Christ-Exalting Sermons

November 30, 2009

Whenever my faith needs encouragement, I read John Piper’s sermons on Desiring God.

His messages express what I believe better than I ever could. I appreciate that Mr. Piper always points to Jesus as the whole of our hope, which, one would expect from sermons, but unfortunately I find such single-focused, Christ-exalting messages rare.

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

This verse is just one example. Jesus spent much of His time teaching people about who HE was. Shouldn’t we Christians be about His agenda?

 

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Query Response

November 21, 2009

I had sent my query to two agents earlier this week. I received my first rejection today from one of the agents.

The response e-mail, while courteous and encouraging, was a form rejection. I’m disappointed but not surprised. What are the odds of the first agent wanting to see more of my MS?

Writing is a risk. I’m investing so much of my time into writing a novel with no gurantee of it ever getting published. And I’ve only just begun. It is not unusual for someone to spend 7 to 15 years before they get their first book in print.

Do I want to be a published writer badly enough? Do I have what it takes to persevere?

Only God knows and time will tell.

I’ll continue with my writing and collecting rejections.


My First Query

November 19, 2009

I’ve finally mustered enough courage to start querying literary agents. So I prayed, took a deep breath, and sent it to two agents who represent Christian fictions.

When researching the publishing business, I’ve heard so many of writers complain about the waiting and rejections. So I have stepped into that stage to join other writers to anxiously pace and wait for the judgement on my work.

I’ll post as I receive responses.

 


Contest Result

November 4, 2009

I had entered my manuscript in “Launching a Star” contest a few months ago.

Well, I received judges comments and scores yesterday. While my entry did not make it to the final round, the scores and comments were encouraging.

Out of 150 possible points, one judge (published author) scored me 141, and the other judge (unpublished) gave me 129.

I received perfect scores from both judges in 3 areas: opening, POV, and voice.

Chracterization, setting, pacing, dialogue, and conflict/plot received strong scores.

They commented that I left out a couple of tiny words. One sentence needed fixing because subject/verb conflict.

One comment that confused me:

– adjectives are futuristic (I don’t know what this means and the judge didn’t mark where this happened. Can someone explain this to me?)

Overall, both judges commented that the plot was intriguing and they loved the voice. Glad there wasn’t major revision items.

Now what’s next? Query or another contest? I don’t know. I’ll have to give it some thought. Sometimes, I wish I had a mentor who could help me decide.

 

 


We’re Not Alone

November 3, 2009

I co-lead a weekly inductive Bible study for women at our church. After class, one of the ladies (I’ll call her Emma*) asked me if I searched for a new church.

I was surprised by the question because Emma* and her husband are very involved in our church. They are leaders of a couple of ministries. So I’m thinking maybe she’d heard about my disagreement with what was being taught at another Bible study, not suspecting she’d been thinking of leaving our church.

I answered that I haven’t actively searched. Then she shared with me her frustrations with people not pursuing the truth in the Word, and actually discouraging all discussions regarding doctrinal issues. Several of her friends already left our church.

While I’ve felt the same frustrations, I decided that my church was my mission field. God had not told me to leave. And as long as the opportunity is here to teach the inductive Bible study where we can dig into the truth and train others to accurately divide the Word, I see the value in staying.

But we agreed, at times, it feels like we are all alone in seeking Jesus. What an encouragement to know that we’re not alone!


Grateful

October 28, 2009

One evening, my twelve-year-old son said, “I have a charmed life.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“In class, when our teacher asked us about the most difficult thing that happened in our lives, I couldn’t think of anything. No one I love died. Grandpa had cancer, but he recovered,” my son explained.

I should point out that my son is the most optimistic person I know. I love that about him. My husband and I joke that our son would get a box of poop as a gift and holler, “With this much poop, there’s got to be a pony!!”

“During prayer time, I never can think of a prayer request. God already gave me everything,” he continued. “I have loving parents, grandparents, family, and friends. I have a good life.”

What a blessing, as a parent, to hear my child say these things. Makes me praise God.

We agreed that since God bless our lives, he and I can spend more time praying for others.


Caught in My Faith Filter

October 26, 2009

We all have guiding principals or beliefs or passions that direct our decisions.

Jesus said where my treasure is, that’s where my heart is. So if Jesus is truly my heart’s passion, then my treasures (my time, my talent, and my money) should be spent on His agenda, His passion.

So what is His agenda? For me to know Jesus and to teach others to know Him. The kind of “knowing” that springs up worship for Jesus. The gospel is simple. Jesus is the Messiah, and we need to believe to be saved.

And I filter everything through this belief.

So last year when I sat in a Bible study where they taught Jesus came to this world to preach about the Christian world view, this teaching did not make it through my “faith filter”.

The study went on to teach the “correct” worldview regarding science, philosophy, history, and even political government and exhorting the people to go out to the world and share these views. I felt the study shoved Jesus in the back room so that they can change the world by changing people’s worldview.

If Jesus came to preach the “correct” worldview, why did he spend so much time talking about who He was? Why didn’t He write the book of the correct worldview for the whole world to know?

His Great Salvation changes us from the inside. He gives us a new heart. He gives us His Spirit. He gives us the love of the truth. He makes us new creatures, spiritually born again.

Knowing/believing “the Christian worldview”, even if one could define it, isn’t the same thing as knowing Jesus.