Faith rocks2Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Some of you know that it took five years and rejection slips from 42 editors before the first book I wrote was accepted for publication. Before that I struggled for several years to finish the manuscript. Self-doubts, and to be honest, God-doubts had me close to giving up many, many times.

The “deadly Ds” – disappointment, doubt, discouragement, even despair – were my frequent companions. What kept me keeping on?

  • Promises such as Galatians 6:9: “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” (TLB).
  • The very first words I ever felt the Lord speak to my heart: “Child, I never said it would be easy to follow Me, but I have promised always to be with you.”
  • My husband who has never told me to go get a “real” job even during times when things were really rough financially.
  • My pastor who paid my way to my first writers’ conference and held me accountable afterwards to use what I learned.
  • Friends who year after year babysat my three children so I could go to the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference.
  • The network of writing friends who encouraged me, and Gayle Roper and Anne Sirna who mentored me.

Yes, it took many long, discouraging years but that first book did get in print. The rest – eight other books, the Greater Philly and Colorado Christian Writers Conferences that I direct, the 70 conference faculties I’ve been honored to serve on, and my day-long writing seminars that I’ve given around the country over 50 times – are the fruit of abiding in Him and trusting Him to do what I could never do in my own strength.

The key really is trust, especially when the deadly Ds threaten to derail me. I’m learning that I am free to trust or to doubt, but when I do not trust, I grieve the Lord.

I want to encourage you not to give up and to make registering for a Christian Writers Conference a priority. Google these upcoming conferences: Write to Publish, Montrose, St. Davids. I’ve served on the faculty of all three and highly recommend them. Of course, I hope you’ll also prayerfully consider the conferences I direct.

It’s not too late to register for the May 11-14 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. The price increases tomorrow, May 7, but please do not let the cost stop you from coming. Remember, God can make a way when there seems to be no way. You can register with a $50 deposit and make monthly payments for the balance. And scholarship help is available. If making time to come in an already crammed schedule is the issue, then come just for a day. Walk-ins are welcome, and I’ll waive the additional $15 walk-in fee if you mention this email.

I urge you not to miss this once-a-year opportunity to

grow as a writer,

connect with agents and editors who can open doors,

make forever friendships with other writers,

and most important of all be spiritually renewed
to write about a God who is real, who is reachable,
and who changes lives.

Registration is also open for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. The 16-page brochure will be off press today. If you’re on our mailing list, you should receive it  by May 16. Can’t wait? It’s posted online. The first 75 to register receive an additional FREE 15-minute appointment with an editor, agent, or author – a total of FIVE appointments of your choice. And we have 59 on faculty for you to choose from. The earlier you register, the more likely you’ll get your top picks.

If the evil one (the “defeated one” as Yolanda Powell called him in a keynote she gave a few years ago) is bombarding you with the deadly Ds, trust the Lord. Realize that you are obviously a threat or he would leave you alone. So, again, trust the Lord!

Father, thank You that You know the plans You have for us and our writing – and that they are good plans. Help us to trust You when we face the deadly Ds. Thank You for all the incredible people You have brought into my life these past 20 years of directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 33 years directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Thank You for all You have done and all You will do as I trust You.

2016 CCWC mtn banner

  • Do you ever doubt your abilities as a writer?
  • Have you almost given up on getting published in today’s competitive market?
  • Do you hate the “slush pile” and wish you could talk to an editor one-on-one?
  • Are you secretly terrified of the idea of building a “platform”?
  • Do you feel like you’re all alone in your writing adventure/struggle?
  • Is it really worth hanging in there for the long haul?
  • Is there a desire burning in your heart to write words that will potentially lead others to Christ?

7 Top Reasons You Need to Come
to the May 11-14 CCWC

7.  Master the craft of writing. Okay, no one will ever achieve that lofty goal. There’s always more to learn. But as one conferee said, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference is equivalent to a semester college course in writing. A faculty of 56 editors, agents, and authors will provide instruction for wannabe and advanced writers of fiction from Christian speculative to historical, point of view and voice to making a scene. Nonfiction writers will find help for writing Bible studies, memoirs, articles, and much more. With 59 workshops and 8 continuing sessions to choose from, there really is something for everyone.

6.  Learn how to sell your work to potential publishers or explore the how-to of indie publishing. Whether you’ve received more than your share of rejection slips or have yet to get your first, two of CCWC’s eight continuing sessions that will provide the answers you need are: “Indie Publishing Boot Camp” and “Writing a Winning Book Proposal.”

5.  Face to face opportunities to pitch your work to editors and agents. In today’s publishing world the only way to connect with many agents and editors is through meeting them at a conference. Those who register for Thursday through Saturday are entitled to FOUR 15-minute one-on-one appointments with the faculty of their choice. You’ll find lots of helpful info on how to prepare and make the best choices by clicking on One-on-One at http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

4.  Learn the craft of marketing/promoting your published work. Yes, it’s a craft, and not one that comes naturally to most writers. I’ve often said that the reason I quit Girl Scouts was the stress of trying to sell cookies. Whether or not you enjoy marketing, though, you hold the key to the sales of your book. And the good news is that marketing can be learned. We have a track of six hour-long marketing workshops and a continuing session on “Thriving in Today’s Publishing World.”

3.  Friendships with other writers. Writers connect deeply with one another faster than I ever have in the chit-chat before and after Sunday-morning worship services. A key verse that I’ve sought to follow is 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Encourage each other to build each other up” (TLB). It happens every year at CCWC!

2.  Inspiration and encouragement to keep on keeping on. Louise Looney is well qualified to teach the workshop, “Still Climbing – Not Over the Hill.” Since turning 75, she has written four books. Allen Arnold’s continuing session, “From Overwhelmed to Creative Breakthrough,” will provide a refreshing journey for anyone who feels disheartened. And, of course, we also offer eight inspiring keynote addresses and times of worship.

And the Number 1 Reason to come to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference:

1.  Renew your faith and passion to “write His answer.” Each year Father meets us on the mountain and challenges and equips us to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.

There’s still time to register and to request appointments. Housing is still available at the YMCA – Estes Park Center. Thanks to the Y’s spacious classrooms, none of the workshops or continuing sessions are filled. For much more info and secure online registration go to http://colorado.writehisanswer.com. The price increases May 7, so don’t delay, but if you need time payments or scholarship help, please ask. Email me at mbagnull@aol.com or call 484-991-8581.

Faith rockDo you put off doing things because you don’t believe you can do them? Do you have half-written manuscripts waiting to be finished? What about ideas that you’ve tucked away – somewhere?

Yes, procrastination is a very real foe, but I am convinced the real reason we procrastinate is because we don’t believe we can do something. And actually, that’s true! We need God’s enabling to do the work He calls us to do. The key is knowing what He is calling us to do. The Living Bible paraphrase of Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”

It comes down to faith – to believing in the One who calls us and choosing to say “yes, Lord, here am I.”

I wantDream%20With%20Me_album%20cover to encourage you to read aloud the “Writer’s Statement of Faith” below. You may need to read it aloud several times a day. I know I do! I also want to encourage you to watch this video of pre-teen Jackie Evancho singing “To Believe.” Yes, Father, help us to believe that we really can make a difference and bring peace – Your peace – to our troubled world.

A Writer’s Statement of Faith

I have strength for all things in Christ Who Empowers me – I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength in me, [that is, I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Phil. 4:13 AMP

Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies, so that God will be glorified. 1 Pet. 4:11 TLB

[Not in my own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in me – energizing and creating in me the power and desire – both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Phil. 2:13 AMP

My strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power at work within me. Eph. 6:10 TLB

In Him in every respect I am enriched, in full power and readiness of speech (to speak of my faith), and complete knowledge and illumination (to give me full insight into its meaning). 1 Cor. 1:5 AMP

Now I have every grace and blessing; every spiritual gift and power for doing His will are mine during this time of waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 1:7 TLB

I actually do have within me a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ. 1 Cor. 2:16 TLB

I can be a mirror that brightly reflects the glory of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18 TLB

I will commit everything I do to the Lord. I will trust Him to help me do it and He will. Ps. 37:5 TLB

I will lean on, trust and be confident in the Lord with all my heart and mind, and choose not to rely on my own insight or understanding. Prov. 3:5 AMP

I will commit my work to the Lord, then it will succeed. Prov. 16:3 TLB

Sharing Christ is my work, and I can do it only because Christ’s mighty energy is at work within me. Col. 1:29 TLB

I will be strong and courageous and get to work. I will not be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with me; He will not forsake me. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly. 1 Chron. 28:20 TLB

I need to keep on patiently doing God’s will if I want Him to do for me all He promised. Heb. 10:36 TLB

I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in me will continue until the day of Jesus Christ – right up to the time of His return – developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in me. Phil. 1:6 AMP

His mighty power at work within me is able to do far more than I would every dare to ask or even dream of – infinitely beyond my highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes. Eph. 3:20 TLB

From Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. For more excerpts, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Barb Haley Apr 2016Guest 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 May 11-14 Colorado or August 3-6 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.


Thanks, Barbie, for sharing your heart and for serving as the registrar and appointments coordinator as well as the book table manager at both conferences.  You are a blessing!

eagle (2)Many Christians believe this is a pivotal year for the United States of America, and it is not just because it is an election year.

As Franklin Graham proclaimed in his Decision America Tour, America has a sickness and that sickness is sin. Has idolized reason led to despair? Has despair evolved into apathy, and has apathy produced hopelessness? Have foundations for lawlessness been laid? Do we live in a culture where illegal acts go unpunished and evildoers prosper? Is institutionalized sin – personal and national – the new normal even for believers?

During the May 11-14, 2016, Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference (CCWC) held at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center, seven faculty members will collaborate to present a 5-3/4 hour continuing session on “Addressing the Issues.” Their objective is to prepare Christians to write biblical solutions to the many problems surrounding us. It is not enough to complain about issues; it is time to present His answer with clarity, conviction, and courage. Topics they will cover include:

  • America at the Crossroads – Advance the American Dream or the Kingdom of God?
  • Stand for Truth – Even with Often-Controversial Subjects
  • Answering Christianity’s Critics – Face Antagonism & Win Respect
  • Grace, Race & Forgiveness – Remedies are First Spiritual: Prayer, Forgiveness, Love, Hope & Mercy
  • Know What You Believe – Write Based on Well-Grounded Faith
  • Write His Question – So people will know Jesus as the Answer
  • How Then Should We Live? – Part 1, What Can I Do?
    Part 2, Trust in God Alone

Go to http://colorado.writehisanswer.com/continuingsessions2016 for information on the presenters and times. There is no charge for any of the above sessions or the conference closing session and keynote, “Live and Write Dangerously,” Saturday, May 14, 4:00 – 5:30pm.

Other continuing sessions will provide encouragement and practical help for wannabe writers (there are some in every congregation) and those who are already published.

Allen Arnold, founding fiction publisher for one of the world’s largest Christian publishing houses, will teach “From Overwhelmed to Creative Breakthrough.” Other continuing sessions at this year’s CCWC include:

  • Indie Publishing Boot Camp
  • Write a Winning Book Proposal
  • Christian Speculative Fiction
  • Reaching Youth through Fiction
  • Thriving in Today’s Publishing World
  • First Chapter Boot Camp (nonfiction)

CCWC also offers 8 inspiring keynotes, 18 early bird workshops on Wednesday and 42 workshops Thursday through Saturday; panels; one-on-one appointments with the faculty of 57 authors, editors, and literary agents; and the popular Teens Write program Saturday, May 14, from 9:30am – 3:45pm.

Pastors, seniors 65 and over, full-time students, and alumni receive a 10% discount. Teens are welcome to attend the entire conference at a 60% discount. Partial scholarships and time payments are still available as is lodging on the YMCA Estes Park Center campus.

For those unable to come CDs can be ordered through CCWC’s website after the conference – http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.


Grumbling face croppedHave you ever been ready to give up? Have you tried everything you know but feel like you’re banging your head against a brick wall? What do you do when the accuser tells you that your best isn’t good enough – that it never has been and never will be?

Perhaps it’s a manuscript you’ve been working on for years. You’ve rewritten it not just once or twice but many times. Still you’ve been unsuccessful in finding anyone interested in publishing it. And it makes no sense because you know it’s something God has called you to write. You’ve studied the craft. You’ve gone to critique groups and conferences trying to find that missing something. And now . . . now you’re not sure you can keep on keeping on.

Possible And Impossible Keys Show Optimism And Positivity

That was my experience with my first book that some of you know was rejected by 42 publishers over a six year period . If I had given up (and believe me, there were many times I wanted to), it and the six books that followed would never have been published. I would not have founded the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference in 1983 or said yes in 1997 to directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

Yes, there have been many times when I’ve doubted and when, as my writing mentor Lee Roddy said years ago, I’ve “listened to the wrong voices.” The tapes from my childhood start to play again. “You’re not smart enough. No matter how hard you try, you’re going to fail.”

