Friday, August 29, 2014
[Note from Mary: Christian poets and writers often stress over their work, wondering if they're "good enough" or have something fresh and inspiring to say. This post gets to the root of that worry and helps us connect with God-power in Christ.]
Give it ALL to Jesus (Encouraging Word) | lovelyladylesh by Aleshia Naseera
[Note from Mary: Such a life is worth writing about too! Thanks, Michael. May God help us to get real with God, ourselves, and our readers.]
A Life Worthy | A life worth living…a blog worth reading by Michael Burns
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Members of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook recently responded to a question all Christians might prayerfully consider and respond to, not necessarily in writing but in living and fellowshipping with one another in Christ.
QUESTION: If we are the Body of Christ on earth today, what can we do to tend and mend the church in our writings?
Linda Lots! I think anything we do to inspire, comfort, and spiritually challenge individuals will uplift the whole body. Many forms of writing can do that, if we get it out of our private notebooks and share. We can directly impact the larger body, too, with the hymns, dramas, and Bible studies we write for church use. Remember, you poets, that traditional rhyming verse can be set to public domain tunes and voila! You've written a hymn.
Stacey I think we can add themes of hope to our writings from the Father's perspective.
Joy Promote unity, compassion and understanding. Build up and not destroy. Reveal grace, hope and healing. Share testimonies. Give praise. Use all our gifts for God's glory and maintain a close, prayerful walk with Him.
Helen Share our poetry and writings! Keeping them tucked safely away in our computers or notebooks only edifies ourselves.
Songaye God's Word is filled with poems, historical articles, proverbs, and psalms (songs/prayers.) Jesus spoke in parables, and Our Father said that He watches over His Word to perform it. His Word, which He sends forth by His Spirit to the world through us – His children, will NOT return unto Him void. How then can I keep it hidden?
Barbara Exalt the characteristics of Christ. He is the head of the body and we are the members. Each member plays an important function, however small. Building each other up in the most Holy Faith brings positive encouragement to those who feel insignificant. Jude, 1 Thessalonians and Romans each admonish us to do this. I purposefully didn't write the chapters or verses down because it's very enlightening to do the cross referencing.
Kurt Humble ourselves. Absorb instead of repel. Be (adults) instead of children. Understand and speak to, not at.
Bob Awesome question, Mary! I believe that "No problem can be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it."(Albert Einstein) I think that we who feel God's presence when we write and create have an opportunity to stand with Jesus and write from His perspective. It crosses all cultures and traditions. Most Believers tend to write towards or about something. I see it in more of a prophetic way: that we write out of where we are spiritually, that we write out of our spirit or in the Spirit as opposed to writing out of our old self – our fallen or broken self. I'm into putting spirit back into our spiritual life. That's what Mother Teresa did. True spirituality brings us to the lowest of all, to love by getting up under the hurting and the broken, to lift them up into the arms of Jesus.
Adeline The church is "in the world" and strives to be "not of the world." But sadly there is often little difference – not enough evidence to convict us! I believe writers should be sharing passionate yet appropriate expressions of spiritual conviction and truth, holiness and Christian discipline. Where? Everywhere! Church bulletins, newsletters, family chats, community discussion boards…. Wherever a door opens we must walk through and present the Bread of Life for a dying and hopeless world. As little ones and their parents are persecuted abroad, our pen should become enflamed with boldness and compassion to share the good news of the gospel.
Anne If we truly want to tend and mend the churches today, then we need to look at what binds us instead of what divides us. We need to love as we were instructed to love. We need to make sure we write truth, but make sure it is drenched in grace. Scripture tells us how difficult it is to restore a brother who is offended, but we will push that brother or sister further away from God if all they read or hear from us is judgment. It is God's job to convict; ours is to love, and sometimes we try the wrong job. Writing is a privilege. And we need to deal with our own issues so that when we see others we are not looking at them with skewed filters. We need to only move when our Father instructs, only saying what He tells us to say, not what we feel compelled to get off our chests.
Robert The way to tend and mend is to encourage anyone we see to read their Bibles for in this we are pointing them to God's words.
Songaye My goal, too, is to get people to meditate on God's Word for themselves, but His Word is full of admonishments to assemble ourselves together, worship, fellowship, and disciple (teach) in a body that God has called you to. Yes, we have the unction of the Holy Spirit, and He teaches us all things and leads us into all Truth. Our first order of business as a Christian is to have fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit then the corporate church.
Gary We write what we are inspired by God to write. We find every avenue we can to share what He gives us – all as He leads – for we can do nothing without Him. He uses what He wills to grow His Kingdom. Only He can straighten that which is crooked. The best I can do is to listen and write what He whispers. (Matthew 10:27)
Annie On the evening I saw this question, I saw a documentary on Day Star programming called "Proof Through The Night" on Francis Scott Key. It is a perfect demonstration of how our writings in poetry and other Christian literature can affect the Body of Christ as well as a nation. You will have to see it in order to grasp the effects of his writing, poetry, and lifestyle as a Christian had a major effect on the development and growth of this nation.
Miisrael We are God's instruments. He gives us talents; if we bury them they have no use. We should play them so that others in the church and anywhere we travel will hear His music. His song is “love one another.”
Barbara Show God's mercy, love and grace.
Nellie Ask God each day how you can be a blessing to someone.
Mary And in light of the current news, let's keep our country in prayer and pray continually for Christians around the world.
Philip Being an "Indie Author/Poet," I spend so much time promoting my work and myself, that it begins to sap me as a Christian. The way the Lord has dealt with me on this has been to remind me (as I study the Word ) that this isn't about me being edified, but rather I'm to edify fellow members of the Body. The anointing He gave me to write should be a work of love and faith. When I attempt to further my career, the joy I get from the writing process and its positive effect on others, begins to wane in proportion to an increase of stress. I think it's a trap to prevent me from edifying others and to decrease any effective ministry the Lord's gifted me to fulfill. It can't be said enough: "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
Mary M. Be kind. A smile is good for us and usually others. Pray for those who aren't interested in knowing Jesus as lord and Savior.
Pete Defend the Church, Christ, and Mary when they are attacked or mocked.
Soldierone We must remind those who follow in faith what Jesus reminded us to be the greatest of His commandments (Matthew 22:36-40) for if we understand and promote this teaching, we encourage the opportunity for His love to spread from heart to heart. If His love fills every heart, then evil has no place to root.
Kathryne Include testimonies of redemption in our writings to encourage ...one another to greater love. I study, but I am interested in reading (and writing) accounts of love, mercy, and grace in action - how one shared an encounter they had and how it went.
Lori I often say, there is the church the media portrays and there is the real Church behind the scenes, doing the work of Christ, being His hands and feet in our work and neighborhoods, being His missionaries of love and bringing that to a hurting world. Right now as we speak, there are brothers and sisters going quietly about their lives, making sacrifices large and small because we believe that is what Jesus would have us do. And of course, our own personal testimony is the most powerful thing we have to share! Thank you for asking this question!
Mary Thanks to all of you for responding! May God guide and bless each of us and give us the prayers to pray and words to write in Jesus’ Name.
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-author of 26 books in all genres for Christian and educational markets
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Tim, I enjoy seeing your posts on the Christian Poets & Writers group page on Facebook and notice other members “Like” your poems and postings too. Tell us about your work.
A couple of years ago, I joined a Facebook Group called Agalliao where people share their spiritual poetry. Periodically, an anthology is created and publishes of some of those works, and I have been blessed to have had three poems published in each of the first four volumes. Volume 4 is currently available at Amazon.
It has also been an honor to see some of my work highlighted on this blog, and my Naked Alien faith blog is sometimes re-blogged in Methoblog. Besides my blog, Photography by Tiwago, some of my nature photographs have been published in online magazines or print. It is a special joy to see something that came from within you out there for the world to see.
Who or what inspires your writing?
Much of my poetry (especially the haiku) is inspired by nature and often complements my nature photography. I am a professional conservationist, yet nature also touches my soul and brings me into a closer relationship with God. It gives me a better understanding of the concepts of stewardship and environmental justice. Sometimes, an event is so painful that I grab a pen to let it bleed for me.
My religious writing is inspired by the humanity of the Bible and the events in the daily news - and how the two relate to each other. I am strongly moved by the pathos of the Psalms and strive for that same realism and honesty in a modern context.
You achieve that too! So tell us: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have always enjoyed reading and playing with words. I was a sarcastic clown as a child who loved puns and one-liners. I enjoyed writing essays in school, but after years of working in the government where creative writing is frowned upon, I lost that joy. It was not until I started blogging that I had an outlet. I no longer cared if anybody wanted to read it. I could just send it out on the Internet and feel a release.
For me, writing is a meditative spiritual discipline. My words are written with my tears as prayers of joy and pain. When I was young, words were a sharp sword. Now, words are my fleet shoes.
Do you see your writing as a gift or calling?
I feel called to preach and help pastors take sabbaticals or take time to rest and heal, but I feel I have a gift for the communication of truths that can't be told by facts. Ironically, I have a hard time interacting with people one-on-one. When I preach, I sometimes don't remember what I said. I am called to serve congregations, but I have a gift to tell stories to the world.
I have done several spiritual gift inventories where prophesy and teaching were high scores for me. I am a Certified United Methodist Lay Servant and do pulpit supply preaching at numerous churches. Preaching, writing, and taking photographs help me share some of the many thoughts and visions that flow through me via the Spirit. I feel that, as we are all made in the image of a creating God, there is a creative impulse in us all. The secret is to find the appropriate channel.
What do you hope to accomplish in your writing?
Sometimes when I am depressed, my writing has a cathartic effect, like the blues. I call myself The Naked Alien, because that is how I felt as a geeky, awkward kid – exposed, vulnerable, and an outsider. I want people to realize that, throughout the Bible, it is the loser who is often called to serve for God's glory rather than the jocks and beauty queens! I want people to know it is okay to question God or yell at Him. It is better to have doubts than to think you have all the answers! I want people to stop being afraid of a vengeful God and become comfortable with Him. I love to challenge our inherited beliefs and preconceptions: to force us to think; to let God out of the box we built for Him.
