ACFW Conference Recap – part 1

Last week I attended my first American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference in Dallas, Texas. I soon became aware that it’s probably the biggest Christian fiction writers’ conference, not only in America, but almost automatically as a result, the world.

This is based on 2 stats:

1. Almost 700 fiction writers were in attendance. Yes, fiction writers. There’s no non-fiction at this gig.
2. The number of agents (17) and editors (32) that attend. By all accounts there is no other Christian writing conference (in America) where more professionals turn up looking for new writers as well as offering their vast experience to many.

Read more

What Readers Are Saying….

“Fast-paced, intriguing, thrill-ride of a read”

Mike Dellosso, author of Scream


“Not to be missed.”

Ronie Kendig, author of Nightshade


“Powerhouse story”

Dineen Miller, author of The Soul Saver


Endorsements for Angelguard


“Debut novelist Ian Acheson storms into the publishing world with Angelguard, the first in a supernatural trilogy that pits angels against demons, terrorists against civilians and a University professor against a Machiavellian businessman.  With shades of Peretti’s early novels, Acheson delves into the heavenly realm with both angelic and demonic characters taking centre stage in battles unseen by the humans they both pursue. The demons are grotesque, spiteful and exude evil in contrast to members of the Angelguard, stunning creatures, devoted to the Lord and ferocious warriors. As each supernatural being is unique in this tale, so too, the characters that inhabit the earth below. As tragedy strikes in each city, Acheson introduces the reader to a pivotal character, wounded by their losses yet imbued with a desire to fight against the fear that has infiltrated the world. Readers will identify with Thierry, Jack and Loren as survivors of each attack and be swept along as their paths merge in a way only God could have designed. Angelguard is a fast paced, arresting novel from the explosive beginning until the climactic conclusion, packed with frantic pursuits, intriguing suspense, witty dialogue and spiritual challenges. Ian Acheson is a writer not just worth watching but one well worth reading!”

Rel Mollet, Family Fiction correspondent,


“Fans of Frank Peretti’s Darkness novels will love Angelguard. Ian Acheson does a masterful job of weaving the seen with the unseen. Fast-paced, intriguing, this book is a thrill-ride if I ever read one!”

Mike Dellosso, author of Frantic, Scream, and Fearless


Adventure and the supernatural collide for an intriguing read in Ian Acheson’s ANGELGUARD! Witty angels, foul demons, and compelling humans all make for a read that is enjoyable and exciting. With Acheson’s unique writing style and a compelling plot, ANGELGUARD is not to be missed!

Ronie Kendig, author of Nightshade, Trinity and Talon


“Almost eerie in its realistic portrayal of today’s terrorist-riddled headlines, Angelguard is a powerhouse story that compels you to consider the supernatural battle waging around us every day. I for one will never again read about today’s events without thinking of them in light of God’s angel armies battling evil.”

Dineen Miller, author of The Soul Saver and Winning Him Without Words


“This book grabbed me from page one and wouldn’t let go. It kept me up past midnight, and then left me with fantastical dreams. Although it reads like a first novel, its fast-paced dialogue and intense action make this book unputdownable.

Angelguard refers to the angelic figures who guard those who pray. The story pulls back the curtains that separate the physical and the spiritual and imagines a realm inhabited with White Knights (the angels) wielding swords of brilliant light and murderous dark assassins (the demons) battling for the power to influence humankind.

First time author – Ian Acheson – has obviously been reading Frank Peretti! It’s very action heavy and lacking in character development. Saying that, the dialogue was sleek and smooth and the plot was never dull. Perhaps the book’s greatest achievement is how Ian portrays the prayers of the faithful tipping the balance, feeding the White Knights with supernatural strength – it’s powerful stuff.

Bottom Line: I enjoyed Angelguard, but greater things are to come from Ian Acheson. I’ll be keeping my ear to ground for the next book in the supernatural trilogy.”

James Warwood, Writer

A Lucky Dip

Strange title for a post on something so important as reading the Bible, but it reflects how I started out when I committed to read the Word each day.

I subscribe to a number of daily devotional newsletters but one I’ve subscribed to for years: John Eldredge’s Daily Reading (subscribe here, need to put in link).

Eldredge’s takes a snippet from one of his books and usually contains some Scripture whilst the second has a weekly theme, for example, “God honours truth”. It then uses a relevant bible verse supporting the theme with a small commentary. Read more

His Presence or His Presents

As I mentioned a couple of days ago I read a number of devotionals plus blog posts each day and I especially take note of a common theme that appears across multiple readings.

I love it when this occurs. The Lord has a particular lesson He wants me to learn and more often than not it’s something about His character.

Today was one of those moments. Read more

A Kid’s eye view of the world

Take a moment to think about how you felt when you were last on a great adventure or holiday. When you saw something incredible for the first time. Maybe it was the Grand Canyon, the Eiffel Tower or your first time at Disneyland.

Or perhaps you can remember a time as a kid or when one of your kids saw something special for the first time? Read more

The Pursuit – Part 2

I titled the page in my journal “A New Dawn”. Underneath the title were my goals for the next year, a practice that I follow most years.

It was 1 January 2009, over 3 years ago.

The first goal read: “of transformation, being renewed in my mind”, a few lines down it read, “of spending quality time with God and His Word everyday!” Read more

The Power of the Spirit

I’ve been studying a lot about Jesus these past few months. I was thinking about which person in the Bible I should study next, and then I heard in my mind:


“What about me?”

Oh, hello there Jesus.


Of course!


Last year I spent a lot of time with Paul. I studied Acts (immediately after Luke as someone suggested it was a good idea as they are both written by Luke) and some of his Epistles.

Prior to Christmas I read John Eldredge’s latest “Beautiful Outlaw” which explores the humanity of Jesus. I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about Jesus being a man, just like you and I. I guess I had thought He was God so while He was here He was a bit of a superman of sorts.

This is obviously a complete error in my theology; as He needed to let go of His divinity so He could experience our life, then die, so we could be saved.

“Beautiful Outlaw” is a fantastic read and taught me a great deal. I particularly appreciated the point that Jesus didn’t just come to sacrifice Himself for us, but He came as an example to us of how to live. Yes, naturally the way He served but also the way He depended on the Father. We, too, are to live like that, clinging to the Father, sometimes, barely, with bloodied fingernails.


Read my review here (insert link). I highly recommend it.


This birthed a hunger in me to know Him more, to better understand Jesus as man and the Son of God.

Bill Johnson said “It’s vital to note that Jesus did all His miracles as a man, not as God.”1 That kinda blows my mind.


After Jesus was baptised the Spirit led him into the wilderness. There He spent 40 days grappling with Satan. It was like Jesus needed that experience to learn complete dependence on the Father. Remember, He was just a man.


And there’s that great verse in Matthew where He rejects Satan’s first temptation:

“People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4:4)


Jesus had to hold onto the Word to survive those 40 days.

So the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness and then on leaving the desert, “He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,” (Luke 4:14).


The ancient Greek word used for “power” was “dunamis” one of the meanings for which is “miraculous power”. “Dynamite” is a derivative of dunamis so we can get a picture of what power Jesus possessed. The locals were soon to see that dynamic power in action.


What’s incredible, however, is Jesus then gave us the same power!

“When Jesus called the twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out demons and to cure diseases, and he sent then out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1-2)


I understand from my studies “dunamis” is used here as well.




I might leave it there.


Till next time.




Note: 1. Bill Johnson “Charisma Magazine, March 2012, Charisma Media. Subscriber exclusive content)


Before starting our conversation about Viagra, let us mention some facts about ED. You will be surprised to find out that healthy sex life is more than great pleasure and ability to have children. It is the best and only way to guarantee natural training of the male heart, lungs, blood vessels and muscles. It is also the most efficient way of restoring male central nervous system. Normal sex life prevents the development of such severe diseases as stroke, heart attack, viagra high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, cancer, neurosis, depression, dementia etc. Now you know that men think the worlds of their erectile function for a reason!

You can buy Viagra in the nearest drugstore if you have a prescription from your doctor. It means, your awkward health disorder becomes public inevitably. Do not be frustrated! Fortunately, you can avoid any publicity at all if you choose to buy Viagra online. Our reliable online pharmacy will offer you top-quality pills from the manufacturer at the best price.

Attention! viagra Do not fail to see your doctor before ordering Viagra online! Use the lowest dose of the drug that works. Never overdose your ‘love pills’ – take only 1 pill about 1 hour before intended intercourse. Never take Viagra repeatedly within 24 hours!

The Pursuit

“It’s time” was all he said. I woke in a DisneyWorld hotel and knew exactly what that meant.


I had wandered for too long trying to ignore the soft knocking in my soul. The life that I could have, should have, want to have. Is it life, or is it relationship – our Creator formed us to be in relationship with Him. I had let that wane, subside, and so the knocking continued.


I still believed in God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. I was conscious of sin and mindful of what I did, said, and thought. But there was little consequence.

But now, here in the Boardwalk Hotel, on a much needed holiday in January with Fiona, my time had come. Jesus, He wanted me to come back, to renew our friendship. I’d been away too long.

Funny, at the time I didn’t spend a long time thinking about it. But it stayed with me, those two little words. Even when we got back home a few days later, I didn’t immediately respond.


But those two words set in train a year that changed my life.


I’ll never forget it.


I gave up my baby that I conceived and had a key part in birthing, Virgin Mobile, I starting talking with Dan and Jake, but most importantly, I returned to Jesus.

Like the prodigal son, I guess, I came home and there He was, standing with open arms, welcoming me back. Jesus. His embrace was incredible, so gracious and soothing. He no longer cared about the past few years, all that mattered was I was home.




What did it feel like when you found your way back to Jesus having left Him? Or even, the first time you experienced His embrace?



I was reading something today that used the image of the ocean to depict the journey of life. It struck a cord with me.

When we’re at the beach we typically wade into the shallow end, hover a little, or in my case a long time, before diving into deeper waters. My boys, Dan and Jake, are very quick to get into the deep – they’re confident swimmers and love the thrill of being at the mercy of such power and conquering it when they successfully ride a wave. Even being dumped is an exhilarating sensation: you had a go and the power of the surf gotcha this time. Oh well, let’s have another go and see who wins out. Riding a wave into the shoreline is a fantastic feeling being in unison with nature for a few seconds.

Ten years ago I ventured into the deep and thrashed around for a while, as I wrote my novel. I got tired of the battle and needing money, took the easy option to swum back into the shallows. And stayed there for almost five years whilst pining for the deep. Having made some great progress spiritually, in my relationships and with the manuscript, I retreated. I soon got sucked back into the whirlpool of work, my workaholic tendencies resumed and my heart retracted.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some real enjoyable moments, doing what you’re good at is fun and comforting, and working with some great people. But the ache of the deep wouldn’t leave me.

Soon the monotony of swimming laps along the shoreline became boring, moments of exhilaration of achievement were sparse. More significantly, my heart waned, no longer charged by the wonder of being terrified and elated simultaneously.


Circumstances were forced on me – thanks God.

I believe I’m now being called into the deep. To swim way out beyond anywhere I’ve ever swum. To follow my heart and, to trust.

Yes, I’m bound to take in water and maybe I’ll go close to drowning but it’s what I got to do. To satisfy my yearning. To fill my void.

To be obedient.


I take great comfort from God’s words to Joshua as he set out to take back the Promised Land. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)

How do you practice obedience? And what tips do you have for those moments when you’re taking in water, self-doubt and sheer panic set in? It’s too late to turn back; you’re in too deep.


The Void

I had attended a reunion of one of my previous employers. It’s been 20 years since I left this company, having worked there for the best part of ten. I really enjoyed my time there and still think back on those days with great fondness.

But it’s the few minutes I spent with the final person I caught up with that stayed with me for a long time after the event. This is someone who has made it – senior executive, leader, super income, lives in prominent street in prominent suburb, kids in private schools, spent time overseas with company, and the list goes on. To his credit he’s tremendously humble and gracious, not really taking any of this for granted. During our brief chat and ever since, I’ve sensed a “void” in his heart – it’s like he’s standing in a dream where he sees himself fully alive, happy, fully engaging with everyone around him. He feels trapped, he wants to grab a hold of this “other him”, the life he so wants to have, but he’s unable to take the place of the “other him”, the happy one. He wakes up from his dream, feeling frustrated, anxious almost, as another day starts, another one where he no doubt will achieve much and have a great impact on those around him: work colleagues, clients, family, and more.



I stumbled across these lyrics from a John Mellencamp song, titled funnily enough, “Void in my Heart”. They express my colleague’s emptiness perfectly:


There`s a void in my heart
I can`t seem to fill.
Been a parent,had three children
And a big house on the hill.
Hundred dollar in my pocket
And it didn`t buy a thing.
Now there`s a void in my heart
And a hole in my dreams.

Well I poured miles of concrete
And strung wire for telephones,
Dug ditches whenI was a yound boy
When I first left my parents` home.
Sang my songs for millions of people,
Sang good and bad news,
Now there`s a void in my heart
And a fire at my fuse.

Well I did everything just like they said
So I could find happiness.
Went to school and got a college degree
And at my job I did my best.
As I sit here alone tonight
I see a billion just like me
With a void in their hearts and running from eternity.

There`s a void in my heart I can’t seem to fill.
I do charity work when I believe in the cause
But in my soul it bothers me still.
Hey, Lord, well you made me like I am.
Can You heal this restlessness?
Will there be a void in my heart
When they carry me out to rest?


Mellencamp describes it well. We all have experienced this feeling at some time in our lives: a hole in my heart and under-nourished relationships.


I think this malaise is very prevalent amongst men – Mellencamp puts a number to it, “a billion…” We’re fed the lie about career, achievement, getting stuff whether it’s possessions, sex, power, whatever. Even doing good “charity work”, as Mellencamp suggests, doesn’t fill the void. None of it fills the hole. Why has depression become so prevalent in society when we are the most affluent society to walk the earth? And it’s not just the have-nots that are suffering, it’s those who have enjoyed the fruits of our affluence.


I sense it in many men I meet.
As Mellencamp cries out in question – “Hey, Lord, well you made me like I am,” – is this it, or am I supposed to live the rest of my days with this restlessness?


I feel lucky because I’ve felt pursued, pursued by God. (More of that later). And I reckon He didn’t make us to live with this restlessness.


“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus says in John 10:10b. So it’s pretty clear then in answer to Mellencamp’s cry – we weren’t created to live with a void.


So how do we fill it? How do have life to the full?


There’s lots I don’t know yet, but I’ve started out on the journey I should have commenced 30 years ago when I first met Jesus at 16. As a good friend said to me only today, he reckons his first 48 years were an apprenticeship and now life really starts. Well, that’s kinda how I feel too. I’m extremely grateful to be able to start out on this discovery.


I hope you will share it with me and I hope you stop by every so often, add your thoughts on your own situation as it’s likely many will be experiencing the same and I could sure do with the added encouragement too.