‘Left Behind’, more rapturous than its movie adaptation

 

This novel has a first sentence that makes you die for closure…and you just got started.

Left_Behind

I was very young when I watched Left Behind, the movie, and still have memories of the fear I felt seeing people disappear off the face of the earth. Why? Because it painted a gory picture of the end times for many of us back then. Anyway, it never really did sink in that there was an actual book out there, a series of twelve novels I discovered years ago and ignored until now. Perhaps I was still scared? Maybe not. I think i thought I knew the story already, and if you have, what need is there to read the books, right? WRONG!

leftbehind
The chaos, from a scene in the comic-book

Well, I finally did get a copy of Left Behind, the first in the series, just to have a peep, when fresh copies stared back at me in my favourite bookshop. That was when it all started, the adrenaline I mean, when I read the first paragraph. It’s one of the best first sentence and first paragraph I have read, making me believe without a doubt what many storytelling masters say, that the very first sentence could either win publishers over (and of course your readers) or turn them off.

Enough said…

So I met Rayford Steele, the pilot who would soon discover that about half his passengers are gone–simply disappeared–Buck the ace journalist, whose career as a nosy reporter would change, for what you may call, the worst, and the beautiful airline attendant who would dine with Nicolae, the man who would take the reins of power as the world nose-dives amid a crises never before imagined.

Stonagal_&_Todd-Cothran_comic

Many would cry when they discover their loved ones have gone missing, and there would be theories. Some would claim the aliens came and took them, some would provide scientific explanations, and a few would point their fingers at God and where scriptures dropped the hints. Overnight the Bible and knowing Jesus the Christ would become a top priority for some, among them, Rayford, Buck, and several others, including a pastor unceremoniously ‘ignored’ by God.

But wait, Nicolae, the man who claims to have the answers to the world’s problems surfaces and draws a large following. But does he have the answers and would the world be wooed by this charmer who dares to play God? The story just got started…

Published in 1995 by Tyndale, Jerry Jenkins (the writer of the book) and Tim Lahaye (who conceived the idea) have perhaps written one of the most captivating and moving Christian fiction novel, ever.

 

 

855313

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

It’s supernatural when angels, demons square off in this 1989 thriller

H 016

I’ve read Frank Peretti’s Piercing the Darkness before, ate it up the only way I do novels that squeeze me breathless. But this time, taking a mental note it was published in 1989 and relating it to what’s happening in today’s earth, I knew I’d to write about it.

It’s nothing like what I’ve ever read, nothing like the Grishams and the Sheldons and the Forsyths and the Dickens. Yes, there are lawsuits, action with a sprinkling of blood and more. But no! With angels and demons flashing swords and dealing blows over the earth, Piercing the Darkness takes you to places you find only in dreams, a darkness and enmity so ugly and subtle and yet, so…so real, it’ll drive you nuts.

And it all begins in Bacon’s Corner…

When  Sally Beth Roe, a loner, a ‘leftover hippie’, escapes death by the whiskers, everything goes wrong for a powerful group of people set to build precedence making a Christian school look bad. What happens if they succeed? The United States government will tighten the noose around religious freedom and discipline such as spanking (clearly spelt out in the Bible) will be termed child abuse, even when administered in love. But I wouldn’t bore you with the details,I wouldn’t force you to stare at the picture of hordes of demons rooting to take God’s people down, or the cult, aided by briefcase-carrying lawyers, set to drill into schoolchildren their recipe for initiation into the realms of darkness through the Finding the Real Me curriculum. No, it wouldn’t be fair to take you on a ride into the evil that’s Amethyst, the unruly and abusive demon within little Amber’s body–the girl whose manifestation of an inner individual set this story rolling.

I’m sure if you’ve got eyes on America and remain sensitive to the deception in what’s going on across the world, in efforts to tame the liberty of Christian believers in the most subtle manner (all in the name of secularism or ‘freedom’) you’ll identify with this story. But beware, demons are as real here as you can ever imagine.