Many days I’ve sat in my office and wept. Frustrated and discouraged I’ve told the Lord, “I can’t.” And I know that’s true. Without His help I can’t get on top of the countless details that go with directing two conferences or anythiung else for that matter.

But what can I do, can you do, when He doesn’t seem to be listening? Has He abandoned us? Or is He using the problem(s) we’re facing to strengthen our faith muscles so that when the stakes are even bigger we won’t get discouraged and give up?

I’m learning that there are lots of lessons I thought I’d learned (that I’ve even written about in my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers) that I need to relearn!

RunKeep your eyes on the Lord, on how far you’ve come, and on the prize.
It’s easy to allow problems and challenges to consume us and to blind us to the Lord’s presence, to how far we’ve come, and to the prize. “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:14 TLB) Paul wrote from prison in Rome. He had reason to be greatly frustrated and discouraged by the loss of his freedom. He could have questioned the Lord and concluded that his ministry was over. Instead he focused on the needs of the churches and wrote letters that continue to encourage Christ-followers almost 2,000 years later.

Cut the tapes from your past.
Although Paul never forgot the person he was before he encountered the Lord on the Damascus Road, he did not wallow in the past or dwell on what others thought or said about him. Instead he embraced the truth of Zephaniah 3:17: “He is a mighty Savior. He will give you victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you” (TLB). Paul was able to preach and write about the message of salvation because he had experienced firsthand God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Faith rockDon’t grieve the Lord by your lack of faith.
Although sometimes it does seem that He’s not listening, we need to trust that He will equip us with all we need for doing his will (see Hebrews 13:20). It’s not easy to wait on the Lord and to have Hebrews 11:1 faith in what we can’t yet see, but “God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises” (Romans 11:29 TLB).

Do your best and trust God for the rest.
The fear of failure can paralyze us if we let it, and that’s exactly what our adversary wants. I grieve for the books that have not been published and the ministries that have been abandoned because of the evil one’s accusations that our best will never be good enough.

I’m reminded of the “pictures” my then almost four-year-old granddaughter drew in Sunday school. I had absolutely no idea what she drew, and she couldn’t tell me because she had apraxia and was unable to speak more than a few words. But, of course, I told her that her pictures are beautiful. She did her best and that’s all that matters.

And that’s all the Lord expects. When we give our best to Him, He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV).

Father, help us to believe You and not the accuser. Thank You for loving us and for being 
bigger than our perceived failures. Thank You for encouraging us not to give up. We will eep on expecting you to help us. We will praise you more and more. We will walk in the strength of the Lord our God (Psalm 71:14, 16 TLB).

Debbie Hardy for GPGuest Post
Faculty Member
Debbie Hardy

Many people with the urge to write a book have no idea what’s involved. They’ve probably told amusing stories at parties and had someone say they should write them down.

It’s not easy, but it is possible.

  1. Write what you’re passionate about.

Writing and publishing a book can take years, and if you’re not passionate about the subject, you’ll tire of it long before the process is completed.

  1. Join a writers’ group.

These are writers who assist each other to improve their manuscripts and encourage one another to keep writing. Listening to suggestions and editing your manuscript can make it better and easier to read.

  1. Puke your book out.

I know this sounds gross, but puking your book out is exactly what you need to do. When you physically “toss your cookies,” you keep puking until everything is out, and then you clean it up. Same thing with writing. Get it all out from inside you, and then clean it up.

  1. Rewrite and have your manuscript critiqued again.

You want readers to love your work, so give it to critical folks for their reaction before even thinking about publishing. And don’t become defensive when they tell you what they’d like to see changed. These are readers, just like those you hope will buy your book and tell others about it.

  1. Marketing is up to you, not the publisher.

Learn all you can about how to market your book and yourself. Even if all your friends and family members buy a copy, you’ll need to sell more. Keep learning and marketing.

How to Write a Book AND Get It Published contains 45 more steps in the writing and publishing process, many of which you hadn’t thought of! Check it out on Amazon.com.

Colorado Christian Writers Conference
, May 11-14 – Debbie is teaching “Pitching to Agents, Publishers, and TV/Radio Producers” and “Say It with Humor.”


Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, August 3-6 – Debbie is teaching “Add Humor to Your Writing.”


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