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Without a doubt I KNOW the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is going to be a powerful and life-changing conference!
How can I be so certain?
  • Our outstanding faculty of 40 agents, authors, editors, and other professionals. Almost half (18) have never been to GPCWC; 5 were not with us last year.
  • New three-and-a-half-hour Learning Labs on Thursday afternoon:

    Build Your Author Platform with Sarah Bolme, Director of CSPA
    (The Christian Small Publishers Assoc.)

    The Making of a Nonfiction Book with literary agent Diana Flegal

    Focus on Fiction with bestselling author Dan Walsh

    or three hour-long workshops from 1:00 – 4:30:
    Mining for Stories, Get the Most Out of Your Appointments,
    The Care and Feeding of Editors.

  • Six keynotes that will address the critical need for us to “Write His Answer” and will encourage us to grow closer to the Lord and not give up.
Launch Your Writing Ministry
The Successful Author of Nonfiction
Brave New World of Indie Publishing
Hook that Editor!
Speaking and Writing
Take Your Fiction to the Next Level
Writing Narrative Nonfiction
  • Thirty-five workshops in 7 tracks: Writer’s Life, Craft, Fiction, Nonfiction, Get Published, Marketing, and Issues.
  • Catered meals – Friday and Saturday dinner and Friday lunch; Honey Baked Ham box lunch on Saturday. Yum! No one else will be using the cafeteria, so faculty will have a name card on their table and you can sit with them.
  • Our new location at Dock Mennonite Academy – lovely campus just five minutes from the Lansdale Exit of the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike (I-476).
  • Lodging at the Holiday Inn just off the turnpike exit and five minutes from the conference. You can cut your cost in half or by a third if you share a room with one or two friends who write. Our block has been released and the price slightly increased, but there are still rooms available.

I’m excited and praising God for all He is doing, all He will do, and for how He has carried me through the countless obstacles this year’s three conferences have faced. They’ve been over the top! You may have read about some of them on my blog. Things have happened for which there is no explanation other than the conferences must be a threat to the evil one.

 

A week before I left to direct the Colorado conference Outlook crashed and deleted all the emails in my 2015-2018 Colorado and Philly conference folders. Strangely, emails in more than a hundred non-conference folders were not touched. Six hours with tech support did not recover the emails but did intensify the time pressures and stress I was under. For the first time since delivering my three babies I ended up in the hospital for a day with symptoms of a heart attack. PTL I did NOT have a heart attack, but with all the time lost I was unable to get the Philly brochure to the printer before I left for Colorado.

 

The same evening Outlook crashed the latest copy of my 13,000 name mailing list in Access also mysteriously disappeared. When the Philly brochure finally came off press (a month late), I thought I had found an earlier copy of the mailing list that included everyone who came to last year’s GPCWC. Sadly, I later discovered the names of over 70 writers who attended the last two conferences were missing from the list.

 

I’ve never forgotten what my friend, Jim Watkins, said a number of years ago. “You can’t get hundreds of Christians together and equip them to write for the Lord and have the devil say, ‘Isn’t that nice.’”

 

So . . . I want to encourage you to pray about coming. If you can’t make the entire two-and-a-half-day conference, you’re welcome to come just for a day. Time payments can be arranged if needed, but don’t delay if you want to order meals. We MUST get the count to the caterer Thursday, July 19. And the conference registration fee increases July 22.

 

I know Father is going to use GPCWC 2018 (our 35th conference!) in Ephesians 3:20 ways. I’m praying you’ll be able to come.

 

God bless you and your writing.

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I was certain I posted this on Saturday, July 7, but just discovered it in my drafts. You’ll discover the answer to the obstacles I faced in today’s post (July 9), “God Answers Prayer.”

Last night I lost ALL my files on my computer! Even if the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference was not just three weeks away, this would be a disaster. (If you’ve not yet registered, the price increases tomorrow.)

What happened? I’ve been having ongoing and intensifying problems since Lap Link  transferred files from my old laptop to the new laptop I purchased four months ago. A week before the Colorado Christian Writers Conference the stress landed me in the hospital for a day with symptoms of a heart attack. PTL I did NOT have a heart attack and our insurance covered all but $350 of the bill that was over $17,000.

Two days ago Quicken crashed. “Disk problem. Switch to back-up.” But a “Memorize address failure” would not allow me to restore the backup, and Quicken would not allow me to access the other 3 accounts that have not been recently backed up.

