Do You Sometimes Feel Alone in Your Writing Journey?

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 AnitaKathryn, 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!

Pour Down Your Spirit, God!

August 10, 2012


“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?

How Might Sharing Your Struggles in Writing Help Others?

July 18, 2012

Anne Dudley Bradstreet, First American Poet, Inspiring Christian Woman, Inspiring Woman, Woman Poet, God-centered writing, God-focused writingShe 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?

What do You Love to Do that God Might Want You to do for Him?

June 6, 2012

She has published more than 200 books but not before she stepped out in faith, quit her job, and pursued God’s calling for her to write.  Her teachers had encouraged her as a child to write.  As a young wife and mother raising two children, she dabbled in writing and was encouraged to do more by a conference speaker.  When her boys were teens, she quit her job and took a leap of faith to write more seriously.  She has since written books on tough issues, such as addiction and mental illness, and she writes for women, teens, and children.

 She is Melody Carlson. 

Questions to Ponder: What do you love to do that God might want you to do for Him and His Kingdom?  What’s stopping you?

How Are You Using Your Talent or Skill to Serve God?

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?

What Is Keeping You From Fulfilling Your Dream?

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?

Are You Capable of Being God’s Secret Agent?

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?

How Do You Use Your Talents for the Lord?

February 3, 2012

I think there are two ways to use our talents for the Lord.

1.  When we are “called” to do so for God, we respond obediently to God’s will for us, to which He prepares us according to His time, His message, His plan.

2.  When we “offer” to do so for God, it is because we have decided to do so out of our own ability, which will still be well received as long as we do it with pure intentions (meaning in an effort to glorify God).

I believe either can be equally effective.  Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

From which perspective do you use your talents? Are you called to use art as an expression of faith? Or are you offering to use art as an expression of faith? What has been your experience?

Use Online Videos to Showcase Your Artistic Talent and Testify to the Gospel of God’s Grace!

January 4, 2012

Did you know YouTube ranks #2 for search engines, after Google? This simple fact proves that videos are a great way of sharing online content.  Why not use videos to also feature your artistic talent as an expression of faith in your effort to testify to the gospel of God’s grace (Acts 20:24)? 

The role of the Internet in our ministerial efforts continues to grow, and we can no longer afford to ignore online informational opportunities.  Have you ever considered creating a video to convey your inspirational message or promote your newest book or collection of short stories?  Why not create a video of your faith-based oil paintings or water colors to showcase your artistic style and inform connoisseurs on how they can purchase your work? 

It’s easy to upload a video to YouTube, and a YouTube video can help get your message across even if your website isn’t yet ready for prime time. Thankfully, making the video itself has also never been easier.  I recommend, one of the easiest video creation tools I have yet to find.

“In the works since 2005, Animoto was founded to help people better share their stories and express themselves through online media by innovating technologies in the field of video production. Using the latest in entertainment post-production technologies, Animoto is designed to bridge the gap between the high production value of film and television, and the more “amateur” feeling of most user-created videos and photo albums.”

It’s really a very simple tool.  Choose and upload your images.  Choose your music.  Watch and share your video.  A 30 second video is free to make, and for just a few dollars a month, you can create videos up to 2 minutes long that feature your own logo.  Take a look at the simple video I created to help promote my Christian art.

If you’re interested, sign up for your own animoto account and start creating promotional videos today!  In the meantime, I will pray for God’s blessing on your effort: May He bless you, expand your territory, keep His hand upon you, and keep you from evil (1 Chronicles 4:10).

God’s Plan for Gratitude – in Life and in Ministry

November 23, 2011

God has a plan for gratitude and the role thankfulness plays in our lives. In fact, I found the word “thankful” (and its synonyms) in the Bible 392 times, proof that thankfulness is a highly valued virtue; God wants me to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) so that I might rise above adversity and prevail with deep peace and satisfaction.

Gratitude is equally important in ministry and sharing the Good News with others.  It is one of the best cures I know for the three E’s (Entitlement, Expectation, and Envy), all of which can drastically impede my ability to demonstrate God’s grace or testify to His love. In other words, by maintaining gratitude I am better able to stay in God’s will, endure spiritual warfare, and effectively cope when situations don’t go my way.

So, I ask: how is your gratitude and are you in need of developing it further? If so, I might be able to help! I have been diligent in my pursuit of gratitude over the past ten years, and I am anxious to share what has worked for me in the process. If you are interested, send me an email and ask to receive my quarterly Gratitude newsletter. If you’re in need of some great tips now, feel free to download the latest version here.