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!
and the book:
Living Impact (May 16, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***
Hon S. Hoh is a gifted teacher of the Word. He is a minister committed to the calling that God has placed on his life. He began studying the Book of Revelation in Bible college, and he is passionate about reaching people with the truth and love of Christ.
Hoh has been a pastor in Australia for over ten years and is gifted in preaching, teaching, and visionary leadership. He is a graduate of the University of Melbourne (Psychology), the Swinburne Institute of Technology, the Bible College of Victoria, and the Harvest Bible College (M.A. Ministry). Hoh worked in the field of social welfare prior to entering pastoral ministries.
Hoh is the author of Risen Lamb, Empowered Saints: The Book of Revelation Made Easy (Maryland: McDougal Publishing, 2002). His latest book, The Trigger: A Novel on the Revelation, is based closely on the theology expressed in his first book.
Hoh is the founder and executive director of Living Impact Inc, a non-denominational Christian ministry with an emphasis on global missions. He founded the ministry to help fulfil the Great Commission in reaching some of the poorest and most unevangelized peoples of the world. Living Impact started at the turn of the century, in 1999.
Visit the author’s website.
Do each of us play a role in the kingdom of God? Can the choices we make affect God’s timing of future events? Hon Hoh examines these questions while taking his readers on a riveting adventure in The Trigger: A Novel on the Revelation. Through twists and turns, readers will be led on a powerful journey.
The Trigger follows three individuals (a pastor, a spy, and a missionary) from three continents (the United States, China, and Australia) who find their lives merged in a single divine purpose: to win the last unreached people group on earth and usher in the Second Coming of Christ. They must succeed in order to release the trigger for the return of the Lamb as declared in Matthew 24:14.
In their way stands a legion of demonic principalities intent on destroying the plan. Against the backdrop of unprecedented persecution and the onslaught of cataclysmic events, they must remain steadfast in order to carry out the priority revealed to them by God. It is evident that no believer will escape the greatest tribulation in human history and that only the matchless return of the King can deliver mankind from evil’s reign.
The climactic battle between Good and Evil unfolds as Lucifer executes his definitive act of defiance: the global genocide of all Christians. With the sound of the trumpets reverberating throughout the heavens, the events that have been set in motion must now complete their course. Eternity and the fate of the earth are at stake, and there is no plan B.
Far more than just another End-Times novel and theologically distinct from the Left Behind series, Hoh will alter the way you see the world and prepare you for the future. This novel is based closely on Hoh’s theology expressed in his book Risen Lamb, Empowered Saints: The Book of Revelation Made Easy. Although the events described are entirely fictional, they are but one of many plausible scenarios in which the end could occur. Though these depictions may not arise for more than another hundred years, it is conceivable that they could begin to unfold within the next decade—or less.
Hoh has written a thought-provoking and exciting novel that looks at the events leading up to the Second Coming and challenges us all to follow the plans that Christ has for our lives.
List Price: $19.99
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Living Impact (May 16, 2011)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
“Jai Jian—goodbye,” Josh blurted out awkwardly. They were about the only Chinese words he had managed to learn in the past three weeks.
“Tank you for being good blessing to our people,” said Tai, one of the leaders sending him off. “Soli we cannot go wit you to airport; it not safe for us to do that for long time now. Government eyes everywhere, you know.”
“I understand. God bless you, brothers.” Josh waved his final farewell as the yellow taxi drove slowly away.
Everything had gone remarkably smooth. Despite the heightened crackdown on underground churches in the past six months, he had not run into trouble with the Public Security Bureau. Around five hundred Han Chinese had made first-time decisions to follow Christ during the many evangelistic meetings in and around the Shanghai area. Josh’s teaching had been well received by congregations of all sizes, a few of which had as many as a thousand worshippers. The secret police had been well aware of those larger congregations for many years. According to the latest statistics, 48% of mainland Chinese professed to be Christian, but only 15% were registered with the government endorsed Three-Self Patriotic Church. The Communist Party was clearly worried.
The journey to Hongqiao Airport was relatively short; soon Josh was lining up to check in for his flight to Australia. He was looking forward to his stopover Down Under before traveling home. The queue was long, but Josh was relaxed, thankful that his Shanghai mission had gone so incredibly well. He had at least a dozen intriguing stories waiting to fascinate Beverly and Rebecca, the two most precious women in his life.
His moment of reverie was quickly interrupted by a loud squeal as a dark green van braked to a stop at the entrance of the airport. Within seconds, a group of uniformed police stormed in the double glass doors. Josh quickly counted—there were eight of them. He tried to convince himself that it was just a routine operation in communist China, especially with the ongoing international clampdown on terrorist suspects.
To his dismay, the officers were moving in his direction. As they approached the United Airlines counter, Josh instinctively looked away. Surely they can’t be searching for me. The commotion was drawing closer to where he stood. He could feel his heart begin to race.
Please, Lord, make them blind to my presence if it’s me they’re After.
He had barely completed his lightning prayer when he felt a firm tap on his shoulder.
“Are you Mr. McGuire?” One of the officers inquired.
“Show me passport.”
“Sure, but can you tell me what’s happening? I mean, is there a problem?” Josh handed the officer his American passport, trying to keep as calm as possible.
With barely a glance at the document, the officer announced, “Come wit us, Mr. McGuire.”
Grabbing his bags, Josh hoped they would ask him some questions at the airport, but they placed him in the police van instead and sped off, honking impatiently at the passersby.
“May I know where you’re taking me, please?”
“The local police headquarters?”
“Forgive my ignorance, sir, what is this MSS?”
“Ministry of State Security! No more questions.”
Josh’s heart immediately sank with that curt reply. The Ministry of State Security was the Chinese equivalent of the CIA, or worse, the Soviet KGB in the former USSR. Josh figured that he could be in serious trouble. What did they want from him? What if they were after the names of his contacts, or wanted him to divulge some incriminating evidence? What was he going to do? Josh slid his left hand slowly on top of his trouser pocket to make sure his cell was still there. Perhaps he should call the American Embassy, if they’ll even let him. At least he was assured of one
thing, folks at home were praying. Bev would be, no doubt about that. His staff, his elders, and his band of intercessors had also assured him of their daily prayers.
What’s your purpose for allowing this to happen, Lord? Strengthen me now that I may know and fulfill your will in this .Josh closed his eyes to focus on Jesus. It took a while for his heart to stop pounding. Gradually he began to sense the presence of God permeate his soul.
Michael was about to enter, then hesitated. The Twenty Four were in session, and he had no desire to interrupt. It was not that he was intimidated—the Twenty Four and the archangels had always gotten along perfectly well ever since the dawn of time, and angels have no human apprehensions—not archangels anyway. Like Michael, the twenty-four elders were spiritual beings of an exalted order, not humans, even though they were referred to as “elders” in that sacred scroll called the Apocalypse.
He knew the session they were having with the Lamb was of paramount importance. At the appropriate moment, Michael made an entrance into the throne room, kneeling before the King of Kings. He had always felt amazed before the presence of the Resurrected One. Since the ascension of Jesus over two thousand years ago, the splendor of the Lamb had never ceased to create a sense of awe and wonderment in him. The face of Jesus beamed with pure power, and His voice thundered mightier than Niagara Falls. The matchless Lamb of God was on the throne—the only one worthy to open the seven seals, slain in weakness yet risen with power. For centuries angels had striven to determine Yahweh’s plan of salvation, but they couldn’t—until the crucifixion and resurrection.
The Lamb stood to welcome Michael into the celestial council, and immediately the Twenty Four bowed in worship as Jesus rose to His feet. Michael could not get accustomed to that either.
The glorified Son of God, the Alpha and the Omega, approached to make him feel welcome while he elders knelt in meek reverence to the Almighty. Then again, the Ascended One did put His hand on old Apostle John, saying, “Do not be afraid,” when the beloved disciple first received the vision of Revelation. John was trembling with dread as any man would.
“Forgive me for interrupting, my LORD,” Michael said. “The accuser has come to make his demands once again.”
“We know what he wants,” one of the Twenty Four said.
Michael nodded. “Yes, he wants all restraints to be removed so that he can begin his vengeful and wicked scheme.”
“Tell the evil one,” Jesus said, “that Gabriel will be out of his way only at the appointed time. If he maneuvers for more information, you may reveal a little extra at your own discretion.”
“Yes, my LORD.” Michael took a bow to the Lamb and the elders before exiting the throne room. As he was leaving the chamber, he heard one of the spiritual beings ask, “While we are on the matter, LORD, may I inquire if our favored servant is on schedule?”
“Most definitely,” the Lamb said. “It is progressing exactly as I have anticipated; he truly does have an obedient heart.”
Michael smiled, and sped to his destination in a brilliant beam of light.
The interrogation room was bright and clinical. The entire building looked new, or at least recently renovated. In the middle of the room was a chrome rectangular table with a red chair on each side. The walls were painted stark white, with no sign of a two way mirror on any of them. The guards confiscated Josh’s phone and ordered him to sit and wait for the interrogating officer. He looked at his wristwatch; it was 10:15 A.M.
An hour later, the door swung open. Two sagacious-looking agents entered swiftly, files in hand. The female officer sat down without a word, studying the files. The silence was disquieting and deafening, with the only sound an antiquated Mandarin clock on the wall.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, on it went.
“Mr. McGuire, what have you been doing in Shanghai?” the woman finally asked.
“I came as a tourist. This is my first time in China.” Josh was relieved to tell the truth. He was touring the underground house churches and some Three-Self congregations, and he had ticked the ‘tourist’ box on the disembarkation form on arrival.
“Have you been visiting illegal churches?”
“Why do you ask?” Josh tried to give nothing away. Maybe they are only fishing for information, he hoped.
“We know you’ve been preaching Christianity at some illegal gatherings.”
Josh swallowed hard. “Have you been following me? Why is it illegal to worship God?”
The man who was standing next to the female officer weighed in, “We don’t want to waste your time, Mr. McGuire, and believe me, you don’t want to waste ours. Whether you get out of here in a matter of hours, days, or weeks is up to you. Just answer the questions.”
For a moment Josh was glad he didn’t say months or years.
“Who are your contacts for the house churches? We want all their names!”
Josh was silent. He could not give them the names of the underground leaders. It would implicate them, and they could be imprisoned for years as a result. Those flourishing house churches could be closed down forever. Josh did not want to jeopardize the work of God, no matter what they might do to him personally. He decided to keep quiet.
“Names, Mr. McGuire!”
Josh stared hard at the files on the table in front of him.
“Your contacts, McGuire, or you will know the true meaning of PAIN,” the male officer hollered, pounding the table with his huge palm.
Josh clasped his hands tight beneath the table and raised his eyes to bravely meet the agent’s.
The man swung his fist in a rapid move, striking Josh with the back of his knuckles. The blow landed hard upon his right cheek. He fell off his chair on to the floor, and bubbles of blood instantly oozed from his nose.
A solid kick directed firmly at the abdomen followed.
Josh gritted his teeth to endure the agony. He had never been punched or kicked by a grown man in his life. He’d had fights with others when he was a young boy, but that was long ago and far different.
“I…demand…to see the U.S. ambassador,” Josh managed to say, groaning as he sat up on the floor. “You…have no right to strike me…. I’m a citizen of the United States.”
“Sure, you can tell that to the chief when you see him!”
The two agents stormed out the room, infuriated by Josh’s refusal to cooperate.
Did he say the chief? That was probably the last person Josh wanted to see; he could imagine a three-headed beast coming to torture him. With his handkerchief, Josh wiped the blood off his nose. Oh, Lord Jesus, help me to fear nothing and no one. Help me to be your faithful witness, and when your purpose for this is completed, get me out of here.
There was nothing Josh could do in the interrogation room but wait, pray, and not allow his imagination to run wild with anxiety. He remembered the strong anticipation he’d had for this trip and the thrill he’d felt at the airport before boarding. For a long time, particularly after the much-needed renovation, JFK has been his favorite airport. Actually, he had quite enjoyed visiting international airports around the world. This in spite of September Eleventh, which had taken place thirty-one years ago. Airports had not been quite the same since; for some, flying had permanently lost its appeal, with pleasure being replaced by apprehension and in some cases loathing because of those obtrusive security checks. The same couldn’t be said for Josh, though. Perhaps it still gave him
a sense of adventure—the restaurants and cafes, the bookstores, the movement of different people, planes taking off, each stirring within him a feeling of embarking toward something exciting.
It was often hard saying goodbye for the pastor and his wife, even if it was only for four weeks. One month could seem like a long time, and it sure did feel that way for Josh and Bev, particularly for this trip. He was travelling to a “closed” country on a mission, ministering and preaching at different underground churches. In the continuing era of international terrorism, he knew how difficult it would be for Bev not to worry about this particular mission of his. But her faith in God’s willingness and capacity to protect His own in any and every circumstance had rarely wavered over the years.
Josh remembered Rebecca, who’d been waiting ruefully at the front door, looking a little sad but eager to give Josh her warmest goodbye hug. “Go give them all you’ve got, Dad. I’ll be waging war on your behalf 24-7, both mom and I.” She’d given him the tightest bear squeeze a teenager can muster.
“I know you will, my panda bear. And you’ll look after mom for me, won’t you?”
He used to call her panda bear when she was little. He would never forget that cherished occasion when Rebecca was just four years old. She was playing in bed with both him and Bev when he cuddled her gently and asked, “Will you still be my panda bear when you grow up?”
“Yes, a BIG ONE!” was her spontaneous reply. They all broke into laughter. It was one of those precious moments enshrined forever in his memory. Now she was sixteen, and exceedingly pretty with her mesmerizing blue eyes.
Josh recalled giving Bev a long caress. “The Lord is with you as always, my dear, so there’s nothing to fear. Love you heaps.”
“We’ll be fine, hon, don’t worry about us. I’ll be praying hard for you. Hurry on now, Bill’s been out there a long time.”
Senator Bill Davies had been patiently waiting in his white limousine for Josh to say his good-byes. He usually insisted on chauffeuring his pastor to JFK, knowing that Bev didn’t fancy the 90-minute drive.
“Love ’em lots, don’t you? Gonna miss them, I bet?” the Senator had said when Josh climbed into the back seat.
“Nah! Not much,” Josh had joked, half-smiling, staring blankly out the tinted window.
“You’re a great pastor, Josh, and you have a wonderful relationship with Bev and Rebecca. Everyone in the church knows that. But tell me, why do you do this?”
“Do what, pal?”
“Go preaching to these dangerous and peculiar places.”
“Just make sure we don’t have to send in our Special Forces to get you out of the ‘Middle Kingdom,’ okay?”
“Oh, I won’t bother; God has already sent His units ahead of me. Your guys are no match for His.”
The Senator had smiled and nodded. “Dead right there.”
Given what had just transpired in the last four hours, Josh sure hoped Bill wouldn’t have to stage a rescue from Shanghai.
The Prince of Darkness had been pacing restlessly. His hollow eyes revealed nothing except a pit of venomous hatred stretching back through eternity. “What took you so long? Did He just delay you as usual?” The voice of Satan, once called Lucifer, was deep and demeaning.
“Keep your sarcasm to yourself,” Michael commanded, unfazed by Satan’s provocation, though saddened at the sight of such insatiable evil. “You shall not begin global persecution of the faithful until the time foreordained by the LORD God Almighty. Gabriel will not be out of your way until then.”
“Spare me your totalitarian autocratic babble. Tell me when that time is.”
“When the designated one is born again—”
“And who might that be?”
“I see. You mean the one whom my foot soldier has been pestering the last few years. Why is that pathetic, insignificant soul so important?”
“The LORD rebukes you, Satan. I do not want to see your face here ag—”
“Oh, you surely will. Just let Him know that I have the right to begin implementing my great plan for the earth when the hour arrives. I will not wait for even half a second longer.”
As the devil swept out on his scheming way, Gabriel appeared alongside Michael. His being emitted a pure, shimmering glow, much like his comrade except for a tint of sapphire.
“The Day is drawing very near indeed,” Gabriel said.
“You are right, my friend. The Great Commission has made outstanding progress over the past two decades. The gospel of our LORD has touched almost every people of every nation.”
“Only one city and one group remain…our very last bastion.”
“Hmm. The final frontier…”
From an enormous distance, they were taking an extended gaze at the Earth.
She was exceptionally beautiful.