Christmas Distilled

Christmas Distilled

Christmas. If you could distill it to its most basic element, it’s about God coming to us. In fact the traditional word for this season is Advent, from the Latin word for just that, for coming. And the message in this is that God came to rescue us when it would have been far easier, and certainly less painful, for Him to have remained in Heaven, aloof and separated from the tragic mess we’d made of our world.

But God so loved us that He gave His only Son to save us from the consequences of our bad decisions. And He told Joseph and Mary, “Call Him Jesus”, a name which is literally translated as “Rescuer,” because He came to seek and save – deliver – those who were lost.

And sometimes we still feel lost today, and not only in the eternal sense, because we can still make bad decisions or fall into misfortune even after we’ve been born again. But the thing to remember when this happens is that He still comes, every time we need Him, to rescue us.

So no matter what you’re facing at this moment, keep in mind that He’s on His way to you. His appearance may take the form of a friend or relative, or even a sudden twist of fate. If needed, His intervention will be miraculous; after all, when His disciples were caught in a storm, He came walking to them walking on the water, which proves to us that He’ll do whatever it takes to arrive on the scene and save His own.

And since you’re His own, He’ll come to you too, to still your storm and to get you to the other side of this. He’s coming to save you, and you can count on that, because He’s The Rescuer. That’s His name. It’s who He is. It’s what He does.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


Spider Bite

Spider Bite

I just returned from teaching and ministering in Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara. It’s a beautiful, modern place, with amazing artistic architecture. But apparently they also have poisonous spiders, because I got bitten by one of them while there.

For real. My leg swelled up like a log. And hurt like a root canal for days. And yet still, despite all this it was   a  wonderful trip. In fact, I had a blast. Wish I was still there.

Oh, sure, the spider bite was a bummer, but I learned also something from an experience: that whether or not you love or hate a certain period of your life has a lot to do with your focus when you’re going through it. The Apostle Paul put it this way: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things…and the God of Peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9). My wife Diane put it more succinctly: “Be sure to enjoy your time in Guadalajara, ’cause you’ll miss it later.”

She was right. I do. And with this in mind, I was able to get my mind off of my “owie” and onto the beautiful people and things around me. I changed my focus from the negative to the positive, and in doing so changed both my attitude and the quality of my experience.

And yes, my leg is all well now, which I attribute to God’s keeping and healing power, since I’m told that bites of this type can be very serious. But that aside, is it possible that somethings going wrong in your life right now? If so – and I know it can be hard to do this – let me encourage you to lift your eyes from the problem to all that’s going right in your life you at the moment. Think about those who love you. Call a friend, take a walk, have a nice cup of coffee, and drink in the beauty that seems to be everywhere at this time year. As the T-shirt says. “Life is Good.” It really is.

So as difficult as it may seem, when we shift your focus from our challenges to our blessings, God of Peace brings peace to our hearts. And yes, He fixes our problems, too.


You can check out my new novel Falling for Chloe here: Falling for Chloe

Hope you love it 😉


Leave a comment

Posted by on October 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


You Called it What?!

You Called it What?!

I recently had to change the name of my novel “Hot”, to “Falling for Chloe”, so I can relate to my friend, author Jessie Bailey Andersen’s blog about re-titling a book. Her exciting novel The Breeding Tree is now available for purchase here: The Breeding Tree

But let Jessie tell you about it:


Titles are difficult for me. Nothing ever seems right. I wanted something that would encompass the entire story, not only the first book, but a title that might apply to the two books following as a series title. Then it came to me: THE UNVIABLES.

You see, the children in the story are considered unviable. The Hidden City Rebels are for all intents and purposes, unviable. It was perfect…until it wasn’t.

For three years it was named Unviables. I submitted it, edited it and was halfway through the process when I got an email that said, “We need a few other title options.” WHAT??? NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! (Drag that Nooooo out so it sounds like it’s falling into an abyss.)

