The Visitor is available to download for free today.

imageWhat happens when someone travels into the past to deliver an urgent message about the future, but ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Would those unintended recipients of the future warning be able to stop any of the atrocities of the 20th Century (including the assassination of President Kennedy)? Or, in spite of man’s ability to travel through time, would God’s sovereignty demand that the horrible events of history’s past can never be changed?

The Visitor, by J.L. Pattison, is a short story best described as part science fiction, part history, part time travel, and part mystery. With a tablespoon of politics, a pinch of dystopia, and a dash of conspiracy, this tale will take you on an entertaining ride with a climactic ending that will leave you in contemplation long after you’ve put it down.

Here’s what others are saying about The Visitor:

– “I appreciated the conflict between the sovereignty of God and time travel. I have often wondered what would happen if time travel were possible. This story reminded [me] of the rich man and Lazarus from the Gospel of Luke, especially Father Abraham’s words ‘If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.’ Or in this case, traveled back through time.”  Javier L. Taylor (5 Stars)

– “A new talent to watch. . . . If the Twilight Zone still existed, this short story would be an episode, it is that good. . . . Rod Serling himself would be proud.” PapaPhilly (5 Stars)

– “Possibly the best short story I have [ever] read!” Anne (5 Stars)

– “I guarantee you will be old before you forget this book.” Mark Escalera (5 Stars)

– “Very thought provoking.” Laura McGowen (4 Stars)

– “The author has crafted an excellent short story that captures your imagination and draws you in with its characters. . . . Well done.” Chris Hohnholz (5 Stars)

– “Reads like a suspenseful Twilight Zone episode . . . . If you are a fan of the Twilight Zone this book is for you.” John Cavallone (5 Stars)

– “There is an allusion to the tension between the sovereignty of God and the outworking of history in relation to time travel. I find that to be an interesting thought experiment. Finally, there’s a big nod given to Neil Postman and his vision of the American future given in Amusing Ourselves to Death . . . . The weaving of an interesting fictional narrative with theology, history, political commentary, media ecology, science fiction . . . in such a short space is impressive.” Heath Cross (5 Stars)

– “I love that it moved quickly and touched on so many interesting points and . . . had such an unpredictable ending.” Bernard Ruiz (5 Stars)

– “It was amazing and scary at the same time. The Vistor left me breathless.” Michelle Bledsoe (5 Stars)

– ” I found this to be a new concept for this genre and actually left me pondering what I would change if I could go back and warn others. Overall, a very thoughtful and entertaining read. The writing and pace was perfect . . . . I found this very enjoyable and thought provoking . . . .” Jenaca (5 Stars)

– “The plot is compelling – I imagine Rod Sterling could adapt it quite nicely for an episode of the Twilight Zone.” Jay Eldred (4 Stars)

– “The Visitor . . . [is] . . . a truism that big things come in small packages.” Chad (5 Stars)

– “Very well written in a manner that kept me riveted to the end.” Paul Bayne (5 Stars)

“This story left me with so many questions, and theories. Not about the plot or the characters, but about humans and their choice of not seeing what’s right in front of their eyes.” Laura (5 Stars)

“I really enjoyed this book! . . . I didn’t want the story to be over. It had great depth and character development for such a short story. There were several thought provoking themes woven into the story line that hung in my head for several days after reading [it]. . . . I look forward to reading more from this author.” Kayci (4 Stars)

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If you’re ready to read a unique tale that is also family friendly, then download The Visitor today at Amazon.com.

Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still read The Visitor by downloading the free Kindle reading app to your tablet, phone or PC here

What does Pastor Saeed believe?

It is very comforting to know that Pastor Saeed is no longer in harms way of the Iranian government. Many have already spread the good news via social media and other outlets. But while we stand by and praise God for this man’s safety, do we know what he believes? Have Christians not made the same mistake before in standing by certain preachers, politicians, celebrities, or movement leaders only to have a black eye later on because we did not endeavor to know their doctrinal stance?

This article is not assuming to know what Pastor Saeed believes. As far as I know, there are no public statements that have been posted concerning this topic. However,  there is background information that may give some indication to the kind leanings that Saeed may have. DISCLAIMER: This is not a condemning post! I repeat. This is NOT a condemning post. This is purely informational, although I have my personal concerns. I do not believe that Saeed is not Christian. I do not have any evidence to make such a conclusion at this time. I am merely challenging us to always consider who we are supporting and ask ourselves if our own convictions will allow us to do so. The following is just a series of links I discovered when trying to figure out what Pastor Saeed believes. Although I found nothing on Saeed, did find other somewhat relevant information.

Pastor Saeed is an ordained minister from the American Evangelistic Association (AEA)
http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2012/december/aclj-calls-on-iran-to-free-american-pastor/?mobile=false

AEA was started by John E. Douglas Jr in 1954 and several other pastors who became independent in order to form this organization. http://wordpress.aeaministries.org/history/

What AEA believes can be found here: http://wordpress.aeaministries.org/this-we-believe/

It is possible that many of the pastors could have been affected by the “Latter Rain Movement” in the 1940’s as well as preacher A.A. Allen.

