I had a wonderful time talking to Dr. Stan Monteith on Radio Liberty. Those of you who may have caught the interview heard me mention some books. I thought I would give you the title of these books.
Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of Near-Death Experience by Pim Van Lommel
This book is a very scientific exploration of the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences and raises the idea that our consciousness attaches to our physical brain like a radio wave is received by a radio. Turn off the radio and the wave continues. Turn off the brain, and our consciousness continues. Interesting, very scientific discussion.
The Demise of Guys by Philip G. Zimbardo and Nikita Duncan
This book from a secular point of view is a thought provoking and frightening look at the trend among young men in our society. The death of intimacy and the adoption of virtual relationships, video gaming, and pornography is explored. And, the implication for our society is discussed. Very insightful.
Hostage to the Devil by Malachi Martin
A fascinating account of demon possession by Malachi Martin. This book features true accounts of demon possessions and reads like a novel. You will find it riveting and frightening, but ultimately redemptive. In the Jonathan Steel Chronicles, my character, Cephas Lawrence, was inspired by Malachi Martin.
Finally, an excellent beginning book on the design behind the reality of the universe from a Christian perspective:
Why the Universe is the Way it is by Hugh Ross
I want to thank Dr. Stan for having me on the show. It was a great, wide ranging discussion of many topics of concern for our changing culture.
NOTE: BOOK SIGNING!
I will be signing copies of “The 12th Demon”, “The 13th Demon”, and “Conquering Depression” on Saturday, January 5th at our local LifeWay in Shreveport from noon to 2 PM. Check out the “EVENTS” tab for details. I would love for as many of you to come as possible to help me thank our local LifeWay for allowing me to have a book signing. Free T Shirts!!!!
I’m taking a short break from discussing the essential teachings of Jesus of Nazareth for this message from your sponsor.
This holiday season if you are looking for an action packed thriller for the man on your gift list who likes books by Ted Dekker or Frank Peretti, then check out my two books in the Jonathan Steel Chronicles. The first book is “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” and is followed immediately by the second book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”.
Jonathan Steel is a Christian version of Jason Bourne afflicted with amnesia yet having skills like an assassin or a mercenary. His one memory is of the day he became a Christian and this memory sits at odds with his nature. He wants to recover his lost life and find out why he seems to be at such odds with himself. In the stories, Steel comes up against some very evil human beings in league with demons from a “Council of Darkness”. The council is charged with carrying out the plans of Lucifer to destroy humanity and claim their souls. Steel ends up being the man in the Council’s path
Note that the numbers of the demons are in descending order. They get more powerful the closer we get to the number ONE demon. The 13th demon is the first book; the 12th demon the second, etc. You can check out the review page for discussions of my books.
Also, if you have a teenager who likes Twilight or Hunger Games, they will like these books. One of the major characters is a teenager named Josh who ends up fighting demons alongside Steel, much to Steel’s dismay. Let’s just say they don’t get along very well.
Each book also features strong female characters and a hint of romance. My sisters LOVE Jonathan Steel and want to read more of the book, so if you like thriller type romance novels, this book is for you.
Now, if you or someone you love is suffering from depression this holiday season, check out Conquering Depression: A 30 Day Plan for Finding Happiness”. This book has had an amazing history and continues to help people literally around the world. My co-author, Mark Sutton and I still get emails weekly from people who say the book “saved my life”. It is an easy to read introduction to begin the process of conquering depression in your life. Each chapter is a “day” in the 30 day plan. You take it in small, gradual doses and the LifeFilter cards in the back are there to give you a daily tool. We highly recommend the book and it continues to help those who suffer from depression or who have friends or family who suffer from depression.
Now, that’s it! No more commercials. Come back in the next two days for more posts leading up to Christmas.
There is something that Mike Duran is very, very good at. Like in his “The Resurrection” Mike Duran has the ability to take the “Christian point of view” and tweak it ever so slightly to make it, well, slightly oblique. In “The Resurrection” Mike Duran chose to push the boundaries of our Biblical understanding of spirits and ghosts and create the “Cellophane Man”, a frightening ghostly figure that haunted the life of the main character. Mike even included an additional addendum at the end of the book discussing the theological underpinnings of such a possible creature as a ghost.
