SOURCE: CIS Publishing

August 15, 2012 10:51 ET

Multiple "Divine Appointments" Led the Way for Christian Youth to Publish His First Book at Age 19

DALLAS, TX--(Marketwire - Aug 15, 2012) - December 2011 in Orlando, Florida, at Joel Osteen's "Night of Hope" event, Mark Metzger, an 18-year-old Christian youth from Tonawanda, New York, literally ran into one of his heroes who would play an important role in his life. It was one of several Divine Appointments that led the way for the now 19-year-old Metzger to publish his first book Winner or Loser, Winning Over Basic Youth Conflicts (CIS Publishing Company).

Mark explains, "I was on the way to the concession stand, looking down at my cell phone and ran right into a man that I thought was familiar to me. When I returned to my seat, I saw the man again sitting two rows ahead of me and I realized that it was Craig Keeland. What are the chances of that happening at an event with 18,000 people? I knew Craig as a successful entrepreneur from Texas. His book Discover the Champion Within was a huge inspiration to me in writing my own book for teens. I knew God had set the stage for me to meet him."

As the "Night of Hope" concluded, Mark approached Craig who was with a group of friends. The group was headed back stage to visit with Joel and his mother Dodie Osteen. Mark briefly asked Craig if he would give him some advice on publishing his book.

Craig recalls, "This nice young man introduced himself, saying that he knew of me and had read my book. He asked if I would help him get his own book published. I gave him my card and told him to contact me and that I would be happy to connect him with my publisher Terry Minke at CIS Publishing."

Providentially, Keeland's relationship with the Osteen Family was also defined by a long list of Divine Appointments that began unfolding in December 2005.

"My son Chase and I traveled from Dallas to Houston, Texas, to attend Lakewood Church and hear Joel Osteen preach. We arrived at Lakewood early. It was so early that when we walked in the door, we saw only one other person. I said hello to this woman as I do to everyone I encounter. She said hello back. We were walking in the same direction around the top ring of the church so we started chatting. When we had walked about half way around the top ring of the church, she said she had to go and began walking down the isle into the auditorium. She turned around and asked us where we were sitting. I replied that we did not have a spot but expected we would find one when we entered the auditorium. She then invited us to sit with her. I said ok and then asked her where she was sitting. She replied that she was Joel Osteen's mother and that she sat on the front row. We were overwhelmed by the honor of sitting with her. After the service she asked us if we had lunch plans. I replied that we did not and she invited us to be her guests for lunch."

Craig and Dodie became very close in a short time, so close that Dodie dubbed Craig her "adopted son."

"The first time Mother Dodie referred to me as her 'adopted son' was at a lunch with the first lady of Texas at the Texas Governor's mansion. I was deeply moved by her calling me her 'adopted son.'"

Craig's relationship with Dodie, her daughter Lisa Osteen and the entire Osteen Family has grown over the years. Also Craig often attends High Point Church in Arlington, Texas, which is pastored by April Osteen Simons and her husband Gary. Craig visits Dodie and Lakewood Church in Houston on a regular basis.

Craig relates, "Mother Dodie's coming into my life has been a Divine Blessing. I truly know that the Lord led me to her. That was just one of many Divine Appointments that have happened in my own life. Meeting Mark Metzger in Orlando certainly is another for us both."

Mark Metzger grew up in Buffalo, New York, and became a Christian when his mother began taking him to Sunday school at age five. His Christian walk is a big part of his life and has defined the young man that he has become.

Mark says, "Biblical principles have had a huge impact on my character and how I treat others. Because I was bullied in school, I wanted to write a book that would help people recognize how their actions and words affect others. My hope is that young readers will apply the principles of kindness and helping others in need that Jesus taught all of us."

Another of Mark's key life heroes is Pastor Joel Osteen. The opportunity to travel to Orlando for Joel's "Night of Hope" event became a dual blessing for Mark. He was also able to attend the "Night of Hope" in Washington, D.C.

"Not only did I get to see Pastor Joel who inspires me every day. I also got to meet Craig Keeland, a man who also has been a great inspiration to me. When I called Craig after the event, he passed my information on to his publisher who then called me and published my book soon after I had turned 19 which was truly awesome!"

Mark Metzger's book Winner or Loser, Winning Over Basic Youth Conflicts is written for the youth audience to help guide young people in a positive direction. The book offers guidelines for developing a quality character, real values and a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Mark hopes that readers will be lead to help others and treat them with the dignity and respect that all people deserve.

The book is now available online at,, and Christian bookstores in New York. A broader distribution is planned for the second release in the Fall of 2012. Mark can be contacted via email at

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Terry Minke
    Email Contact
    (940) 464-0376
    CIS Publishing Company
    P.O. Box 996
    Argyle, TX 76226