Blog Archives

Standing Up for What You Believe

Recently, a senator claimed that a nominee was unqualified to serve in the government because he believed in “Christ alone” for salvation. Business owners took their case all the way to the Supreme Court and won the right to only offer health insurance that complied with their faith. Christian florists, bakers, photographers and calligraphers have been sued because they refuse to do work for same-sex weddings. These weddings go against their deeply held beliefs that God designed marriage for one man and one woman.

How can you, as a Christian writer, support fellow believers who take a stand for their faith? How can you encourage other believers to stand strong when their faith comes under fire? What do Christians need to know about the law and their freedom of religion?

Devotions

To stand strong for their faith, Christians need to be strong in their faith. What verses can you use for your devotion? What anecdote can you share? How can you remind Christians that we will face persecution? How can you help them stand strong in the face of persecution?

How can you remind your readers to love their enemies? What does that look like? How would Jesus respond? How can they react in Christlike ways while refusing to back down?

How-To and Personal Experience

Share your own story or someone else’s story. What takeaway value can you give them? What worked? What didn’t work? Where can they find the resources they need to protect themselves when they face opposition? What practical steps can they take? How can they build a support group during their trial?

What experts can you interview? What organizations can you research? Share the insights these specialists offer.

Writing for Children

Children and teens are told they can’t pray in school, use school facilities for Bible meetings or mention God in graduation speeches. What does the law say? How can you help children and teens stand strong when “authorities” deny their rights? How can you encourage them to demonstrate Christ’s love in the face of trials?

The Founders of this country wanted to protect our religious freedoms from the government, not protect the government from people of faith. As writers, we can help them stand up for what they believe.

© Deborah Christensen

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The Good in Goodness

hibiscusWhat does goodness mean to you? We know it’s a Fruit of the Spirit, but we need to look at how we can cultivate it in our life and use it in our writing.

Some people view people who live out goodness as “goody-two shoes.” That’s now how God sees it. He is good and He calls us to be good. That means He wants us to do the right thing, to obey Him, to love Him and to love others. It means we choose His way and turn away from the world’s way. We practice justice, use honorable speech, encourage others and live a pure life. We spurn evil.

Living a good life pleases God. After we give our life to Christ, goodness grows in our life. It shows we belong to Him and that He makes a difference in our life.

Encouraging Others to Goodness

It’s easier to sin. Cut a corner here, make a compromise there, and soon you’ve forgotten about goodness. But, goodness often requires sacrifice. In Galatians 6:9, Paul tells us not to become weary of “doing good.” And as writer, we can pass that message on to our readers.

When was a time you grew weary of doing good? How did you find the strength to keep going? How did you choose to do good instead of giving up?

Tell your story in a personal experience piece. Offer tips you learned in a how-to article. Give your readers practical advice that they can follow. Get them thinking about the importance of goodness.

Write a devotion and give your readers verses that they can turn to. Goodness pulls in issues of perseverance, trust and loving others. Find verses that encourage your readers in these areas, as well. Open the devotion with an anecdote.

Interview someone who works with the poor, fights for persecuted Christians, saves the unborn or helps the elderly. What can they share about goodness? How do their good works make a difference in the lives of the people they serve? How does God use them? How did they decide to make goodness the focus of their life?

Children need to grow in goodness, too. Help them see the value of making the right choices and making God happy. Guide them in the struggle to do the right thing.

Other Writing Arenas

Poetry is the perfect vehicle for a discussion on goodness. Poets have a way of viewing something from a different angle. You can offer a unique perspective.

In fiction, you can write a character who struggles with goodness. Put obstacles in your character’s way that prevent them from choosing to do good. How do they overcome it? You can feature the classic fight of good against evil in your fiction.

God values goodness. We can value it in our own life and help our readers see the importance of it for their lives, too.

© Deborah Christensen

Gardening Tools: A Second Look at an Important Tool

echo_photo2Recently, I wrote an article for InSite magazine, published by the Christian Camp and Conference Association. I interviewed 12 people about tools they needed for their ministry. Needless to say, I had to record every one.

I used my “computer pen.” I’ve talked about it before but it’s worth a second look. As a writer, I use it all the time.

It’s made by Livescribe. I write on special paper. When I record with it, it syncs what’s on the paper with what’s recording. They also make pens that sync with tablets and phones, Android and iOS.

