Latest Entries »

Getting discouraged because you aren’t getting the results you expect to from serving God? Join the crowd. Been there – done that – and keep doing it. I’m trying to stop.

Yesterday I heard a great true story on Joni’s Table Talk on Daystar with Terry Law of What an inspiring story.  Check him out at

My friend Emmanuel Olaleye shared this story with me. Probably not true but a great example of how God might work.

GOD KNOWS BEST One day a local evangelist bragged during a crusade that his God was more able than all the other gods in the town and the powers of the universe that the villagers worshiped put together. Just then, rainstorm sounds started sounding overhead, threatening the progress of the crusade. The evangelist lifted up his voice and declared with confidence that if the rains fell, then he wasn’t a man of God; he would stop preaching! Before he could finish his bluff, the rains began to hit the crusade grounds so vehemently, apparently in disregard to his declarations. The whole town left the crusade grounds to their houses, shaking their heads in disappointment and dismay. The evangelist, so distraught and angry, packed his belongings and left the town the next day. On his way through the next town, he checked into a local drinking spot and drank himself to stupor. As he laid on the ground cursing God, an old seedy looking man tapped him gently on the shoulder. “Man of God”, the old man began. But the evangelist quickly cut in, “don’t mention the name of God to me. He is fake. He is unreliable. I am no longer a believer in this God. A God who chooses to disgrace his servants. Leave me alone!” But the old man would not let him be. He continued,”I am the fetish priest in the village you just preached at. During your one week stay in that village, you destroyed all the charms i had made on the people for 45 years. Your prayers and your words always came with some fearful fire and power. I tried so many times to eliminate you but i couldn’t. My last chance came yesterday. I had loaded my gun with gun powder lying wait on the mountaintop where i had a very clear view of you. My plan was to shoot you from a distance since i couldn’t get close enough to you due to the fire around you. But just when i lifted the gun, the rains came from nowhere, wetting my gunpowder and covering you in a cloud so that i couldn’t even see you. All i saw was a bright man holding a sword in front of you. I was so terrified. I concluded that your God was indeed all powerful and Almighty. That is why i’ve been looking for you since then. I want to follow this your God!” The ex-evangelist bowed his head in shame! Dear friends, sometimes, it is just wise for us to believe that our Father knows the way He is taking us. We should just trust His leading. Let our boast be in the Lord, not in ourselves. If we decree a thing and it doesn’t happen, let us not see it as disappointment or dishonor from the Father. Let us just believe that the Father wants his perfect will to be done in all things.

Across the Great Christian Divide

Last Sunday I was one of those “first time visitors” in a church in a nearby community.  The sermon delivered by one of the associate pastors there did not really provide new information to me, but it was replete (that means full – just serving up a little vocabulary lesson with my spiritual message) with confirmations for my own views of the world and what is happening at such a dizzying pace. His theme centered around the parable of the ten virgins (which ironically I had just read the day before). The pastor pointed out forcefully that this parable deals with believers not unbelievers. Five of them (or fifty percent) were denied entry to the wedding feast because they had no oil in their lamps.

Here is that passage:  Matthew 25:10-12  10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Does it perhaps concern you that you might be one of the foolish virgins who failed to fill her lamp?  I think we must examine this situation and ask how one fills their lamp with oil. I’d very much like to attend that wedding ceremony. You can live your life the way you want to, but I’m here to warn you that you might want to do a bit of self examination (it is prescribed in the Bible).  Your eternal future is at stake. I’d suggest preparing for forever warrants a bit of your time and energy.

Clearly we have five women here who anticipated being involved in the wedding feast. They had maintained their virginity, thus punching their ticket. Right? Wrong! They needed to do more. They needed to get oil and pour it into their lamps. The directions on how to perform this are conspicuous by their absence in the context stated. That opens up a can of worms as everyone tries to fill in the gap. I’m going to give you my take on this.

Matthew 7:21-23 uses similar verbiage. ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’  OK. Here appears to be a clue. Practicing lawlessness appears to be a route to disqualification.  Also it says in verse 21 that those who do the will of the Father are the ones who will enter Heaven, aka the wedding feast in the virgin parable.