  1. http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3274100062/other-pentecostals.html (Scroll down, find “American Evangelistic Association,” and click link)
  2. https://books.google.com/books?id=_Qtv7gJMIFUC&q=American+Evangelistic+Association#v=snippet&q=American%20Evangelistic%20Association&f=false (if link does not work when you click on it, copy and paste to the URL box)

Source 2 above reveals that Douglas Jr. was a convert of A.A. Allen who was one of the more popular “faith healers” of his day and a very controversial figure.

The “Latter Rain Movement” was one of the many baseline movements for the modern charismatic chaos witnessed today.

Douglas Jr. hired John Douglas Sr. to be radio spokesperson for AEA and started the international ministry World Missionary Evangelism (WME). http://wordpress.aeaministries.org/history/

WME is now overseen by John G. Cathcart in Dallas. Some of his writings can be read here: https://wmedallas.wordpress.com/

The Statement of Faith for WME can be found here: http://www.wme.org/statementoffaith.html

Before Douglas Jr. died, John Rienhold was made CEO and President of AEA ministries. http://wordpress.aeaministries.org/history/

Rienhold has been working with Iranian evangelistic ministry “ELAM” and believes that God is not just working through their evangelistic efforts, but is also taking “shortcuts” because of Iranians seeing “visions” of Christ. http://www.charismamag.com/site-archives/218-peopleevents/news/2373-iranian-church-growth-mind-boggling

What ELAM believes as a ministry can be seen here: http://www.elam.com/page/statement-faith And their endorsers are here: http://www.elam.com/page/endorsements

Once again, all these links are not to insinuate that Pastor Saeed is not a Christian. It is good to know those that labor among us, especially if we plan to support them. This is purely informational and is meant to bring awareness to the kinds of beliefs Pastor Saeed may hold. While I am happy Saeed is freed, I am tired of professing Christians making the same mistake over and over again and not doing their homework.

Until we go home.

The Pastor – Chapter 8, Conclusion

If you have listened to this book, you know the author desires only to please YHWH and help Solaequip His people so we will not be tossed about by the whimsy of man. Here’s his wrap for the last chapter:

Having published this book, I know I shall be accused of denigrating both the biblical work of the gospel minister, and the man himself. Indeed, I knew it before I began. But I didn’t agree with it then, and I don’t agree with it now. Yet, if such a critique of an unscriptural title really has undermined what many regard as ‘the ministry ’, then something is seriously wrong with what we think of as ‘the ministry ’. And the sooner we find it out the better. In the 16th century, men like Thomas Cartwright and Robert Browne came to realise that the warrant to preach does not depend on a magistrate’s licence, and they had the courage to destroy the noxious bits of paper which pretended to make a man into a minister. We must show the same courage and the same spirit in our day. If an elder’s authority depends on the invention of an office, on Humpty Dumpty’s misuse of biblical words, or on the use of a title, we ought to recognise where we are – and the consequences of it. To accommodate the words of the Independent, Henry Jacob: A teacher in Christ’s church has a far ‘better original’ than calling him ‘Pastor’; or ought to have! Of course, we must honour all men to whom honour is due (Rom. 13:7). In particular, as I have repeatedly stressed, we should ‘respect’ our elders ‘who work hard among [us], who are over [us] in the Lord and who admonish [us]’, and we should ‘hold them in the highest regard in love
because of their work’ (1 Thess. 5:12-13), but this does not mean we should give them a title.
While we must not undervalue the gifts of Christ to his church, pastor-teachers among them, neither must we make little popes of them! Or big!

Chapter 8 is here.

Chapter 7 can be found here.

Read God’s Word

It has been a while since I have even attempted to read through the Bible in a year. This year, I am doing just that, along with my regular Bible reading (reading through more slowly) and a Bible study.

This has me going through five different sections of Scripture at present. I thought it could be a bit overwhelming but, so far, I am enjoying it. Each portion is different from each other and yet each serves a purpose.

I don’t know if I will do this every year. I’ll have to see how this year goes but, for this year, I am looking forward to seeing what God speaks to me, as I draw near to Him and ask Him to show me the way I should go and to help me to be faithful. This continues to be my constant prayer.

You may not have the time to read as much Scripture as I hope to this year, but I encourage you to read at least some Scripture every day. Even if it’s one verse that you meditate on each day, it will not return void.

Psalm 119:11 says, “Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you (emphasis mine). Although sin is sometimes pleasurable for a season, it is the pure in heart that shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

Won’t you take time to read God’s Word today?

PS — Here is a link to Crossway where one of the menus at the top offer several reading plans.

Tribute to a Godly Man

In 1995, Violet​ and I were preparing for life as missionaries overseas but living in a church system that was bound by legalism and very little love. There was little true love for the brethren, for the true church of the Lord outside of each local churches own doors, and even what often appeared as a true lack of love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Worship was perfunctory and traditions were the order of the day.

That year, having only heard of Shannon Hills Bible Chapel, I encouraged my brother, John, to visit. It was a sovereignly ordained plan as John never looked back. He would call us and tell us how wonderful the brothers and sisters were, how accepted he was for who he was, and most importantly, the wonder of the worship, especially around the Lord’s Table, which was celebrated every Sunday morning.

shbc

We planned a trip back to Greensboro to visit the assembly, and oh, the refreshing of our souls that Sunday morning in May 1995. Walking with our boys into the room where the Remembrance Feast was preparing to start. The first person to greet us was actually an older man with a round smiling face and a firm handshake. It was a man we quickly grew to love and respect, a true brother in Christ by the name of Harvey Shelley. In his introduction, he simply welcomed us and with no pretentions asked us if we had a personal relationship with the Lord. Assuring Bro. Harvey that we did, he told us that we were more than welcome to not only attend but to partake of the bread and the wine when the elements were passed.

It was at Shannon Hills that we learned what it meant to truly love others. Our hearts were encouraged, and our lives were changed through the ministry of the word from each brother who brought the Word each week. Celebrating communion each week was the highlight of our week and is still remembered to this day with great fondness.

Later that year, in November, my brother, John, had a massive heart attack at 22 years of age and went to be with the Lord. Through that difficult time, the Shelley family was a great encouragement to us. I remember one Sunday being overcome with grief and we had to leave as we did not want to disturb the others who were worshipping. For whatever reason, Bro. Harvey was walking through the hall back to the meeting room. I could not bring myself to speak and he simply wrapped his arms around us and let us know that they would be praying for us and to know again that we were loved by the Shannon Hills family.

We moved the next year, but have had several opportunities to go back and visit North Carolina. Without a doubt, each visit required us to go and worship with our Shannon Hills family. Every visit included opportunities to speak with those we loved and cherished. Shannon Hills has always sought to encourage us through the passing years and the staples of that encouragement were the elders, including Harvey Shelley. Each time we returned, it was as if we had never left.

This last week, we saw the news that Bro. Harvey went to be with the Lord that he loved. He had served as an elder at Shannon Hills for over 50 years. Yesterday, on Sunday after the worship services had concluded, a memorial service was held for a man who will be greatly missed. His smile, his graciousness, his willingness to just listen when you needed an ear to hear you, a warm friendly hug, his words spoken at the Communion Table, and much more will long be remembered.

Howgreatthouart

Yesterday morning, with no knowledge of what had happened, one of the music selections at our little mission included what is one of my two favorite hymns, “How Great Thou Art.” My heart was stirred again as I remembered all the Lord had done for us and included a prayer in my heart for the Shelley family that they would be encouraged in the Lord.

Last evening, I saw an obituary page had been posted for Bro. Harvey. I clicked on the link and the music for “How Great Thou Art” came flooding out the speakers of my computer. It has been a blessing reading the tributes to a man who loved the Lord so much.

Today is Monday and many have the “Monday blues.” I go to work today celebrating that my brother and friend no longer has to worry about Mondays or any other day of the week. The Remembrance Feast that he loved so much to remember our risen Lord at is now the entire focus of Bro. Harvey’s attention. My brother no longer worries about sin or any distractions from the Lord of glory.

Though we are many miles away, our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with the Shelley family as well as the Shannon Hills family. May the Lord grant them peace in their hearts. We do not grieve as those who have no hope for we will see him again.

Blessed Are the Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8, emphasis added).

As I was reading the Beatitudes the other day, this verse especially jumped out at me. It seems like the verses on purity and holiness are the least-quoted verses any more, but I am challenged by this verse.

I wonder how many people on earth are truly pure in heart. It is a rare person who doesn’t at least struggle with lust, jealousy, anger, etc. Yet, these are some of the things that can keep us from seeing God.

blessed-are-the-pure-in-heart-1-728

Despite popular belief, we have no reason to be proud. We should be constantly asking God to search us and try us and show us those impure thoughts and motives. We should be daily drawing closer to Him and becoming more and more like Him.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be blessed. I want to see God. I want to be pure so that I don’t stand before Him full of shame and disgrace. I want to hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant.” I expect that I will be more aware than ever before of how holy He is and how wretched I am. But I praise Him that He saved a wretch like me, and I will continue singing, “More like the Master I will ever be. More of His meekness, more humility. More zeal to labor, more courage to be true. More consecration for work He bids me do.

The Pastor – Chapter 7, The All-Body Ministry

What is meant by “the priesthood of believers?” Does the Bible show “the pastor” as being the ruler of all that goes on within the local church? SolaHere’s a note from the author on this chapter:

As we have seen, church rule and care has been ruined, twisted into a monstrosity. In tandem – the one feeding off the other – the priesthood of all believers has been allowed to dwindle into practical neglect, so that it has become the poor relation of the Christian religion, rarely discussed, let alone thought about, least of all acted upon. And for those who do have some concept of it, too frequently they think of it as an individual thing, a personal thing – I can go directly to God for my self. A wonderful truth, of course, but one that fails to exhaust the breadth and depth of meaning of this priesthood.

Chapter 7 is here.

Chapter 6 was posted here.