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Friday, June 26, 2015

THE supreme COURT'S DECISION and World Entropy...

In light of the supreme court's decision today to legalize gay marriage in the United States, here is Romans 1: 18-32:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,  and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

The most frightening dynamic in this passage of scripture is that there comes a point where people can be so enamored of their sins that God "gives us over" to depravity, ie: we no longer see right and wrong. We simply see things the way we want to see them. Welcome to America, circa 2015.

Abortion, pot, gender identification, race identification, polygamy, gay marriage...the list goes on. For the Christian, it's daunting to see such erosion in our time. It feels like something has slipped. Maybe, it has. But, remember, Romans 1 was written 2000+ years ago. Moral decline was happening back then too. In fact, wherever there is society, there will be societal breakdown…entropy. Why? Because society is made of human beings. And we have been, are, and will be…broken. We are sinful. We are frightened. We are at war with ourselves and others. We beg for blessings, and when we get them, we abuse them. This is what broken people do.

If Romans 1 was the end of the book of Romans, I'd probably want to jump off a bridge. But it doesn't end there. Romans 2 tells us that it's not just these crazy people who've lost their sense of right and wrong. There are religious fanatics who blew it too. In fact, we are ALL alike under sin. Romans 3 continues that thread showing that there's no one who can claim innate goodness. We're all messed up. BUT then, then, we get to it:

21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

And there it is: Jesus. Justification. Redemption. 

He and only He can mend the broken. And we are all broken and in need of mending. 

So the court's decision today is disturbing. So. There have been disturbing things going on in America since its birth and in every society since the dawn of time. So, what is the Christian response? That hasn't changed either. Love God; love your neighbor.

What did Jesus do with sinners? He befriended them. He dined with them. He spoke to them. He listened to them. He loved them. He also told them the truth. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bat-Book Readers, Would You Consider Becoming a Patron of the Arts?

Greetings, wonderful Readers! Lots of book news for you! Read on:

Over the last six months, I've been blasting away at Dreamtreaders 3: War for the Waking World (set to release in October), and I think it's the best of the series. But...'s also the LAST contracted work. Since then, I had a very lucrative offer from a publisher for a three book series but, after a lot of prayer and counsel, I turned it down. To take that deal would mean shelving The Dark Sea Annals and GHOST for a while. I just couldn't do it. It felt oppressive, so I said no.

So what this means is that now, at last, I've made the leap. I am no longer under any contract with any publishing house. I am now on my own. I am my own publisher. YIKE! I hire editors, proofers, cover artists, designers—the whole nine yards. And that is where I could use your help.

If my books have touched your lives at all, would you consider being a Patron of the Arts to support my work? Patreon is a kickstarter-like company that allows you to support writers, artists, musicians, and creators you love with monthly pledges of as little as $1. I've been a part of Patreon for about a year now, and it has really helped me. Now, more than ever, I need kind readers to become Patrons.

In return, you'll get private access to my creation process: artwork, proofs, sneak peek chapters, private messages, and a host of other crazy creative benefits!

If you'd like a little more info on what it means to be my Patron, check out my Patreon Page:

So what's next? Dark Sea Annals.

I'm hoping for a July / August release of both Sword in the Stars and The Errant King repubs, and then fall for Mirror of Souls (Book 3).

Thank you again, readers...friends. I love this adventure all the more because you are part of it with me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Theocracy: A Band You Should Know About...and an Unforgettable Father/Son Weekend

This past weekend, my 17 year old son Tommy and I took a roadtrip down to Atlanta, Georgia to catch Theocracy, our favorite band, in concert. It was a weekend to remember.