Today’s blog post on “The New 10” certainly brings new light to the old ten! I mention this now to encourage our readers to check out the page but also to remind me, after posting this, to go back and leave a comment.
Thanks. Lately, people on Facebook have commented on some of my writings too. For some, they are grateful for a light that allowed them to see God in a new way which was helpful to them. Others have mentioned that they had thought they were alone and strange, and it was reassuring to hear someone put their thoughts on paper (digitally speaking!). This is something new for me, but the idea of being graced with the ability to give utterance to the fears and pains of those who do not have a gift for words is both humbling and mind-blowing.
Yes! That’s the larger vision we receive as we seek God’s guidance for our writing. Reading is part of that writing life too. What do you most like to read?
I used to be a chain-reader, consuming mass quantities of Fantasy and Science Fiction books. But now my greatest joy is reading books to my granddaughter!
I know the feeling! Lord willing, Kelsay Books will soon publish my book of nature poems for children that you both might like, hint, hint! May God and your granddaughter continue to inspire you, Tim. Thanks and blessings for taking time to chat with us.
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, interviewer and poet-author of the Christian Writers’ Guide e-book and Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry e-book
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
[Note from Mary: Is good ole "he said, she said," still best?]
[Note from Mary: Before we submit our poems and manuscripts to editors of journals, e-zines, or books in hopes of publication, let's submit ourselves and our work to God in hopes of publicly revealing Christ to others as we live aligned with God's love.]
One-a-Day Tuesday, 8/26/14 | A Life Worthy by Michael Burns
[Note from Mary: What the Bible says about love can be condensed into this poem pray-a-phrase of the Golden Rule.]
What the Bible Says about Love: Love shines from the Golden Rule
Monday, August 25, 2014
[Note from Mary: Many poets and writers self-publish because that’s what they know! The Christian Writer’s Guide e-book opens more options and shows you how to get started freelance and assignment writing in almost any genre.]
In a Christian Writer's Life: Christian Writer’s Guide to writing options
Saturday, August 23, 2014
[Note from Mary: The Seashell Anthology of Great Poetry brings a surprisingly diverse gathering of voices, whether known or unknown from the 16th century or the present day, but each of whom addresses universal themes and timeless concerns, creating a call-and-response effect among the poems and also between us and poetry that actually speaks to and for us as part of God and one another in the human tribe.]
Poetry Editor & Poetry: The Seashell Anthology of Great Poetry
Friday, August 22, 2014
[Note from Mary: As Romans 12 teaches, each of us has gifts to share in our lives and through our writings, but sometimes we forget that those gifts are meant to build up the church and one another in Jesus' Name. This lovely poem helps us to re-focus. Thanks, Tim.]
Apostolic Poetry – Say No To Cookie-Cutter Christianity. » The Methoblog by Tim Good
[Note from Mary: As Christians, can we do anything to heal the world today? Consider this post by Jim Wallace aka J. Warner Wallace and pray and write and pray!]
Why Christians Must Continue to Guard the Truth of the Gospel | Cold Case Christianity
[Note from Mary: The Case For Christ Study Bible published by Zondervan does not tell you how to think or what to believe but presents “cases” for believing in our Creator, Christ, and the Bible, then lets you consider the evidence to deepen your own faith in God and present biblical truths in all genres to your readers.]
Bible Reviewer: The Case For Christ Study Bible
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
[Note from Mary: Being reconciled to one another starts with our being reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. May we accept this love for ourselves and other Christians and, as the Body of Christ on earth, communicate reconciliation as we write in Jesus' Name.]
The Faith Log: The Gospel of Reconciliation by Jeff Doles.
[Note from Mary: Glynn's posts often bless us, but this one brings tremendous encouragement to new writers and cause for remembrances and praise to those of us who have been writing forever!]
Faith, Fiction, Friends: A Letter to My Younger Self by Glynn Young
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
[Note from Mary: Living in a Christian writer's life means living close to God. Throughout the centuries, countless people have found that centering prayer draws us closer to Christ by taking us deeper into God’s love for us and ours for God. In Centering Prayers, a new book published by Paraclete Press, author and pastor Peter Traben Haas gives poetic words we wished we’d written, but words that are ours, too, as we focus, focus on God.]
In a Christian Writer's Life: Centering Prayers
[Note from Mary: If you've been part of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook for a while, you've probably welcomed the fresh poems of fellow member Tim Good. This one, however, is so powerful, it just has to be highlighted, saved, and read again. May God bless this honest response and our own responses to the Ten Commandments and help us to get real with God, ourselves, and our readers.]
The Poetry of Tiwago: The Ten. by Tim Good
[Note from Mary: Glynn Young's book review and commentary on the poetry of well-known Christian poet and writer Luci Shaw give us insight into poetic techniques - and priorities.]