Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Kingdom View

I’m an undeserving man who, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, has been shown grace and mercy by a Holy God. I am a Christian. And when I became a Christian, I was instantaneously rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13). Though not yet realized in the fullest sense, I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God. I know the King personally.

And I’m a Christian who writes from a Kingdom perspective. I want what my King wants: for hope to be announced, redemption to be realized, and darkness to be scattered by light. My citizenship is personal…but not private. I honor the King by approaching life–which includes my writing stewardship–with a Kingdom view:  everything belongs to Christ. Everything. My writing is not the source of my Kingdom citizenship, but it is a responsibility that has been given to me as a part of the Kingdom. Because His Majesty wants others in His Kingdom too. And we are to use our gifts to extend the offer of citizenship…that’s a commission that has been given to every Christian. How you carry out that commission is where the different “callings” come in to the discussion. There are many tasks in the Kingdom, mine just happens to be as a teacher/preacher/writer; yours may be something different. Each is just a sacred when used for the King. But regardless of what you “do,” you are responsible to live out the implications of your citizenship and tell others about our King.

The Kingdom of God is not something that can be toyed with, yet one must be like a child to enter. It can’t be bought at any price, yet we must to willing to sacrifice all to get it. It can not be defeated, yet we are to daily surrender to God. It is open to all, yet few there will be who will find it. It is eternal, yet new everyday. It is the rule of God in the hearts of mankind. Its King is Almighty. Its life is unending. Its rule is love. Its goal is peace. Its citizens are forgiven.

As citizens, we long for our home, work for our rest, fight for our peace, pray for our enemies. We die to live, give to get, lose to win, learn to love, and love to learn. We are freed to serve. We fear no one but God, hate nothing but sin, hold nothing more important that Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And we refuse to quit no matter what.

And while we are serving the King with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we are waiting. Anticipating. Longing. We are homesick.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with he body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

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It’s God

It’s God who does the choosing of how He sees fit using and blessing us with riches of His grace.

And it’s God who sets in motion every dream, and thought, and notion, and answers us when we kneel to pray.

And it’s God who makes a winner from a helpless, hopeless sinner, and shows us how to better run the race.

And it’s God who knows the hour when He’ll show His mighty power, and all mankind will look upon His face.

 

Friend, you are not alone on the journey of following Christ. And, if you’re a steward of story, you are not alone I that special calling. You may be a published writer, or someone–like me–who dreams of that experience. But if you know God, you’ve already had the greatest blessing possible:  you are a child of the King! And, don’t forget, our God is a writer…He wrote your name in the Lamb’s Book Of Life.

Write on, my friend. You’ll never write alone when God is your Heavenly Father. Have a great weekend.

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Top 10 Ways to tell if a Writer’s Spouse is needing Attention

The writing journey is hard on writers. Can I get an “AMEN!”? Pressure…hard work…did I mention pressure?

But being married to a writer can also be stressful. With that in mind, I present to you the Top 10 Ways to tell if a Writer’s Spouse is needing Attention:

 

#10:  They’re making prank phone calls just so they can have someone real to talk to. And if the person is normal, that’s a bonus.

# 9:  They come to a book signing just so they can have some face-to-face time with their writer spouse. And they keep getting in line because they’ve “got a lot on their mind.”

# 8:  They walk around the house naked just to see if their spouse will notice.

# 7:  They get in trouble with the IRS because they tried to claim the characters of their spouse’s current writing project as dependents since “they’re sooooooooo important!”

# 6:  They picket their spouse’s writers group meeting and chant, “Watch more TV! Watch more TV!”

# 5:  They call the county courthouse and offer to “Track Change” their marriage license.

# 4:  They have a shirt made that says, I got your inciting incident right here!

# 3:  They refer to their children as “precious consequences of writer’s block.”

# 2:  After planning the family vacation, they dance around the house and giggle profusely because they managed to find a spot in the desert that is hundreds of miles from a Barnes & Noble or a Starbucks.

# 1:  They call 9-1-1 and claim that an unfinished manuscript is holding their spouse hostage, and add, “the office is in the apartment above the garage…bring tear gas and those things that flash and go BOOM!