Why don’t I have a current back-up of everything? With 659 GB I don’t have space even on my external drive. I did purchase iDrive, but with the workload of directing two conferences I’ve not had time to set it up. I do have a huge amount of files in Dropbox, but I’m no longer able to access them.

Am I upset? Of course!

Discouraged? Oh yes!

Doubting my ability to fix this? Absolutely!

But am I doubting my God, asking Him why He’s allowing all these obstacles? NO!

Friends, we forget that Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him. The night before He went to the cross, He told His disciples, “Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. . . . I have told you these things so that you won’t be staggered [by all that lies ahead.]  For you will be excommunicated from the synagogues, and indeed the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing God a service” (John 15:20; 16:1-2 TLB).

And His words proved to be true.

The apostle Paul, in the process of trying to spread the Good News, encountered “suffering and hardship and trouble of every kind. We have been beaten, put in jail, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, stayed awake through sleepless nights of watching, and gone without food (2 Cor. 6:4-5 TLB).

He also said, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. . . .We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going” (2 Cor. 4:8-9 TLB).

I am absolutely convinced that God allows trials even when, and perhaps especially when, we’re seeking to do His work. Why? Paul said in Romans 5:3, “they are good for us.” Seriously? Yes! How else would our faith muscles grow?

Open Doors says, “215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution in the countries on the World Watch List. This represents 1 in 12 Christians worldwide.” For more sobering statistics see https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution.

You’d think persecution would cause Christians to deny their faith, but no. Persecution has strengthened their faith, and where the church is literally under fire, it is growing.

So, I’m not giving up. How about you? Will you allow God to use obstacles to grow you closer to Him? How can I pray for you?

P.S. I’ve got a 20-minute appointment at 1:40 today with the Geek Squad. I don’t think it’s a “20-minute” problem, but I’m praying they will amaze me with their expertise.

 

So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough for a while down here. These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return.
1 Peter 1:6-7 TLB

Thanks so much for your prayers and sharing with me the obstacles you’re facing. Father, we look to You for Your answers and thank You that You are able to work all things together for good.

The Geek Squad tech was amazing. The files had not been deleted. They had been moved to a different account. (I didn’t know I had more than one account.) He also did a temporary fix for Quicken, and my MS Office programs appear to be running MUCH better. He removed a program that he said was notorious for introducing Malware. I’m am so relieved and thankful.

Sheri Schofield, a friend who comes to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, faced a HUGE obstacle this year. She indie published her children’s picture book, The Prince and the Plan, but by mistake 2,000 copies were printed in black and white. She was given the option to purchase them for $4,180 (that she didn’t have) or they would be destroyed. Praise God He has provided and is using them in Ephesians 3:20 ways. With her permission, here is the email she recently sent me – proof that God is not limited by the size of our author platform and that He does answer prayer!

PrinceandPlan_coverThe Lord has given me a team of people here in Montana to reach the Native Americans and the poor with my book The Prince And The Plan! When I was first debating what to do with the black & white misprints, the Lord gave me this verse: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release from darkness to the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1). Then He told me to give them to the Native Americans in Montana, where unemployment is 80%.

I’d been able to reach the Salish & Kootenai, the Crow, the Blackfeet, and the Assiniboine & Gros Ventra tribes, but hadn’t been able to reach the Chippewa Cree at Rocky Boy reservation nor the Sioux in the northern part of the state. I asked the Lord to provide a way to reach them. Rocky Boy is VERY closed. At a book signing at the local Christian bookstore, a pastor’s wife from Set Free Ministries came and bought 10 full-color copies for the families at their church. She asked if I had a way to give discounts for books in bulk for use among the Native Americans. I asked her which ones, she said “Rocky Boy and Havre”, which are the very ones I’d been praying about! Today she and her husband picked up 300 books for them. AND her husband committed to helping me reach more poor and Native children around the state! I’ve got a team now to help me! Praise God!

Twenty-one years ago, the Lord gave me a vision of a work He would do here in Helena that would flow to the rest of the state, then to the nation. I had no idea it had anything to do with me, but I now understand that it very well may! He said a river of life would spring up here.