In “The Telling”, Mike Duran goes one better. He turns the concept of the fallen angels on its head, bringing in “dark angels” with decidedly un-Biblical powers in addition to those every Christian would anticipate. And here lies a challenge that is at the heart of all Christian Speculative Fiction. How far does an author go to present a story that appeals to the secular audience and yet conveys the “truth” of Christianity I mentioned on Day 1? Or, should a Christian author write a story that can ONLY be enjoyed by Christians? Mike has talked about this challenge on his blog at length and the reader can visit his blog for more information on this “controversy” in Christian fiction.
In “The Telling”, Mike Duran pushes the accepted abilities and identities of the fallen angels slightly beyond the literal scriptural description. Some Christians may find this troublesome. In “The Telling” we hardly ever hear the name of Jesus or mention of God and these “dark angels” seem to be able to possess anyone, regardless of their walk with God. I say “seem to be able”. For, if you pay very close attention, Mike never crosses the line. There are moments when the reader believes that the darkness will triumph only to fall to the presence of Good.
What I like most about this book is its ability to appeal to unbelievers. I suggest any reader purchase a copy and pass it off to their skeptical friends and family. It reads like a fast paced supernatural thriller that is not connected to Christianity. In fact, there is a North American Indian character that one could suspect represents the worldview of animism as we see in ancient North American Indian religions. But, the overarching reality of this story is that God is present. Good triumphs over evil. Satan’s minions will flee when confronted with a Christ follower. In the end, the story is one of redemption and love. And that, my friends, is what all of us should celebrate.
I highly recommend “The Telling”. Powerful, creepy, scary, edgy, and filled with wonderful characters and fascinating locales.
Once again, I want to remind everyone that I am giving away a limited number of my book, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye” in anticipation of the launch of my second book, “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” on October 16, 2012. If you would like to receive a FREE copy with NO obligation, just fill out the form below.
Stuffing belongs in cushy chairs, not in turkeys. I grew up eating cornbread dressing and the only thing stuffed in a turkey was those weird turkey parts my mother chopped up and put in her giblet gravy. To this day, I crave cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving. My wife is in the other room right now cooking up her spicy sausage based cornbread dressing and I plan on “stuffing” my face with it Thursday!
My love of cornbread dressing goes way back to my mother’s cooking. Each Thanksgiving, my family would travel to central Louisiana to a small town called Saline. There, my grandparents lived in a huge, hulking house that belonged on Universal’s backlot tour right beside the house from Psycho. It ached with age; sagging steps; pebbled paint so layered it looked like the gray skin of a huge dragon. The floors were so caked with sand and dirt, you could sweep for days and never get all of the grit out of the house.
But, no matter how forbidding the house seemed any other day of the year, for Thanksgiving it burst with life and laughter and food. My mother’s family was huge and my mother and her sister had married two brothers so the Hennigans and Caskeys celebrated their family reunion together each year. Three tables worth of food would fill the dining room beneath a swaying bare bulb on a long black wire like a vine growing through the far ceiling. And, we would gather around my grandparents and pray and thank God for another year and eat all afternoon.
My grandfather had been a deputy sheriff during the Great Depression and had been on the posse that hunted down Bonnie and Clyde. He would tell his stories each year of how each man who was on the actual posse that shot the criminals all ended up dead from alcohol or suicide. Grandmother would sit beside him behind her thick glasses and her easy smile and hair like wild cotton and nod. She was warmth and comfort personified; a short, full woman with a just right hug and a dry kiss.
There is a memory that transcends all of the food and the fragrance of yeast rolls and the pebbly taste of cornbread dressing. It never failed, amidst the babble and clanging silverware and laughter, there would be a knock at the back door. My grandmother would painfully rise up from her chair and go out to the screened in back porch. There, she would find a couple of men, maybe an older child wishing her a Happy Thanksgiving. These individuals were well known to the folks of Saline. Today, we would call them homeless. Back then, we called them helpless. And, it was the duty of any God fearing Christian to help the helpless.
This was a message I carried away from my grandmother. She passed away when I was thirteen and my memories of her were mostly centered on the kitchen and her biscuits and the great, unwieldy old fashioned washing machine with the wringer she used to wash clothes. She was a quiet woman with a deep abiding faith and a slight smile. But, when the helpless would come to the house at Thanksgiving, she did not pity them. She did not send them away empty handed.
During the Great Depression when my grandfather was a deputy sheriff, their family, as destitute as it was, still had much compared to most occupants of the failing farms and drought stricken world around them. My mother would tell me stories of these men, “hobos” and “bums” without work who would pause at my grandmother’s back door and ask for a morsel of food. My grandmother would always have something to give these men. Even with eight mouths to feed, she kept something aside. And, when they came by, she would give them food with a glad heart and helping of blessings. Why?
My mother told me many times how my grandmother would looked at her hungry children and explain that these men, these “helpless” in need might be angels in disguise. God might have sent them to test her hospitality; to plumb the depths of her heart to see if she did indeed love the unlovable as Christ had loved us all. My mother, long after Granmother passed away would nod and smile and quote this Bible verse:
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2
My mother has passed on now. My father is 97 and lives in a nursing home where he regularly “ministers” to the residents around him who are in “worse shape” than he by singing old hymns in a loud and sonorous voice. He is entertaining “angels unaware”.
I cannot say that I have ever met an angel. At least, not an angel that did not fall from heaven. I have met a demon and I can clearly recall moments in my life when I have been in the presence of great evil. But, I have been around many individuals throughout my life filled with love and laughter and life. They have encouraged me. They have shared my stories, my pain, and my life. I often wonder when I meet someone on a trip or on a foreign soil with whom I seem to have an instant connection if God has sent an “angel unaware” to test me; to plumb the depths of my heart. When I was in medical school a psychiatry professor taught us not to take our frustrations home but to “dump on a stranger” and take out our frustrations on someone we will never meet again. I raised my hand in class that day and told him I could never do that. He wanted to know why and, I am ashamed to admit, I did not tell him.
You see, I can never meet a stranger. I can never meet someone and think poorly of them. For some reason, each person I meet seems to be someone special and unique; a treasure to be discovered; a story to be heard. I owe that to my mother and her mother before her. I am always looking around me for an angelic visit. They taught me well. They taught me the worth of each individual in the eyes of our Creator. “You may be better off than anyone, but you are no better than anyone.” That is something my mother taught me and I will go to my grave with it. I will not become cynical. I will not become bitter as I age.
I will look at each person fresh and openly knowing that one day, I will entertain an angel unaware. And, for that I am most thankful this Thanksgiving Day.
There is a haunting appeal to contemplating the unknown. Since the dawn of mankind, we have turned our faces towards the heavens and searched the brilliant stars and the shining moon for answers. Who are we? Where did we come from? What is our purpose? What will happen to us after death? Is this all there is to life?
My daughter insists she has seen an angel. When we drive into our gated community, go up the slight hill and around the curve beside the large pond, she always points to a certain tree growing at the edge of the water.
“He was right there, Dad. Really, he was.” She describes a lanky, thin man with a beard and long hair wearing jeans and a simple tee shirt. She saw him as we passed but in looking back, he was gone. There and gone. A brief encounter with the unknown. At that time in her life, she needed this encounter. Struggling with her epilepsy and the terrible toll it had taken on her life as a high school student, she needed to know that God was still in control.
I did not see the angel. But then, the visitation was not for me. It was for her. A quiet message of reassurance that God is watching. We may not understand why life happens as it does, but we must cling to the assurance that God is in control. All I have to do is look up at the universe wheeling and spinning around our little oasis of life and know that God is in control. He is holding it all together and directing the path of each star, each galaxy, yes, each atom.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20
I received a lovely email from a reader of “The 13th Demon”. I know the book seems to be a frightening and potentially horrific tale, but it is only in our terror that we see the power of God and His incredibly redemptive acts. In my book, I give a major character an affliction. I don’t want to say more than that for fear of spoiling a reader’s experience. The author of the email loved the book, particularly the story of the caterpillar. But, she didn’t like the fact I had used her affliction as that of one of the characters.
I saw in her email a hint of the pain and struggle of anyone who wakes up each day with a chronic illness. I see it in my daughter, who at 24 has just now begun to awaken to the possibility she can have her own life. She has started back to community college and is actually looking forward to holding a job and having an independent life. My wife and I marvel at the sudden change and not a day passes that I don’t look over my shoulder for the oncoming train. To my email fan, I sent commendation for her bravery and her honesty. I am all too aware of the toll such disease takes on a life. But, God is in control.
