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I know what I’m doing.
I have it all planned out—
plans to take care of you, not abandon you,
plans to give you the future you hope for.
Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

A lot of planning and even more prayer goes into each year’s Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences. And I try, really try, to not mess up on important details – details that often overwhelm me and make me question whether I really can hold it together.

Well, truth is, I can’t. But He can and does!

At the conference the person I thought I had asked to house Edwina Perkins Saturday night told me she couldn’t. God stepped in and provided the perfect person who blessed Edwina immensely even as Edwina was able to bless her.

But that wasn’t my only goof. You can imagine my embarrassment and panic when at the faculty/staff dinner after the conference Sarah Bolme asked me where she was staying. I was certain I had her staying somewhere, but when I checked my lodging spreadsheet (that I hadn’t had time to update) Sarah didn’t have a host family. PTL my friend, Peggy, had not yet left.  So Sarah went home with Peggy. (Peggy and I, by the way, have been friends for almost 50 years and raised our children together. She is Aunt Peggy to my kids.)

But oops – again. When a couple from church came to pick up Craig von Buseck, I discovered that another couple from church were on their way to get Edwina. I had totally forgotten about them. I didn’t have their phone number, but the couple who had just arrived called the couple’s son and daughter-in-law who were on vacation to ask them to call their mom and tell her I didn’t need her after all. (Yes, this was getting complicated and, again, oh so embarrassing!)

But they had just pulled up to my house. “I’m not leaving until I’m certain we’re not needed,” Gladys said.

So she came in just when my good friends from Virginia, Tom and Sue Bailey, were on the phone trying to book a hotel. Instead, Gladys took them home with her and her husband and a “forever friendship” (their words) was formed.

The truth is God already has a plan when our plans fail. But often it’s only in retrospect that we see how God has been at work changing our plans into something far better.

About seven years ago the program I was using for the conference websites and my main website (I hope you’ve visited www.writehisanswer.com as well as the conference sites) was no longer supported. I moved the site to MS Expression and was beyond frustration trying to push through the learning curve. I even paid an “expert” who couldn’t find the answer to the problems I was having.

Celebration Web Design.jpgBut God . . .

I got a call from Bruce Shank’s wife. If I remember right, Bruce had come to the Philly conference a year or two before and set up a table for SKWD, his website design and hosting service. Her routine follow-up call was the answer to my desperate prayers.

Bruce and Jonathan Shank came alongside to set up not one, but all three of my websites. What a magnificent job they did not just designing the sites but helping me learn how to make changes, add pages, and so much more. (Their EZ-CMS, Easy Content Managing System, really is EZ because it’s so similar to MS Word.)

Always, when I’ve had a question or needed something done beyond my skills, I’ve been able to pick up the phone and get the help I need. (Their goal is “to take care of all the ‘tech stuff’ so you can focus on your writing.”) In the six or seven years (we lose track) that we’ve worked together, they’ve become treasured friends and prayer partners.

Now known as Celebration Web Design by SKWD (they moved to Celebration, Florida), I send my friends to them knowing that they will be blessed with the same great help I receive. Check out the great sites they designed for:

Barb Haley – www.barbarahaleybooks.com
Facing Facts in a World of Fiction

Pam Halter – www.pamhalter.com
Writing, Editing, Serving

Karen Whiting – www.karenwhiting.com
Speaker, Author – Family, Faith, and Food

Carolyn Ruch, Rise and Shine Movement – http://riseandshinemovement.org
To protect children from sexual abuse. Carolyn is in my critique group. Her children’s picture books, Ana’s Song: A Tool for the Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Bobby Gilliam, Brave and Strong: A Tool for the Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse are available online to read/watch/listen to.

Lori Hynson – www.lorihynson.com
The SuperGal Syndrome – Breaking the Chains of Control, Pride & Perfectionism

Margie Vawter – www.marjorievawter.com
Speaking, Editing, Writing – Discovering Foundations of Truth

Dee Lundgren – www.deelundgren.com
Coaching and Counseling – Help, Hope, Healing After Loss

Vicki Chandler – www.hearteyes.net
Educator and author burdened for children who are ignored or bullied

I’ve been on the phone with Bruce and Jonathan several times since the conference and am absolutely THRILLED that the MP3s of the Philly conference are already available online. (You’ll find the order form at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.) Talk about service that goes above and beyond . . .

