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Archive for the ‘Called to write’ Category


Procrastination is a sin;
it brings me endless sorrow.
I know I should stop doing it.
I think I’ll start tomorrow.

Have you been procrastinating about registering for the May 13-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference?

While we welcome walk-ins throughout the conference, the price increases May 9. I call it the “procrastinator’s fee.” It’s not a lot – only $15. But really, wouldn’t you rather spend $15 on a book from our huge book table.

Today (well yesterday) I spent over 10 hours packing books from the too-large inventory I have on hand. They must ship today to arrive in time. FedEx is scheduled to pick them up between 9 and 3 (they are too heavy for my husband to lug to a FedEx location), but I’m getting an error message at the FedEx site that is preventing me from printing the labels. Seriously? It’s not like I haven’t been doing this for years. Father, please save me and my laptop from glitches.

In faith I’m also placing a large order with Ingram/Spring Arbor. Faith? Yes! Some of the titles are not returnable, but I’m so excited about the wealth of new books I found – books we need to read if we are to become the best possible writers and marketers of the message God has entrusted to us.

And I’m excited about this year’s conference – and the one in Philly August 8-10. Online registration opened April 15 for Philly, and yesterday morning I uploaded our 16-page brochure to the printer. Thank You, Father!

But to be honest, I’m also battling the “deadly D’s” of disappointment and discouragement. I’m reminded of the parable Jesus told of the man who prepared a feast and sent out many invitations. “When everything was ready, he sent his servant around to notify the guests that it was time for them to arrive. But they all began making excuses” (Luke 14:17-18 TLB).

I have no doubt that the evil one is throwing huge obstacles in the way of many who need to come. I also do not doubt that our God can enable you to push through what seems to be impossible. He can make a way where there seems to be no way.

Thanks to the generosity of my dear friend, Cec Murphey, there are still partial scholarships available in addition to time payments. And from personal experience I can assure you that it is not too difficult for God to work out the logistics of time off work, child care, and whatever else is needed.

“For such a time as this” God is raising up an army to “write His answer.”

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

He is coming! And that day may be sooner than we expect. It is likely to be preceded by intense persecution. Will you be ready, and will you allow Him to use your pen to help prepare other Christians to stand in His strength?

Please pray earnestly about joining us on the mountain May 15-18, or for just a day or two if that is how He leads you. Lodging is still available. And if you need financial help, you just need to ask.

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I’ve often said if anyone had told me when I was a teen that God was calling me to a writing and speaking ministry, I would have said, “A loving God would never do that to me!”

The truth is I hated English in high school, and I died a slow death the entire semester I sat in the required public speaking class dreading the day that would come when I would have to stand up and give a speech. I didn’t know how I would survive. Obviously, I did, and I think I even got a decent grade.

Still, I determined that would be my one and only time to risk making a fool of myself. Fear was my friend, and I would allow it to keep me safely in my seat!

Years passed and, amazingly, I found myself wanting to speak–well not up front behind a microphone. I was part of a small Sunday school class that was focused on discussing the difference it makes to be a Christian. I really wanted to participate, but by the time I mentally rehearsed what I would say the conversation had moved way beyond where I was at.

Everyone in the class was college educated and incredibly articulate. We had two lawyers (who loved to debate), a medical doctor, and a seminary professor. I felt ashamed that I was only a high school graduate.

But God didn’t allow me to remain silent. Despite my pounding heart and nervous tummy I did begin to add my “two cents” even though I doubted they were worth much.

What happened about a year later is still hard to believe. Before I could run, I was voted president of the class and was coerced into teaching Sunday school. Seriously? What on earth were they thinking?

By then I had begun writing for publication believing the sales I made to Christian periodicals could take the place of a college degree and qualify me to serve God full time as I had longed to do since I was a teen.

But what happened one night almost silenced me forever. As class president, I had been encouraging the formation of small groups. That evening about fifteen people met. Following my instructions, each one created a montage of what they believed God was calling them to do with their life.

When my turn came to share my montage, I said, “I believe God is calling me to a nationwide speaking and writing ministry.”

No one said anything! I felt my cheeks getting hot and wished I could saw a hole in the floor and vanish out of sight.

That mortifying evening was about 40 years ago. Since then I’ve served on the faculty of over 70 Christian writers conferences and given my one and two-day writing seminars over 50 times around the nation. The joy I feel as I speak at these events and at the 58 conferences I have directed is so much greater than my fear ever was. Best of all, I feel His pleasure knowing I am doing what He created me to do.

If God is calling you to write, more than likely that call (whether it’s part of your plan or not) is also to speak, especially if you write nonfiction. If that fills you with fear, know that God does not want you to live in the land of fear. Because He loves you, He will give you opportunities to face your fear and with His help to overcome it.

The May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference not only offers a six-hour continuing session on “Speaking and Writing” but also a six-hour Speaker’s Clinic. Led by KPOF Christian radio personality, Roy Hanschke, who has coached beginning and seasoned speakers for over 18 years.

If you’ve been avoiding the challenge to begin the speaking part of your ministry or need to improve what you’re already doing, this clinic (limited to 8 participants) is for you! Roy will help you 1) discover your ministry focus and how to talk about it (power statements), 2) organize one of your talks to maximize time and effectiveness (message development), 3) present your talk with power and pizzazz (voice personality), and 4) market your message through radio (media mania). You’ll have an opportunity to test what you learn and receive helpful evaluation from Roy and your peers.

For more info and the needed application
due by April 15 http://colorado.writehisanswer.com/clinics2019

It’s often said that writing and speaking go hand in hand. That’s why I’m grateful that CCWC offered Roy’s Speakers’ Clinic. Roy is a dynamic example of “show don’t tell” as he actually demonstrates different methods of effective communication. Each participant had the opportunity to try out Roy’s suggestions in a safe and encouraging atmosphere. We learned from each other and went home with a notebook full of useful instructions on how to become a more skillful communicator.
Sue Cameron – Augusta, GA

Father, thank You that You did not let my fear of speaking and lack of a college education stop me from serving You. Thank You that I am no longer ashamed that I am just a high school graduate and for giving me so much joy in doing what I thought I could never do.

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Storm over city

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

‘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.”

Chuck Colson – Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages

If you are not aware of  H.R. 5, known as the Equality Act, that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives March 13, you need to Google it – NOW! This bill, if passed, would end our freedom as Christians to live out our faith not just in our workplaces but in our homes.

Liberty Counsel says,

HR 5, wrongly named the Equality Act, is the most extreme threat to religious freedom, free speech, privacy, and to women’s rights that has ever been proposed by Congress. The impact of HR 5 will be widespread – affecting churches; religious colleges and universities; public, private, and Christian schools; curriculum; religious and private organizations; employers; employees; individuals; foster care and adoption; shelters; local, state, and federal entities; privacy; women’s rights; and more. Click here to read more.

Yes, we must “love without stopping” (1 Cor. 16:14 MSG). But that does not mean we can ignore what God clearly says in His Word.

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?

The 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:

MK gantt watchman

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.

I also urge you to check out my blog post, “Write His Answer to Issues at this Year’s CCWC,” I posted on March 3. If you are unable to come to the conference, you can order a CD of one or more of the workshops in our Issues track:

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!

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, for children or adults, God can use you to write words that, as Michael says, “can shape lives and maybe, just maybe, change the world.”

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Question Mark Key Shows Doubt And Help

Years ago, I sold a packet of “Ministry and Marketing” resources for Christian writers. One side of the twin pocket folder had Bible studies as well as articles from my column in The Christian Writer that later were compiled into my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers(It’s now in its third edition and has been in print for 28 years!) The other side had how-to articles on writing and, yes, on selling our writing. My “Market Analysis Charts” helped many get their work in print.

I’m certain my kids and husband were happy when I stopped selling the packet and they no longer had the job of collating the 50-plus pages and pasting on the front and back cover.

Much has changed since I started writing for publication in 1972 after our second child was born. Wannabe writers and those already published now are able to access a huge amount of how-to information on the Internet. Writers’ conferences, seminars, podcasts, webinars, and coaches provide exciting opportunities to become better wordsmiths and marketers. And, of course, there are more how-to books than any of us will ever have time to read.

But sadly, the tension between ministry and marketing still exists. In fact, I think it’s grown more intense. Yes, we want to get the message we believe God has entrusted to us into print and into the hands of readers, but all too easily we can get caught up in doing things the world’s way.  We can spend lots of dollars and hours on building our “platform” and push God into a corner of our busy lives. In the process, it can become all about us and not about Him.

For the past 35 years as the director of the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and 22 years as the director of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference I have sought to find the balance God wants us to have between ministry and marketing. Of course, I offer workshops to help writers find a publisher for their manuscripts and readers for their books. But hopefully our “Write His Answer” theme keeps the focus clearly on the Lord and on writing as a ministry to point readers to Him and not to ourselves.

Father, please help me and Your people, Your scribes, to seek You and Your plans for our writing. Give us wisdom to know what learning and platform-building opportunities You want us to invest in. Help us to be realistic and not to focus on what we hope to gain but rather on what You would have us give.

How do you deal with the tension between ministry and marketing?

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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.

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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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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.

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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

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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

 

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“Do you believe, do you really believe God can use you?”

When Michael Gantt spoke those words about ten years ago in a keynote at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, the presence of the Lord was so powerful. I know lives were changed in that moment. Mine certainly was.

Even though I’d been directing the Colorado conference for about 12 years and the Philly conference (that I founded) for about 25 years (it’s now 35 years), the “deadly Ds” were a frequent companion.

If God has called you to “write His answer,” then if you’ve not yet encountered the deadly Ds of Disappointments, Doubts, Discouragement, and even Despair, the good news is that you will.

This is good news? Yes! First, it’s evidence that you are a threat to the evil one. And second, it will cause you to draw more and more close to the Lord and to depend on Him.

The journey to publication is not easy. Sadly, many give up.

For 22 years the Colorado Christian Writers Conferences has “encouraged and equipped Christians to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.”

Every year He meets us on the mountain. He gives hope, courage, direction . . . He draws us into CCWC’s family of writers where deep, forever friendships are formed.

He may open the door to publication if you and your writing are ready. If not, you can be certain you’ll receive the instruction you need to keep growing your writing skills. In addition, you’ll receive valuable feedback in one-on-one appointments (more than at any other conference) with our faculty of 59 agents, editors, and authors.

Do you believe God can use you?

It’s not too late to register for the May 16-19 CCWC. Time payments can be arranged if needed. God will make a way. Trust Him!

 

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