Every year in the closing session of the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference I encourage conferees (faculty and staff too) to make a commitment to complete in a year what they believe God is calling them to write.

It’s the challenge Lee Roddy gave his class at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference over 40 years ago. Father had nudged me to join Lee’s continuing session on writing fiction after I heard him keynote Sunday evening. I didn’t understand why since I don’t write fiction, but I’m so glad I listened.

Not only did I learn how essential it was to use fiction skills in the personal experience story I was writing, I needed Lee’s challenge to get it finished. PTL I did. Not early, but not late. A year to the day I completed the book and mailed it to a publisher who had shown interest at the conference.

And then the waiting began! And the rejection slips. But my writing papa, Lee, who is now home with the Lord, encouraged and sometimes scolded me to persevere.

How Our Family Coped with Incest was returned by 42 publishers during the next six years. The book that no one wanted to publish is my testimony to how God enabled us to care for my half-sister who came to live with us when she was not quite fourteen because her father, my step-father, had been sexually abusing her.

Finally, at the end of those six long years I met a publisher at the St. David’s conference. He called me three months after the conference to offer me a contract.

I’m convinced that if I had not responded to Lee’s challenge and kept the commitment I made in his class the book would never have been finished much less published. After being out of print about 37 years, I reprinted it last January through my indie publishing house, Ampelos Press. I also seriously doubt I’d still be writing today much less directing two Christian writers conferences.

Because Father enabled me to not give up (although I certainly came close many times), for 36 years at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, 23 years at the Colorado conference, and at the 50 plus seminars I’ve taught around the nation I’ve always given the Lee Roddy challenge.

What I’ve not done as faithfully as I intend to do, is provide the resources to help writers keep their commitment. Well, that’s not totally true. I blog, although it’s been, yikes, a month. And “Making It Happen,” a chapter from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers (Lee wrote the foreword and said “this book can change your life) is on my website along with the Goal Planning Chart below. (Click here to download it as a PDF.)

But Father is convicting me that I need to follow my own advice. Today I have made a commitment to focus on the “practical preparation” of sharpening my writing skills by making time to listen to the workshops and continuing sessions from this year’s GPCWC. I’ve spent the last two days uploading 75 MP3s (with 9 more to come) to the conference website (click here).

I want to challenge you to join me in this exciting learning opportunity. Using the honor system you can purchase sessions at $4.00 each (for 7 or more, only $3.50 each) and download them or listen to them online. You’ll also find links to the handouts, if any.

Friends, let’s commit to grow our writing ability. Let’s listen and learn so we will be better equipped to “write His answer.”

This morning I’m seeing more clouds than sunshine. The majestic Rocky Mountains are only a distant memory. Instead, all I’m seeing is mountains of work!

I’m overwhelmed and frustrated. Checking 11 voice mail messages, more than half of them were scam calls from Social Security.

For over an hour I tried to reach the doctor’s office that was supposed to be open. When I finally got through, I had to listen to 8 menu options – none of which addressed my need to talk to a real live person to get the script for the blood work my husband is scheduled for this morning.

Last night we couldn’t get in the house. Well, that’s not totally true. I got in, left my keys in the door, set my cell phone down, and went to get a flashlight so Paul could see to get in. I pulled the storm door shut when I left so our labradoodle wouldn’t get out.

Several minutes later (Paul is walking so slowly), we couldn’t open the storm door. We banged and pulled and tried prying it open with a knife. I admit I was close to panic. A neighbor across the street frequently comes to our rescue, but his front steps are very steep and there is no railing. Our daughter lives two blocks away. As much as my knees have been hurting (the gel injections aren’t working this time), I honestly didn’t think I could walk that far. Duh! I just realized I could have driven over there. No, double duh. I couldn’t drive the car. My keys were in the door!

Earlier in the day, Paul fell in the driveway. He tripped over the kitchen and office trash basket. He called for me for ten minutes before I heard him. He’s sore today but walking – slowly – so he must not have injured the knee cap he broke September 30.

