Category Archives: Apologetics
Check Out These Books for Christmas!
For the holiday season I have some suggestions of books that might fill the stocking, or at least, the memory on your reading device.
First up, one of my favorite books I have written. If you like sentimental nostalgic stories like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street” or “White Christmas” you would enjoy my novel, “The Homecoming Tree”. In 2005 I wrote and directed a play based on my parents’ lives at the beginning of World War II. The play was well received and told the story of a family running a boarding house in Shreveport, Louisiana. The story begins on Thanksgiving and ends on Christmas Eve, 1941. After the play, I decided to rewrite the story a bit and a new version of the play has never been performed. Instead, I took the story into novel format and the main character is a modern businessman who finds himself sent back to 1941. Suffering from amnesia, he learns powerful lessons from “The Greatest Generation”. Reviews for the book have been very positive and I just uploaded a newly edited version that took care of some minor typos. I hope you enjoy, “The Homecoming Tree”.
Secondly, my two latest books take place at Christmas.
“Shadow Merchant” is a very different story for me to tell but it hits close to home. The main character is a radiologist who finds himself the target of a homicide investigation. To clear his name he becomes a consultant to the local medical examiner as a “forensic radiologist”. As the story unfolds, his problems worsen when he finds himself entangled in an international conspiracy and the target of an assassin. Tense and fast moving, “The Shadow Merchant” brings the world of radiology out of the “shadows”.
The 9th book in “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel” will be a crowd pleaser for my readers who have followed Jonathan’s story from the prequel, “Death By Darwin” through the subsequent eight books. We finally learn most of Jonathan’s hidden secrets when he recovers his memory and relives the most painful time in his life, when he was put on trial for murdering a loved one. Featuring two demons, “The 4th Demon: The Trial of the 3rd Demon” begins the finale of Jonathan Steel’s story just in time for Christmas. And, I promise the final chapter will please my readers as Jonathan will finally find happiness. Well, sort of!
By the way, “Death By Darwin” also takes place at Christmas. Ruth Martinez, a rising star in a major Dallas, Texas law firm must defend someone caught in the act of murdering his boss over a conflict fueled by religion versus science. She must work with the mysterious Jonathan Steel as she investigates the death of Dr. Darwyn, head of a paleontology institute where a deadly creature from the distant past threatens her life. The book culminates in a tense courtroom battle when God and creation are put on trial! This is officially a prequel to “The Chronicles of Jonathan Steel” and introduces characters who show up in the last two books. A must read for anyone who has enjoyed the journey of Jonathan Steel.
My final suggestion is a book I spent about twenty years putting together. Based on many of the short dramas I wrote during my days as drama minister of Brookwood Baptist Church, “Our Darkness, His Light” shares the stories of the ordinary individuals surrounding the life of Jesus Christ. The book begins at the manger and ends on the road to Emmaus. This compilation was almost published long ago by a major publisher. My book went up against another book by a little known author of time, Max Lucado. Max won that contest and I couldn’t have been more please that I made it that far. Now, with new stories I have added over the years, I hope you will enjoy the tales of ordinary people in the most Extraordinary Story of all time.
All books are available through major outlets and you can learn more by going to hopeagainbooks.com .
Dr. Hugh Ross Live Dec. 6th
Join us at Brookwood Baptist Church on Tuesday Dec. 6th for a live Zoom meeting with the founder of Reasons to Believe. Dr. Hugh Ross will be discussing personal evangelism and his book, “Always Be Ready”. We have 50 copies of the book for the first 50 attendees. You can just show up or register at Brookwood Baptist Church website.
Christmas snacks will be available.
Also, there are only a few days left to support my daughter’s campaign for epilepsy awareness. Check out her tee shirt and hoodie designs.
The 9th Demon Final Edit is Done!
Tonight, I completed the final edit on the next book in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles, “The 9th Demon: Time of the Cross”. Yes, I changed the name. This novel is as long as the last one and now I am entering into the final phases of book cover design and line editing (grammar check, oh fun!)
Today, I met with Luke Lee who designed my last book cover and we decided on a basic design. So, hang in there. It will be just a few more weeks and the book will be available.
Oh, for fun, here is a part of what will appear on the cover:
Oh, and for fun, here is my first stab at the “blurb” on the back of the book:
Jonathan Steel’s partner, Theo, had been kidnapped. The trail leads Steel to a mysterious island where the media mogul, David Boone, claims to have built a machine capable of taking his movie making team into the past to film the last days of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Steel must follow the team through the machine’s Portal to rescue his partner from certain death at the hands of the Ninth Demon. Where will Steel end up, in the past, or in an alternate world created by a madman?
Hope Comes With the Dawn
Sometimes I stand in the darkness and feel its power. It is smothering; dampening; oppressive; crushing all hope. Today near dawn, I stood in the darkness and felt the power of that hopelessness. This is not the world I anticipated. Gone are the tenets of unselfish love; of benevolence; of respect for others — religious beliefs included; of manners and kindness; of true love. Gone is my God, seemingly erased and eradicated by a new god that looks back at me each morning from my own mirror and from the countless perfect snapshots of a billion selfies. Gone is kindness and empathy and warmth. Gone is dialogue in the face of endless monologuing.
I am not worthy.
I work in the darkness. I am a radiologist and in order to view the diagnostic images on my monitors, I must keep the room dark. I am surrounded continually by shadows. It is my world.
For the past few months, those shadows have slowly, inexorably moved into my world outside of work. They have slowly and quietly slipped along the floor and the walls and the ceiling with cold tendrils of blackness. The shadows have embraced me.
When I am strong; when I am attentive to the moving of God in my life, my mind, and my soul; when I pay attention to that still, small Voice; when I am seated at the foot of the cross the Light presses back the shadows. But, when I am weak; when I am troubled; when my attention is captured by the immediate and the urgent instead of the important I am distracted. I fail to look over my shoulder at the creeping darkness. I take my eyes off the Source of Life for my every breath.
2018 was supposed to be a better year.
So far, I am struggling with some serious health issues. But, God is in control and all will work out.
I’ve been busy lately with teaching “Everyday Questions” with Mark Riser at Brookwood Baptist Church. It is a small group session on how to have meaningful conversations with anyone questioning the truthfulness of the Christian faith. Also, I am presenting “What Does It Mean to Be a Human Being” this Wednesday night at 6 PM for James Patterson’s class at First Methodist Church. This exploration of the question is very important. Are we just here by chance? Or, are we made in the image of God? And, why should that be important. I will also be giving this same talk in May at our RTB Chapter meeting the third Tuesday at 630 PM.
I am working on three books to hopefully release later this year:
The 9th Demon: Crosstime
The Homecoming Tree — A novelization of my 2005 play about Shreveport at the beginning of World War II.
The Tall Tree — A semi autobiographical story based on the year of 1968 and the events that changed America.
Also, Mark Sutton and I are tentatively working on a new book.
I have been lost in my day job.
The past six months have been rather immersive for me. Due to changes in my medical practice, I have been unable to work on my upcoming books, social media, publishing, etc. It’s been tough.
I have received some very encouraging emails from those of you who have purchased “The 10th Demon: Children of the Bloodstone”. I am working on expanding my publishing offerings. And, I hope to have an official book launch here in Shreveport for “The 10th Demon” sometime in June — only six months late!
Just to give you an update on my writing. I am half way through “The 9th Demon: A Wicked Numinosity” and, honestly, the story I had planned for this book would not have worked without recent advances in nanotechnology and virtual reality. I started the book about seven years ago but only in recent months has new technology allowed me to make the story believable and possible in our world.
I am also revising a new project. “Death By Darwyn” (There’s a reason Darwyn has a “y”) was a book I originally presented to Realms way back in 2009. They optioned a first refusal and it has been sitting on the shelf. This past November, I finished the rough draft as part of NanoWriMo. I recently had another inspiration that allowed me to finish the story. It is a legal thriller and here is the synopsis:
Ruth Branson is a junior partner in a major law firm in Dallas, Texas. Bryan Nicholas and Ruth are up for the same position as full partner. When a prominent scientist is brutally murdered, Ruth is given the impossible task of defending the murderer, Dr. Frank Miller. Nicholas must prosecute. Whoever wins the case becomes the next partner. The problem is Dr. Miller was caught red handed holding the claw of a recreation of the dinosaur “Annieraptor” after ripping the heart out of his boss, Dr. Wallace Darwyn. As the trial unfolds, the issues of God versus evolution surface as Nicholas tries to depict Miller as a religious fanatic. Joining the legal team is the mysterious Jonathan Steel in the capacity of lead investigator. Can Ruth find the real killer before Miller is convicted of first degree murder? Can she resolve her own confusion about the existence of God?
I wrote the book to give Jonathan Steel a minor role in hopes that readers who like legal thrillers might read the book and then want to learn more about Steel in my “Chronicles of Jonathan Steel” series.
So, keep in touch. I hope both books will be available by late summer, early fall. Thank you again for your support.
Writers Can Burn Out Too!
“The only thing worse than nostalgia is amnesia.” Ravi Zacharias, famed speaker and author once said this. For months, I felt like one of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness. In an unprecedented turn of events, I had not been involved in any of my church’s activities for over a year. When my co-author, Mark Sutton was our pastor, my second “job” kept me occupied at our church. When he retired, it seemed I did too.
At first, I was very uncomfortable. My connection with the “inner circle” was severed. My knowledge of the direction of the church was no different than the person sitting next to me in the worship service. The very fact I was SITTING in a worship service instead of running around behind the scenes helping to make things happen was a disturbing but new development for me.
Book Signing Tomorrow!
Sherry and I are in the Orlando area this week celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary. We first came to Orlando in October, 1980 for our honeymoon and we’ve been coming back to Walt Disney World for the last 34 years.
People ask me why I come to Disney World so many times. Doesn’t it get old? Don’t you grow tired of it? Haven’t you seen everything you can see? Let me tell you a story.
A father took his two girls to an amusement park every Sunday afternoon after church. The amusement park sat on the coast in California. But, the father was not happy about his experience. The location was windy and dirty and wet. The attractions were seedy and broken down half the time. The grounds were unkept and weedy with trash blowing everywhere. The workers were, well let’s just say somewhat undesirable to be around children!
The father would sit on a rickety bench and watch his girls riding the carousel and he wish he could join them. And so, this father began to dream. After all dreaming was his business! What if there was an amusement park that was clean and bright with gorgeous landscaping. What if the workers were right out of a Hollywood movie — clean and costumed and playing the “role” of a kind, considerate person who would make you feel like you and you alone were the most important person in the world? What if the attractions were safe, high quality, and most importantly, allowed families to enjoy the attraction TOGETHER? And, what if the amusement park was every changing and improving over time so that families could return again and again and never get bored?
That father was Walt Disney and the rest of his story is history. He went back to his studios and quickly drew up a plan for such a park in the studio’s parking lot. By the time he was finished, as was his nature, he began to think bigger and bigger. Disney’s “folly” as it was called opened in July, 1955 as Disneyland and changed the world.
This is why Sherry and I continue to go back. It is a place that is clean, high quality, magical, and restive. Also, we have good friends in the area and we have always loved Florida in general.
We are here this week and this weekend. If you are in the Orlando area, Mark Sutton and I will be signing our book, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression” on Saturday, September 27 from 1 to 3 PM. Come see us! We’d love to meet you!
Who is a Hero?
This past weekend I watched a new episode of Doctor Who, “Robot of Sherwood”. In the story, the Doctor travels back in time with his companion, Clara because she wants to meet Robin Hood. The Doctor assures her Robin Hood never existed. I will not spoil the show, but suffice it so say they meet someone who claims to be the real Robin Hood in 1190 A. D. — ish.
The entire episode is about heroes. Who are they? How do they become our heroes? Are our memories of these heroes real? Or, do we embellish those memories and raise our heroes to the status of legend? If we were to meet some distant, now long dead hero would that person match the hero we have internalized?
In our postmodern culture, we have taken to deconstructing “heroes”. Over the past few decades our founding fathers have become something less than the idealistic men and women portrayed in our history books. Why do we do this? It is because in postmodernism, all authority is questioned. There is no absolute authority; no absolute at all. Thus, these men and women must have been flawed and we cannot trust what is written about them. In fact, all written or recorded words and events must be discounted.
Is it any wonder that in our current time, our heroes are taken from comic books? Our heroes are fictional? After all, fictional heroes can’t be deconstructed. They are created and the creator of these characters has written only so many words about them. There are no secrets to be discovered outside the mind of the writer.
As a child growing up in the deep pine woods of Northern Louisiana, my heroes were fictional. Someone would ask: Bruce, wasn’t your father your hero? I have written about my father many times on this website. I loved him and he loved me. But, he was never a hero to me. Why? Because in my mind, heroes were larger than life; powerful and brilliant; super powered, in fact. My father was ordinary and I wanted to be anything BUT ordinary!
Doc Savage, Iron Man, Superman, Captain America and the like were my heroes. Yes, I grew up in the golden age of comics when Jack Kirby and John Buscema were crafting and creating characters like the Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock (the first Marvel comic I read in 1967 was Fantastic Four comic where we meet Adam Warlock in his cocoon for the first time.)
In contrast today our heroes are dark and flawed. We cannot embrace idealism anymore. Even Superman, once the ideal hero — “Truth, justice, and the American way” has become darker and morose. What has happened to idealism? When did our heroes aspire to be ordinary?
The only hero to escape this cynical deconstruction has been Captain America. The movies have managed to preserve his idealistic attitude about right and wrong by making those values “safely” anachronistic and nostalgic. But, is it any wonder that Cap’s latest movie is considered by many to be the best movie of the year? (Guardians of the Galaxy notwithstanding). Could it be we are craving just a little bit of idealism in our lives? Could it be we sense that absolutes do exist and that there is such a thing as right and wrong? Could we be longing; striving; hungering for a world that is not postmodern but firm and real and providing a true foundation for our lives?
Maybe our heroes should be ordinary men and women who still have the spark of this idealism within their everyday thinking. These men and women long to help, to aid, to fight against wrong, to try and make the world a better place than they found it. These men and women are our soldiers, our law enforcement agents, our nurses, our doctors, our school teachers, our missionaries — anyone who is willing to risk life and limb to better a person’s life. They are out there surrounding us and meeting our needs everyday.
Now that I pause and think about it, maybe I never considered my father to be my hero. But, rest assured he SHOULD be my hero even as I hope to be a hero to my own children. I will never pass into legend. The Doctor will never bring his companion to visit me. But, I resist a dark, cynical world that tells me I must dwell on flaws and shifting morality. I must reach into the shadows and find that gleaming ray of Light that shines out and illuminates Truth and make sure that someone; at least one sees the Light of goodness.
Who are/were your heroes?
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