ASX Interview Goes Live

Top Stocks 2015My interview with Tony Featherstone at the ASX, about Top Stocks 2015, has gone live. The original plan was to post it in January, but the ASX decided to bring it forward a month.

My interview a year ago was apparently 2014’s most-watched interview at the ASX.

In the latest chat I spoke well of three stocks, and also discussed others, along with market themes and trends in the Top Stocks books. You can view it all at the ASX website –


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Olea Nel, Author of “Andrew Murray Destined to Serve – A Biographical Novel”

Early this month I wrote a review of a new novel, “Andrew Murray Destined to Serve,” about the life of the famous South African writer and pastor. I described it as “a wonderfully written historical novel that transports you right to the heart of South Africa in the mid-nineteenth century…Highly recommended.”

Now the author, Canberra (Australia) resident Olea Nel, has kindly agreed to answer a few questions.

Please tell us a little about Andrew Murray.

Andrew Murray is known today as one of the great heroes of the faith, as well as an author, par excellence, of devotional works. In my opinion, few authors plumb the depth of topics such as prayer, holiness, humility, and the need to be filled with the Spirit, like he does. When you read his works, you know that you are encountering an author who has walked the high road of holiness before you.

Olea 1What inspired you to write about him?

When I was growing up in Cape Town, Andrew Murray was still a household name. But unfortunately, the younger generation today, especially those living in South Africa, no longer know much about him. So I decided to turn this situation around as best I could.

Why should twenty-first century Christians be reading Andrew Murray?

Unfortunately, the preaching we encounter today tends to be either light-on, or just the conveyance of knowledge without the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit to breathe life into the Word.

Andrew Murray warns us about both types of preaching. He stresses that sermons need to be based on the Word as well as point to Jesus. In addition, they need to teach us how to imitate and submit to Christ so that we may grow in holiness until we are filled with the Spirit.

What stands out in Andrew Murray’s writings for me is the how of the spiritual journey:

  • The how of abiding in Christ, and where we fail
  • The how of prayer
  • The how of growing in humility and mortifying self
  • The how of waiting upon God in silent adoration
  • The how of reading Scripture so that the Holy Spirit accompanies our reading and is there to convict and encourage
  • The how of being filled and led by the Spirit

Which are his most useful books, and which are your own favourites?

For new Christians, I’d recommend The New Life. After the revival that swept through the Cape in the early 1860s, Murray realized that many new Christians wanted to increase their biblical knowledge. So he wrote this simple theological work to supply that need.

In addition to the above work, I’d also recommend The True Vine for young believers. It is much simpler than Abide in Christ, an earlier work on which it is based.

For Christians on the way, I’d recommend The Two Covenants, Waiting on God, and any of Murray’s works on prayer.

As for my favorites, there are four that immediately spring to mind. They are: Absolute Surrender, Humility, With Wings as Eagles, and his pocket book The Secret of Adoration.

Please tell us about the spiritual revival in South Africa in the 1860s, and the role Andrew Murray played to promote it?

The 1860s revival was one of the great spiritual awakenings of the nineteenth century. Between May 1860 and December 1861, the Holy Spirit swept through most of the towns in the Cape Colony, as well as a few beyond its borders. And what was so amazing about this visitation was that the ensuing revival was a distinct departure from the norm.

During most revivals, God’s people (church goers) are awakened first. But in Worcester, where Andrew Murray had just begun to serve as their pastor, revival broke out amongst Colored farm workers who were receiving religious instructions from a young niece of the farmer.

About six months into the revival, Murray decided to go on an extensive preaching tour that helped to deepen the faith of those who had just given their lives to the Lord. As a result, his name became closely associated with this great awakening.

If you would like to know more about this revival, I invite you to read my book: South Africa’s Forgotten Revival (2010) which is available as a free download from my website –

Why did you decide to tell Murray’s story in fictional form?

One of the main reasons was that several non-fiction works already existed. Another was that their authors hardly touched on his spiritual journey and the struggles he experienced as a young pastor. Yet another reason was that I wanted to reach a new readership who preferred novels.

In addition to the above, his family and friends spoke of a definite ‘before’ and ‘after’ period in his spiritual pilgrimage that I was keen to explore. And to my mind, there was no better way to describe that journey than through the eyes of Andrew Murray himself. And that could only be done via a novel.

What can we expect from your next novels in the series?