Marlene, I’m NOT following the usual way of marketing this book. I’m doing only what the Lord tells me to do, for this is a ministry, not a career. I’m going through the doors the Lord opens, and trusting Him to provide the financing to get the gospel into the hands of children. I know — it is really different! But once before, the Lord told me to fight a battle for Him, and I did it HIS way — and I beat the U. S. military. So, having that example of how God leads behind me, I’m comfortable with doing this book His way, too. So far, God provided all the money needed to independently publish the book, to give away 2000 black & white copies, and has provided a team to help me get it into the hands of the poor, of which there are many here in Montana. I’m rejoicing!

[Click here for Sheri’s latest newsletter and contact info.]

 

Freedom!

4th of July

As we celebrate our nation’s independence, I want to encourage you to not overlook the freedom that Jesus Christ offers us, that He purchased on the Cross.

Jesus on cross

 “And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free”
from . . .

the consequences of sin – Isaiah 1:16-19; Romans 3:24; 1 John 1:9

the power of sin – Romans 7:15—8:2; 1 John 5:3-4

worry about financial problems – Psalm 34:8-9; Matthew 6:31-34; Philippians 4:19

limitations that negate – Isaiah 40:29-31; 2 Corinthians 19:8-10; Ephesians 3:16,20; Philippians 4:13

aloneness – Psalm 9:10; 54:4; 139:1-5; Revelation 3:20

discouragement – Psalm 9:10; 42:11; 138:3; Romans 10:11; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 11:1

fear – Psalm 34:4; 91; 118:6-7; Isaiah 43:1-5

wondering why – Isaiah 30:20; Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 4:8-11

wanting to give up – Psalm 27:14; 42:11; Habakkuk 2:3; John 15:5; Romans 8:35-37; 2 Corinthians 8:10-12; Colossians 1:29

feeling inadequate – Psalm 34:9; 81:10; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Philippians 4:13; 2 Timothy 1:6-8

feeling separated from God – Psalm 139:7; 145:18; Romans 8:38-39; James 4:8-10

weakness – Psalm 18:29,32; Isaiah 40:29-31; Habakkuk 3:19

feeling unloved – John 3:16; Ephesians 3:18-19

doubts – John 14:12-14; 16:24; 17:19

inner turmoil and confusion – Psalm 37:11; Isaiah 26:3-4; John 14:27; 16:33; Philippians 4:6-7

impatience – 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22-23; Hebrews 10:36

uncertainty – Psalm 32:8; 37:34; 119:105; Proverbs 3:5-6; Habakkuk 2:3;
John 8:12; Galatians 5:16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:5-8

feeling useless and untalented – Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:7,11-12; 1 Peter 4:10-11

the power of the enemy – Ephesians 6:10-17; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 5:8-10

sorrow – Psalm 43:5; Isaiah 25:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; Revelation 7:17; 21:4

not knowing how to pray – Romans 8:26

being down on ourselves – John 17:19; Romans 5:1-2; Philippians 1:6; 3:12-14; Jude 25

feeling like our future is hopeless – Psalm 32:8; 73:22-24; Proverbs 23:18; Isaiah 55:8-9; Jeremiah 29:11-13

feeling overwhelmed by problems and burdens – Psalm 55:22; 68:19; 146:8; Matthew 11:29-30; Romans 5:3-5; 8:31-32; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 5:7

being intimidated by temptations – 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15-16

fear of failure – 1 Chronicles 28:20; Psalm 37:5; Proverbs 16:3

defeat – Psalm 118:14; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:8-9

depression – Psalm 118:24; 139:6-12; Isaiah 46:4

hesitancy to give – Proverbs 3:9-10; 28:27; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Philippians 2:4; 1 Peter 5:2

rejection – John 6:37; Jeremiah 33:25

unfulfilled yearnings – Psalm 37:4; 107:9; 145:19; Ecclesiastes 5:7; Isaiah 44:3; Matthew 7:7; John 6:35; 7:37-39; 15:5; 16:24; Revelation 22:17

ignorance – Psalm 16:7; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Colossians 2:3; 3:16

fear of sharing our faith – Matthew 10:19-20; Luke 21:14-15; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:8

never-ending frustrations, struggles, plodding – Joshua 22:5; Psalm 37:34; Romans 12:11; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10

being overwhelmed when our faith is weak – 2 Timothy 2:13

anything else that would put us in bondage – 1 Peter 5:7

Compiled by Marlene Bagnull

 

Barb Haley apr 2016 cropped

Guest Blogger
Barbara Haley
Registrar &
Appointment Coordinator
Colorado & Greater Philly
Christian Writers Conference

I was ten years old when I asked God to show me if He was real. The next day my sixteen-year-old sister was killed in an automobile accident. God was real. I shouldn’t have asked.

