August 30, 2012
A threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
The journey to publication can be a lonely road. We can’t seem to find anyone who understands that call on our lives. Thankfully, The StoryWriting Studio wants to come alongside writers, to create a network of aspiring and experienced writers, who desire to share their dreams, their discoveries, and even their failures.
Join Anita, Kathryn, and Karen on this amazing journey and check in with them, and their guest contributors, often for inspiring stories, tried and true tips, and encouraging words. This particular site is a great way to stay connected with other writers, meaning you don’t have to go it alone!
Get connected. I did!
August 10, 2012
EXCERPT FROM Heaven is for Real, BY TODD BURPO WITH LYNN VINCENT
“Hey, buddy,” I said, pouring milk into Colton’s usual bowl of cereal. “Mommy said you were talking last night during Bible story time. Can you tell me what you were telling Mommy about… about Jesus shooting down power? What’s the power like?
“It’s the Holy Spirit,” Colton said simply. “I watched Him. He showed me.”
“The Holy Spirit?”
“Yeah, He shoots down power for you when you’re talking in church.”
If there were comic-strip thought-bubbles over people’s heads, mine would have been filled with question marks and exclamation points right then. Every Sunday morning before I give a sermon, I pray a similar prayer: “God, if you don’t help this morning, this message is going to fail.” In light of Colton’s words, I realized I had been praying without really knowing what I was praying for. And to imagine God answering it by “shooting down power”… well, it was just incredible.
Questions to Ponder: In what way do you ask for the power of the spirit when you are creating your message to share with others? How has His power manifested itself in the process? In what way has your request for His power impacted your efforts? In what way has your request for His power impacted your faith?
July 18, 2012
She was raised in an English castle and married her husband at the age of 16. Later, her puritan family faced persecution from the Anglican Church, and they sailed for America where she spent many days raising eight children on the crude frontier of the Massachusetts Bay Colony while her husband was often away on political business. A sickly woman left alone much of the time, she struggled for survival. She also struggled with her faith.
Through those tough years, reading and writing poetry helped her cope by centering her thoughts on God. She wrote about family life, nature, and of earthly and divine love.
Having found her writings, her brother-in-law secretly copied her poems and submitted them for publication in England in 1650. An American publication included some of her works a few years later.
She would become the first American to publish an entire book of poetry and her words were impactful in encouraging the hearts of others on the frontiers of America.
She was Anne Dudley Bradstreet
Questions to Ponder: How might sharing your struggles in writing encourage others? What experience, strength, and hope do you have that someone else may also benefit from? In what ways are your writing’s God-focused and helpful to others?
May 8, 2012
Although she was blind all her life, she wrote more than 8,000 religious poems that offered spiritual insight, many of which were set to music as hymns. Over 1 million copies of her songs have been printed, and as many as 200 different pen names were given her works by hymn book publishers.
She owes much of her fame to the Christian musician, Ira D. Sankey, who put many of her hymns to music and sang them in his missions with D.L. Moody.
In “Saved by Grace”, she wrote about the joy of seeing Jesus face to face, reflective of her ability to focus on God rather than her physical handicap. My personal favorite is “Blessed Assurance”.
She is Fanny J. Crosby (1820 – 1915)
Question for Contemplation: As an artist, how are you using a particular talent or skill to express your faith in service to God?
April 7, 2012
Growing up in Louisiana, she enjoyed writing. But she thought her dream of becoming a writer was too ambitious, and so she kept it a secret. At the age of 23, she tried to write her first novel, but she became discouraged and the effort came to an end. Her passion for writing, however, continued to grow and found expression in skits she wrote for her church.
People told her she had great talent and encouraged her to write more. As her confidence grew, she continued writing, striving to show the impact of the gospel message through the lives of her characters.
She has since written three popular series of Christian fiction books: Victorian Serenade, The Gresham Chronicles, and Tales of London. She is Lawana Blackwell.
Question for Contemplation: As an artist, using your gift as an expression of your faith, what is keeping you from fulfilling your dream?
March 3, 2012
“Of one thing we can be sure: Angels never draw attention to themselves but ascribe glory to God and press His message upon the hearers as a delivering and sustaining Word of the Highest Order.”
Quote from God’s Secret Agents by Billy Graham, P. 27
I read this quote one evening and it made me think of my need to “hide behind the cross” in ministry. And then I had a myriad of questions:
- Am I capable of being God’s secret agent?
- How do I press His message upon others through my creative expression of faith without drawing attention to myself in the process?
- Is this level of excellence even possible?
I finally came to this answer: Where the Gospel is concerned, I absolutely must strive for this level of excellence in my effort; His Saving Grace is sufficient and that truth alone is worthy of me bowing my humble head in my effort to diminish myself for His greater glory. His love deserves nothing less.
Question to ponder: How do you act as God’s secret agent when you use art as an expression of faith?