Category Archives: Christian Growth

Ironside’s Dog

One time theologian, H. A. Ironside was eating in a crowded restaurant. All of the other places seats in the place were filled, except the one at his table. A man asked if he could sit there and Ironside was glad to let him do so.

Shortly, Ironside’s food was brought to the table. Upon the arrival of his meal, he closed his eyes and bowed his head. A few moments later he looked up into the stare of the man seated across from him.

“Is there something wrong?” the man asked. “Are you sick? Do You have a headache?”

“No. I was just returning thanks to God for my food.”

The man frowned. “Oh, I don’t believe in all that religious stuff. When my food arrives, I just start eating without any hesitation.”

“I understand,” replied Ironside. “I have a dog that does the same thing.”

Gratitude has two important elements to it:

  1. A thankful recognition of individual gifts.
  2. A reverent appreciation toward the Giver.

As a writer, I am grateful for the power of story. But I realize that this wonderful blessing does not exist in a vacuum. Behind the words there is a loving God who cares for us far more than we can imagine. To “count my blessings” without acknowledging Him as the source is a waste of words.

Real praise is seldom random or accidental and it always has a target. One of the beautiful things about being human is that God gives us the ability to intelligently verbalize our thankfulness to Him. One of the key differences between us and animals is the unique opportunity for relationship between us and our Creator. We can relate to Him with an intimacy reserved for no other part of creation. And with that privilege comes a great responsibility.

I write (or preach & teach) out of a deep gratitude for His grace and mercy in my life. God would still be God without me. But I would be nothing without Him.

I thank God for you. Thank you for being a part of my blog, and for sharing my writing journey with me. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

2 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, family, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Germs and Jesus

The preacher’s little son was repeatedly told to go wash his hands before lunch. The youngster demanded to know why he had to wash his hands before every meal, so his mother said, “Son, there are germs on your hands.”

He looked his hands over carefully, then said, “I don’t see any.”

“You can’t see them, but they’re there,” his dad said firmly. “Now go wash your hands.”

The little boy stomped away, shaking his head and mumbling, “Germs and Jesus…Germs and Jesus…that’s all they talk about in this house and I’ve never seen either one!”

My writer friend, when you sit down to write, do you have a strong desire that readers will see Jesus in your story? How do you accomplish this goal? Is it possible?

What stories have helped you see Jesus better?

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Name your “Foes”

Take a piece if paper and write: Things I want to accomplish as a writer on one line. Then start listing your goals in any order or arrangement you want, just as long as you are honest with yourself. Rank them by priority or just randomly as they spill out our heart. Remember–be honest! Put your dreams on paper right in front of your eyes. And notice that I didn’t qualify the list with the constraints like this year…or…in the next 3-5 years…or…before my frayed mind comes completely unraveled and I wander around my yard in my underwear, giggling and making dandelion necklaces.

Now take a second sheet of paper and put this heading at the top: Things that are stopping me from reaching my writing goals.

The start listing them. One by One. Get to know your foes by name.

Fear. Doubt. Lack of money, time, or discipline. Unsupportive family and/or friends. Unresolved anger. These are just a few.

Finally, on a third sheet of paper write: My plan to overcome my “foes” and reach my goals.

Then, prayerfully and carefully, start writing out a plan to deal with each and every one of the “foes” that are in your way. This may take awhile, so take whatever time you need. It may take hours, days, or even weeks. But the investment of time may be one of the most liberating experiences of your writing life. If you can’t think of a way to overcome a certain foe, seek advice from other writers. But don’t stop until you have addressed every foe.

You can do this.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but If I can help in any way, please let me know. By the way, I’m working on my list also, so we’re in this together.

4 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, Writing

Those Special Moments of Ministry

Dear God,

Thank you for allowing me to be your child.

Thank you that there is now no condemnation for me, because I am in Christ.

Thank you that you for allowing me to gather with others and teach your Word, for entrusting me with the soul-stirring honor of preaching the liberating truth that can lead others to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

And, thank you, for the power of story, and for the privilege of being a writer.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Friends, it is impossible for me to adequately describe the awe I feel when I stand to preach the Word of God. It is one of those “moments” that stands out as unique in my human existence. It embraces my mind, strength, and soul…leaving me exhausted but fulfilled.

Sometimes, during those moments right before I’m going to stand up and begin preaching, I’m so focused on how I intend to start the message that I simply don’t know much else. One time, a lady had called all the children to the front of the sanctuary for a little children’s lesson. That usually happened at some point in the order of service before the sermon. Well, while she was talking to the kids, my mind wandered to the opening few sentences I wanted to use to start my message when she was done. In other words, I zoned out of what she was saying and zoned in on the introduction to the message I’d prepared and would momentarily be preaching.

Then I heard her say, “And now, kids, we’ll have Pastor Larry lead us in the Lord’s Prayer.”