We live in a world where moral relativism thrives. Clarion calls to encourage humans to channel their efforts into pleasing God rather than pleasing themselves are not considered politically correct. You might take exception to what I’m saying here. That is your right. You also have the right to drop an anvil on your foot. Be assured, I will not suffer the pain directly of your idiocy if you attempt that. I do suffer from the pain of rejection when people lash back at me because I speak something that I believe is beneficial to them in the long run.  And I will suffer a bit from the pain of knowing you went to hell because you scoffed at my words and paid them no heed and they turned out to be guiding lights.

What I see in the current world is a division, a chasm that seems to grow wider every day. On one side of the chasm we have the world and its systems. On the other side are those who are embracing God and his word.  Notice I didn’t say Jesus. There are people who don’t embrace Jesus who are rejecting the world. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before they do. On the other hand we have those who profess Jesus who are siding with the world. And they are trying to make it look like they are actually the true followers of Christ and that everyone else should follow their example.

Not everything that glitters is gold. Not everyone who says “I’m a Christian” really is.  Contrary to popular protestant doctrine, you don’t get to claim membership in the Jesus Club because you said a little prayer once upon a time.  Jesus said you will know disciples by their fruit and by their love for one another.  That opens up a new can of worms. I’m talking about the word “love.” How do we define true love? Find out in my next article, but until then, let me leave you with this thought:  “Be wary; false love will lead many to damnation.”

Yesterday I was in a funk and felt like punching something. I’m not a man of violence so I certainly was not looking for an actual human punching bag. However, as a blogger, a certain amount of punching is possible. I was tempted to write a blog about Donald Trump and to defend Megyn Kelly. Normally, apolitical is the best term to describe me. The thing that appalled me the most was Trump’s threat to run as an independent if he doesn’t win the nomination. That would be disastrous because it would hand the election to the democratic candidate. Barring a third party run, the only way the democrats can hold the White House in 2016 is through corruption. And they just might do that. The GOP’s choice might be totally irrelevant because they’re playing against a stacked deck. As a Bible believer, that makes total sense in the light of prophecy concerning the great tribulation. But what if America’s future is not locked in and God is not through blessing us yet?

What a difference a day makes! I’m out of my funk, but here I am writing a blog post about Donald Trump – but nothing like I had envisioned. First of all, I won’t be defending Megyn. She’s a big girl and can take care of herself. I will start with a statement that leans toward the negative side. Donald Trump is not the kind of man I look up to. I like my heroes noble and humble and courageous. Trump may qualify for one or two there, but certainly is not scoring in the humility column. As far as courage: it has been said that fools rush in where angels fear to tread, so his outspokenness doesn’t necessarily qualify as evidence of courage either. As for the nobility factor, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but his remarks about Megyn’s because he didn’t like her debate moderating cast dispersions on his nobility. Suffice it to say that he is not the man I’d personally like to see winning the GOP convention. However: I received a reason to pause and ponder when I found this story

Is it possible that God would use a man such as Trump? I’m not putting God into a box. This certainly introduces a new plot twist. I’m really curious to see how the story ends.

Will God smile over a vampire story? I suppose it is possible – if the vampire is rescued from his bloodthirsty ways. Or at least the vampire is the villain. If you bring any other combination into play here, I think you’re playing with fire. Stop to think about it for minute. What does drinking blood represent??  If I have to tell you the answer to this question – then you’re not really a Christian. Do the research on people who have actually drunk human blood. Any glorification of people involved in this practice will be an abomination to God.
Perhaps Christians should tap into the market for books that glorify witches. That’s a lucrative market. People are obsessed with the occult. What is up with that? Perhaps Christian writers can focus on writing on the Supernatural – but from God’s perspective. There are people all over the world being delivered from demons, set free from addictions, and healed from illness and injuries. Where are the novels about that?  The Apostle Paul said “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I have a feeling that vampires, and werewolves, and witches, oh my, are not included in Paul’s list. The concept that the market place should determine is absolutely ludicrous. Is that not a form of man passing judgment on God instead of the other way around?
On an important topic such as this one, I don’t spin off a few hundred words of opinion. This topic was worthy of a novel. I just finished it yesterday. It is called Against the Twilight. You will be able to download the eBook for free in a couple of weeks. In it I will weave my opinion mixed with scripture,drama, humor, and love. I pray that no reader will ever look at vampires in the same light (or should I say twilight) again.

