Monthly Archives: August 2012

What makes you read or write?

     I’ve always loved reading books. And my wife and I have tried to instill that love in our children. We took them to libraries when they were tiny Timms. In fact, I’m surprised that one of them wasn’t born between two bookshelves.

     The discipline of reading is essential to the survival of a society. Illiteracy erodes generation after generation, until–like the Hebrews during their darkest days–a generation comes along that’s ignorant of their heritage because they have no want (or ability) to read the documents in which that once great heritage is captured. That’s why illiteracy in the USA, and in the church overall, has such catastrophic consequences. illiteracy breeds ignorance, which breeds contempt, which breeds apathy, which breeds the lack of ability or desire to think.

     I’m convinced that every writer should be a reader. We should read often, and read widely–daring to step out of our genre. A few of my favorite writers–such as Deborah Raney, Nancy Mehl, Karl Bacon–are not just suspense writers. Their books contain suspense, but they are very good in so many other areas (romance, or historical fiction for example). But I learn from them…the way they describe things, use different interesting phrases to describe things, etc… I love to read Terri Blackstock and Brandilyn Collins. And not long ago, I read The Stand by Stephen King. I learn so much about writing by reading people who excel at it. And I’ve been a Sherlock Holmes addict for years. Is there a support group for that?

     Why do you love to read? Why do you want others to love to read? Why do you want others to pick up a copy of your book and read it?

     Please share your answers with me. I’m looking forward to reading them. I might just learn something.

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Sometimes It’s Good To Ask “Why?”

     “Dear God, help me remember WHY I am, for I”M FORGIVEN.”

     Read the above request again.

     You see, I’m not just a  writer who happens to write fiction. Most importantly–and this is a crucial distinction–I’m a Christian writer who happens to write fiction. And I happen to write stories that highlight truths about the God Who has redeemed me.

     Colossians 1:13-14 says, “For He delivered us from darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

     As Christian writers, we bask in the unfading glow of forgiveness. Hope trickles down through our stories to our readers. Some writers will deliver this message in very explicit ways; others will do it with subtle scenes and plots and themes. Jesus, Himself, used both methods in His story-telling. But behind either style of delivery is the desire to connect hearers to the source of hope and forgiveness.

     I write Christian fiction because I want to shine a spotlight of attention on the One who saved me from the eternal consequences of my sins. I don’t ever want to take that for granted. Do you?

     Amazing grace! How sweet the sound

     that saved a wretch like me!

     I once was lost but now am found,

     was blind but now I see.

     Our writing is the result of forgiveness, not the source. Our writing expresses our salvation, it doesn’t secure it. WE ARE WRITERS BECAUSE WE ARE FORGIVEN AND HAVE BEEN ENTRUSTED WITH A LIFE-CHANGING MESSAGE OF SALVATION. Isn’t that worth remembering?

     What does it mean to you to know that you are forgiven by God? Your answer to that question may just get at one of the motivations for why you write what you write.

     I hope this “Writer’s Prayer” has encouraged you. May it always help you keep or rekindle anew a fresh focus on WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and WHY.

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His Eye is on the Sparrow and…

     You know the rest of that song verse, don’t you? The finish to that line uses different words, but it still expresses today’s petition from “The Writer’s Prayer.”

     “Dear God, please help me remember WHERE I am, for I’M IN YOUR SIGHT.

     Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, My Rock and my Redeemer.”

     Hebrews 4:13 declares, “For there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

     I want the words of my stories to please God, because He sees them before anyone else.  Isn’t it thrilling that God watches us as we labor to craft stories that honor His truths?

     No matter where you are, God sees you. I’ve heard people describe the writer’s life as a solitary life–I’ve used similar descriptions myself. But beyond the fact that writer’s spend hours working alone, is the wonderful truth that during those times, God sees us. He has a plan for what we are writing.

     Be encouraged, fellow writer, God’s eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches you! He sees you when the writing flows like a raging river and when it jerks to a halt like it’s tied to a stump. He sees you when the agent calls and when the phone never rings. He sees you when the contracts are offered or when the rejections come instead. He sees you when a reviewer fillets your book like a cod-fish or when people tell you it’s one whale of a story.

     When we wonder if anyone is ever going to notice what we write, rest assured in this truth: We are in God’s sight. We really do write–first and foremost–for an audience of One. And that One loves you with a passion that is beyond measure.

     Does it encourage you to know that you’re in God’s sight? He does a pretty good job of watching over His children…don’t you think?

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Ambassadors for God!

     So far we have looked at the “Writer’s Prayer” and seen that writing Christian fiction (or any Christian writing) comes out of an intimate relationship with God. We can know the One that we’re writing about. Then we spent time considering the importance of remembering. May we, as Christian writers, never forget the privilege and responsibility of telling God’s story in the books that we write. And in my last post, we focused our thoughts on the first petition in the Writer’s Prayer: Dear God, help me remember WHO I am, for I’M YOUR CHILD. If you haven’t read the earlier posts, please take time to scroll down and do so.  

     The second request in the “Writer’s Prayer” is this: Dear God, help me remember WHAT I am, for I’m YOUR AMBASSADOR.

     Paul expressed the same idea in II Corinthians 5:20: “…we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

     An ambassador represents someone in authority. In this case, Christian writer’s must never forget that we represent Almighty God. We are on a mission to spread the good news. We have the incredible honor of writing stories that lead the lost and feed the saved. In a real sense, we are instruments of God. God calls us to tell stories that offer light in the midst of darkness, truth instead of error, hope in place of despair. Writing for God is serious business indeed. We’ve been entrusted with a unique and sacred stewardship. Old Testament Prophets used the power of story to deliver God’s message. Even our Lord used stories to get His points across.

     Ours is a mission of peace, and truth. We get to write stories that point people to the greatest peace treaty ever made–and it was signed in the blood of Christ. Because of that we can craft stories of faith, hope, and love. We can tell stories of redemption and forgiveness. And we can expose readers to the truths of scripture in engaging and memorable ways. Not only can we, we MUST.    

     Is there anything greater that representing the Living Word with our written words? Isn’t it inspiring when God uses what we write to draw someone to a deeper or renewed relationship with Him? Perhaps even help a reader come to know Christ for the first time? WOW!

     But I must remember this is about Him. It’s His story for His glory. He didn’t call me to write to make me a star. Don’t get me wrong, I want my books to be published, and purchased by as many people as possible.  But that’s because I believe I have something important to write about.

     I’m an ambassador for Christ, and so are you. Not because we are writers, but because we are Christians. Writing is one great way to spread the good news. Who are you writing for?

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