And then there’s the frustration I’m feeling over my STUPIDITY. When I took Paul to the neurologist on Tuesday, I dropped him curbside. I spied a close by handicap parking space and headed for it, completely forgetting and not seeing the 10-12″ high concrete and dirt island.

I’ve never had an accident or ticket in 59 years of driving, but I really hurt my new leased car that I’ve only had for two weeks. I ripped off the shield under the engine and learned yesterday that I damaged three other things on the underbelly of my car. The Honda serviceman is guessing $1100 – $1500 for repairs, but if body work is involved it could be much more. They are going to take a closer look next Wednesday (so glad I can still drive it) to get a better idea of the cost so I can decide whether or not to file an insurance claim. If I do, the question is how much our insurance will go up.

All the above, and so much more on top of the exhaustion I’m still feeling from the conference, is incredibly frustrating. But I have a choice. I can choose to keep my eyes on Jesus and to trust Him and even praise Him for all these irritations. Yes, He can use them to grow the fruit of His Spirit in my life and to prove to me again that He is faithful.

And He can fill me with His peace that passes understanding. I have a choice, and so do you!

God Is with Us

This is not a pretty picture! The Rocky Mountains that I love were hidden by dense cloud cover the day after this year’s CCWC ended. And 15″ of snow was forecast – yes, in May!

I had planned to take those who had not yet gone home into Rocky Mountain National Park after church. We gathered in the lobby of Alpen Inn pulling chairs into a circle that kept expanding.

“We’ve come here knowing we are risking our lives to meet together,” I say. “Pastor along with his family were arrested when a portion of the Bible was found as his home was searched because of a tip from a neighbor.

“Many drop to their knees and begin to intercede. Someone else begins to quietly seek God’s strength for their pastor and his family through song. Others share a Scripture and a word of encouragement. They become the body of Christ ministering to one another as the presence of the Lord fills the place where they are hiding.

“Even if their pastor had not been arrested, he wouldn’t have come with a sermon, complete with PowerPoints, that he had worked on for several days. The worship team would not have had their instruments tuned and the songs planned and practiced.”

And so, I set the stage for what has been very special times of experiencing “church” for 24 years at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference as we allow the Spirit to lead.

Amazingly, by the time “church” ends, the clouds have parted and we are able to go up to the park in several cars.

We see herds of magnificent elk but no moose. The folks with Dick Bruso spot one. I am disappointed, but as always the grandeur of His creation fills me to overflowing with His presence.

But getting back to where this blog started . . .

Coming down from the mountain after CCWC, or from the high of the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference last Thursday through Saturday, or any powerful experience is difficult. For one thing, we are probably exhausted and thus more vulnerable to the attacks of the evil one. Especially if we’ve been away from home for several days, it’s hard to return to our daily routine. We want to hang on to the sense of His presence we felt, but again we’re ruled by the “tyranny of the urgent” and the expectations of others.

But God . . . as Beatrice Bruno reminded us in her closing keynote at both conferences this year. Even when, like the mountains hidden in clouds, we cannot see Him or feel His presence, He is with us. And even when snowstorms or, ___________________ you fill in the blank, threaten us, we can trust in His faithfulness.

Father, help us never to lose sight of those mountain-top experiences when we hear You speaking to us and to the commitments we make in response. Draw us close to You, keep us in Your Word, and bless us with rich and deep fellowship with others.

And the mountains were still there,
just as “Our God is with Us.”

It’s been almost 30 years since Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages by Chuck Colson was published. He wrote,

“‘Dark Age’ is a strong term. I recognize that. Yet in recent years I’ve had a growing sense of storm clouds gathering on the horizon. . . . The forecast is foreboding. . . . We scan the horizon with unease.

We sense that things are winding down, that somehow freedom, justice, and order are slipping away. Our great civilization may not yet lie in smoldering ruins, but the enemy is within the gates.

“The times seem to smell of sunset. Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land. . . . We do face a crisis in Western culture, and it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome.”