American Injustice – Amishgate

I remember it vividly. I was stationed in the Los Angeles area as a missionary. A woman that I visited, tearfully told the story of her son being shot to death right on their front porch. This was the closest to crime I had ever been, especially a murder. The thing that disturbed me the most and scared her to death, was that the killer only got about eight years and that time was nearing its completion. She was afraid he would come back and get vengeance for her testifying against him. This was my first introduction to a judicial system outside of the textbooks and history books.

We often find criminals who have a rap sheet longer than their shorts getting off scott free or with minimum sentencing for crimes involving physical assault. Our prisons are teeming with convicts, and many that should occupy a cell, walk. But it seems that room can always be found for those people who cling to old fashioned notions of a Creator God who sent His Son to earth to die and to teach people to live. The latest example of that involves the Amish. Seems like they had a little disagreement in their ranks about cutting of hair and beards, and some people took it upon themselves to play the role of barber. For such heinous attacks, sixteen people are in jail or headed there. One sentence was fifteen years!!  Some women got seven years. And to add to the misery, they are not all being incarcerated in Ohio where they were arrested. Apparently Ohio outsourced some of the prisoners to distant states where relatives will never be able to visit. I’d like to issue a challenge to my Christian brothers who live near those prisons: Take the place of those family members who will not be able to lend support to their loved ones behind bars.

Read one article here:

Our judicial system is so out of whack it scares me. The first thing that should be implemented is a penalty for ludicrous lawsuits. Anyone pressing suit against someone else for vendetta reasons should be liable to pay all lawyer fees and court fees involved. The judges still have to be prudent about not letting these frivolous suits succeed. When I read about the woman who sued an RV company because they didn’t specify in their user manual that if the driver set the cruise control on and went back to get a cup of coffee in the back, the vehicle would not steer itself. She was awarded an exorbitant amount of money. I think some judges need to be on the other side of the bench. The mark of an advanced civilization lies in the wisdom of those who wear the black robes. From all the signs, our civilization is in free fall decay. The opportunities for the rich and powerful to prey upon the poor and the weak are becoming more numerous each day as a result of misguided jurisprudence.

I originally wrote this in 2009. Dusted it off for those who missed it then – which was probably the whole with the exception of six people. Even though the two key witnesses in this article are both deceased, the article is just as relevant today as then.

I just listened to the rendition of the song God Gave Rock and Roll to You by KISS. Ironic that they sang about God since the letters KISS supposedly represent Knights in Service to Satan. The term god is very generic. To a Satan worshiper, Satan is god. It is better we use the name Yahweh or Elohim or something. Anyway – that’s a discussion for another day. This is about music.

Chuck Colson wrote a column about the use of music in the church and the worship wars taking place. Chuck is much more eloquent than I on the subject, however, eloquence can’t be equated with truth. You can read his words at

In searching for the Colson article I ran across this one also by Colson dealing with music.

and one from Get Religion

David Wilkerson recently preached that music is taking over the church. His concern is that we are focusing on the music and not the creator. This is a form of worshiping creation instead of the creator, something done by pagans. That is cause for concern.

I know that some people choose their churches based on the music that is used in the services. Some churches offer multiple services, one with traditional music and one with contemporary music, so they can make both crowds happy. My church had a Saturday night service which featured loud and cool music. Does God care which songs we use to worship Him? Are hymns more pleasing to the Father than a chorus?

Do some risk the practice of the Pharisees who resisted any change in tradition if we choose to hang on to the hymns? There is a danger of that. Are drums and guitars evil whereas a piano is holy? I don’t think so. You can choose to disagree, but that doesn’t mean you are right. In the end, as with all such questions, what really matters is what God thinks and not what you and I think.

Perhaps we are entering a phase of the universe in which the final battle cry is about to be sounded. Is it possible that the focus is on battle music to help the army of God to gather together and brace itself for the fight ahead?  Drums have always been used in battle.Food for thought.

If the lyrics of the song promote worship of God and love of our fellow man, can they be wrong? The title of my piece concerns rock and roll. This is an area of more concern to me. I see Christian rock and alternative forms of music taking center stage – not much in church but outside of it. The topic of the evil of rock music has been debated since the Beatles. I grew up along with rock music, but I always found there was a darker side to the world of rock that repulsed me. You might say I liked the soft rock, which perhaps wasn’t even considered rock by the bad boys. They used the term bubble gum music.

