Monday, April 12, 2010

Writing for the Lord

Continuing our series of reporting on conferences that are upcoming or conferences we have attended to help people make decisions about where to go, this is the second time I have gone to this conference and it is an excellent one. ETBU does a most professional job of putting it on, the campus is beautiful, they have a great faculty, all of the conference is in one convenient place and I recommend it highly.

This conference has been held for many years but not last year. I told them that was very considerate for them to not hold it since I had broken my heel and could not attend. Actually, I believe they were simply in the process of moving it to a different date. This move was terrific as the weather could not have been better, shirt sleeve weather, neither too hot nor too cold. The conference runs a day and a half in a very concentrated format. Great regional conference.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I had changed the keynote I was about to give at the Heart of America conference in Kansas City at the last moment and after I did it a number of people came up and said it addressed a very urgent current need. At this conference I found myself taking my "Using Fiction to Spread God's Word" workshop in a new direction that I had neither planned nor decided in advance to do. It just happened. Again I had a couple of people come up and say it had addressed a very urgent need.

I said, "So you are the one God changed my talk for."

God does that. It has happened over and over. A number of people who have attended any session I give has heard me say I believe there are two ways to write for the Lord, to be called to do it, or to decide to do it in which case it is not a calling but an offering. I don't believe that everyone who would like to write for the Lord has been called to do so any more than I believe that everyone who would like to preach has been called to do so.

This led to a discussion of how to discern a calling and how to tell what the Lord wants us to do. This is intensely personal and not something someone else can decide for a person but there is a way someone can help describe the process, which I did. This brought relief to a couple of people who were distressed because they had not heard this calling and felt bad when they heard people say they should have. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing as an offering. If it is done right it will be well received and the effort blessed.

Then a couple of people were distressed about how long it was taking and surely it would happen quicker if God had asked them to do it. I pointed out how long God prepared Moses and Abraham and the Apostles, and even Jesus himself before they were actually used. If God has called a writer to a task He will prepare them before He brings the task to fruition. I stressed that He would not only insure that the WRITING was what He wanted it to be, but the writer themself was where he wanted them to be as well. It is even possible that instead of going faster with God's help that it might take longer than it would for a person preparing an offering out of their own abilities and resources. It most assuredly will if the person is not submitting themselves to him and to the way He wants it done because success is not likely to come until that happens.

I love it when the Lord helps me teach.

Those of you that live within range of the ETBU conference should definitely plan on attending next year. Information will be available at


writer jim said...


I really liked reading about God leading you so specifically. OBEYING God in just one small thing could easily accomplish more than a lifetime of our own best efforts.
The instances you mentioned are, in my opinion, what the Bible refers to as "laboring together WITH GOD."

Peggy Clement said...

I attended the conference this past weekend and heard you speak twice. I loved when you spoke about whether or not our writing was a calling from God or an offering. Also, when you reminded us how long God took to prepare Moses, Abraham, and even Jesus himself, it put things in a different light for me. Thanks so much for your input to take back home with me. I do have a question for you. You mentioned that you are really shy and actually give a workshop on this area. What was that workshop title called? I am trying to request our guild book you for our upcoming conference in October.

Terry Burns said...

The workshop is "Too Shy to Pitch and Promote" and I often do it as part of the "Survive Your Way to Publication" workshop.

I'd be happy to come to your conference in October should they choose to invite me.