Please Consider this Powerful Ministry

sponsor a child inn ministries

Friday, December 28, 2018

Hallooo, readers! Thank you for helping make 2018 my best year for self-published titles! I'm hoping to deliver a ton of epic goodness to you in 2019. Here's an update:

1) Book 3 of The Myridian Constellation: "The Forsaken Continent" is in the pipeline (see early draft of the front cover below). With the help of some great editors, I'm cleaning up the manuscript. That should take me a couple more weeks. After that, it's off to interior design and uploaded for Kindle. I'll also be asking Dave Cruse to continue voicing the series in book 3. Can't imagine any else reading for this series. If you haven't heard him in Sword in the Stars or Errant King, go listen to a sample on Audible. He's just ridiculously talented and skilled.

2) Book 4 of The Myridian Constellation: "Mirror of Souls" is about 40% completed. I'll be working on that hard and heavy, hoping for a summer 2019 release.

3) This summer, to celebrate my lovely wife's and my 25th wedding anniversary, we will be taking a 10-day trip to Scotland. During this trip, I'll be visiting many of the places that are key settings in "Ghost 2: Minister of Fire." I'm about 30% into that book, but decided to postpone until after Scotland. I plan to bust my rear on that book all summer and am hoping for an October 2019 release date.

4) Somewhere in and around all this, I have a short story called "Will o' the Wisps" for the Realm Makers Consortium anthology that will debut this summer.

5) And for Door Within Trilogy fans, I -MIGHT- have a huge surprise for you. But, right now, it's super hush, hush. I'll reveal what I can whenever I can. :-D

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A Modern Retelling of the Dickens Classic: "A Christian's Carol."

"It's the most wonderful time of the year. There'll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago..."

Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" has haunted our home pleasantly since 1843. This year, I wrote a modern retelling of that classic redemption tale. And really, that's what it's all about: redemption.

Have you ever "blown it" with God? Ever felt like God can't forgive you because (fill in the blank)? Ever felt like you were beyond hope? If so, this is the story for you. Available in Paperback and on Kindle (can be used on any device with the Kindle app), "A Christian's Carol" is a story for all of us ragamuffins.

Here's a sampling of what reviewers are saying about "A Christian's Carol" so far:

"I appreciated the plot twists because they kept the story from being predictable. The one in the graveyard scene I never saw coming."

" Like the original, sometimes the scenes hit close to home and force you to look in the mirror! It can be painful and uncomfortable, but if we heed the lessons Ebenezer learns, we will become more like the one who is the source of the Christmas holiday."

"A creative re-telling of A Christmas Carol, this book is challenging, encouraging, and moving. Probably one of the best books I’ve read on what learning to live out grace really means."

"A Christian's Carol" Paperback:

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Door Within Fan Art

Hi, all! Blessed by an email from a young artist named Emily who sent me pictures of her Door Within artwork. Very cool! Which one is your favorite? 

Saturday, August 04, 2018

If My Work Has Touched Your Heart in Some Way...

Happy Summer, reader friends!

This is my once-a-year search for Patrons of the Arts. 

If my stories have touched your heart in some way, would you consider becoming a supporter of my work (a Patron) through Patreon. 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 four years now, and it has really helped me to continue producing new books and stories for readers. 

As an Independent Publisher, I need to pay out of pocket for editors, cover art, interior design, marketing, web design—and a host of other "unseen" publishing costs. Now, more than ever, I need kind readers to become Patrons.

In return for your monthly pledge, you'll get private access to my creation process: artwork, proofs, signed books, sneak peek chapters, Skype calls, your name in my books, 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? Myridian Constellation Book 3: The Forsaken Continent!

At last, the 3rd book in the series is off to the editors. It's a heavyweight epic fantasy ringing in at 159,000 words. Look for it October 2018. 

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Social Media Links: In Case You're Wondering...

{Cue dripping sarcasm}

I'm sure you're all wondering what my social media links are. {Pffffft. Can't write that with a straight face}

But just in case:

twitter: @waynebatson
instagram: wayne_batson
Amazon Author:

Monday, June 11, 2018

Is -THIS- What Journalism Has Become?

I realize, at 49, I'm as old as dirt, but back in my day, it was expected that a professional journalist would report the facts, free of purposeful bias, exaggeration, inflammatory remarks, and personal opinions. Way back then (the 80s), people had respect for journalists because, in general, they could be trusted to report the truth. 

Fast forward to 2018. Purposeful bias, exaggeration, inflammatory remarks, and personal opinions seem to be 90% of what so-called journalists report these days. And I'm not pointing fingers only at liberal news media because, unfortunately, many conservative news sources are reporting from obvious slants, as well. And, we the general public have completely bought into it. Why? Because our itching ears listen for what we want to hear. And the news media, now monetized for tweets, posts, comments, etc., will regularly toss out what is tantamount to click bait. 

Here's a case in point, representing a microcosm of what we see today: Soledad O'Brien, formerly of CNN where she gained great notoriety as an anchor, is now the CEO of "Starfish Media Group." Here's how the Starfish Media describes itself (from their website): "Starfish Media Group is a multi-platform media production and distribution company, dedicated to uncovering and investigating empowering stories that look at the often divisive issues of race, class, wealth, poverty, and opportunity through personal narratives."

This is not a news outlet. This is a private company. But this company produces "news" for HBO, Al Jezeera America, and dozens of other sources. Ms. O'Brien and Starfish Media utilize social media whenever possible, as do most media outlets these days. But today, Ms. Obrien posted a "Tweet" about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Apparently, Mr. Dorsey had decided to have a meal at Chik Fil A and posted about using his new "Cash App" to pay for the meal. (If that's not big news, whew, what is?)

Ms. O'Brien saw the tweet, retweeted (is that the correct term, young folk?) the following: "This is an interesting company (Chik Fil A) to boost during Pride month." 

Immediately half a dozen media outlets seized upon the story and ran with it, usually posting subsequent Tweets from angry folk from the LGBTQ community, as well as, response Tweets from angry folk in the Christian community. Outrage, clamor, insults from all over the spectrum. Instant story. 

This is not journalism. It's sensationalism. This is the combination of private companies and news media outlets "selling a product" at the expense of the people they claim to serve, as well as, other unsuspecting people all over our nation. Look again at Starfish Media's unabashed self-description: "...dedicated to uncovering and investigating empowering stories that look at the often divisive issues..."

Their product: divisive issues. Who gets empowered? They do. More money. More notoriety. More press. More tweets, etc. Can you hear the cash register cha-chinging? Can you hear the outrage as people groups get "played" by these dubiously empowering stories and thousands like them? 

As purveyors of any kind of news, we need to say, "Wait, a minute, I see what you're trying to do here, but I am NOT going to let it work on me." If you're reading and you grew up with multiple siblings, did you ever have one sibling try to play two other siblings off of each other? Or maybe the cunning kiddo tried to play parents off of each other? That's precisely what's happening here, except it comes from "professionals," and the stakes are much higher.

Is there an adjective that better describes America over the last several years than "divided?" Why? Two reasons: 1) journalist care more about $$$ and notoriety than they do about the truth. and 2)  an overwhelming number of Americans are as gullible as Gomer Pyle (young folk: you'll have to look up that reference). 

If you're wondering why I haven't posted any links to these news stories or tweets, it's because I don't want to contribute to the problem I'm criticizing.

The solution, my friends, is ignorance. Ignore the media. Ignore the their attempts to kick the hornet nest. Do not retweet. Do not click links that have inflammatory headlines. Do not comment. Ignore them, and like your older brother/sister, maybe they'll just go away. 

I'm not going to be surprised if the CEO of Twitter gets censured or issues a very public apology or even gets fired. Hey, it happened to the CrossFit spokesperson. Nope. No links. Not gonna do it. But it happened. An otherwise well-respected professional lost his livelihood for expressing at worst a religious conviction or even a simple opinion. 

To those in any minority (heck or majority), don't let yourself be led into anger, fury, insults, contempt, etc. Think things through. See the angles being played to stir you up. Christians aren't killing this country. LGBTQ people are not killing this country. African Americans aren't, Whites aren't, and neither are all the other groups these media outlets claim to empower. Big mouthed blowhards are the villains here. Don't get fooled again.

Sunday, May 20, 2018



Scientists are stunned this morning as a perfectly spherical ball of molten flame seems to have entered the Milky Way Galaxy and has made appearances all over North America. "The Mantle," as we call the normal claustrophobia-inducing blanket of dull gray clouds, seems to be unable to shield us from this blazing intruder.

Climatologist Erica A. Snodgrass explains, "While we have very little precedence for such a heavenly anomaly, our research suggests that the great fiery ball means us no harm." In fact, NOAAH reports that the blazing sphere seems to be causing lovely warmth for humans and animals, The impact on North America's lighting cannot be underestimated. While under the mantle of cloud, fog, and rain, human visibility was greatly impaired, people are reporting "being able to see clearly now, the rain has gone. Details at 11:00.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

North Topsail Beach: Come Stay at our Vacation Home!

Summer Vacation Seekers: You can get Outer Banks beauty and Myrtle Beach fun at 1/3 of the weekly rental price of either. Where? North Topsail Beach!

North Topsail Beach is a bit of a hidden gem. It's just south of the Outer Banks and just north of North Myrtle Beach. Like OBX, North Topsail Beach is a barrier island. 27 miles long, the island provides stunning views of the Atlantic and the Intercoastal Waterway. 

Weeks are filling up! "A Glimpse of Heaven" is our North Topsail Beach town home. We have only three weeks left to rent.
• Memorial Day Week: May 26th thru June 2nd
• June 9 through 16
• July 28th through August 4

Ocean front behind the pool. Private Beach Access. 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bath, sleeps 10. Million dollar view!

Follow the link for reservations and be sure to tell the realty company that you are friends of ours!…
Or, contact Mary Lu Dovel Batson for more information: mdbatfam(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Higher Ways (Thank God!)

I'm convinced that the majority of a Christian's most troubling internal conflicts originates in our nearly constant assuming that God is like us: He thinks like us, He loves like us, and He acts like us. After all, we are made in God's image. No disputing that. But notice the order: WE are made in GOD'S image. GOD is NOT made in OUR image. Mixing those two up is 6 tons of trouble. It's an easy trap to fall into. We live in our own minds. Our experiences and our baggage and our filters all tell us how to interpret everything in our lives: our work, our relationships, and yes, our God.

This is IMHO why Proverbs 3:5 warns us to "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT on your own understanding." Our own understanding is flawed and liable to lead to insidious conclusions. We can be sure of this because sin (our sin, as well as, the sins of others) infects our thinking. We are seeing things through fogged up glasses. But even if it weren't for sin, we'd still fail to see things as God does. We are human. We are lesser than He. God is "other."

Isaiah 55: 8-9 really hammers home the differences between our ways and God's ways: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." God is not telling us to throw out our brains. Nor is He telling us not to use the powers of reason He's given us to interpret life. But God is clearly saying that our human wisdom MUST submit to God's ultimate wisdom. When life crashes down around us and we scream out, "WHY?", God replies, "Trust me. I know everything."


Do you feel the relief in that? Do you feel the freedom, the chains of our own limitations falling away? I do. It means, when I condemn myself for falling short, and I assume that God has put me on His "bad kid" list, I am wrong. God's thoughts are higher than mine. He understands the situation I'm in, what I've thought, what I've done—and yet, He does not deal with us as we would deal with ourselves. I can abandon my own understanding of the situation and trust God to deal with me according to His ways. 

Musician and author Andrew Peterson has a song called "Just as I Am," and it brings this point home (and crushes me) in this section of the song:

All of my life I've held on to this fear
These thistles and vines ensnare and entwine
What flowers appeared
It's the fear that I'll fall one too many times
It's the fear that His love is no better than mine

How often do we destroy ourselves, berate ourselves, condemn, and sentence ourselves because we think that God's justice, His understanding, and His love is no better than ours. But His ways ARE better, far better. As far as the heavens are from the earth better.

When we look at the world and begin to despair—that's our thinking, our understanding, our ways. God sees the world in higher ways. He is outside of time, and so He sees everything in Past, Present, and Future—all at once. He knows that evil does not win. He knows that our brief existence on this earth pales in comparison to eternity. And, in what is probably the most difficult reality to wrap our feeble brains around, He know how and why the tragedies, sorrows, sufferings, and seemingly senseless evils of this world can and will be used for good. We can't see it, but He can. We can trust Him to know better. Honestly, that's a relief to me. God's wisdom, His heart, His intentions, His glory—are all WAY  above my pay grade. 

What does this all mean in a practical sense? One: we have—at last—the ammunition with which to fight the thought battle. How many times a day do negative self talk thoughts invade your mind? How often do sinful thoughts intrude? "Look what I did. Look what I thought about. I must not be a Christian." Those are logical human thoughts based on our standards or our understanding of God's standard. Hidden beneath those negative thoughts, we are assuming that God handles things the way we would. "If I had an employee who screwed up like I do, I'd fire him and toss him out on his butt." We think that way. Society teaches such messages all the time. But God's ways are higher. His word, His promises are ironclad beyond our hapless analysis. He does not treat us as we deserve but offers grace. 

Knowing that God's thoughts and ways are greater than our own can help us avoid sin as well. We walk down the street and see a homeless person—whoosh, instant judgment leaps into our minds. But God sees that dear person as a precious child of His own. God knows that homeless person inside and out, his whole life story, and God knows where that person's eternity will be spent. We. Have. No. Clue. And therefore, no room to judge. Knowing this, we can ask ourselves and ask God, "How do you see this person? Help me to see that person as you do."

When we are tempted by sinful pleasures and the mind is flooded with visuals and anticipated ecstasy, we can fight back. This pleasure that I think I need, it is just that: "what I THINK I need." My thinking is flawed. God says, "Avoid that act. It's a shortcut. It's a snare. Follow my ways and trust that I hold more pleasures and treasures for you than you can possibly imagine!"

When we are confused by passages in the Bible, we can do our due diligence and research and study…and still come up short. There, we must remember: God's ways are higher than my ways. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts. We can ask God for wisdom and then trust that when we need that wisdom most, God will provide it. 

When we are divided over issues of race, politics, sexuality, social status, ad infinitum, we might be tempted to attach another person, unleashing the full might of our logic, condemnation, and judgement upon the other. If we remember that God's wisdom, His thoughts and ways are unfathomably higher than our own, we ought to humble ourselves. We ought to cool our jets. We ought to tell the truth IN LOVE. And, we ought to trust God, for He alone can change another human being from the inside out. I know. I know. It's crushing to think our facebook posts and snarky comments on social media won't change a human being's heart. But that's the deal: God is the heart changer. Instead of unleashing our bile on another human being, how about loving the human being, respecting his or her perspective (not agree with it), and seek to kindly find the threads of truth that God wants to weave into the conversation. Be kind. People are fighting battles we know nothing about. But God does know.

Maybe that crazy guy who cut you off in traffic this morning is driving recklessly because he's trying to get to the hospital where his daughter has just been admitted. Maybe that teenage daughter of yours rages at you because she's dealing with emotions and daily turmoil that we cannot see. 

And, more than anything else, because God's thoughts and ways are higher than our own, we MUST realize that people are NOT the enemy. It may feel like they are. They may speak like they are, but beneath it all, there are spiritual forces at work. Ephesians 6:12 tells us "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm."

Sin and the enemy of our souls are the real antagonists. These are spiritual issues, so we need to fight spiritually. Pray for God to exert His will in the lives of "these people who just don't get it." And while we're at it, pray that God would exert His will in our own lives…since we don't totally get it either.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

The NEW Author-ized Editions of Sword in the Stars & The Errant King—what's the deal?

A lot of readers ask me, what's new about these "Author-ized" editions of Sword in the Stars and The Errant King? Many readers purchased the original editions back in 2012 and are wondering if the new versions are worth getting. A little background might help answer those questions:

The original Sword in the Stars and The Errant King were published by AMG/Living Ink Publishing. I am grateful beyond words that AMG contracted me for those books and the whole Dark Sea Annals series. Unfortunately, changes in the publishing market made events go in a direction neither AMG nor I wanted. eBooks hit publishers hard, and AMG became stretched too thin. In the end, their fiction brand collapsed. After that, AMG was gracious enough to grant me back the rights to the whole series. 

That was a huge relief because I really feel like this series, now The Myridian Constellation, is the passion of my writing life. God has given me bits and pieces of this 7 book epic, and I hope and pray that all seven books will rock your world, honor God with craft, skill, and accuracy, and ignite passions within readers to dare to adventure in God's kingdom.

To those ends, I hired a professional editor so that we could clean up the manuscripts. With her help, I've added thousands and thousands of new words to each book. Don't worry! I didn't change any substantial plot lines, eliminate characters, or make any other drastic decisions that would warrant a good shin-kicking. What I did do is quite a bit more character building, a ton of foreshadowing for the rest of the series, and (HOPEFULLY) upgraded the language of the written craft. 

On top of that, I've hired a new interior designer (Malachi Armas) to give the series a more epic feel. I've hired the amazing (Caleb Havertape-illustration) for new cover art—and am completely blown away by his work. All in all, I feel like the series is becoming all that it was meant to be. 

Book 3 in the series "The Forsaken Continent" should be released this Summer. Book 4 "Mirror of Souls" will likely be early 2019.

I hope some of this info will help you make a good decision regarding the purchase of the new books. Thank you, as always, for your devoted readership. Never alone.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Reader Art

Greetings, most excellent and admirable readers!

I just received a righteous piece of reader art from Samuel Stocking. This is his rendition of Alastair arriving at Chapparel during the Gorrack Invasion in Sword in the Stars. So crazy how well Samuel envisioned the scene. I was just listening to the audiobook proofs for that chapter, so the image really struck me. 

Here it is:

Friday, February 23, 2018

What's the Big Deal About School Shootings?

If the title of this article brought one word to mind: TROLL, I guess I don't blame you. Please know: I honestly don't intend to try to tweak and trigger people on a this very sensitive topic. I also don't make light of anyone's loss of life. But I do want to explore the issues from a number of different angles. 

This isn't about politics, either. I could care less what Republicans or Democrats think. This article is about people, people and beliefs, double standards and paradoxes, problems and solutions. I apologize in advance for my own ignorance on these issues. I'm not an authority the way the world defines authority. But I am a teacher and a father and above all else, a Christian—I won't be silent because I'm not an authority on gun violence because that kind of authority isn't necessary to discuss issues of the heart and mind.

Why the title? What's the big deal about school shootings? If I'm being anything, it's not snarky, but rather ironic on purpose. Frankly, I don't think we're disturbed enough about this issue. And IMHO most of the discussion I've read on the topic shows that we're really looking at the most superficial sides of this. I ask what's the big deal because, honestly, what did anyone expect? 

The headlines are horrific, but can anyone honestly take a look at our society and be surprised that disturbed people, especially youths, are reaching for weapons to end the lives of others and, many times, their own? Remember, we're the society that set up naturalism as THE god to worship. Big court cases like The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes, Roe v. Wade, Engel v. Vitale,
Abington School District v. Schempp, and a thousand others have taught our nation that we are all alone in this world. There is nothing beyond ourselves. No God. No reason to be here other than we are here and might as well make the best of it. What did we expect to happen in such a nation as this? 

Remember also that we are the society hopelessly addicted to drugs, legal and illegal. Why? Trying to make the best of it. Why? Trying to escape from a hopeless reality. Why? Because we're trying to numb and blunt that nagging sense that things aren't the way they should be. We are the nation that protects pornography as a freedom of speech. We are the nation that fosters endless cycles of exploitation and abuse and offers self-based, humanistic counseling for the win. 

Why are we surprised that people, including teens, are so angry and violent? So disturbed and distorted? Recognize that we are the nation that glorifies the action heroes who, in the movies and now the endless entertainment streaming, mow down scores of people with assault weapons, flamethrowers, grenades, etc. ad infinitum. We are the nation that allows our kids to play ultra realistic violent video games so often that households all over the country can hear their kids and teens reveling in things like "headshots" and "number of kills." Where are the parents? What makes anyone think this is okay? But we allow it. Sometimes, we play the games with our kids. 

We are the nation who purposefully distorted the term "freedom" to mean anything we want. We have banned the word "no" from our reality, and we are suffering dearly for it. Frequent sex outside of marriage, easy divorce, one-parent families, alternate identities and genders? We've got it all, now, and more coming. And we sing out that it's all for the best. Is it any wonder that our kids—and our society—are coming apart? 

Finally, we are the nation who over the past 10-15 years has all but outlawed intelligent, reasoned discussions on ANY controversial issue. We've become a name-calling nation of whiners, choosing not to think rationally about issues because we can always brand someone with "hate speech" or "homophobe" or "racist" or some other conversation-ending misnomer. We are a nation that wants what it wants, whenever it wants, and crucifies anyone who says it ought to be different. So, why the heck are we surprised when people are gunned down in Vegas or in one of our schools? 