I think that the world has much to learn about the impact of music on the human soul and spirit. Scientists have discovered that DNA is actually arranged in an order which would play classical music if the notes were produced audibly. The heavenly bodies have been discovered to all give off their own unique song.  Some music has been shown to impact plants and even non living things. Music is an integral part of God’s creation.

Experiments with plants have shown that hard rock music with emphasis on loudness, bass and strident sounds, and a lack of harmony and eloquence has a negative impact on growth and health. Rock music seems to lead to a frenzy of emotions and perverse behavior. So why did Christian musicians venture into this area? I actually like a group called Petra which have produced some very rocky tunes, but also have put out some beautiful songs. The rock songs are appropriate for battle but not for seeking that small still voice of the Lord. God said “be still and know that I am God.” That is not possible when your soul is agitated by sounds that make the listener hyper.

Now how do we determine if Amazing Grace or Shout to the Lord is healthier for our spirit? Perhaps it depends on the role that you play in the body of Christ. Not all body parts need and use the same thing. It might be possible that Hillsong is exactly what part of the body needs and the old hymns are exactly what another part of the body requires.

In the song God Gave Rock and Roll to You, one of the lyrics is that you have to have faith in a loud guitar.  Rest assured that there is no holiness in volume, and God is not into cool. No doubt he hates that word with a passion. I embrace the theory that each believer needs to examine himself to determine if anything is taking him closer or further away from God. It’s not about feeling good and being entertained. The purpose of the music is to put you in contact harmoniously with your heavenly Father.

I have discovered that when I listen to music, one or more of the songs stay with me for several hours or even into the next day. I might wake up with a song in my head. The tune and the message keeps playing over and over in my consciousness and unconsciousness. If the message of that song is good, I should reap the benefits of its influence. If the message is one of worldliness or even of evil, then the influence of those elements may impact my behavior and attitude negatively. I have arrived at the conclusion that music is like food. We can choose healthy food, junk food, or toxic food. Junk food is better for us than toxic, but God wants us to choose the best for our lives. You are what you eat, what you read, what you watch (movies, TV), and what you listen to. Make wise choices in each area if you want to be close to God.

I wrote a column in the Christian Online Fiction
magazine dealing with self-publishing for about two years. Last month I decided
to hang it up to pursue more pressing matters (hopefully movies/television) and
gave notice when I turned in my last editorial. I just found out my final
article will not be published. Since I spent several hours framing it, I
decided I’d post it myself to various outlets. Buckle your seatbelt and read


If you are not aware of the
tremendous warfare going on between the forces of good and evil for the minds
of the people of planet Earth, especially the young people, pardon me for
suggesting that you are living in a bubble. God might want you to pop that effervescent
armor and realize that your efforts are needed as a soldier of the Lord who
wields a pen as your weapon of choice. I might be out to brunch here, but it
seems to me that the mainstream publishers have avoided rocking the boat by
publishing materials that might be too radical or too edgy or too hardcore
Christian.  As a result, the mainstream
leaders often abandon the battlefield so they can generate lucrative profit  producing Amish assemble-by-number novels,
detective stories without any cussing where the name of God maybe mentioned and
one of the characters may utter a prayer, but not in the name of Jesus, and
sentimental romances where courting is adorned in Christian apparel  and language but below the surface still reeks
of worldly focus on external glamour, materialism, and shallow sentimentality
that masquerades as love. So exactly what do these observations mean to a
self-published author? It means that there is a niche to fill. Since you don’t
have publishers to please and agents to feed, you can do God’s work unimpeded
by the external forces that put people and their work into boxes of diminutive
size. You have the luxury of being free to go where God wants you to go–if you
have the courage to enter the lion’s den and the strength to swim upstream
against white water.