But I complied. After all, the publishing house and its employees are professionals at Titling things.  So I took it to my writers group. “I need help. I thought I had the perfect title, but we need to come up with some more.” That day at group, we created a list. This was only part of it:

Unviables: Disposable Generation

Follow the Leader


The Breeding Tree


Disposable Generation

A Burden on the

Restriction League

Perfection League

Choosing Perfection

Hanging in the Balance

Nothing really grabbed me. My heart was stuck on Unviables. But word came back that The Breeding Tree had won the vote. “The Breeding Tree? What does that even mean?” you ask. Let me explain.

It was suggested by my friend, Ivory, who explained that the society in my book bred children like farmers breed cows. When cows are bred, they are attached to a post called ‘the breeding tree.’

Suddenly, it fit!

While, I still love THE UNVIABLES as a title, THE BREEDING TREE does encompass the story behind the book. Now, if I can only figure out what to title the next book, I’ll be all set.

Any suggestions?

About The Breeding Tree:

THE BREEDING TREE-- final cover

Is the opportunity to create the next generation of life a dream come true or a deadly nightmare?

When seventeen year old Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.

You can get Breeding Tree here: The Breeding Tree

About Jessie:


There’s not much to do growing up in a small town in Western, NY, so J. Andersen wrote stories and won high school writing contests. But in college her writing was limited to term papers. While teaching middle school she began to read young adult books and got serious about writing. She now writes full time, volunteers at the town library, helps to run a School of the Arts at her church, and sings in the church band. She enjoys good coffee—read: home roasted by her husband—crafts, baking, and chasing after her children. You’ll rarely see J. without a book in her hands, and that’s the way she’d like to keep it.

You can reach Jessie here:


Thanks Jessie, for sharing on Encouraging Word today!


Leave a comment

Posted by on September 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


The Second Reason I Wrote “Falling for Chloe”


“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s an age-old proverb which I often ignore. Because there I am in Amazon’s Kindle store, scrolling through, looking for my next adventure story and bam there’s that eye-catching image. “Wow, that one looks good!”

So I buy it, only to learn that quality graphic design doesn’t necessarily indicate quality writing.

Truth be told, we often misjudge people in the same the way we misjudge books. We categorize them according to their taste in clothing, their jobs, their language skills, body types, ethnicity, or nationality. “Man looks on the outward appearance,” the Bible says, “but the Lord looks on the heart.”

The characters in my novel Falling for Chloe vary somewhat in outward appearance, talents, personalities, and social skills. And once you’re reading the story, I’m sure you’ll subconsciously analyze and categorize these folks in the same way we analyze and categorize people in real life.

But be careful; more than one of these characters may surprise you. In fact, I know they will. And so the second reason I wrote this story is to encourage us to be more open-minded and generous when assessing others.

That said, when it comes to Falling for Chloe, I hope you love both the story…and the cover 😉

You can check Falling for Chloe out here: Falling for Chloe

Hope you love it,


Leave a comment

Posted by on September 11, 2015 in Uncategorized


Why I Wrote the Novel Falling for Chloe


Falling for Chloe is set to launch on September 2nd, and I’m excited. Here’s a brief description of the story:

A total life do-over, that’s what Jake needs; a chance to unmake his past mistakes. Because in his zeal to fulfill his beloved dream of wealth and fame, Jake lost Chloe, the one he loved above all else.
First he betrayed her. Then came the drugs. And in the real world, opportunities to undo things like that just don’t happen.
Or do they? Could a paparazzi-induced traffic accident actually provide an opportunity for Jake to restore his ruined life? Set against the glitzy backdrop of the recording business, Falling for Chloe
 tells the story of a young man’s dream to restore the dream he lived before his dreams came true.

I have a long-time friend who left her husband for no better reason than she felt the desire to explore greener pastures. She and her husband had always been good to one another, but she became haunted by a nagging feeling that she was missing out on the good life.

