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Archive for the ‘Writer’s Life’ Category

Guest post
Stacy Lee Flury

Here we are, another year gone by and the August 8-10 Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference is now upon us. So much has transpired since last year. My book was finally written and in the editing stages. I felt excited about what God was doing. I was inspired and encouraged. Then my life changed.

By the end of summer last year, my husband and I had to declare bankruptcy on our business and house. We had to pack up sixty years of generational memories and items within a month and move them into an apartment rental that accepted two dogs and two cats. Very hard to do.

Moving day included an unexpected snowstorm as well as a 26-foot truck hitting one of our cars and ripping the whole front bumper off. By the time settlement came for the sale of the house and what little we received from it, I was left stressed and wanting to give up on everything–including my book.

My heart to write was crushed. I had no energy, will, or passion to continue. I was, in fact, overwhelmed with boxes from the move; animals in high anxiety; and a daughter who struggled with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and was very pregnant. I don’t know who cried more in those difficult and tumultuous days.

Thinking our nightmare was over, we were informed that we were going to be sued over a payout sheet that was incorrect by the mortgage company. Mind you, we had already settled and been left with basically nothing from the sale/bankruptcy of our house.

My job was far away, and we had one car between three people. Then we had an infestation of ants in our new apartment, a broken tooth with no dental insurance, and so much more. Mind you, all the time I was going through this, God was using every emotion that I was feeling.

You see, I wrote a devotional book called Turn the Tide of Emotional Turbulence: Devotions for Parents with Teens in Crisis. Never did I realize that those same emotions I traveled through as a parent would be highlighted once again in my life.  

Sometimes we want to give up, but the Lord really wants us to give in. When I finally did, the ants went moving along, our kitties and doggies were calmer, I did less crying and more praying, and we were blessed with a donated car. We will most likely get more money back from the mortgage company, and the cost of publishing my book was paid for with not one penny out of my pocket. To top it all off, my chapters are more fine-tuned to what God wanted to say.

So, if you are in a place in which you want to throw in the towel in your writing, throw yourself on the floor instead and ask God what He wants to do. He is not finished with His story in you. He could be just adding another chapter.

I want to encourage you to register for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I guarantee you will find many other aspiring writers at the conference who also have encountered thoughts of giving up. Yet, they will be there, taking a step of faith that God will see them through their writing trials.

But as for you, be strong and do not give up,
for your work will be rewarded.

2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV

Stacy Lee Flury blogs at Anchor of Promise, a support and education blog for parents with hurting and troubled teens.

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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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Guest Blog
by Beatrice Bruno

The Write Drill Sergeant for YOU!

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And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And He laid His hands on her: and immediately she was made straight,
and glorified God.

Luke 13:11-13 KJV

Replace this precious woman with yourself. She was ill for 18 years. Her body bent over preventing her from standing straight. She needed healing.

Think about yourself. What is the infirmity keeping you from writing? Doubt. Unbelief. Skepticism. Fear. What is holding you back from completing the book, articles, Bible studies, etc., inside of you? Are you limiting yourself because you just don’t believe you can do it? Are you holding yourself back because of what someone else has said to you about your being a writer? Well . . .

Writer, Thou Art Loosed!

I can guarantee that many, if not all writers have been right where you are right now. Some have overcome their infirmities; some have not. At what stage are you?

I am bringing my key training for writers, Writer, Thou Art Loosed! to the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference. Let me share a little of my writing journey with you.

Because of Doubt! Fear! Unbelief! it took me 10 years to write and publish my first book! I completed and published that first book in 2004 . . . while working as a team truck driver with my husband, no less! Since then, I have authored four other books, articles, and Bible studies as well as ghostwritten four books for my clients. And the number is increasing . . . because I got Loosed!

I had to get over myself and get out of my own way so I could write the first book inside of me! I had to give myself permission to believe I could write a book!

Are you in that space? Do you want to get LOOSED?

Writer, Thou Art Loosed! is designed to help participants get a different view of themselves, a view or perspective that will remove limitations and barriers possibly preventing them from writing that book, article, etc.

Participants will also complete intensive writing and perspective exercises. For three hours of class time on Wednesday, May 15, The Write Drill Sergeant will focus on the you and what you truly need to believe, Writer, Thou Art Loosed!

Give yourself permission to get Loosed so you can write the book that wants to be birthed inside of you.