How about we just be sure to take care of the wonderful spouses that support us, so we avoid any of the above?

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Kickin’ some “Buts”

Excuses abound. Every writer has them. They’re the “but” that finds its way into our day and brings a writing project to a halt…or stops it from ever taking its first step.

“I want to write a novel, BUT ________________________________.”

“I would finish this project, BUT _________________________________.”

“I know I should learn the craft better, BUT ___________________________.”

“I know what my critique partner said, BUT __________________________.”

“Maybe I should be more disciplined, BUT _____________________________.”

“It would be nice to attend a conference or writers group, BUT ____________________.”

“I’d enter my writing in a contest, or ask someone to read it, BUT __________________.”

BUT…BUT…BUT…BUT…BUT…BUT…BUT…………………

All together now, let’s get jiggy with it and scream, “I HATE THESE BUTS AND I CAN NOT LIE….” (that concludes the rap reference part of this post)

There are many other examples of when a “but” intrudes on our writing life. And there countless ways to fill in the blanks. I’m willing to bet that you are like me (no insult intended) and could fill in the blanks above with more than one reason/excuse/cop-out. Before you slap a knot on my head, let me hasten to add that undoubtedly there are legitimate reasons that we are unable to start or continue a project, or enter a contest, or go to conference or whatever the case may be. However, honesty and maturity will force us to face the fact that often–quite often–we are simply making excuses.

I urge you to sit down and have an honest chat with yourself and your muse and say, “It’s time to do some “BUT” kicking!

Are YOU up to the challenge?

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You, Me, & Thomas Edison

Recently I was reading a book by Charles Swindoll (Joseph: A Man of Integrity & Forgiveness; published by Thomas Nelson) and he relayed a true story that had been originally been written by Charles Edison. Charles wrote a book called The Electric Thomas Edison, in which he talked about his famous father. Writers, please pay close attention to the spirit of a man who refused to quit.

[One] December evening the cry of “Fire!” echoed through the plant. Spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within moments all the packing compounds, celluloid for records, film and other flammable goods had gone up with a whoosh….

When I couldn’t find Father, I became concerned. Was he safe? With all his assets going up in smoke, would his spirit be broken? He was 67, no age to begin anew. Then I saw him in the plant yard, running toward me.

“Where’s Mom?” he shouted. “Go get her! Tell her to get her friends! They’ll never see a fire like this again!”

Faced with the choice of giving up or going on, at 5:30 the next morning, Thomas Edison declared that he was going to rebuild.

Has a recent writing project gone up in smoke, leaving you wondering what to do? Have comments from a contest judge engulfed your passion, choked out your desire, and left you without a sense of direction?

What will you do? Give up or go on?

How would the world be different had Thomas Edison given up? More personally, how will you be different if you give up? Maybe you need time to regroup–to clear the rubble and sweep up the ashes–and that is perfectly understandable. During the regrouping time, let God rebuild you. He’s good at that.

Then, when the time is right and you are ready, start the rebuilding. With God’s help, you CAN do it.

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A Bad Book Signing: The Poem

Disclaimer:  For the record let it be stated that I love Barnes & Noble, Ted Dekker, Sharpies and have been known to down a Frappe or two. The experience expressed by this dramatic, life-changing bit of poetry is fictional, except for the part about a van, because…well, I own a van. And I promise that no book displays were harmed in the writing of this poem. Do not try this on your own…or with anyone else for that matter. Thank you. 🙂

And now, I bring to you my poem A BAD BOOK SIGNING or THE DAY I BOUGHT $900 WORTH OF BOOKS AT BARNES & NOBLE.

 

I was sitting at Barnes & Noble, sipping a Frappe

and jumped two inches from my chair when I heard somebody say,

“What do you think you’re doing with that Sharpie and those books?”

a red-faced gal stood there, giving me a dirty look.

 

I cleared my throat and smiled, not real sure just what to do,

it was then that I noticed her full-color I LOVE BOOKS tattoo.

“I can explain,” I said, and I hoped I was not whining.

“I’m a writer and I’m here for a surprise book signing.”

 

She glared down at the table and my mind, it went to reeling.

