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Urgent prayer request

For twenty-three years the Colorado Christian Writers Conference has been so blessed to call the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center, our home. Sadly the pandemic prevented us from being there this May, but we are already contracted for 2021 and 2022.

Because of the pandemic and now the wildfires that are dangerously close to both the Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch, they need our prayers and our financial support.

 Estes Park Center  |  Snow Mountain Ranch   
Photo Credit: Justin Smith, Larimer County Sheriff
WILDFIRE UPDATES

YMCA of the Rockies is experiencing extremely uncertain times as we navigate the threat of the East Troublesome wildfire to both of our properties – Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch. 

We safely evacuated all staff and guests from Estes Park Center property on Thursday, Oct. 22, after receiving mandatory orders from local authorities. Firefighters have accessed the campus and are actively creating fire lines and performing other protective measures to help hold the fire away from the property.

Snow Mountain Ranch remains under a pre-evacuation notice from local authorities. Snow Mountain Ranch is not open to guests but is hosting the fire teams bravely heading out to fight this fire, as well as our seasonal staff and staff who have been evacuated from their homes. 

Since the wildfires began we have housed and fed hundreds of firefighters so they can rest and return to their work protecting our facilities, homes and communities.

We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the love our donors, members, guests and friends have shown for YMCA of the Rockies. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We are closely monitoring the East Troublesome Fire and are grateful for snow and cooler temperatures today that will help slow the advance of the fire and give firefighters time to put in extra protections. We will share more updates when they become available. 

Get current fire information:

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6964/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CameronPeakFire/

YOU CAN HELP
As we face these uncertain times and as many of our neighbors’ homes and livelihoods are threatened, YMCA of the Rockies is committed to help where we can and to protect the well-being of our staff. Below are the words of Estes Park Center chaplain, Greg Bunton.

“On October 14th my family was evacuated from our home in Glen Haven due to the Cameron Peak Fire.  We found refuge at the YMCA of the Rockies as the fire swept through our neighborhood.  We have experienced many anxious days and sleepless nights in Tonohutu cabin, all the while giving thanks for the gift of family and friends, and life itself.  

“On Thursday, October 22 we were once again evacuated, this time from the YMCA of the Rockies as the East Troublesome fire grew near.  We are currently with family in Wyoming.

“Yesterday, we knew the fire was very close to the Y, and the Cameron Peak Fire in Glen Haven had increased again.  Once again, I found myself worried and anxious.

“I’m leaning on scripture, knowing that no matter what happens, God will be with us, in and through the fire.

“Houses are made of brick and mortar, timber and nails.  Homes, however, are made of family and friends, laughter and tears, hugs and handshakes, and most of all love – it is in these homes that God meets us. Fire may damage our houses, but it can’t touch our homes!  That’s the promise of God with us!”
Rev. Greg Bunton
Chaplain, Estes Park Center YMCA of the Rockies


Closing our centers means losses of up to $10,000 a day. And housing evacuee families – we have hosted 76 families between Estes Park Center and Snow Mountain Ranch – costs about $1400 per family/per week.

Will you help us face these challenges with an emergency gift today?

Your generosity will sustain YMCA of the Rockies during a very difficult time.

Make your tax-deductible gift at
https:donate.ymacrockies.org/wildfire-support/.      

     
     
 Estes Park Center
2515 Tunnel Road
Estes Park, CO 80511  
Snow Mountain Ranch
1101 County Road 53
Granby, CO 80446
(888) 613-9622  
 
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YMCA of the Rockies puts Christian principles into practice through programs, staff and facilities in an environment that builds healthy spirit, mind and body for all.  We will accomplish this by serving conferences of a religious, educational, or recreational nature; providing unifying experiences for families; offering traditional summer camping experiences for boys and girls; and serving our staff with leadership opportunities and productive work experiences.  

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Overcoming

Overcoming my disappointment in needing to postpone this year’s Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference because of the pandemic has been difficult. I had such exciting plans for our 37th year of ministry.

In case you missed my Facebook posts this week, I’ve offered several MP3s from last year free of charge. You can download them at https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/2019Mp3s. While there, I hope you’ll decide to purchase the entire conference at a savings of 37%. Individual workshops can also be downloaded at 37% off.

Debbie Maxwell Allen taught a Thursday afternoon early bird workshop (T1) on Practical Productivity. She says, “If the lure of laundry, the fear of the blank page, or the siren song of social media stops you from writing, learn ten ways to write more, write better, and quash your inner editor.”

Last year Michael Gantt gave the opening keynote. Cry Mercy is a powerful message as is his book with the same title. It is also available for you to listen to free of charge. I encourage you to visit his website at https://mkgantt.com. Michael is speaking and writing His answer.

Last year Peter Lundell keynoted Saturday morning on Your Voice in a Hostile Climate. His message is needed even more today. Peter said, “In a society that is increasingly deceived and divided, our calling is to write in the opposite spirit. What does this mean, and how do we effectively and consistently do it?”

The need to overcome disappointments and problems big and small isn’t new to the pandemic. Below is a column I wrote for the October 1982 Christian Writer.

~*~*~*~

As I write [wrote] this month’s column, I’m waiting for the ophthalmologist to call. My little boy has an infection around his eye that’s already depleted half our savings for vacation. My two older children are less than sympathetic. It’s a blistering July day and they want to go swimming. I have a bad cold and sinus headache. My husband’s overtime has been cut. My best friend is angry with me.

The list could go on and on. I’m grateful that none of these current problems is serious. I’ve also experienced more threatening problems in various forms – health, financial, family, inter-personal. I am learning, however, that God is faithful and that He does work all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

I believe one of the ways God works problems for good is His enabling me to write about them so others may be helped and encouraged. This process begins by my writing my way through the problem. I do this in the form of a prayer diary. When I’m anxious or upset, its often difficult for me to pray. My thoughts keep wandering. I’ve discovered I can pray more effectively on paper. I also find that my prayer diary is invaluable later when I’m ready to write for publication and need to get back in touch with my feelings.

The readiness factor is important when it comes to writing personal experience pieces for publication. Writing through problems may be personally helpful as therapy, but rarely does it produce a salable manuscript. It’s only as I stand back and allow God to work in my life that I have the insights needed to make my experience helpful others. It is imperative that I remember I’m writing for them – not for myself. Their needs must be kept uppermost in my mind.

A ministry of writing from personal experience is not easy. I can’t go to the library one day and write my article or story the next. Instead I must stay close to God and look for the truths He reveals through both the minor irritations and serious problems of day-to-day living. Often they are discovered only in retrosect. Regardless, I must face life with the question, “How can I be an overcomer?”

Choosing to be an overcomer means I cannot ignore or suppress my feelings. I can’t tell myself or others that I’m fine when I really don’t feel fine. I must face my feeings and the probems that bring them about.

Being an overcoming also means I can’t become so introspective that I constantly dwell on my problems. If I do, I’m apt to convince myself I can’t cope. Sadly, those thoughts tend to become reality.

Instead, being an overcomer means recognizing, working through, and rising above my problems. It sounds good, but how do I do it? I don’t claim to have “arrived,” but I have found the following to be helpful.

Keep a balanced perspective.
The best way to do this is to heed the biblical principle that says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about” (Philippians 4:8 TLB). It takes self-discipline to focus on the positives instead of the negatives, which is the first step toward helping yourself and others get a handle on problems. Life is never all black. You can always find something to be thankful for, even if it’s just remembering that someone else’s problems are worse than your own.

Turn your eyes on Jesus.
If you’ll look to His cross and see the victory He won there for you, you’ll know that nothing need defeat you.

Tell the Lord your honest feelings and share your needs with Him.
It is only as I am completely honest before the Lord that I am able to find and share His answers.

Look for the good things God can teach you through the problem you’re enduring.
This is a crucial point for us as writers. We must learn to be constantly asking the question, “Lord, what are you trying to teach me?” The lessons learned in life’s crucible produce the most powerful writing.

Be still.
We’re often like little children, angry and frustrated because we can’t make something work, but unwilling to be quiet for even a minute to listen to our Father’s instructions. God doesn’t hit us over the head with His promises, any more than we should preach at our readers. God waits for us to be still and listen. We capture our reader’s attention by the credibility and sensitivity of our words.

Choose to use problems as opportunities to experience and display God’s power.
“Why does God comfort and strengthen us in our hardships and trials?” the apostle Paul asked. It is “so that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1: 4 TLB).

Develop an expectant, faith-filled attitude
as you learn to wait on God and praise Him before as well as after He answers. One of the best personal experience stories I’ve written was open-ended (although I don’t recommend this approach). It was about a serious financial crisis we were still in. It concluded with the words, “There is something about the inner peace – even joy – that I’m experiencing that is worth it all.”

Today, tomorrow, next week – life is going to confront us with problems, but we can learn to be overcomers. Like the apostle Paul, we can write living letters that will show, from our personal experience, the difference Jesus Christ makes.

~*~*~*~

I encourage you to ask Father is there is a personal experience He wants you to write about. My latest book (see below) is available through the end of July at 37% off because this would have been the 37th year of ministry for GPCWC. Click here to order an autographed copy from me or order from Amazon.com.

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There are a few things wrong with the above photo.

  1. I do NOT like to run.
  2. My arthritic knees would send me sprawling on my face if I even tried to run.
  3. I am not and never have been this thin.
  4. There are many who run [write] faster than I do.

But . . .

In 1983 Father called me to launch the Greater Philly Christian Writers Fellowship and direct our first event. Back then it was a one-day seminar with one speaker. Never did I imagine it would grow to be a 3.5 day conference with a faculty each year of over 50 authors, editors, agents, and other professionals.

And never did I imagine it and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference that I began directing in 1997 would both have to be postponed this year because of a pandemic.

Oh yes, I stressed over the time pressures in getting ready each spring and summer. And yes, I felt like I was constantly running (racing) from one task to the next with hardly enough time to catch my breath.

But each year when I stood to welcome everyone in the opening session, you would have seen me jumping for joy (if my knees allowed) and praising God for enabling me to persevere. Despite the huge obstacles I encountered with each conference, Father brought His scribes from the east and the west, the north and the south.

This spring and summer have felt so strange with no conference deadlines pressing in on me. Yes, I think I’ve finally caught my breath although I have kept busy. For the first time in many years I have vegetables growing in my garden although I’ve been fighting with the bunnies to not eat everything I’ve planted. The deer have been chomping on my lilies, and the squirrels have dug up almost all the bulbs I planted.

I’ve also kept busy editing over six books for others since the pandemic and finally (drum roll please) I have uploaded my latest book to kdp.amazon. I had hoped to have it ready the beginning of July but glitches with both Word and Quark slowed the process and tested my determination to persevere.

Who would have thought that adding one space after the title on Amazon’s book detail page would create the need for two phone calls to Amazon’s support (PTL they answer right away) and one to the ISBN folks at Bowker? Quark has again been quarky with menus disappearing, and I haven’t a clue why it created a first line indent that I didn’t request and couldn’t delete. Ah, yes, Father, another lesson in perseverance – and patience!

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Hebrews 12:2-3 (MSG)

With the disappointment I’ve been feeling over missing the joy-filled fellowship on the mountain at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May and knowing I won’t be seeing dear friends at the Philly conference that was scheduled for next week, I’ve wanted to do something special to encourage you to keep persevering as you strive to “write His answer.” (Oops – long sentence. Would anyone like to diagram it?)

So . . . two surprise gifts!

Liz Curtis Higgs was scheduled to keynote at this year’s Philly conference. She graciously recorded a short video to encourage you, and she is planning to be with us next year. Click here to view her message. Thank You, Father, for how Liz has persevered in serving You through the ministry of writing and speaking.

Second, the book I just uploaded to kdp.amazon, How to Write His Answer – Testimonies and Personal Experience Stories, I wrote for you. This 78 page book along with its links to FOUR audio workshops (237 minutes of instruction) will inspire you and give you practical tools to write stories that Father will use in Ephesians 3:20 ways. As Lee Roddy prayed for me and the class he taught at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference over 35 years ago, “Heaven will be different because of the words you write.”

Here’s just one of the nine endorsements it has received:

Few have the experience of Marlene Bagnull to teach writers and to give writers the tools they need to Write His Answer and to do it so well. These are practical items even experienced writers need reminding of, such as: have a clear focus, stay close to the Lord, search for truth, reflect (and journal) on your life experiences, stay humble, know your audiences—all of this to remind us that we, as believers in the Lord Jesus, are called to write His answer to those with so many questions. Written conversationally, this book invites you to take part in the work with a ready pen.

Eva Marie Everson
Bestselling & multiple award-winning author & speaker
President, Word Weavers International

With the conferences not happening this year, we’re facing financial challenges, so I’m sorry I can’t give you How to Write His Answer. But because this would have been the 37th Philly conference, for the month of July I’m reducing the $20.99 regular price by 37%. That makes the cost for the book plus the links to four audio workshops only $13.22. If you’re math challenged as I am, that’s a savings of $7.77. Wow! I hadn’t pre-calculated that, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Four 7’s – the number of days the Bible tells us God spent creating our world. While I can’t guarantee you’ll write your story or testimony in seven days, I fully expect Father will multiply many times over the number of people whose lives will be touched if you’ll persevere and get it in print. Click here to order an autographed copy from me or order from Amazon.com. Hopefully the reduced price will be available on Amazon tomorrow.

Father, thank You for the number of years You have blessed me with directing CCWC and GPCWC. Thank You for all the lives that have been changed by the words that have been written and published as a result of these 59 conferences. Help us not to miss the lessons You are seeking to teach us through these difficult days or fail to share them. By Your Spirit help us to deepen our commitment to “write Your answer” and to persevere.

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Psalms for Moms

The “new normal” has given me time to compile this volume of psalms that were published thirty to forty years ago. It should be available on Amazon in several days. Father, please use them to encourage many moms during the challenging days of this pandemic.

A Mother’s Day Psalm

Lord, You know how much I love my children

and how I long for my words and actions

to show it, especially when

I do not like what they are doing.

Give me joy in the everyday tasks

that are an essential part of mothering.

Help me to have Your peace

when the direction my children seem

to be heading in causes me anxiety and grief.

Teach me patience

when they don’t pick up their dirty socks,

and when they track mud all over

my clean floors.

Help me to be kind when I need to discipline them

for being naughty,

or I need to stand my ground on a heated issue.

Fill me with Your goodness

that I might be a worthy example for them to follow.

Enable me to be faithful to You

and to them by properly ordering my priorities.

Sensitize me to be gentle

when they are hurting and they come to me

for comfort and reassurance.

And finally, Lord, help me to be self-controlled—

to never, in a moment of frustration or anger,

do or say anything

that would cause my children to doubt

my deep love for them.

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Today we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the crowds cheered, “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Yet less than a week later they shouted “Crucify him!”

Jesus entering Jerusalem

None of this caught Jesus by surprise. Indeed, we’re told in Hebrews 12:2 (TLB) that “He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards.”

Have you stopped to consider that you are the reason for His joy?

Years ago my pastor’s wife told me that if I was the only person on this earth, Jesus still would have come and died just for me.

We know that He is coming again but that He tarries because He does not want even one to be lost. And so He is calling you, He is calling me, to share His love with those who do not yet know He loved them enough to go to the cross.

blessed

“Blessed is He
who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The crowd cheered and sang praises.
They waved palm branches
and threw their cloaks before Him.
But Jesus was solemn as He traveled that road –
that road to the cross.

As God incarnate He knew all that was to come.
He saw not just His own death on the cross,
but the persecution of His followers
and the destruction of Jerusalem.
He saw nation rising against nation –
the madness of yet-to-be-born rulers.
And Jesus wept.

He would be wounded and bruised for our sins,
chastised that we might have peace,
lashed that we might be healed;
yet few would accept His gift of life.
The darkness of evil would continue to reign,
but the light of His love
would not be extinguished.

Entrusted to us,
His light will grow brighter.
A cloud of witnesses are cheering us on,
to daily take up our own cross
and follow Him closely.
Blessed is He who is coming – again!

Marlene Bagnull

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My tree is decorated.
Gifts purchased but
not yet wrapped.
I still need to bake our
favorite cookies
and my mother’s
famous coffee cake.

Our inflatable Christmas nativity, lights, and two deer are shining brightly outside. (It’s too cold to go snap a picture.)

My husband’s health is so much better after a mid-June trip to the hospital by ambulance in the middle of the night. (He said, “I think I’m dying.”) A new primary care / geriatric doctor has discontinued three of Paul’s meds. He still walks slow since he broke his knee cap and tibia over a year ago, but except for occasional “senior moments” he no longer gets so confused he doesn’t know where he is at. Thank You, Father.

I’m still managing to avoid knee replacements and my kidney and blood sugar numbers are improving now that the same doctor has eliminated a pill my previous doctor prescribed that I should not have been taking. I’ve lost a little weight but need to lose at least another 40 pounds. Please help me, Father.

Sharon, our oldest daughter has just had her right hip replaced. The surgeon said it went “great,” but she’s in a lot of pain. Father, please place Your hand of healing on her.

The rest of our family and grandkids are all doing great. We are blessed!

The other night we went to our oldest granddaughter’s concert at the high school. It ended with about 70 alumni joining the chorus and the director’s request that we stand for the “Hallelujah Chorus.” I sang along although I’m no longer able to reach those magnificent high notes.

I can’t help but wonder if this is the last year this “tradition” will be tolerated.

Our nation is gripped in a spiritual darkness that is rapidly intensifying. Will America be saved by a mighty revival that brings us to our knees at the foot of the cross? Or will we lose our freedom to proclaim the name of Jesus and be arrested and imprisoned for our faith in Him?

This may seem like dark thoughts for what should be such a bright and merry time of the year. But I can’t be silent. As long as I am able I will continue to use the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences to address the issues facing our nation and equip all who come to “Write His Answer.”

Father, thank You for sending Jesus. Help us, help me, to reflect His light and to share His love this Christmas and every day of the coming year.

A blessed Christmas to you all because He came and is coming again!

There are presently 38 on faculty for the May 13-16 Colorado conference and 18 for the July 22-25 Philly conference with more to be added to both conferences. Visit the websites to see who is coming, and save the date for what I know will be life-changing conferences.

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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.”

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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.

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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
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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.

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