NaNoWriMo!

Greetings,

Alright, so this is really late to let you know, but I am doing NaNoWriMo. That means that I am writing about 2000 words a day, and still going strong for finishing the rough draft of a novel by the end of the month. I am half way to 50,000 words! I was actually almost a day ahead at one point.

I am writing a story set in northern Ëcroi, in a city called Shämbaka. It is a retelling, of sorts, of the story of Job. Interesting and hard, but doable. Us Lausers have been doing stuff related to Job a lot lately, including an audio drama of Elihu narrating the story to his daughter Eve (fictional setting, true story, of course). I was planning on telling it from the perspective of one of the servants who informed Job of the catastrophe, but it is being taken over by a whole cast of characters. The story is slowly coming to life in my mind, and it is quite interesting, let me tell you.

It will be a long while before it is edited enough to show anyone, as I am not editing as I go, but simply plowing ahead. I will rewrite it utterly before I even begin to actually edit anyways, since it needs it, and also because it is all in pen (mostly illegible).

Maybe a snippet might leak onto my blog here and there, though. 🙂

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

Marcher Lord Press Select

Greetings,

This is really late, but I need to get it out so y’all can hear about this!

Marcher Lord Press is a publishing company of Christian speculative fiction. They like to do things differently, which I like. 🙂 Here is a press release talking about what they are doing now:

 

October 19, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Marcher Lord Press Announces Marcher Lord Select

(Colorado Springs, CO)–Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, today announces the debut of a revolution in fiction acquisitions.

“Marcher Lord Select is American Idol meets book acquisitions,” says publisher Jeff Gerke. “We’re presenting upwards of 40 completed manuscripts and letting ‘the people’ decide which one should be published.”

The contest will proceed in phases, Gerke explains, in each subsequent round of which the voters will receive larger glimpses of the competing manuscripts.

The first phase will consist of no more than the book’s title, genre, length, a 20-word premise, and a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb. Voters will cut the entries from 40 to 20 based on these items alone.

“We want to show authors that getting published involves more than simply writing a great novel,” Gerke says. “There are marketing skills to be developed–and you’ve got to hook the reader with a good premise.”

Following rounds will provide voters with a 1-page synopsis, the first 500 words of the book, the first 30 pages of the book, and, in the final round, the first 60 pages of the book.

The manuscript receiving the most votes in the final round will be published by Marcher Lord Press in its Spring 2010 release list.

No portion of any contestant’s mss. will be posted online, as MLP works to preserve the non-publication status of all contestants and entries.

Participating entrants have been contacted personally by Marcher Lord Press and are included in Marcher Lord Select by invitation only.

“We’re also running a secondary contest,” Gerke says. “The ‘premise contest’ is for those authors who have completed a Christian speculative fiction manuscript that fits within MLP guidelines and who have submitted their proposals to me through the Marcher Lord Press acquisitions portal before October 29, 2009.”

The premise contest will allow voters to select the books that sound the best based on a 20-word premise, a 100-word back cover copy teaser blurb, and (possibly) the first 500 words of the book.

The premise contest entrants receiving the top three vote totals will receive priority acquisitions reading by MLP publisher Jeff Gerke.

“It’s a way for virtually everyone to play, even those folks who didn’t receive an invitation to compete in the primary Marcher Lord Select contest.”

The premise contest is open to anyone with a completed Christian speculative fiction manuscript that meets MLP guidelines for length, content, genre, worldview, audience, etc. To enter, authors must complete the acquisitions form found at the Marcher Lord Press site and supply all the components listed below on or before October 29, 2009.

Marcher Lord Select officially begins on November 1, 2009, and runs until completion in January or February 2010. All voting and discussions and Marcher Lord Select activities will take place at The Anomaly forums in the Marcher Lord Select subforum. Free registration is required.

“In order for this to work as we’re envisioning,” Gerke says, “we need lots and lots of voters. So even if you’re not a fan of Christian science fiction or fantasy, I’m sure you love letting your voice be heard about what constitutes good Christian fiction. So come on out and join the fun!”

The voting ends on the 15th, so get over there and vote soon! I am excited about this, because if this trial works, it might be there next year, and I might be able to try my hand at getting a novel published…

While I am here, I would like to also put in a good word for a friend of mine who has a novel in the competition. I love her blog, her writing is good, and she is a homeschooling mother, so I would really like to see her win. From what I have seen, her novel stands a good chance. It is called The Sword of the Patron.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

You are Immortal…

Matthew 6:24-33 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

What a precious passage! What a beautiful reminder of the glorious love and care of our Almighty Father! Sadly, there are some misconceptions regarding this passage, though. Does it mean that no Christian who has faith will die? Hmm… Think about it. God is promising to provide for us the sustenance of life, so why are there martyrs? Why do missionaries in foreign lands (and in our home nations) suffer terrible hardships and privation? Did they not have enough faith?

From what I have seen, and taking this passage in context with other passages throughout the Bible, I see the focus to be on the phrase “your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

God knows. God cares. God is able. That is what we need to know. Of course we know that we have needs. Of course we care that we have needs. But we are not able to provide them for ourselves. We cannot even exist by ourselves, but are upheld by God’s Word. We simply need to obey, trusting that God will provide everything that we need to obey Him. That is the key.

You are immortal as long as you are doing God’s will and are not finished. I heard that from an old preacher one time. It is true. God will always provide everything that you need to finish His work well. He knows much better than you what that work is and what you need for it, and He is always able to provide it for you. Hardships will come, but that is sometimes part of what is needed to help you finish His will. God allows things to happen to you that you may not like, but think: it is best for you where you are. Yield to Him and you can be sure that you are not making it worse for yourself.