If we have eyes to see, the moral fabric of our nation is not just unraveling – it’s being torn apart. How much longer can a righteous God withhold His judgment of a nation that has turned away from His Truth?

For 23 years the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 36 years the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference has focused on the need for God’s scribes to “Write His Answer.” Michael Gantt, who is again keynoting at both conferences, says:

I urge you to subscribe to Michael’s blog at https://mkgantt.com and to read his post about the conference and why I’ve given him a standing invite to keynote. In part he says,

Writers have always been among the most feared by despots and dictators. Truth tellers have been imprisoned and executed, their writings banned and burned, their character brought into question by allegation and accusation. The written word is among the most powerful weapons of history. . . .

I realized this weekend that my part in standing before these conferences of writers and publishers is to represent the Word of God that it might not be bound; to communicate with a deep sense of urgency that we are not writers who are coincidentally Christians, but we are Christ followers who have been given a gift to write and that we bear a grave and dangerous responsibility to guard the deposit of truth that has been entrusted to us and to ensure above everything that the Word of God is not bound.”

At the May 2019 Colorado Christian Writers Conference we had workshops (available on CD) that addressed:

America at the Crossroads
The Rocks Cry Out
Speaking Life to a Culture of Death
Answering Christianity’s Critics
The Burden of the Watchman
Make Some Noise!

The August 8-10 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will address the following topics. If you are unable to come, they also will be available on CD or as MP3s.

Keynote, Thursday, August 8, 7:30 pm, open free of charge to the community.
We’ve grouped these 4 sessions (2.5 hours on Friday and 2.5 hours on Saturday) together along with the two keynotes and workshop so you only need to come part of the days and at a reduced price. See “For Busy Pastors” for registration information.
Keynote, Saturday, August 10, 8:30 am, free of charge.
Hour-long workshop, Saturday, August 10, 9:45 am. Free of charge.

It’s not too late to register, and walk-ins are welcome. (No registration is needed for the keynotes or workshop.) The conference is on the campus of Dock Mennonite Academy in Lansdale, PA (just off the Lansdale exit of the North/South PA Turnpike. In addition to the above, a faculty of 42 editors, agents, and authors will present 42 workshops, 7 continuing sessions, 5 keynotes, panels, and will be available for one-on-one appointments. For more info visit https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises.

Romans 11:29 TLB

Writing for the Lord isn’t easy! No, duh. You’ve probably already discovered this.

When I first started writing, everything I wrote got accepted. True, they were only 200 word devotionals. (That’s not to minimize the value of writing devotionals. God uses them in special ways to minister to readers – and to writers.) Then I wrote some articles for Christian education magazines and personal experience stories for Sunday school take home papers. But then . . .

In a continuing class taught by Lee Roddy at the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference I made a commitment to finish, in a year, the book I had started.

I quickly discovered that making a commitment and making it happen are two different things. A month passed, and then several months as I avoided working on the book and instead focused on writing the short pieces that came easy. But suddenly selling them was no longer easy. Rejection slips started filling my mailbox and eroding my confidence.

A letter from Lee Roddy didn’t bring any reassurance. “Has it occurred to you your work is being rejected because you are not doing what you committed to do?” he asked.

Gulp. But how did God expect me to write a book, much less sell it, when I was dismally failing at what had once come easy?

One word at a time!

Now you have every grace and blessing; every spiritual gift and power for doing his will are yours during this time of waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

I had His promise. Now I needed to keep my promise.

I did finish the book and brought it to the post office exactly one year later. And then, as some of you know, God allowed my faith to be tested for SIX long years (and through 42 rejection slips) until an editor I met at the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference offered me a contract

What did I learn from this long and difficult journey? Lots of hard but important lessons. Here are just a few:

  • God’s ways and timing are not mine. “This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours!” (Isaiah 55:8 TLB).
  • I need to “go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth” (Colossians 2:7 TLB). He really is more interested in my relationship with Him than anything I can do for Him.
  • I need to study His Word so what I write is biblically sound as well as study the craft of writing and marketing. “Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple” (2 Timothy 2:15 MSG).
  • I need to be encouraged and to encourage others. “Encourage each other to build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 TLB).
  • I need to stay positive and not forget all He has done and is doing. “Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done” (Colossians 2:7 TLB).
  • And I need to keep the commitment I made and not give up. “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).
Eric Sprinkle interviewing authors at this year’s Colorado conference.

For 23 years the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 35 years the Greater Philly Christians Writers Conference has sought to encourage and equip Christians to live out God’s call to “write His answer.” Through worship and inspiring keynotes, classes taught by skilled authors and editors, the rich fellowship we share with other writers, and celebrating the hard-earned publication of books during our special Friday author’s night the conferences are a once-a-year booster to not give up.

CDs are available from the Colorado conference that is held every May the Wednesday-Saturday after Mother’s Day. A link to the order form is on the home page of the conference website.

It’s not too late to register for the August 8-10 Greater Philly conference at Dock Mennonite Academy in Lansdale although the price increases August 2 for late registrants and walk-ins. We cannot guarantee meals after today, and this is the last day to reserve a room at the Holiday Inn at the conference price. For more info and to register securely online go to https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.

Ephesians 3:20 TLB

For 36 years I have had the joy of bringing gifted keynoters to the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and inviting the community to come hear their messages free of charge.

These keynotes are for all Christians, NOT just those interested in writing for publication. You do not need to register. Just join us August 8-10 in the chapel at Dock Mennonite Academy, 1000 Forty Foot Road, Lansdale, PA (just off the Lansdale exit of the North/South PA Turnpike I-476). You won’t be disappointed!

Thursday, August 8, 7:30 pm
Michael Gantt

The sad fact for America is that our gross national sin has made God our enemy. Can judgment be turned away without confession and repentance on a national scale?

Just as God spoke through the Old Testament prophets to warn His people to return to Him, I believe He has given Michael an urgent message for today.

Friday, August 9, 8:30 am
Bill Myers

As communicators for Christ [and that’s all of us – not just writers] it’s imperative we understand Christianity is not for the religious. We must know the Good News is not about trying to be good but being supernaturally transformed.

Bill’s books and videos have sold over 8 million copies and won over 70 awards. Not bad for a man who never wanted to be a writer!

Friday, August 9, 7:15 pm
Scoti Domeij

Deluged by stressful circumstances? Suffocated by a life-altering event? When swallowed by a monster billow, discover how the salty psychology of seismic circumstances will unleash a tsunami of words to comfort others and point them to the Lord. 

Scoti is the proud Gold Star mother of Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Kristoffer Domeij, KIA October 22, 2011, in Afghanistan on his 14th deployment, the most deployed soldier in American history to be killed in action.

Author Interviews & Booksigning following Scoti’s keynote. Come meet over 40 authors who will be happy to autograph their book for you to give to a loved one or to keep for yourself!

Saturday, August 10, 8:30 am
Peter Lundell

In a society that is increasingly deceived and divided, our calling is to write [and speak] in the opposite spirit. What does this mean, and how do we effectively and consistently do it?

Peter is a writer, pastor, and teacher who helps people connect with God and live by God’s Word and Spirit. 

Saturday, August 10, 4:30 pm
Beatrice Bruno

Do you doubt the gifting God has placed within you? You can be loosed from the doubt, fear, and unbelief many writers [and NOT just writers] face today because of what they have been told, what they believe, and what they acknowledge! But God . . . 

Beatrice is an ordained gospel minister, life and writing coach, and Army veteran.


I used to think deadlines were exciting! Seriously! I loved the five years I worked in an editorial office – including the deadlines. Of course, my co-workers thought I was strange.

I guess I’ve grown up (well, I’ve certainly aged) because today deadlines and their accompanying time pressures are anything but exciting. I needed to re-read (and re-apply) what I wrote 27 years ago in Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers.

to produce, to perform,
to be more and do more
than is realistic or possible.

demanding my attention,
pulling me in multiple directions,
creating guilt
as I fail to properly order them.

