10 Writing Tips from Mark Batterson


Mark Batterson: “I felt called to write when I was 22, but it took 13 years to write my first book. I actually self-published it just to prove to myself that I could write a book. My first published book was In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Book #10, All In, will release September 24. I feel as called to write as I do to pastor. For me, writing is an act of obedience. It’s not about how many copies you sell. It’s about writing for an audience of one. I don’t type on my keyboard. I pray on it and worship on it. I also take my shoes off when I write because it’s holy ground. Here are ten lessons learned…” Read more.


Updates on Zach Sandy’s miracle

Zach receiving plaque proclaiming July 11, 2013 as "Zach Sandy Day"
Zach receiving plaque proclaiming July 11, 2013 as “Zach Sandy Day”

This past Thursday, July 11, 2013, was the one-year anniversary of Zach’s miracle of being raised from the dead after being killed by lightning.

The date was officially declared as “Zach Sandy Day” by a proclamation of the Harrison County Commission. See more.

The Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram newspaper ran a front-page story noting the book launch and mentioning the anniversary. Read more.

WV Public Broadcasting aired Zach’s testimony in conjunction with the 1-year anniversary. Read/hear more.

Connect-Clarksburg.com ran a pre-story and a main story in conjunction with the 1-year anniversary. Read more.

This morning, July 13, 2013, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN – home of the 700 Club) informed Zach Sandy’s father that Zach’s miracle testimony has been approved for filming to be aired on the network! The producers are excited about it! See more.

Russell Sandy, Zach’s father said, “Zach’s testimony has been approved for filming by CBN/700 club. Zach is going to tell the world that Jesus is alive and on the throne and still performing miracles!”

Zach with family and his pastor (yours truly) at Harrison County Courthouse, just after receiving plaque proclaiming July 11, 2013 as "Zach Sandy Day."
Zach with family and his pastor (yours truly) at Harrison County Courthouse, just after receiving plaque proclaiming July 11, 2013 as “Zach Sandy Day.”
Pastor Joseph re-presented proclamation to Zach at the anniversary celebration at the park.
Pastor Doug Joseph re-presented the proclamation to Zach Sandy at the anniversary celebration at the park.


Report on first-ever Sword Run

Sword Run - Kids hamming it up for reporter
Some kids hamming it up for a reporter, along with Pastor Doug Joseph, and Elder and Sister Fought.

Clarksburg, WV – The first-ever Sword Run, held on Saturday, May 18, 2013, was a tremendous success thanks to the help of many great Azusa StreetRiders and the abundant blessings of God. As wonderful as the “run” event was itself—with a great ride, mouth-watering, slow-smoked BBQ, wonderful prizes, and a thoroughly enjoyable day at the park—the true highlights of the weekend were the Biker Sunday services the next day, Sunday, May 19, 2013, at the host church, Christian Apostolic Church, led by Pastor Doug Joseph.

During the “run” event some guests joined the ride, having heard about it through the local media blitz accomplished via posters, flyers, and donated ink and donated airtime resulting from press releases and a personal connection to a local radio executive, Jack Murphy Jr, of WV Radio Corporation. Not only did Jack Murphy Jr help with airing free PSAs (Public Service Announcements) to promote the event, but he also aided in securing our title sponsor, 102.3 WFBY-FM (www.wfby.com), which signed on with a sizable donation to lead in corporate sponsorship of the event. One of the guests who joined the ride won second place in the scored-play of the run. Of the two swords he was offered as his prize, he chose a dragon sword to take home.

The first-place winner of the scored-play of the run, Brother Tom Thompson (ASR) chose to donate his prize of $500 cash straight back into the event’s fundraising goals. Thank you, Brother Thompson! Pastor Doug Joseph (ASR) also credited the great success of the event to the creativity of one of their ASRs, Brother Mike Sutton (whose brainstorm initiated the event), the excellent leadership of their local ASR chapter president, Brother Nathaniel “Adam” Benedum, and the whole chapter’s great members and helpful spouses.

