For years I’ve wanted to work on a time-travel project. I loved the “Back to the Future” trilogy, and Lisa and I fell in love with an old H. G. Wells story entitled “Time After Time.” But it’s been my dream to work on a novel that had a God element to it.


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“You can’t change the Big Thing.” This dictum invariably puts the brakes on all time-travel stories. 9/11 tragedies and Auschwitz can’t be overruled without the “butterfly effect” causing even greater havoc. When high school senior Jordan Wickam gets a mysterious bootleg iPod that flips back his calendar exactly seven days, he piles up a greedy fortune betting on horse-racing exactas.

But his digital toy hides an unexpected menu erasing whole centuries at a time. Four additional thrill rides beckon with their promises of adventure and romantic temptation. Jordan suddenly has a front-row seat for classic World Series games, presidential assassinations, and a deck chair on the world’s unluckiest ship. As tension escalates, Jordan slowly begins to comprehend why he was chosen.

“The Time Portal” blends fiction with true details, using some of the most appealing historical stories ever enjoyed by large audiences. This is a spiritual thriller wrestling with questions of fate and God’s intervention (or lack thereof) in the slow unveiling of a divine blueprint.

The Time Portal


Newly widowed Lisa Thackeray is just finishing her chaplaincy stint at an Army outpost in Iraq when a dead soldier’s iPod comes into her possession. It’s a mind-bending discovery when she realizes the anonymous toy lets her escape to the past by a week – and also rescue fallen comrades. Finally back in the U.S. and about to fall in love again, she begins civilian life as a Wisconsin pastor soon drafted to take the requisite four long trips to the distant past: including more Army action as she visits Sword Beach for D-Day. Also opening up to her is a front-row seat for Reformer Martin Luther’s Reformation-launching speech: “Here I stand; I cannot and will not recant.” The divine detours offer her the ability to understand the gutsy miracles God expects the Body of Christ to perform in a dying world.

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Hey, it’s not that hard for a cop to solve crimes if he can time-travel back a week and apprehend crooks before they even walk into the bank. Detective Aaron Mathews, the iPod’s new unsuspecting victim,  sniffs around to track down its former owners, and begins to realize God is demanding a whole lot more of him than just lucky junkets to Atlantic City. His hard-boiled agnosticism begins to thaw as he witnesses the Columbine killings up close, and is sorely tempted to undo America’s first mass shooting. But as the other journeys unfold to shattered landscapes like New York City on 9/11, he comes to appreciate heaven’s patient timetable for the permanent rescue of God’s one renegade world.

Music aficionados will savor Aaron’s time shuttle back to the debut performance of Handel’s Messiah. And as he settles in for a hot Philadelphia summer eavesdropping on America’s first Constitutional Convention, he begins to experience insistent romantic colonial temptations that have nothing to do with bylaws and amendments.

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