So she left him. Partied it up. And found out the good life wasn’t all that great. But now it’s too late for her to go back, because he’s with somebody else.

This is a little like Jake’s story in Falling for Chloe. He leaves his girl Chloe to follow his dream of fame, and then, wonder of wonders, winds up actually catching it – fame, that is. But afterward he learns that a life of celebrity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There’s the paparazzi, and the constant pressure, and the never having any time for yourself, and the temptation, and the drugs. Soon Jake’s only real dream is to get back to the dream he left behind, his true love Chloe, whom he betrayed.

But despite appearances, Falling for Chloe isn’t really a sad story; it’s more of a Nicholas Sparks kind of thing. Bittersweet. But it’s not only that, it’s also humorous, fast-moving, and inspirational. And as far as the ending goes, well, it contains surprises I know you’re going to love.

So ultimately, I wrote this story to help those of us who live in envy of others. I want them to experience gratitude; an appreciation for their own lives. Because the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. In fact most times it just has different weeds.

Here’s the link for the Kindle and print versions: Falling for Chloe

Hope you enjoy it!



Posted by on August 27, 2015 in Uncategorized




Rejoice. The word appears 194 times in the Bible. Which kinda gives you the impression God wants you to be happy, right?

Right. Although I didn’t grow up thinking that; I grew up thinking that God wanted us to be all sour-faced and serious, like, you know…the Pharisees. Who hated Jesus. As if that made any sense.

No, God really does want us to be happy, and even care-free, which is why he tells us to cast our cares on him (1 Pet. 5:7, Phil. 4:6,) and commands us to rejoice.Yeah, said that right, he actually commands it, even if it is only by means of what linguists call a “polite command,” such as “Hey, look over there!”

And yet it is still a command of sorts, and that’s intentional on his part. Because if he only suggested that we rejoice, we probably wouldn’t do it, and then we wouldn’t be happy. And there’s a solid reason for this: you see, no one else can really make you be happy. You have to choose it. As the adage goes, “Happiness is a choice.”

Now sometimes choosing it easy, as when everything’s going perfectly. But other times things aren’t going so well, and that’s when we need to choose happiness, as Philippians 4:4 implies when it says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

Always. In other words, even when things are messed up.

But here’s the best part: the Holy Spirit will actually help you to be happy. He’ll give you supernatural joy, if you’ll only try to rejoice. You see, joy is a fruit of the Spirit; something that grows on its own within your heart, and if you’ll yield to it, God-produced joy will come bubbling up into your soul.

So my advice? Rejoice. Open the floodgates to the happiness God wants to give you. And why would he give us this Holy Spirit joy? Because he loves us and wants us to be happy, even while he’s fixing the broken things in our lives.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 13, 2015 in Uncategorized


God’s OS


I love computers. I love working with them, fiddling with them, tweaking them for maximum performance. I’ve been using them for awhile – I bought my first one nearly twenty years ago – and though I may not know all there is to know about these fabulous devices, I can usually get them do what I want them to and can troubleshoot most software problems.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned in my years at the keyboard, it’s that computers operate according to a simple action/reaction principle. You do this, and the box does that. Period. There’s no grace when it comes to PCs and Macs.

Thankfully, God’s OS isn’t like that. If it were, we all wind up in Gehenna. But we won’t, because of a little sub-file located deep within in the system, known as Grace. Or Mercy. Call it whatever you want, the operative principle here is that we don’t get what we deserve.

Have you goofed up again? Sinned, as the Scripture so tactlessly puts it? Then tell God you’re sorry and be grateful for His mercy, which thank Heaven, is new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.

Then walk away, rebooted and restored. You’re forgiven. Go and sin no more. And remember to thank God that He’s not just some big computer in the sky. He’s a real live Person whose mercies never fail.