5 must-watch movies for the soul

I believe in watching movies that add value to my spiritual walk with Christ. Here’s a list you should totally consider.

Time Changer

If you haven’t watched this 2002 science fiction movie yet, then you need to, fast! It changed my life, gave me a perspective on terrible ways I treat God I never imagined I’m guilty of. This is exactly the way Dr. Norris Anderson (Gavin MacLeod) felt when he was transported to the future by a time machine. There, he saw how the world would be, how God is taken out of everything and being replaced by a single word–morality. This movie, vividly etched in my mind, touched me deeply, that’s why I’m sharing this with you. Who’s the author of morality? Why should you tell someone it’s wrong to do anything at all, without pointing him or her to the source of that instruction? Time Changer provides these answers.

Pamela’s Prayer

It isn’t easy growing up, surviving your teen years in a world where boys and girls your age narrate what it’s like to date, kiss or even have sex. This was Pamela’s experience in school. Brought up by a single parent, her father, and never knowing her mum, who died after giving birth to her, it sure wasn’t easy to confide in a dad. But Pamela and her father had a unique relationship founded on their relationship with Christ. This foundation helped Pamela when the going was tough, when she had to look away from what others were doing to keep her virtue. There’s much more, and her father will have a great battle in his hands as she matures.  But he’s no ordinary dad, he knows how to fight, and he knows it’s on his knees. I think every parent and youth ought to watch this film. It’ll show you how never to drop the standards only Jesus can help you uphold. Ever!

cosby
Pamela’s experience is arguably every girl’s

War Room

You may be thinking of physical warfare. Think again. It’s spiritual. And this happens when Elizabeth Jordan’s (Priscilla Shirer) marriage relationship is strained and she learns how to fight her battles within the walls of her closet. It’s said when the movie was released, it received negative reviews by critics (It’s almost always the case with Christian films that reach deep into people’s souls), but went on to become a box office hit. This 2015 American film is a reminder to married couples that hard times will come and how they handle it it will go a long way in breaking or mending their marriage.

Fireproof

When Caleb’s wife, Catherine says she wants a divorce, a dark abyss opens. Will Caleb let their marriage fall apart or will he listen to his father and follow exactly what a guide book he’s given tells him to do, daily? As a fireman, Caleb is trained to risk his life for others, but what would he risk to keep his family? This is a story of hope and perseverance, of sacrifice and ultimately, love. What will your marriage be like if you love unconditionally and give more and more of yourself without expecting to receive? This 2008 film isn’t your every day drama. It will move you to look inward, searching yourself until you’re broken and prepared to be what you ought to be in Christ.

End of the Harvest

It all begins when a group of students think God doesn’t exist. In a philosophy club, a Christian student who dares to trash the topic is spanked (not literally) and this makes Scott decide to scare them (the unbelievers) with a topic on when the world will end. But ‘End of the Harvest’ tells you it’s not about winning an argument but about saving souls. There’s a lot to learn in this movie, particularly when you’ve encountered scoffers who mock your belief. What do you tell them? How much of the Bible do you know? Is the Holy Spirit in charge when you do confront them? can one make heaven by his or her own merit or by being good or performing certain rituals daily? End of the Harvest is the film to watch…

End_of_the_Harvest_1233x554_822635075908
David A.R. White was Matt in this film where he played lead role.

Have you watched any inspiring Christian film?Care to share the experience here? Go ahead and hit comments below, you may just be leading us to yet another inspiring experience…

 

 

 

 

 

Heartbreaking: When Dekker talked about ‘outlaws’ in the church

maxresdefault

It was disturbing and also very revealing listening to New York Times best-selling author, Ted Dekker talk about his book, Outlaw. In an old video, he explains how being a son of missionaries who settled in Indonesia to preach the gospel inspired him and what he’s learned about the church. It’s indispensable information for any writer looking to be God’s tool. It totally broke my heart…

Below are some of what he said:

Outlaw is a story of a young boy who goes missing as a baby in the middle of the jungle where I grew up. It’s a wild, totally transformational story about his life in the jungles of Indonesia and the great price his mother, Julia pays to find and recover him. In a way it’s kind of my own story, but very different from anything I have written before, very, very spiritual with a certain intensity all through.

