Thursday, November 16, 2023

Jesus Is Enough

 When I was in my mid-twenties, I lived in Los Angeles. I was preparing for missions and was attending the Church on Brady. It was actually the First Southern Baptist Church of East Los Angeles DOB as the Church on Brady. It was led by pastor Thom Wolf.

It was a great time in my life. I was single and completely unencumbered by anything permanent. Don't get me wrong, I love being married and have been for nearly 31 years, but not when I lived in LA. 

Anyway, I got to interact with so many people who were completely sold out for Jesus. And I loved it. 

One day, I was having coffee with a man who had been a missionary in a very poor part of a very poor country. I'll not give his name. He told me of the extreme poverty in which people called home and it was horrifying. He said that a number of prostitutes had given their lives to Jesus, but they continued in prostitution because there was no other way for them to make a living. 

When I questioned this man, he answered, "Jesus Christ is not the answer to every problem."

That statement has bothered me for nearly 40 years and I do not believe it to be true. In fact, I say, "Jesus is the answer to every problem." 

Jesus changes lives. Jesus makes a way when there is no way. Jesus saves in entirety. 


How can I say that? Because Jesus IS God! The Bible says that everything that has been created, Jesus created! If He can speak the world into existence, He can rescue a prostitute from prostitution. If Jesus can speak light into existence, He can restore people and families. If Jesus can raise from the dead, He can give eternal life. Yes, Jesus is enough!

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Why I Write

 I love writing. I've always had an affinity for it. Well, for telling stories, really. When I was young, I would make up stories to tell anyone who would listen. The problem I had then was telling the stories as if they were real, as if they actually happened to me.

That was dishonest and I know that now. But I never had the mentoring to channel the love of the story into writing. 

I did well on my writing assignments in high school and college. I laugh now thinking about how I bragged that I had to write a ten-page paper every week for a certain class. I also remember a class that demanded a rough draft before the final project. I would simply type out the paper on my Royal Electric Typewriter, then go back with a pencil and paper and "create" a rough draft. I always got ""A's" on my writing projects.

While we were missionaries, I would write a newsletter that went out to hundreds of people, telling them about what God was doing overseas. I'd also write about our children and include any fun personal stories. Due to a hard drive failure, I've lost all those emails.

When I became a pastor 16 years ago, I was prolific in writing blog posts here and on our church website. I also interacted with many other bloggers which introduced my writing to a couple of editors of Southern Baptist publications. I began writing missions articles and eventually wrote some larger projects including the International Missions Emphasis piece on Beijing for the International Mission Board. 

About 10 or so years ago, I began writing my first novel, "Jackpot!" which was finally published in 2022. Except for the fact that it made me a published author, it was a miserable failure. There was virtually no publicity for it from the publisher and I personally sold most of the copies that were sold. As of this writing, it ranks as number 1,395,097 in books on Amazon and number 43,198 in Religious Literature & Fiction on the same. 

I finished my second novel about a month ago and am currently seeking literary representation. I have only queried 17 agents so far and have had a negative response from three. I have big hopes for this novel and am praying for success.

That brings me to the purpose of this post. Why do I write? 

I write with a three-fold purpose:

1. To glorify God

2. To edify His church

3. To build His kingdom

I certainly don't seek fame. In fact, I love my anonymity. I don't seek fortune, although I would not reject it. My purpose is to write in such a way that Christians are encouraged and those who are not Christians would be drawn to God through His Son Jesus Christ. In those two things, I believe God will be glorified. 

That's why I write.