In the days to come, I will share more information about the nature of God’s messengers, angels. The power and presence of these creations of God are at the center of my books and to grow in understanding of these creatures is to get a glimpse of the unknown; a passing glimmer of God’s grace; a tall figure of reassurance standing by the road of life.
I was an intern just seven months after my graduation from medical school rotating through the emergency room. It was a cold February night and a raging icestorm had transformed Shreveport, Louisiana into a crystalline wonderland. Unless you were driving in the stuff or if you were homeless. Dozens of people were crowded into the emergency room waiting room trying to stay warm. The ER was divided into the surgical side and the medical side. If you were a victim of the “knife and gun club” you came to the surgical side. If you could walk through the door under your own power, you came to the “Walk In Clinic”. This is where I found myself on that cold, frigid morning.
“Groundhog, it’s your turn to see the next psych patient.” One of my team members informed me. I never figured out why my nickname was Groundhog, but it was appropriate given it was Groundhog day, albeit only 2 A.M. I reluctantly got out of my chair and headed to the far hallway where we kept the crazies. My job was simple. Evaluate the patient to make sure the “psychotic” behavior wasn’t induced by a medical condition and if not, then call the psychiatry resident to come and admit the patient to the psych ward.
I should have known something was up the minute I rounded the corner of the coldest hallway in the winter. Two policeman were leaning against the wall and neither one would meet my gaze. In fact, they were nervous, if not downright frightened. I looked down the hallway toward the examining room and noticed a sheen of water on the floor. The fluorescent light fixtures had been broken and shattered tubes hung from exposed wires sometimes sparking as I made my way through the inch deep water toward the examining room.
The door to the room was ajar and when I stepped it, I was met by chaos. The sink had been partially ripped from the wall and water was gushing onto the floor. The mirror had been shattered into a million pieces and mirrored glass covered everything. Something sharp had ripped open the cover to the examining table and its stuffing filled the air with particles. Our “Wood’s” light, a black light used in the diagnosis of skin fungus, hung by a wire and the black light made the gases from the broken fluorescent light bulbs glow with an unearthly purplish hue. And, there wasn’t a patient in sight. However, from behind the examining table in the back corner I head a raspy, deep throated breathing.
It was a rapid breathing, a guttural exhalation and inhalation like some rabid beast was waiting to rip out my throat. Slowly, I stepped around the end of the table. Crouched in the far corner was a tiny African American girl probably in her early twenties buck naked with her back to me. Her rib cage was retracting with each beastly breath.
“Ma’am, I am Dr. Hennigan. How can I help you today?” I said with trembling lips. My heart was racing and my mouth was dry.
She spun around quickly and with a twisted, feral look on her face hissed at me and shoved her clawed hands at my face. I will never forget the sound of her deep voice or the look of absolute madness in her eyes. But, more than anything, I will always remember the unmistakable sense of evil that emanated from this tiny girl.
I stumbled my way out of the room and fell in the cold water. The policemen came and dragged me from the hallway. With shaking hands, I dialed the psychiatry resident and informed him of his new patient. “You might want to pick up a priest on your way down.” Was the last thing I told him.
Later on, I learned the girl had no drugs in her system and once she reached the psychiatry floor, she calmed down but continued to exhibit bizarre behavior. She did not fit any prescribed psychiatric profile and I never found out what happened to her.
Since that time, I have learned to listen to the still, small voice within me that groans and moans in the presence of evil. I believe it to be the Holy Spirit. There have not been that many incidents in my life like the one above. But, they have happened and I am convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt that evil is real and I have dwelt for a moment in its presence.
Do I believe demons are real? You bet you, I do. I have met them. I have faced them and run away. I have struggled in the presence of their evil auras and I have fought them away with prayers and scripture. This is why I write about demons and angels. We must understand who are enemy is. We must be aware of the war that is raging around us for our very souls. To deny evil is real; to ignore the existence of the Enemy’s soldiers is to have already surrendered the world to the forces of evil. The question is: Do You Dare Look Evil in the Eye?
Don’t forget I will be in Austin at LifeWay Christian Book Stores this Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 1 to 3 P.M. and here is a flyer with the information: