Monday, April 28, 2008

New Blog Site

Dear friends,

I have moved this blog to:

Please visit that site to see all future posts.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Betrothal featured in Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal (April 11, 2008) featured an article on betrothal that featured my wife and I as well as some other couples who discuss betrothal.

So as not to be confused with anyone else's ideas of what betrothal is or is not, I should direct you to visit our site to read our articles or click on "TERMS" to see how we personally differentiate between Dating / Courthship / Betrothal.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I wanted to let you know that Wisdom's Gate has recently made arrangements with Hovel Audio, to provide you with a free audiobook download of one of my favorite Christian books. provides, in my opinion, the best Christian audio books in the world.

"Absolute Surrender," by Andrew Murray, is a classic in every sense of the word. Andrew Murray was a Dutch minister who served as a pastor in South Africa over a century ago. He was an amazing man with a profound relationship with God.

As a way of thanking you for your support of their ministry, they are providing this audiobook download (a $14.98 value) for free when you subscribe to any of their three magazines, or place a product order of $20.00 or more. Just go to: -visit the catalog page -a magazine for Christian women -a magazine on revival and discipleship -a magazine for the entire family

and, when prompted during the checkout process, type "Andrew Murray" when asked "where you heard about us".

You can renew your existing subscription, or sign up for a new one. AND, you can also still take advantage of our offer to sign up a friend for a FREE one year subscription when you buy yours.

Once your order is processed, you will be emailed with instructions on how to download your free audiobook.

One thing you should know, audio files are pretty large and this book is separated into three files:

File 1 of 3 (35 MB) (mp3) Download
File 2 of 3 (34 MB) (mp3) Download
File 3 of 3 (34 MB) (mp3) Download

I want you know that in advance in case you have dialup and can't download files that large. Remember, this is a download offer only. For the rest of you, I think you are going to really love this book! I downloaded all three with a Cable connection in less than 5 minutes.

This offer is valid until Dec. 1st, 2007.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Max Elliot Anderson Interview

I recently caught up with Max Elliot Anderson, one of todays leading authors of children's adventure stories and a true pioneer in the Christian film industry. He was gracious enough to grant me an interview.

Q. I remember seeing the movie Pilgrim's Progress in the secular theater when I was a young boy. I was probably six years old and it was one of the first movies I ever watched. I remember that seeing Christian's burden roll away at the foot of the cross made a big impact on me spiritually. What was it like for you being involved in that movie?

There are so many impressions that flood my mind concerning the production of Pilgrim’s Progress. Of course, that film was released back in 1978 when I was a LOT younger. And it doesn’t help much to know you were only six when you first saw it. I have several photographs from the production and a DVD of the film.

I was one of two cinematographers on the project. That meant I shot a lot of the film. The overriding recollection I have is of the tremendous upheaval that was going on in Northern Ireland at the time, since most of the film was shot in and around Belfast. The locals referred to it as the “troubles” and it meant that Catholics and Protestants were virtually at war with each other.

I remember that at night, we never stopped at red lights, but sped through them until we reached our destination. And we tried not to be out at night much anyway. One of our local contacts drove us to a place where a car bomb had gone off the day before. He pointed to human flesh plastered on the brick wall of a large building.

On one afternoon, while filming in a remote area, something truly frightening happened. We used a generator to power a few small lights. Right in the middle of a scene I was shooting, those lights suddenly toppled over backwards. Immediately after that, several British soldiers came over the hill with weapons at the ready. They were quite relived to find a group of people who were making a Christian film. We had an interesting conversation, and they looked out for us for the rest of the time we were there.

Pilgrim’s Progress was the first feature film for a young, up-and-coming actor by the name of Liam Neeson. He has since gone on to star in dozens of Hollywood films including Schindler’s List, and Star Wars. I remember him as a pleasant person to work with. He had a great attitude and was willing to work hard. And I saw him, even way back then, as a great actor.

But the biggest thing I remember was the sequence we shot of the cross. We had an excellent makeup artist who did a fantastic job of making it look like gigantic spikes where nailed through the hands and feet. During one break in the filming, I got up and stood on the base of the cross. It was then that the full impact struck me of what Jesus had done for me, and I remember being extremely thankful at that moment.

Q. What was the Christian film industry like when your father, Ken Anderson, first got involved in making Christian movies?

When he first started, I was just a toddler. I used to hear him editing far into the night on film projects in our basement. There was no distribution back then, no VCR or DVD, so it was necessary for film companies to find whatever means they could in order to get the films circulated. Some of the people who did this called themselves film evangelists. They’d buy a projector, secure a few films, and head out on the road. Churches gave offerings, and some of that was shared with the production company.

Later, a network of distributors was established and this became worldwide. My dad was a true pioneer in Christian filmmaking, and it was delightful growing up around it. I like to tell people that I was killed, by a hit-and-run driver, while riding my bike, when I was 8 years old. But, because the film I was in was being shot in black and white, the blood coming out of my nose, mouth, and ear was from a bottle of chocolate syrup.

Q. What are your thoughts about the state of Christian films today? Are the trends in Christian filmmaking positive or negative?

I think Christian films are a bit invisible right now. I know they’re being made, and I know they’re being distributed, but I don’t see much of that activity. In my Dad’s era, most churches had a Sunday night service. It was common to show films at these, or even on Wednesday nights. Our biggest demand for rental films used to be on New Year’s Eve. I know that Fox is getting into Christian films, I’ve noticed some of the Left Behind movies, and some films show up on places like the Hallmark Channel, but I’m not sure where they find their audiences today.

It’s kind of interesting to me because, as I’ve been writing my action-adventures and mysteries, I’ve always seen them as films first, in my head, and not books. Who knows what might happen to them in the future?

Q. You obviously believe strongly in storytelling. How did your interest in writing develop?

In the beginning, I tried everything I could NOT to write. My father had been the author of over seventy books. I grew up hating to read. I couldn’t see why God seemed to be prompting me to start writing. In time, I came to understand that was exactly what He wanted me to do. I also understood how my life of work in visual communication, through film production, video programs, television, and commercials, prepared me for writing. My stories are very visual. One of the best reactions I’ve ever gotten is when kids tell me that reading one of my books is like being in, not watching, but being in an exciting or scary movie.

Q. What are the necessary ingredients for a good storyline?

The way I like to approach it is to ask, “Why would I want to read this story?” And as I’m writing, I keep in mind the reader at all times. When I finish a manuscript, I read it as if I’ve never seen it before, and try to actually become one of my readers. I also read the manuscript out loud.

For my books, the story needs real, believable characters. There has to be conflict. I incorporate a lot of dialog and humor with plenty of nearly heart-stopping action. There’s a pretty high fear factor in most of my stories with lots of excitement.

In addition, I try to include strong, human emotion. Often, when I read a finished manuscript for the first time, and as I try to do that as a reader and not the author, I find myself getting anxious at the right places. I’ve laughed right out loud at some of the dialog, and a couple of manuscripts have moved me to tears.

While I’m writing, I play mood appropriate music in the background. This increases my visualization of the scene. All of these elements, working together, seem to create a powerful storyline.

Q. Why have you targeted much of your book writing to boys?

As I said, I grew up hating to read. I first set out to write the kind of book that I would have enjoyed as a boy. In many ways, I’m writing books to satisfy myself as an adult reluctant reader. But in my research, I found that there weren’t as many books for boys as there were for girls.

I also speak in lots of schools. I always ask if there is anyone who doesn’t like to read. Several hands go up immediately and most of those are boys.

During my film production days, I learned a valuable lesson. We knew that girls would watch a boy’s story, but boys would not show the slightest interest in a girl’s story. I applied that principle to the books I write, focusing on boys first, and I’ve found that girls like the stories too.

There is a tremendous, untapped market for Christian adventures and mysteries for boys.

Q. In what ways have schools and publishers been ineffective in reaching "tweeners," especially boys?

My daughter is a teacher in the Orlando area. We’ve had many discussions on this subject. There is a serious problem in working with boys. They are high energy and easily distracted. They’d rather do than read about it. Many are on medication because of what is perceived as hyperactivity, when all they need is material that interests them, and a lot of physical exercise.

I wouldn’t say that publishers have necessarily been ineffective. I think it comes down more to economics. Women buy books, and girls are our readers. End of story. I’ve had publishers tell me that they’ve tried books for boys in the past, but didn’t have much success. I believe there are definite, structural reason why those books didn’t work. These are elements that my books effectively address, but there isn’t enough time to cover it all in a short interview like this.

Q. If you can leave a legacy to the next generation, what would it be? In other words, how do you want to be remembered?

I’d like to leave the world a little better than how I found it. If I could have reached out to only one reluctant, boy reader, I will have been successful. If I can turn an entire generation of boys onto reading, that’s all I want out of the time I have left. Here is just one example of an email from a mom. I got it a week or so ago. If I knew that this was happening all across the country, then this is how I’d like to be remembered.

"Thank you so much for writing all the Tweener Press
Adventure series! My 9 year old son loves every book! We have them all!
The White Wolf was the first one he read. He was 8 and not a very good
reader at all. I had to coax him along by promising to read a few pages
to him after he struggled thru a couple of pages for me. This went on
through out the book. By the end of the book, he was reading faster and
with much more accuracy. He would accidentally read past his spot because
he was so captured by it. He read the Big Rig Rustlers next. He
couldn't wait to get me to sit down with him to read together. He didn't
want to stop at the end of each chapter. I love the way you write and
make us want to read on! By the third book, he didn't wait on me
anymore! He was off in his room reading away all by himself! I feel
like I owe his success of reading to you. YOU
gave him the love of reading! "
NEWSPAPER CAPER, TERROR AT WOLF LAKE, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE & LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Abortion Increases Risk for Breast Cancer

Recent studies by researchers in the UK, show that women who have had abortions face increased risk of breast cancer. In a nutshell, they found that the more wealth women have in England, the more likely they are to delay childbirth, have abortions or avoid children in general. They are also more likely to have breast cancer.

On the flip side, it appears that women in the UK who have children at an earlier age, have lots of babies and breastfeed them, are less likely to have breast cancer. From the research report:
Seven known risk factors were examined as an explanation for these trends:

When a woman is nulliparous (has never had a child), an induced abortion has a greater carcinogenic effect because it leaves breast cells in a state of interrupted hormonal development in which they are more susceptible.

A low age at first birth is protective.

Childlessness increases the risk.

A larger number of children (higher fertility) increases protection.

Breastfeeding gives additional protection.

Hormonal contraceptives are conducive to breast cancer.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is also conducive to breast cancer.

For more information:
Patrick S. Carroll, M.A., is Director of Research, Pension and Population Research Institute (PAPRI), 35 Canonbury Road, London N1 2DG, UK.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Is Black Gospel Music Disappearing?

I heard this interview and then discovered this earlier interview on National Public Radio (NPR) with Robert Darden, former gospel music editor for Billboard magazine -- and now an assistant professor of English at Baylor University.

Darden is the author of the book, People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music, and is helping to head up the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University.

If you have vintage black gospel recordings that are no longer in circulation, Baylor University would like to add them to the collection of digitized music. If you loan them your albums or other early media, they will digitize the recording, and return to you a digital version along with your original.

Is traditional black gospel music becoming obsolete? You can help to preserve this part of American heritage. Has black gospel music had an impact on your life? Post a comment and let me know what you think.

The Photo of gospel legend, Mahalia Jackson, was taken by Carl Van Vechten.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Independent Film Festivals

One of the most important developments of our day is a resurgence in a Christian perspective on the Arts. Storytelling is an ancient traditional that was utilized by Jesus Christ himself as an effective means of translating spiritual truths.

In the past few years, there are a number of independent Christian film festivals that have given a platform for talented new filmmakers to exhibit and launch their works. One of the most notable of these is the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) and the Jubilee Awards which is hosted by Vision Forum.

As the ministry's founder, Doug Phillips correctly observes: "More than ever before in the recent history of our nation, we have access to the tools for waging a new form of cultural guerilla warfare against the elites who would redefine the biblical family out of existence and present a dark and nefarious vision of reality to the future. We need Christians to challenge the present culture of death, infidelity, perversion, and ethical malaise by boldly proclaiming the crown rights of Jesus Christ over every sphere of life and thought — including film."

The Georgia Christian Film Association, founded by "Captain Bret" Smith, also conducts the Georgia Christian Film Festival which allows independent filmmakers to submit their productions for to be considered for broadcast on national satellite television.

LifeWay, a large Southern Baptist organization, has launched the Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival. This event features many industry professional including Ken Wales who you may know from the hit TV series, Christy written by Catherine Marshall, and more recently the box office faith-film, Amazing Grace on the life of William Wilberforce.

Other experts featured at the Gideon Media Arts event are Paul McCusker who is well-known for his professional touch given to Adventures in Odyssey and other Focus on the Family radio theatre productions, and Dr. Ted Baehr of MovieGuide. Many other talented experts will often be on hand to offer their expertise and provide direction and insight into film-making.

All of these organizations, and a number of others, are providing a wonderful service in helping to bring a truly Christian worldview to bear in the film industry. We should support these efforts and buy good films that promote a Biblical worldview.