Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mohamed's Moon

There's a small notation on the cover of Mohamed's Moon. It says, "a novel of suspense." It doesn't lie. The novel, set partly in Egypt and partly in California, evokes a strong sense of place in both settings and keeps the reader going from page to page. Just when you think you know where it's going, there's a new twist.

The author, Keith Clemons does a good job of presenting the folly of Islam in this book, as he takes Mohamed, his main character, through a battle of faith. He helps us to understand the commitment of men to a belief system that demands death yet gives us a picture of people who are searching, as we all are, to find God.

There is a little of everything in this book - romance, a love triangle, political ingrigue and spiritual enlightenment.

An entertaining and worthwhile read. Pick up a copy today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Divine Appointment

“Do you know anything about these flowers?”

The young woman’s eyes were hopeful but I had to disappoint her and explain that I did not work in the hospital gift shop. I was just there to stock the book rack. I pointed to two ladies at a nearby counter. “Maybe they can help,” I said.

She nodded, stared at the flower display and sighed. “I’m not really sure what I want.”

I took note of her dress then – a baseball cap pulled over messy hair; a thin pair of pyjama bottoms topped by a hospital issue housecoat wrapped around a frail frame; pull-on terrycloth slippers.
“My friend is dying,” she said, then turned back to me. “I am too.”

I put my clipboard down and waited. Her story unfolded in simple language, the words slipping from her mouth almost as though rehearsed. She reached into a pocket and pulled out a picture of her seven year old daughter. I could see the resemblance. She smiled when I mentioned it and went on to say there was a surgery that she was hoping for – highly experimental, there was only one doctor who could do it and he just happened to live in a nearby city. But then her voice fell and I had to lean close to hear. Her friend had had the surgery. She was still dying.

The conversation turned to the word hope then. She had hope they would agree to do the surgery, hope that, unlike her friend, she would recover, hope that she would live to watch her daughter grow up.

She said a pastor came to visit sometimes and “we say our small prayers together. They seem small, just words, but maybe not, eh?” Again that hopeful look in her eyes.

I was praying small prayers right then. She’s so young, Lord. Please. Please.

Then she was gone and I resumed stocking the rack. I do this once a month and in that hospital the rack is usually almost empty by the time I return. As I filled the pockets with books I was acutely aware of their content. They were full of pages about the love and mercy of Jesus, pages filled with stories of courage and faith, pages of humour to lift a sad heart and inspiration to lift a weary soul. Pages of hope.
And my job suddenly seemed a lot more important. I knew I was not there that day to "just stock the book rack." My other job, as a writer, suddenly seemed essential, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” (Ps. 26:7, KJV).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Inscribe Christian Writers' Fellowship

Inscribe Christian Writers' Fellowship is having their annual Fall Conference on Sept. 25-26 in Edmonton Alberta. This promises to be another excellent conference with Bonnie Grove (author of a smash hit debut novel, Talking to the Dead) and Kathleen Gibson, journalist extraordinaire.

Don't miss it!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Talking to the Dead

When my friend Bonnie Grove told me the title for her new novel, I admit I was a little surprised and I wondered how it would do once it was on the shelves. I'm not sure how it's doing, but I know the reviews have been through the roof fantastic and for good reason.

This is an excellent novel - entertaining, intriguing and extremely satisfying. It has just enough suspense to keep you wondering, just enough thought-provoking content to make you keep asking yourself questions. And those questions aren't just about the novel. They're questions that make you think about yourself - how mentally stable am I? How strong is my faith? What if my world collapsed around me?

The characters in Talking to the Dead are so real you won't be able to let go of them easily. Or perhaps they won't let go of you. The elements of faith are true to life and, again, make you ask questions. How do I react to people who are out of step with reality? How loyal am I to my friends and family?

And who can I send a copy of this book to?

Can't wait for Bonnie's next one.

BTW, Bonnie is one of the speakers at Inscribe's next Fall Conference.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dying To Live. "From death can come life; dying needs to precede living." This is the premise of this captivating book by Clive Calver, and he knows first hand of what he writes. With examples of real-life people who have lived lives in complete obedience to Christ, the book is at once challenging and inspiring.

Calver is talking about radical Christianity in this book, the kind of dying to self that Jesus taught - the kind many of us try to avoid. He mentions that in his position as pastor he recognizes that the message is often not a popular one. In fact, one of the elders in his church remarked that his emphasis on that theme was causing people to leave the church. But rather than ask him to stop he gave him a book to encourage him along the way. Those who embraced the idea were growing and bearing fruit.

Calver talks about sacrifice but not in terms that we normally hear. He cautions against living "for Christ" and urges us to submit to God's will so that the Christ that lives in us truly has control. The emphasis is on Christ living through us.

At the end of each chapter there is a prayer that gives the reader the opportunity to invite Christ to make the necessary changes in his or her life that will result in a transformation. These are what a friend of mine would call "dangerous prayers." I believe if prayed with sincerity they very well could move you from comfort to living on the edge, with Jesus.

If you are feeling that your faith is stalled and your walk with Christ is dull, read this book. Pray the prayers. Then watch what God will do.