While my first novel Andrew Murray Destined to Serve only covers Murray’s first year in ministry, the sequel, which will be titled Andrew Murray Destined to Preach, will cover the years 1850 to 1856.

During this period, he begins to mature as a leader, and finds himself having to negotiate with the British on behalf of the Boers. At the same time, he begins to struggle with feelings of pride and self-aggrandisement that he knows is detrimental to his spiritual growth.

It will take a proverbial slap in the face plus two emotionally searing events to bring him down to earth and get him back on track.

The third novel, which will be titled Andrew Murray Destined to Lead, will cover the heady days of revival and its aftermath. But not long after, we will witness how Murray is plunged into an emotionally-draining period, when all he can do is wait upon the Lord and hold on tight in faith. The lessons learnt during this period will ultimately lead to the spiritual turning point in his life.

Sorry I have to be so vague, but if it were not so, I’d be telling, wouldn’t I?

Olea, I enjoyed the first novel, and shall certainly be looking forward to the next. Thank you.

* “Andrew Murray Destined to Serve” is available at Amazon.

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Memoir of a Spiritual Giant

South African church minister Andrew Murray is one of the giants of Evangelical Christian spiritual literature. Some of his books, such as “With Christ in the School of Prayer,” are considered classics.

Andrew Murray Destined to ServeHis life was dramatic. He was only 21, and fresh from theological studies in The Netherlands, when he was appointed as the sole minister to a vast area of South Africa. In later years he was to become a famous preacher, not only in South Africa, but also abroad, and he was to lead a holiness revival in his home country.

Now comes an excellent novel, the first in a planned trilogy, that covers the early years of Murray’s life.

It is “Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve” by Olea Nel, who was born in South Africa, but now lives in Australia. She is also the author of “South Africa’s Forgotten Revival,” which tells of the 1860 Great Awakening in that country, spearheaded in large part by Murray.

In “Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve” we read in fictional form about Murray’s first year back home, as he steps off the ship from Europe and soon after, despite his youth, is appointed to a remote post as minister in Bloemfontein.

As a church leader tells him: “Then there’s you, a born leader and preacher with an innate ability to relate to people. You’re also bold and forthright.”

He achieves some success, but dangers await. There is a close call with lions and an encounter with wolves, and there is deadly disease. But other enemies are also skulking.

As he relates (the novel is written in the form of a first-person memoir): “But as I bathed in the sunshine of my newfound status, I was unaware of the dangers of self-satisfaction and pride that lurked in the shadows. These would make themselves known soon enough. In the meantime, my elders and deacons would continue to use my inexperience to persuade me to do their bidding.”

This is a wonderfully written historical novel that transports you right to the heart of South Africa in the mid-nineteenth century. Clearly the author has done a huge amount of research. It is also a kind of spiritual diary, as we watch a devoted young man of God struggle – not always successfully – with enemies of all kinds.

Highly recommended, and I eagerly await the next in the series.

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Top Stocks 2015 – At The Printer

Top Stocks 2015My publisher advises me that Top Stocks 2015 has gone to the printer. A formal publishing date is November 1st, but it will likely be available in bookstores before then. I know that in past years the Educated Investor bookstore often got copies a week or so before other stores, thanks to their strong support of the book. They offer a mail order service.

It seems that the ebook version takes an additional month to prepare, so will apparently be available around the end of November.


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“A Skilful Blend of History, the Supernatural and Some Dramatic Story Telling” – Book Review: “The King”

The KingChristian supernatural thrillers are a hugely popular genre, though not a category I read much myself. But I enjoyed “The Door,” the first book in Lorilyn Roberts’s “Seventh Dimension” series, so was looking forward to her follow-up, “The King.”

I have just finished it, and can affirm that, for me at least, it is better than “The Door.” I am a fan of historical fiction, and most of this new book is set in first-century Palestine. Indeed, I was already very familiar with several of the characters, such as Yeshua (Jesus), Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) and Luke the doctor.

The book tells the story of Daniel Sperling, an angry seventeen-year-old living in present-day Jerusalem. His father disappeared several years earlier on a business trip and is presumed dead. Daniel has been suffering from depression. He feels distant from God.

Early in the story we get the strong sense that we are entering the realm of the supernatural. There is the death cat that always appears when someone is dying in the nursing home where Daniel volunteers. There are the final words of the dying war hero to Daniel: “God has great plans for you. You’re an angel.” There is the stranger who thrusts a Jewish New Testament into Daniel’s unwilling hands.