Trust, believe, have faith. God knows. God cares. God is able.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser



Humble Faith

Mark 5:21-34 And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: [I pray thee,] come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
24 And [Jesus] went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in [her] body that she was healed of that plague.
30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

This is an interesting story, and one that begs a lot of questions. I will not presume to be able to answer them all definitively. I will not even try to mention all of the ones that I see. I have found that maintaining focus is more important than attempting a wide scope. In other words, quality is more valuable than quantity (in tribute to the Rebelution forums). I will thus deliberate on one aspect of this story: the woman’s faith.

The woman had a problem, and it was a serious one. She was condemned to uncleanness and shunned by all but her closest family. And even these, after twelve long years of sorrow and inconvenience, must have tired of her illness. She was desperate, and felt that nothing was as valuable as her liberty. Nothing in her life was as precious to her as the freedom from her bondage that she sought so frantically. She sacrificed everything she had to every hope that came to her, but nothing availed to cleanse her.

All that happened was the coming of more and more misery, brought on by her sacrifices. All her efforts, which cost her dearly, brought her more into bondage. She was heartbroken.

Then a new teacher came who taught the pure words of Hope. The Hope that spoke beyond the grave, to those bound in cords of misery and sin. He spoke liberty, not liberty to wander without a shepherd, but liberty to enjoy sweet fellowship with a kind Master and Father. And He brought the liberty of which He spoke, liberty from the bondage of sin, and from the power of earth’s curse brought on by sin. He declared Himself the Son of God, unbound, and He lived to unbind others. He spoke words of life into her despairing soul, but she was afraid.

Why was she afraid? I do not know. But it was not doubt, fear of another failure, that shook her and made her touch the hem of His garment. Her faith brought her through the crowd to His feet, it was not doubt that made her hide. I believe it was humility. See the words of the Beatitudes:

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

She went through these first few baby steps of repentance, and they are detailed in this story. And her baby steps of faith led her to the feet of her Savior. She touched the hem of His garment, not because she trusted it for her savior, not because it contained any virtue of its own, not because it was His, but because it was all she saw herself as worthy to touch. She was meek, humble, broken under her situation, which she was helpless in, and desperate to find freedom from.

It was Christ that saved her, through her faith in Him. Without her faith, she would not have been healed. Without her faith, she could not have found hope. Without her faith, he would not have smiled, and called her Daughter.

What is your bondage? What is the sin that drags you down? Do you have the faith that brings pleasure to God? Are you willing to humble yourself? Are you willing to give all for liberty? Do you hunger for its sweetness enough? Are you willing to take the steps of faith, and fall down, helpless, before your Savior?

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser

God's Changes in My Life

Greetings,

One of the most powerful things that one can do to give glory to God is to give your testimony. This is because it is the sum of all the good that He has done in your life. It is the story of His grace and mercy showed forth in your transformation, conformation, and sanctification. It is this which can convince sinners of the efficacy of God’s grace, although it is not the only thing, and it does not always work, of course.

Every person on earth is living his testimony. Some have already seen a completion of parts of it, and can tell those parts, but everyone is still working on theirs, whether they are saved or not. I am still working on many many areas of my life, but God has shown me great mercy and grace in many others as well, bringing glory to His name through my life. For this I am grateful.

Before I was saved I thought I was saved, and I had many things that I would point to as evidence of my salvation. Now, looking back, I can see that they were either contrived in my heart to deceive myself, or that they were not evidences of salvation at all. Now, I can see plainly the hand of God at work in my life in ways that are only possible if I am saved. I can see the fruits of Christ evident in me, although I fall daily.

God has given me a vast multitude of blessings, which it would be impossible to enumerate in any degree of completeness. So I will focus on one aspect of my testimony of change: my attitude. This, I believe, is the heart of change. Without a change in your attitude towards things in your life, you are not saved, much less sanctified or bringing God glory.

Christ has dramatically transformed my attitude towards a multitude of things. Ask any of my family and you will hear that I have a long way to go, but that I am a very different person than I was.

I used to be rebellious against anything that seemed to limit or control my life. I now welcome, respect, and honor God’s ordained authorities in my life, and encourage others to do so as well. This is especially true of my parents, whom I used to like only when they agreed with me. Now, I love them with passion, and trust them implicitly. I am tremendously blessed in my family.

I used to detest and be unable to relate to cleanness, purity, and righteousness. I could imagine the pleasures of darkness and loved to to do so, but I could not imagine any joy in being right with God. Now, I hunger and thirst after righteousness insatiably. My greatest desire is for God to cleanse my soul and set me free from my sins utterly. I strive after Christ every day, and detest the darkness that is in my life still. I cannot bear the affects of sin in my life, and I abhor the tainting of the world.

I used to avoid labor of any sort like the plague. I lingered, loitered, and procrastinated over any output of effort on my part. Ironically, but not surprisingly, I spent enormous amounts of time dedicated to the pursuing of laziness. I fought responsibility and commitment with all I had, and languished in the coils and folds of apathy. Now, I am a rebelutionary, a young man dedicated to the rebelling against low expectations. I am committed to the seeking of Hard Things to do for my Lord’s Kingdom. I love to wash dishes (actually, I am a compulsive dishwasher, whether it is my turn or not), and I am extremely busy (too busy for comfort).

I used to think, act, and do many things that I no longer do because of Christ. He is my Hope, my Rock, and my Strength. Without Him, I am absolutely nothing. I was a pervert, but now I seek purity. I was a rebel, but now I am a rebelutionary. I was ungodly, but now I seek the Lord’s glory. I am eternally grateful for what the Lord has done in my life, and I hope and pray that others will see the marvelous worth of God, and will also dedicate their hearts to Him. There is nothing so glorious as the eternal God of heaven.

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser