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Fighting to Win

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from
and forget about 
in a couple of hours.
This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish
against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more
than you can handle on your own.
Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued,
so that when it’s all over but the shouting
you’ll still be on your feet.” (Eph. 6:12-13 MSG)

 

Fight any spiritual battles lately? Or perhaps you’re in the midst of a battle right now. I know I am!

I just received the hard copy proof for the Colorado brochure. The workshop grid that is spread over two pages on the fold and had to be split is finally lined up correctly. But unbelievably the printer again has the bottom of the mailer upside down on the open end. I have explained again and again how the bottom needs to be on the fold for the Post Office. (One year I missed spotting this on the hard copy proof and the brochure was printed with the open end on the bottom. My mailing service convinced the post office to mail the brochures but it cost 20 or 25 cents more for each one! You can imagine how sick this made me since I mail about 5,000 brochures.) The printer does mailings and should know this without being told. And the file I submitted was set up correctly.

correct

Not correct

 

Father, please help me to give You my frustration. Help me to rejoice in the midst of this opposition knowing that the conference is obviously a threat to the evil one and that You have already won the victory. Help me not to stress over the delay of getting the brochure into the hands of the people You are calling to come. Thank You for the 17 online registrations I’ve already received and the faculty You have provided. I KNOW Your hand is on CCWC. Indeed, it is Your conference – not mine. And thank You that I finally found the missing 55 emails in the “To Do 2016 CCWC” Outlook folder. (I kept praying this prayer during a 40 minute phone call with the printer.)

There is no explanation for the missing emails. As I moved an email from my inbox into the “To Do 2016 CCWC” folder so it wouldn’t be buried in my inbox and not answered, the entire To Do folder emptied. The missing emails were not in my deleted folder. I searched for about two hours because these were important emails that needed to be answered. (Yes, I have a HUGE number of folders and emails in Outlook). I finally found them at the very bottom of the list of folders (where I had already searched two other times) in a second folder with the same name as the empty folder.

This kind of opposition so early in conference season is unnerving. And in six to eight weeks I’ll be going through the same process for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

Father I know You will use these battles to strengthen my faith muscles. Please help me put on the armor You provide and stand in Your strength.

Armor

 

 

Time to re-read “Put on the Armor” from Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. 

Click here for a link to this chapter.

 

 

 

WHA 2 endorsement

Pressing On

Whew! What a week. More than likely you can relate.

I’ve often said that problems (it’s better to call them “challenges”) are groupies. They never seem to come one at a time.

“What’s wrong?” my husband frequently asked me over 50 years ago when I was a very young and immature bride.

“Everything,” I’d respond.

And sometimes, even today, that’s how it feels. Although my problems are nothing as severe as what the Apostle Paul faced, I can identify with what he wrote:

“In every way we’re troubled,
but we aren’t crushed by our troubles.
2 Cor. 4:8 GW

I’ve worked for over a month to finalize the faculty and program for the May 11-14 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. I am praising God for all He has done and is doing. I really enjoy putting it all together and typesetting our 16 page brochure, but . . . the formatting issues are enough to make me want to pull my hair out.

Before you ask, no it’s not something I can delegate. I write the copy to fit. The problem that is hard to explain and even harder to fix is what the printer requires and how those requirements change every year.

I need to design the brochure in an 8.5 x 11 format. But then I need to split the pages into a 5.5 x 8.5 format. That means splitting the two-page workshop grid into two separate pages that the printer will then put back together. I know. It doesn’t make any sense. And that is just the beginning of the “challenges” that I’ve tried to resolve the past two days.

Of course, the deadline (and I used to think deadlines were exciting) has come and passed.

But the Apostle Paul also said,

“We’re frustrated, but we don’t give up.”
2 cor. 4:8 GW

I’ve searched the Bible. Nowhere does it say that following Jesus will be easy. Just the opposite. We are to expect opposition. We need to put on the spiritual armor He provides and toughen up.

I am convinced that dark days are ahead for our nation and world, but I’m clinging to His promise:

Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ
who loved us enough to die for us.”
Rom. 8:37 TLB

I’m determined, in His strength, to press on and to

“Carry the light-giving Message into the night.”
Phil. 2:15 MSG

What about you?
____________

If we have your USPS address, you’ll receive the brochure in the mail mid-February. But PTL it is available online now at http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

Online registration opens Monday, February 1. But you can be the first to register by printing and mailing the form in the brochure. I will send a free copy of Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers to everyone whose registration is postmarked today, January 30.

Plans are underway for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

 

 

On February 1, a week from today God willing, online registration for the May 11-14 Colorado Christian Writers Conference will open. And plans are well underway for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

It’s my 20th year directing the Colorado conference, my 33rd year for Philly. And it’s not gotten any easier. Instead the spiritual battles have become more intense.

The urgency I feel to challenge you to live and write His answer compells me to keep on keeping on despite the weariness, fear, and discouragement I often face. Michael Gantt, who will keynote at both conferences, expresses my heart burden far more powerfully than I can. As a watchman on the wall, he urges prayer “day in and day out for a move of God that will shake the nation out of its spiritual coma.”

Michael’s words about 15 years ago when he keynoted at the Colorado conference keep ringing in my ears: “Do you believe, do you really believe, that God can use you?”

Yes, I do!

Father, please help us to surrender our hopes and dreams for our writing – for our lives – to You. Use us, Lord.
_______________

Michael Gantt’s blog – www.growinggodlyseed.com

Too Little Too Late? Anglican Church Tries To Reverse Apostate Trend – Church attendance in Great Britain is now only 1.4 percent of the population! Is this where the church in America is headed?

Is this the year?

Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear,
so anyone can read it at a glance
and rush to tell the others.
Habakkuk 2:2 TLB

Is this the year you’re going to finally begin or complete the book you feel called to write? Or, more realistically, do you want to write short stories, articles, devotionals, or poetry but have had a hard time getting started?

I believe the need to “write His answer” and the opportunities to reach the world through blogs and eBooks as well as through both print and online magazines and traditionally published books has never been greater. But, as Ecclesiastes 5:7 says, “Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words” (TLB).

If you are not part of a Christian writers group, I want to encourage you to check out the listing of groups in The Christian Writer’s Market Guide 2015-2016. Copies of this important resource can be ordered through the Write His Answer Bookstore at 25% off.  Click here for “Helps for Forming Critique Groups” if you believe Father is leading you to start and group and here for “The Critique Group Process.”

If you live in the Philadelphia area, you are welcome to visit the Christian Writers Fellowship (CWF) that meets in my Lansdale home once a month on a Thursday morning. Our first 2016 meeting is this coming Thursday, January 14, at 10:00 am. Directions and dates for each month are on my newly designed website at http://www.writehisanswer.com/greaterphillychristianwriters/.

Whether or not you can come, I hope you’ll make time (it will take less than 10 minutes) to read Chapter 2, “Look to Jesus,” from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. Click here for it and other free resources to encourage and equip you to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.

Father, help all of us to “look to Jesus” as we seek to live and write Your answer throughout this new year.

New WHA coverWrite His Answer is not just a book to read and put down . . . I keep my copy close to my manuscript and journals, dog-eared and tattered from use.  I purchased the original version years ago at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference when I had no idea how to begin a writing ministry. Although I’m excited about getting the new edition, my first copy filled with personal notes is simply irreplaceable. More than a devotional or a “how-to-and-continue-on” manual, Write His Answer is written by a woman who knows the heart of God and the heart of a writer. This has been a rich resource to encourage and challenge me to respond and remain faithful to God’s call and use His Word as  my guidance for every page. This is a classic . . . for keeps.   ~ Verna Bowman

For 25 years Write His Answer has encouraged writers. The new 2014 edition includes 176 pages with space to journal your response to His call as well as updated recommended resources. An autographed copy is available for only $10 plus shipping. Click here for excerpts and to order. It is also available as an eBook through Amazon.com.

Click here for review on Author Culture by Jimmie Kepler.

Banner GPCWC 2016


Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear,
so anyone can read it at a glance
and rush to tell the others.
Habakkuk 2:2 TLB

Thank You, Father, for the opportunities this new year will bring us to live and to write Your answer. Draw us closer to You and by Your Spirit enable us to do what we could never do in our own strength.

Conference Preview – Continuing Sessions

Ted BaehrDr. Ted  Baehr
Author
Founder and Chairman
The Christian Film and Television Commission™
Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®
www.movieguide.org

 

Ted is the founder and Chairman of The Christian Film and Television Commission™ and Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE® Magazine, a family guide to entertainment. An award-winning media authority often on television, radio, and in print, his purpose is to be used by God to redeem the values of the mass media and to encourage families to use wisdom in selecting their entertainment. His books include How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul), The Media-Wise Family, Narnia Beckons, Faith in God & Generals, as well as The Amazing Grace of Freedom and The Culture-Wise Family, among many others.

Learn how to write a script that is structurally sound, entertaining, morally responsible, and very marketable. Ted will show you how to go from treatment to theatrical release so that you can get the Word out through the mass media of entertainment. He also includes valuable information about the key principles of communicating through movies and television from a Christian perspective.

Dr. Baehr knows the ins and outs of both Hollywood and visual storytelling. This is a rare and valuable combination, allowing him to impart wisdom on the craft of screenwriting as well as the equally important craft of infiltrating an industry often hostile to the Church and Christian morals. To me he is an embodiment of Matthew 10:16 “…therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.” Students will take away an incredibly solid foundation for writing screenplays, and an insider’s insight into how “The Industry” works. Film and television are the most influential mediums for influencing our culture, and Dr. Baehr is on mission to equip Christians with the skills and wisdom to take Hollywood for Christ.     ~ Eric Cameron

Bob Hostetler Jan 11
Write Your BEST Nonfiction Book Now!
Bob Hostetler
Author, Editor, Pastor, Speaker

 

Bob is an award-winning author, editor, pastor and speaker from southwestern Ohio. His thirty books, which include The Bone Box and American Idols (The Worship of the American Dream), have sold millions of copies. He has co-authored eleven books with Josh McDowell, including the best-selling Right from Wrong What You Need to Know to Help Youth Make Right Choices) and the award-winning Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door. He has won two Gold Medallion Awards, four Ohio Associated Press awards, and an Amy Foundation Award, among others. Bob is a frequent speaker at churches, conferences, and retreats.
Bob was ordained to the ministry in 1980 by The Salvation Army. He and his wife, the lovely Robin, served in The Salvation Army from 1980-1992. In 2000, Bob (with his wife) helped to co-found Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio. He has served that church in leadership and teaching pastor roles.

Bob has been a disc jockey, pastor, magazine editor, freelance book editor, and (with his wife Robin) a foster parent to ten boys (though not all at once)! Bob and Robin have two adult children, Aubrey and Aaron, son-in-law Kevin and daughter-in-law Nina, and grandchildren Miles, Mia, Calleigh, and Ryder. They live in Hamilton, Ohio.

Conceive, craft, complete, and sell the best nonfiction book(s) you have in you. No matter where you are in the writing or publishing process these sessions will be the best investment you can make in your writing future.

 

Tim Shoemaker color

 

How to Get Published
Tim Shoemaker
Author, Speaker
www.timshoemakersmashedtomatoes.com

Tim is a full-time speaker and author of 11 books. He is passionate about writing and has worked with youth for over twenty years. Code of Silence, book one of his contemporary suspense series with Zonderkidz, was included in the Booklist Online “Top Ten Crime Novels for Youth” list. Tim was selected by School Library Journal to serve on a four-member “Mysteries and Thrillers” panel for their Summer Teen Event.

Tim speaks at churches and parachurch organizations such as Focus on the Family, Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conferences, and Moody Pastors Conference. He speaks at homeschool conventions as well as retreats for men and couples. He speaks at public and Christian schools across the country–so if you know a librarian, principal, or English teacher–talk to Tim about that. Tim has a passionate style of teaching that makes his workshops enjoyable and helps make even difficult topics clear. Happily married for over thirty-five years, Tim has three grown sons and still loves doing volunteer youth work.

Both fiction and nonfiction writers will learn how to focus their ideas, structure articles and stories, handle rejection, and write query letters. Five essentials for publishing success including one thing you may have never considered before, but it’s a biggee. Five essentials for learning the craft of writing, and five ways to improve your fiction writing. Whew! Sounds like we’ll be busy. And we will-in a good way. Very detailed handout (without blanks) provided. 

Five more continuing sesions
plus workshops and clinics!

NOTE: The website still has 2015 info.

 More News

  • Michael Gantt’s blog

Michael’s keynote at this year’s conference was, I believe, the most important and powerful keynote in GPCWC’s thirty-two years of ministry. You can view it at http://bit.ly/1JkE8m9. For a complete transcript go to http://growinggodlyseed.com/stand. I strongly encourage you to subscribe to his Growing Godly Seed blog and to take seriously the counsel he offers in his December 21 post, “No Longer Good,” on how we need to prepare for the days ahead. Click here. Michael will keynote again at our 2016 conference.

 

·       PREPRAYER for the New Year with Anne Graham Lotz

Anne writes: “As I look ahead into 2016, I believe our national and global situation will get worse.  A good friend has focused my attention on Isaiah 60:1-2 as a word from the Lord for the New Year:  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  I can feel the encroaching darkness of evil that is like a heavy moral and spiritual fog.  It’s permeating our nation at every level. At the very same time that our nation is enveloped in thick darkness, God commands us to arise, let our Light shine, and the distinctive glory of our Lord will be obvious to all.” Click here for more info and to join Anne and me on January 1 in an hour of prayer.

CCWC 2016 banner

Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear,
so anyone can read it at a glance
and rush to tell the others.
Habakkuk 2:2 TLB

Thank You, Father, for the opportunities this new year will bring us to live and to write Your answer. By Your Spirit enable us to do what we could never do in our own strength. Thank You for Jonathan and Bruce Shank who are redesigning the conference websites to display on mobile devices. And thank You for everyone who has said yes to serving on the faculty.

Conference Preview
Some of the Continuing Sessions

Allen Arnold Nov 2013   
The Heart of the Storyteller
Allen Arnold
Director of Content
& Resources
Ransomed Heart Ministries

 

From the mountains of Colorado, Allen oversees Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries (led by John Eldredge, NY Times bestselling author of Wild at Heart). Prior to that, he spent 20 years in Christian publishing-overseeing the development of more than 500 novels as Founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. He was awarded the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks salsa by the glass, and is passionate about helping writers tell better stories from an awakened heart.

The heart of a story always begins with the heart of the storyteller. . . yet the heart of the writer is often neglected. It’s easy to see why. The life of a novelist is filled with isolation, pressure to find an agent or publisher, writing and rewriting, hyper-focus on performance, worry, fear, and trying to navigate the ever-changing world of social media – all while holding down a day job. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We will pursue the heart of the writer through conversations about identity and calling, story as offering, presence versus productivity, savoring the “land in-between,” and the importance of living your story before telling your stories. It’s time to breathe deeply, recover your heart, and savor story as you discover how to live free, write free.

 

Jeff Gerke


Christian Speculative Fiction
 Jeff Gerke
 Author, Editor, Mentor 

When you’re truly ready to make your fiction publishable, it’s time to call Jeff Gerke. Jeff trains novelists how to better do what it is they’re trying to do. He trains through his books for Writers Digest: The Irresistible Novel, Plot Versus Character, The First 50 Pages, Write Your Novel in a Month, and The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction. He trains through the many writers’ conferences he teaches at all over the country every year. He trained his authors when he ran Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, which he sold after an award-winning 5-year run. And he trains through the freelance editing he does for his clients at www.jeffgerke.com. Jeff is known for his canny book doctoring skills and his encouraging manner, which leaves writers feeling empowered and like they really can do this thing after all. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and three children.

Some of us are just weird. We don’t like Amish fiction-unless it’s Amish vampires in space. Then, maybe. We would rather write about a sword in a stone than a mail-order bride. Warp drives and nanotech beat out Jane Austen any day, in our book. Come hear the man who has been called the de facto gatekeeper of Christian speculative fiction talk about the joys of writing Christian science fiction and fantasy, the distinctives of our beloved genre, and the prospects for publishing it today.

Andy Scheer


First-Chapter Bootcamp
Andy Scheer
Writer & Editor

Andy has worked in publishing since 1984. Now a writer and editor, he’s served as editor-in-chief for the Christian Writers Guild and Editorial Director for Believers Press. He’s also been an agent with Hartline and an editor with Moody magazine. As a freelance book editor since 2010, he’s edited fiction and nonfiction projects for Moody Publishers, WinePress, and Kregal, as well as individual clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, and Sammy Tippit. A journalism graduate of Colorado State University, he also studied at Denver Seminary. Visit him at AndyScheer.com.

In this hands-on class, learn what your first chapter and especially your opening page must accomplish so potential readers will want to buy your book. You’ll learn to align your content and approach for maximum effect with your target audience. (Intermediate to advanced)

 Five more to come!
NOTE: The website still has 2015 info. 

More News

  • Living Set Apart Blog

One of the primary goals of Kayla Woodhouse’s Living Set Apart blog is to spread awareness of current, world-wide, and regional issues with the aim of spreading the gospel and spurring people into action. There will be eight posts each month, in four different categories: A two-part devotional, two short stories/poems (submitted by your peer tweens, teens, and young adults!), a two-part Awareness article, and two applicable “Goals” posts. Click here to see the list of topics the blog will address monthly. I hope you will help Kayla reach her goal of 500 subscribers by the end of 2015.

  • Paula Moldenhauer releases first eBook in The Soul Scents devotional series

Awaken to a more intimate, peaceful relationship with God. The Soul Scents devotional series invites readers into an ever-deepening discovery of Who God is and how He interacts with us. Bathed in grace, this collection of thirteen week devotionals is down-to-earth, offering spiritual insight gained from Scripture and the author’s journey into spiritual freedom. Soul Scents: Awaken, the first in the series, features week-day readings which include Scriptures and prayers. Rest in the Son’s embrace as you enter the beautiful heart of the Freedom Giver Himself. Available on Amazon as a free eBook January 1 and 2.

  • PREPRAYER for the New Year with Anne Graham Lotz

Anne writes: “As I look ahead into 2016, I believe our national and global situation will get worse.  A good friend has focused my attention on Isaiah 60:1-2 as a word from the Lord for the New Year:  Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  I can feel the encroaching darkness of evil that is like a heavy moral and spiritual fog.  It’s permeating our nation at every level. At the very same time that our nation is enveloped in thick darkness, God commands us to arise, let our Light shine, and the distinctive glory of our Lord will be obvious to all.” Click here for more info and to join Anne and me on January 1 in an hour of prayer.

Child and Christmas tree“Is Daddy going to come?” I asked as my mother put the finishing touches on my angel costume.

“You know he never goes to church,” she replied.

“But can’t he come just this once to see me in the pageant?” I pleaded.

She sighed. “I doubt it. Try not to get your hopes up. I’m afraid you’ll only be disappointed.”

Despite her warning, I did begin to hope—and pray. But I was terribly disap­pointed the night of the pageant. Daddy didn’t come. I was silent the whole way home.

“Would you like to put up the Christmas tree tonight?” Mother asked, trying to cheer me up.

“I guess,” I said without much enthusiasm.

Carefully Mother unpacked our little artificial tree and placed it on the buffet in the dining room next to the couch where I slept. Daddy didn’t help us decorate it. Nor did he ask about the pageant.

It was a long time before I fell asleep that night. I kept looking at our little tree, wishing it was a big, live tree and that Daddy believed in Jesus so we could really celebrate Christmas together as a family.

Daddy died when I was ten years old. The following Christmas I talked Mother into getting a real tree.  We bought the biggest tree I could find. I spent hours decorating it. Each strand of tinsel had to be draped just right. Mother put our little artificial tree in the window. It looked small and insignificant next to the magnificent balsam pine, and it triggered memories I wanted to forget.

The years passed quickly. I got married and moved away from home. As if to make up for the pain of the past, I went all out trying to make Christmas as special as possible for my children. It became a family tradition to go tramping through the woods in search of the perfect tree. We decorated it together, baked cookies together, and most important of all, went to church together. Our home was happy and filled with a lot of love.

Our children are now grown. Arthritic knees and sciatica this year made it impossible for me to go in search of a live tree. Instead, my grandkids helped me put up an artificial tree. It’s much larger that the artificial tree from my childhood. It looks almost real. Yet I feel sad  when I think of the past and of that littlest Christmas tree. By now it would be a valuable antique, but I don’t know what happened to it. I do know what’s happened to me.

I now know Christmas is not about finding the perfect tree. It is about the One whose birth we celebrate–the One who has healed the rejection and hurt I felt as a child and who gives me strength to face the disappointments, problems, and fears of adult life.

Tears will be shed by many this Christmas as they look back on years past and on present circumstances that do not fit the pretty pictures on Christmas cards. I’ll shed some tears, too, as I feel their pain and wonder if Daddy is in heaven. But I’ll also recommit myself to sharing the good news of God’s love and forgiveness with a world that desperately needs to know Jesus. And my tears of sadness will be turned to tears of joy as I remember His promise to be with us always and to come again.

 

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