From the very inception of the Realm Makers conference, whenever a conversation about who we should invite as a keynote speaker arose, my answer was always, “Frank Peretti.”1 In the early years, since we had no way of knowing if the Realm Makers concept was sustainable, I always felt like my top pick for keynote speakers was a long shot. Thankfully, those perceived odds didn’t keep us from asking.
We have had a stellar list of keynote speakers over the past eight conferences, don’t get me wrong, but having Mr. Peretti join us to share his thoughts on faith and writing is a bit of a wish come true for me.
I’m a child of the 1980s, who started my slow acceptance of Christ in the early ’90s. When Mr. Peretti was launching his career, I was wandering into the murky depths of witchcraft and astrology, in a desperate hunt for control over my out-of-control upbringing. At this same time, my older sisters met Christ and learned of his plan of salvation.
And so my sisters began listening to Christian music and reading Christian books. Their faith made me wonder if there was a less dark, less frightening way to live than occultism. But as I began to secretly explore the materials and ideas my sisters brought into our home, my steps toward transformation kicked off a terrifying spiritual battle in my heart.
“What does this all have to do with Frank Peretti?” you may wonder.
One of the books my sisters had in their stash of Christian fiction was This Present Darkness. I picked it up and was instantly captivated by how Mr. Peretti characterized the struggle with sin. The image of the Enemy’s minions clinging to people who were ensnared in sin resonated deeply with me. I knew all too well how it felt to realize Satan had his hooks into me and wasn’t going to let go without a fight. The hope that shone bright in Frank Peretti’s writing played a huge role in solidifying my decision to leave my occult dabbling and cling to the Giver of true hope and peace.
Since that first story in the little town of Ashton, I have greatly enjoyed many of Mr. Peretti’s novels (even if I did have to sleep with the light on while I was reading The Oath). I have admired his insight and laughed at his humor from Focus on the Family broadcasts and Christian conference presentations.
While I won’t say Frank Peretti’s books saved me, they did play an instrumental role in assuring me that the acceptance of Christ’s offer of salvation was a choice of beautiful surrender over grasping for control. I am deeply grateful for all he has contributed to the corner of Christian publishing that allows for the question, “What if …?” For these reasons and so many others, I am thrilled that our Realm Makers community has the chance to hear from a man with a rich storytelling legacy to share.