Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Thanks to Ashley Ormon, we recently had this helpful discussion in our interactive Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook:
Ashley: What are ways we can use our writing to serve others, besides posting on our blogs?
Robin One thing I've done is taken three of my best poems and printed them out in bookmark form. I give them as little gifts to bless new parents and grandparents.
Janiece (We can serve others through) prayer, writing letters to them, and creating new things like Scriptures printed out with a design to give to them on Christmas or a poem that is Christ-like
Timothy Two things to add to the mix: (1) the waning, but still with us, medium of the print newspaper, specifically, the letter to the editor, which is often less than uplifting, so perhaps we can make a mark there; and the guest column in the religion section; and (2) the advocacy letter to elected representatives. Again, this is an area that is often highly politicized, but where Christian love and truth can be expressed in a winsome way by writers who have the gift of the Spirit, know Scripture, and know the Lord.
Heather Write a book. Write a Bible study. Send a note of encouragement to someone. Write a thank-you letter complimenting the service they have done for the Kingdom.
DavidAnn (We can serve by) building up, encouraging, and showing the Love of God through our testimonies. Glory Hallelujah!
Judy I have left copies of my books in motels, restaurants, cruise ship libraries, dr. offices, and other places. You never know who may need to read what you have written, and many people will never pick up a Bible.
Heather (We can write stories about) characters who are flawed, because we are and God isn't.
Joyce For me, the purpose of writing is to encourage, inspire, and remind others that the love, mercy, and grace of God is available to all who are willing to accept His gift and that He can meet every need. Therefore, I pray to be sensitive to those who are in the midst of life's battles. I give away more books than I sell and am blessed when told a certain devotional has touched someone or made a difference in a personal situation. For me, prayer is priority in making sure that I never forget that it is all about HIM and never about me. Prayer is key in ministering through our writing.
Mary Yes and amen!
Ian I think we can tell stories that enlighten the lost to biblical thinking.
Dr Wilma Thanks for this encouragement and confirmation to tell our story and how God brought us through and the importance of overcoming.
Marie I have read things I have written to others particularly my elderly lady friends - "my Grandmas" - or to young children. I have even had a session with a group at my church where I joined "my Grandmas" in how to write poetry! We approached it from different angles and even gave an exercise where they wrote their own poetry.
Barbra I used to write long letters to older friends, and they said they looked forward to them.... I would also like to do devotionals.
Robert Tackling the endeavor of writing a type of compilation or some literary work for publication is a good idea. Creating poetry and vocalizing it at local poetry slams/events are becoming more common is some cities. That would be a witty and simple way to evangelize in an arena other than a church-related event where reciting our purposeful poetry would be like preaching to the choir, so to speak.
Cynthia We have a coffee shop meet for all writers, usually poetry, and not all (are) Christians. It gives you a chance to hear what is important to the world and gives them a chance to see Jesus in your work.
Patti I love God for giving me a gift of words to bless others. I don't take it for granted but am thrilled every time I can combine it with simple calligraphy (as done for the past 30 years), and it makes me happy and hopefully pleases the Lord!
Ian To reveal the Christian worldview... (in) literature
Shanna I write for a few ministries as a volunteer.
Mary Thank you all for your thoughtful responses. If our words uplift, our writing can serve others even through a Post-A-Note. It's not the form of publication that matters so much as what we're writing about and why. For instance, if we're writing to express ourselves with no thought for our readers – as happens to most of us in the beginning - the impact will be much different than if we're writing, say, a how-to.
As Christian poets and writers, we have the responsibility and privilege to draw readers to Christ and the church, but too often we see rants! If we only point out the problems in the church and offer no workable solutions, then we contribute to the problem. And if we come down hard on our readers or try to shake them into knowing Christ, we've lost them. With love and prayers and a little humor, our writings can work wonders in Jesus’ Name.
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, who began the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook, is a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church in all its parts. She’s the poet-author of 27 books in all genres for Christian and educational markets and wrote the e-book, the Christian Writers’ Guide to writing and publishing.
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
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
In our work and lives as Christian poets, writers, and other communicators for Christ, these Bible verses will help us to focus our prayers, words, and writings on healing the current miffs and ancient rifts in the Family of God.
First, let’s take Jesus at His word:
Matthew 5:9: Blessed are you who make peace, for you shall be called the children of God!
Matthew 18:19: Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask, My Father in heaven will do it for you.
John 10:16: I have other sheep who are not in this sheepfold, and I must bring them in too. They will listen to My voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
John 13:35: And in this way, everyone will know you are My disciples - by the love you show one another.
John 15:12: This is what I command you: Love one another in the same way I have loved you.
Then, in the New Testament letters, the Apostles and early Christian writers gave us these words of encouragement, explanation, and exhortation.
Romans 12:5: In Christ’s body, we are like many parts, who all belong to each other.
1 Corinthians 1:10: I appeal to you all, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and allow no dissensions among you, so you may be united in the same mind and purpose.
11 Corinthians 12:20: For I’m afraid that, when I come, I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my reaction! I’m afraid I will find you quarreling, jealous, angry, selfish, back-biting, gossipy, arrogant, and disorderly.
Galatians 3:28: No longer are you to distinguish yourself as a Jew or as a Gentile, a slave or a free person, a man or a woman, for you are all now one in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:14: For Christ Himself is our peace! Through His own Body, He made both Jews and Gentiles into one body when He broke down every barrier that divides us.
Ephesians 4:3: Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, bound together with peace.
Ephesians 4:13: Keep on until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we become mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full standard of Christ.
Philippians 1:27: Let your conversations be becoming to the gospel of Christ, so that whether together or not, others will hear how you stand fast in one spirit with one mind working together for the faith of the gospel.
11 Timothy 2:23-25: Don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments or debates that only cause fights and dissension. Those who work for the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, and patient. Gently instruct those who oppose you. Perhaps God will change their hearts, and they will learn the truth.
1 Peter 3:8: And, finally, be of one mind and spirit – empathetic, compassionate, and courteous, not returning ill will for ill will or insult for insult but instead blessing one another that you may inherit God’s blessing.
As we focus on each of those verses in our lives, writings, and love for the Family of God, we can be assured of the power of Christ in the church Body of Christ. And, oh, what a world of difference that will make!
© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, ecumenical Christian poet, writing consultant, and author of the Christian Writers’ Guide e-book and the poetry book Living in the Nature Poem
[Note: The Thompson Chain Reference Bible highlighted the verses selected for this theme, and the Bible Gateway website provided many translations to compare for the above prayer-a-phrases. May God continue to bless their good work and ours.]