Very recently I’ve been called to dig deeper into a certain mystery God began to reveal to me. I think the experience is universal to anyone who has been asked to share their faith.
If you know me as a teacher or speaker then you’ve heard me say, “We have to know ourselves to know our God and we have to know our God to know ourselves.” I describe myself as a student of the philosophy though it’s not a very original thought.
Augustine would pray, “Let me know myself; let me know Thee.”
Calvin stated, “Nearly all wisdom we possess…consist of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” Calvin argued that one could not truly know God without knowing oneself and that one couldn’t truly know oneself without knowing God, voicing the obvious dilemma, “which one proceeds and brings forth the other is not easy to discern.”
I agree, in fact I believe it’s a mysterious dilemma. And Christ’s first Beatitude as well as the first step toward understanding salvation begins with the knowledge that we are a sinner (know ourselves to be poor in spirit-a beggar with nothing to offer) in need of a savior (know our God someone who alone can rescue us from this condition).
So it became very humbling to me over the past month that I couldn’t form an answer to a question that God continued to set into the mouths of many people,
“What is your new book, FURY about?”
I should quickly know the answer to that question. I’d invested well over a year of my life in the story. I have a marketing degree which should help me sell it, but I was tongue-tied and my stuttering reply, “Well…ah, um, hm…Just read it,” wasn’t going to produce a lot of interest. And to answer with the theme, “It’s about counterfeits,” doesn’t elicit emotion but confusion and the symbolic approach, “It’s about the crucible of suffering.” Makes even me think, “Really!? … who wants to escape into a book about suffering, we’ve all got enough of that ubiquitous subject.” But besides a long pause of silence with the massive, I guess I’d call it stage freight to have my creative work in the spot light, that’s what was coming out of my mouth—babel. Which if you read Fury will be very ironic…
I’ve always said I need to form an AA type group, where I go once a day and have to say my name and “I am a writer,” because I know myself and I hate talking about my books. But that’s not totally true. I love to talk about the stories, especially when I’m in the middle of writing them and the plot is just rolling out or all twisted up. What I hate is selling the story—the business side of the business—the branding and the buzz words and the catch phrases and the mastery of a 60 second sales pitch where I hook you emotionally until you just have to read that book. Some people just have the gift and the confidence to pull it off like Billy Graham does evangelism. And whatever our reasoning, we’re much more comfortable letting the apologist defend the gospel like I’d rather my friends talk up my books.
But God says, “ah, not so fast to be afraid my friend, I called you-to go-and promised you I’d be with you to the end-so what is there to be afraid about. (Matt 28:19-20)
“We need to dig deeper and unearth some mysteries.”
Jesus was showing me once again that the greater the preparation the less need for courage.
Preparation first calls for training on how to prepare oneself. God uses words to train me and words are found in books, so off I went to be a student again. It was a refresher course on the fundamentals of story- Hero with a goal meets conflict that transforms him—and marketing—communicate the most powerful elements of your product/book clearly, succinctly and passionately to get the buyer/reader involved enough to buy/read. Evangelism is done the same way. We have to learn the Biblical truths, verses and the pathway and communicate it with a clear passion by practicing. Yes. Practicing. That means you prepare and then you practice what you are going to say. Out loud. And first to a few people you trust for feedback. The first few times someone pops one of “those” questions—Tell me what’s different about you. How did you get to be a Christian? How can you believe Jesus is the only way? It’s scary, terrifying, totally out of our comfort zone kind of work to give a reason for the faith we confess. But we are all called to open our mouth and give an answer. And God has a way of ‘calling us out’, repeating the same question a few times until we get that He’s calling us to ‘prepare’ an answer.
As I organized my thoughts to give an answer about FURY I thought about my faith and how prepared I was to share it. I thought about the privilege it is when someone we’ve built relationship with trusts us enough to ask those intimidating questions. And I refreshed myself with my prepared answers. Remembering 1 Peter 3:15-17 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience.”
I dug deeper to know myself and my God and the story that He gave me to tell in FURY.
I thought back to my own conversion as a teenager and what brought me to the point where I came up with the origins of the story of FURY. I told you about how I imagine FURY in my last blog as an attribute of God. But in September of 2003, National Geographic made a profound statement that unsettled my soul and later sparked my curiosity to create this story .
“There are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The modern commerce in humans rivals illegal drug trafficking in its global reach—and in the destruction of lives.” They called it 21st century slavery and it penetrated my heart as I read about the “estimated 27 million men, women, and children in the world who are enslaved—physically confined or restrained and forced to work, or controlled through violence, or in some way treated as property.”
I thought, what if that were me? Abducted and enslaved with no way of escape. Hopelessly held in an evil often terrorist system. And then I realized, that had been me. And you, spiritually. We were once held by evil, enslaved to sin, afraid and hopelessly lost people. Victims of a fallen world and enemies of God in dire need to be rescued and redeemed. Read Romans 5.
So in a future not so distant from ours, I began to pen a supernatural story. . . There is an evil terrorist who abducts a beloved daughter who you might have come to know first in the story, The Choice. This daughter is loved by her father and quickly coveted by a powerful enemy. Like all of us, Jaclyn Cooper wants to be rescued and returned to her father but the world she is held in is unescapable. She becomes a victim to its violent culture and is exploited by a powerful drug called Eros. Enslaved by such evil, it looks hopeless. As her family prays, an elite group of warriors are sent to find her. Their commander, the Fury, is an experienced veteran of battle who is up for the confrontation with this kind of enemy. What FURY is not prepared for is the aftermath of the rescue where they must deal with the internal enemy of the drug Eros. As they are pursued, duty will call the Fury sacrificially to obey without exception. He must learn to equip and empower a civilian girl to a faith beyond what she can see as they face overwhelming odds to return Jaclyn Cooper to her family.
Evil has held us all, but God is furious, pursuing us with great FURY in this gripping love story of rescue and redemption. For those who long to break free. For those who need to be reminded we weren’t created and saved just to survive. For those in the battle who need to be encouraged by the Spirit’s victorious power. For those who wait that long to know God remembers them.
The FURY Series is an intense and original perspective about the furious love of God.
The Fury was inspired by the supernatural style, compelling characters and futuristic story world’s of authors like Ted Dekker or Erin Healy. If you look at the covers of The Fury Series you will see a tree that symbolizes the tree of life. As Dr. John D. Hannah teaches, “the Bible begins in a garden and will end in a garden.” Each book in the series begins with a supernatural prologue that sets the tone and the theme for that story. You will quickly learn that counterfeits-our enemy’s use of lust as the counterfeit of God’s love-is the theme of Eros. Use this link to read the prologue and first chapters for free. http://www.amazon.com/FURY-Book-One-Eros-Fury-ebook/dp/B00OWPYUVY