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Archive for the ‘Called to write’ Category

cross-1448946__180I’ve often said that I believe writers are on the front lines of the intense battle for the hearts and minds of men and women, boys and girls. And I’m often reminded of what Jim Watkins said to me years ago (not an exact quote): “You can’t get hundreds of people together excited about writing for the Lord and have the devil say, ‘Isn’t that nice.’”

Scripture confirms that we are in a battle:

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Eph. 6:12 NLT)

The Message paraphrases this in sobering words:

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. (Eph.6:12 MSG)

It is critical, as Ephesians 6 goes on to say, that we put on the whole armor of God and that we pray.

Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. And don’t forget to pray for me. Pray that I’ll know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time. (Eph. 6:18-19 MSG)

Although the season of planning and directing the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is just beginning, the warfare is already intense. Much prayer is needed.

In response to the counsel of MK (the missionary who has talked about her ministry to victims of human trafficking at the past several conferences), Charles Patricoff who will be keynoting in Colorado on “Strategic and Tactical Prayer” (click here for his blog), and staff member and prayer warrior Laura Shaffer (click here for her powerful Daily Bible Prayer blog), I plan to share specific prayer concerns weekly. I hope you’ll enlist in the prayer team by clicking “Follow Blog via Email” in the top right hand column.

  • Pray for the almost 3,000 recipients of the brochure for the Colorado conference, asking God to encourage them to seek His will for their writing and to not give up if they are feeling discouraged.
  • Pray for those who feel God is calling them to register, but financially don’t see how they can afford the cost, to trust Him to provide. Father, please give them the courage to ask for help from their family, friends, and church and expand the conference scholarship fund.
  • Pray for me as I juggle the details for both conferences that seem overwhelming. Father, You know I often question my ability, but I choose to give you my availability. Please help me to keep my eyes on Jesus and not fall victim to the deadly Ds of doubt and discouragement.
  • Pray I will be keenly aware of Father’s leading as I finalize the faculty and workshops for the Philly conference and begin work on the brochure and website.
  • Pray God’s Ephesians 3:20 blessings on Barb Haley, our extraordinary registrar and appointments coordinator for both conferences.

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question-exclam-ptWhen I began writing for publication over 40 years ago, opportunities to learn the craft were limited and there was only one writers’ conference on the East Coast. I’ll always be grateful for my pastor who sent me to the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference. That conference changed my life and launched me on an Ephesians 3:20 journey.

I believe going to one or more writers’ conferences every year  is critically important for those who have not yet published (or even submitted a manuscript for publication) as well as those who are publishing regularly. The opportunity to grow your writing and marketing skills, to learn from and meet with established authors, and to pitch your ideas to agents and editors can change your life even as it has mine.

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That’s why I’ve kept on keeping on directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for 21 years and the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference for 34 years. (The July 26-29 Philly conference is in the planning stages.) It’s meant I have far less time for my own writing, but I have no doubt I make a much greater Kingdom impact through directing the two conferences and teaching at my writing seminars. I have to admit, however, that if Father had told me at the first conference I attended that one day I’d be directing not one but two conferences, I would have told Him I wasn’t qualified and I would have run the other way!

2017-gp-banner-to-use

As I flip through the 16-page brochure for the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference, I am amazed at what Father has enabled me to put together. It is certainly beyond what I could have ever imagined or dreamed over 40 years ago.

But what to choose? In addition to 42 workshops (you get to choose six or apply for a clinic), 15 early bird workshops, keynotes, panels, and one-on-one appointments (full-time conferees get FOUR 15-minute appointments), here’s a quick peek at our eight continuing sessions. Choosing just one isn’t easy!

Compassion rocks fixed
The Chase  
with D.J. Williams – Create a roadmap to chase your cause-driven novel in this interactive workshop that dives into the structure that moves novelists and screenwriters to write stories that make a difference in the world.

cspa


You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book
with Sarah Bolme (director of CSPA, the  Christian Small Publishers Assn.) – Gain the knowledge and tools  you need to publish and market your book affordably.

kids-writing
Writing Powerful Narrative Nonfiction
with Sherri Langton – You’ll learn how story communicates biblical truth, where to find ideas, and how to be sure an idea is marketable.

clasping-hand
The Courage to Write 
with Judy Couchman – Build a solid foundation for your writing ministry by learning from an author who felt just as scared as you when she started. Now she has traditionally published 44 works.

indie-pub
Develop & Market Your Nonfiction Book
with Mike Loomis –  Explore a market-driven approach to creating a nonfiction book, from premise to press release.

tin-can
Reaching Women through Writing & More
with Linda Evans Shepherd – From the podium, to written word, to Web publications, and to Internet video, Linda will help you formulate a plan to build your ministry to meet the needs of today’s women.

Think Big2
Writing that Changes Lives
with Bill Watkins – Learn how writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth can change lives and eventually cultures.

iphone
Market Your Message without Selling Your Soul
with Eryn Lynum – Learn how to create a healthy, growing platform and marketing plan along with the importance of remembering the “why” of your writing so you don’t become lost in the marketing.

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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christmas-gifts
Thanks to an unexpected home improvement – we discovered a leak in our bathroom and spent two weeks with contractors coming and going – I’m far from ready for Christmas even though I’ve had 356 days to prepare. What can we do if our doing is way past what needs to be done?

  • In the midst of the rush to get caught up choose not to miss reflecting daily on the miracle of the Word becoming flesh (John 1:14).
  • If you’ve not yet mailed your Christmas cards (I haven’t!), instead of just signing your name to a store-bought Christmas card, why not enclose a letter? Family and friends you rarely see will appreciate an update even though it’s a copy of a mass-produced letter. But more than just the “news,” ask Father how you can encourage them through sharing something He has taught you this year. Choose to be real.
  • Write a Christmas poem or story and post it on your blog.
  • Post Scripture promises to your social media pages.
  • Write a Letter to the Editor to address efforts to take Christ out of Christmas. Write an intelligent, well-informed response and avoid preaching.
  • Give books by your favorite authors to family and friends.
  • Give yourself the gift of Tyndale’s The One Year Study Bible.
  • cwmg-2017Another must-have gift for yourself – the hot-off-the-press Christian Writers MarketGuide 2017. I just received two boxes of the newly designed and much easier to use guide. Thanks, Steve Laube and Lin Johnson for your work on this needed resource. It retails for $22.99 but is available through the Write His Answer Ministries bookstore for only $17.99 plus $4.00 shipping. There is NO charge for shipping if your order for additional titles from the WHAM bookstore is $35 or more. Click here to order.
  • Plan now to make 2017 the year of growing your writing skills by saving May 17-20 for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference or July 26-29 for the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’m praising God for how both conferences are coming together. Be watching for an update on the websites by the end of the year. Why not drop a hint that a conference would make a wonderful Christmas gift?pc-2017-cwcs

Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Thank You for the promise that “His life is the light that shines through the darkness – and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John 1:5 TLB). Help us to be bearers of His light through the words we write and lives we live.

New WHA cover
My gift to you: You’ll find several free chapters from Write His Answer, now in print 25 years, at http://bit.ly/2h1qgs2.

“This book changed the way I write. I plan to read it again.”  ~ Danni Andrew

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Father, I grieve
for my nation that I love
and for Your people who are caught up
in the angry rhetoric that is dividing our nation.
I grieve even more for those who choose
to ignore the issues, to remain silent,
and not to exercise their responsibility to vote.

Father, I plead with You
to help us discern what is most important.
Give us the courage to stand
for the sanctity of life,
for marriage between a man and a woman,
for the nation of Israel surrounded by enemies.

Father, help us to recognize
that we are not fighting against people
made of flesh and blood
but against principalities and powers
intent on fueling angry thoughts and words
into explosive actions to destroy our nation.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow,
help us to trust that You are able
to work all things together for good.
Bring our nation back to You.
Help Your scribes to live
and to write Your answer!

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July 9 I gave a day long “Write His Answer” seminar in Baltimore. I quoted Chuck Colson’s sobering words in Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages:

‘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.”

Sunset_Mountains_Worship_Background

I feel such a strong sense of urgency to “write His answer” – now. I believe the day is fast approaching when we will not have the freedom to print or distribute Christian literature or to share our faith on the Internet.

Critical days are ahead. As so many are saying, America is teetering on the edge of collapse. I urge you to watch Michael Gantt’s keynote, “The Cross Is the Main Thing,” from last year’s conference.

“The sad fact for America is that
our sin has made God our enemy.
Because of the rejection of God and His Word
and because we have exchanged
the God of Life for the gods of death
and perversion,
America is already under
the Hand of God’s judgment.

“If there is no national confession of sin
and if we cannot find a heart of repentance,
a Holy God will complete his judgment;
either by the complete annihilation
or subjugation of what was once a great
and godly people or by rendering it
completely irrelevant on the world stage.”

Michael Gantt
http://growinggodlyseed.com/stand (complete transcript)
Video – http://bit.ly/1JkE8m9

Father, please open our eyes to the “signs of the time” and help us to “Make the most of every chance [we] get. These are desperate times!” (Eph. 5:16 MSG).

Sunday, July 24, is the last day to register for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference before the price increases. It is also the last day to sign up for appointments (based on availability) with up to FOUR (agents, editors, or authors from the 55 serving on this year’s faculty. You can still register after July 24 (and walk-in), but you will need to wait until you arrive at the conference to request your appointments.

But Philly is too far? It’s not the same as being there, but CDs will be available after the conference. And I’ve just posted the order form for CDs from the May Colorado Christian Writers Conference to the website. Click here. Michael Gantt’s keynote that the above quote came from was also presented in Colorado this May and received a standing ovation.

But I can’t afford the cost. If Father wants you to come, He will provide. This is not a pat answer but one that I have personally experienced time and time again. I know all about “thinking lack.”  But I also have been convicted that when I worry (translation “wring my hands”) over my perception that there is not enough money, I grieve Almighty God who promises to supply all my needs from His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19). Partial scholarships are still available. Family, friends, your church might welcome the opportunity to invest in your writing ministry, but you need to ask.

But I can’t get time off work. God can grant you favor with your boss, but again you need to ask. If you’ve used all your vacation time but are off on Saturdays, then come just one day.

But I don’t have anyone to watch my kids or aging parent. Again, you need to ask! Remember, “you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it” (James 4:2 NLT).

As my friend Lee Roddy once said, “eternity will be different” because of the words that will be written and published  as a result of this conference.

Father, please help everyone who reads these words not to doubt You or the gift of
words You have entrusted to them. Move whatever obstacles that appear to stand in their way and get them to the August 3-6, 2016, GPCWC. I know You will meet us there.

Keep believing, living, and writing His answer!

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assist

Reconciled One to Another, Ministry
in the Age of 
#Black Lives Matter

 

By Marlene Bagnull, Litt.D., Director, Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, Special to ASSIST News Service

 


LANGHORNE, PA (ANS – July 9, 2016)
 — With the breaking news of more bloodshed on our streets, this time in Dallas where five police officers were killed, two workshops at the August 3-6 Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference take on added urgency.

 

On Thursday, August 4, Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts will present a workshop specifically designed for pastors although all are welcome to attend. In “Reconciled One to Another – Ministry in the Age of #BlackLivesMatter” she will show how “the Body of Christ is most effective when all its parts are at its maximum potential.

 

As a result, we should be the greatest advocate for cultural and racial diversity and reconciliation in all of society. In the age of social media and digital publication, it is increasingly becoming the responsibility of the church to voice its role in social justice and political issues and to do so in a way that doesn’t compromise the Gospel but actively inserts a Christ-centric perspective into the global conversation.

 

This workshop will equip pastors and ministers with the necessary practical and spiritual tools to appropriately and effectively extend both their evangelism and ministry efforts beyond conventional boundaries – particularly as it relates to the intersectional issues of race and faith.”

 

Thursday afternoon Lewis-Giggetts will present a second workshop, “Reconciled,” that will focus on how to give voice to the Church’s role in social justice and political issues in a way that doesn’t compromise the Gospel but actively inserts a Christ-centric perspective into the global conversation.

 

Author and educator Lewis-Giggetts is the author of nine books including The Integrated Church: Strategies for Multicultural Ministry (Beacon Hill). Additionally, her writing on race and faith has been published in local, regional, and national print and online publications such as The GuardianUrbanFaith.comThe Chronicle for Higher EducationEbony.comMinistry MattersTheRoot.com, and more.

 

The Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference (GPCWC), now in its 33rd year of ministry, was one of the first Christian writers’ conferences to make it a priority to include a number of Black authors and editors on faculty. Yolanda Powell, author of Soul Food & Living Water: Spiritual Nourishment and Practical Help for the Black Family, says the conference is, “A not-to-miss gathering where writers and editors from multicultural and diverse backgrounds converge and connect in Christ.”

 

The theme of the conference, from Habakkuk 2:2, is “Write His Answer.” Through keynote addresses participants will be encouraged to “Transform Our Culture” by Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and chairman of The Christian Film & Television Commission (TM), and to discover how “prayer can move your author mountains and heal your life’s divides” by award-winning author Patricia Raybon. Other keynotes include “Be Prepared – Living and Writing His Answer in the Last Days,” “Guarding the Treasure,” “A Writer’s Dream,” “Write His Answer Right,” and “How Then Should We Live.”

 

A faculty of 55 authors, editors, and agents will teach 8 continuing sessions and 61 workshops including 6 workshops in the “Issues” track where participants will consider “America at the Crossroads,” “The Cross Is the Main Thing,” “What Would God Have Us Say,” “Stereotyping,” “Stand for Truth,” and “Reconciled.”

 

The conference is held on the campus of Cairn University in Langhorne, PA. For more information, please go to: http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

 

Photo captions: 1) Dallas Police officers during the shootout. 2) Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts. 3) Patricia Raybon. 4) Dr. Ted Baehr. 5) Marlene Bagnull.

 

Note: GPCWC is directed by Marlene Bagnull, the author of five books including Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers that has been in print for 25 years. She gives Write His Answer seminars around the nation and also directs the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Visit her website at http://writehisanswer.com.

 

** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please also tell your friends that they can have a complimentary subscription to ANS by going to our website and signing up there.
 

Copyright © 2016 ASSIST News Service, All rights reserved.

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2 elephants

 

Are you facing an elephant?
More than likely your elephant, same as mine, is something you’ve been putting off doing because it’s just seems so big, so beyond your capability, so overwhelming . . .

 

You’d think after 33 years of directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and 20 years directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference it would be less overwhelming.

Not so!

Each year the task seems more daunting. And each year I have to remind myself that “God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises” (Rom. 11:29 TLB).

What has He promised you and me?

That it would be easy to follow Him? No. But He has promised always to be with us.

I’ve learned (but need to keep re-learning) that “when I am weak, then I am strong—the less I have, the more I depend on him” (2 Cor. 12:10 TLB).

And so, depending on Him, I keep on keeping on even though it seems that for every item I cross off my to-do list I add half a dozen more.

I’m choosing to depend on His enabling power for the day-long writers’ seminar I’m teaching in Baltimore this Saturday, July 9. I’ve given over 50 seminars and love teaching. Still, I find the preparation overwhelming. So, of course, I put it off until the last minute.

I’m reminded of a Scripture He brought to my attention many years ago when I was struggling to finish my first book.

“I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do”
(2 Cor. 8:10 TLB).

So, no more excuses! I know that in His strength  I can eat the elephant a bite at a time!

What about you?

elephant cookie

If your elephant is fear that your writing isn’t good enough to be published, then take advantage of the learning opportunities at the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Partial scholarships are still available. Remember, God can make possible what seems impossible.

If you are registered for the conference and your “elephant” is fear that you won’t be accepted in the clinic you would really like to take, I want to encourage you to eat that elephant and complete the application. It’s due tomorrow, but I am extending the deadline until Monday morning, July 11.

Father, help us to step out of our comfort zone into the exciting plans You have for us if we will just keep our eyes on Jesus and not on the elephants!

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