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my project god gave me finally edited

Part 1: Redemption

It’s a cold and wet night. Jesse is in a doorway trying to get out of the bitter cold. He has been on the streets for close to a month. His clothes are soaking wet and starting to come apart. He has no home to go to. He has no family and no friends. He is at the point where he is going to have to do something drastic that he hates. Not a happy story for this 14-year-old.

A few blocks away a young man a year older than Jesse is arguing with a man on the street corner. The man, David, is saying, "Dang it, Ryan, why are you back doing what you know you shouldn't be doing? You broke your promise here at the Mission and went back to hustling, doing drugs, and so many other things. You get one more shot at this. Quit the sex for money, the drugs, all of it, and come back to the home. Do you even remember that not too long ago you asked Jesus into your heart? How do you think He feels about you doing what you are doing?"

Ryan just makes an obscene gesture and walks away. The fix he desperately needs is more than his need of help.

Jesse: "God, I don't want to do this, but I am so hungry and I am so tired of sleeping in alleys and on park benches. I am so cold and I am so scared I won’t wake up." He sees a woman going by, purse loosely hanging on her shoulder. He waits till the area has little foot traffic and he
starts running at her. He knocks her down and takes her purse. He starts running for his life, in the process, losing the woman and some who came to her aid. Now in an alley, he goes thru her purse. "10 dollars and a roll of lifesavers! God, I risked JDC for 10 bucks and candy." He throws
the purse into the garbage. He hears people looking for him so he gets jittery and accidentally drops the woman's credit cards. Seeing a set of stairs heading up to the top of a parking garage, He quietly and quickly goes up to the roof, while thinking, "What have I become? A thief, and a bad one at that." He eats the lifesavers and stands at the roof's edge looking down.

About to jump, he hears another teen's voice. "Not a good place to jump. Could damage some cars right down there on the street."

He turns to see a kid about a year older than he is. Kid says, "Name's Ryan. Things going that bad, huh?"

Jesse nods his head, not moving away from the edge. "Name's Jesse. Now just go and let me do this. I've been on the streets a week and I am at the end of my rope. I see no hope and I have no future so, yeah, I'm going to jump."

Before Ryan speaks, he goes through a coughing jag. As soon as it’s over, he smiles and says, " So purse-snatching isn't your occupation. Yeah I saw what you did and what you got for your troubles. If you come with me, I can help you, but jumping isn't going to help. I'm cold and at the end of my generosity, so let's get this over with. Either move away from the ledge and come with me, or jump already."

Jesse steps down away from the ledge onto the roof and collapses. Later that night, he finds himself waking up in a warm cot in a run-down room. He wonders where in the world he is and how did he get here.

Jesse gets up and goes out of the room. He sees that he is in a dilapidated old building. He sees Ryan sitting on a couch in front of a fire in a fireplace.

"Glad to see you up, my friend," Ryan says to him. "Did you sleep well? You were out for close to 24 hours. Me and the other residents here kept looking in on you to make sure you were still alive."

Jesse asks, "What is this place? How did you get me back here?"

Ryan: "Couple of your new housemates came and carried you back here. This is our space. We find homes that have been abandoned. We have been here about a year."

Jesse: "How do you survive out here?"

Ryan : "It's almost night time. I will show you my way. And if you don't like that, Tony is into B and E. So if you don't like my way, Tony will teach you his way. There are 4 ways to survive here on the street. Hustling, stealing, selling drugs or panhandling. Drugs are not sold here. If I or the others find out you are dealing drugs, you are gone! No second chances, nothing. Kid, you got to learn how to survive out here in the streets if you are going to make it. I wish I could wave a magic wand and all would be nice and you would live happily ever after, but that never works."

Jesse: "What do you do?"

Ryan hands him some clean blue jeans and a black tee shirt. "Here," he says. “This belongs to one of our guys who got nicked a couple of weeks back for burglary. These are close to your size. What I do is have men pay me for sex with them."

Jesse is shocked. "That's disgusting. I'm not gay. I would never do such a thing."

Ryan laughs. "I said that exact same thing. But if you get hungry enough, and you are, you will do anything to survive." He hands Jesse a bottle of alcohol. "Here, drink this. At least it will kill the pain, and you won’t feel what these sickos do to you."

As Jesse hustles, Ryan goes with him, staying aways off to keep Jesse safe and not harmed in case some freaks try to do something bad to him. "Seen too many guys dead, faced down with a knife in them or something. Not going to let that happen to the kid."

Months have now gone by, and Jesse goes past a place called the Mission. A man outside says, "Hey, you hungry? We are almost done feeding, but I think there is some food left, if you are interested."

Jesse is a little wary. "What do you want from me in return?"

The man, David, laughs. "Not a thing. Just a chance to talk to you. See if you need any help. We are a ministry for male prostitutes. We have a place for eating, cleaning clothes, getting new clothes that we have, and other things. If you are interested."

Jesse goes in and talks to David after he eats. But he isn't ready to change and with that he gets up to leave.

David: "When you are ready, we will be here to help. No matter what you do wrong, always remember, God loves you and wants you to be in His Kingdom."

Ryan comes out of the shadows and says to David, "I was really hoping that would have worked. He really needs to get off the streets while he still can."

David, treading carefully, says, "Did you ever go see the doctor after your exam right before you left the house? He did tell you he was worried about those lymph nodes on your neck. Did you ever go back to find out what was wrong?" But Ryan is gone, never saying a word.

David thinks, "You're dying, my friend, and that is why you set this up. You don't want Jesse to end up like you."

Jesse goes back to the house and tells Ryan about the Mission, as Ryan is in the bathroom again for what seems like the tenth time today. "Man, Ryan, the runs are really hitting you hard this month. What is going on? You've lost 20 pounds, at least. What is going on, Ryan?"

Ryan: "Yes, I know all about them. Good group if you want to get out of this. I just couldn't handle all the rules and I blew it. Of course David wanted to 'save me,' and I knew then it was a lost cause." He looks Jesse in the eye and says, "Listen, my brother, there is a day coming and it will be soon where you are going to need help, and David will be there for you. I think it’s time you got off the streets and tried to be a normal kid again."

Jesse: “Come with me . We can both get help."

Ryan starts coughing and sweating profusely, burning up. "I screwed up my life too much. There is no hope for me. David hates me and wouldn't help me anyways, since I disappointed him so many, many times."

Jesse: "If you won't try, then I won't try."

Ryan is starting to run a high fever and is delirious. Jesse is scared. He thinks, "I need money to get Ryan to a doctor." He goes in the middle of the night to the Mission. The place is closed up. He breaks a window and sneaks in. As he is rummaging around looking for something to steal and sell so he can take Ryan to the ER, he comes face to face with David who is angry. He slams Jesse to the floor. Jesse starts to talk, but David won’t have any of it. He grabs the phone to call the police.

David: "What do you think you are doing? Breaking in here to steal!!!! What, your drug habit is getting so hard that you can't continue at your level on what you make hustling?!!! I don't know how many places you've robbed, but this stops here. You are going to Juvenile Detention Center for this one."

Jesse, crying: "No man, it's Ryan, my best friend. He's sick. I think he's dying. I was desperate and came in here to find something to steal to sell and take him to the doctor. We had no one or nowhere else to turn to. If you want to arrest me, fine, but please help Ryan."

David softens. "Oh my, I'm so sorry. Take me to him. I can help."

He goes into the house with Jesse. Ryan, who can barely do anything, gets upset. "Please, David, don't be angry." He looks into David's face and sees tears coming down from this tough, hard man. "Ryan, I was never angry with you. I care about you, like I care about all of you. I am so sorry." He carries Ryan out of the house and to the emergency room. He and Jesse sit down and wait.

Jesse, outside Ryan's room at the hospital, is waiting for the doctor's evaluation.The doctor tells David and Jesse that Ryan has full blown AIDS and has only weeks left.

David takes Jesse back to the Mission to rest and sleep for a time. He then returns to the hospital. Ryan collapses in David's arms, crying.

Later, Jesse is in the hospital room with Ryan, who is in a semi-comatose state.

David makes Jesse go at the end of the night and eat at the Mission. The pastor talks about the Prodigal Son and how his dad was always outside on the road close to home, wondering, " Is this the day my son comes home?"

Jesse is back in the hospital and he leans over to Ryan. "Heard a message today at Emmaus. God wanted me to tell you about the Prodigal Son who was away. His dad was out on the road by the home wondering, 'Is this the day my son comes home?' " Jesse is crying, "Ryan, the Father God is at the road saying, 'Is this the day my son Ryan comes home? I love him and I do not hate him for what he did in the past. IT IS IN THE PAST. "

Jesse: "If not for you, I'd be dead. You pushed me at the end to go back to David and get help. I am moving into the Mission and getting back my life. If not for you... I love you, my friend. The battle is over. Go be with Jesus. No more pain, no more hunger, no more sorrow, no more tears."

Ryan, semi-comatose, in a great deal of pain, hears Jesse and wants so desperately to tell him he is going to be okay. Then all of a sudden, the pain is gone. He feels totally well and whole, and he swears he feels arms holding him in love. Not sexual love but pure, complete love, and he opens his eyes and finds that he is in the arms of Jesus. Jesus with tears in his eyes says, “Welcome home, My son. A place has been prepared for you. There will be no more pain, no more tears, no more illness, no more struggles. You've come home."

Ryan flatlines. Jesse puts his head on Ryan's chest and just cries and cries.

We see David helping Jesse move what little stuff he has into the Mission.

Jesse meets with the house staff and residents. "My name is Jesse and I need help."

Months later Jesse is back in high school and has a life. Jesse is applying for Bible colleges, looking to become a minister just like David and help men everywhere find the hope that he has. He knows that one day soon, Jesse will see Ryan again, and both will be in the arms of Jesus, as He says, "Welcome home, My son. There is a place prepared for you."

Part 2: Purification

Jesse has been at the mission home a couple of days when the house leader Greg comes to see him. He walks into the room Jesse shares with three other men. The others are out working at jobs that the mission helped them get.

Greg: "Hey we need to have a chat."

Jesse sits up: "What’s up, Greg?"

Greg: "School starts next week. We need to get you enrolled."

Jesse laughs. "What high school would take me with my background. The kids will kill me when they find out what I did for almost two years."

Greg has his hands folded. “You got no choice. For you to get back on your feet and to have a chance at a great life, you need a high school diploma." Have you found a church youth group to get involved with yet?"


Jesse: "No, for the same reasons."

Greg: "You are going to have to follow the rules and the plans set out for you when you came in to this house."

With that, Greg leaves the room and leaves Jesse to think what his next move is. It’s now Wednesday night. Jesse is standing outside the door of a church. He is so nervous when a boy his age walks up to him and says, "Hi. First time here, huh? It’s ok. We don’t bite. New to town? Don’t think I have ever seen you before."

Jesse: “You might say I’m new to this area of town. My name is Jesse."

The kid: "My name is Doug. Welcome to the Rock Church. So, do your parents go to church around here?"

Jesse tries to avoid answering the question. But Doug keeps asking.

Jesse: "My parents don’t go to church at all. Never have."


Doug takes him to the youth group room to meet the youth pastor, Tom. Tom asks the same questions as Doug did. Jesse gives the same answers to Tom that he gave to Doug.

Soon he is walking home. Too late he realizes he’s going to have to walk past one of his cruising areas and see his old friends. Soon one of his old buddies comes walking up to him. Jesse sees Ben carrying a large bottle of Whiskey. Ben is Jesse’s age. "Hey, been long time no see. How’s it going?"

Ben takes a swig. "The johns are getting rougher. We lost Tony last week. Found him in a dumpster with a bullet in his head. Chris and Pete, they died of aids like the rest of them right here on the streets. No one noticing or caring. So most of the old gang are either dead or in jail or missing." Offers Jesse the bottle. Jesse caresses the bottle, fighting an urge but he hands it back to Ben. Jesse: "No thanks, Ben. Not today."

Across the street is David watching what just went on and he’s not happy. Soon Jesse is back at the house. Greg and David are in the kitchen waiting for him. All David says is, "Come with us into the office, young man."

Jesse thinks as he walks in, as Greg closes the door behind them, leaving David, Greg and him. One in front of him and one behind him. "Great. Whatever I did, they must be afraid I might try and run for it." So to ease their fears, he takes a seat at the far end of the office on a couch.

Greg: "You may not have known this but for the first few weeks after someone joins the house, we have someone at all times shadowing them."

Jesse realizes that someone had seen him talking to Ben and holding the bottle of whiskey. He gets up and heads for the door.


David: "Where are you going, Jesse?"

Jesse: "Well, I blew it, so I am going to go get my stuff and leave. I mean, you are kicking me out, aren’t you?”

David: "No, my friend. We just want to find out what made you do what you did."

Jesse: "Found out many of my friends out there have died of aids, johns killed them or in jail. The booze was a temptation to kill what I was feeling inside. But I knew it wasn’t the answer. So I refused the drink, gave it back to Ben and got out of there before it was too late."

Greg nods his head. "Get ready for bed. You start school tomorrow."

Later, in the middle of the night, Jesse is having a nightmare. It starts out ok. He lived with his mom, dad and sister. They were a loving family who cared for him a great deal. Flash forward to visiting a friend of the family’s and, later that day, we see a bleeding and bruised Jesse in the shower crying and trying to scrub off what had just happened to him.

He tells his parents what had just happened. They didn’t believe him and called him a liar. That night, he packed his bags and took the bus off to a big city where he can disappear. He wakes up screaming. Greg and David come rushing in, comforting him, praying and talking to him, trying to help him deal with his demons.

A few minutes later, David and Greg leave the room and go into the office. They just sit there for what seems like hours, neither wanting to say what they were thinking.

David:"We are going to lose him, aren’t we?"

Greg:"I don’t know. I just don’t know."

A year later, Jesse has settled in at school and church. No one in either place knows about his background and he is happy about that.

Greg stands outside his door. "Jesse, it’s been a year. It’s time to go to the health department."

Soon they return. Jesse: "How long till we get the HIV results?"

Greg: "It takes about two weeks.”

Doug and Jesse have become good friends. The two go to the movies one night two weeks later. As they head back to Doug’s place, Jesse realizes they are going to be going past his old cruising areas and he starts getting nervous.

They get almost past the area when Jesse hears a drunken Ben call out to him. Doug: "Who is that and how does he know you?"

Jesse: "I have no idea who he is." He walks Doug back to his place fast and leaves him outside.

Jesse heads back to Ben and Doug is seen following slightly behind him.

He sees Ben lying in the alley. He runs over to Ben. Ben is barely breathing. Jesse picks up his cell phone and dials 911. He cradles Ben, crying, talking to him about their past, the good times, the bad times and the times in between. Doug is a little ways away, listening to everything with a weird look on his face. Doug goes away and makes phone calls.

Jesse dials the mission. "Greg, tell Dave to come to the spot he saw me with Ben, and please hurry.” Hangs up the phone and an ambulance siren is heard in the distance. A few minutes later, Greg and David come running up and Jesse collapses in their arms as a sheet is put over Ben’s body.

Jesse lets them take him back to the house. The phone rings. Greg goes and answers it. David sits next to Jesse. He leaves an envelope on the nightstand next to Jesse’s bed.

Greg whispers something to David outside Jesse's room. He says to Greg, "You and I have to get to the church. Make sure Jesse doesn’t hear about this."

Greg, to a house leader, Andy: "Keep an eye on him. We gotta go out for a couple of hours."

Soon Andy has the TV on in the living room. Once in awhile, he goes into Jesse’s room. Jesse is just staring out into space, no reaction to anything.

The phone rings. Andy picks it up. "Hey, Greg. What’s up?"

Greg: "Church found out about Jesse’s past and it don’t look good."

Andy looks on the TV and sees a live newscast at the church meeting. He says goodbye to Greg then Andy turns up the volume. We hear parents and students yelling and screaming, “We don’t want that fag in this church. How do we know our kids are safe with this freak amongst them. He might do some terrible things to them.”

Doug is leading the charge. "And how do we know that he doesn’t have aids or something like that, and we might end up getting it being near him?"

Greg tries to reason with the parents, the kids and the church board of directors. When the board finds out who he is, they have the police throw him out of the meeting with orders not to let him back in.

Pastor Tom: "We let this gay teen into our church, not knowing what a sinner he is and now he must be gone. We don’t want him near our children. Lord only knows what he will do to them and to our normal teens in the youth group. He might turn them into freaks like himself!"

Doug stands up. "How do we know he is a Christian? He claims to be one. But since he’s gay, he’s going to hell like all the other gays.”

Andy, back at the house, turns away from the TV which is still airing the church debate. He sees that Jesse has been watching the whole meeting. Jesse runs back into the room and locks the door. No matter what Andy says to him, Jesse won’t answer the door. Andy grabs the cell phone and texts what is going on to David and Greg.

At that moment, the vote at the church was 93, yes and 7, no to banning Jesse from the church. David and Greg read the text and run for the door.

Jesse tears open the envelope that David had left. It was from the health department.

A few minutes later, David and Greg are at Jesse’s door trying to get him to open the door. The two of them and Andy break down the door. The room is empty and the window is open. They realize Jesse had escaped out the window.

In the alley close to where Ben had died. No tape, no crime scene, no nothing. Jesse reads the HIV results again and trips over something. It’s a brand new bottle of whiskey.


Jesse sits down cradling the bottle, crying, realizing it belongs to Ben. He opens it and puts it up to his nose to smell. He knows drinking isn’t the answer but he is hurting so badly.

He feels he has no choices in life anymore. He sees a john slowing down near his resting place. He gives the signal to go around the block and he will be ready. Then Jesse starts drinking the whiskey.

Fade to block

To be Continued

Part 3: Restoration

Two days after Jesse vanished, a sports car pulls up in front of the mission. A young man gets out of the car and walks into the office area.


David: "Yes, can I help you?"

Young man: "Yes, I’m looking for a young man named Jesse. I was told that he lives here."

David takes the young man into the office and closes the door.

A month later, David is helping serve the men when a shadow comes across his path. In the background, we see the young man with the sports car helping out. "You have a lot of nerve showing up here after what you did." Standing in front of David is Doug.

Speed up to 4 years later. We see Jesse in rags, full beard, totally dirty, in really bad shape. Smelly, thin as a rail, slowly dying. Smelling of booze and high on drugs. He is walking down a street he has never been down before. It’s going to be hours before the johns are up and looking for someone to go to bed with. And Jesse is so bad off, it’s getting harder and harder to find johns willing to sleep with him.

He hears music coming from a strip mall. Church music. Up beat, kinda rock and roll style. He stands outside the door, listening to it.

At the end of the service, a couple from the front of the congregation gets up and walks up to Jesse. The man puts out his hand.

John: "Welcome to the Vine. First time here?"

Jesse doesn’t answer him, he just starts to leave.

Martha: "My husband is the associate pastor here and he’s here a lot. If there is anything he can do to help you or you just want to talk to him, please come back."

Jesse just walks out the door without a word. Over the next few weeks, he comes and goes but he leaves before anyone can come anywhere close to him.

A few weeks later, he wakes up with no memory of where he had been or what had gone on or what day it is. He was starting to feel awful, realizing he was just waking up from a blackout and was now overdosing on drugs.

He walks out of the alley knowing he needs to get help fast or he’s going to die. He keeps asking the crowd around to please call 911 to help him and everyone runs away from him.

Down the street, he sees the Vine, but it’s too early in the morning. No one is there yet. So he lays down in front of the door, falling asleep, praying he wakes up.

Soon he wakes up in a room but he can’t see. The lights are too bright. A voice says, "Oops, sorry. Didn’t expect you to wake up so soon." The lights dim down and he sees Martha and John on either side of the cot Jesse is lying on.

Jesse: "Where am I? How did I get here?"


John: "I found you passed out, almost dead on the front step of the church. We almost took you to the emergency room. Instead I called a member of our church who is a doctor and he was able to save your life. Rest now. You are in a room at the church. Let us get you the soup my wife just made and we will be right back."

They left him alone in the church to rebuild his strength, not asking him how or what he was.

John and Jesse talked one night. Jesse asked him to keep him in his prayers cause he was dealing with things that would not be looked upon well in the church and he needs help to get free from

Later that night as John drove home, God revealed to him about Jesse’s alcohol and drugs, which he knew about, and then the prostitution.

The next day John goes to Jesse's room. It’s empty. He is gone.

That next Sunday, John is preaching on no matter what you have done, God will forgive you. He talks about that one of Jesus’ ancestors was Rahab, the harlet from Jericho. In the back, Jesse is listening. At the altar call, he comes forward. John: "God told me what you were and what you are. Now you are His son. He doesn’t judge you. We don’t judge you. God loves you and so do we."

Months go by. Jesse has been staying at the Vine. He has another HIV test. It also comes back negative and he had been abstinent long enough to know he is clear. He talks to John and Martha about the mission and David and Greg and how much he misses them.

Martha: "I think you are now at a point where it’s time to go back to the mission and let them help finish the work God has done in you."

Jesse: "After all I have done, if I called David or Greg, they will laugh in my face and say, ‘Don’t come here ever again.’ I really screwed up."

As John and Martha get up to go, Martha hands him a phone. "Here. When you are ready, call them."

Later that night, Jesse, with tears in his eyes, calls the mission and gets David’s voice mail. "David. It’s Jesse. I’m ok. Got involved in a church in the last few months called the Vine and I am doing well but I miss you. My friends think that it’s time to go back to the mission and let God finish the work He has started. I told them, not a chance. David probably hates that I failed him and God and he won’t want me back. I am leaving an opening. If you forgive me, I am staying at the Vine. This coming Wednesday, I am being baptized and giving my testimony. Please show up." He hangs up the phone.

Wednesday night. No David. No Greg. No one. It’s just Jesse at the altar crying as the church members had all gone home. He feels a hand on his shoulder. He turns around and, in front of him with tears in his eyes, is David. David picks Jesse up in a huge bear hug and says, "Of course, I forgive you. I love you like a son. It’s time to come home."

In the back, Jesse sees John and Martha, watching and crying. Jesse and David get his stuff and soon Jesse is back in the house.

David: "We need to talk and then go over to the mission. Some people want to see you."

Jesse: "I’ve seen Greg just a few minutes ago. Who else is there?"

As they walk over to the mission, Jesse is sad. "I miss my parents and my kid brother, Chris. It’s been so long since I’ve seen them.”

He sees Doug working the tables helping the others and a great deal of anger boils up inside of him. He starts to leave.


David blocks his way. "It’s time to deal with him. Doug, not long after the church incident, came here repenting, asking forgiveness and wanted to help. He’s been here ever since.”

Jesse turns around and comes face to face with Doug.

Doug: "I am so sorry for what I did. Can you ever forgive me?"

Jesse, crying, hugs him. "Of course, I forgive you."


David: "See that wasn’t so hard. Now can you do the same thing with your family, even though they are not here?"


Jesse gets on his knees, praying, crying "God, I do forgive them. Someday, maybe I will see them again."


He opens his eyes to the young man in the sports car who showed up days after he vanished.

It takes Jesse a few minutes, then he cries and hugs him. "Chris, my God. My brother." Soon they are both crying and hugging, then laughing.

Chris turns him around to the front door as his parents come walking in and all run to each other. “The family is whole again.” Chris says to David.

Months later, David alone in his office now talking to the readers of this.

"Months later, Jesse returned home. The man who had hurt him had gone to prison for other offenses. Jesse has been sober now almost 6 months and HIV- so ends his story. Not everyone who goes through what Jesse did ends happily ever after. Many die. Many are lost. We need to do more for the street kids than what is being done now. For more information, please look up Emmaus Ministries, Chicago, Illinois, and let us all help the Jesses of this world. Thank you and God bless.

The End

Read more…

"Broken" by Robert Flores: A mini-review by me


Hi everyone:) Say, I just got this great book, "Broken" by Robert Flores. It impressed me and lifted my spirits tonight, so I thought I would share my thoughts about it.

Robert writes very well, in an entertaining and easy-to-read style, and I was soon caught up in the story of his youth and his relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He and I have lived very different sorts of lives, but it was easy for me to empathize with him and to cheer him on when God gave him the victory over the hard times and temptations. It was very interesting to me to read about what it was like growing up in a Catholic Christian home, what drove him to excel at art, how he viewed the world through the various stages in his life. Again, we have lived very different sorts of lives, but somehow he took me back to my own days in High School, College, made me remember who I was and what it was like. My own life is like the history of Israel, more rebellion and backsliding than faith and worship. Robert's testimony, from the real Robert that emails me sometimes, and always is an encouragement and a blessing, gives me hope that I too will someday be living a life that will look like Jesus. I love this book!

Take care all,
& God bless you!
Gerry Lee
Read more…

Rabbi Encounters

I'd like to point everyone over to the excellent web comic, Rabbi Encounters.

Rabbi Encounters (c) 2007 Rob Woodrum

In
Rabbi Encounters, Rob Woodrum updates the encounters Jesus had with people throughout the Gospel accounts in a very effective manner. This works so much better than a straight "what if Jesus came today" approach; those tend to raise many more questions than they answer. The main focus in Rabbi Encounters is how the people are affected by their encounters with the Rabbi. In the stories to date, we have seen encounters with an Army commander, a man suffering from AIDS, a woman at the laundromat, and a diminutive thug named Zack. Rob's presentation of these familiar stories is very fresh and unique and provides a springboard for self-reflection as we see modern applications to these encounters.

Read more…

project i am working on

for those who havent seen my project here it is

It' s a cold and wet night. Jesse is in a doorway trying to get out of
the bitter cold. He has been on the streets for close to a month. His
clothes are soaking wet and starting to come apart. He has no home to go
to. He has no family and no friends. He is at the point where he is going
to have to do something drastic that he hates. Not a happy story for this
14 -year- old.

A few blocks away a young man a year older than Jesse is arguing with a
man on the street corner. The man, David, is saying, "Dang it, Ryan, why
are you back doing what you know you shouldn't be doing? You broke your
promise here at the Mission and went back to hustling , doing drugs, and
so many other things. You get one more shot at this. Quit the sex for
money, the drugs, all of it, and come back to the home. Do you even
remember that not too long ago you asked Jesus into your heart? How do you
think He feels about you doing what you are doing?"

Ryan just makes a obscene gesture and walks away.The fix he desperately
needs is more than his need of help.


Jesse: " God , I don't want to do this, but I am so hungry and I am so
tired of sleeping in alleys and on park benches and I am so cold I am so
scared I wont wake up." He sees a woman going by, purse loosely hanging
on her shoulder. He waits till the area has little foot traffic and he
starts running at her. He knocks her down and takes her purse , and he
starts running for his life in the process losing the woman and some who
came to her aid. Now in a alley he goes thru her purse. "10 dollars and a
roll of lifesavers! God, I risked JDC for 10 bucks and candy." Hethrows
the purse into the garbage. He hears people looking for him so he gets
jittery and accidentally drops the woman's credit cards. Seeing a set of
stairs heading up to the top of a parking garage, He quietly and quickly
goes up to the roof, while thinking, "What have I become? A thief and a
bad one, at that." He eats the lifesavers and stands at the roof's,
edge looking down.

About to jump he hears another teen's voice. "Not a good place to jump.
Could damage some cars right down there on the street."

He turns to see a kid about a year older than he is. Kid says, "Name's
Ryan. Things going that bad, huh?"

Jesse nods his head, not moving away from the edge. "Name's Jesse. Now
just go and let me do this. I've been on the streets a week and I am at the
end of my rope. I see no hope and I have no future so yeah, I'm going to
jump."

Before Ryan speaks he goes through a coughing jag. As soon as its over
he smiles and says, " So purse-snatching isn't your occupation. Yeah I saw
what you did and what you got for your troubles. If you come with me I can
help you, but jumping isn't going to help. I'm cold and at the end of my
generosity. so let's get this over with. Either move away from the ledge
and come with me, or jump already."

Jesse steps down away from the edge onto the roof and collapses. Later that
night, he finds himself waking up in a warm cot in a run-down room. He
wonders where in the world he is and how did he get here.

Jesse gets up and goes out of the room. He sees that he is in a
delapadated old building. He sees Ryan sitting on a couch in front of a
fire in a fireplace.

"Glad too see you up, my friend," Ryan says to him. "Did you sleep well?
You were out for close to 24 hours. Me and the other residents here kept
looking in on you to make sure you were still alive."

Jesse asks, "What is this place? How did you get me back here?"

Ryan: " Couple of your new housemates came and carried you back here.
This is our
space. We find a home that is abandoned. We have been here about a year."

Jesse: "How do you survive out here?"

Ryan : "It's almost night time. I will show you my way, and if you don't
like that, Tony is into B and E, so if you don't like my way, Tony will
teach you his way. There are 4 ways to survive here on the street.
Hustling, stealing, selling d rugs or panhandling. Drugs are not sold
here. If I or the others find out you are dealing drugs, you are gone!
No second chances, nothing. Kid, you got to learn how to survive out
here in the streets if you are going to make it. I wish I could wave a
magic wand and all would be nice , and you would live happily ever after ,
but that never works."


Jesse: "What do you do?"

Ryan hands him some clean blue jeans and a black tee shirt. "Here," he
says. This belongs to one of our guys who got nicked a couple of weeks
back for burglary. These are close to your size. What I do is have men
pay me for sex with them."

Jesse is shocked. "That's disgusting. I'm not gay. I would never do
such a thing."

Ryan laughs. "I said that exact same thing, but if you get hungry
enough, and you are. You will do anything to survive." He hands Jesse a
bottle of alcohol. "Here, drink this. At least it will kill the pain,
and you wont feel what these sickos do to you."

As Jesse hustles, Ryan goes with him, staying aways off to keep Jesse
safe and not harmed in case of some freaks try to do something bad to him.
"Seen too many guys dead, faced down with a knife in them or something. Not
going to let that happen to the kid."


Months have now gone by, and Jesse goes past a place called the Mission. A
man outside says, "Hey, you hungry? We are almost done feeding, but I
think there is some food left, if you are interested."

Jesse is a little wary. "What do you want from me in return?"

The man, David, laughs. "Not a thing. Just a chance to talk to you.
See if you need any help. We are a ministry for male prostitutes. We have a
place for eating, cleaning clothes, getting new clothes that we have,
and other things, if you are interested."
Jesse goes in and talks to David after he eats. But he isn't ready to
change and with that he gets up to leave.

David: "When you are ready, we will be here to help. No matter what you
do wrong, always remember, God loves you and wants you to be in His
Kingdom."

Ryan comes out of the shadows and says to David, "I was really hoping
that would have worked. He really needs to get off the streets while he
still can."

David, treading carefully, says, "Did you ever go see the doctor
after your exam right before you left the house? He did tell you he was
worried about those lymph nodes on your neck. Did you ever go back to find
out what was wrong?" But Ryan is gone, never saying a word.

David thinks, "You're dying, my friend, and that is why you set this
up. You don't want Jesse to end up like you."

Jesse goes back to the house and tells Ryan about the Mission, as Ryan is
in the bathroom again for what seems like the tenth time today. "Man, Ryan,
the runs are really hitting you hard this month. What is going on? You've lost 20 pounds, at least. What is going on, Ryan?"

Ryan: "Yes , I know all about them. Good group if you want to get out of
this. I just couldn't handle all the rules and I blew it. Of course David
wanted to 'save me,' and I knew then it was a lost cause." He looks Jesse
in the eye and says, " Listen, my brother, there is a day coming and it
will be soon where you are going to need help, and David will be there for
you. I think its time you got off the streets and tried to be a normal kid
again."


Jesse: Come with me . We can both get help."

Ryan starts coughing and sweating profusely, burning up. "I screwed up
my life too much . There is no hope for me. David hates me and wouldn't
help me anyways, since I disappointed him so many, many times."

Jesse: "If you won't try, then I won't try."


Ryan is starting to run a high fever and is delirious. Jesse is scared.
He thinks, "I need money to get Ryan to a doctor." He goes in the middle
of the night to the Mission. The place is closed up. He breaks a window
and sneaks in, and as he is rummaging around, looking for something to
steal and sell so he can take Ryan to the ER, he comes face to face with
David , who is angry. He slams Jesse to the floor. Jesse starts to talk,
but David wont have any of it. He grabs the phone to call the police.

David: "What do you think you are doing? Breaking in here to steal!!!!
What, your drug habit is getting so hard that you can't continue at your
level on what you make hustling?!!! I don't know how many places you've
robbed, but this stops here. You are going to Juvenile Detention Center
for this one."

Jesse, crying: "No, man, it's Ryan, my best friend. He's sick. I
think he's dying. I was desperate and came in here to find something to
steal to sell and take him to the doctor. We had no one or nowhere else
to turn to. If you want to arrest me fine, but please help Ryan."



David softens. "Oh my, I'm so sorry. Take me to him. I can help."

He goes into the house with Jesse. Jesse, who can barely do anything, gets
upset. "Please, David, don't be angry." He looks into David's face and
sees tears coming down from this tough, hard man. "Ryan, I was never angry
with you. I care about you, like I care about all of you. I am so sorry."
He carries Ryan out of the house and to the emergency room, and he and
Jesse sit down and wait.

Jesse, outside Ryan's room in the hospital, is waiting for the doctor's
evaluation.
The doctor tells David and Jesse that Ryan has full blown AIDS and has
only weeks left.

David takes Jesse back to the Mission to rest and sleep
for a time. Ryan collapses in David's arms, crying.

Later, Jesse is in the hospital room with Ryan, who is in a semi comatose
state.

David makes Jesse go at the end of the night and eat at the Mission. The
pastor talks about the Prodigal Son and how his dad was always outside on
the road close to home, wondering, " Is this the day my son comes home?"


Jesse is back in the hospital and he leans over to Ryan. " Heard a message
today at Emmaus. God wanted me to tell you about the Prodigal Son who was
away, and his dad was out on the road by the home, wondering, 'Is this
the day my son comes home.' " Jesse is crying, "Ryan, the Father God is
at the road, saying, 'Is this the day my son Ryan comes home? I love
him and I do not hate him for what he did in the past. IT IS IN THE PAST. "

Jesse: "If not for you, I'd be dead. You pushed me at the end to go
back
to David and get help. I am moving into the Mission and getting
back my life. If not for you... I love you, my friend. The battle is over.
Go be with Jesus. No more pain, no more hunger, no more sorrow, no more
tears."

Ryan, semi -comatose in a great deal of pain, hears Jesse and
wants so desperately to tell him he is going to be okay. Then, all of a
sudden, the pain is gone. He feels totally well and whole, and he swears he
feels arms holding him in love. Not sexual love but pure, complete love, and
he opens his eyes and finds that he is in the arms of Jesus. Jesus with
tears in his eyes says, "Welcome home, My son. A place has been prepared
for you. There will be no more pain, no more tears, no more illness, no
more struggles. You've come home."

Ryan flatlines. Jesse puts his head on Ryan's chest and just cries
and cries.

We see David helping Jesse move what little stuff he has into the
Mission.
Jesse meets with the house staff and residents. "My name is Jesse and
I need help."


Months later Jesse is back in high school and has a life. Jesse is
applying for Bible colleges, looking to become a minister just like
David, and help men everywhere find the hope that he has. He knows that
one day soon, Jesse will see Ryan again, and both will be in the arms of
Jesus, as He says, "Welcome home, My son. There is a place prepared
for you."

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A Little About Jackket Knightmare

Hi everyone,I want to thank you for the support and interest you have shown in Velvet Nightmare Studios. As you decided to be part of this page you should know some things about this ministry.

This page is to promote a graphic novel coming out soon. Five years ago I began drawing when God lead me to christianscomics.net where I found a lot of brothers and sisters in Christ that wanted to use comic books as a tool for ministry. They encouraged me as I began to learn about both mangas, and American comics.
Three years ago God gave me this incredible story, and told me to see it to it's completion.

The story of Jackket Knightmare begins with a Hispanic character named,Tomàs who was physically abused as a child by his father. Later in the story God delivers him from the deadly situation through a Pastor named David Church. While the story is about Tomàs struggle with his adopted father's sudden death it is about his journey to forgive his father and pursue his call to be Pastor.

Now this is a comic book so to make the story more interesting, as Tomàs begins to piece together what happened one night to him as child he starts going through a physical transformation at night. He changes into Jackket Knightmare though he is unaware of it, but this is strictly a God given ability(I got tired of satan giving heroes their powers in secular comics). Jackket is a character that rescues children from abusive situations, but he doesn't stop there he also through another ability makes the abuser see himself as a child and gives him a chance to stop the cycle and change his life through Christ. There is also a demonic character that he encounters as he ministers to these people. The real message of the story it about broken people being made whole through Christ, and that is my hope for those who will one day pick up a copy and read it or visit the site.

My prayer is that I will continue to gain support from my brother's and sisters in Christ, and that I have direction from God as I finish the first chapter of this project.
God Bless,
Souba
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Calvary Comics

Alec Stevens here. Calvary Comics is the name of my publishing imprint. A dear friend and sibling in Christ once expressed concern, with the utmost confidentiality and gentleness, that the name could be misconstrued as irreverent. "There is nothing comical about Calvary," this friend stated. I quite agree.

The term comics can be a misnomer if the narrative art, be it in strip or magazine/book format, is not humorous in nature. My friend Bruce Bezaire has coined the term narragraphics for his sequential artwork. Calvary Narragraphics just doesn't have the same ring (or alliteration) to it! So Calvary Comics it stays.

I believe that, once viewed, the website http://www.calvarycomics.com would quickly clear up any (mis)apprehensions about the name. Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the Jews and a Light unto the Gentiles, is my Lord and Saviour, and I love Him with all my heart, and desire to glorify His name with my work.

The (present) reality is that I cannot produce monthly or even bi-monthly material through the Calvary Comics imprint (due to time and finances primarily). Yearly looks like about the truth of the matter. But the good news is that I'm not alone out there---there are others producing quality, Christ-honoring material that is truly edifying. They're not always front and center, or commercially touted through major publishing houses necessarily, but one particularly good source for finding such material is the Christian Comics International website at http://www.christiancomicsinternational.org, hosted by Nate Butler of COMIX35.

Here endeth the blog (my first ever!).

In the love of Christ our soon and coming King,

Alec

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The Basics

Since I have no real knowledge of what you personally know about the genre, some of this might be a little too dumbed down, but if you don't know it you might get into trouble. So bear with meHere are the basics that you need to be aware of concerning Christian comics:1. This should primarily be for the glory of God. How can your skills in writing best glorify God? Do you feel called to write blatantly evangelistic tracts? Or are allegories more your style? Or perhaps you want to write simply great fiction but from a Christian worldview? There is a lot of variance within these choices, so find what will glorify God the most in your choice. If you want more choices to consider, just let me know.2. This is a labor of love. In all likelihood you will never make money doing this. You will probably lose friendships over this due to lack of time. It can be frustrating. It can be disheartening seeing the soft white underbelly of the movement (many do it for 'fun', or don't understand evangelism, or take things personally when offered in charity, or might not even realize that they are not yet a Christian!) and dealing with the whims of less dedicated creators (lots of series die after issue #1 due to lack of desire to continue for one or the other of the creators).3. This is one way of opening yourself to attacks from the enemy. Make sure your spiritual life is in order. Are you a born-again Christian? Do you read your Bible every day? Is your prayer life up to biblical standards (do you "Pray without ceasing"?)? Is your outer life consistent with your inner life as a Christian? Are you faithfully worshipping with a body of believers?4. This should be a passion. You will most likely suffer for this, in some way, and sometimes in more ways than one. If you are not ready to accept all the consequences of this choice then get out now. Many have been killed for bringing the Good News to the world. If you are not ready to die for this message then you are not ready.5. This is secondary to your family. They should be your primary mission field, and their care is paramount to your involvement in this movement. You made vows to become the high priest to your family, not to your literary output. Your wife or husband should be privy to everything that you are doing and the people (especially those of the opposite gender) that you are contacting. She or he should be supportive of your choice to work within this movement, but should also serve as the voice of reason if there is some life-changing decision you feel drawn towards (like hand-delivering your anti-Muslim tracts to all of the mosques in Baghdad).6. This is a public declaration of your faith. Now you will be seen as “one of those Christians” by people who didn’t know before. Hold that banner high. Show them what real Christianity is all about – the Law of Love. You will be many people’s first glimpse of what Jesus is like, and to many more you will be what they will think of when they hear the word “Christian”. You need to redefine it for them, sometimes at great cost to yourself.7. This is a movement with a history. Find a mentor and/or tutor for you to act as an apprentice for. This will teach you many things, the first of which is humility. You will need a lot of this. You will learn how to get things done, how to deal with people in the movement, and what things have been done before (no more anthropomorphized angels or superheroes with the word “Christian” in their name!). You will also find a collaborator, companion, and accountability partner. If you need me to point you in the direction of one, just ask.8. This is a humbling process. The humility learned from your mentor/tutor will have a million applications, from dealing with rejection to taking editorial direction to handling critical reviews of your work. And everything in between. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what other people think of your work as long as you are faithfully glorifying God in your work.9. This is a learning process. Whether you are writing evangelistic stuff for non-Christians, apologetics helps for young Christians, or simply good literature from a Christian worldview, you need to keep learning. There are plenty of great books out there to keep you growing in whatever style you use. There are about 10 times more fair, poor, or just plain bad books out there for each good one. Ask if you don’t know about a book/author/whatever; it will save you time, energy, and money. Above all, stay grounded in the Word. Read meaningful portions of the Bible every day.10. This is a social movement. If you are a writer, find artists to do the other stuff, and vice versa. Don’t try to do it all yourself. You might very well be able to, but your output will most likely be limited by that. Communicate with other like-minded individuals and help out as much as possible. Do you have access to a high-quality printer? Offer to print their products, even if you aren’t part of the creative team. Writers, offer to edit other writer’s scripts.11. This is a polarizing movement. You can make enemies very quickly, just by plainly stating the Truth. Some people don’t want to hear it; others, even those within the movement, might see differently than you on a certain subject. There might be people that you know right now who will never want to talk to you again if they know that you are involved in this. You need to keep being faithful to your mission, and if that means pruning the tree of dead limbs then you need to be strong enough to do that, and to do it in all Christian Love and Charity.
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Nice to meet you all

Over the last few weeks, I've met a couple of people from CCAS who work with AO. It's a sincere honor and pleasure to talk with them. I also knew a few other people on here like Gerry! To be honest, I won't be updating these pages a whole lot. I spend most of my web logging time on Cyberlight and Deviant Art.

My main reason for joining is to do a shout out, so to speak, about Cyberlight Comics. There are many Christian sibling artists (and writers) who have not heard about Cyberlight. Cyberlight is basically a haven for Christian comics of all types. We work together to keep our massive web site constantly updated, which has earned us a positive reputation in the web community. We get about 1,200 unique visitors each month and over 2,000 visits. We have about 800 or so people on our mailing list. We have almost two dozen titles on the site.

Our focus is not about making impressive site stats. Indeed, we are about promoting christian comics and entertainment from all over, in order to glorify God.

So, if you have never heard of Cyberlight before, check us out. Poke around the site, kick the tires, and read the "About Us" pages. :) If you like what you see, join our bulletin board (That where you can usually find me) and let us know what works for you and what does not. Finally, if you think that a partnership (of any type) can benefit the kingdom of God, contact me. You would be surprised just how many different ways we can work together to lead people closer to Him.