Your reading audience is waiting!

Sign up today! Don’t miss out!

I look forward to spending time with you!

Writer, Thou Art Loosed!


Learning Lab
Writer, Thou Art Loosed!

Wednesday, May 15
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Cost $40
(Coming only on Wednesday – $65)
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Click here for more info and pre-class writing assignment. Click here to register.
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Beatrice Bruno is an Army veteran and former (but always and forever) Drill Sergeant. An ordained gospel minister and life and writing coach, Beatrice loves showing folks how to get over themselves and let go of the PAST. Having trained over 2,000 Basic Training soldiers through Army Basic Training to graduation, she has seen characters who run the gamut from straight-arrow to cone-head! Many of these real life characters will find their way into her fictional characters in her books.

And now, Beatrice has crossed over into an area few, if any, look forward to – Widowhood. Married for 27+ years to John who passed away in August of 2018, Beatrice has raised four children – his, hers, and theirs – to adulthood. Beatrice is now looking for her new normal…if there is such a thing…after losing her beloved husband.

Beatrice is spreading her wings as a novelist and creating the series, The Baby Chronicles, Volume 1, which includes the GI Josephines (Volume 2) and the Soldiers of the Lord (Volume 3). But Beatrice will not stop there. A mind for the unusual Christian experience, Beatrice is also working on Lara Rose, HGPI. Ask her what that acronym means and she will be glad to share it with you.

Beatrice’s passion is in helping others to write the books God has given them to write. Inside of each individual writer, Beatrice believes God has planted a seed within that will glorify Him and edify His creation.

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I’m looking forward to another “Super Saturday” with Lancaster Christian Writers on April 6. Every year I bring my Write His Answer bookstore and spend the day meeting and praying with conferees. I hope to see you there!

LCW 2019

With just TWO WEEKS until Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday 2019!! April 6th, 2019, we are looking forward to a wonderful time with outstanding keynoters and workshop leaders such as bestselling novelist Ronie Kendig; agent, editor, author Dave Fessenden; historical novelist Rita Gerlach; editor and author Hope Flinchbaugh; publisher, maketing expert, and novelist JP Robinson. 

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE: The conference schedule is now posted along with workshop and faculty descriptions, flyer, press release, as well as registration, and payment forms on LCW’s webpage (see right column) . Please help us get the word out by sharing FLYER, and PRESS RELEASE with your social, church, school, and family networks.

PREREGISTRATION: A reminder that the preregistration rate of $55 is due by Wednesday, April 3rd. This means actual payment. If you register online planning to pay day of event, cost will be the walk-in rate of $65. Seventh-twelfth grade aspiring writers are also welcome at a two-for-one rate, or half-off if accompanying a parent, which includes lunch buffet (inquire individually about attendance for students under 7th grade). Payment can be made online (http://lancasterchristianwriterstoday.blogspot.com/), or mail check/ money order payable to: Lancaster Christian Writers, c/o Jeanette Windle, 1776 Euclid Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601. 

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE CONFERENCE:

  • Please pray with us that God will bring those conferees to whom this event will be a blessing.
  • Please pray as well as for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of our faculty.
  • Please pray too for safe travel and arrival at LBC of our faculty, our conference bookstore director, and all our conferees.
  • Registrations are currently uncharacteristically low for this time frame before conference, so please pray with us that we will have enough conferees to at least cover costs of conference (and if you haven’t sent in YOUR registration, consider doing so soon!)

More information can be found at Lancaster Christian Writers Today (http://lancasterchristianwriterstoday.blogspot.com/) OR email LCW president Jeanette Windle at jeanette@jeanettewindle.com.

 

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drive-landscape-mountain-1685905I remember the first time I drove into Rocky Mountain National Park. Nothing I had experienced in the Philadelphia area where I lived prepared me for the altitude and hairpin curves. Yes, the views were magnificent – truly breathtaking. But the drop offs . . .

I had a decision to make that day. I could choose to give my fear to the Lord and trust Him, or I could miss the incredible gift He had given me of being in the Rocky Mountains.

As I look forward to my 23rd year directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center that borders Rocky Mountain National Park, I am so grateful I chose faith instead of fear. Yes, of course, I use common sense and drive carefully. And much as I’m tempted to take my eyes off the road when I spot elk, I wait until I can safely pull over to take dozens of pictures.

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Now, this year, if I finally see a moose, I can’t guarantee what I’ll do. I’ve been waiting a long time. After last year’s conference, I drove into the park just after daybreak and went to where I was told the moose were. Instead, I saw turkeys!

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Turkey3 CCWC

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry to ramble. There really is a point I want to make, and it has to do with the choices we make when confronted with the challenges of technology.

The learning curve is daunting and not something I enjoy. But today, as I’m struggling to learn Picmonkey and Instagram, I “came to realize” (don’t use this phrase in your writing) I have a choice. I can choose to trust the Lord and embrace the learning curve knowing He is the One who will equip me to do what I could never do in my own strength. Or, I can stress and believe the lie from the pit that I’m too old and too dumb to master another new computer skill.

Thank You, Father, for helping me to again choose to trust You and for showing me that this new challenge can actually be fun.

Friend, what challenge are you facing? And would you help make the challenge I’m facing with this new learning curve worthwhile by copying and pasting some of these images? I’d really appreciate it.

Scoti keynoteBios agents (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can do everything God asks me to
with the help of Christ
who gives me the strength and power.

Philippians 4:13 TLB

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Sheri SchofieldSheri Schofield is an amazing lady! Really, that’s not surprising since she serves our amazing God.

Last year Sheri received the Writer of the Year Award from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for her persistence not just in getting her children’s picture book in print but for turning a mistake into a blessing.

The Prince and the Plan: Leading Children to Jesus in 24 Memory Making Lessons is an interactive  picture book written for children ages 4-8 that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus.

Sheri bookSheri is the author and illustrator of this 218-page full-color book. Can you imagine her dismay when it came off press and she opened the box to discover the books were mistakenly printed in black and white? She had a tough choice to make. She could allow the books to be destroyed or purchase them at the deeply discounted price of $4,180.

Sheri didn’t have $4,180, but God’s people did. As a result, 2,000 black & white copies of The Prince and the Plan were not trashed but instead are in the hands of children on Montana Native American reservations! And this is just the beginning.

“So many children in Helena and across America have never heard of Jesus at all,” Sheri wrote in a recent newsletter. “The Lord has spoken to my heart about a tidal wave of children who are growing up in America without any knowledge of Jesus or God’s ways whatsoever.

“Do you remember watching the tsunami hit Japan in 2011? It rose and rolled over the land, destroying everything and everyone in its path. That’s what is coming toward America spiritually: darkness pouring over a land without Jesus.

“It is for this reason that Tim and I have gone all out to provide The Prince and the Plan for the children. It is our attempt to stem the tide, to turn it to a flood of Jesus’ light instead. We are even doing billboards to let people know about this gospel presentation.”

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But Sheri has a vision that extends beyond Montana and the United States.

From March 3-12 Sheri will be in Mexico. Part of her work there will be teaching a seminar on children’s ministries to church teachers in the mountain towns. She will be taking the Spanish translation of  The Prince and the Plan so they can use it to lead children to Jesus.

Sheri writes, “I’ll be doing multisensory teacher training, like I’ve used in the book. For instance, in the story of David & Goliath, Jesse sent David to take BREAD and CHEESE to his brothers – that’s how David managed to be in the army camp. When I tell this story, I give each child a small amount of bread and cheese. This stimulates multisensory learning, and they remember the stories a whole lot better. (I’ve had older children tell me in detail the stories they had heard from me years before!)

“The problem is this: Good wages in Mexico are about $8 per day – for a man. Poverty is rampant. The Christians cannot even afford to have potlucks, for they barely have enough food for themselves. As I have prayed about this, the Lord has put it on my heart to ask them to pray for the provisions they will need to teach multisensory Bible lessons. (I’ll be taking some non-food equipment for them, but they will need ongoing food and supplies for this type of teaching.) I believe the Lord will do so, but it will take great faith for them. After a lifetime of poverty and barely scraping by, this will be a HUGE challenge for them.

“To help them step out in faith, I feel that I should ask God for a sign they would recognize as an indication of His blessing on this. I know very little Spanish and there will be an interpreter for the classes I’ll teach. But I feel I should ask God to give me the language gift of Spanish while I teach. I am friends with these people. They know I barely speak Spanish at all. If the Lord were to give me the language for these classes, I think it would make them bold in asking the Lord to provide for multisensory Bible teaching.

