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Archive for June, 2011

Christian writers need to tap into their creativity just as much as any other writers.  It is especially necessary when you are a freelancer, when your gigs are not a steady of stream of syndicated newspaper columns or a growing base of endearing readers due to all of the advertising and marketing dollars that go into your books from the big-time publishing houses.  You need to have some creative ways to develop both content and commerce.

  • Publications: You may never get a major book deal with a large publishing house.  Don’t throw away all of those prayer journals and scribbled notes for that Christian memoir yet.  Publish it yourself or go to a small press.  If you have tried a small press already, try an even smaller press like a small Christian college.  You may need to work it through their journal or magazine-like publication first as a beta test prior to publishing, but it is a far cry from those outright rejections from the big boys on Madison Avenue.  Self-published books are in a whole different arena nowadays, but you have to do your homework.  They won’t simply jump off the shelves (or, out of the warehouse).  The smaller you go with publishing the more how-to knowledge you are going to need to get you through to making it.  Look at www.lulu.com or www.blurb.com to publish yourself.  Check out www.pw.org for some small press and online havens for Christian writers.
  • Products: I am a big believer in making more out of my sermons than simply a preached message.  I look and see if they could be used as blog posts, Bible lessons, MS PowerPoint slideshows, program curriculum or e-books and articles.  If they can pass the so-called “t-shirt test,” can they be placed on a t-shirt or bumper sticker, even a button, and sold? Develop products that can be sold as fund-raisers for your church or small group.  Perhaps, if you are sincere, honest and earnest, the church or the small group may be willing to partner with you or support you by purchasing some of your products and books just above costs and reselling them as a fund-raiser for a special event or certain cause.  You have to make your products something that people would buy with their hard-earned money.  With more and more people using laptops or iPads than desktop PC’s, you may do better making some cool, graphically-appealing iPad and laptop cases and covers, even sleeves, rather than mousepads.  Use a site like www.cafepress.com or www.zazzle.com, even www.spreadshirt.com.
  • Presentations: Convert your short stories into videos with Windows Movie Maker or iMovie on Mac.  Use your scripts to make mini commercial spots that offer a sneak peak of your play in production for mobile devices or on www.youtube.com or www.youversion.com , even see if you can uplaod it on www.godtube.com.  See about your slideshow being used as a presentation on your faith journey of recovery that highlights portions of your book detailing and chronicling your experience of leaving drugs behind for a new life Christ.  Share this with rescue missions, shelters and recovery centers.  Many of these programs pay their presenters.  Sign your book after the presentation.  In lieu of payment, or in addition to payment if at all possible, sell your books to the program with a volume discount.  Upload your presentations on your own site, your blog or www.slideshare.net or www.box.net, even www.christianarchives.com.
  • Postings: Let it flow out of you and online.  Post to a blog consistently.  Look at www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com.  Some people like www.tumblr.com, too.  Your blog can be read by subscribers and you can add an RSS feed to your site, too.  Technology is so cool.  Twitter is a form of “micro-blogging.” I say combine your Twitter and Facebook accounts to a degree and hit up your fans and followers through Tweetdeck.  It simplifies the whole thing and it’s splendid.  You can even add your Google Buzz and LinkedIn accounts, too.  Post links to your press releases about your new book in print, upcoming author events such as poetry readings or signings, and the storefront that carries your e-book or your podcasts.

As a believer, you want to keep the faith.  Your writing is similar to your walk.  You have to pray for some breakthroughs to keep you from some serious breakdowns.  Trust the Lord with all year heart, but be active with your faith.  Writing is a broad field.  Be sure to exhaust your resources and networks getting your writing career off the ground, up and running.  Keeping praying and stay active.

This post originally appeared on RedRoom on Rev Bruce’s Page

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“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” -Mark 1:35-37

“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”  Psalm 5:3

What is your morning ritual?

Do you rise up early and find your own personal time with the Lord?

How do you start your day?

Seek the Lord’s face early.  Find a way to find time to spend time with God.  Place an emphasis on making your personal time with God a special time that kicks off your day.  Make it special.  Seek a special time with the Lord.  Do it daily.

Rise up early.  Get to a place that allows you to have some privacy.  Talk openly with the Lord.  Share the burdens of your heart with Him.  Be both open and honest.  Pour out your heart to Him and with Him.  Let your tears run down your face.  Hear yourself crying out for mercy.  Listen closely as the Lord whispers comfort into your soul.

Find the time and you will find a new level of Christian experience.

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And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms…- Hosea 1:1

Then the Lord said to me, “Go and love your wife again, even though she commits adultery with another lover. This will illustrate that the Lord still loves Israel, even though the people have turned to other gods and love to worship them.”- Hosea 3:1 (NLT)

God utilized the prophet as an object lesson for others to see.  He put Hosea’s entire life on display for all others to view him.  He did so and Hosea’s life stands out from the lives of other Old Testament prophets in a special way.  Hosea was used by God to show God’s tattered relationship with Israel.

It wasn’t bad enough that Isaiah’s prophecy referred to Israel as a harlot.  It wasn’t enough for Ezekiel to eat the scroll or go to a valley and view dry bones.  Surely, it was not enough for Jeremiah to lament after being the weeping prophet who said he would no longer preach the message that the Lord had for him to share with others.  No, God used Hosea differently.  He used his children and his wife, Gomer, to display that God who is perfect and pure was in love with a woman who turned out to be a prostitute- Israel.

So who is your Gomer? Who is God calling on you to seek, to reach and help? Who is your Gomer?

Find out who God is calling on you to reach with His message.  See who God is calling on you to go out of your way and reclaim for Him.  Let God use you.

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>Simply Positive

>Be positive.

It may sound corny or just too simple, but Norman Vincent Peale said so in The Power of Positive Thinking. Imagine if you could just keep things positive.  Simply alter your outlook on things and see if you can remain positive.

Life got you down? Don’t stay in the depths of depression.  Work on working off the blues.  Shake that off.

Live a little more.  Love a little bit more.  The Blues Brothers may have been full of buffoonery, but they had a good point when they said that everybody needs someone to love.

You can be positive.  You have to work at it a bit, but it is worth the work.

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 1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”- Luke 5:1-4 (NLT)

I once heard a preacher present a sermon that simply asked the believer if there was room in your boat for Jesus.  I marvel at many of us, especially myself, who dare not dare to more with what the Lord sees as useful and resourceful.  Jesus used a fishing boat as a pulpit.  Jesus used what had been unprofitable for some fishermen to preach about the prophecies of the Old Testament coming to life and into the flesh.  Jesus used what seemed to be useless in order to inspire others to initiate a walk with the Lord Himself.

What will you do with the Lord’s call on your life beyond salvation? Will you stall and stutter rather than stand and speak up? What will you do?

I say go with the Lord’s leading.  If you want to be blessed beyond mere mercy and just grace, you need to go all the way with the Lord.  Follow His lead.  Heed His calling on your life.  If He beckons you to go further, then you need to go further.  If He says for you to be still, you better be still.  Or. . .

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1 Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.”- Luke 15:1-2 (NKJV)

You have influence.  Whether you believe it or not, you have influence.  You have influence over others and you may not even know it.

Others hang onto your every word.  Others follow your every step.  Others try to walk and talk like you.  They know that you have influence with them and others.

Do you know that you have influence?

Look at these opening verses in Luke 15.  There was a gathering of tax collectors and sinners at one place.  Someone had to invite them.  Was it one of their own? Do you recall Levi hosting a feast after being called by Jesus? Perhaps, it wasn’t just that one time.  Maybe, if we think about it, one pf those tax collectors shared with some of his friends that Jesus would join them for supper.  We can only speculate as the depth of influence that came out of that earlier experience and how it may have changed some other tax collector’s heart and mind.

You have influence.  Use it to God’s glory in a way that honors God.

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“A life has value according to how much love it has.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Where is the love?

It is a common question.  It is the type of question that causes the common Christian to ponder whether he or she has truly loved like Christ.  Then, after considering the question further, it is the type of question that causes one to ask whether the love that was shared spread beyond a comfort zone or a social status.

Bonhoeffer said that the living has value according to the amount of loving that stems from that living.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote an entire book that encapsulated a series of his sermons called Strength to Love.  Francis Chan wrote a famous and sensational book on Christianity called Crazy Love. 

Love is a major topic in the realm of Christianity.  The Christian must ask if he or she has really loved like Christ.  When called upon, was the Christian’s answer full of love? Did the Christian act out of love? Did the Christian speak with love in his or her tone? Could someone else sense his or her genuine love? It’s the question of the day.

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:5 (KJV)

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