She said, “You’re a big fat liar.” And I said, “You hurt my feelings.”

Pointing at the stack of books, she yelled, “You’re NOT Stephen King!

And you look nothing like the Tom Clancy that I’ve seen!”

 

She gasped and then continued, “And Bond? Or Brown? Or Sparks?

And I am really veeeeeeeeery sure you’re not Mary Higgins Clark.”

I knew if I could just out run her, I’d be off the hook

because I’d signed somebody else’s name in every single book.

 

I darted to the right, and then I leaped the railing,

and landed on a big display of books all about yacht sailing.

Then I found another speed when I heard her say,

“Harold, call the cops…and someone get my pepper spray.”

 

I turned left at the calendars but she was closing in,

I ran past all the Horror books, a chill upon my skin.

She cut me off at Journals, I headed for non-fiction,

and sprinted past the books on how to remodel a kitchen.

 

I flew on by the travel guides and coffee table books,

banked hard at the book lights and raced past all the Nooks,

down the aisle with the books on how to fight infection,

until she got me cornered in the children’s section.

 

She aimed her pepper spay, so I offered up a plan,

we gathered all books I signed and put them in my van.

Nine hundred dollars worth of books went home with me that day;

each and every one in which I’d signed Ted Dekker’s name.

 

I learned a real good lesson on that book signing day,

and as a public service I pass it on your way;

The moral of the story is crystal clear to see:

if I ever do get published…I’ll sign the books as me!

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Top 10 Wrong Ways To Deal With or Avoid a Sagging Middle

This is not a post filled with diet and physical fitness tips. I’m not what you’d call a real good role model in that particular area. I did buy a pair of running shoes a while back, and if you just look at my feet, I look like a runner. However, if you scan up from there, the illusion is quickly blown (but I digress).

I don’t run. I don’t even hike…wait, did I say hike? Well what do you know…hike rhymes with like! And since you mentioned it, I’d be appreciative if you’d hike over to my Author Page and click Like. It’s at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm I’d love to break the 200 mark by the end of August. Tell your friends to go there too. The person who is my 200th Like may just win something (of course they may not, but let’s not dwell on that now.)

As writers, we all have had to deal with middles (of our manuscripts) that are saggy. Perhaps even sluggish and unappealing (which is how people often describe me). We seek out advice on how to deal with and/or avoid the dreaded sagging middle.

“Larry, do you happen to have any advice on what to do?”

Thanks for asking. But…nope, I don’t know what to tell you to do, but here are some things not to do. It’s my duty & pleasure to introduce…the Top 10 Wrong Ways To deal With or Avoid a Sagging Middle:

#10:  By having a blurb on the front cover that boldly declares, “This is the first novel in history in which the brilliant author has skipped the middle all together!

# 9:  By claiming that the middle has international intrigue just because you put an “o” on the end of every other word so readers will really like the the “el-middle-o.”

# 8:  By including a bibliography of “books that have more horrible middles than mine.”

# 7:  By putting a pop up section in the middle so that when opened paper villains jump up from the page and scare people to death.

# 6:  By printing the middle on edible paper so that readers can “at least get something good from it.”

# 5:  By drawing a little cartoon character in the upper right hand corner that looks likes he’s running from a stick Grizzly bear when people flip through the middle chapters really fast.

# 4:  Put 100 blank pages in the middle so that “readers can write their own snappy middle…if they think it’s sooooo easy!”

# 3:  Fill the middle chapters with 20 car chases, 14 gun battles, 12 knife fights, 10 kissy-face scenes, 8 explosions, 6 sharks, 4 pits of nasty snakes, 3 hurricanes, 2 giant ill-tempered turtle doves, and 1 immodest partridge in a pear tree. (and, no, I have no idea what that means).

# 2:  By putting in a “Smells of the Bible” scratch-n-sniff section.

# 1:  By dedicating the book to “My dear, sweet, recently deceased mother who used her last breaths of life to dictate the middle of this book, right after she single-handedly saved 75 poor, blind children from roaring inferno that swept through their orphanage on Christmas Eve…so they could live to enjoy the box full of puppies and kittens that Mommy had purchased for them from the humane society…with the money she’d received by selling her fake leg. It was a good thing she recently been evicted from her home by evil bankers and that the walls of her old cardboard box in the alley were thin enough to hear the little frightened voices calling for help from the broken windows of the condemned building they called home. The middle of this book meant a lot to my mom…I hope you like it too.”

Now…how does YOUR middle look?

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Been there, done that

 

   Recently I heard a joke about a guy who went in for surgery. After he was rolled into the pre-op area, his wife trudged her way down the long haul toward the hospital cafeteria. But two steps from the cafeteria entrance, she heard her husband screaming, and she froze in her tracks. She looked down the hall to see him running toward her.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” she asked.

He pointed at the nurse marching down the hall towards them. “I heard what she said!”

“What did she say?”

“She said, ‘I know you’ve never been through this kind of operation before, but it’s a relatively minor procedure, so try to stop shaking. There’s a good chance everything will turn out okay.'”

The wife shook her head. “But, honey, the nurse was just trying to help you.”

His eyes went wide. “She was talking to the doctor!”

Yeah, we’d all like to know that our surgeon has been there and done that before we entrust our bodies to him. I don’t want my doctor to point to an x-ray and exclaim, “Wow! What’s that d0-hicky there?” Hardly a confidence builder.

One of the challenges of being a writer is deciding who to go to for advice. Let’s face it–and this is an uncomfortable truth–there are a few self-proclaimed experts out there on the literary landscape. Doubtless, many of them mean well and can even offer random nuggets of information that can benefit any writer. But others have never really been there and done that. And, frankly, your time as a writer is too precious to waste. The stewardship of story calls for us to carefully exercise discernment.

Thankfully there are tons of people (al though I’ve never actually weighed them) out there who bring to the proverbial table wisdom gained by the experience of having walked the road themselves. They are usually very humble people who are willing to share what they’ve learned because the respect the craft, and they genuinely want to help another writer succeed. They remember the times someone helped them in the past, and the vow they made to sacrificially do the same if they ever had the chance.

How do YOU decide who will help shape your story? How do YOU decide who to go to for advice? Any experience–good or not-so-good–you care to share (don’t mention names, please)?

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The 3 word sentence that guides my writing

An unusual survey was taken in which participants were asked this question: What 3 word sentence would you most like to have said to you?

  • The third most common response was: “Supper is ready.”
  • The second most popular answer was:  “I forgive you.”
  • The answer that topped the list was:  “I love you.”

Each answer could serve as a motivation for my writing…yes, even the one about supper being ready. 🙂 You see, as a Christian writer, I want my stories to motivate people to get ready for that one great supper:  the Lamb’s supper. Or, to put it another way, I don’t want anyone to miss out on the great marriage feast where the Bride (the Church) is forever joined to the Groom (the Lord Jesus). Someday the trumpet is going to sound, and it’ll be like God is declaring, “Come on, children, supper is ready.”

And I pray that my writing will show how God can restore the broken, revive the hopeless, and declare the guilty can be pronounced innocent before the eternal Judge. I very much want my books to take my readers on a heart-pounding thrill ride through the darkness that is this world, the whole time making sure that they can see glimpses of light penetrating that darkness. I refuse to ignore or sugar-coat the reality of sin and the destructive consequences it brings, but I want readers to know that God stands ready & willing to forgive them of their sins, to transfer them from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of His Beloved Son, and to give them new life. Our Lord knows a little something about resurrection, wouldn’t you say? Jesus shed his blood–and rose from the dead–for the forgiveness of sins.

But the most popular answer gives me the reason why Jesus came to earth, hung on the cross, and conquered death and sin. I want my readers to know that God loves them. When someone finishes one of my books, I hope that they will be drawn to a deeper fellowship with the God Who loves them. Once a theologian was asked what he thought was the single greatest theological truth he’d learned in his decades of Bible study. He could have mentioned any of the various doctrinal truths that are so plentiful in Scripture. He could have tried to draw water from the deep wells of theology. Instead he replied, “the single greatest truth that I have learned is that Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

I hope my readers can know the same thing because they read one of my books.

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