“Right now, the youngest children attend church, but they stop coming as they grow older – much like in the USA. I have found that this way of teaching draws the older children, too. It could make a huge difference in leadership development in the churches of Mexico.

“So, though I’ve never asked this of God before, I’m asking for the gift of Spanish for the times when I am teaching and communicating with these women. Would you please pray this for me, too?

“Also, we are going into drug cartel country. The cartels run every town. Please pray for our safety, too!”
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Father, thank You for Sheri’s faith that challenges me to have more faith. Thank You that I know You can do exceedingly, abundantly beyond.

Friends, will you join me in praying for Sheri and believing God for miracles?

For more info about Sheri and her Faithwind 4 Kids ministry click here.

Sheri will teach the workshop, “Writing to a Child’s Heart,” at the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. You’ll learn the basics of writing for children and preteens, how to determine your audience’s age, and how to develop characters and plots, as time allows.

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Brian E. Kushner / stock.adobe.com

Punxsutawney Phil did NOT see his shadow yesterday morning. Good news! Spring is on the way. Well, it is, but more than likely not as quickly as we hope or Punxsutawney Phil predicts. Sadly, he doesn’t have a strong track record of being accurate.

Christians called to “Write His Answer” also are likely to have to wait far longer than we would like for the acceptance of our manuscripts and to see our book(s) in print. More often than not we will receive the dreaded rejection slip or no response at all.

But stop and consider what’s most important. Is it getting our name in print, especially on the cover of a book, or the journey of how we get there? Are our lives, not just our words, bearing fruit?

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Bearing Fruit

A Bible Study Based on John 15:1-5; Colossians 2:7; Galatians 5:22-23; Jeremiah 17:7-8

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . .
Hebrews 12:2 NIV

 

LOVE – He loved me and gave himself for me (Gal. 2:20 NIV).

  • Do I love my readers?
  • Is love my motivating force?
  • How much of myself do I give them?
  • What about loving my editors, especially the ones who reject my manuscript?
  • Loving people who make demands on my time, who take me from my work?

JOYFor the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross (Heb. 12:2 NIV).

  • Is my joy dependent on acceptances, praise, success?
  • Do I rejoice in taking up my cross (Mk. 8:34-35), or look for easier ways to serve the Lord?

PEACE –  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (Jn. 14:27 NIV).
We never see Jesus uptight even when demands on him were so great that “he couldn’t even find time to eat” (Mk. 3:20 TLB). See also Colossians 3:15.

  • Do I have his peace when I’m interrupted?
  • When I’m facing a deadline or blank computer screen?
  • When doors do not open for my work?

PATIENCEThink about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him (Heb. 12:3 TLB); his patience on the night he was betrayed when even his disciples  did not yet understand who he was (see Jn. 14:4-11).

  • Am I learning to wait patiently on the Lord?
  • How patient am I with editors, family members, myself?

KINDNESSBecause of his kindness you have been saved (Eph. 2:8 TLB).

  • Do people (editors, family, friends) see Christ in me?
  • Am I gracious?

GOODNESSHe went around doing good  (Acts 10:38 TLB).
Greek – agathos describes that which “being good in its character . . . is beneficial in its effect.”*

  • Is my writing benefiting my readers?
  • How can I “do good” with my writing?

FAITHFULNESS – He has enriched us, gifted us, strengthened us, called us, and is faithful (see 1 Cor. 1:5-9).

  • Am I being faithful to him?
  • Am I using the gifts he has given me?

GENTLENESSI am gentle and humble” (Mt. 11:29 TLB).
Greek – meekness, prautes: closely linked with humility, a fruit of power not weakness,not fighting against God, the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest.*

  • Have I argued with the Lord lately?
  • Am I on an ego trip?

SELF CONTROL – Jesus responded. He did not react. He was always in control of his feelings, words, actions (see Mk. 3).

  • How much self-control did I exercise the last time something or someone irritated me?
  • What about my self-discipline?
  • Do I daily relinquish control of my life to the Lord?

*From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.

Examine and test and evaluate your own selves
to see whether you are holding to your faith
and showing the proper fruits of it.

2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP

TCC ad 2019

Online registration is open for the Colorado conference
http://colorado.writehisanswer.com

About half of the faculty is in place for the Philly conference
Registration will open April 1
http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com

 

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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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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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Verna Bowman 3 from FB
Guest post
Verna Bowman

 

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

Writing matters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

crumbs_coverNote from Marlene:

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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