Here's the pivot: not being surprised does not mean we can all throw our hands up in submission. It doesn't mean we get to say, well, we brought it on ourselves, so guess we'll just have to endure it. No. No. And…No. 

First off, we each personally need to repent, ie: turn around, agree that wrong things are wrong things, that God is the arbiter of truth and that God, by the way, isn't our stomach. We need to repent as a nation. How? I wish I knew. It's not as simple as "allowing" prayer in school. I don't believe the law against prayer in school really did anything to ban prayer in school. Prayer was never meant to be a big public showy thing anyway. Short of brainwashing people of faith, you will never stop prayer in schools. It's more than having government and schools turn into some kind of theocracies where we give lip service to the Almighty and then go on our merry way. But we desperately need to stop preaching meaninglessness to our people. You want to be an atheist? Fine. You want to believe in evolution? Fine. But don't you dare establish the scientifically detectable world as the reason for everything such that love and dreams and purpose and meaning are beaten out of our kids.

Getting to more of the specifics: what about assault rifles and such? Here's where I must plead more ignorance because I just don't get the double standards that exist so openly in this society, often including Christians. I don't understand how someone can be fiercely pro-life and ALSO fiercely pro-assault weapons. Assault weapons were designed for killing people, for warfare. There's no human being in this nation who needs or deserves an assault rifle. And please don't give me that garbage about protecting ourselves from a government gone bad. Follow that thread through. If the government went bad, do you think even ten million civilian citizens with assault rifles could win the day? Get real. If our government ever went bad (or I should say went to the worst), they could kill and destroy with impunity. 

As far as I can tell from the most recent articles, I don't see anyone trying to ban ALL guns. But assault rifles? Ban them. I don't think for a moment that legislating a ban on assault rifles will keep determined people from getting them, but if we can keep one disturbed teenager from getting one and shooting up a school, shouldn't we? And on that subject, why are we avoiding the most common sense suggestions for stopping violence in schools? We should have a branch of the FBI or some other specialized law enforcement Anti School Violence Division put together and fund working state-of-the-art metal detectors in all schools! How can this not be law already? Money? I'm sure. Politics? Most definitely. Still it's unconscionable to not have metal detectors in all schools. I can't be certain, but I suspect that those metal detectors could even be funded by the private sector. If my kids' schools asked me to donate toward a metal detector fund, they can take my money now. And speaking of the new Anti School Violence Division, why not have at least one highly-trained officer stationed to run those metal detectors and patrol the schools? 

Again, banning assault rifles won't solve the problems of the human heart. After all, there are nearly four times as many knife killings in the US each year than assault rifles. But we've got to do something. 

If you're a young person (or person of any age), please know you are NOT a cosmic accident. You were created by God as a one-of-a-kind, priceless masterpiece. God is real. He loves you. You have ultimate meaning, and no, this life is not all their is. Your life matters to God. Your identity matters to God. There is such a thing as right and wrong, and we need to reject the wrong. We need to turn to the lifeline God offers us by believing in Jesus for the forgiveness of all our personal wrongs. We need to seek God and love God. We need to let Him show us how to love and, in the words of the Black Panther, look after each other. How can I be so sure? The Bible is one reason. No other book on earth is like the Bible. Do some homework. Read up about how unique and reliable the Bible is. Personal experience is another reason. I've seen 20 year alcoholics cured in an instant. There are inexplicable healings every single day, well inexplicable but for God. I've felt the scriptures resonate within me. I've seen and felt unconditional love. But the greatest reasons boil down to common sense:

1) How can this world have come together by itself? Do you know what the odds against it are? I've heard it likened to the odds of throwing thousands of alphabet letters into a great bin, mixing them up, and then pulling them out one letter at a time and resulting in Shakespeare's complete works. 

2) How can this world be all that there is? If we're honest, none of us are completely satisfied by this world. We might claim to be. We might even have deluded ourselves into believing that we are. But most honest people will tell you there is a thirst for something we can't seem to find. There's a hunger for a food this earth doesn't provide. And there's a desperate need for a love that people, try as they might, just cannot fulfill. 

3) It is ALL a question of faith. Which faith will you choose? Evolution is a theory. Creation is a theory. None of us were there at the beginning to see what happened. Science does NOT have everything figured out. In fact, by definition, science can only describe what is observable. It cannot tell you how it all began. It cannot tell you why you fall in love. It cannot tell you what happens after we die. Science depends on the natural world, so by definition it must ignore the supernatural. But make no mistake, naturalism, atheism, humanism—are all belief systems. Dig deep enough, you will find the massive leaps of faith in all these systems. To be fair, Christianity has some massive leaps of faith as well, but it does, after all, claim to be a faith. If you boil it all down, you either believe in an intelligent, loving eternal God who created the world and offers hope to mankind -or- you believe in a blind eternal particle that somehow turned into all that we know and offers no hope for anything or anyone. If you choose to believe the latter, don't you think we've already seen where that road leads? All you have to do is read the headlines.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Pondering the Draw of Eternity

My wife and I own a modest townhome in North Topsail Beach, North Carolina. It's not one of those modern mansions on stilts. Just an older townhome, but it has a million-dollar view of the ocean. It feels like having the Atlantic in your backyard.

We've just come down for a long weekend to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. The moment I step out of the car and hear the crashing surf, it's like coils of chains fall from my shoulder. I stand up a little straighter, a tear comes to my eye, and I remember how to breathe without tension, worry, fear, ad infinitum. I've always felt drawn to the ocean. I can sit and watch the waves for hours on end. I will stare as far out to the horizon as my eyes will let me see. And, at night, the sounds of the relentless surf send me thoughtfully to sleep.

Now, understand, it's midFebruary. A nice day, but still winter. No one will be swimming in the ocean or the pool today. And yet, as we drove up the strip, we saw that people are all over the beach. Some sitting on blankets. Some walking dogs. Others just wandering hand in hand. And some walking alone along the sand, pausing from time to time to pick up a seashell or simply to stare. 


Why do people feel drawn to the ocean or the lake or the mountains? The reasons are probably vast and varied, but I believe there is, if we are honest with ourselves, a deeper reason. The beauty of nature draws us to ponder eternity. No matter what we've been taught, we stand audience to the staggering enormity of creation and we know that this all cannot be the result of cosmic accidents. For me, I think of the massive continuous power of the waves. I think of the horizon and how far away and endless it seems. It tugs at the mind and soul.

Many of us ignore that spiritual pull. We assume it's beauty or relaxation or nostalgia that keeps us coming back again and again. But I believe it's nothing short of a signed, sealed, and delivered invitation from Almighty God to rethink our lives. It is the whisper of Jesus, "Come to me, you who are weary and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest for your soul."

CS Lewis once wrote, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." And the impact of this desire is multiplied exponentially when we are in the midst of stunning creation. The beauty and vastness break through our meticulously constructed walls and force us to reckon with life more honestly than usual. For 85% of life we wear the mask. We self medicate. We numb ourselves. We get lost in routines. And, we keep busy. And, for some of us, we're running, fleeing madly from what we fear might be true.

But make no mistake, we are fooling ourselves. We are running around from thrill to thrill like trick or treaters on Halloween, hoping the rush won't end. But it does end. Lift the veil for a minute and really see. Every town has a cemetery. We pass by the legions of tombstones and shrug. But so once did all the people buried there. In traffic, a hearse goes by followed by twenty cars with little orange cards visible in the windshields. A neighbor gets sick. The headlines report another tragedy. We try to hide from it all. We desperately hide from the personal implications.  

If you're approaching 50 like I am, maybe you've found yourselves also thinking more clearly about the enormity and brevity of life. We're no longer center stage. Our kids are. And soon, their kids will be. But, dang it, our lives count for something! All these experiences, the good, the bad, the love, the loss, the memories—it all matters, doesn't it? Or will it all, like Roy Batty in Bladerunner said, disappear "like tears…in rain?" 

Many of us go through life thinking science has proven we're all just magnificent accidents, here today, gone tomorrow…forever. But this is part of the masquerade. This is part of the deadening of our souls to the reality that eternity is calling us. God is calling us.

As a kid did you ever keep critters (ants, beetles, caterpillars, salamanders, fish, etc) in a jar or aquarium? You watch them moving all around, bumping into their boundaries, seemingly resigned to their confined existence. Did you ever find yourself wondering what these tiny creatures are thinking? 

We look in on them and watch them, thinking how funny that these creatures just go about their duties and routines. I wonder if we're actually just like those ants and varmints. Just live for living's sake. There's nothing more. All the while, our Creator watches and waits…and invites.