I just talked to Bruce a few minutes ago to ask if the special price he offered the Philly conferees could be extended to everyone on my mailing list. He said yes! So if you do not have a website, or if you have a website that needs to be redesigned, I encourage you to view the special offer (good through August 17) that you’ll find on the home page of http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com. And visit the sites above and the review the specifics of how Celebration Web Design helps authors expand their ministry at http://www.celebrationwebdesign.com/author.

Meanwhile, for any plans that aren’t working out quite as you had hoped, know that Father loves you and has something even better planned.

P.S. I thought you’d like to see Celebration Web Design’s

Statement of Faith

There is One true God: the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. God is immutable, infinite, and incomprehensible. God in His very nature is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. God created and has dominion over the entire world causing it to work for His purpose. God is holy, glorious, good, kind, merciful, jealous, a righteous judge, truthful, faithful, loving, and long suffering. God is known in three persons who are the same in essence and glories, the Three Persons are The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.

Christ is the begotten son of God. Christ through His sacrifice became the mediator for all mankind. No man can come to God except by Christ. Christ is the agent of all creation, sustains creation and is eternal.

The Holy Spirit is a helper sent from God, enabled to testify of Christ and truth. Through the Holy Spirit mankind shares in Christ, His blessings and God’s love. The Holy Spirit resides within the believer and by Him the believer is regenerated and renewed.

The Scriptures are the Word of God, free from error in the originals and completely accurate in every way. The Old Testament and the New Testament have been inspired by the Holy Spirit and are the one and only standard of faith and practice. Creation has been given to man as general revelation of God, but the Word is God’s specific revelation.

Mankind was created in the image of God. Mankind was given the right to rule over creation. Mankind choose to rebel against God through the actions of Adam, through his headship all men have fallen. No man except Christ has lived without sin and the wage of sin is death. Man, in his nature, is a slave to sin. Each man, not only receives the penalty of death by way of Adam, but also his own sin. Man is born fallen.

The Redemption of man is the work of Christ. “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” Christ’s sacrifice was once for all and covers all sin. (1 Cor. 15: 20-22). By faith in Christ alone, a man is granted the gift of eternal life based upon Christ sacrifice atonement on the cross. Christ literally died, was buried, arose bodily from the dead and ascended into heaven.

The Church is the body of true believers who have taken on the qualities of Christ. The church is being prepared, by the Holy Spirit, as the bride of Christ for His second coming. The church exists as a witness to the Gospel.

 

 

 

 

mtn climb 3 pexels-photo-681794

I mean writers’ conference or retreat or . . .

Unlike the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, there were no mountains at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. There certainly were scary mountains to climb for conferees who met for the first time with an agent or editor or received a critique of their work from a professional author.

And there were holy mountains to climb for many who I trust were aware of God’s presence and His call to “write His answer” more keenly than they had ever experienced. Indeed, as we worshiped and were stirred by powerful keynotes we were on the mountaintop. Commitments were made in the closing session that, if kept, God will use to change lives today and for eternity.

But oh how hard it is to come down from the mountain. The encouragement we received at the conference may be sorely lacking from our family and circle of friends. Meanwhile, the evil one is likely to already be working hard to convince us that we’re not good enough writers. We’re not smart enough. We’re too old or too young. We don’t have strong computer skills, and we definitely do not have the needed “platform.”

This morning as I was sharing with my friends from Colorado, Chris and Roy Richards and Eric Sprinkle, I was reminded of an experience I had that could have ended my writing and speaking before it even got started.

I’d felt a call to Christian ministry since I was a teenager. My parents scoffed when I talked about going to college. “What makes you think that you’re better than us – that you’re college material?” They were not willing to offer any financial support, but in faith I applied to my first choice school, Wheaton College. I was not accepted.