Theocracy is a relatively new band (3 CDs now) and perhaps new to you as well. They play a style of music called Progressive Power Metal. For those of you who like any kind of heavy metal or hard rock, Theocracy is a band you'll love. If you're a little hesitant about heavy metal because you're imagining loud, discordant songs with vocals that are growled or so harsh that you cannot understand it…that is NOT Theocracy. Theocracy's brand of power metal is symphonic, melodic, multi-layered goodness. And, if you're a Christian, you should know that this band is bringing glory to God in major ways. Just check out some lyrics:

...from the song Mirror of Souls:

"I must get across and get to that light
For it represents my only hope tonight
But when I saw the chasm, all that hope was lost
I've spent so long in the dark and the rain
That the sight of the light made my heart sing again
But the gulf's so wide, and there's no way across"

The stranger smiled, and took my hand
He said, "But you are wrong, my friend
You cannot cross the gulf yourself, that's true"
He led me down toward the edge
And pointed just over the ledge
And said, "Behold, I built a bridge for you"

From the song I Am:

I am the light upon your path when you have lost your way
I am the footprints in the sand the ocean’s tide can’t wash away
I am the shelter from the storm that rages on and on
The incorruptible foundation that the wise man builds upon
I am the bread that feeds a starving man upon the street
I am the bounty on the table in the palace at the feast
I am the rain upon the earth after a scorching drought
I am the quenching of the thirst you never thought you’d be without

I am the melody that weaves its way inside your soul
I am the symphony, the masterpiece, the actor’s greatest role
I am the poetry that speaks to you with every rhyme
I am the songwriter who seems to write your life in every line
I am the simple truths that shaped your world from your birth
I am the vast volumes of knowledge spanning all across the earth
I am the whisper of the wind you feel, but cannot see
I am the alpha and omega, first and last, eternally

See what I mean? It's worship. And Theocracy is reaching people who might otherwise never hear about Jesus. I hope that you'll support them and / or tell friends who like the music style.

Here's a link to the Theocracy Website:

Now, onto the weekend. The roadtrip down was fun simply because my son Tommy and I were together, but certain developments made it a lifetime memory and another footnote of God-at-work for our journals.

Just before the concert, I said to Tommy, "The only thing I'm bummed about is that they won't have my size t-shirt for sale." I wear a rather large size, you see. One so large that I shall not mention it here out of sheer embarrassment. lol We get to the concert, rush into the merchandise area, and ask about the shirts. They had a shirt and a hoodie in Tommy's size. We bought both. Then the lady said, "Oh, we do have one other shirt, but we only have one and it's this size." I looked down. It was my size. Unreal. Seriously, folks, you don't understand. Unless you're in a Big and Tall Shop, most places don't carry this size or even the next two sizes down.

There were three bands before Theocracy, so Tommy and I went out to the restaurant part of the concert hall to have dinner. Afterwards, Tommy went to check out one of the other bands. So I'm sitting at the dinner table, and none other than Theocracy vocalist Matt Smith comes walking up to my table to personally thank me for making the long trip. I was thrilled to meet him, but Tommy was in the other room. I texted him urgently, but he didn't show...until after Matt had left.

It was like a bad sitcom. "Tommy, where were you?"
"What, why?"
"Matt Smith just came to our table."
"No way."
"Yes. He was right here. We talked for five minutes. I signed a book for him."
"Why didn't you text me?"
"I did!"

Fortunately, Matt came back to the table to meet Tommy and took a pic with him. It was just about the kindest, coolest thing. Matt Smith is a rock star. I mean, really. He is virtuoso at guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, oh…and he sings like a combination of Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden and Dennis DeYoung of Styx. Seriously. That good, and yet, Matt is as humble and gracious as can be. 

Then, the show was incredible. Theocracy played each and every song Tommy wanted to hear AND played the title track from their new yet-to-be-released CD. It was the first time they'd played the song live. WHOA. The show was just mindbogglingly good. And yes I, the 46 year old teacher/author, was headbanging all night.

Afterward, God thing number 2 happened. The stage manager gave Tommy the "set list" from the stage. Bands often have a single sheet of paper with all the night's songs printed on it, and they tape it to the back of a PA monitor or onto the stage floor. This is a pretty cool piece of memorabilia, and the stage manager gave it to Tommy. And then, the entire band signed it. And then we took a group pic with the band. Amazing.

Tommy and I went to sleep that night with major post concert euphoria. Blessing upon blessing, upon blessing.

Here are a few more pics of the show: