Saturday, December 8, 2018

On Christ the Solid Rock



Keating, Ray. Shifting Sands (A Pastor Stephen Grant Short Story). Manorville, NY: Keating Reports, 2018. 106 Pages. Paper. Kindle available.

As I write this, our #7 Nebraska Cornhuskers are preparing to play the Oregon Ducks (later today) for a chance to be in the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championship. We usually watch the team all season on BTN or BTN+, helping us feel less homesick for family in Nebraska.

Ray Keating's latest Pastor Stephen Grant adventure is a second short story, Shifting Sands.

SHIFTING SANDS is the second page-turning short story by award-winning novelist Ray Keating, and the tenth thriller/mystery featuring Pastor Stephen Grant. 


Beach volleyball is about fun, sun and sand. But when a big-time tournament arrives on a pier in New York City, danger and international intrigue are added to the mix. Stephen Grant, a former Navy SEAL, onetime CIA operative, and current pastor, is on the scene with his wife, friends and former CIA colleagues. While battles on the volleyball court play out, deadly struggles between good and evil are engaged on and off the sand. 


Keating weaves together a fascinating tale of action, faith, humor, terrorism, duty, friendship, conflict, and beach volleyball. 


(Back Cover)

This short story was a quick read, especially since I was in a volleyball mood following Nebraska's defeat of Kentucky yesterday. Follow all of the action here.

Like Pastor Grant, I've been blessed with a brother pastor in my congregation, and like Pastor Grant (88), I'll serve him as liturgical assistant tomorrow at Morning Prayer since it is his Sunday to preach. Our joy is to be at church (86) and bring the Good News through Word and Sacrament (89; We have Divine Service this Wednesday and the next Sunday).

Plausible international intrigue is a hallmark of the Grant stories. Another is that there are consequences for the actions of our hero and his supporting cast. Grant is a second-career pastor, as one can easily discern from the book blurb. He has a history, forgiven in Christ, including past relationships. He still has to deal with those, yet this is our "Warrior Monk," an honorable man who has the trust of his wife and remains accountable.

This adventure has much to do with pro sand volleyball and a certain daughter of a Saudi Prince. I don't like giving book spoilers in reviews, so let me merely advise you to to pay attention to the action and "kills" off the court in addition to the aces in the sand.

Lutheran Book Review began as Liturgy, Hymnody, and Pulpit Book Review (Inaugural Issue, Advent 2004), itself an offshoot of our Wyoming District worship newsletter, Liturgy and Hymnody. The latter included reviews and recommendations, but began as a way to fulfill the request of our then-District President to ease the transition from The Lutheran Hymnal, Lutheran Worship, and Hymnal Supplement 98 to the fruit of The Lutheran Hymnal Project, what we now call Lutheran Service Book. In-District we had much success. All but two congregations adopted LSB within two years. 

This review marks a milestone. For the first time in many years, I have no books waiting on my book review reading list. There are plenty of books waiting to read for fun, and for my vocations as Christian, pastor, headmaster, District Secretary, et al. 

Reviews are cross-posted at (including archives of our pre-blog pdf years) as well as (and occasionally elsewhere).

Thanks for reading. Watch this space for future reviews!


Rev. Paul J Cain is Senior Pastor of Immanuel, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School and Immanuel Academy, a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education, Secretary of the Wyoming District of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and a member of its Board of Directors, Wyoming District Education Chairman/NLSA Commissioner, and Editor of Lutheran Book Review. He has served as an LCMS Circuit Visitor, District Worship Chairman and District Evangelism Chairman. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Rev. Cain is a contributor to Lutheran Service Book, Lutheranism 101, the forthcoming LSB Hymnal Companion volumes, and is the author of 5 Things You Can Do to Make Our Congregation a Caring Church. He is an occasional guest on KFUO radio. He has previously served Emmanuel, Green River, WY and Trinity, Morrill, NE. Rev. Cain is married to Ann and loves reading and listening to, composing, and making music.  

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