I have tried to champion the cause
of self-published writers in this column. My goal has been to encourage,
enlighten, and empower those who God has placed a seed within, so that the seed
may germinate and mature into something lovely and inspirational.
Unfortunately, I’ve been operating in a void here and have no clue if I’ve made
any impact. Perhaps I won’t know until Heaven. What I do know is that my season
of writing for Christian Fiction Online Magazine is drawing  to a close. The arrival of bills to be paid
and writing deadlines to be met causes the calendar pages to fly off. There is
nothing I can do about the bills, but one less deadline will give me more time
to focus on projects that I feel are critical. It’s been wonderful to be a part
of CFOM, but the curtain must close. Perhaps sometime I’ll resurrect my crusade
to aid self-pubbed authors in their quest to fulfill God’s call in their lives.
Statistics indicate that few people
are actively engaged in the art of reading. And even a smaller percentage of
those are seeking Christian fiction. In the final analysis of the matter, if I
really want to impact the culture, I must spend my time on things that will
grab the attention of the masses. And I believe the audio-visual media is the
ticket to have the ability to grab someone by the scruff of their soul and unleash
unknown desires and misunderstood emotions that lead people to question their
superficial human existence. And thus my new focus in life will be to write and
produce movies that will combat evolution, the occult, the sexual revolution,
injustice and any other crusade that God might add to my target list as my
vision expands.


So I take my puny weapons which
hopefully God will endue with His power and move on to a new battlefield. I
want to leave you with a plea to join God’s army. Use any talents He has given
you to enhance His kingdom and not your own. Almost an entire generation of
young people are lining up to enter the gates of Hell. What will you do to help
God rescue some of them?


Want to read a scary book?  I’m not talking about a spine-tingler  which reduces you to a quivering glob of protoplasmic Jello under your covers as visions of horrific scenes haunt your attempts at sleep.  No, sirree, Bub.  If you’re a lover of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Father of Jesus Christ, this book is guaranteed to frighten you twenty-four by seven for the rest of your life. Actually, we as Christians are not supposed to fearful, but this book will perhaps knock you to your knees where you will cry out to the Lord for His divine intervention on behalf of others and our society in general.

Linda Harvey is a literary surgeon in addition to being a fastidious researcher. She is an escapee from the secular worldview who now spends her time trying to blow the whistle on an increasingly menacing violator. Her targets might be many in the flesh, but in actuality all those elements are fronts for the enemy of our souls.  In this little masterpiece, the military blueprint for one of Satan’s frontal assaults on mankind is exposed. In actuality, this battle plan may be the undergirding for all of Satan’s many avenues of attack.  If you have a problem with the mention of the name Satan and consider him to be a myth, go back and see how many times Jesus referred to the serpentine deceiver. That little side trip should leave you in no doubt that  a force exists that is trying to keep mankind from embracing and loving the Creator and trying to keep you from being as effective a Christian as you might be.

I recently read a book about the nation of Judah. The overwhelming vision I got from digesting the stories of the ups and downs of that group of people was that each generation had to choose whom they would serve – Jehovah or pagan gods. Depending much upon the king at the time, the civilization teetered and tottered back and forth between the two. It is inconceivable to me, at least it was until very recently, that the United States of America could ever abandon the Judeo Christian tradition and build alters of idolatry to gods of the primitive past.  After you read Linda’s laser like dissection of this frog which really is a prince – the prince of darkness – you will not be able to plead ignorance. Your tolerance or perhaps even embracing of occult practices could reduce you to tears or perhaps cause your neck to stiffen and your defense mechanisms to go into overdrive to rationalize your behavior and belittle the danger brought out in this exposé.  You can’t control the world, but you do have a great deal of control over your own life, and believe me, your life will have a ripple effect upon other lives. Your choice upon how to react to this knowledge is critical. The Bible says that men perish for lack of knowledge. They also perish for lack of application of that knowledge they do gain.

Is this a book that your children should read?  I doubt it, unless they are very mature and savvy.  Linda is an excellent writer who does not mince words, but I don’t consider this entertaining material which will grab a young person’s attention in this culture which demands instant stimulation and gratification.  This is a parental guidebook written to help you steer your children clear of the occultic influences that are becoming more and more mainstream, aided by a government which is curtailing the rights of Christian believers and an educational system which has lost all touch with truth.  Your children need spiritual nourishment just like their bodies need sustenance from some food source.  In this age where junk food is the sustenance of choice, counterfeit spirituality is the rage. You have the responsibility to help provide nourishing spiritual material for your family, which will counter the influence of J.K Rowling, Phillip Pullman, Chris Crutcher, Stephanie Meyers, and countless others.  It is time that men and women of God rise up and provide the type of literature and movies which will compete with the lure of the pagan offerings.  I tried to do that in my book Reforming the Potter’s Clay. I truly believe that the supernatural aspect of God must be demonstrated in order to overcome the magnetic power of the dark forces.  God is in the business of healing people, delivering them from demons, and renewing people’s minds. Let’s not be afraid to share that fact with the world.  And don’t be hesitant to share this book with others. This can be in an invaluable resource, one which you’ll want to read with a highlighter so you can go back to find the pithy phrases.

