The Life of the Writer

Passionate purpose in writing, communicating

Squeezing in the extra sentence or two

Waking up early in the morning.

Coffee brewing, ground fresh

 

On the break, when you can

Maximizing the time, nose deep in

A thesaurus, dictionary, on the prowl for

The very best phrase—to capture the essence

 

of the moment…

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National Prayer Breakfast

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Tomorrow morning, I have the great privilege to attend the 53rd National Prayer Breakfast. I believe this is the third year I’ve attended. I have also attended a couple of the Ottawa Civic Prayer breakfasts in the fall. Each year at these events, it is opportunity for the city to pray corporately for its leaders and government who work so diligently for the public good.

Why is it important to pray for our leaders? Because the Bible commands us to do so. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “I urge you, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quite lives in all godliness and holiness.”

Even if you can’t join in on a prayer breakfast or two this year, would you commit to regularly praying for your government and workplace leaders, for politicians on the national level? We have many freedoms in Canada that other countries do not have, and we must remember to bathe those in authority over us in prayer!

The Mark of the Beast

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Writing about the mark of the best was a topic I was toying with including in my recently written novella. In the end, I did not. The Biblical reference of this concept is, of course, tied to Revelation 13:17, and the message that is conveyed is that folks are neither able to buy nor sell without this symbol, mark or chip implanted on their forearm of forehead.

Like the subject of the Rapture of the Church, which I discuss in my writing, the mark of the beast has a lot of controversy and differing views surrounding it. It is a “hot button” issue for many Christians. Does it happen before the rapture, or after? (Will Christians, in any event, be raptured before the “Great Tribulation”? Or is the Great Tribulation a more general reference to the times when Christians are persecuted / martyred?)

In my estimation, there is no need for dismay when considering such matters. Though questions may abound, our souls can be at rest if we’ve put our faith in Christ as Saviour. He is our rescuer from all peril. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus is knocking on the door of every human heart, asking us to dine and sup with him. If you haven’t already done so, will you heed his call? Eternity hangs in the balance…

My grandfather, a successful freelance graphic designer, had told my mother and her siblings of when the barcode came out in the seventies. He was intrigued by the concept, as his products featured it on them. Similarly to how we cannot make definite statements taken from a handful of verses sprinkled throughout Scripture about the Rapture, we cannot make a direct connection between the Universal Product Code, or ISBNs, and the mark of the best. We can say, however, that there is a general trend to insert chips into humans and animals for various purposes, including tracking. In our personal aide-mémoire, though, we can remember how Jesus Christ is victorious in the end! In Revelation 22:4, we see that those who have put their faith in Jesus will have his name written on their foreheads, and gaze on his glorious face.

It’s a …. novella!

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Alas, after five months of outlining, character development and, of course, writing in my spare time, I have completed my novella, called The Canadian Operative, an intriguing political thriller, which I originally considered writing as a novel. Clocking in at over 29,000 words, I am immensely happy with the content. Novellas are narrative that have similar elements to novels, but are more concise and have a range of words between 7,500 and 40,000 words.

I admire writers who write full-length novels (70,000 – 110,000 words) for the mass market, and make a living at it. I, however, found that with my storyline, I reached the “sweet spot” and did not want to carry on excessively in my writing with the plot that I had. With my word count, at about 120 pages, it makes for a succinct read in a few relatively short sittings.

After doing my research, I have submitted my work to four publications, in the hope of getting it published!

Many people argue that novellas are making a comeback. Lots of famous writers have explored this form of storytelling in the past, like George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451. I’m confident this resurgence will be popular well into the future.

Is blogging dead?

 

question-423604_1280As technology continues to evolve, many people wonder what role weblogging, or blogging for short, will continue to have. As someone who enjoys using Facebook and Twitter, I realize that many young people prefer to turn to SnapChat and other social media sites these days. In the same way, blogging perhaps has suffered a measure of popularity.

Certainly, times change. MySpace, MSN Messenger and ICQ were all popular a decade or two ago. That’s not a long time ago, in the grand scheme of things! If you’re interested in how technology has changed us, I suggest you read the free article I’ve written on the matter.

I would argue, however, that there is still room for blogging, going forward. Though the publishing industry, with self-publishing, and the newspapers, through online news sources, have suffered immensely through ‘creative destruction,’ I believe that these companies have been refined. Same goes with blogging. When people blog, it starts a two-way conversation, much like the commenting function for online newspaper articles.

So, in conclusion, technology destroys some industries, or more accurately some ways of doing business. But real estate, printing, manufacturing, farming … really any and every area of human work can be positively affected by technological change. Bitcoin, or cryptocurrency, could be that next breakthrough. Drones and artificial intelligence, which I explore in my next book, could be used for positive or negative ends, like any tool.

Reading will not die. Kindles, e-book readers, companies like Smashwords, have all proved that people love to read. Stories are important. As a Christian, I know that the Word of God will endure (Isa. 40:8; 1 Pet. 1:25; Heb. 4:12). Reading will not go out of style. The conduits may vary, but no matter the medium, people will continue to like fiction or non-fiction works.

Strength to Fight & Summer

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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)?

 

“Viral Jesus” Session

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.

My Upcoming Novel

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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!

Mother and Father’s Day

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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!

Equipment Training & Shelter Building

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!

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