17333478

This book is also very culturally rich, because I feel it’s very important to understand the language of the people that you’re talking to or writing for, in order to connect with them. We have this problem right now in the church where 58 or 59 percent of young adults, young Christians, from the age of 16 and 40, have left the church in the last decade and most of them never return. It is a wholesale exodus. The question is why? And I believe it’s because they are not hearing the gospel in their own language. Their language is one that is vulnerable, authentic and very relative to the life situation. They are not hearing that, for some reason. I’m not blaming churches. There’s a disconnect and they slip out the back door and look for a place they can connect, be more vulnerable and connect with people that are like them.

 

I’m one of them. I have been one of them and I see now that my story is to reach out to those kind of people. They tell me that thirty million people have read my books. That’s a lot of people. They spent over two million hours reading my book, because it takes about six or seven hours to read a book.

It’s crazy. But why? And eighty percent of my audience are between the ages of sixteen and forty. It’s that generation that’s leaving the church.

*

If the above has gotten your attention, please click here to watch the complete interview. You won’t regret it.

Dekker is author of over thirty-five novels and is best known for stories that could be described as suspense thrillers. His latest work, a departure from so many he has written,  is a historical fiction based on the teachings of Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Resurrection’ and what it’s like when you’re taken for dead (REVIEW)

When my neigbours’ teenage kids read a book in the series Hand of the Morning Star, they came to me with one request: “Get us the next volume, please,” and I empathise. I felt the same way too when I read it, eyes scanning the action-packed black and white pages, eager, busting with excitement and most of all, the suspense.

2010-05-19-hotm02_cover
To have the book delivered to your doorstep in Nigeria, click here

Set in Africa, Resurrection is volume 2 in the series, Hand of the Morning Star, and the story opens when two men with an army plot to take over a town in Tanzania blessed with precious stones.

They must move, fast, before some missionaries take over the place.

You wouldn’t expect the next thing you see in this graphic novel, but a team of superheroes save the day when the army attack the town, just as the missionaries, a white couple, discover a precious stone and celebrate, after all, it would mean providing clean water for the people, a church and other social amenities.

But hey! Good intentions isn’t the end of it.

I’m taken completely unawares by the twist (and this, I love, trying hard to connect the dots), when far away, a wounded man who’s lost his memory is picked up by a father and daughter. There’s something really weird and awkward about this man when he begins to show signs of being superhuman. Of…actually, having…supernatural powers…

Who is he? Where is he from? And what can he do?

handincolor1
Meet the superheroes

Published in 2007, brainchild of artist Mike Miller, creator Brett Burner, and edited by Bud Rogers, Resurrection really makes you wonder what it’s like when a man taken for dead, suddenly comes to life.

What was it like, when Jesus, did, resurrect?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are Nigeria’s Christian Fiction writers ‘left behind’?

Where are Nigeria’s Christian Fiction writers? Where are the publishers? And how long before this vacuum is filled?

Once, in a bookstore in Abuja, I came across a novel written by Taiwo Iredele Odubiyi titled Tears On My Pillow which proved to be quite an inspiring read.

Anyway, I was shocked when I realised Tears On My Pillow was Christian Fiction and with good reason: This genre is almost non-existent in Nigeria (I’m yet to read any from another part of Africa), perhaps because there are hardly enough publishers for the country’s teeming unpublished writers.