Then, before we know it, Israel is under attack. It is even possible that the Dome of the Rock, built on the sacred site of the Jewish Temple, has been destroyed. This is clearly the war to end all wars.

And it is at this point that Daniel finds himself passing into another world – the world of first-century Palestine.

Lorilyn RobertsIt is now that the real adventures begin. And what adventures they are.  You’ll need to read the book to find out more, though a meeting with a radical healer named Yeshua (Jesus) is just one of the highlights. And, in some of the most gripping scenes of the book, Daniel becomes a gladiator, racing for money (probably the first gladiator in history who is saving his winnings in order to enter a top US medical school).

My main criticism of the book is that some of the events occurred a little abruptly, like the attack on Israel in the early chapters, which seemed to come out of nowhere.

But this is a fine Christian novel. It has long been a fantasy of mine that I might find myself walking alongside Jesus in the hills and deserts of Palestine, so I particularly enjoyed the chance to do so in this book. And I appreciated the manner in which the author wove into the narrative some real tales from the Bible, helping the entire story ring true.

“The King” is aimed at young adults, a demographic I left behind some decades ago. Yet, thanks to its skilful blend of history, the supernatural and some dramatic story telling, this is a book I enjoyed immensely, and it is a book I have no hesitation in recommending to others.

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Finance Library for Sale

I am the author of the annual “Top Stocks” series, and also of some other investment books. I now wish to sell my finance reference library. This comprises some 80 titles, plus 18 editions of the Huntleys’/AFRMorningstar “Shareholder” handbook. See the list of books here.

Price: $400.

If you want them, I am also happy to include a couple of hundred editions of “Personal Investment”, “Personal Investor”, “Shares” and “AFR Smart Investor” magazines, from 1997 to 2011.

Many of the books date from the 1980s and 1990s, though a lot are more recent. Some will be out-of-date, but many are pretty timeless. They are in generally good condition, though some have passages underlined or circled.

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Now Published – Adam’s Animals

A while back I featured Kimberley Payne, who was working to crowd-source her book “Adam’s Animals.” It has now been published. Here is some information about it from Kimberley:

Adam's AnimalsAdam’s Animals – Fun Facts About God’s Creation just released this spring!

Is your church running a Vacation Bible School (VBS) program this summer based on the Weird Animals curriculum?

Consider using  Adam’s Animals along with the accompanying craft book, Super Simple Animal Crafts in your Sunday School program leading up VBS. It’s a great resource for your church to generate interest in your summer programs.

Adam’s Animals is an entertaining and educational book that offers children loads of fun while they learn about the Bible.

Inside you’ll find:

• Bible stories about the animal
• Fascinating facts about each animal
• Whimsical illustrations for creative colouring fun
• Word search puzzles to learn new words and improve spelling

Watch a video of author Kimberley Payne reading from Adam’s Animals

View sample pages from Adam’s Animals

What others are saying about Adam’s Animals

Kimberley looks at the creatures found in the Bible and gives children some incredible scientific facts about them. She then follows those facts up with Scripture references from the Bible on what God has to say about the many animals she has listed in this book. If your child is one who likes “Did you know…?” books, they’ll love this one. Included in the book are word search activities and pictures to colour.  – Laura Davis

Author Kimberly Payne has done a thorough job of researching the animal kingdom and combining it with scripture and biblical stories. This book has many fascinating facts about animals and is laid our in a very organized manner with pictures to color and word puzzles. – Carol Stratton

From ants to worms, children will not only find the facts interesting, some will even make them giggle. At the same time, they are learning how creative God is that he would make so many animals with distinct characteristics.– Carol Round

I plan to use this book in our home school program as it integrates faith, science, language and art. My kids love it – there is much information in it, our 12 year old couldn’t get through it in one sitting. – Michelle Evans

This is a delightful book filled with (as promised) fun facts about God’s creatures. I appreciated the focus on scripture and how Kimberley aligns God’s word with God’s creatures. The word challenges are a wonderful way to hone other skills such as spelling and reading, too, so this is a great activity to go along with the information. – Glynis Belec

This children’s activity book cleverly ties in scripture, so not only does it teach the inquisitive child about God’s creations, but also about God’s word.—Melanie Fischer

Buy the Book on Amazon.

About the Author

Kimberley Payne, authorKimberley Payne is an award-winning author who combines her teaching experience and love of writing to create educational materials for children about family, fitness, science and faith. You can visit her website at

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