It is through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness – Lam. 3:22, 23


1 Comment

Posted by on June 3, 2015 in Uncategorized


Happy Mothers Day, Mom-at-Heart

Happy Mothers Day, Mom-at-Heart

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Thank you for cuddling and consoling us, for teaching us about beauty, courage, kindness, and patience, for changing our stinky diapers, washing and feeding us, bandaging our cuts, and performing all those other sacrificial tasks too myriad to count, back when our only expression of appreciation was merely to quit bawling.

But let me also thank those of you who have lost your babies to miscarriage, childhood accident, disease, abortion, adoption, or difficulty in conception. My oldest sister was unable to bear children, and yet our childhood name for her was “Mommy Dianna,” as even then she exemplified to us what loving nurture was all about. Like you, she was a mother-at-heart, nurturing her siblings through warm hugs, kind conversations, words of wisdom, greeting cards, phone calls, emails, and Facebook posts, all the way from girlhood to her last day upon this earth.

And she’s not the only one. Each of you ladies are moms in one way or another. You’re just wired that way; love drives the beating of your heart. So to every woman reading these words let me say thank you. We honor you each and every day of our lives. Happy Mothers Day, Mom-at-Heart.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


You’re a Big Deal to God

You’re a Big Deal to God

I once had a saltwater aquarium that housed, among other creatures, a seven-inch moray eel. But one day the eel was gone. I searched the tank high and low, and just couldn’t find him. (Or her? Not sure about that one. Who really knows, with moray eels).

Remembering that these little critters sometimes burrow into the sand, I lifted the rocks and corals and raked the place with my fingers. But…nothing.

Shrugging my shoulders, I left the room and headed into the bathroom to wash the salt off my hands. And prayed. Do you ever pray prayers like that, about little, nada things? Well I do, all the time, so I asked the Almighty Omniscient Master of the Universe,” Lord, where did my eel go?”

Immediately, it seemed, I heard or felt, or maybe just knew, the answer: “It swam up the filter intake tube and died.”

That. Just that. No fire-in-the-sky, no earthquake, just the proverbial Still Small Voice, if you could even call it a voice. But whatever it was, I chose believe it and immediately marched back to the aquarium, removed the filter tube, looked inside, and…voila. My eel.

I learned two important things from that seemingly insignificant incident:

1: God cares about everything that matters to us, no matter how great or small it might be. If it matters to us, it matters to Him. Period.

2: God answers our questions readily, often immediately, but it takes faith to trust that the voice (or intuition) we hear or receive is actually from Him, and act upon it.

So when you need answers, simply ask for them. And when they come, boldly act upon them.

The Apostle James put it this way: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind (Jas. 1:5-6).

And remember, nothing’s too great or too small, ‘cause a big deal to God.


1 Comment

Posted by on March 17, 2015 in Uncategorized




I went to an out-of-town church service yesterday where the pastor dealt out some real revelation. Most of us are familiar with the passage in Ecclesiasticus where the writer says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; if either of them falls down, one can help the other up…and a threefold cord can’t quickly be broken.” (Eccl. 4:9-10) The verses are about teamwork, and we all know God’s into that. But the eye-popper for me was when the pastor turned to Genesis 1: 26 where God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, and in our likeness.” Us. In other words, God keeps His own advice. He not only advocates teamwork, He operates in it Himself. Yes, even God at the core of His nature and structure, is a team player.

What this says to me is that God never intended for us to be loners. “It’s not good for man to be alone,” He says in Genesis 2:16. And when we find ourselves that way, He’s willing to go to work to rectify the situation, as Psalm 68:6 promises, “God sets the solitary in families.”

I want to encourage you to strengthen your family relationships, your friendships, and even your business relationships. Life’s too big for any of us to handle on our own. After all, even the Lone Ranger needed Tonto.

And by the way, I want to thank each my partners, along with the pastors and churches that help me take the Gospel around the world. In the last year I’ve ministered in Mexico, France, Switzerland, Germany, and all over the United States. None of it would have been possible without your heartfelt help. May God bless you for your faithful friendship and support.


Leave a comment

Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: