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We are pressed on every side by troubles,
but not crushed and broken.
We are perplexed because we don’t know why
things happen as they do,
but we don’t give up and quit.
2 Corinthians 4:8 TLB

What the apostle Paul and other early followers of Christ endured – what they endure today in nations where there is no freedom of religion – certainly wouldn’t make for an appealing help wanted ad.

We have been beaten, put in jail,
faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion,
stayed awake through sleepless nights of watching,
and gone without food.
2 Corinthians 6:5 TLB

Can you imagine being with him in an inner dungeon, sitting in filth, your feet clamped in stocks, rats nibbling at your toes, and your body in agony because of the beating you just received? Would you, would I, be singing hymns to the Lord? (See Acts 16:23-26.)

What if Paul had said, “I’ve had enough! I quit!” Who would blame him?

But he didn’t quit! And we must not either.

There is a way over, through, around the obstacles if we will

P R A Y 

P E R S E V E R E

and K E E P   O U R   E Y E S   O N   J E S U S who for the joy set before Him endured the cross  (Heb. 12:2).

I am convinced that Father is allowing obstacles in order to strengthen our faith muscles for the difficult days that are ahead as our nation slips farther and farther away from Him.

I have faced one obstacle after another preparing for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I am praising God that one of the biggest obstacles has been overcome. I will be able to provide meals and lodging for late registrants and walk-ins. This is H U G E. With 47 to 71 conferees registering in the last two weeks, I’ve not known how we would feed them and find a bed for their head. But PTL that obstacle has been overcome!

So you can still register and purchase meals and lodging on campus. Although the price has increased, I am happy to offer you free of charge MP3s of my “Grow your Writing Ministry” seminar that I taught this March. The workshops include:

Grow Writing Ministry flyer without order form.pg.jpg

I am so excited about this seminar and about the new direction Father is taking GPCWC. Although the conference format is ending this year (a good reason not to miss coming), I believe the more affordable and focused events throughout the year will continue to encourage you to “write His answer.” The bottom line –

 

I’m NOT quitting or retiring!

crowded beachDuring what’s often called “the lazy, hazy days of summer,” are you making time to seek God’s purpose for you and your writing? Or are you content to lay on the beach and let the clouds float by?

Please don’t misunderstand me. There’s nothing wrong with taking a vacation. I’d sure like one right now. But with the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference only two and a half weeks away, I’ve got more than enough work to fill 12-15 hour days. This isn’t a complaint. It just is what it is.

But whether you’re hard at work or getting a much needed vacation from work, are you aware of the growing darkness around you? Are you seeking Him for how the words He would have you write can make a difference?

In Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages published in 1991, Chuck Colson wrote:

against the night

“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.

I’m reminded of what Michael Gantt asked in a keynote address in Colorado a number of years ago.

Do you believe, really believe,
that God can use you to make a difference?

While I believe the words we write can impact our culture, just as important is the one person who may be drawn to the Lord through the words we write. And what about the reader who is struggling with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness who we can encourage because we’ve been there?

“Say yes to God: live with purpose,” Kevin Wayne Johnson, GPCWC’s Saturday morning’s keynoter, says. “As God unfolds His purpose for your life, accept it, walk in it, and watch Him unveil the vision and provision that is just for you. Say yes to the assignment with joy.”

I’m praying that you’ll prayerfully consider saying yes to the opportunities the July 26-29 GPCWC offers to “encourage and equip you to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.” It’s not too late to register, but after July 10th I can’t guarantee that meals and lodging will be available on campus. But God will make a way if He is calling you to come. Trust Him!

Freedom

4th of July

As we celebrate our nation’s independence, I want to encourage you to not overlook the freedom that Jesus Christ offers us, that He purchased on the Cross.

Jesus on cross

If anyone knows HTML, please teach me how to add space between paragraphs and lines! And how to remove the bracket that is not in the source code! 

 

“And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free”
from . . .

the consequences of sin – Isaiah 1:16-19; Romans 3:24; 1 John 1:9

the power of sin – Romans 7:15—8:2; 1 John 5:3-4

worry about financial problems – Psalm 34:8-9; Matthew 6:31-34; Philippians 4:19

limitations that negate – Isaiah 40:29-31; 2 Corinthians 19:8-10; Ephesians 3:16,20; Philippians 4:13

aloneness – Psalm 9:10; 54:4; 139:1-5; Revelation 3:20

discouragement – Psalm 9:10; 42:11; 138:3; Romans 10:11; Galatians 6:9; Hebrews 11:1

fear – Psalm 34:4; 91; 118:6-7; Isaiah 43:1-5

wondering why – Isaiah 30:20; Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 4:8-11

wanting to give up – Psalm 27:14; 42:11; Habakkuk 2:3; John 15:5; Romans 8:35-37; 2 Corinthians 8:10-12; Colossians 1:29

feeling inadequate – Psalm 34:9; 81:10; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Philippians 4:13; 2 Timothy 1:6-8

feeling separated from God – Psalm 139:7; 145:18; Romans 8:38-39; James 4:8-10

weakness – Psalm 18:29,32; Isaiah 40:29-31; Habakkuk 3:19

feeling unloved – John 3:16; Ephesians 3:18-19

doubts – John 14:12-14; 16:24; 17:19

inner turmoil and confusion – Psalm 37:11; Isaiah 26:3-4; John 14:27; 16:33; Philippians 4:6-7

impatience – 2 Corinthians 3:18; Galatians 5:22-23; Hebrews 10:36

uncertainty – Psalm 32:8; 37:34; 119:105; Proverbs 3:5-6; Habakkuk 2:3;
John 8:12; Galatians 5:16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; James 1:5-8

feeling useless and untalented – Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 4:7,11-12; 1 Peter 4:10-11

the power of the enemy – Ephesians 6:10-17; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 Peter 5:8-10

sorrow – Psalm 43:5; Isaiah 25:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; Revelation 7:17; 21:4

not knowing how to pray – Romans 8:26

being down on ourselves – John 17:19; Romans 5:1-2; Philippians 1:6; 3:12-14; Jude 25

feeling like our future is hopeless – Psalm 32:8; 73:22-24; Proverbs 23:18; Isaiah 55:8-9; Jeremiah 29:11-13

feeling overwhelmed by problems and burdens – Psalm 55:22; 68:19; 146:8; Matthew 11:29-30; Romans 5:3-5; 8:31-32; 1 Peter 1:6-7; 5:7

being intimidated by temptations – 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18; 4:15-16

fear of failure – 1 Chronicles 28:20; Psalm 37:5; Proverbs 16:3

defeat – Psalm 118:14; 1 Corinthians 15:57-58; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:8-9

depression – Psalm 118:24; 139:6-12; Isaiah 46:4

hesitancy to give – Proverbs 3:9-10; 28:27; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Philippians 2:4; 1 Peter 5:2

rejection – John 6:37; Jeremiah 33:25

unfulfilled yearnings – Psalm 37:4; 107:9; 145:19; Ecclesiastes 5:7; Isaiah 44:3; Matthew 7:7; John 6:35; 7:37-39; 15:5; 16:24; Revelation 22:17

ignorance – Psalm 16:7; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Colossians 2:3; 3:16

fear of sharing our faith – Matthew 10:19-20; Luke 21:14-15; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:8

never-ending frustrations, struggles, plodding – Joshua 22:5; Psalm 37:34; Romans 12:11; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10

being overwhelmed when our faith is weak – 2 Timothy 2:13

anything else that would put us in bondage – 1 Peter 5:7

Compiled by Marlene Bagnull

If anyone knows HTML, please teach me how to add space between paragraphs and lines! And how to remove the bracket that is not in the source code next to the picture of Jesus on the cross. Meanwhile, this paragraph is supposed to be there but isn’t.

Yes, Father, I need to read – again – the verses about patience.

 

Angela Schans Head Shot 8X10Guest Blogger
Social Media Coach
Angela Schans

If you are like many authors who have started a blog or website, Facebook page or other social media profiles, you’re likely to now be wondering, “Why isn’t this working? Where is my active, engaged, and growing audience? Is this working like it’s supposed to? How can I optimize my efforts?”

At the Build a Strong Foundation for Your Online Platform Clinic I am teaching at the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference you will receive a social media tune-up, overhaul, or kick-start, personally tailored to your current starting point and individual goals to make God’s answers accessible to the online world.

  • Get your social media platforms assessed.
  • Receive a point-by-point personalized agenda for your social media tune-up, start-up, or overhaul.
  • Spend class time with me by your side helping you with your social media renovations so that you can share His answer (as written in your book!) in the most effective way.

You may enter the class as a social media baby, but you will leave, a ROCKSTAR! Each day will begin with in-depth instruction on technical topics made simple including:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Media Algorithms
  • The nuts and bolts of YouTube production
  • how to design engaging and attractive graphics and videos to express His Answer in a professional and consistent tone with your book/brand

In my pursuit of becoming an author, I found myself tired and frustrated when my blogging and social media efforts were being viewed by 2-20 people in a week’s time.

It wasn’t until I unlocked the power of connecting various digital media tools to optimize my blog and social media accounts that my blogs finally got the thousands of daily visitors I had been longing to see.

At this year’s clinic, I am excited to share with a select group of Christian authors exactly what to do to move the needle for audience growth and professional digital development of their author platforms.

Having this ideal opportunity to assess each of my student’s current digital footprint and offer today’s BEST practices for maximizing their impact on the world-wide web is a thrill!

I’ve had the joy of helping others optimize digital success through personal coaching. Click here for testimonials of some of the people I’ve worked with. And check out their websites or YouTube channels to see the great impact their efforts are making.

I can’t wait to check out your website/ social media profiles for style, voice, professionalism, user friendliness, and appeal. I will also be investigating your current content creation process and sharing individualized techniques to offer tips to improve your online impact.

Together we will apply valuable online renovations so that the work you have put into your author platform actually WORKS for you!

We’ve extended the deadline for applying for my clinic through July 10.  You’ll find the application at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/clinics.

I’ll also be teaching an early bird workshop on Wednesday, July 26, from 2:45 – 4:00. In “Demystifying Digital Design” you’ll learn how to design beautiful digital graphics to promote your book, brand, or website. I’ll share the finer points of digital design. What makes a message pop? What colors work and how can you choose them? Where can you get royalty free images to help illustrate your blogs, videos, graphics or books? How can you edit images? What font should you choose? In this workshop you’ll learn how to use PicMonkey to design or edit any picture you can imagine to help you “Write His Answer.”

God bless and I look forward to seeing you at this year’s Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference, July 26-29.

 

Appts GPMeeting with agents, editors, authors, and other professionals is one of the most valuable aspects of attending a writers’ conference. And no conference provides more opportunities and help than the Colorado (next year’s conference is May 16-19) and July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference (GPCWC).

GPCWC is only four weeks away, but there’s still time to register and to request your appointments.

Register for all 3 days
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

(no appointments are scheduled on Wednesday)
and you’ll receive 4 – yes FOUR
free one-on-one 15 -minute appointments!

Register for 2 days – 3 appointments
Register for 1 day – 2 appointments

AND register by June 30
and you’ll receive
an additional free appointment
as well as save money!

Plus on Thursday afternoon
you can sign up for additional appointments
with faculty who still have room.

I’ve never forgotten my first writers’ conference. It was a huge sacrifice financially. I was beyond nervous!

Even though I’d not forgotten the shorthand I learned in high school, I couldn’t begin to write down everything the editors said they were – and were not – wanting to see.

Trying to choose was even more stressful. And then there was no guarantee that those I chose would want to meet with me.

At the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference you get to choose who you want to meet. There’s no last-minute deciding once you arrive or long lines. Instead, you submit your appointment requests pre-conference.

On our website you’ll find helpful info on

Our Appointment Procedures
Making the Best Choices
Preparing for Your Appointments

In addition, our extraordinary Appointments Coordinator, Barb Haley, has prepared charts to help you process all the info for our faculty of 55 agents, editors, authors, and other professionals. Below is a sample.

2017 Ed Needs F & NF rev2

And this is just one of the eight charts Barb has prepared. In addition to Fiction and Nonfiction, you’ll find charts for Children & YA and Other Interests for our agents, editors, authors, and other professionals.

Still need more help? Tim Shoemaker’s early bird workshop from last year’s Philly conference, “Starting Appointments Out on the Right Foot” is available postage paid for only $3. Mail your request to GPCWC, 951 Anders Road, Lansdale, PA 19446. Here is Tim’s description of the workshop: “Stomach churning. Palms sweating. Hey, an appointment with an editor, agent, or seasoned writer IS a big deal. Relax. We’ll look at tips to make sure your appointment is a step in the right direction.”

I’ve seen Father do incredible things through the appointments at each year’s conference. For me, too. Most all of my nine books are the result of meeting with an editor at a conference. One, the second version of God, I Need to Talk to You – A Prayer Diary for Girls, almost didn’t happen because even though I was on faculty, I had convinced myself the editor from Concordia wouldn’t be interested. It turns out mine was the first book she acquisitioned and saw through the entire process to publication. I don’t know who was more excited – her or me?

The bottom line? Since we’re trusting God for salvation, I know we can trust Him for the appointments He wants us to have. He knows the plans He has for each one of us and our work (Jeremiah 29:11). I am convinced that He will not allow you to go home without talking to the people He intends for you to meet—if not in a scheduled appointment, then during mealtimes, coffee breaks, or walking on campus.

Remember, He can also make a way when there seems to be no way to attend GPCWC. My pastor provided the funds for my first conference over 40 years ago. Each year afterwards friends babysat my kids for the FIVE-DAY conference. Trust Him! And please don’t hesitate to ask your family or friends for help. I can still provide some partial scholarships as well as time payments if there is no other way.

 

 

writersblock.gifThe blank sheet of paper, blank screen, worse still blank mind . . .

I’ve been there, especially when facing a deadline. What about you? Have you been there, or are you there now?

Of course, the first thing we need to do is pray. But what about those times when God seems silent?

From personal experience, I can tell you again that I’ve been there. But be encouraged. God doesn’t leave us “high and dry.” (Yes, I know that’s a cliché.)

You’ve no doubt heard one of the versions of the story about the man who drowned. He asks God why He didn’t save him. “But,” God says, “I sent two boats and a helicopter but you never got in.”

The bottom line . . . I think God has a plan, a good plan, for those times when He allows us to feel stuck.

And so encourage one another and help one another . . .
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (TEV)

If you are not part of a writers’ critique group, I urge you to find one or start one. Click here for help for forming a group, the critique process, and goals for a Christian writers’ group.

Of course, a great place to find other writers who may already be part of a group you can join or who may be interested in joining with you to form a group is at a writers’ conference. Early Registration for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference has been extended through June 30.

Beyond saving money by registering now, you’ll receive an additional free 15-minute appointment with the faculty member of your choice. For those who register for Thursday through Saturday, that’s five appointments! (Two day registrants get four appointments; one day registrants three appointments.) Not only is this a way to get your manuscript before an agent or publisher (it’s rare to be able to connect with them other than at a conference), it’s also a great way to get your questions answered by a seasoned author. (Click on “Appointments” in the top menu of the conference website for info on our appointment procedures, making the best choices, and how to prepare.)

And if you’re really stuck, consider one or more 30-minute paid critiques for only $30 each. Your manuscript will be forwarded to the faculty member of your choice in preparation for meeting with you at the conference. Click here for info on genres and critiquers available as well as length parameters for what you need to submit by July 8.

Our amazing Registrar and Appointments Coordinator, Barb Haley, says:

We have a fantastic list of faculty willing to do paid critiques. Let me encourage you to consider taking full advantage of this opportunity. I don’t think I’ve ever learned quite so much as I have from professional edits of my writing. 

We’re coming to the conference to learn more about the craft of writing. But the opportunity to have a trained pair of eyes look over our work, point out strengths, and offer personal ideas to improve our skills is invaluable. Many years I’ve done 3-4 paid critiques, and I know it is definitely some of the best money I have ever spent! 

Writer’s block or being stuck is part of the writer’s life, but God can use it for good. Will you let Him?

Some scholarship help as well as time payments are still available for the Philly conference. Trust Him to overcome any obstacles that may seem to stand in your way and register by June 30. You’ll be grateful you did!

Barb Haley Apr 2016A Message from Barb Haley

CCWC & GPCWC Registrar &
Appointments Coordinator

Have you ever felt like giving up on your writing ministry?

Perhaps that’s why you didn’t register for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May (well 3 FEET of snow definitely impacted registrations) or why you haven’t yet registered for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference or decided to go to any writers conference this year.

Or maybe you are SO majorly busy that you can’t imagine taking several days from your schedule for a conference—especially if you’ve attended one in the past and you’re still not published. Or maybe you just can’t justify spending the money to support a hobby you love, but that—face it—doesn’t promise any financial returns.

I’ve definitely felt the same way a LOT of times. I go to workshops and conferences, get all excited, and … nothing. Either I don’t hear from the faculty member who asked me to send my writing, or I receive a note that says I’m a strong writer, but the piece just doesn’t meet the publishing house’s needs at this moment. Oh, and P.S. (they add) Please don’t give up. I’m sure there’s another publishing house out there who will want to give your manuscript a home.

Ha. So reassuring. Right?

Not.

Well, I was there last fall when I was spending hunks of time on my first novel. What I once loved had turned to a burden. Getting published seemed to rest on my shoulders. Twitter, Facebook, website, blog, etc. Daily deadlines that did nothing to inspire me to keep writing my book.

But what was worse was realizing that if my writing was never published, I was wasting time that could be better spent in some sort of ministry related activity. So I talked to God about it.

“I don’t know what to do, Lord,” I prayed. “I thought You called me to write. The words come easy. Ideas flood my mind. But I don’t want to waste time if I’m not in Your will.”

The answer was immediate. God spoke to my spirit. “Barbie, if the novel you are working on ministers to just one person, will that be enough for all the time you’ve spent working on it?”

Tears flooded my eyes. My Father understood me. Loved me. Heard even the unspoken words of my heart.

“Of course, it would,” I answered. “But it’s not my time I’m concerned about. I love writing. I’m concerned that what I’m doing isn’t what You want me to be doing.”

Again: “If what you are doing ministers to one person, do you think that could be My plan?”

“Oh, yes, Father.”

I thought about the beta copies I’d just sent out to a dozen friends when I finally finished my novel (for the zillionth time-ha!). Many had responded with how the words had touched their hearts. How they could relate to the character’s issues and struggles in her Christian walk. How the answers God gave her spoke to them, the readers.

I thought about the seven devotionals I write each year for piddly-little money. But it’s not about the money. It’s about spreading the gospel.

And I thought about my blog. Every time I post, God seems to use the words to minister to someone. Usually just someone I already know. Not like my readership has blossomed.

But could it be that this is the very audience God desires for me to minister to? Could it be I got so excited about being called to write that I quickly assumed that meant to be in print? In the bookstores?

Or could God be calling me to reach the ones I already know with His love and encouragement? Would that be enough for me? For God?

Okay. I can’t tell you what a release I felt when the truth sank in. God had called me to write. I just needed to take the future results out of the box I’d filed them in and allow God to shape my writing future in any way He deems best. He didn’t call me to publish. He called me to write.

Then God spoke one more time to my heart. He confirmed His call so strongly I will never doubt it again.

But first, let me ask about you. Has God called you to write? Has a lack of “success” blocked you from moving forward? From attending a conference?

Fifteen years I’ve been coming, and you know, I strongly believe all these years of preparation and learning the craft of writing have enabled me to be used by God. To put His words and thoughts on paper. To share what He’s done for me, and what He wants to do for readers.

Lord Get Your NeedleSo I continue. And last year I self-published my first non-fiction book, a set of devotionals: Lord, Get Your Needle—I’m Falling Apart at the Seams. Subtitle: The Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain.

Huge sales? Nope. But many, many confirmations of God using the words to minister to His hurting children. Worth my time and effort? Definitely.

Today, the fact that we can self-publish is HUGE.  In fact, many big-name authors are going this route. Does it take work? Yes. But how exciting to know that we now have an avenue to put our words out there for others.

What did God say to me that cemented His call in my heart?

After I assured Him I was willing to write my whole life for just one person and that I knew He would be pleased, He said, “Good, because that one person is you.”

Oh, my. The love of God overpowered me. For me.

I knew my main character in the novel was much like me. In fact I’d hoped that I could share the lessons God had taught me through the character.

But what I didn’t realize was that in writing—in asking God constantly what He wanted to say to the character next—I was allowing God to speak to my life. The conflict and situations that seemed to spontaneously come to my mind for my character came from the Holy Spirit, and as I worked through them, on my character’s behalf, I worked through them for me. Deep, hidden questions. Wounds. Self-doubts. Painful honesty and surrender.

I’m a new creation because of what I experienced as I wrote. The truth I searched for on behalf of my main character has set me free on so many levels. Glory be to God!

So, before this email becomes a book, I want to encourage you to register for the July 26-29 Philly conference. Marlene says there is a small amount of scholarship money still available and she is MORE than willing to work with you on time payments. We don’t want you to miss out.

Come spend time in the presence of God. Hear His voice and allow Him to rekindle the flame under your writing ministry and passion. Join with other writers and discover that friendship and support we all crave and need. Listen and improve your writing skills. Allow God to prepare you for what He has in mind for your future. For your world of influence.

Love in Christ!

Barb Haley
2017 GPCWC Registrar/Appointments Coordinator

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

P.S. from Marlene – Thank You, Father, for speaking so powerfully to Barb and giving her the gift of words to share her story with us.

Of course, we’d love for you to register for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’ve extended the early registration date through JUNE 30. Plus, you’ll receive an additional free 15-minute appointment. That’s a total of five if you register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But if the date and location don’t work for you (the conference is in a Philly suburb and near the east/west PA Turnpike and I95), check out the other summer conferences on the Christian Manuscript Submissions website.

And if you have a book manuscript you’ve been unable to place with a traditional publisher, do pray about indie publishing. Sarah Bolme, director of the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), is teaching the continuing session, “You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book,” at the Philly conference. You’ll gain the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your own book affordably. Topics will include: three things to do before you publish your book; preparing your manuscript; DIY publishing; obtaining book reviews; and marketing, the essential ingredient. CDs of when Sarah taught this in May at the Colorado conference are available. You’ll find the link to order them at http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

The most important thing you need to do? Pray! And invite several friends to become part of a prayer team and to hold you accountable to do what Father is calling you to do.