I tried applying a few other places and was finally accepted at a Bible college down south. I had met a sailor at the USO and had fallen in love with him. But then he broke up with me. Of course, I was devastated.

The time to leave for college fast approached, but my thoughts (and prayers) were more focused on Paul than on a getting a college degree.

“God,” I prayed, “please show me what You want me to do. I’m willing to go to college although I don’t know how I can pay for it. But if you bring Paul back into my life, I’ll know that it’s Your will that I marry him instead.”

November 9 Paul and I will celebrate 56 years of marriage. Except for when I said yes to the Lord, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made and one I’ve never regretted.

But oh how I struggled for years with feeling inadequate and even ashamed that I was only a high school graduate. The call to ministry was still there, but I believed the lie that my lack of education disqualified me from serving the Lord.

God knew and He didn’t let go of me. A couple from a church we had visited reached out to us – actually pursued us. We finally joined the church but stayed on the fringes until a new pastor and his wife drew me into leadership roles I was convinced I could not handle.

I became president of the Koinonia Sunday School class of highly educated men and women including two lawyers, two seminary professors, and a doctor. Talk about being over my head!

One of the events I planned was an evening where we made montages to help us share what we believed God was calling us to do.

I can still hear the deafening silence as I held up my montage and told them I believed God was calling me to a nationwide speaking ministry. No one said anything. Not one word of encouragement or affirmation. Yes, I was mortified. I wanted to escape into a dark, deep hole.

For the rest of the story, you’ll need to read my next blog.

For now I want to reassure those who feel like I once did and sometimes still do. Friends, it’s not our ability or the letters behind our name that qualify us to do the Lord’s work. In fact, the more inadequate we feel, the more we’ll need to depend on Him. And that’s a good thing.

He is so much bigger than all our self-doubts, all our fears, all our failures. The more you struggle with the “deadly Ds” of disappointments, doubts, discouragement, the more I believe they are evidence that you are a threat to the evil one. Yes, God could make it easy, but then our faith muscles would not become strong.

God said to Paul, and He says to you and to me:

I am with you; that is all you need.
My power shows up best in weak people.”
Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am;
I am glad to be a living demonstration
of Christ’s power,
instead of showing off my own power and abilities.

2 Corinthians 12:9 TLB

mtn climb 2pexels-photo-671907

MP3s and CDs from the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference available –

For the first time we’re excited to be able to offer the entire conference as downloadable MP3s. (The MP3 files are also available on a DVD.) The cost is only $57 ($67 on a DVD) for those who came to the conference or $77 ($87 on a DVD) for those who were not able to come. The almost 70 sessions can also be purchased individually as CDs. You’ll find the order form at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

Write Right Now

Verna Bowman 3 from FB
Guest post
Verna Bowman

 

In the past few weeks I’ve spoken to a few writer-friends about the upcoming conference in our area. It wasn’t surprising to hear that some were feeling that they didn’t have anything valuable to offer and identified their work as just a keepsake for the family. I understand, I felt that way once.

Writing matters.

One sage-lady simply jots down life but has the unique charm of telling a story to take you along to live with her right on the pages. As I listened to a few others, I was inspired by a handwritten poem, moved by a passionate article concerning our critical times, encouraged by a woman’s heartwarming experience of finding her biological family, and motivated by a manuscript on ministry leadership.  All needed – all good.

They should attend the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference – every one of them. And maybe you should too! It’s not too late to register at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

A writers conference provides the tools to turn valuable writings we’ve been hoarding or unsure of to be used to bring hope to a needy world. I’ve regularly attended GPCWC for over three decades.  And yes, there have been times I’ve left dazed and confused, wondering if I fit – tempted to quit.  However, the dedicated lady who directs the conference, Marlene Bagnull, believed in the calling and mentored me along the journey.  Gratefully, through many connections, I’ve had the opportunity to share faith stories in several publications, one the feature cover story in Guideposts, have my books published and encourage women through a personal ministry blog.