By His Grace,
JCServant
Cyberlight Comics
Project Director
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Read Hero TV #1

Each week Zondervan is previewing a new comic on the "Exclusives" page of theire website and this week it's HeroTV's turn in the spotlight.

heroTV1.jpg

The comic can be downloaded at: http://www.zgraphicnovels.com/exclusives/

HeroTV #1 is the first part in a three-part story arc focusing on the villain of HeroTV: CAPES, Professor Gravitron. The story is by Ben Avery and Jeremy Zehr, with art by Darren Brady, Chuck Von Schaaf, Jonathan Koelsch, Sherwin Schwartzrock and yours truly.

Check out the comic and please take a few moments to complete the survey that follows the comic. It will help guide future projects for the Z Graphic Novel line.

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Megazeen- Christian Comics Without the Cheese

Megazeen is an independent, raw anthology founded in early 2002 by Joseph Crossett and me. The idea behind the book was to create a Christian comic that WE would want to read. It would not be the traditional "safe" fare that Christian comics were traditionally known for, which was either extremely kid-friendly or in-your-face and down-your-throat evangelism. We were tired of people telling us what faith-based entertainment SHOULD be. We didn't want a book that the forty-year-old moms at the Christian bookstores would look through. Our book would be raw, entertaining, funny, even controversial at times, geared toward regular comic book readers, loser kids, kids on the fence. Gone would be the sappy cliche's and dardee dar endings we'd become accustomed to. And from that came our first slogan, "Christian comics without the cheese."


This, of course, ticked some people off.


Were we implying that Christian comics were cheesy? Yup. Were we implying that Christian comics should be geared toward the Beavis and Butthead generation more than the church youth group? Yup.


The hate mail was almost immediate. Even before the first issue debuted.
And it was all from Christians.


It surprised us- but from that came our second slogan. "If you're not ticking someone off, chances are you're not doing it right."


Megazeen has become, in many ways, instrumental in the ongoing success of Christian comics in general. More on that later.


I'm going to be updating the main website shortly, with a page devoted to each issue we did. It will show some clips from the book, some of the stories behind the scenes, even some of the bitter internal feuds we had as we disagreed about content more than once. We even managed to tick each other off!


As we wrap up production on our 14th and 15th regular issues, it's pretty amazing looking back to see where we came from- but looking ahead, there's no end to this series.

Submissions ALWAYS welcome- just don't make 'em CHEESY!

Viva la Megazeen, la comica sans fromage!

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Now, I'm not proposing that these are necessarily Christian films (not that a film could be Christian or not, but the directors, writers, and actors could or couldn't -- yes, I know, it's a semantics issue, but an important one for me), but they are definitely films with a strong redemptive storyline.

The Spitfire Grill
The Apostle
Saved
The Shawshank Redemption
Chocolat
The Sky Is Watching
Black Snake Moan
Shadowlands
Cool Hand Luke
The Green Mile
Meet John Doe
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The Poseidon Adventure
Luther
Spirited Away
The Return of the Jedi
Blade Runner
The Matrix Revolutions


What films do you think should be added to the list?
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Some Goals

I figured if I spoke these then I would become accountable for these, instead of keeping them hidden to myself. Some are short-term, some are long-term. Here goes:

I would like to get back to doing fine art shows, the last one was in ?1997. I've done several one man shows and several two person shows. Which means I need to produce new works, yea! Find an outlet/gallery for sales of the works. Produce prints, etc. I'd like to do more painting (oils and acrylics), and sculpting, as well as some more pencils work. i'd like to do more experimenting in the digital medium.

Finish, market, sale my tattoo flash art cd.

Comics: finishing coloring Joe Sonntag's Vengeance Studio Reeper-Destroyer comic.

Comics: Several projects for Roman Morales III's Third Empire Studio.

Comics: Revive some of my creator-owned projects from the 1990's:The Agenda, Kangaroo Court, Seal, The Fisherman, The Angel Called Machinehead, Queen of the Pygmies, and many more.

Comics: Produce some recent creator-owned properties: Parlay-A Western Tale, and Control Syndicate.

I'd eventually like to work with Sean Terry, Jason Pell, Derek Ivan Webster(again), Sketch Magazine, Nar, Jon Malin, Dan Prado, Queenie and Pocket Full of Posiez(tm), too start.

I'd like to produce a Grizzly Adams comic (remember the old shows). and Thundarr the Barbarian (remember the old cartoons).

Produce/sculpt/market/sale toys to go with the above goals.

I'm thinking I might start my tourism paper back up...or not, I don't know yet.

I'd also like to get some animated properties going....

I'd like to do a fundraising comic for the National Cancer Society (in honor and memory of family members that have had or have cancer)

There are several other goals, but they have to do with family, home and day job/finances, so I won't bore everyone with that.

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winters tears

as i gaze outside my fogged up mirror

the snow blows hard and makes it clear

that who i am through winters tears

and what i am without mans fears

does not compare to all her might

or even still her chilling fright

oh though shedding tears like icicles

rippling through the wind like sharp sickles

winter still does cry and her tears the wind doth fly~ocean f estrada

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Inspirations:

What gives you Inspirations?

As an Artist, there are many thing, probably unlimited Motivators that light that fuse. What are some of your inspirations that help you design, what kind of motivators do you look for when going after a specific work?

I love Music, various types of music, this is one of my stimuli's, I also love visual stimuli, I love to watch Discovery, Military, National Geographic, History and Cartoon Channels...........

Rain, Thunder (especially thunder), sunsets, the forest, the smell of sage after a rain. and as being a Cop, I love the adrenaline rush of the chase, the contact with suspects and the incidents that arise from various circumstances. I use all that energy that is built up and put it to paper, in words, lines and shapes, and in sculptures.....

Gods handy work in nature, The laughter of my kids, my wifes smile, her eyes....her voice...I've been very blessed by God, and its time to give back and raise Him with what I can do....I hope you can enjoy what I do and see the inspiration that is within the lines..


That is where I usually start,

what are your switches and fuse's?


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Overcoming Temptations… Part 1

