel, we're waiting for your next adventure yarn.


Don Hoesel was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, TN home. He is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal.

He lives in Spring Hill with his wife and two children.

Elisha's Bones is his first novel.


Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.

Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper.

Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.

But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE

Friday, April 17, 2009

Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Boneman's Daughters

Center Street (April 14, 2009)


Ted Dekker

       Ted Dekker is not new to the thriller genre, but as with all massive institutions, the publishing world is slow to catch on to his unique style and marketability. Hey guys, THIS AUTHOR IS GOOD, even if you've never heard much about him. I guarantee that if you read Boneman's Daughters you'll become a Ted Dekker fan.


Ted is the son of missionaries John and Helen Dekker, whose incredible story of life among headhunters in Indonesia has been told in several books. Surrounded by the vivid colors of the jungle and a myriad of cultures, each steeped in their own interpretation of life and faith, Dekker received a first-class education on human nature and behavior. This, he believes, is the foundation of his writing.

After graduating from a multi-cultural high school, he took up permanent residence in the United States to study Religion and Philosophy. After earning his Bachelor's Degree, Dekker entered the corporate world in management for a large healthcare company in California. Dekker was quickly recognized as a talent in the field of marketing and was soon promoted to Director of Marketing. This experience gave him a background which enabled him to eventually form his own company and steadily climb the corporate ladder.

Since 1997, Dekker has written full-time. He states that each time he writes, he finds his understanding of life and love just a little clearer and his expression of that understanding a little more vivid. Dekker's body of work encompassing seven mysteries, three thrillers and ten fantasies includes Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps, Thunder of Heaven, Blessed Child, A Man Called Blessed, Blink, Thr3e, The Circle Trilogy (Black, Red, White), Obsessed, Renegade, and Chaos.


Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.

If your an avid Dekker fan, and would like wallpaper and counters for your blog, go HERE.

You can listen to an audio clip HERE

Watch the VIDEO:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Boneman's Daughters, go HERE

Monday, April 13, 2009

Deadlock by Robert Liparulo

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Thomas Nelson (April 2009)


Robert Liparulo


I find I must not recommend DEADLOCK to readers who tend to ignore their responsibilities when entangled in a thriller the likes of this book. And to those who empathize too strongly with well-crafted, three dimensional characters, Warning! This one will break your heart. But to those who love a gripping read regardless of the consequences, buy this book!
        Liparulo possesses a uniquely compelling writing style and voice that digs down to the very heart of each character, whether hero or scuzzbag.


Robert Liparulo is a former journalist, with over a thousand articles and multiple writing awards to his name. Readers of his action-thrillers were not surprised when his visual storytelling style caught the eye of Hollywood producers. Currently, three of his novels for adults are in various stages of development for the big screen: the film rights to Comes A Horseman were purchased by the producer of Tom Clancy’s movies; and Liparulo is penning the screenplays for GERM and Deadfall for two top producers. He is also working with the director Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, Holes) on a political thriller. Novelist Michael Palmer calls Deadfall “a brilliantly crafted thriller.” March 31st marked the publication of Deadfall’s follow-up, Deadlock, which novelist Gayle Lynds calls, “best of high-octane suspense.”

Liparulo’s bestselling young adult series, Dreamhouse Kings, debuted last year with House of Dark Shadows and Watcher in the Woods. Book three, Gatekeepers released in January, and number four, Timescape, comes out in July. The series has garnered praise from readers, both young and old, as well as attracting famous fans who themselves know the genre inside and out. Of the series Goosebumps creator R.L. Stine says, “I loved wandering around in these books. With a house of so many great, haunting stories, why would you ever want to go outside?”

He is currently working on his next thriller, which for the first time injects a bit of the supernatural into his gun-blazing stories. The story is so compelling, two Hollywood studios are already in talks to acquire it—despite its publication date being more than a year away. After that comes a trilogy of novels, based on the critically acclaimed short story he contributed to James Patterson’s Thriller anthology. New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry calls Liparulo’s writing “Inventive, suspenseful, and highly entertaining . . . Robert Liparulo is a storyteller, pure and simple.” He lives with his family in Colorado.


John Hutchinson thinks it's no coincidence that Brendan Page runs this modern Praetorian Guard, and that the billionaire military industrialist must have had something to do with the atrocities his son Declan committed in Canada. The Canadian and U.S. Justice departments disagree, but Hutch has been digging for dirt ever since.

Brendan Page has some dirty not-so-little secrets. he's built an empire on supplying futuristic weapons and highly trained soldiers to the world's most powerful armies. But he's saved his most destructive weapons for himself.

When Hutch discovers the secret of Page's success, Page decides to teach him a lesson. But the operation goes terribly wrong, and Hutch's son is kidnapped. While a lone man stands little chance against the best black op soldiers ever issued M-16s, Hutch manages to survive longer than Page anticipated. As far as Hutch is concerned, high-tech helmets, machine guns, and hand grenades are nothing compared to a man determined to save his son. It's a lesson he sets out to teach Page-and one that he can only hope works as well in the real world as it does in his heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Deadlock, go HERE