I use the most basic version and have had it for several years. It still works great. Mine syncs with my computer, which holds both the pages I wrote on and the audio. I also bought additional software for a minimal charge that converts my handwriting into text.

It’s perfect for interviews. I use the speakerphone and can record the entire discussion. No more bulky recording attachments. I can even keep my notes to a minimum, without writing it down word for word. When I transcribe the notes, I simply tap on the appropriate spot in my notes to hear the recording.

It’s also perfect for collecting writing ideas. Since the special paper comes in all different sizes, I can carry a small pad and the pen in my purse. If I hear something, I can click on the pen and record it. I can also take notes and sync up everything.

Do you keep a journal? Consider using the pen and paper. You can add audio comments to your journal. This, too, can help you find writing ideas.

In this age of computers, a pen still works for writers. This pen, no matter what style you choose, is worth the investment.

Click here for the link.

© Deborah Christensen

Plowing Together: Protecting Our Children – Please Comment

Just six months ago, no one ever thought that it would be OK for men to use women’s bathrooms. Common sense, right? Suddenly, the world is turned upside down. We’ve given sexual predators access to innocent children and the OK to invade our privacy without any consequences. Common sense no longer exists.

How can you use your writing to address this issue? Please comment. Together, we can help to protect our children.

Friday Facts: Through Gates of Spendor

Sixty years ago today, five missionaries were murdered by the Waodani (we used to call them “Auca” but that name no longer applies). Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian were attempting to reach out to the people. After their deaths, some family members and wives, including Rachel Saint and Elizabeth Elliot, contacted them and helped the Waodani come to Christ. Elizabeth Elliot wrote about their deaths and the aftermath in her book Through Gates of Splendor.

Plowing Together – Inspiring Interviews – Please Comment

What was the most inspirational interview that you ever did? How did your interviewee inspire you? What writing ideas came from that inspiration?

For me, it was an interview that I did with a young man named Ryan for InSite. At 25, he had terminal cancer and he served in full-time camp ministry. He wanted to serve God to his fullest for as long as God gave him. He lost his battle with cancer a few months after we talked. But, he inspired me to serve God to my fullest. He showed me what true commitment to serving God looks like. One idea that my interview with him inspired was to look at others who serve God despite difficult circumstances and to encourage readers to do the same.

Now, it’s your turn. Please comment.

Hope in the Flood

hibiscusI know several people who live in Colorado. Many of them are good friends. Earlier this year, they faced devastating fires. Now, historic floods threaten their homes and their lives.

When you hear about such natural disasters, you can find ways to offer hope and comfort. Help people see the larger picture. Use your writing to encourage others to reach out to people in need.

The News Story

This is a news story. Contact your local newspaper to see if they want a story on the disaster. Do your research. Get quotes. If you’re close enough to the disaster, get photos.

Write about the disaster. Look at rescue/recovery efforts. Write about what churches and ministries are doing to help people in need. If people lost their lives, tell their story. Give the statistics a face. Help your readers see beyond the numbers.

Do it quickly before the story is gone. And remember, you need the who, what, where, when and how.

Write Hope

Where is God when everything is swept away in a flood? How can you turn despair into hope? How do you overcome fear? How do you deal with discouragement? How does God help you through grief?

You can write hope to people who face disaster. Help them see God’s love. Offer them comfort from His Word. Don’t give pat answers. Instead, show them that God’s care is real.

Tell your story or someone else’s story. Offer insights that you’ve learned along the way. Interview someone who’s faced trials and tell their story. Write poetry. Write a devotion. Help your readers see that God is bigger than the flood.

Teach Through the Disaster

Look for things you can teach. How does a flood begin? How powerful is the water? What is the history of floods?

This is an opportunity to write nature and history articles. Write for children, but think of adults, too. Many adult publications feature nature and history pieces.

You may even consider writing about the Great Flood and the archaeological evidence for it. Many ancient civilizations tell a flood story. Put it all in perspective of God’s Word.

When you discover a story like this, let it inspire your writing. Think of the story from all angles. Offer hope today. Then, think of the things you can write when the flood waters subside.

© Deborah Christensen

A Word for Our Brothers and Sisters

Pastor SaeedThe news is full of stories of the riots in Egypt. Coptic Christians face persecution in the middle of it. The mobs burn their churches. Christians are being tortured and killed in the streets. But, that’s not the only place that persecution is occurring.