Download book-ad2.jpg Victorious Christian living
Subtitle: Overcoming Temptations… Part 1
1. There is no temptation if there is no tempter.
The devil doesn’t know everything that is in our minds, but he does know if we have accepted a thought that he suggested… Satan doesn’t know all things so he presents different situations to us to get us to fall. There are times that he fails, because what he thinks might be a temptation to us may not be a temptation at all. But when he finds something that he can hook a person with he’ll use that one thing as best as he can until he destroys the individual with that thing (and for many it’s multiple things that he uses). If stealing isn’t a strong temptation to you, when the devil realizes it he’ll try to tempt you with something else. He’s trying to hook our heart to something that is against the will of God to pull us out of righteousness back into sin. The hook can develop in us if we entertain the temptation long enough. The hook can already be implanted in our soul, or he can even use the hook he has in our sin natured body if we haven’t denied or spiritually crucified our selves- Rom 7:22-25, Gal 2:20, Luke 9:23. The hook the devil will try and use to pull us can even be in the form of a demon/principality brooding/hovering over the atmosphere we are walking into or through on the streets or in a building/house, but this is where we need to know the scriptures that counteract the nature of whichever temptation the devil is using. This is why St. Paul tells us to be filled with the spirit- Eph 5:18-21, so that when the devil comes he has no place to put his hook, because your mind is preoccupied with the things of God. So now the power radiating in your atmosphere caused by the word and worship or prayer disrupts, disturbs and repels the sinful atmosphere trying to influence you to sin. Or there is a detailed word in our spirit that strengthens us not to give in to the devil.
Atmospheric influence:
If there is a great influence of spiritual activity in an atmosphere, everyone and everything that comes into it’s territory will fall subject to it’s power unless something in your spirit is stronger than the spiritual activities happening in that place. Saul wanted to kill David at Naioth in Ramah, but the activity of the Holy Spirit was so high in that place that it caused Saul’s men to prophesy instead of arresting David three separate times. Saul himself fell subject to the Power of Gods Spirit and prophesied the entire night instead of laying hands on David to kill him -1Sam 19:20-23. You can be going to school to become a doctor but if the power working in your spirit isn’t greater than the atmospheric powers of Satan in that place you’ll most likely fall a prey to what ever it’s influencing the people to do. If it’s an influential spirit of failure you can become a dropout, if it’s to make fast and dishonest money then drug dealing may seem more appealing. You can go to a city to evangelize to prostitutes but if you’re not covered and empowered by Gods leading you can end up sleeping with them instead, because this is the influence of the atmosphere you’re walking into. In the same way someone can go to church with carnal intentions but end up getting saved. The great thing about atmospheric influence is that they all become subject to the Christian when he/she realizes the authority he/she has and WALKS IN IT…
2. Eve wasn’t tempted to eat the forbidden fruit in Genesis Chap 3 until the devil opened his dirty mouth and said something to her… but at the same time she entertained the devil long enough to hear and believe his lies. So if you are tempted to do evil it’s also a sign that you’re in a better condition than what you’re tempted to do and God must have a better plan for you, otherwise the devil wouldn’t bother.
3. If the devil has a hook in you the first step to deliverance is to confess it. If you don’t confess it you will always fall for it because you are in denial of truth. It’s the truth that makes us free St. John 8:32 even if it’s a confession of being hooked, so we have to be honest with ourselves… King David said “When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.” Psalms 94:18 . This is where you allow God to take over and become your strength in dealing with the powers of that or those temptations, it is then that you will have inner victory. Let go of your own strength now, and depend on God. This is how the believer lives, not by his own strength and abilities but by FAITH in Gods’ abilities… 2Cor 5:7, Zech 4:6 Rev 12:11
Temptations will always come because the devil will always try, but some days will be much easier than others because the devil and his demons can’t be everywhere at one time and he’ll even go away for seasons as he did to Jesus - Luke 4:13. but remember that temptations aren’t designed to frustrate you but to build your faith and patience in God- James 1:2-4…
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The Last Semester

I have until December 14th before I get ejected from the Otherworld of academic pursuit back into the real world of finding an apartment and looking for a job. Marilyn and I did a little apartment-searching online tonight, and while it yielded one or two possibilities, the thought of the future rushing headlong toward me might make me wet myself in fright if I think about it for too long.

I've got crushing student loans looming overhead, demanding to be paid. Praise God, my wife has a job lined up, but thus far I have nothing concrete as far as work is concerned. I got generally positive feedback at Wizard World from editors, but aside from being generally vaporous requests to see more samples - which I'm thankful for, don't get me wrong - I don't yet have a reason to think I won't have to hit the bricks and start job-hunting once we get to Los Angeles. And that first job may well be a non-art-related job, just to help pay bills and rent.

The thing is, right now I can't help but feel as though getting anything other than a job working in comics, or storyboarding, or art of some kind, would be a failure. I know that's not necessarily true, but having gone through four years of art school and having to make enough money to begin the long, long process of paying it off, I can't escape the feeling that I should be handed something more concrete than a degree come December. I guess I've always assumed that I would have work lined up by the time I was ready to graduate; I kind of imagined a line of company representatives hovering over the graduating class, sizing up the talent and handing out business cards. Thus far I haven't seen any evidence of that - some of the friends I've made here who have graduated are still struggling to find paying art careers.

I ran into my Foundation Writing teacher today, and she reminded me to check with the Career Center on campus. Completely reasonable suggestion, and yet somehow it totally eluded me. I've also been planning to really hit up my old teachers for connections this semester, in the hopes that one of them might be able to hook me up with somebody. And one of my teachers this semester got work with Target as an illustrator/graphic designer right after she graduated. So who knows? Maybe my little fantasy won't be too far off the mark?

That's the scariest part for me. I don't know. I don't know how this is supposed to work. One of the main reasons I didn't go to art school until I was 30 was that my parents didn't know anything about the art world, and neither did I. I didn't know where I was supposed to look, whom I was supposed to talk to, what I was supposed to have in my portfolio, and so on. I kind of gave up on the whole idea after a few rejected submissions, figuring I'd just have to make comics in my spare time. But that's exhausting - at least, it was for me (though I think it's likely I'm just easily winded). Coming home from the 9-to-5, I just felt too tired to think about being creative and artistic. But that was then. It's possible I've learned a little bit of work ethic since then...

Man, I hope so.

The CCAS was absolutely essential to my education about comics and the comics industry. It's because of the CCAS that I began networking, and it's what really started this long journey into comic-dom. And that was started because I turned to God in prayer and said, "Hey, why don't I make comics that glorify You?" So I guess I'm asking the CCAS to help me again: pray for me, would you?
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Mike Yaconelli was a genius...

If you've not read Mike's book Messy Spirituality, you've missed out on something amazing and genuinely life-changing. Mike had a way of cutting through the garbage to get to the heart of the matter of what it means to have and live faith. These are just two quotes I found this morning as I was looking at some of the stuff he wrote. He died a few years ago, and the world is so much poorer for the loss.

I post these here because I think they have particular relevance to the issue of how an artist who is a Christian (note I didn't say the phrase "Christian artist") can and perhaps should approach his or her creative life.

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For the Christian, there is no distinction between the sacred andsecular. Everything a Christian does is an expression of his faith.Hedoes not make choices based on the religious significance of thealternative. As a Christian he makes the choice that is a logicalextension of the values he has derived from his faith…

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Whathappened to radical Christianity, the un-nice brand of Christianitythat turned the world upside-down? What happened to thecategorysmashing, life-threatening, anti-institutional gospel thatspread through the first century like wildfire and was considered (bythose in power) dangerous? What happened to the kind of Christianswhose hearts were on fire, who had no fear,who spoke the truth nomatter what the consequence, who made the world uncomfortable, who werewilling to follow Jesus wherever He went? What happened to the kind ofChristians who were filled with passion and gratitude, and who everyday were unable to get over the grace of God?

I’m ready forChristianity that “ruins”my life, that captures my heart and makes meuncomfortable. I want to be filled with an astonishment which is socaptivating that I am considered wild and unpredictable and…well…dangerous. Yes, I want to be “dangerous” to a dull and boringreligion. I want a faith that is considered “dangerous” by ourpredictable and monotonous culture.

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Predictability and faith cannot coexist.What characterized Jesus and His disciples was unpredictability. Jesus was always surprising the disciples by eating at the wrong houses (those of sinners), hanging around the wrong people (tax collectors, adulterers, prostitutes, lepers), and healing people on the wrong day (the Sabbath). There was no Day Timer, no strategic plan, no mission statement; there was only the eager anticipation of the present moment. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to be the same as they were.His truth should be the same truth that they had spent centuries taming. But truth is unpredictable.When Jesus is present, everyone is uncomfortable yet mysteriously glad at the same time. People do not like the surprises—even church people—and they don’t want to be uncomfortable. They want a nice, tame Jesus.
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