Yet praise
my God knows and understands.
He promises peace in the midst,
and teaches me how to rest in Him.

How about you? Are you tugged in so many directions you’re not sure what to do first. It’s a tactic the evil one uses to distract us from doing what is most important. If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to order the little booklet, Tyranny of the Urgent. You’ll find it on Amazon for only $1.99.

If time pressures are preventing you from registering for the August 8-10 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, I want to encourage you to ask Father how He wants to rearrange your schedule so you can come. I know it will be a life-changing conference. Although walk-ins are welcome, the price increases by $10 August 1 and meal tickets will no longer be available. So don’t procrastinate!

Here are the seven workshops you can choose from on Friday, August 9, from 5:00 – 6:00.

Michael Gantt did not have an ideal childhood. Anything but! Yet I have no doubt God used the heartaches he experienced to make him not just sensitive to the needs of others but determined to be used by God to make a difference. (His friends in Kenya and the students at the Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf will agree.) His workshop will challenge and equip you to write out of your broken heart.

Edwina Perkins came as a conferee to GPCWC many years ago. She is now the Managing Editor of Harambee Press, the Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint for ethnic voices. She is also an award-winning writer, speaker, freelance editor, and treasured friend. Her workshop will help you discover and develop your writer’s voice.

Susan Baganz Lodwick is an editor with Pelican Book Group specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. She is the author of 16 romance novels (contemporary and historical, and romantic suspense) and Ben Lodwick’s bride of seven months. You’ll meet the newlyweds at GPCWC. Needless to say, this is one of her favorite workshops to teach.

Catherine DeVries has been with us in the past. We’re delighted to have her back in her new position as Publisher, Kregel Publications. With 25 years of experience in the Christian publishing industry, and as the author of 25 books, Catherine knows the publishing world. Most important she knows the Lord. Her workshop, “Theological Accuracy in Nonfiction,” will provide examples of how errors can creep into publications due to lack of theological attention.

Linda Glaz is an agent with Hartline Literary Agency and is with us for the first, but I’m certain not the last time. She understands writers because she IS a writer. Linda served in the Air Force at a time when it wasn’t exactly politically correct for a woman, blazing many firsts for women in the military. She has taught karate and self-defense for 30 years and was a national instructor and referee for the largest soccer youth group in the US for 25 years. You’re going to enjoy this lady who isn’t afraid to try something new.

Patricia Durgin hasn’t been with us for several years so I’m delighted to have her back. Cec Murphey introduced us many years ago, and I’m so glad he did. Patricia’s Marketers On A Mission is a Facebook Live program for Christian writers and speakers. To date she has done over 250 hour-long interviews. In this workshop you’ll discover if you have what it takes to host a FB Live program. You’ll also learn five elements of a successful program and leave with a FB Live Action Plan.

Michelle Lazurek is an Associate Literary Agent with WordWise Media Service. She is also a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor’s wife, and writing coach. When she’s not too busy juggling all her responsibilities, she also comes to the critique group that meets in my home. Michelle says, “Many people want to write for children. but how do you write engaging content that not only tells a story but also keeps a young audience engaged despite the instant gratification world in which we live?”

As a 25-year publishing veteran who has worked with close to 1,000 writers including numerous NY Times best-selling authors), I’ve experienced a huge variety of writer conferences. Two that consistently stand out as a force for making good writers better and launching new authors are the Greater Philly and Colorado Christian Writers Conference —both, not coincidentally—led by Marlene Bagnull. Marlene’s passion and industry knowledge has created a powerful place for Christian creatives to gather and grow. I have personally invested in both conferences as a speaker and teacher. The reason why is I’m a fan of her vision for writers because I see the breakthrough that occurs at these events. 

Allen Arnold
Author, Speaker, Former Christian Industry Executive

My book would not exist without having attended the conference in 2017 so all your effort produces much fruit!

