Posts made in June, 2014

Scripture Memory: PSALM 27

Posted by on Jun 30, 2014 in Site Business

Psalm 27. It’s a good one, and I am committing it to memory for the month of July 2014. Care to join me?  My feeling is that 14 verses in a month is manageable on a day by day basis, and if I focus on reviewing and adding a single verse each day, then the whole thing will have been studied mid-month, allowing for the back half of July to serve for review. I have pasted the text in full below:
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
Hide not your face from me.

Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation!

For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the LORD will take me in.
Teach me your way, O LORD,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!

I think it’s a worthwhile, mid-summer endeavor (as if I did not have enough of those already), and I would love for you to join me in doing so. There’s not a prize, but if you’d be willing to join me in this endeavor, I’d be very glad to hear from you throughout the month, either via Facebook or E-mail at [email protected]

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
Learn More

Recommendations: Jonah and Job by Kingstone Media

Posted by on Jun 27, 2014 in Reviews & Recommendations

Kingstone Media has been on my radar for some time. The company advertises in some of the newsletters I receive, and the available bits and pieces of content provided always impress me. When they recently made one of their books available for free in digital form, I downloaded it without hesitation. Once I read the piece, I was intrigued; the comic seemed tailor-made to people like me–folks who value worthwhile storytelling as well as media that speaks to their faith.

Courtesy of Kingstone’s PR department, I have several of their books to review over the next few months (Hooray!), but today I’ll start with two single issues from the Old Testament: Jonah and Job.

The free comic in question was Jonah, and Kingstone media has provided their own take on the character, his flaws, and his ministry. Fortunately, this artistic exploration honors the well-known text as I have read it in the Scriptures.

Long story short: The opening panels set the tone by establishing the historical context behind the story. We then launch directly into the familiar beats of the Jonah narrative, including the Lord’s calling the prophet to action, Jonah’s flight from it, the ensuing misadventures, and ultimate fulfillment of the mission.  If you’re familiar with the story, you will not see any new territory specifically, but you will get to see the expected events in a fresh way, which is a primary reason adaptations exist. They provide us new insights to familiar content, and as someone who adores the Scriptures and seeks to better know them, this type of work strikes a chord deep within me. Plus, the publishers go out of their way to include some additional information in the final pages to bring further context and credibility to the story–solid “bonus material”, to be sure.

Given that Kingstone has been in my peripheral for some time, I was excited to have engaged one of their books, and further, I was ecstatic that it was this good. So, I reached out to them regarding my writing, blogging, and my desire to review more of their work.Which brings me to Job, another admirable piece of work, which is about as faithful as it could be in comic form. The writers frame the story as it occurs in the text, with Satan’s challenge in heaven and Job’s suffering on earth, the latter half of which is explored almost entirely of conversations.

Reading the story of Job in this format, I was amazed at how much a visual interpretation informed the dynamics. I’ve often felt the text of Job moves like a play, and this adaptation affirms that reading. In its faithfulness to the text, the comic commits to pacing and cadence not unlike an ongoing discussion, a choice which can be difficult to sustain. Ben Avery, Jeff Slemons, and others at Kingstone Media have done so, making for a fine take on the classic story.

I enjoyed both of these books. Jonah was better served by the comic medium than Job, though the latter certainly has its moments. Either way, both stories were made fresh thanks to the artistic approach offered by the creators, who clearly respect the source material as true and worthy of fine craft and storytelling.

So-called Christian Media is always dismissed as a ghetto of subpar enterprises for Believers by Believers. But take the Pepsi Challenge of comparing these to any other mainstream comic release, and the presentation, design, and content will make the grade. If you are a Christian who enjoys the medium of comics and wants to share that medium with others, support your brothers and sisters in Christ, support the comics of Kingstone Media.

I have several larger books to review over the coming months, but as of today, at the very least I wholly and highly recommend dropping a few bucks on these single titles.



Learn More

Being an Ebay Entrepreneur and Paying Higher Prices

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Site Business

This is my second eBay-related post since launching 3LC in 2012; and frankly, I’m hoping it’s my last. I’m not intending to leave the bay, but these unfavorable transactions hit me harder than they once did. My buddy says I have a “guilt complex”; I claim to have “willpower” and “integrity”. Maybe neither of us is right.

Long story short, a few months ago, an item was on auction. The seller saw me watching it and reached out to me; I asked questions about the items. He offered a lower price. I didn’t have the money, so I sold some dupes in my collection to cover the difference without eating into our budget. I paid for the item quickly.

