Monday, May 3, 2010

Catherine's Gift

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Catherine's Gift: Stories of Hope from the Hospital

Monarch Books (March 4, 2010)

***Special thanks to Cat Hoort of Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***


John Little spent 25 years working as a reporter and producer in television current affairs before becoming a full-time author. He has written eight books, including The Hospital by the River (with Dr Catherine Hamlin); Down to the Sea; Jem, a Father’s Story; Christine’s Ark; and Maalika (with Valerie Browning). He lives with his wife, Anna, and son, Tim, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

(Picture taken from John's website.)

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Monarch Books (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 185424955X
ISBN-13: 978-1854249555



It’s the rainy season in Addis Ababa. The day begins with a promise. At the hospital by the river, patients who are not confined to bed throw off their woolen shawls and gather in the sun to gossip. The girls groom one another’s hair, sew and bicker and joke. Some, perhaps speaking a rare tongue, sit by themselves on the low stone wall by the outpatients department, or squat on the ground watching the activity. In this self-contained little world, walled off from the chaos of the city, there’s always something to see – new patients arriving, mud-stained, stinking and weary after travelling on foot over flooded tracks, vehicles bringing medical supplies, ferenji visitors from another planet, gardeners tending the lawns and flower beds, workers regularly hosing away the puddles which gather under the waiting patients.

These are peasant women. The seasons rule their lives. They savor the morning warmth, for they know that by midday black clouds will begin to form over the hills which ring the city and the thunder will grumble like a cranky old man leaving a warm bed. At two-thirty the rain begins – they could set their watches by it if they owned such things – and it does not stop until late at night.

In the highlands where many of these women come from, the rains can cut off villages for weeks on end. When doctors Reg and Catherine Hamlin first began treating the women half a century ago they could always count on some respite at this time of year. But for the past few years the rainy season seems to have made no difference. Is it because there are more cases than ever? Or just because the hospital has become so well known? Whatever the reason, every day up to half a dozen women arrive seeking help.

Sometimes they are alone – bewildered and frightened by the brutal indifference of the city. Sometimes a friend or relative has come with them. A few, with injuries so severe they are unable to walk, are carried in. They come from the desert, from remote highland villages, from the plains and the rainforest. They speak 80 different languages. They are Orthodox Christians, Muslims, Animists, or sometimes a mixture of faiths. They all have one thing in common – they are suffering from the medical condition known as obstetric fistula.

It is a cruel affliction. Ethiopia has its lepers and cripples, as does any poor African country. The diseased and the lame and the mad are on any street corner for all to see. But if there is a scale of human misery, the fistula women are up near the top. They believe they are cursed by God. And you have to wonder what God had in mind when he allowed a woman’s most cherished act, childbirth, to produce this outcome. No matter where they live, 10 per cent of all women will experience some kind of problem, such as obstructed labor, during childbirth. In the west they simply go to hospital and have a caesarean section or a forceps delivery. For a peasant girl in a remote Ethiopian village it’s not so easy. She will squat in her circular hut, or tukul, sometimes for days, trying to force the baby out. After a couple of days the baby inevitably dies. The prolonged labor, with the baby stuck in the birth canal, may cut off the blood supply to parts of the mother’s body. The tissue dies, leaving a hole, or fistula, in the bladder. Because they are so offensive to be near, fistula sufferers are invariably divorced by their husbands and banished from their village. Theirs are lives of loneliness and despair, often in some ruined dwelling away from everyone else, or they may be forced to beg for a living in the town. We are not talking about some minor medical curiosity here. There are 200,000 fistula sufferers in Ethiopia; two million throughout the world.

Amid the comings and goings, some of the girls may notice a tall, slim, grey-haired woman wearing a white doctor’s coat, passing through the outpatients department into the main ward. Dr Catherine

Hamlin is 83 now. She was 35 when she and her husband, Reg, also an obstetrician/gynecologist, first came to Ethiopia and saw the plight of the fistula women. ‘Fistula pilgrims’, Reg called them, on account of the formidable journeys they made to seek help. Since then the hospital has restored more than 32,000 from wretched despair to joyous new life.

Reg died in 1993 but Catherine carries on, and at an age when most women are content just to reflect upon their memories, she is working as hard as ever. She is intimately involved with every aspect of the hospital, still doing rounds, still operating.

At the nurses’ station inside the ward she consults her colleagues about tomorrow’s list. There are seven cases of varying degrees of difficulty. She pores over the notes, contained in green cardboard folders. They give a brief history of the patient – how many days she was in labor, where she came from, how she got here, how many previous children she has borne, any medical information that will affect her management. The doctor who did the initial examination has drawn a diagram showing the location and size of the fistula. Catherine chooses her cases.

Let us meet them…


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Sing: A Novel of Colorado (The Homeward Trilogy)

David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings - Senior Media Specialist - The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Lisa T. Bergren is an author who offers a wide array of reading opportunities ranging from children’s books (God Gave Us Love and God Found Us You) and women’s nonfiction (Life on Planet Mom), to suspense-filled intrigue (The Gifted Trilogy) and historical drama. With more than thirty titles among her published works and a deep faith that has weathered dramatic career and personal challenges, Bergren is excited to add the Homeward Trilogy to her resume as she follows God’s direction in her writing career. Bergren lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband Tim (a graphic design artist and musician) and their three children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (April 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434767078
ISBN-13: 978-1434767073


15 March 1887


Surely she hadn't heard him right. Moira stared with disbelief at the ledger the bank manager turned toward her. “What do you mean I cannot withdraw this much? I have thousands of francs here.”

“You did, Mademoiselle. Until this morning, when Monsieur Foster came and extracted all but the last thousand.”

“Max? Mr. Max Foster came and withdrew these funds?”

“Oui. It was his biggest withdrawal yet. But as you know, he has full access to your bank account. He makes withdrawals all the time. I assumed this was no, as you say … different.”

“Different?” The word emerged from her mouth in a high-pitched squeak. She swallowed hard and looked above that final ledger entry--10,000 francs--to other withdrawals. A thousand. Fifteen hundred. Sometimes twice a week. Her mind raced. Max, her manager of almost three years, paid her servants, the landlord. He paid for the groceries delivered each day. The oilman for the oil that filled her lamps. It took money, a lot of money to pay for all those things. But this much?

“Mademoiselle,” the bank manager said carefully, peering over tiny spectacles at her, “has something transpired here that causes you alarm?”

“Non, non,” she said, gathering herself. “Monsieur Foster and I merely need to converse. I am certain there is good reason for him to withdraw funds today. I simply have forgotten. Forgive me, Monsieur. My run at the Opera Comiqué has left me a bit … weary.”

“I understand,” he said, rising with her. “And may I say that your performance has been unparalleled in this city for some time? Paris is fortunate to have you, Mademoiselle St. Clair.”

“You are too kind,” she said. “Bon jour.” “Bon jour,” he said with a nod. But his dark eyes still held the same concern that flooded Moira's heart.

Max Foster would be at Madame Toissette's tea later today--she would speak with him then. But before he took a sip of her fine Earl Gray, he would explain to Moira where her money had gone.


15 March 1887

Hoarfrost covers every branch and every bit of every tree within sight. It is beautiful, a sight I always favor, but in this instance, it makes me more fearful than ever. For below it is more snow than I've ever seen. More snow than Bryce or Tabito have ever seen. And while it has ceased for the moment, leaving behind a brilliant blue sky that showcases mountains in bridal white, Tabito believes more is on the way. Tonight? Tomorrow? It would take weeks to melt the snow already here. The men--

Samuel's cry brought Odessa's head up, and she set her pen aside and went to the babe in the next room. Now seven months old, the child quieted when he spotted his mother, gurgling a pleased coo and wiggling his arms and legs in vigorous excitement. She lifted him and cradled him close for a moment, running her lips over his sweet, soft cheek. She reached for another blanket, frowning at the chill in the room, and returned to the window over her desk, one of only two in the house that were not either frosted or sealed over by the vast snowbanks.

Her eyes traced the channel the men had dug from the bunkhouse to the main house and then over the hill to where the stables and shelters stood. She'd watched them taking turns with the digging until the bank on either side was shoulder high. Against the house, where the wind had driven into drifts, the white piles had been as high as the second-story windows on the western side and not much lower to the south and north. The men had dug them out each day, but each night as they slept through the high, dry wail of the wind, the drifts returned.

“Never, ever, have I seen this much snow,” Bryce had said, staring out a whitewashed window as if he could somehow bore through it and see his horses. That had been yesterday, when they wondered if the snow would ever stop. And then this morning it had.

The men were immediately at it, attempting to get to the hundred horses that had been left to battle the elements on their own. Only fifty could be in the stables at a time or sheltered in the corrals that lined it. They had found food and water throughout the storm. But the others? Those who had naught but the small snow breaks that dotted the fields? Odessa shook her head. Judging from the house, they might have all long been buried. Please, God, please … please let them be all right.

The passageway through which the men had disappeared remained silent and empty, a yawning chasm of doubt and fear. After a couple brutal years of drought, much of Odessa's inheritance had gone into an extension of acreage that gained the Circle M increased water rights. Could the horses out there even get to water? Were they pawing and digging their way down to streams that were frozen solid?

Odessa blinked twice and turned, deciding to do something rather than stand there and fret. Bread, six loaves, she'd bake. A thick and hearty beef stew the men would love after their bone-chilling, hard work. An apple cobbler from her stash of summer preserves. “Come, Samuel,” she whispered, drawing comfort from the weight of him in her arms. She carried him down the stairs and into the kitchen, then set him on the floor atop a thick blanket, near the stove, which she blocked off by turning a chair on its side. It was so dark with the snow that embalmed the windows--despite the bright sun outside--she lit a couple of lamps, stoked the fire, handed Samuel a tin cup to play with, and turned to pull out flour and sugar.

Later, with the bread rising by the stove, she fed Samuel while she sat in her rocker, wondering how much longer it would take for Bryce, anyone, to return to her. She was desperate for word. By now they had surely made it to the snow breaks, assessed the losses--

It was then that she heard the stomping on the front porch, the low murmur of voices. She hurriedly pulled Samuel from her breast. She ignored his indignant cry, her eyes only on the front door as she rushed to meet her husband. He turned to her, and she could see the men walking away with stooped shoulders. But it was Bryce, her dear, sweet Bryce, who captured her whole attention. It was as if he had aged a decade, or suffered from consumption again, so weary and ill did he appear.

“Bryce,” she said.

He stepped forward and slowly closed the door behind him, then gradually raised his eyes to meet hers. Tears welled and threatened to roll down his cheeks.

“Oh!” she said, clamping her lips shut, feeling tears clench her throat. “All of them, Bryce? Are they all dead?” She moved forward to wrap one arm around him. Samuel wailed louder than ever, infuriated by the crush of his parents. But the two adults remained there as each gave way to the tremors of sobs.

Her husband wiped his cheeks with the palms and then the backs of his hands, trying to regain control. “Best we can tell, the storm took many of them.” He took another deep breath. “Some might have made it to the far side, instinctively heading for the shelter of the trees. But we'll need a week of melt before we can make it across to see. And we can't--” his voice broke and he wept for a moment--“we can't even be sure how many are there, by the snow breaks. They're buried, Dess. Buried. Stood there, waiting for us to save them.”

She moved back in to hold him, crying with him again. Dear God … Please. Please. The mere idea of it, the overwhelming vision of a hundred horses now dead.… No, no, no. Savior, please! What would become of them? The ranch depended on the income of the sale of a hundred and fifty horses each summer. One hundred already dead? And with more snow coming? Her eyes went to the front parlor window, a dark bank of dense snow. Show us, Lord. Show us what to do. We need You. We need You!

15 March 1887

Rio de Janeiro

“Come, Son, we have need of your services,” said a man gruffly, hauling Dominic to his feet.

Nic winced, both at the rapid motion and the bright light of morning. His stomach roiled and his head spun. Whatever they were pouring last night at the bar was hard on a man's gut, even one used to liquor. He squinted, trying to see the men who were on either side of him as they rushed him down the stairs, out the door, and through a crowded market plaza. “Stop!” he yelled. “Unhand me! What's this about?”

The two men paused, tightening their grip on his arms as he fought back. Two others arrived and lifted his feet from the cobblestones. “Wait! Where are you taking me?” Nic cried, battling both fear and fury now. He writhed and pulled, but to no avail. By the look of them, these four men were hardened seamen.

The leader motioned for the others to halt, and he was once again on his feet. A crowd of curious onlookers gathered, staring at them, but Nic was struggling to steady his eyes on the man. “Where are you taking me?” he repeated. The first relinquished Nic's arm to another's care and turned to face him. “You cost my cap'n a large sum of money last night with your poor fighting.”

“The man was twice my size!” Nic snarled, feeling the man's complaint as if it were a sucker punch.

“Yes, well, the cap'n had high hopes for you. Your reputation, up to last night, was … unequaled. He put a fair sum down on you.”

“That's a gambler's risk.” He pulled again, hoping to get free, but the men still held stubbornly to his arms. If he could get even one fist free.…

The leader grinned, showing a mouthful of decaying teeth. “Too bad you didn't win last night. He believes you owe him the money he lost.”

“That's preposterous!” The man shrugged and smiled again. “Be that as it may, we are only obliged to follow our cap'n's orders. And our cap'n is now yours as well.”

Nic paused and swallowed hard. So that was it. These men intended to shanghai him--force him to serve aboard their ship. “You're nothing but a crimp! There are laws against--”

“For American ships, sailing under American laws,” said the man. He motioned to the others and turned to walk toward the docks, the others following behind, dragging Nic along. “We lost a dozen men here in port to the fever,” he said, turning partially toward Nic to speak while they walked. “Now the cap'n is not only cantankerous over losin' them, but also losin' his heavy purse over you. It's your bum luck. Best to accept it and embrace it, man. Six months from now, you'll be set free, in whatever port you wish.”

“If I'm not already dead.”

The man laughed, a slow, deep guffaw that eventually built into laughter that spread among the others. “Aye, that's the risk of any sailor's life, especially in the waters where we are headed.” He looked over his shoulder at his prisoner. “Come along, St. Clair. Cease your struggle. It is of no use. You'll take to the water, you'll see. Yes'sir, gamblers and fighters--they make the best of seamen. You might find you love it as much as the ring.”

Cañon City, Colorado

Reid Bannock straightened, groaning at the ache in the small of his back and between his shoulders. He set the pickax against his leg and gestured to the water boy to come his way. He casually met the gaze of the deputy, who watched over the prison chain gang with an armed shotgun resting across his arms. The man gave him a slight nod. They got on, the two of them. Reid fancied the idea that the younger man felt sorry for him even, though the two had never shared more than a few words. Undoubtedly, Deputy Johnson knew Reid's story, passed along more from lawman to lawman than within his files.

The blue-lipped, shivering water boy finally reached him and offered up a grubby ladle full of water. The boy's hand trembled violently, not out of fear but from exposure. In the cold, the top of his bucket kept frosting over and encased the whole thing in ice. He had to break through the top to fetch Reid the water, and it was so cold, it made Reid's teeth hurt as he drank.

It stayed cold, even within him, making him feel as if he swallowed a chunk of ice rather than liquid. He coughed, thumped his chest, and gazed up at the mountains, finally clear after the blizzard. It mattered little, this trial. In a few months he'd be free. Regardless of the sentence, he'd be free. Every morning, he was up and dressed, awaiting the deputy who would chain him to others for the work on the new prison building, whatever the weather. Only the blizzard had allowed them a few days' respite. Each mornin', he greeted the deputy with a friendly word, knowing that consistent good behavior could knock months off a man's sentence.

By his calculations, the county was drawing too many new people, and therefore too many new criminals. The general's propaganda was doing its good work, and Colorado Springs, Pueblo, even Cañon City were seeing pioneers arrive by the thousands, all hoping to make a new life for themselves. After a winter like they'd had, many of them were liable to be desperate, driven to desperate decisions, not all of them on the right side of the law. Already, Reid shared his tiny cell with five other men. Word had it that a sixth would be brought in soon, left to sleep on the narrow space that was currently the only flooring between the two bunks, each with three levels. How long until a seventh arrived? Yes, when number seven arrived, tough decisions would have to be made; the prison warden would have to speak with judges, finding a means to alleviate the pressure before the prisoners exploded.

“Get back to work, Bannock,” the deputy barked.

“Yes sir, right away, sir,” Reid called back, immediately picking up his ax. He lifted it up over his left shoulder and then let it arc down toward the boulder in front of him, imagining faces upon it, as he had every day on every rock he had destroyed over the last three years.

Moira St. Clair. The woman who had stolen his heart, and then crushed it.

Dominic St. Clair. The man who had stood between Moira and him.

Odessa and Bryce McAllan, the people who refused to give up what was destined to be his.

A chunk of granite fell away with his next strike, revealing a tiny, crooked line of gold that glittered in the sun, too small to warrant the work of extraction, but tantalizing. It was common, these tiny remnants, teasing their discoverers with the idea about where the rock had once stood and what vein had once connected to this small one.… In spite of himself, he leaned forward and traced the line with his finger. Gold. Silver. Treasure untold. Sam O'Toole or his parents had discovered something, up near his mine. Something beyond the few sweet silver nuggets he'd brought out to Westcliffe and sold. Had the McAllans discovered it yet? Had they squired it away for a rainy day?

“The Spaniards, they came up this way, ya know,” said an old man, chained to his right leg. He was a chatty fellow, and Reid glanced at him before striking with the pickax again.

“That so?” he said casually.

“Yep. My great-granddaddy, he was a trapper. Ran with Kit Carson and the like for a time. Knew a lot of Injuns.”

“And the Spaniards?” Reid asked lowly.

“My great-granddaddy, he was chased right up into the Sangres by the Ute who didn't take kindly to him being--”

“You two!” barked the deputy, frowning in their direction. “Less talking, more work!”

Reid frowned too and doubled his efforts against the boulder. But with each strike, he wondered more about what the old man had to say. A few minutes later, he dared to glance at the old man.

I'll tell you later, his eyes said.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Sing by Lisa Bergren. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Power Praise Moves

Today I have something a little different for you. I received a DVD to use instead of book to review. It is called Power Praise Moves. It is exercise set to verses and praise music. It is very similar to yoga, but it helps you to focus on Christ and scripture while you exercise. I am usually a get in and get out exercise person. I like to sweat hard and get my workout done. I did enjoy doing this workout though. It is a good alternative for my rest days. You can read more about it below.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Power PraiseMoves™ DVD

December 1, 2009

***Special thanks to David P. Bartlett - Print & Internet Publicist - Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Laurette Willis, the founder of PraiseMoves®, is a Women’s Fitness Specialist and certified personal trainer, as well as a popular keynote speaker and an award-winning actor and playwright. She has produced the videos PraiseMoves™ and 20-Minute PraiseMoves™ and written BASIC Steps to Godly Fitness.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Actors: Laurette Willis
Directors: Josh Atkinson
Format: NTSC
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: CT Videography
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2009
Run Time: 120 minutes
ASIN: 0736928456


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Deadly Disclosures

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Deadly Disclosures

New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (February 15, 2010)

***Special thanks to Stacey Drake of New Leaf Press for sending me a review copy.***


Julie first heard a creation science speaker at her church when she was just 15, igniting her interest in creation science and sparking an enthusiasm for defending the Bible’s account of creation. She has obtained a degree in health science, and is currently completing a degree in law. Julie is married with one daughter and lives on the east coast of Australia.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (February 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0890515840
ISBN-13: 978-0890515846


Thomas Whitfield climbed out of the Lincoln Towncar and stood in the snappy, early morning fall air, breathing deeply. The temperature had fallen a few more degrees overnight, signaling that winter was truly on its way.

Thomas glanced up and down the wide street. There was nobody around at this early hour, and he took a moment to drink in the sights of his beloved city. The graceful willows, their branches arching over the street, were turning gold and red and, in the gentle yellow morning light, threw off highlights like burnished copper. This street was like many others in the center of DC — wide and tree-lined, with magnificent government buildings standing one after the other. That was another thing that Thomas found so delicious about this city — so much of it hinted at the enormous wealth and prosperity of the country, and yet only a few streets behind these world-famous landmarks, the seedier side of American poverty flourished. It was a city of contradictions, Thomas thought.

His gaze fell finally to the building right in front of him — the main complex of the Smithsonian Institution. Enormous stone pillars flanked the entryway into a marble lobby, and behind that were laid out the evidence of mankind’s brilliance. Everything about the institution was testament to the scientific and anthropological advances of man over the pages of history — the inventions, the discoveries, the deductions, the sheer radiance of a human being’s intelligence at its finest.

Thomas Whitfield had always been immensely proud of this place, and everything it showcased. He had boasted about it, defended it, nourished it, and protected it, the way a proud father would his prodigious child.

He was the secretary of the Smithsonian, after all, and he felt a strange kind of paternal relationship with the buildings and their contents.

He stood for a moment longer, a slender whippet of a man dressed immaculately, with highly polished shoes gleaming, thinning dark hair cut short, and a gray cashmere scarf to ward off the cold. Then he purposefully strode down the path and into the main building, scarf fluttering behind him.

To the malevolent eyes watching him through high-powered binoculars down the street in a non-descript Chevy, he presented a painfully easy target.

Thomas settled in his large office with the door shut, turned on the computer, and shut his eyes briefly as he contemplated what he would do next. The course of events he had planned for this day would change everything, and the impact would be felt right up to the president himself. Courage, Thomas, he told himself silently. What you are about to do is the right thing to do.

He began to type, slowly and decisively, feeling within himself a great sense of conviction and purpose. He was so lost in concentration that he was startled by the door suddenly swinging open.

“What are . . . ?” he exclaimed, almost jumping off his seat. Then he recognized his visitor and he glanced at his watch.

“What are you doing here?” Thomas asked. “It’s a little early for you, isn’t it?”

“I wanted to be sure I caught you,” his visitor replied, moving closer to the desk. “Without any interruptions.”

“I see. What can I do for you then?” Thomas asked, trying to hide his irritation. He hadn’t wanted to be interrupted during this most important task.

“What are you working on?” the unannounced guest asked, ignoring him and moving around the side of the desk and trying to look at Thomas’s computer screen.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Thomas answered with a falsely airy tone. “It’s just a family project. Nothing to do with work. Is there something I can help you with?”

Thomas was suddenly aware that his visitor was standing close by him. He felt uncomfortable, and tried to roll his chair away to maintain some space.

“You see,” his visitor said in a quiet voice, “there are people out there who don’t agree with you. They think the project you are working on could be very dangerous. In fact, I believe they have already tried to warn you about continuing with this project.”

Thomas now felt distinctly uncomfortable and a little afraid. He decided to assert his authority. “Listen here,” he said, in a voice that betrayed his anxiety. “What I am working on is none of your business. The subject is certainly not up for discussion with somebody like you. I suggest you leave my office immediately.”

The visitor managed to fuse sorrow and menace into his words as he said, “I’m afraid I can’t do that. You will have to come with me.”

Thomas retorted, “I’m not going anywhere with you. In fact, I. . . .” He broke off abruptly as he saw the small handgun in the visitor’s hand, pointing directly at him. There was no sorrow or pity on his face — only menace.

“Do I need to force you to come with me?” the visitor wondered, his tone like flint.

Thomas leapt to his feet, his eyes darting about wildly. He needed to get out of here, to try to get away from this situation that had so rapidly gotten out of hand. A hand shot out and grabbed Thomas by the collar with surprising strength. Thomas was shocked as he strained to get away from the man, who was intently staring at the computer screen.

“You traitor!” Thomas spat. “I should’ve known you were nothing more than a trained monkey!”

The visitor chuckled heartily. “That’s ironic, Thomas.”

The visitor, much younger and stronger than Thomas, began to drag him out of the room. Thomas was determined not to go down without a fight, and drove his heel backward into the visitor’s shin. There was a yelp of pain, but the unrelenting grip did not lessen around Thomas’s arm. Instead, a thick arm curled around Thomas’s throat and squeezed, applying pressure to the carotid artery. It took only a few seconds for Thomas to fall limply into the arms of his abductor as the blood supply to his brain was cut off.

That was the last anyone saw of the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute.

• • • •

Dinah Harris woke with a scream dying in her throat, the sheets twisted hopelessly around her legs. Her nightgown was damp with panicked sweat, her heart galloping like a runaway horse. She stared, blinking, at the pale dawn light streaming through the window, while the shadowy vestiges of her nightmare slithered from her memory.

As she lay in bed, joining the waking world from sleep, the familiar blanket of depression settled over her, dark and heavy as the Atlantic winter. The dread she felt at facing another day was almost palpable in the small bedroom. Dinah glanced across at her alarm clock, where the flashing numbers showed 6 a.m.

She threw aside the sheets and stumbled into the tiny bathroom, where she purposefully avoided looking at herself in the mirror. She was only in her mid-thirties and had once been relatively attractive. Certainly not beautiful, but with what her first boyfriend had once told her — a pleasant face and athletic body. Now her eyes were always underscored by dark bags, her skin pale and paper-thin, and the weight fell off her in slow degrees without ceasing. She dressed in her trademark dark pants suit, pulled her black hair from her face in a severe ponytail, and washed her face.

She made strong coffee and sat in the kitchen as she drank the bitter liquid. The dining alcove was still stacked with moving cartons, filled with books and music that she couldn’t face opening. The gray light of morning lent no color to the apartment, which suited Dinah just fine. Her world didn’t contain color anymore.

Though traffic often seemed at a standstill in the mornings, Dinah always arrived early to the J. Edgar Hoover building. She turned directly to the teaching wing, avoiding the eye contact and morning greetings of many she knew in the building. She knew what they whispered about during after-work drinks and at the water cooler. Her fall from grace would go down as one of the most spectacular in FBI history.

So she kept up the ice-cool veneer until she arrived at her desk, checking her e-mails and teaching schedule for the week.

She didn’t look up as an imposing shadow fell across her desk.

“Special Agent Harris, how are you?” boomed the voice of her former colleague, David Ferguson. He was a big man, six-four and two hundred pounds, with a loud, booming voice and a penchant for pork rinds. He stood above her, his hand resting easily on the holstered gun at his hip; the twin of a gun Dinah no longer wore but kept underneath her pillow.

“Ferguson,” she replied. “Fine, how are you?”

“Feel like a coffee?” he asked.

“Don’t you have a killer to catch?” Dinah asked, dryly.

He waved his hand dismissively. “Oh, they can wait. Come on.”

He took her to a tiny Italian café a block away from the FBI headquarters. While they ordered, Dinah wondered at his ulterior motive for bringing her here. It certainly isn’t for my sparkling wit and charm, she thought. Rumor had it that the freshman criminology classes were afraid of her.

“So I’m just wondering if I could get your opinion on something,” Ferguson began, tentatively testing the water.

She scowled at him. “You know I don’t get involved in cases.”

He held up his hands in mock surrender. “Okay, calm down, Harris. I just want your opinion. I know you’ve given up your real talents to teach some snotty freshmen.”

His comment stung her, but she narrowed her eyes at him and pretended she hadn’t even noticed. “So get on with it already.”

“I don’t remember you always being this prickly,” complained Ferguson, draining his macchiato. “Anyway. What would you say if I told you the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution had gone missing?”

“Missing?” Dinah raised her eyebrows and slurped her latte. “In what context?”

“As in, turned up for work at six this morning and disappeared off the face of the earth shortly thereafter.”

“How do you know he turned up for work at six?” Dinah asked.

“Security cameras have him arriving in the lobby and heading for his office. After that, who knows?”

“So he’s an adult, maybe he took a trip to get away from work stress or his wife has been giving him grief or his kid is in trouble.” Dinah frowned. “Why are we even involved at this early stage?”

Ferguson paused. “It’s due mostly to his rather prestigious position. It wouldn’t do for the secretary of the Smithsonian to simply disappear. Congress is rather anxious.”

Dinah knew of political influence that ran high in this city but didn’t press the issue. “Is there evidence of homicide?”

“Not really, although I haven’t been to his office yet.” Ferguson made it sound like a confession, and he looked at her sheepishly.

Dinah stared at him. “What do you really want, Ferguson?”

He gathered up his courage. “I need you to work this case with me, Harris.”

Dinah opened her mouth to respond indignantly, but Ferguson held up his hand and continued with a rush. “You know I’m not good with sensitive cases. I. . . .”

“Or complex ones,” interjected Dinah, bad-temperedly.

“I’m operating on a hunch that this is a bad case, that it involves people in the White House.” Ferguson must have needed her very badly to allow her comment to go unheeded.

“Well, I’m sorry, but I have a heavy teaching workload,” she said. “So I’ll have to limit my involvement to opinions only.”

Ferguson didn’t say anything but looked even guiltier.

“What have you done?” Dinah demanded.

“I may have cleared your schedule so you could work with me.” Ferguson examined his fingernails with great concentration.

Dinah waited for a beat. “I see. You’ve spoken to my superiors?”

He nodded. “They’ve agreed to lend you to me for as long as the case takes.”

Dinah stood abruptly. “Thanks for the coffee.” She walked angrily from the café.

Ferguson stared at her as she walked off, then slapped down some crumpled notes and heaved his bulk out of the chair. “Where are you going?” Ferguson asked, struggling to keep up with her.

She wheeled around and glared directly at him. “Who do you think you are? Do you think I’m lesser than you so you can sneak around behind my back?”

“Dinah, we really need you back in the field. You were — are — brilliant.” Ferguson spoke softly, hoping to calm her down.

“My field days are behind me, with very good reason,” snapped Dinah. I can’t see a dead body anymore. I can’t feel desire to catch the person who did it. I just want to lie down beside the body and feel the same endless peace of sleep.

“Please, I’m begging you. I need you back,” Ferguson said. Then it hit her. Dinah realized that this situation was very serious. Ferguson was the last person on the planet to beg anybody.

“I don’t really have a choice, do I?” she said dully. She knew that this case could break her.

Ferguson didn’t reply, and his answer was in his silence.

• • • •

The Smithsonian Institution was bustling with tourists and school kids as if nothing had gone wrong. Dinah and David strode into the main lobby, trying unsuccessfully to look casual. When they flashed their badges discreetly, they were allowed into the inner sanctum, where Thomas Whitfield’s personal assistant was fielding phone calls.

The secretary was young and pretty, with thick, dark hair waving gracefully to her shoulders, startlingly blue eyes, and a creamy olive complexion. Her only downfall was the thick eye makeup, applied to make her eyes stand out but which had the effect of making her look like a scared raccoon. “I’m afraid Mr. Whitfield simply cannot be interrupted at present,” she snapped into the phone. “I’ll have him call you back if you’d leave a message.”

She glanced up and saw the two agents standing at her desk. She gave them a wave to acknowledge their presence, repeated the details of the caller, scribbled furiously, and then hung up.

“Good morning,” she said, jumping to her feet. “If you caught the end of that conversation, you’ll know that Mr. Whitfield is in an extremely important meeting and. . . .”

“Save it,” interrupted Dinah, showing the secretary her badge. The young woman blushed. “We’re here to investigate the disappearance of Mr. Whitfield. What is your name?”

The secretary sat down hard, looking relieved. “I’m Lara Southall. I’m so worried about Mr. Whitfield.”

Ferguson flashed his partner a frown and took charge. “I’m Special Agent David Ferguson and this is Special Agent Dinah Harris. You’ll have to excuse her; she’s been out of the field for some time and has forgotten how to relate to people.”

Dinah opened her mouth to reply with outrage, but Ferguson continued, “Can you tell us about this morning?”

Lara Southall regarded Dinah with a mixture of amusement and fear, which Dinah filed away for future reference. “I got to work at eight o’clock as usual,” she replied. “Mr. Whitfield always arrives before me. I usually turn on my computer, get settled, and then get us both a coffee. When I opened his office door to give him the coffee, the room was empty.” As the girl spoke, she tapped perfectly manicured fingernails together absently. Dinah hated manicured fingernails: they reminded her of her distinctly unattractive, chewed-to-the-quick fingertips.

“Mr. Whitfield was due to give a presentation at eleven o’clock,” Lara continued. “So I didn’t really start worrying until about ten-thirty. He hates to be late, and he had to come back to get his presentation and make it uptown in less than half an hour. At eleven, I started to make some calls.”

“Has he ever been absent from the office before?” Ferguson asked.

“Sure, he often has meetings or goes out into the museum to talk to visitors. The thing is, I always know what he’s doing. That’s part of my job. He never goes anywhere during the day without letting me know.”

“So you started making calls at eleven. Who did you call?” Dinah asked impatiently.

Lara ticked off her fingers as she remembered. “I called his cell phone, and I called the other museums. I thought maybe he’d just forgotten to tell me he had a meeting. Nobody had seen him and his cell just rang out. So I called his home. His wife told me he’d left for work at about five-thirty and she hadn’t seen him since. Then I called some of the senior executives. I thought they might’ve had an emergency. But nobody had seen him.”

“Did the people you called — his wife, the executives — seem concerned about his whereabouts?” Ferguson asked.

“Yes, they did. It’s so unusual for Mr. Whitfield to act this way that everyone I spoke to was concerned. I think his wife is actually here somewhere at the moment.”

“So then you called the police?” Dinah said.

“No, one of the directors came over to look at the security tapes. She specifically told me not to call anyone until she’d viewed the footage. I thought that Mr. Whitfield might’ve had an accident on the way to work. Mrs. Whitfield was calling the hospitals when Ms. Biscelli — the director — came back from security.”

“What did the tapes show?” Dinah asked.

“They showed him arriving at six-thirty or so. That’s all I know.”

“Did any of the tapes show him leaving?”

“Not as far as I know.”

“Right. So what then?”

“I called the police.”

Ferguson nodded. “What did they tell you?”

“Basically they won’t do anything until he’s been missing 24 hours.” Lara stopped clicking her nails together and started twisting her hair with one finger. “So I told Ms. Biscelli, and she wasn’t happy with that. I think she must’ve pulled some strings, because here you are.”

Dinah and Ferguson both raised their eyebrows at her in confusion.

“The FBI,” explained Lara. “You guys wouldn’t normally get involved, would you?” She may have been a very pretty secretary, but Lara Southall was an intelligent girl. She’d asked the very question Dinah had been mulling over all morning.

“We’re going to look in his office,” Ferguson said, ignoring the question. He handed her his card. “Please call me if you think of anything else that might be helpful.”

She nodded and picked up the ringing phone. “No,” she said, sounding very weary. “Mr. Whitfield is in a meeting at the moment and can’t be disturbed.”

• • • •

Ferguson opened the door to the office while Dinah waited to get the log-on details for Thomas Whitfield’s computer. Dinah stood in the doorway, looking into the impressive room, and felt the thrill of the chase wash over her like a wave. It had been a long time since she had felt anything.

The office was furnished with heavy cedar furniture that consisted of a large desk, a leather-bound chair, a couch, and two armchairs grouped around a glass-topped coffee table and one entire wall of built-in bookcases. The floor was covered with thick burgundy carpet, and the drapes at the picture window were also burgundy. The walls contained portraits of several great scientists and inventors — Dinah recognized Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers — as well as photos of the secretary with the president, the queen of England, and other dignitaries. The room itself was clean and uncluttered, likely symbolic of the man himself, Dinah thought.

Ferguson was moving around the room, muttering to himself, as was his habit. Dinah had forgotten how intensely annoying she found this habit. She preferred silence so that she could concentrate.

Having received the log-on details from Lara, Dinah strode to the desk and pulled on her latex gloves. The top of the desk was shiny and would be a great medium to obtain fingerprints. She was careful not to allow herself to touch the desktop while she turned on the laptop.

“By the way, Harris,” Ferguson said from the wall of bookcases, “I forgot to mention that if something has happened to Mr. Whitfield, the media scrutiny is likely to be intense.”

Dinah scowled at the screen of the laptop. She hated the media, and it was a long-term grudge she held from the last case she’d been involved in. “You can handle it,” she said. “I want nothing to do with those vultures.”

Ferguson glanced over at her. “Of course I’ll handle it. But I can’t guarantee that they’ll leave you alone.”

Dinah tapped her foot against the leg of the desk impatiently as the laptop struggled to come to life. “Sticks and stones, Ferguson,” she said tightly. “Words can never hurt me.”

She could see that Ferguson didn’t buy the lie, but he’d decided to let it go. He at least knew not to push too far.

“This whole office is giving me a weird vibe,” he said after a moment. “It’s too . . . organized.”

Dinah logged onto the laptop. “I’m listening.”

“Look at the desk,” Ferguson mused. “No files or paperwork. Not even a pen or a Post-It note. No diary.”

“Maybe he’s just really neat,” Dinah said, opening Outlook on the laptop.

Ferguson went back to his muttering as he continued drifting around the room. Dinah frowned as she clicked through the folders in Outlook. Then she opened the other programs on the computer and looked through the folders there.

“That’s odd,” she commented at last. Ferguson looked up and came over to her.

She clicked through the inbox, sent items, and calendar of the e-mail program. There were no entries in any of them. “They’re completely clean,” she said. “The calendar is the strangest. You’d think the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution would have at least a couple of meetings a week.”

“Maybe he uses a paper diary,” suggested Ferguson.

“Certainly a possibility,” agreed Dinah. “But couple the empty calendar with the fact that he’s neither received nor sent an e-mail from this computer and something isn’t right.”

Ferguson opened the desk drawers and started looking through them.

“Also,” added Dinah, “there is not one single saved document in any other program — no letters, articles, presentations, anything. The entire computer is as if it’s never been used.”

Ferguson sat back on his heels. “You think someone has wiped his computer?”

“Well, the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question is: did Thomas Whitfield wipe his own computer before disappearing or did someone else wipe his computer before abducting him?” Dinah began to shut down the programs. “After all, there is no evidence to suggest that he has been abducted. There’s no sign of a struggle in here or blood stains, is there?”

Ferguson shook his head. “No, there isn’t. But there is something off about this office. Nobody, least of all a man in his position, can get through a working day without sending an e-mail or doing paperwork of some kind.” He gestured at the desk drawers. “There’s absolutely nothing in them.”

“I agree,” Dinah said. She closed the laptop and picked it up. “I’m going to have the lab look at the hard drive. What else?”

“I’ll call in crime scene to lift some fingerprints and check for blood.” Ferguson paused, thinking. “I’d like to talk to Ms. Biscelli, and I’d like to talk to his wife.”

Dinah nodded. “If Mr. Whitfield has been abducted, what do you suppose is the motive?”

Ferguson considered. “I don’t know. Money? Fame? Half the time I think these loonies go around killing people just so they can get their name in the news.”

Dinah stared at him. “Do you think Thomas Whitfield is dead?”

He shrugged. “Right now, Harris, I know nine-tenths of absolutely nothing. Let’s talk to Ms. Biscelli. Maybe she’ll know what happened and we can solve this case before dinner time and I’ll get a decent night’s sleep.”

Flippancy, Dinah remembered, was just Ferguson’s way of dealing with the intensity of this job and the horror they’d witnessed over the years.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Asking For Trouble

My daughters are a little young still for this book, but I am definitely saving this one. What a great series for girls. Sandra Byrd is a great author for women of all ages. A girl struggling to make her way in a new school is hard enough, but add a new county and it gets even more tricky. Check out the first chapter below.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Asking for Trouble (London Confidential)

Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)

***Special thanks to Christy Wong of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Best-selling author Sandra Byrd has published nearly three dozen books in the Christian market, including her latest series, French Twist, which includes the Christy Award finalist Let Them Eat Cake (WaterBrook Press, 2007) and its sequel, Bon Appétit (WaterBrook Press, 2008). Many of her acclaimed fiction and nonfiction books target the tween and young adult markets. She has also published a book for new moms entitled Heartbeats. Several of Sandra’s shorter works have appeared in periodicals such as Relevant, Clubhouse, Pockets, Decision, and Guideposts. For the past seven years, she has shared her secrets with the many students she mentors through the Christian Writers Guild. Before turning to full-time writing, Sandra was an acquisitions editor in the ABA market. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and two children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414325975
ISBN-13: 978-1414325972


I hung back at the doorway to the cafeteria of my new supercool British school, Wexburg Academy. Most of the lunch tables were already packed, and the room was buzzing with chatter. The populars, whom I'd secretly nicknamed the Aristocats, commanded an entire table right in the center of the room. Their good looks and posh accents made up the sun around which all other tables orbited. The normal kids were in the second circle, arranged by friends or clubs or activities. The drama table was on the outer edge of the room, and so were the geeks, the nerds, and the punk wannabes--way out there like Neptune, but still planets. Most everyone had a group. I didn't.

Okay, so there was one table with lots of room. The leftovers table. It might as well have been the dark side of the moon.

No way.

I skipped lunch--again--and headed to the library. One of the computers was available and I logged on, desperately hoping for an e-mail from Seattle.

There was an e-mail from my grandmother reminding me to floss because British dentists only cleaned adult teeth.

Spam from Teen Vogue.

An invitation to join the Prince Harry fan club--​I opened it and gave it a quick scan. I'd consider it more later.

And . . . one from Jen!

I clicked open the e-mail from my best friend at home--well, it had been my home till a couple of months ago--hoping for a lunch full of juicy news served alongside tasty comments about how she missed me and was planning stuff for my next visit home. I craved something that would take me the whole lunch period to read and respond to and remind me that I did have a place somewhere in this universe.

From: Jen
To: Savannah

Hey, Fortune Cookie, so how's it going? Met the Queen yet? LOL. Sorry I haven't written too much. It's been so busy. Samantha took the position you'd been promised on the newspaper staff. She's brand new, but then again you would have been too. It seemed strange without you at first, but I think she'll do okay--maybe even better than okay. And hey, life has changed for everyone, right? Things are crazy busy at school, home, and church. We hang out a lot more now that a bunch of us are driving. Will write again in a few weeks.

Miss you!

A few weeks! My lungs filled with air, and I let it out slowly, deflating like a balloon with a slow leak. I poised my hands over the keyboard to write a response but just . . . couldn't. What would I say? It had already been weeks since we'd last e-mailed. Most of my friends texted instead of e-mailing anyway, but texting across the Atlantic Ocean cost way too much. And the truth was . . .

I'd moved, and they'd moved on.

I logged off the computer and sat there for a minute, blinking back tears. Jen hadn't meant to forget me. I was simply out of her orbit now.

I pretended to read Sugar magazine online, but mostly I was staring at the clock, passing the time till I could respectably head to my next class.

Five minutes before class I swung my book bag onto my shoulder and headed down the hall. Someone was stapling flyers to the wall. “Hi, Hazelle.”

“Hullo, Savannah.” She breezed by me, stapling another pink flyer farther down the wall. We had math class together--oh yeah, maths, as the Brits called it--first period. I'd tried to make friends with her; I'd even asked her if she'd like to sit together in lunch, but she'd crisply informed me that she sat at the table with the other members of the newspaper staff.

She didn't bother with small talk now either, but went on stapling down the hall. I glanced at one of the flyers, and one sentence caught my eye right away: Looking for one experienced journalist to join the newspaper staff.

I yanked the flyer off the wall and jammed it into my bag. I was experienced. Wasn't I?

A nub of doubt rose inside me--the kind that popped up, unwelcome, anytime I tried to rationalize something that wasn't exactly true or right.

This time I swallowed it back. I thought back to Jen's e-mail that kind of felt like a polite dismissal. I lived in London now.

It was time to take matters into my own hands.

Friday, April 2, 2010

An Absence So Great

I was sent the book An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick to review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing. It is a historical fiction set in Wisconsin. It is the story of an independent woman that is trying to make it on her own as a photographer. This is the second book about Jessie Ann Gaebele. I have not read the first. I think that it would help to read them in order. Although you can read it as a stand alone book, too.

Leave a comment on this post for an opportunity to win a copy of this book!

An Absence So Great is inspired by the engaging stories told through her grandmother’s photographs taken at the turn of the century, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick provides a portrait of the tension between darkness and light in the soul of a young woman pursuing her professional dreams.

Despite growing in confidence as a photographer, eighteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele’s personal life is still at a crossroads. Hoping she’s put an unfortunate romantic longing behind her as “water under the bridge,” she exiles herself to Milwaukee to operate photographic studios for those ill with mercury poisoning.

Jessie gains footing on her dream to one day own her own studio and soon finds herself in other Midwest towns, pursuing her profession. But even a job she loves can’t keep those painful memories from seeping into her heart, and the shadows of a forbidden love threaten to darken the portrait of her life.

Jane Kirkpatrick is an award-winning author of sixteen historical novels, including A Flickering Light, the first part of Jessie Gaebale’s story, and three nonfiction titles. Known for her unique insights into the exploration of community, family and faith of actual historical women, the Wisconsin native and her husband have called their ranch in Oregon home for the past 25 years.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I have not quite finished this book yet. I am taking my time reading it. It is full of information connecting the Old Testament stories to Jesus. I have really enjoyed what I have learned so far.

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Storylines: Your Map to Understanding the Bible

David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings - Senior Media Specialist - of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Mike Pilavachi is the founder and public face of the U.K.’s biggest Christian youth event, Soul Survivor (25,000 annual attendance), and senior pastor of the Soul Survivor church in Watford, North London. He is the author of Live the Life, For the Audience of One, Wasteland?: Encountering God in the Desert, and Worship, Evangelism, Justice.

Visit the Mike's MySpace.

Andy Croft is a young twenty-something who has just been awarded a First Class Theology degree from Cambridge University. He is due to be the next leader of Soul Survivor.

Visit the authors' Website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434764753
ISBN-13: 978-1434764751


The Jesus Storyline

Years ago, when I was in my teens and Mike was having his first midlife crisis, a series of very popular picture books came out. Perhaps you remember them: They were called Where’s Waldo? The basic idea was you would look at a big picture that would tell a story; there’d be loads of characters in it and tons of stuff going on. Waldo (a little bloke in a red-and-white shirt) was hiding somewhere in the picture. Sometimes he’d be up a tree, sometimes under water, sometimes he’d be in a massive crowd, often he’d be peering out from behind a corner, and almost always he’d be hidden from plain view. The challenge was to find him hidden in the story the picture told.

Two thousand years ago Jesus said to a bunch of Pharisees, “Where’s Waldo?” But he said it like this, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.

These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39–40). Jesus wasn’t talking about the New Testament, because his biography hadn’t been written yet, so he must have been talking about the Old Testament. But how could he have been? Everyone knows the Old Testament was about Israel and Moses, David, Abraham, Joshua, and others. Did Jesus get this one wrong? Had he eaten a rotten fig for breakfast? Or …have we all been missing something? Could it be possible that, like Waldo in the picture books, Jesus appears hidden all over the Old Testament?

You probably already know that Jesus is all over the Bible; in the Old Testament he’s concealed, in the New Testament he’s revealed. Finding Jesus in the Old Testament is not just a game, like finding Waldo. It’s more like a treasure hunt, and it brings the story of God to life in a whole new way. Throughout the Old Testament we see strong hints, images, and prophecies about Jesus. In the New Testament those hints, images, and prophecies are unveiled; the curtain is ripped apart, from top to bottom, to reveal the star of the whole show. Let’s go on a journey together to find Jesus in the crowd of Old Testament heroes.


The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. (Gen. 6:5–8)

The human race was so messed up there was no way to straighten it out. God decided to bring a flood and wipe out every creature. There was just one problem. Noah.

Noah and God were friends, and Noah was a righteous man. To destroy every living creature would have meant the unjust of killing his friend. God longed to save Noah, and so he commanded him to build a massive ark. We’ve been to the Middle East, and in case you hadn’t realized, it’s a desert! Despite how stupid he looked, Noah obeyed God to the point of humiliation. But it meant that, when the rains hit, Noah was saved. What’s more, his whole family came with him. Why was Noah’s family saved? Were they righteous? No. Noah

was the only righteous one around, but because they were attached to him, his family got to come along!

The first hero of the Old Testament is our first signpost to Jesus. The flood didn’t solve the problem of humanity’s wickedness. God’s righteous judgment is still that humanity deserves to die in its wickedness and be cut off from him forever. However, God has found one totally righteous man, even more righteous than Noah. This righteous man obeyed God to the point of utter humiliation, dying on a cross. What’s more, all the unrighteous people who attach themselves to him are saved. After the flood a rainbow was the sign of God’s promises; today it is the cross. All who shelter in Jesus, the ark of salvation, are not wiped out but given eternal life. Sometimes when we read about the cross, it can seem mysterious—something that’s difficult to get our heads around. Discovering things like this throughout the Old Testament on one level helps us to understand it better—the patterns of salvation often reoccur. But on another level it speaks of the wonder and increases the mystery. Thousands of years before the birth of Jesus, God was carefully laying out the foundations for his master plan …

Abraham and Isaac

Several chapters later in Genesis, we come across a strange scene. In Genesis 22 we find an old man holding a knife over the chest of a young boy he’s about to sacrifice. Years ago God had promised the old man that he would have a son, and after an age of waiting, Isaac was born. The baby became a boy, and Abraham loved him dearly. It was at that point God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about” (Gen. 22:2).

How could God command someone to sacrifice his own son? And yet—“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son …” (John 3:16). The words of John, describing God’s giving of his beloved Son, deliberately echo those of Genesis 22:2. God asked no more of Abraham than God himself was willing to give. God gave up his only Son, whom he loved, completely out of choice and love for us.

The old man obeyed God: “Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey” (Gen. 22:3). Father, son, and donkey headed to the region of Moriah. When Mike and I visited Israel, we were amazed to discover that the region of Moriah is where, hundreds of years after Abraham, Jerusalem was built! And so when we read about Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey, we’re reading about another father, another son, and another donkey riding into

exactly the same area Abraham had been told to head to. In little, subtle ways—ways that we wouldn’t notice unless we looked for them—God is laying down hints in the Old Testament of the plans he has for his Son in the New Testament.

When Abraham and Isaac arrived, we read that the father placed the wood for the sacrifice on the back of his son: “Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife” (Gen. 22:6). Isaac then carried the wood for his own sacrifice up a hill in the region of Moriah. Isn’t this amazing? Centuries later,the Father placed the cross, the wood for the sacrifice, on the back of his Son. Jesus then carried the wood for his own sacrifice up a hill in the region of Moriah.

Upon reaching the top of the hill, Isaac said to Abraham, “The fire and wood are here … but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (Gen. 22: 7). “Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son’” (Gen. 22:8). Abraham then tied his son to the wood and was about to kill him when the Lord cried for him to stop. God told Abraham to sacrifice a ram he saw caught in a hedge. Rejoicing, Abraham took it and sacrificed it in the place of his son. “So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided’”(Gen. 22:14). Two thousand years later

on a mountain in the region of Moriah, the Lord did provide. He provided not a ram but a lamb for the offering … the Lamb of God. He is “my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). This provision of Jesus for us was something God had planned and intended from the beginning, before any of us were born. The storyline of Jesus running through the life of Abraham and Isaac shows us that even before most of the people in the Old Testament had been born, God knew what was going to happen, and he knew what it was going to cost him. He knew what you were going to cost—and then he went ahead anyway.


So we move on to Joseph. Jesus is everywhere in his story. God’s plan from the beginning, revealed to Joseph in his dreams (Gen. 37), was that he would achieve a high status and bring blessing and salvation to many others through that ruling status. Jesus was born to rule. He

was born to be King, and because of his kingship many would find salvation.

Joseph’s brothers became jealous and did what many of us want to do with our siblings: They sold him into slavery. Joseph was sold to merchants for twenty pieces of silver. Years later Jesus was sold to the Jewish leaders for thirty pieces of silver. Just think—if only it had been the same price, it would have been a perfect parallel … what a shame … But wait! The Bible tells us that Joseph was sold for the going price of a slave in 1900 BC and Jesus for the going price of a

slave in AD 30. The price had gone up, but God had accounted for inflation!

Joseph was eventually sold to Potiphar, a high official in Egypt, and soon became his right-hand man. Mrs. Potiphar tried to seduce Joseph. She was very subtle—“Come to bed with me!” she begged. “No way, José!” Joseph replied, and when Mrs. Potiphar came in one door, he ran out the other. Jesus was tempted in the desert by the Devil. The Devil offered him all the kingdoms of the world if only Jesus would bow down and worship him. In response to the Devil’s seduction, Jesus said, “Get lost!” (or words to that effect). By not sleeping with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph resisted abusing the power his master had given him; by not “getting into bed” with the Devil, Jesus refused to abuse the power God had given him.

Mrs. Potiphar accused Joseph of a crime he did not commit. He was unjustly sentenced and thrown into the deepest dungeon. Jesus, years later, was accused of crimes he did not commit and was unjustly sentenced. While Joseph was serving his sentence, two criminals came to join him. Years later, while Jesus was serving his sentence on the cross, two criminals joined him. You can read in Genesis 40 about how Joseph, through the interpretation of a dream, spoke words of life to one of those criminals. Joseph promised he would be saved, and the criminal was later released. You can also read in Luke 23 about how, as he was dying between two criminals, Jesus spoke words of life to one. Jesus promised he would be saved, and we can be sure that criminal is now with Jesus in paradise.

Joseph was eventually released from prison. From the lowest pits of jail, he became Pharaoh’s prime minister, the highest position in Egypt. He named his second son Ephraim (meaning “fruitful”) and said, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Gen. 41:52). Egypt was an alien land that was not his home. When God became man, he was born into an alien land that was not his home, and yet it was in this land of suffering that God made Jesus fruitful. He was raised up from the lowest point—death—and is now seated at the right hand of God.

Famine struck the whole area, and Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food. They were reunited with Joseph, the brother they’d sold into a life of slavery. Instead of having them killed, Joseph forgave them, assuring them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:20). He went on to save the lives of all his brothers, of those who had sinned against him. He brought them from a place of famine and death to one of abundant life.

The Jewish religious leaders, Pilate, and the Roman soldiers—as our representatives—accomplished what they intended in harming Jesus to the point of death on the cross. Jesus, as he was dying, cried out, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). We, the human race, meant the death of Jesus for harm, but God meant it for good. He intended it to accomplish what is now being fulfilled, a passage from certain death to abundant life, the saving of many lives.

Isn’t this incredible? Joseph was born to be a ruler, he was sold into slavery, he was severely tempted, he went through great suffering, he predicted the salvation of one he suffered with, he was raised up again by God, he forgave those who’d sinned against him, and he declared it had happened that many might be saved.

Jesus’ storyline is central to the story of the Bible, and it runs like a bullet through the story of Joseph. This is more than just an amazing biblical parallel—it carries with it a message for us today. Ever felt insecure about God’s love? Ever been a little unsure as to whether or not he’ll bring about what he’s promised? Ever messed it up and thought, “It’s been one too many; God’s probably going to quit on me this time”? We can draw deep confidence from the fact that God planned his death on the cross. The way that Joseph’s life prophesies Jesus’ shows in an incredible way that God always thought we were going to be worth it—his decision to come to earth wasn’t a last-minute afterthought. John’s gospel tells us that Jesus is from “the beginning,” and Joseph’s story backs that up—he is from the beginning, and he was always going to bring about the ending. This picture is yet another guarantee to our hearts of the love God has—and has always had—for us.


Hundreds of years later the descendants of Joseph and his brothers had undergone a population explosion. They were now the people of Israel and were being used and abused as slaves by the Egyptians.

God heard the cry of those he loved, now slaves to Pharaoh, and through Moses he set out to do something about it. We read that, at the start of Exodus (chapter 3), the Lord revealed himself to Moses and commanded him to go and save the Israelites. Before he went anywhere, Moses wanted to know who this burning bush of a God was: “Who shall I say has sent me?” he asked. God replied, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Ex. 3:14). God’s name was “I AM.”

Also, Moses was understandably a bit nervous about taking on Egypt single-handedly, and he asked God, “Who am I, that I should go?” This time God ignored his question. He didn’t say “You’re Moses, kung fu champion!” He just replied, “I will be with you” (Ex. 3:12). The only thing Moses needed to know on this account was that God had his back.

So God’s rescue operation for a people who were suffering as slaves involved one man. The reason this one man was going to save anyone was because God was with him. Who was this God that was with him? I AM.

Hundreds of years later God again heard the cry of those he loved who were slaves to sin, and through Jesus he set out to do something about it. Moses had asked the God of the burning

bush who he was. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Who do you think you are?” (John 8:53). Amazingly Jesus said in response, “‘Before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him …” (8:58–59). Some of the Jews responded with outrage; they wanted to kill Jesus. Why? Because he was claiming to be God. When they asked him who he was, he told them he was I AM. The God I AM went with Moses to save a people; the God I AM came in

person to save a world. One of Jesus’ titles is Emmanuel. It means “God with us.”

Moses confronted the evil powers of Egypt, defeated them—and Pharaoh released Israel. They started the hike out of Egypt, but before long Pharaoh changed his mind; he sent everything he had after them. If we pick up the trail in Exodus 14, we find Israel trapped. In front of them lay the Red Sea, and behind them the Egyptian army was closing in. They had no options. Then God told Moses to raise his staff out over the waves of the Red Sea. Moses obeyed, and the waters parted. Through Moses’ actions a way to freedom and life opened up—Israel now had one option! They passed through the waters and passed from death to life.

In front of all of us lies death; in and around all of us is the evil of this age. Do we have any options? Miraculously God provided an option for all who are trapped. Jesus defeated the evil power of this age (Satan); he conquered sin and death. Through Jesus’ actions a way to freedom and life has opened up. We now have one option! In following Jesus we can be saved. Like the Israelites following Moses, on our journey we, too, pass through water in our crossing from

death to life: “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). Ours is the water of baptism.

Moses’ and Israel’s hike through the wilderness went on for years and years. Mike and I recently went hiking down the Grand Canyon. It lasted for hours rather than years. Still, when we walked through the Grand Canyon, it was baking hot and hard work. After an hour or so, Mike started to moan … “I’m thirsty, I want some water!” He’s Greek, so he tends to exaggerate, and he started to whine, “This is the end, I’m going to die!” Throughout the hike down, Mike complained, moaned, and whined at me. First he wanted water. Then he wanted food. After he’d eaten five PowerBars, he wanted a different sort of food … and so it went …

Moses was in a similar situation in the desert with Israel. They moaned, they whined, they groaned, and they rebelled. If we pick up the story in Exodus 32, we read that the people of Israel had just built themselves another god! Despite all God’s amazing miracles they still mutinied and wanted to worship gods of their own hands. When Moses discovered this, he exclaimed in horror, “You have committed a great sin. But now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make

atonement for your sin” (Ex. 32:30).

Earlier, God, knowing what the people of Israel were up to, said to Moses, “Leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation” (Ex. 32:10).

What an offer! God told Moses to get out of the way; he was going to destroy Israel and start again with Moses’ own children. Moses had a chance to get rid of the nation that had been a pain in his backside ever since leaving Egypt, and to start his own dynasty! There were moments when, had God appeared to me at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and offered to kill Mike, I would have replied, “Brilliant idea, Lord! In fact I’ll help you!”

Moses didn’t respond like that. He didn’t ask for a machine gun. Instead, after seeing Israel’s sin, he said this: “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Ex. 32:31–32).

Astonishing! Instead of offering to help God wipe out Israel, Moses asked to be wiped out in their place! God refused Moses’ offer. He had another plan. Moses’ offer was well meant, but he didn’t realize he didn’t have the right qualifications. God didn’t blot Moses out for the sake of Israel’s sin. He already had someone else in mind. About 1,400 years later it was the life of Jesus, not the life of Moses, that was blotted out to make up for sin.

Sometimes the Bible can seem a little disjointed—we can read one story and wonder if it’s got anything at all to do with the one we were reading the week before. Jesus is the center and the heart of the Bible; again here we see how the life and actions of Moses point forward to who Jesus is and what he was coming to do.

[Note: Mike would like it to be known that he was not allowed to contribute to this section, and in fact disassociates himself from the accuracy of the illustration used above … I, however, insist it’s true, and I’ve got the emotional scars to prove it.]


David was born in the small town of Bethlehem. Samuel the prophet declared he was chosen by God to be king of Israel. When Samuel poured the oil onto David, God anointed him for this task. Soon afterward David fought the great battle with Goliath. We find the site of the battle in 1 Samuel 17. The people of Israel were lined up against their archenemies, the Philistines. The huge Philistine champion would daily shout to all the Israelite soldiers, “C’mon then, if you think you’re tough enough!” None of Israel’s soldiers thought they were tough enough, and no one would go and fight Goliath. This went on for weeks until David the shepherd boy arrived and volunteered. He went out alone to face the enemy as the representative of his people, Israel. David won a great victory without using the weapons of the world—he refused to wear a sword or armor. Instead he used a sling, the weapon of a shepherd boy, and it was in this apparent weakness that he defeated Goliath. David declared, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s …” (1 Sam. 17:47).

Jesus was born in the same small town of Bethlehem. At Jesus’ baptism John the Baptist declared that Jesus had been chosen by God to be the Savior of the world, and the Holy Spirit was poured out on him (Luke 3:22)—Jesus was spiritually anointed for his task. Having been prepared in this way, Jesus faced the Enemy of the human race, Satan. He entered the battlefield of the desert where he encountered and withstood Satan for forty days. Three years later he went alone to the cross as the representative of the whole world. He won the victory over Satan without using the weapons of the world. Instead Jesus, the Good Shepherd, won the victory in

the weakness of the cross; it was not to be by sword or spear that the Lord would save but by laying down his life for the sheep.

David was anointed to be king of Israel. Jesus, the Christ (which means “the anointed one”), was called “The King of the Jews” at his crucifixion. Jesus was also called “the Son of David,” and people expected the Messiah to be like David. Many expected a David-type military leader who would arrive to kick the Romans’ heads in. Jesus was like David, but not in the ways that were expected.

Of all David’s psalms, Psalm 23 is the most well known, but the psalm that comes immediately before it is an incredible prophecy about the death of Jesus. It is one of the so-called “messianic

psalms” (because it points ahead to the Messiah), and it begins with “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus knew his Scriptures, and so when he cried these words on the cross, he knew he was quoting from Psalm 22. Before we go on to look at this psalm further, we suggest you put this book down, open your Bible, and read Psalm 22 for yourself. Where do you see Jesus in this psalm?

Now let’s look together:

The psalm that begins with the words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” continues with many other striking references to Jesus on the cross.

David says, “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him’” (22:6–8). The cries of scorn heaped on Jesus by those present at the crucifixion are almost identical:

In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matt. 27:41–43)

The psalm continues, “From my mother’s womb you have been my God” (Ps. 22:10). If anyone could say those words with more integrity than David, it was the son of Mary. The psalmist goes on, “My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death” (22:15). The phrase “my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth” is simply another way of saying “I’m thirsty.” Jesus said on the cross, “I am thirsty” (John 19:28).

The next verse is translated, “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet” (Ps. 22:16). David wrote these words hundreds of years before the Roman punishment of crucifixion had even been invented.…

He continues, “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (22:18). Luke tells us that at the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion “… they divided up his clothes by casting lots” (Luke 23:34).

Psalm 22:22 says, “I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.” The stunning thing about this verse is that the writer to the Hebrews in the New Testament tells us that Jesus said it too: “So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises’” (Heb. 2:11–12).

Perhaps most amazing of all, the psalm that started with the words that began Jesus’ crucifixion—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—ends with these five words: “for he has done it” (Ps. 22:31). Only Jesus was able to put these five words into the first person: “It is finished” (John 19:30). For he has done it—it is finished.

How amazing that David, without knowing it, should have written these words for the “Son of David,” his Lord, to speak on the cross a thousand years later!


We have listed just a few of the references to Jesus in the Old Testament. There are many others. We encourage you to go on a treasure hunt of your own! None of this is to say that the stories in

the Old Testament don’t have a power, force, and meaning of their own—they do very much! In this chapter, however, we are only interested in tracing the storyline of Jesus through the Old Testament. It’s like going to an IMAX cinema and being given special 3–D goggles when you go in. Try watching the screen without the goggles, and the pictures are there—though slightly blurred. Once you’ve put on the 3–D goggles, there’s suddenly a whole new, sharp, remarkable

dimension that comes into view. We’ve just watched some events of the lives of only a few of the characters of the Old Testament—Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, and David—wearing our 3–D goggles; even with only this brief snapshot, some of what was concealed has been revealed. What we need to remember is that this isn’t just a clever joining of dots to make neat parallels—this is rich and glorious truth. It’s the plan of salvation for our lives laid out through the lives of the Old Testament heroes. It’s part of the mystery and wonder of God that he was able to weave the story of Jesus into the lives of his most faithful followers in the Old Testament in such an incredible way. In the same way, he is weaving the story of Jesus into our lives and our individual stories.

The Messianic Prophecies

There are also over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. As we said at the beginning of this chapter, Jesus identified himself in the Old Testament when he said to the Pharisees, “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39–40).

At the end of the chapter, we’ve listed tons of the messianic prophecies, and we hope you’ll take the time to open your Bible and discover more of them. But for now, we’d like to look at one of

the most significant passages, found in Isaiah 53. Before this chapter Isaiah has been talking about the plight of Israel, how they have turned from their God, worshipped idols, and broken his laws by acting unjustly toward one another. The book of Isaiah begins before the exile in Babylon and then continues during the exile. Isaiah begins to speak hope to a hopeless people. He declares that God has not given up on his people and describes the coming of an anointed

one, a Messiah who will bring salvation to Israel. In chapter 53 this Messiah is described in detail. We again urge you, put down this book, open the Bible to Isaiah 53, and read it. Too much explanation of this chapter is unnecessary; it speaks clearly for itself.

In Isaiah 53:2 we notice that when God came to earth, he didn’t look like Brad Pitt. We are also told the coming king would be “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (53:3). This is key, as many of the Jews were expecting a victorious and powerful leader. Verse 6 lays out the sin for which the servant of God would die, the sin of human beings choosing their own way instead of God’s. This verse reminds us that the heart of sin is going astray, choosing to live

independently from him; the choice made by Adam and Eve. Verse 7 speaks of the fact that when Jesus, the Lamb of God, was brought before his accusers, he did not defend himself. Jesus himself even quotes verse 12 at the Last Supper in Luke 22:37: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” Isaiah 53 was fulfilled hundreds of years later when Jesus, dying on the cross, “bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (53:12).

We began this chapter by saying that Jesus is concealed in the Old Testament and revealed in the New. The fact is that Jesus hasn’t been concealed very well—we’ve looked at only a few examples, yet pictures and prophecies of Jesus are all over the place!

What does all this tell us? First, Jesus Christ is the central character of the whole Bible. He does not just appear in the last scene. The person of Jesus is, if you like, the glue that holds the whole Bible together. Secondly, this tells us that Jesus was not Plan B. His birth, life, death, and resurrection were written into the script from the very beginning. Our sin and rebellion did not take God by surprise, and Father, Son, and Holy Spirit did not need to have an emergency

cabinet meeting in heaven to work out the rescue plan. Before creation began, God knew that he would have to become part of, and suffer with, his creation. (Take a look at Revelation 13:8.)

A wise couple counts the cost before deciding to have a baby. There is the possibility of several months of vomiting followed by hours of agony for one partner. Then years of sleepless nights for both, followed by the expenditure of ridiculous amounts of money on toys, school uniforms, etc. Then more sleepless nights as they wonder where the teenage offspring are at 2:00 a.m. and even more expenditure if they try and send them to college.

A couple who has counted the cost of all this, but who has decided to love deeply and with commitment, decides to pay the price. God counted the cost and decided to pay the price. From the beginning he said we were worth it. From the beginning he said you were worth it. The whole of the Bible, the Word of God, is a revelation of Jesus, the Word made flesh.

A few years ago a friend of ours proposed to his girlfriend. He went all out. The day before the proposal he went into the countryside and laid an elaborate trail of messages. It began with a note hidden in the branch of a tree. The note was a love letter but also directions and clues as to where the next note was. She soon found, under a rock, another love letter with a clue as to where the next was hidden. Then there was another, inside a bottle concealed by a hedge. This went on for hours until she came to the final love letter. With this love letter, buried in the earth, was a box. When she opened the box, she saw the engagement ring, and he was already kneeling. The fact that he had gone to such a huge effort and carefully laid this elaborate trail was all to show her just how much he desired and loved her. Most women will never forget their wedding day; this woman will never forget the day he proposed. It was spectacular. He planned it down to the last detail; he left the clues everywhere, and it meant the world to her.

In the same way, we, as the bride of Christ (and we know this can seem corny), should be rejoicing and know ourselves to be much loved because our God has laid the paper trail throughout the Old Testament. He has hidden the clues of his love and amazing salvation.

It is our prayer that as you’ve read this chapter you have gone on a journey of discovery, not simply of Jesus, but of how deep God’s love is for us—of how he loved you before you were even conceived.

Jesus Storyline Paperchase:

– John 5:39–40 (Jesus asks, “Where’s Waldo?”)

Pictures in the lives of the Old Testament characters

– Genesis 6–9 (Noah)

– Genesis 22 (Abraham and Isaac)

– Genesis 37–50 (Joseph)

– Exodus 3, 14, 32 (Moses)

– 1 Samuel 17; Psalm 22 (David)

Messianic prophecies

As we said before, there are over three hundred prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament that are fulfilled in the New Testament. To help you get started discovering the Jesus storyline throughout Scripture, we’ve listed a few of them for you, and we pray that God will reveal wonderful things to you as you study!

1. The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem

Micah 5:2–5a

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth. And he will be their peace.

2. He will be King

Isaiah 9:6–7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

Daniel 7:13–14

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was

given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

3. He will be a descendant of David/family lineage

2 Samuel 7:12–16

When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the

one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

Psalm 132:11

The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne …”

Jeremiah 23:5–6

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our


Jeremiah 33:15

In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land.

Isaiah 11:1

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

Numbers 24:17

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth.

4. He will be born of a virgin

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

5. He will be a priest

Zechariah 6:11–13

Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jehozadak. Tell him this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.”

Psalm 110:4

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

6. He will be Lord

Psalm 110:1

The LORD says to my LORD: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

7. He will be God

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jeremiah 23:6

This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.

8. He will bring salvation

Isaiah 49:6

He says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

9. He will atone for sins

Isaiah 53:4–6

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for

our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53:7–8

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

Isaiah 53:10–12

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

10. He will heal the sick/preach the good news

Isaiah 61:1 (and whole chapter)

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners …

Isaiah 35:5–6

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.

11. He will teach in parables

Psalm 78:2

I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old …

12. He will be a light to the Gentiles

Isaiah 42:6

I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles …

Isaiah 49:6

I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.

13. He will enter Jerusalem riding a donkey

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of

a donkey.

14. He will be rejected/mocked/suffer and die

Isaiah 53:1–3 (and verses 4–12)

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Psalm 118:22

The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.

Psalm 22:7–8

All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”

15. His enemies will pierce his hands and feet, divide his clothes among themselves, and cast dice for his garments; and he will be served by future generations

Psalm 22:16–18

Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments

among them and cast lots for my clothing.

Psalm 22:30

Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.

16. He will be betrayed by a friend

Psalm 41:9

Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

17. He will be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver

Zechariah 11:12

I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.

18. The thirty pieces of silver will be thrown to the potter.

Zechariah 11:13

And the LORD said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome

price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver

and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.

19. He will be beaten, mocked, and spat upon

Isaiah 50:6

I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.

20. His bones will not be broken

Psalm 34:19–20

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.

21. His side will be pierced

Zechariah 12:10

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him

as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

22. He will be raised from the dead

Isaiah 53:8–12

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Psalm 16:10

… because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

Psalm 49:15

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.

23. He will ascend to heaven

Psalm 68:18

When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious—that you, O LORD God, might dwell there.

Discussion Questions:

• Are you surprised at the extent to which the Old Testament points to Jesus? If so, why? If not, then why aren’t you?

• What does this tell us about the way that the Old Testament links to the New Testament?

• What practical relevance does this knowledge—that Jesus’ life was foretold in so many miraculous ways—have?

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Storylines by Andy Croft and Mike Pilavachi. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.