Next month, I will be attending the Strength to Fight conference at the Metropolitan Bible Church. It is a solid organization dedicated to eradicating the infestation of pornography into people’s lives and into our culture as a whole.
Truthfully, at all times of the year: summer, fall, winter and spring, we always need to have eyes and minds that honour Christ. In Matthew 6:22, Jesus asserts that “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” How true a statement is that? What we see and take in starts to affect our thought life, and then finally our actions if we’re not careful… if we’re not continually meditating on the Word of God.
I plan on attending camp with the Cub Scouts a couple times this spring/summer. Activities include canoeing, bouldering, hiking, obstacle course. Trying to organize a canoe trip with my father. I trust this will work out.
In all seasons, I want to run hard after the triune God. Will you join me in the race of faith (Heb. 12:1-12)?
This Saturday I have the honour and privilege of attending a training session concerning evangelism, sponsored by my denomination. This is really exciting! Sharing Jesus with the people around us is the most important part of life. People in Canada (and around the world) need to hear the gospel. This includes people of all backgrounds: white, black, Asian, European, African. We need to speak with clarity, conviction and precision to explain to others what we believe (Rom. 10:14).
In an earlier post, I talk about a similar training I attended in the fall with The Gideons, an organization of which I am a part. This was really helpful to learn that all of life is like a grid, and we need to find ways of bringing Jesus to people through seamlessly integrating our faith into our conversation.
In yet another post, the idea of sharing the gospel in an increasingly secular culture was brought up. God’s Word says that in the last days there will be “scoffers” (2 Pet. 3:3). There will be a “falling away” (2 Thess. 2:1-3). False teachers or prophets will abound, and “the love of most will grow cold” (Matt. 24:11-12; 1 Tim. 4). But, on the flip side, our “young men and women will prophecy” and our “old men will and women dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). So let us not fear if culture turns its back on the Bible, the faith and old-fashioned societal norms. Christians were never meant to be the same anyways. Stand out! Share your joy in Jesus! Maranatha.
I’m very excited about my upcoming novel. After writing a couple of short stories and two non-fiction faith-based pieces, one on Christian living and the other about Biblical eschatology, I am working hard at a full-length mass market novel. This is not a memoir-like work of fiction. Rather, it is an edge-of-your-seat whodunit, an international murder mystery with plenty of suspense in it.
The central character of the novel is Josh McConnell, someone you’ll have met if you read The Factory Challenge and Energized. I hope you read my two short stories first, but if you don’t, that’s alright, because you’ll be vaulted into a high-stakes novel, filled to the brim with political intrigue and espionage. Other supporting characters, Jimmy Bennett and Calvin Hobbs, will also be in this work.
There is a definite legal aspect to this novel, and so if you enjoy having that element in the books you read, this novel will be for you!
With couples around me adopting or fostering children, I have come to find great healing, strength and comfort from my faith in Jesus Christ. I volunteer and try to show Christian love to children in a variety of settings. As humanly challenging as it is, my love for Christ allows ushers the way for me to be happy for expecting parents. I even approach my Saviour with a childlike faith (Matt. 18:3). I explore all these topics in more in my Father to the Childless book.
Although it still feels like winter outside with the weather, we know that on Sunday, May 13th and Sunday, June 18th, Mother’s and Father’s Day will occur. As my mother reminded me a little while back, we can celebrate our own parents, and don’t need to be reminded of the fact that we may not be parents ourselves.
It is this generosity and charity that I would say is unique to the Christian faith. Love God and love others is the summation of our Biblical command. I am happy this coming December 7th to celebrate the release of both my Father to the Childless book and the Living in Our Times treatise I wrote on the subject of eschatology (Bible prophecy). With the rebirth of Israel, especially, as a clear prophetic sign, we are living in exciting times. Maranatha, come quickly Lord Jesus!
This morning and early afternoon, I went to a training session with an organization I volunteer with to learn how to set up shelters, as well as to use and repair stoves / lanterns. It is so important to keep equipment that we use in good order! Well-maintained equipment, which has parts replaced, can last a very long time indeed.
Jesus Christ Himself said that we need to “count the cost” of following Him, realizing that following Him comes at a cost (Luke 14:25-34). Likewise to the natural, we need to carefully plan out when we build any sort of structure or undertake any type of project, lest we leave the work unfinished.
I’m so happy that Jesus paid for our sins in full, and that He paid the ultimate cost on the cross, to die for you and me. Life is a training ground… our goal being heaven! Christ makes a way for us, if we humbly accept his yoke and ask for forgiveness of our sins, continually turning in repentance to Him.
Building any structure is big endeavour, requiring lots of planning and strategic thinking. My protagonist, Bob McConnell, did this in The Factory Challenge and Energized. He stepped out of his comfort zone to start a new venture. He risked failure. In the second short story of this book, Josh McConnell, the grandson, found comfort in his faith, remarried and sought to rebuild a life dashed by a “successful” career change, propagated by a job loss in the lucrative oil field. I was so fortunate to sign and sell several copies last weekend at the Coles bookstore shopping mall at Billings Bridge in Ottawa!
In one of the seasons we went through, my wife and I were seriously considering attending a larger church in order to “blend in” more, since we do not have children. I explore some of my thoughts on what it is like to not have children in the second part of Father to the Childless. It is great, too, that it is available in audiobook (iTunes, Amazon, Audible) as well as e-book, if that is your preference. The bottom line is that even if you do not have children, you can choose to be happy for others who are having them. You cannot escape babies, they are a part of life! Whether or not you have them…
What did Jesus end up teaching me through this past season in my life? He can use me (and my wife) right where we’re at. We don’t have to move to a different church. Everyone who goes through it feels infertility in a variety of ways. This is what I learned during the “All In” Conference on adoption, fostering and orphan care that I attended not too long ago. In short, for my wife and me, we were called to stay at church and minister to all of the people there – including many university-aged young people! I am thankful that the Lord has given me such a deep and lasting peace in the area of not having children. A peace and closure I did not have just a few short years ago. Sorrow and sadness can give way to a dawn of great joy!
It may not be struggling with infertility, but everyone has troubles (Jn. 16:33). If we have no biological children, we can enjoy the ones in our lives: either by teaching Sunday School, being involved with programs such as Scouts or Awana. There are upsides to being childless, too, such as greater flexibility and disposable income to pursue your hobbies. Adoption or fostering are options for infertile couples, and we know couples who have faithfully pursued these avenues.
Would you consider where God may be using you at present? It is no accident. You are where you are for a season, and there’s a reason for it! Pursue your God-given dreams and aspirations. Hold your faith tighter than you can imagine. Stay close to Jesus. He won’t let you go (2 Tim. 2:11-13).
What a blessing, after my book signing earlier today, to attend the Annual Conference of the Ottawa Christian Writers’ Fellowship. It isn’t just the National Capital Region: this association of writers is connected to the Word Guild, a group of Christian writers spanning the country, who meet together, collaborating and sharing ideas to better refine their craft of figuratively putting pen to paper.
A smattering of highlights during my time at the conference:
- Catching the tail end of a fabulous session on self-publishing, presented by David Kitz, a well-known Ottawa author who has written such captivating reads as Psalms Alive! and The Soldier Who Killed a King. Interesting to be reminded of the pros / cons of self-publishing vs. the traditional route to writing a book. Also, cool to note that my wife and mother-and-law know Mr. Kitz!
- Meeting Mr. Kitz’s son, Timothy Kitz, a local Ottawa editor, who has written for The Leveller.
- Bartering a book with musician Cathy Goddard for her music – I traded The Factory Challenge and Energized for a copy of her CD!
- Hearing about how an attendee, who resonated with my Father to the Childless devotional, and struggles with infertility, has found contentment with her husband in adopting a child.
Put this all together with a theologically-grounded, Christ-centred theme to the day, and what a life-giving, wholesome time spent with fellow believers! I love the notion of us believers being part of the diverse, intricate body of Jesus. It was a guiding tenet of our time together. The various denominational backgrounds of those in attendance made for a rich sense of togetherness in proclaiming the shared gospel of Jesus Christ to one another, as we celebrated our holy union with Him! Indeed, we are co-workers with God (1 Cor. 3:9). He is our lead, and we follow His every move, lockstep with Him as He gently reveals to us the safe, fruitful way home, full of abundant ministry work for His cause and renown…
Today, I had the immense privilege of signing a number of my Factory Challenge and Energized books at the Coles Billings Bridge bookstore. They have a great store and their staff is so friendly and professional. Check out their Facebook page! Why not pop by there to pick up a book from your favourite author?
I had the honour of explaining my short stories to customers, and the upcoming novel that I am writing. I write about Canadian topics, entrepreneurialism and the energy industry, in a fictionalized, memoir-like way in The Factory Challenge and Energized.
Here are some of the highlights of the day:
- One of my customers, from Sudbury, expressed how coal companies are major employers in her part of the country. Perhaps I could weave this into a gripping storyline for a future novel!
- A repeat patterns in talking to customers was about how book clubs are formative in their experience of reading, enjoying books and having a shared time with of fellowship / kinship with others. I like how these gatherings can be centred around meals, and cooking, which is what my father does when he gets together with his Scouting buddies to study and critique the Harvard Classics.
- One customer encouraged me in my upcoming suspense / thriller full-length novel that I am writing. In discussing current events and the media, she mentioned how readers are looking for the drama, the intrigue and the on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement that all good authors help foster in the mind of the reader. What great advice!
- Another customer, working in the tech sector, is part of my target audience. He understood and was interested in how my writing centres around fascinating, cutting-edge technological trends in the world in which we live. My upcoming novel takes place in both Ottawa and Toronto, and deals with corporate citizenship. It will be a fast-paced thriller.
- Yet another customer appreciated my Father to the Childless book, and was encouraged when I told her that my endless source of strength comes from my faith. Jesus Christ is the Lord and Saviour of my life!
An investor is someone who sees the opportunity that others do not see
Who capitalizes on problems that others feel
Someone who is not out there to make money for its own sake
But to help people around them and give back to their community.
An entrepreneur foregoes current pleasure for future gain
Someone who realizes that tomorrow’s
solutions require foresight and
Vision: clarity: passion.
This is what drives an entrepreneur-investor!
Bold, forward thinking.
Order a copy only today of my book The Factory Challenge and Energized if you enjoy reading about this topic!
As someone interested in architecture and real estate, I can’t help but notice two distinct housing styles in Ottawa. I live near Vanier, where many houses have either white bricks or vinyl siding. This is the French-Canadian style. The country homes of this background are also closer to the road. For example, along Highway 17, east of Rockland, the homes are not as set back as they would be along properties in a similar setting in English Canada.
Another contrasting element in housing compared to where I grew up in the Bloor West Village in Toronto is the building material. In this neighbourhood, the homes are fairly close together and are almost all made out of red bricks. Many of these houses date from the 1920’s. It is true that lots of modern homes have plastic siding, too.
A final note – I have noticed an increase in homelessness where I live. Today, I bought a sandwich and gave a New Testament to him. Let us be in prayer for folks in our cities and towns who are living through difficult circumstances. Let’s pray for those who may be trapped in difficult family situations, addictions and mired with other challenges.