Of course, I didn’t tell anyone. Instead, I stuffed the guilt and the excruciating pain when my parents said things to me like, “You may look like her, but you’ll never be as good as her.” Or, “Comb your hair a different way; I can’t stand to look at you.”

Thirty-five years later, I finally opened up to a therapist. He sent me home to write a letter to my big sister from the point of view of a ten-year-old child.

After just a few sentences, my heart connected with the hurting little girl inside, and she began to voice her pain. Begging forgiveness from her precious older sister for causing her death. Suggesting that everyone would have been better off if only she could have died in her sister’s place that day. And finally, admitting how very much she hated God for what He’d done.

My next letter was to that sweet child—explaining to her that she didn’t cause her sister’s death and that God was not angry with her for her honest feelings and reactions. I released that child to be exactly that. A broken and confused child who desperately needed to know she was loved by God and family.

That writing changed my life and instilled in me a desire to learn how to use my life experiences to minister to others through the written word.

But I needed to learn how to write tight. To eliminate wordiness. To organize my thoughts. To connect emotionally with the reader. To stick to one point of view. To create a setting that captures the reader’s imagination and transfers them from their everyday life to an exciting new story world.

Writing conferences. This is where I’m learning the craft. Where I connect with other writers to encourage and be encouraged. Where I receive one-on-one feedback with paid critiques. And where God speaks clearly to my heart through inspiring worship and keynote speakers, informative workshops and continuing sessions, life-changing editor appointments, and most of all—the day to day rapport with fellow writers while sharing meals, waiting in line at the book table, or joining together for intimate prayer and Bible study.

Sure, you can buy books about the craft of writing. My shelves are loaded with them. But only when I began to consistently attend conferences did I really improve as a writer. I needed the immediate feedback and the hands-on practice provided in small groups led by experienced teachers. I grew in leaps and bounds as I jotted down strategies mentioned by other writers and began implementing them in my own writing. And, as I stood amazed, listening to big-name authors share their overwhelmingly deep love for God and His people, I realized just how sacred the ministry of writing is.

Let me encourage you to come and grow in your ministry as a writer at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers’ Conference. The friendships you’ll form will develop into a network of love and support in all areas of your life, and your writing friends will truly become your family. I promise.

______________

Biz AmazonThanks, Barbie, for sharing your heart and for serving as the registrar and appointments coordinator at both the Colorado and the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. You are a HUGE blessing! And I love your latest book! (Available on Amazon – click here.)

NOTE: The Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is celebrating our 35th year of ministry. We’ve moved to a new location, Dock Mennonite Academy just off the Lansdale Exit of the North/South PA Turnpike (I-476). The registration fee increases July 8 so don’t delay. And reserve your room at the Holiday Inn (also by July 8) before our block is released and the price increases.

You know you need to grow your platform but . . .

pexels-photo-2 women 2 men1162964

you’re not smiling as you hold up that BLANK page of your book proposal. Yes, you could add your willingness to go on a nationwide book signing tour, but who would pay for it? The publisher? Not likely. And if you’re going indie, well unless you have a rich uncle, you’ve probably used all your available funds for an editor and cover designer.

pexels-photo-online marketing 266176Then you remember the promises from the marketing experts that frequently turn up in your inbox. Success is within your reach! Online marketing is the key.

You need a website with keywords that will draw readers.

You need to be active on social media, not just posting but responding to comments.

Of course, you need to blog and not just on your own site.

And then there’s the need for everything to be search engine optimized (S.E.O.) plus the need to outsmart the constantly changing algorithms.

All this and you still need to find time to write!

Sarah Bolme, director of CSPA, the Christian Small Publishers Association, and the author of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, is teaching a 3-1/2 Learning Lab from 1:00 – 4:30 on Thursday, July 26, at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. She will teach you six manageable steps to building and growing your online author platform through CONTENT MARKETING. To find out more, click here for Sarah’s blog, and click here for info on all three of our learning labs. Best-selling author Dan Walsh will teach the ”Focus on Fiction” Learning Lab, and literary agent, Diana Flegal, will teach “The Making of a Nonfiction Book.”