What compelled me to wipe the dust off of decades of random scribblings stored in the abyss of a drawer were the jewels I’ve extracted through keynotes and workshops led by gifted presenters and professionals in the industry.  It has been a blessed benefit to polish my craft and grow spiritually through these events.

Whether you’re a new or seasoned writer or maybe stuck in the dry in-between – you’ll find rich resources at the conference to awaken your writer’s heart.

Please join us July 26-28th (one or all days) at Dock Academy in Lansdale and also come out for the evening keynotes, free of charge to the community:

  • Declaring God’s Truth in a Digital Age of Half Truths
  • The Freedoms of a Christian Writer
  • Be Still and Know
  • The Arm of Flesh Will Fail
  • Finish Strong
Be blessed,
Verna

crumbs_coverNote from Marlene:

I had the privilege and joy of publishing Verna’s first book.

Crumbs Along the Broken Path walks us through Verna’s rebellion, redemption, and restoration by following scattered crumbs on her path that led to a deep relationship with the Lord. Verna’s stories can bring each one of us to a deeper understanding of how God uses tragic circumstances in our lives.

This one woman’s story will help you discover a faith that cannot be shattered by brokenness and how you, too, can walk through and not around adversity.

Crumbs are symbolic of the things the Father uses in our life, the good and the not-so-good, to get our attention and keep us on track. While walking over broken pieces of life, I have found keepsakes leading to wholeness. I share my story so you can, also.

For more information and to read Verna’s blog go to https://vernabowman.com.

 

 

Barb Haley apr 2016 croppedA Message from Barb Haley

CCWC and GPCWC Registrar
and Appointments Coordinator

 

Have you ever felt like giving up on your writing ministry?

 

Perhaps that’s why haven’t yet registered for the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference or decided to go to any writers conference this year.

 

Or maybe you are SO majorly busy that you can’t imagine taking several days from your schedule for a conference – especially if you’ve attended one in the past and you’re still not published. Or maybe you just can’t justify spending the money to support a hobby you love, but that – face it -doesn’t promise any financial returns.

 

I’ve definitely felt the same way a LOT of times. I go to workshops and conferences, get all excited, and … nothing. Either I don’t hear from the faculty member who asked me to send my writing, or I receive a note that says I’m a strong writer, but the piece just doesn’t meet the publishing house’s needs at this moment. Oh, and P.S. (they add) Please don’t give up. I’m sure there’s another publishing house out there who will want to give your manuscript a home.

 

Ha. So reassuring. Right?

 

Not.

 

Well, I was there when I was spending hunks of time on my first novel. What I once loved had turned to a burden. Getting published seemed to rest on my shoulders. Twitter, Facebook, website, blog, etc. Daily deadlines that did nothing to inspire me to keep writing my book.

 

But what was worse was realizing that if my writing was never published, I was wasting time that could be better spent in some sort of ministry related activity. So I talked to God about it.

 

“I don’t know what to do, Lord,” I prayed. “I thought You called me to write. The words come easy. Ideas flood my mind. But I don’t want to waste time if I’m not in Your will.”

 

The answer was immediate. God spoke to my spirit. “Barbie, if the novel you are working on ministers to just one person, will that be enough for all the time you’ve spent working on it?”

 

Tears flooded my eyes. My Father understood me. Loved me. Heard even the unspoken words of my heart.

 

“Of course, it would,” I answered. “But it’s not my time I’m concerned about. I love writing. I’m concerned that what I’m doing isn’t what You want me to be doing.”

 

Again: “If what you are doing ministers to one person, do you think that could be My plan?”

 

“Oh, yes, Father.”

 

I thought about the beta copies I’d just sent out to a dozen friends when I finally finished my novel (for the zillionth time-ha!). Many had responded with how the words had touched their hearts. How they could relate to the character’s issues and struggles in her Christian walk. How the answers God gave her spoke to them, the readers.

 

I thought about the seven devotionals I write each year for piddly-little money. But it’s not about the money. It’s about spreading the gospel. And I thought about my blog. Every time I post, God seems to use the words to minister to someone. Usually just someone I already know. Not like my readership has blossomed.

 

But could it be that this is the very audience God desires for me to minister to? Could it be I got so excited about being called to write that I quickly assumed that meant to be in print? In the bookstores?

 

Or could God be calling me to reach the ones I already know with His love and encouragement? Would that be enough for me? For God?

 

Okay. I can’t tell you what a release I felt when the truth sank in. God had called me to write. I just needed to take the future results out of the box I’d filed them in and allow God to shape my writing future in any way He deems best. He didn’t call me to publish. He called me to write.

 

Then God spoke one more time to my heart. He confirmed His call so strongly I will never doubt it again.

 

But first, let me ask about you. Has God called you to write? Has a lack of “success” blocked you from moving forward? From attending a conference?

 

Sixteen years I’ve been coming, and you know, I strongly believe all these years of preparation and learning the craft of writing have enabled me to be used by God. To put His words and thoughts on paper. To share what He’s done for me, and what He wants to do for readers.

 

Lord Get Your NeedleSo I continue. Last year I self-published my first non-fiction book, a set of devotionals: Lord, Get Your Needle-I’m Falling Apart at the Seams. Subtitle: The Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain. And this May I self-published my first novel, Biz On the Go.

 

Huge sales? Nope. But many, many confirmations of God using the words to minister to His hurting children. Worth my time and effort? Definitely.

 

Biz AmazonToday, the fact that we can self-publish is HUGE. In fact, many big-name authors are going this route. Does it take work? Yes. But how exciting to know that we now have an avenue to put our words out there for others.

 

What did God say to me that cemented His call in my heart?

 

After I assured Him I was willing to write my whole life for just one person and that I knew He would be pleased, He said, “Good, because that one person is you.”

 

Oh, my. The love of God overpowered me. For me.

 

I knew my main character in the novel was much like me. In fact I’d hoped that I could share the lessons God had taught me through the character.

 

But what I didn’t realize was that in writing – in asking God constantly what He wanted to say to the character next – I was allowing God to speak to my life. The conflict and situations that seemed to spontaneously come to my mind for my character came from the Holy Spirit, and as I worked through them, on my character’s behalf, I worked through them for me. Deep, hidden questions. Wounds. Self-doubts. Painful honesty and surrender.

 

I’m a new creation because of what I experienced as I wrote. The truth I searched for on behalf of my main character has set me free on so many levels. Glory be to God!

 

So, before this email becomes a book, I want to encourage you to register for the July 26-28 Philly conference. Marlene is MORE than willing to work with you on time payments. We don’t want you to miss out.

 

Come spend time in the presence of God. Hear His voice and allow Him to rekindle the flame under your writing ministry and passion. Join with other writers and discover that friendship and support we all crave and need. Listen and improve your writing skills. Allow God to prepare you for what He has in mind for your future. For your world of influence.

 

Love in Christ!

 

Barb Haley
2018 GPCWC Registrar/Appointments Coordinator

 

Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

P.S. from Marlene

 

Thank You, Father, for speaking so powerfully to Barb and giving her the gift of words to share her story with us.

 

If you have a book manuscript you’ve been unable to place with a traditional publisher, do pray about indie publishing. Bestselling author, Dan Walsh, is teaching a continuing session on “The Brave New World of Indie Publishing” at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. After successfully publishing 13 novels the traditional way, in 2015 Dan joined a large number of fellow authors who were all starting to publish their books on their own as indies. He’s now done 5 and says he “absolutely loves it.”

 

Six other continuing sessions, 3 new learning labs on Thursday afternoon, 35 workshops, 6 keynotes, panels, and one-on-one appointments with our faculty of 40 agents, authors, editors, and other professionals make GPCWC 2018 a not-to-miss conference. And it’s not too late to register!

 

We’ve moved to Dock Mennonite Academy, just off the Lansdale exit of the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike. Lodging is only five minutes away at the Holiday Inn. We hope to see you there!

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.

page 1 markets

 

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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