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Archive for the ‘Praying for our nation’ Category

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We Thank You, O Lord
To the tune “We Gather Together”

We thank You, O Lord, for Your mercy and blessings,
Your love that we never can merit or earn.
Our praises we’re bringing to You on this Thanksgiving.
We worship You, O Lord -, our hearts for You yearn.

We need You, O Lord, in our lives, in our nation.
Forgive us for failing to follow Your way.
Thru darkness please guide us, Your light please shine upon us.
Help hold fast to our faith in these difficult days.

We cling to Your promise, we know You are faithful.
Our land You will heal if Your people will pray.
If humbly we’ll seek You and turn away from evil,
There’s hope that our- nation will see brighter days.

And so, Lord, we give You our praise and thanksgiving,
Our worries and fears we surrender to You.
We choose to rejoice in Your promise, Your provision.
We will trust You, O Lord -, for Your Word is true.

 Marlene Bagnull

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I confess! I should have changed the headline on the post I shared on my Facebook page Friday, but I didn’t know how to. I did not intend for it to be a political statement. But duh! How else could the headline be interpreted: “This video is the LAST thing Democrats want you to see right now – and it’s going viral.”

The headline did create attention. With 72 “shares” on my Facebook page alone, I can’t help but wonder how many would have read it had I created a more accurate headline like: “He’s not everything the media says he is. Another side of Trump.”

Posted on Allen B. West’s website, the video tells the story of a Puerto Rican boxer whose life was changed because of Donald Trump. I shared it not to rub salt in the very real wounds of those who are grieving over the results of Tuesday’s election. Rather I shared it to show another side of Mr. Trump that we have not seen covered by the media.

Our nation is deeply divided. Yes, I know that’s an understatement. Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and other minorities are genuinely fearful for their safety.  So are white evangelicals who are being accused of putting a bigot in office.

A dear black friend in my critique group was run off the road by a white man screaming “Trump.” She shared a link to the must-read blog below that I also posted on my Facebook page. Sadly there have been only two shares.

Christians bear the distinct responsibility to love and care for our neighbors,
even if we don’t fully understand them or agree with them.
DESIRINGGOD.ORG

The author, Anthony Bushnell, wrote: “One of the central teachings of Christianity is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40.) The Bible exhorts us to ‘weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12:15); it doesn’t lead with telling us to ‘judge whether they should be weeping,’ says pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. The same is true for those in fear. We don’t have to agree with the intensity of their fear in order to empathize with them. Compassion doesn’t require us to be convinced another person is entirely correct. It requires us to care about how he is feeling. Even if you think the danger won’t come to pass, the fear is certainly real….”

I witnessed this fear In July when I spoke in an African-American church in Baltimore after a beautiful black man was killed in Minnesota. I said that day, “The battle is not with people made of flesh and blood but with the principalities and powers seeking to divide our nation and the church.”

I have also experienced fear as a white woman when I’ve driven through the black inner-city neighborhood where my son and daughter-in-law used to live. The rioting in Portland and threats calling for the assassination of President-elect Donald Trump cause me much fear that our nation could descend into anarchy.

The shouting and name-calling coming from both sides is deafening our ears to really hear one another. Who is listening? Certainly the world is. No doubt their opinion of Americans has fallen. God is listening and, I’m just as certain that He is not pleased, especially with those who profess to be Christians. Hopefully we are not spitting out hateful and angry words, but our silence can be just as loud and divisive.

Friends, we are called to be reconcilers through and because of His amazing love. Father, let peace begin with me and my decision to listen and to love.

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cross-1448946__180

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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It used to be the biggest challenge writers faced was getting words down on paper and finding someone willing to publish them. That still is a challenge, but today it’s just the beginning of what a writer is expected to do.

 

Writing not facebookingNow we daily face the overwhelming task of building a platform. The time needed to write words worth reading is infringed upon by the need to have a growing presence on social media. We are driven to develop our “brand” along with a memorable tagline that will resonate with our “audience.”

I confess it’s all too easy for me to get caught up in this not so merry, merry-go-round.

 

Last week I spent a day and a half preparing a new flyer for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. One side is an overview of the conference and highlights the concert my friend, Marty Goetz, is giving on Wednesday night.

Marty poster for web

 

The other side describes our exciting Teens Write on Thursday and Pastors Write on Friday.

 

TW & PW flyer GP 2016 for web

 

I am excited about all this year’s conference offers. And I do work really hard to present the opportunities in the most professional and best way possible. I even added a new Spread the Word page to the conference website. But sadly, in my effort to “market” the conference, I am convicted that I forgot the most important thing.

 

The 3-1/2 day conference in August does provide many opportunities to learn about the craft of writing and marketing, but it is the message – “His answer” – that is the most important Word that needs to be spread.

 

As Michael Gantt said in his keynote at last year’s conference and this year’s  Colorado Christian Writers Conference, “The Cross is the Main Thing.” I urge you to watch the video of his keynote and/or read the transcript.  I also urge you to subscribe to his blog at http://growinggodlyseed.com.

 

Yes, I’d really appreciate your help spreading the word about the August 3-6 conference, but the most important thing each one of us can and must do is to spread His Word, His answer.

 

Again, quoting Michael Gantt from the blog he posted today:

We are called to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven. We are called to magnify and glorify the matchless Name of Jesus. We are called to declare deliverance to the captives, healing to the broken, and to declare that forgiveness of sin is found in none other than Jesus Christ. We are called to bring the light of the gospel to our cities; to bind up the broken, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and to declare even in the face of Caesar the eternal decrees of God – That’s what we are called to do!

Yes, indeed, that is the Word we are called to spread. God help us to be found faithful.

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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.

 

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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?

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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.

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