Thursday’s Learning Labs, catered dinner, first-timer’s orientation, and opening keynote, “Declaring God’s Truth in a Digital Age of Half Truths” is just the beginning of this year’s 2-1/2 day conference – our 35th! But keep in mind:

The cost of lodging at the Holiday Inn (5 minutes from the conference at Dock Mennonite Academy in Lansdale) increases July 7.

— The conference registration fee increases July 8.

Meals – Thursday’s chicken dinner, Friday’s Italian Buffet, and Friday and Saturday’s box lunches – must be ordered by July 15.

If you need some scholarship help or time payments, click here. If you’d like our 16-page brochure, please email me at mbagnull@aol.com. It’s also available online at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

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It was a solemn moment over 30 years ago when I made a commitment at the close of Lee Roddy’s continuing session at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference to complete my book in a year.

There was no question in my mind that this is what God was calling me to do. There were, however, lots of questions of whether or not I could do it – questions (and doubts) that intensified as the year wore on.

I found myself (yes I was “lost”) avoiding work on the book and instead writing short devotionals and Christian education teaching articles that I’d always been able to sell. But not now! Rejection slips landed in my mailbox seemingly before the editors even had time to read my submissions.

God bless my writing papa, Lee Roddy. “Has it occurred to you that you’re getting rejected because you’re not doing what you promised to do,” he wrote back in response to one of my “poor me” letters. Ouch!

Lee is now home with the Lord. I miss him and his stern yet necessary admonishment that kept me on track when I wanted to give up. I’m grateful he didn’t allow me to use the excuse that “a year in the Lord’s sight . . .”

About two months before the one year was up I was still a long way from finishing and still battling self-doubts. One spring day I grabbed my Bible and headed to Ridley Creek State Park. I sat down by a stream and opened my Bible. A sudden breeze tickled the pages of my Bible and then just as suddenly stopped. I felt my eyes drawn to

I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do a year ago . . . Having started the ball rolling so enthusiastically, you should carry this project through to completion just as gladly . . . Let your enthusiastic idea at the start be equalled by your realistic action now.  (2 Corinthians 8:10-11 TLB)

A year to the day I placed my completed manuscript in an envelope and mailed it to an editor who had requested to see it when it was finished.

I’d love to be able to tell you that the Lord “rewarded” me for keeping my commitment with a contact by return mail. Instead, I waited a year only to have the manuscript returned with a rejection slip. Many of you know it was 41 publishers and 6 years later when finally I met an editor at the St. David’s conference who offered me a contract two months later.

What if I had not finished the manuscript? What if I had not persevered for 6 long and discouraging years?

What if you, dear reader, are among the many writers who attend a conference where an editor requests a manuscript that you never finish or submit? (Sadly, those stats are amazingly high.)

And that brings me to the point of this blog – to what I’ve finally finished despite a ridiculous amount of obstacles. Drum roll, please.

The bios for all 40 editors, agents, authors, and other professionals at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference are finally online! It’s always a huge job but especially so this conference because of the thousands of emails that somehow got deleted  when Outlook crashed a week before I left for the Colorado conference.

Needed emails that I had filed in folders no longer exist! In fact, emails from the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Philly and Colorado conference all disappeared while thousands of non-conference emails in other folders are still there.

It’s been exasperating, frustrating, overwhelming, discouraging . . .

But then I’m reminded that Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him. Instead, I believe He allows us to experience all the above in order to build our faith muscles.

What about you? Have your faith muscles grow weak and flabby? Are you willing to allow Him to strengthen them by your deliberate choice to “finish what you start”?

And will you prayerfully consider coming to the Philly conference? It’s a day shorter (now Thursday afternoon/evening, all day Friday, and ending at 5:30 Saturday) making it less costly in time and money. We’ve moved to a new location (Dock Mennonite Academy) just off the Lansdale exit of the North/South PA Turnpike (I-476). Lodging at the Holiday Inn five minutes away can cost as little as $40-60 a night if you request one or two roommates. And meals at the conference are going to be outstanding.

Our 16-page brochure is also finally finished and off press. I’ll be glad to mail you one if you’ll send me (mbagnull@aol.com) your USPS address.

Page 16 cover

page 1 markets

I confess! I hate research. As a result, almost all of my 1,000 plus sales to Christian periodicals are based on personal experience. You’ll rarely find me including statistics or quoting a bunch of “experts.”