Pastor Joseph stated, “This ASR chapter’s creativity, organizational skills, hard work, spirit of excellence, and a desire to reach souls and bless other ASRs, were partnered with a desire to raise funds for Motorcycles For Missionaries, as well as a need to fund our local church’s planned construction project, aiming to move our growing congregation to a better, larger facility in a better location. The event was a smashing success; the fund-raising goals were met, and the anointing of the Holy Ghost in the Biker Sunday that followed was beyond description! The local church’s worship and music, the preaching and spiritual ministry by Evangelist Earl Rodeheaver, and the exuberant worship and fervent prayers of all the ASRs who attended, were a great tribute to our great God and King, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

During our time at the park on Saturday, a reporter from Connect-Clarksburg, Renee Courtney, just happened to be there for a different story she was working on, and she took advantage of the moment to include a photo and write-up about the Sword Run inside her broader report about activities at city parks. Her article and photo can be seen on their website. More event details and information about our corporate sponsors can be seen on the event’s official website: http://swordrun.com

No more big-cat names for OS X, and other (more important) notes

Mavericks and non-mavericks
Mavericks and non-mavericks

Way back in this post (right at two years ago) I teasingly predicted that Apple was going to have to finally depart from “big cat” nicknames for OS X or else things were going to get silly. Of course, that prediction panned out. The upcoming version of the operating system due out this fall is to be code-named “Mavericks” (which is to say, “gets results by refusing to play by the rules”). The word is one of the few that is full-blown American in origin: Its coinage here was a result of the independent, think-outside-the-box attitude of an 1800’s Texan named Samuel Maverick.

Words completely indigenous to the U.S.A. are rare because our language is so full of pre-existing English words from the U.K., which was already filled with words imported from other languages, including Latin, French, Spanish, German, etc. Of note: way back when our Continental Congress voted on what was to be our official language, only one vote carried English over German. How different might things have been when World Wars I & II occurred, if Americans were speakers of German instead of English? I shudder to think. While the Nazi’s eugenics program was running amok, we (here in the U.S.A.) already had our own eugenics program hard at work sterilizing minority women, often without their consent or knowledge. Had we also been Germanic in language, we might well have favored the Nazis instead of siding against them.

Our nation has made many right choices (such as fighting to end slavery), but we have made many wrong choices too, such as with the issues of slavery (prior to our war to end the practice) and abortion. There is no guarantee we would have sided against Germany otherwise.

There is a difference between a practice being legal and it being lawful, or right. Abortion is not lawful but it is legal. Furthermore, so-called same sex marriage is not lawful, but in some places is now legal. Just as the SCOTUS was wrong “in its infamous decision in Dred Scott v Sandford (1857), [when it] ruled that Congress lacked the power to prohibit slavery in its territories” so also the SCOTUS is wrong now in its ruling that the Fed and the State of California lack the power to prohibit so-called same sex marriage. We would do well to remember that just because the courts rule a certain way does not mean it is right or lawful. Truth is transcendent of the wrong decisions of rulers, courts, and parliaments, etc.

Regarding issues such as abortion and so-called same sex marriage, we can only pray that America will eventually right herself as she did with the issue of slavery, and that such a righting does not involve a bloodbath beyond the one already occurring with murdered babies and women who are harmed and dying younger (long before their time) due to complications because of their abortions, including greatly magnified risk of breast cancer and other ailments. The cost added to our healthcare fiasco due to the increased number of pre-term births, caused by prior abortions, is staggering. Questionable research data indicating that wide-spread acceptance of so-called same sex marriage will not be detrimental for the children raised in such homes is being exposed as bogus. More solid data reveals the opposite is true. Marriage between one man and one woman is “America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty.”

When the prevailing “rules” say that human babies are not human persons until some time after they’re born, we’re no more right than when we considered black humans to not be persons. When the prevailing “rules” say that we as a society must redefine crucial words, such as marriage, for the sake of not offending someone who demands that their deviant practice be officially condoned, we’re no more right than when we sterilized women without their knowledge and consent. When the rules are wrong, you must go against the tide, against the rules. In order for America to ever become righteous and get back on the right path, we’re all going to have to be mavericks, which is to say, people who “get results by refusing to play by the rules.” We must strive against the foul tide of this hour. We must do our best to speak out on the real war on women (namely, abortion) and the dual-factors of a real war against babies and children (namely, abortion and so-called same sex marriage). Before we can pray “God bless America” we need to pray “God help America… God save America.”