Folks, my mind went completely blank. Trust me, I reallydo know the Lord’s Prayer. I can usually say it in a couple different versions. But not at that moment. I couldn’t remember how it started to save my life! I mean, for Pete’s sake, that wasn’t what I was going to be preaching!

I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was rummaging through my mind in a panicked rush and all I was coming up with were things like, “Eeny, Meni, Miny, Mo” or “Who built the Ark? Noah, Noah,” or “Would you like fries with that?” And, until that moment, I hadn’t noticed how incredibly warm it was in the church! I mean, come on people, let’s crack open a few windows!”

I mean the words to the Lord’s Prayer may be printed in red in most people’s Bibles, but they were written with invisible ink in my mind that day.

Finally some dear merciful saint started the Lord’s Prayer and I was able to join in.

Yep, I can get zoned in and lose track of other things going on around me. I can do it when I’m teaching, preaching, and even when I’m writing. The moment of communication (spoken or written) grabs my attention and I’m captivated by the power of words…the stewardship of story.

And more than anything, I desperately want it to matter. I want people to hear what I have to say and read what I have to write because it can help them on the path to or with God. I believe that with all my heart.

Fellow communicators, what you are doing matters. So do it with all your might. Give of your best to the Master!

2 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

The lone writer

I’m blessed to have the support of family and friends as I travel on my writer’s journey. My wife is a source of great strength to me and my writing, even though she doesn’t read a word of it. LOL! Seriously! I write suspense and my dear wife doesn’t like to get scared to death. But she goes out of her way to cheer for me and let me know that she supports me as a writer. She, and the kids, share the ups and downs with me. They sacrifice time and money for me to be a writer.

But there are some writers who trudge through the ups and downs of writing without the strength and support from those closest to them. And that breaks my heart.

The solitude and monotony of writing can be hard enough without a writer feeling that their work is not respected and their passion is not shared by the people they love. The lows are lower alone.

This simple post is my attempt to get you to do two things:

  1. Make a list of the people who support & encourage you as a writer. And, starting today, take a few moments and send a note of thanks to one person a day until you have written them all.
  2. Be an encouragement to other writers, especially those who have confided to you that they feel alone and discouraged. Listen to what other writers say, because sooner or later a broken heart will reveal itself. Pray for them. Help them. Become their cheering section, even if it means you’re the only one sitting there at the moment.

If you are one of those who feels alone, please remember that God loves you and will never forsake you. And if I can do anything to help you, please let me know.

6 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, family, Larry W. Timm, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

Three directions of a writer’s life

A writer’s time is precious. Duties pile up, deadlines taunt and torture, and demands play tug-of-war with your attention span. The fact is a writer must walk the writing journey with the ability to maintain a 3-way focus.

*A writer must look UPWARD: Writing Christian fiction is not a task that should be attempted without the realization that we need the strength only God can supply. It is essential that we be intentional in our discipleship. Writing is a stewardship from God, and good stewards stay in close contact with their Master. We should seek His face in personal worship on a regular basis during the week. Let us love Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Let us be far more in love with His Word than we are with our own words. Let’s spend time in His Book before we spend time in our own.

*A writer must look INWARD:  Every one of us needs to cultivate the habit of taking a personal inventory of our writing life. We should be brutally honest with ourselves and seek answers to questions like: Why am I writing? What are my strengths and weaknesses? What motivates me to write? What stops me from writing? How can I grow as a writer? What sacrifices do I need to make? Good writers never stop learning. And great writing doesn’t happen by accident.

*A writer must look OUTWARD:  If we see our writing as a service to our readers, we will craft stories that will connect with them. In a real sense, we have a responsibility to many people–our readers, agents, editors, and even to other writers. I would not be as far along in my writing journey if it were not for the gracious help of other writers. Even though busy with their own writing responsibilities, several writers have taken time to help me with mine. I won’t forget that kindness, and will do my best to serve & encourage other writers when I can. Writers need to remember we are part of a community of writers.

What do you think?

6 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Too Heathen?

Has a secular writer has ever been rejected because their story was too heathen?

While I don’t want to come across as disrespectful and snarky, I do think it’s important to give some thought to the above question. Christian writers are often cautioned against being too preachy…too explicitly Christian. And, frankly, for some reason something about that concern bothers me.

In all intellectual fairness, it must be stated that there are various ways for a Christian worldview to manifest itself. A great example of this is the (Protestant) Bible. It’s a collection of sixty-six books that contain examples of multiple genres written by a host of personalities–all guided by the Holy Spirit. Some parts are explicit in their God-talk and others are less so. One book doesn’t even mention the name of God at all.

But, when it comes to Christian writers writing stories, what fuels the concern about being too preachy? By the way…[Larry slides out a different soap box and jumps aboard]…as a preacher, I take offense to the way the words “preach” and “preachy” are used. [Larry surveys the room and realized that no one else is here, so he shouts, “Amen! Preach it, brother!” Then, feeling silly, he gets off the second soapbox and returns to the first].

Are we to strike a balance between entertainment and mission?  Or do we have to choose between the two? How much is business-driven and how much is a reflection of the current state of American Christianity?

What do you think?

10 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Endearing Characters

REMINDER: I’d love it if you’d go “like” my Author Page at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm  or follow me on Twitter at @larrywtimm  Thanks!

Endearing Characters

The sweet, eighty-seven-year-old woman held my children’s hands and said, “You are so beautiful and so precious. Thank you for coming to see me.”

Kneeling by her wheelchair, I thought to myself, “I’m not going to cry…I’m not going to cry…” My wife did get a tad misty-eyed. I’m getting that way as I write these words. I’ll probably always get that way when I view the photos that someone took of our experience.

Then the dear lady–a national treasure in my book–shook our hands, called us all by name and wished us many blessings. She even signed some pictures for us.

It’s a day I will never forget. My family and I traveled from our home in Kansas to a small city in North Carolina. The city is Mt. Airy, but it’s probably better known as Mayberry. And the precious lady was Betty Lynn…better known as Thelma Lou. And that day at the Andy Griffith Museum was wonderful.

My children live in Kansas but have been raised in Mayberry/Mt. Airy. We intentionally don’t have cable or satellite television, but we do have several DVDs we love to watch, and the favorite is The Andy Griffith Show. The lessons discovered on that series are timeless. As are the endearing characters–like Thelma Lou.

Writers, I’m more convinced than ever that we can change people’s lives, not just by the plots we construct, but also by the characters we create. I want my readers to care for my characters to the point that they say, “I wish that character was real. I’d love to spend time with him/her!”

Recently a lady who read one of my unpublished books sent me an email in which she said, “All the characters are true to life and worth remembering. That sentence meant so much to me.

What characters have you found worth remembering? What characters have left you wishing they were real and could sit and talk with you? Writer, do you long to create characters that will last forever?

6 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, family, Larry W. Timm, Writing

Top 10 Reasons People might be glad I’m not going to the ACFW Conference this Year.

The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference is less than a week away. People are packing bags, picking wardrobes, pressing kilts, and preparing one sheets. But not me. Sniff…sniff. This year I will not be attending. And that got me to thinking (ouch!).

Here are 10 reasons people might be glad that they won’t see Larry W. Timm in Indy.

# 10:  No one has to watch the pathetic display where I stand in a corner and try to work up the courage to walk up and talk to one of my favorite authors.

#  9:  There will be a few less dumb questions asked in the workshops.

#  8:  None of those awkward, “I’ve got one ear lower than the other…what’s deformed about you?” conversation starters.

#  7:  Michael Ehret or Peter Leavell won’t have to introduce me with the phrase, “I’m sorry for doing this, but have you met Larry Timm?”

#  6:  No one will have to witness me get on…off…on…off…on…off the elevator until I remember which floor my room is on.

#  5:  The local pizza delivery people won’t have to “stand by for emergency delivery to the crazy guy who claims the voices in his head are hungry.”

#  4:  No murmured questions about the misuse of plaid.

#  3:  There’s much less of a chance of hearing, “Hey, look what I can do with this pudding!”

#  2:  No one has to see my Salute-to-Spandex outfit at the costume dinner.

And the #1 reason people might be glad I’m not going to the ACFW Conference:

#  1: More BACON for everyone!

Hey, have fun everybody. I hope you have a great time.

13 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Top 10 List, Top Ten list, Writing

So why am I so nervous?

I’m about to enter one of my two finished books into a contest. And I’m nervous. Why, do you suppose, would I feel nervous about entering a contest? If you’ve been-there-done-that you know why: the sense of vulnerability, the balancing of high hopes on one hand & the anticipation of blunt criticism on the other, and the fear that one or more of the judges will find the entry as enjoyable as a scorching case of full-body boils.

Then there’s the fact that many will enter but only one can win. Dumb pesky odds.

Maybe I’m afraid that people will know that I didn’t win and will want to talk about it…out loud…in public. Maybe even in front of other writers. And then they’ll say, “Hey, you’re name starts with an L, just like the word LOSER!” Ouch.

So maybe I’m afraid that, in order to avoid the topic all together, I’m going to have to take charge of the conversations by getting their attention on something slightly less embarrassing, like the curly perm I had back in the early 80’s…or the time I was on a date and when I went to take a drink of my Dr. Pepper I forgot there was a straw in the cup until it went in my nostril…or I might have to discuss the purple parachute pants purchase and related singing/dancing activities…or the time my friend and me started his backyard on fire trying to destroy our toothpick houses we’d made in school…and, unfortunately, the list goes on and on. Yep, I’m a Dork with a capital D. But at least it doesn’t start with L.

But there’s another word that starts with LLEARN.

I enter contests because win or lose I can learn more about writing. About the strengths and weaknesses of MY writing. Maybe someday I’ll stop being nervous every time I enter a contest. But I doubt it.  But if I ever stop learning from entering contests, then–maybe then–it’s time to stop entering.

Do you get nervous about contests? Why?

Leave a comment

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, Writing