Melissa Rosenberger, MD

Melissa loved writing and illustrating stories as a child and authored her first book at the age of six. However, she eventually chose a career in medicine, practicing as an anesthesiologist in the Philadelphia suburbs for nearly a decade. Believing it’s never too late to discover God’s unique plans for each of us, Melissa stepped away from medicine in 2014. A tour of Israel inspired both the research for this novel and her return to writing.

I don’t think it’s possible to count all the books, articles, and devotions that have been published due to this conference. Personally, GPCWC has helped me go from a few published books to 25 and to speak around the world.

Karen Whiting

It’s not too late to register, and walk-ins are welcome. Time payments and some scholarship help is available if needed. If you register online by August 1, you’ll save $10 and be able to order meal tickets. Meals are not guaranteed after August 1. Lodging, at a discounted conference price, is available at the Holiday Inn (five minutes from the conference) through July 31. For more info go to https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

The Wrong Speed

“Haste makes waste.” I remember my mother saying this, and it wasn’t original with her. It’s first attributed to John Heywood from his 1546 glossary. He wrote:

Som thyngs that prouoke yong men to wed in haste 
Show after weddyng that haste maketh waste.

John Heywood

My husband was 21 and I was 18 when we married in 1963. Despite Heywood’s words, our 55 years of marriage have definitely not been a waste. But I admit I’ve often learned the hard way that “haste makes waste.”

Click here for a more readable PDF.

I want to encourage you to “make haste” to register for the August 8-10 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. It’s a once-a-year opportunity that has launched countless writing ministries. You can find out more at https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

Here are the seven workshops you can choose from on Saturday, August 10, from 9:45 – 10:45.

Michael Gantt is a pastor from Vermont who has a standing invitation to serve on GPCWC’s faculty because he is a man who hears from and speaks for God. He says, “There are some who see what others do not see, hear sounds others do not hear, and discern danger before danger reveals itself. Should he sleep, the loss of the city will stain his hands forever.”

Susan Baganz is another frequent GPCWC faculty member. As an editor with Pelican Book Group and author of author of 16 romance novels (contemporary and historical, and romantic suspense), she knows the importance of submitting a manuscript that shines. Discover the tools she uses that you can use too.

Catherine DeVries says, “As a push for diversity is reshaping the publishing landscape, the need for sensitivity awareness and sensitivity readers is on the rise. The number of books about ethnic characters has risen over the last few years. This workshop will address questions such as: What is a sensitivity reader? Does my project need one? What does a sensitivity reader do?”

Charles W. Christian is Managing Editor, Holiness Today and Grace and Peace Magazine. This workshop is a basic overview for beginners but also includes creative ideas for experienced writers in regard to overcoming obstacles.

JP Robinson, the CEO of Logos Publications, asks, “What happens after your book rolls off the printing press or you hit ‘publish’ on KDP? These days, both traditionally published and indie authors are expected to market and sell their own books. Every author has a message and the potential to reach the masses. Discover free to affordable strategies that will help you market to your full potential.” 

Emily Parke Chase was originally trained as an archaeologist but ended up as a counselor-advocate specializing in family relationships and abuse. She says, “God has an amazing sense of humor! Before, I repaired old pottery shards, but now I focus on gluing lives back together.” This workshop will focus on the importance of knowing your audience well – learning what they already know (don’t bore them) and what are their needs (challenge them to grow).

Debbie Hardy also serves on the faculty of the Colorado conference and stores our supplies. (Thank you, Debbie!) As a representative for ChristianDevotions.us, she will teach you how to write concisely, share your experiences, and, most importantly, touch hearts and change lives through devotionals.

Thank You, Father, that the answers we need are in Your Word. Help us not to believe the lies of the evil one but to live in faith and not fear because we know You love us and we know we can trust Your promises. And thank You, Father, that you do not edit my run-on and grammatically needy sentences!

Yes, this was published in 1983. And yes, I needed to read it again! Click here for a more readable PDF.