Well, I hate most kinds of research, but I love digging deep into God’s Word to “write His answer.”

Study GOD and his strength, seek his presence day and night.

1 Chronicles 16:11 MSG

Early on in the 45 years I’ve written for publication I discovered the importance of studying (researching) the markets. I took seriously what an editor said at one of the first writers’ conferences I attended. I don’t remember her name, but I’ve never forgotten what she said: “An incorrectly targeted article is nothing but a source of irritation to a busy editor.”

Each edition of the Christian Writers Market Guide that Sally Stuart compiled for 24  years was well worn and much appreciated. From it, and the guidelines for writers that I always requested from publishers, I developed Market Analysis Charts. As part of my Ministry/Marketing Packet that I sold for many years they were used by well over 1,000 writers.

Barb Haley apr 2016 croppedToday I’m so grateful for my dear friend, Barb Haley, who serves as the registrar and appointment coordinator for the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences. The charts of agent interests, editorial needs, and areas of expertise that she prepares for both conferences are an incredibly valuable research tool.

Here’s the chart of fiction genres the six agents at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference are interested in representing. Two additional charts detail nonfiction, children and youth, and other interests. Click here.

Agent p2 WEBSITE CHARTS 6.7.18

In addition, with the bio for each of our faculty members you’ll find the chart they completed along with their photo and bio. So far, only the page for our six agents is finished. I hope to have the bios and charts for our 34 other faculty online in the next several days.

HART Agent

Father, thank You for Barb and for Steve Laube who is continuing the work Sally Stuart began with the Christian Writers Market Guide. Thank You for the Internet that puts information at our fingertips. Help us not to be lazy when it comes to obtaining info we need. And especially, Father, remind us daily to be students of Your Word.

And let us not get tired of doing what is right,
for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing
if we don’t get discouraged and give up.

Galatians 6:9 TLB

It would be interesting to take a poll of the thousands of writers who have attended the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Actually after 22 years directing the Colorado conference and 35 years directing Philly, the number would be in the tens of thousands.

“Why did you only come once or twice?” I’d ask them.

Overshadowing the typical answers of time and money, the response I’m certain I would most frequently hear is

I got discouraged and gave up!

Back in the early days of my struggle to find a publisher for my first book, I recall someone saying, “It takes ten years to build a career.”

That was definitely NOT what I wanted to hear. I mean, seriously, since I knew God had called me to write this book, wouldn’t He open the door for its publication? (This was before indie publishing was an affordable and respectable alternative.)

But the fact is, as many of you know, it took six years and 42 rejection slips before finally I was offered a contract from a publisher I met at the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference.

Had I given up, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers would never have been written, much less published and in print for 28 years!

The publication of eight other books and over 1,000 sales to Christian periodicals, serving on the faculty of over 70 Christian writers conferences, giving my one and two-day writing seminars around the nation over 50 times, and the Greater Philly and Colorado Christian Writers Conferences would be just a pipe dream had I given in to discouragement and quit.

But I get it! Discouragement is a very real adversary. I continue to battle it almost daily. In this season, it’s taken the form of over-the-top problems with my new laptop computer. Turns out I didn’t just lose the past two months of emails when Outlook crashed a little over a week before leaving to direct the Colorado conference. I’ve since discovered the folders from the 2016 and 2017 conferences are empty while hundreds of other non-conference folders are intact. Strange, really strange!

And that is just the beginning of my computer woes that have put me almost a month behind getting the brochure for the July 26-28 Greater Philly conference to the printer.

Discouraged? Absolutely! Ready to give up? No way because I know I am doing what God has called me to do.

I’m reminded of Jesus’ words:

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me,
you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace.
In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.
But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.
John 16:33 MSG

And so, despite much frustration and many tears because of a laptop computer that refused to cooperate, the Philly brochure is finally at the printer. If you’re on our mailing list, you should receive it by June 8. Meanwhile, you can access it online by clicking here.

If you’re discouraged and ready to give up, know that  I am praying for you.

Page 16 cover

 

Memorial Day

 Memorial day

Father, there are so many grieving this weekend for loved ones who gave their lives for our country. Others are struggling with “what if” fears as their loved one serves in a country far from home. And still others daily face the pain of seeing a son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother cope with a physical disability or PTSD.

Thank You, Father, for the assurance that You will not forget them or their families – or us.

 I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

Isaiah 49:15-16 (NIV)