Pastor Saeed is being tortured in Iraq. Other Christians face persecution in China, North Korea and Islamic countries. Our own freedoms are slowly being whittled away.

God calls us to love one another and encourage each another. As writers, we can do that through our writing.

A Call to Action

What can you write to make people aware of the problem? How can you spur them to action?

Think of ways you can make people care about persecuted Christians around the world. Who can you interview? What stories can you share? Where can you get the most information?

Then, offer them concrete ways to help. Go beyond presenting the problem. If people feel helpless when you present such a big problem, you will lose them. Help them see that there are things they can do.

ACLJ, Voice of the Martyrs and Open Doors are organizations that deal with this issue. They’re very good about sharing information.

News and Views

Coptic Christians and Pastor Saeed are in the news now. What can you write for your local newspaper? What can you write as an opinion piece or letter to the editor?

It’s not just Christians who need to know about the persecution of Christians. You can give the readership a perspective on Christian persecution that they may not have heard before.

Encouragement and Help

Many churches, religious organizations, Christian-owned businesses and individual Christians are feeling the pinch of persecution here at home. They’re not arrested or beaten but the persecution is real. Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A come to mind, but it’s not limited to these two large companies. It’s done in small ways to small companies, too. Tell their stories.

There are organizations that fight for the religious freedom of citizens. Show your readers where to find help. Write profiles on these frontline organizations.

What can you write to encourage readers who are being persecuted? How can you encourage them to stand strong? How can you help them deal with the discouragement they may feel?

Persecution is occurring around the world and in our own backyard. As writers, we can spread the word about the problem and point people to the help they need.

© Deborah Christensen

Photo from ACLJ.org

From the Idea Garden – The Storms of Oklahoma

How can you use your gift as a writer to encourage and support the people of Oklahoma?

  • Can you do a profile of the Salvation Army’s efforts in the area? What about the Red Cross?
  • What can you share about God’s care in the midst of devastation?
  • What can you write about facing loss and grief?
  • What can you write about serving each other and encouraging one another?
  • What can you write about preparing for storms and surviving storms that may help people the next time a storm hits?

Writing for Life

AveryToday is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. “Jane Roe,” whose real name is Norma McCorvey, has since become a Christian and pro-life – as am I.

I used to be pro-choice, until my sister was pregnant with my nephew. Suddenly, I realized that he was a baby kicking, not a blob of cells.

Abortion has left millions of shattered lives in its wake. Your life, or someone you know, may have been destroyed. Writing about it can bring healing. Or, it can help someone else heal.

Personal Experience Pieces

What is your story? How did your abortion or the abortion of someone close to you affect you? How did you relate to God during that time? How did you deal with your guilt? What brought you to repentance? How did you experience God’s love and forgiveness?

How did your abortion affect the way you viewed your family? What choices did you make as a result of healing from your abortion?

Perhaps you chose not to have an abortion? What choices did you make? How did that change your life?

What is your involvement now with the pro-life movement? What prompted you to get involved? How did your involvement change your life?

Tell your story. Use a pen name. Someone needs the encouragement you can give.

Other Nonfiction Avenues

Offer your readers a how-to article. What do they need to know if they choose to raise the child themselves? What do they need to know if they choose to give the child up for adoption?

How do they recover from an abortion? How can they learn to trust God’s forgiveness?

Write a devotion. Take your readers on a spiritual journey toward healing and God’s forgiveness. Before they choose abortion, introduce them to Scriptures that show that God knows and loves their baby in the womb. After an abortion, show them Scriptures that help them know that nothing can separate them from God’s love.

Share your pain and your journey through poetry. Poetry offers a unique way to share your soul.

Consider featuring a pro-life leader or advocate in a personality profile. Highlight a pro-life ministry. Help your readers understand that people are still working for the cause of life.

What About…

Fiction. Build the entire storyline around the abortion issue or make it a thread in the story.

Writing for children. Create stories and articles for children that emphasize the sanctity of life. Young children are obviously too young for the gruesome details of abortion. But, they know about babies and they understand how helpless they are.

Even 40 years later, we can still take a stand for life. And as writers, we can help our readers understand that all life is precious.

© Deborah Christensen

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