Then the box arrived (a week late).
The writing was on the wall from the beginning. The seller listed the figures as being in “perfect condition with accessories.” As a collector, I assumed he meant the figures were loose but mint with all accessories included. I asked about this. The seller responded, “yes”. Then the day the item was supposed to arrive came and went without the item’s arriving to my address. I contacted the seller who said he had not shipped it with tracking the first time and had the address wrong. He re-sent the item with tracking. I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

When I saw online that the box arrived, I was ecstatic. Whew! It came! When I saw the box at the house, my heart sank. Something was wrong. A gash in the corner made clear the box had opened in transit. The box itself was dented and crunched. I told myself not to worry, that the items inside would be neatly sorted and protected. When I opened the box, I found a lot of “perfect” figures in two plastic grocery bags, each with holes. The figures had paint smears from one another on them. One was actually broken. Accessories were random and from a variety of lines, plus some of them were damaged also. From my cursory review of the contents, the lot was worth about a third of what I paid for it.

My reaction was impetuous. I ran to the keyboard and e-mailed the seller, outlining how I was misled by the description and by our correspondence, neither of which ultimately mattered since the items were shipped poorly and damaged in transit, anyway. The seller responded with something along the lines of, “no returns, no refunds, not my fault.” I escalated the case further through eBay officially, imploring the seller to reconsider by providing him with additional details. His response (paraphrased), “They were perfect when I sent them; if you get a refund, we’re going to court.” This second, more aggressive response led to another of my own. I included pictures, affirmed my own frustrations as a seller when this type of thing happens but told him that we have to make good. I thought I further made my case.

Then I went to bed, and I could not sleep. Not sure if it was conviction, an overabundance of coffee, or a combination of the pair. I laid there wondering, “What am I doing? Is this really worth taking a stand? Is this worth the trouble? Should I eat the loss and flip what I can as figure fodder?” To be honest, I don’t have an answer. Even as I type this, I wonder if the refund was worth the effort. If the seller searches me by name, he will see Stronghold, my testimony, my articles. Have my actions and responses to him displayed integrity and charity; or have been yet another Christian to make Christ look bad? Furthermore, if I were to give him the benefit of the doubt on the issue, and I were to say, “Maybe he thought they were perfect, maybe he does not understand.” and eat the loss, would I be showing more of Christ’s character than if I fought for my money back?

Weighing these things weighs on me, even long after eBay refunded me the money, and I sent the items back to the seller.

The great irony is that this all happened while I was in the midst of studying Proverbs. Was I the reckless and careless fool who hastily invested without fully investigating? Did I read what I wanted to read in the correspondence but not what the seller intended? Was I the fool for my rash response to being disappointed by the box’s contents? Was I the violent man by carrying the matter further, rather than saying, “In my haste, I chose folly, and now I must pay for it.”?  I truly don’t know. Part of me is glad to have my funds refunded by eBay, but even after I have received my money in full, I also know I spent far too much energy and effort on this matter. My time is still gone.

And if there is one thing I value, it is my time.

Money is money, but time has no price. Should I have cut my losses? Should I have known better from the beginning? My last several pick-n-flips were delicious, but this one has left a sour taste. So what next? How would a student of Proverbs respond…I am still trying to decide, which is I spent the whole month of April in the book in the first place.

Thanks for reading,

Learn More

Culture and Comedy, my latest at X3Church

Posted by on Jun 23, 2014 in Site Business

The focus of June at x3church has been raising awareness about porn addiction. As I began to work on pieces for it, I had a difficult time framing how I could approach the discussion in a fresh way.

Here’s my attempt to do so, albeit heavily edited and improved by the x3 staff (my submission did not read as well as the final, polished piece).
How feel you?

“Bring up porn as a joke, you’re clever.
Bring it up as a social danger, you’re a prude.
Funny how that works.
Only it isn’t. 

Learn More

A Personal Milestone…

Posted by on Jun 20, 2014 in Site Business


I have to share the following with you. I cannot tell you how meaningful the below link is to me. The library at my alma mater, Biola University, now has Stronghold listed in their catalog. It may have taken a year for all of the sorting to be completed, but it’s there for students and faculty to read.

I am overwhelmed by this.

Stronghold is a manifestation of my sanctification, a true reflection of my journey from a man lost in addiction to a man pursuing integrity. I believe the work is proof of Christ at work in my life. Without the Holy Spirit ever-drawing me nearer to God’s Throne, without Christ’s salvation, and without the Father’s steadfast love and patience, I never would have written this novel nor pursued it’s publication. Now, it’s available at a place I deeply love, at a library that served me immensely during my time at the college (far more as a staff member than a student, but that’s my own fault).

I couldn’t help it, I even took a screen shot of this link.

Really full of thanks to the Lord right now. And to all of you for your continued support,


Learn More