Wait!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that Christian Fiction can’t be enjoyed or even be beneficial to non-Christians. It can. In fact, some can hardly be recognised as being in that category while reading because of the writer’s skill and the fact that it’s not preachy, yet ends up inspiring and edifying. After all, and this is how I feel, what’s a ‘good’ story without a strong message.

tears-on-my-pillow-by-taiwo-iredele-odubiyi-books-cds-dvds-for-sale-at-ikeja-lagos
This author is an international speaker, counsellor and the Senior Associate Pastor of The Still Waters Church International

 

New York Times Bestselling author, Jerry Jenkins (who’s written more than 150 faith-based fiction novels, including The Left Behind Series which he co-authored with Tim Lahaye) has a lot to say about how to succeed as a faith-based writer, including tons of stuff to watch out for, such as:

  • Coming off preachy
  • Miscommunicating your faith
  • Confusing readers
  • Offending seekers
  • Or using insider lingo

To read Jenkins’s article on the importance of giving your reader credit, click here. Also, if you’re passionate about writing Christian Fiction, you may want to join his writers guild where he’s taught The 8 Keys to Writing a Powerful, Faith-based Book and Sharing Your Message with the World. Sometimes he makes such webinar training sessions open and free to non-members.

left_behind_series
To be frank, I’m yet to read any of these years after I watched the movie adaptation ‘Left Behind’. But I will, soon, and certainly write about it.

There’s also Frank Peretti, who I call ‘the master of supernatural fiction’. Aside John Bunyan, I’m yet to meet another author that explores this genre and edifies in the manner Peretti does. I encountered him through his novels Piercing The Darkness, This Present Darkness, and The Oath, was blown away and have since added several more titles on my to-read list (More on Peretti’s work soon).

While Christian Fiction flourishes in America and some other parts of the world, this category of writers are virtually ‘missing’ in Nigeria and probably in Africa as a whole. You can feel their absence when you visit bookstores and surf the internet for Christian fiction that’s powerfully inspirational. If they exist at all, then it’s obvious marketing and distribution is a big obstacle and needs to be taken to the next level.

51uwpbp321l-_sx301_bo1204203200_
This book gave me an experience I’ll never forget: How prayers can seal you off from evil attacks. So, be prepared to see angels and demons in constant face-off…

 

So, if you know a really good work of Christian fiction you’ll like to recommend, please share in the comments section below. It’s okay if it’s a book written by a non-African or set in another continent, but works set in Africa and especially Nigeria will be a real treat.

Who knows? I may just be here in a couple of days talking about my latest read.

Thank you.

 

 

‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’, a tale you’ll never forget

My very first encounter, more than a decade ago, with this remarkable, classic tale was bits of a movie I caught on television. Eventually, I got hold of the novel and just recently, the graphic novel, and what I continue to discover is just awesome…No wonder the book’s never gone out of print.

 

Published in 1678, this is, perhaps, one of the greatest salvation stories ever written in the world of fiction. Did the author, John Bunyan, get this from an actual vision, dream, or what? Maybe not, but it’s on record he spent time in a county prison in Bedfordshire for violations of an act which prohibited the holding of religious services outside the auspices of the established Church of England. This was where he began this work…

Bunyan tells the tale of a man called Christian, who’d a heavy (physical) burden on his back. So, in order to shed this load, he’s directed by a man called Evangelist, to follow a specific direction, which leads to a great city (Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Zion? City of God?), in addition is a hefty hardcover book, a road map he reads as he progresses on his journey.

5a9ec218239e946b1b3b9316633d1497-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_

I don’t know about you, but I know I’d an invisible burden I shed when I accepted Jesus Christ into my life and began my spiritual journey. I also know, each time I sin, I feel burdened until I truly repent. So, the allegory used in Pilgrim’s Progress is utterly fascinating, with illustrations of challenges many of us can relate with as we seek God.

If you experience Pilgrim’s Progress through the graphic novel (like I did), you’ll be attacked by beasts and demons and need your sword and armour to survive.

7708bcd08676d42fbedc745968e1e526-_sx1280_ql80_ttd_

There’s no single dull moment till the very end. Anyone who’s God-conscious will find the story edifying, plus, it’ll be a fantastic experience for children who haven’t read it yet. Perhaps you could make it a Valentine’s Day treat for someone? And if you haven’t read it, please, please, do.

You can call this my Val gift to you.

Happy Val’s Day!