Here’s one of the quote worthy passages from Not My Child. “The young life that casts aside the Savior and takes up sorcery has traded a pearl of great price for a worthless amulet.”  Are you going to stand by and do nothing and watch countless young people choose death over life?  If you choose not to read this book, it appears you’ve already made your choice.

I read a though provoking article this morning at that seems to argue that young men leave the church because of the retreat and defeatism mentality of people who believe in the rapture.

I thought I was very knowledgeable about the different doctrines within Christianity. I have recently become aware of some unfamiliar takes on the gospel message and the Bible. Post Millennialism and dominion theology are two new terms to me – along with preterism. In order to acquaint yourself with these schools of thought check out:

I was operating under the assumption that these people were simply believers in post-tribulation doctrine. Now I understand that their theology goes way beyond that. This whole concept renders my originally editorial woefully inadequate. In fact it would require a book (or perhaps several) to attempt to refute it. Ironically I just received ten very scholarly books from the organization from which this post originated which support their theology. Their take seems to coincide with the thoughts of those who rejected Christ as the messiah because he didn’t free the Jews from Roman rule. I have to wonder if Jesus was not concerned about overthrowing Caesar in His day, why should we accept the argument that Christians have dominion over all the peoples of the Earth?

The whole fascination with the rapture and the subsequent rejection or embracing of it is a real distraction from critical matters. The gospel message is not about victory or defeat of mankind or the church as a whole. The message was about surrendering of the soul man and the flesh to the spirit man so that God might hold sway in a person’s life. The victory or defeat of each man is the vital element.

The church has become irrelevant because of the preaching of cheap grace coupled with the notion of eternal security. Another notion that leads to inactivity is that studying the Bible is as good as living it. Bible studies are dead works if the word is not being applied. They are as analogous to the idea of EMT’s sitting in their ambulance discussing how best to deal with medical conditions, but refusing to go out on an emergency call. If a person believes that once saved always saved, where is the motivation to continue listening to the droning of a pastor’s voice, perhaps at the same time an NFL football game is on the telly? Or at the hour a man would love to continue sawing z’s on his day off? Why should a man give up his creature comforts if he has already bagged the prize?

I don’t think that God give’s a rat’s derriere about man’s fulfillment using his “gifts” to succeed in banking, truck driving, or whatever profession – unless the fulfillment comes from being a witness, silent or vocal, for the Master of the universe. He does, however, desire that whatever we do is done in His name. The idea that pastors should preach about such things seems to be New Age thinking to me. Make men feel good about themselves and their lives. Bring them to church so their egos can be stroked and they’ll keep coming back. What we really need is iron sharpening iron. We need pastors that are not afraid to talk about sin and dereliction of duty. And we need men who are not too proud to take such messages to heart and to let God work even deeper in their lives.

There is a war going on for the eternal lives of men and women on this planet. Men need to fight against or for something to find fulfillment. That is how they are wired. I don’t know exactly how or when God will bring this war to an end. Even Jesus did not know when. But I do know that without a vision of that war, men will perish without even partaking of the battle. But don’t lay the blame on the theory that God will whisk us all away and leave all the heathens in the mess that man has allowed the world to sink to. Even if rapture theology should prove to be true, we are called to fight the good fight and run the good race in this era just like Christians in every era had to do. A seasoned runner knows that when the finish line approaches, the time has come to summon up his final burst of effort, known as the kick. Arguing against the rapture does not constitute the good fight. And now I’ve wasted some fighting time to argue against refutation of the rapture. I must get back to the real war.

One of the first things a neophyte writer learns after celebrating the publication of his or her first book is that the bulk of the marketing responsibility falls on the author. The second object lesson absorbed is that marketing is much harder than writing the book. Advertising in productive venues is not cheap. Travel to bookstores across the country for book signing fests not only gulps the dollars but drains the time of the author, who is probably attempting an encore performance. The competition for the consumer’s attention and dollars is fierce. I’ve seen quotes of 400,000 to a million books published in the last year. How is an author who is not a household name supposed to alert potential readers to the existence of a new book and convince them they need to invest their time and money in this particular work instead of the plethora of alternatives?

One recent innovation which gives authors some hope is the proliferation of the social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Shoutlife, Plaxo, and YouTube. Some book specific sites available include Shelfari, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and JacketFlap. Another notable name is Ning, a unique application which allows users to create their own social network for a specific cause or purpose using the toolset that Ning provides free of charge. Authors suddenly have access to millions of readers and vice-versa. Announcements of new books can be tweeted or blogged or bulletined to thousands or posted on the walls of individual users. So am I saying the problems are thus solved? Just join a gaggle of social networks, mingle with the masses, and fall asleep at night counting your sales. I’m afraid it’s not that easy.

Now that you’ve discovered the social networks, you will soon realize that you’re not sure how to employ the tools to their optimum productivity. There may be a steep learning curve in harnessing the power of the whistles and bells available to your orchestra of one. You might end up frustrated because you set a minimum goal of 4000 words for today but you feel short because you consumed four hours of your writing time figuring out how Facebook works. I can safely say from experience that the Internet is a beauteous invention, but it is also a Black Hole when it comes to time management. It will swallow you up if you don’t apply some discipline. I belong to over 100 networks and have friends from just about every nation on earth. I could easily spend all day communicating with these interesting people. Does that help my bottom line marketing? Questionably. Does that help my next writing project? Indubitably no, unless I am able to research my next novel via such communication.

If you’re aspiring to write a best seller book, you might take a stab at one which edifies the rest of us in maximizing the potential of the Internet for marketing purposes. The phenomenon is so new that any books on the subject are probably obsolete before the ink is dry. At some point the fog should clear as this virtual world stabilizes and matures so that more definitive and accurate assessment can be broadcast. If you read this blog post hoping to find all of the answers, I apologize for disappointing you. I simply am groping in the obscurity as are most. My goal was to present the questions, however I have two answers that will not change with the technology.

You must be disciplined. Set a limit on time spent on the Internet. One good rule might be that you are not allowed to logon to a social network until you meet your daily quota of words for the day. If you don’t reach your goal, don’t visit. You might try the same thing with email, unless there is the potential for vital, time-sensitive emails arriving in your inbox. You must be the master, or you will become a slave.

One of the features of Social Networks is the ability to make friends (or followers in the Twitter paradigm). I now have 5000 friends on Facebook, 2000 at Shoutlife, 2000 at Goodreads and so on down the line. The term friend takes on new meaning here. I can safely assert that no one can balance 10,000 friendships. Luckily I don’t have the problem of being a celebrity author, and so I am not besieged by people asking me questions and writing notes that I feel I have to answer. I do try to answer anyone who writes to me at this point, but I can see how impossible that task would be in the case where that load increases exponentially. Just like in real life, when you make a cyber friend, you can do it because that person has something to benefit you. In other words that friendship is driven by selfish ambition and self-promotion. Those are ugly words to me. I found myself seeking out other authors, publishers,readers, people in the movie industry, and affluent business people because they can help me get what I want. I tried to distance myself from those third world country missionaries and pastors who always seemed to hit me up for donations. I found myself becoming almost coldly calculating and Machiavellian, qualities that I have always detested. In the struggle to get my books marketed, I was losing who I was and what drove me in writing. The phrase “gaining the world and losing my soul” took on new meaning. Some of this revelation is hitting me as I type. I’d would rather die as a totally undistinguished wannabe than flourish in a world void of the common aspects of decency and honest transparency.

From a Christian perspective, I’m convinced that blockbuster work explaining how to tap into the power of social networking must not preclude the vital chapter explaining how to obtain success without becoming a social monster and an egomaniac parasite. I’ve averted the proverbial bullet. I’m withdrawing my marketing ploys and will be trusting in the Lord to open doors. If the work I’m doing was commissioned by Him, he will bring it to the surface when the timing is right.