Write On

Old Typewriter“Writers write.”
This observation by Tim Challies has challenged and guided me during 2018. In the past I’ve dreamed of writing, dabbled in writing, planned on writing . . .  This year I’ve made a diligent effort to write consistently and productively.

Being a teacher has given me blocks of time during the past two summers to write. 5:00-7:00 am and evenings during the school year have become regular writing times as well. By utilizing these opportunities I completed a manuscript which I submitted to a publisher last October. The working title is The Growing Body: Church As It Was Meant To Be. It engages church leaders and members with the key New Testament text on church growth. Since then, my writing endeavors have focused on The Pathway to Pastoral Ministry, a step-by-step guide for young men considering the ministry.

Writers pray?
Last month I visited a Christian writers’ group in my community. The meeting began with a time of prayer focused on the group members’ writing projects. That experience challenged me to pray about my own writing. I began to pray that God would provide a publisher for The Pathway to Pastoral Ministry. A little presumptuously, I prayed that a publisher would contact me.

Within a few weeks my path crossed with a ministry leader whose organization publishes books. He had read my articles and he expressed interest in publishing them! I submitted the completed portion for their editorial team to consider. If they decide to publish it, I plan to submit the final manuscript by the end of February. I continue to pray that God will use this material to encourage young men toward pastoral ministry.

Bloggers blog
The blog has been somewhat revived this year. Thanks to the 106 of you who subscribe and follow! Deanhtaylor.com had over 7,900 visitors and more than 10,000 views in 118 countries in 2018. Tim Challies’ tweet encouraging individual bloggers has spurred me to stay at it and blog more frequently in the upcoming year.

Evidently a lot of people search on the topic of butterflies in the Bible. Butterflies Aren’t in the Bible has been viewed over 7,600 times this year! Search terms that lead people here include “butterflies in the Bible” and “what does the Bible say about butterflies.” A group of churches in Great Britain requested permission to publish it in their newsletter, which I gladly granted. I am thankful for the influence of this post.

“It was a dark and stormy night.”
Ideas have been forming in my head and in my journal for a work of fiction. I plan to start writing it in earnest this summer. It will probably take 2-3 years to complete. Here’s my first go at it.

Pastor Steve fastened his seat belt, backed out of the parking space and eased forward, navigating the tight corners of the convenience store parking lot. On the passenger seat was a brown bag. He wondered if any church members had witnessed his early morning purchase.

A slight tinge of conscience distracted him, but the anticipation of indulging in the bag’s contents outweighed any regret he felt. Steve pulled into the empty church parking lot and walked to the front door of the vacant building – the church where he had served for three years. As usual, the lock stuck. He jiggled the key impatiently until it finally turned.

“Friday. Sunday’s comin’.” The constant rhythm of every pastor’s life. Prepare, preach. “It’s time to get ready for Sunday.”

Steve loved to preach. He enjoyed the whole process, from studying a passage of Scripture, to organizing the material into a sermon, to delivering it with passion on Sunday morning. His Friday morning routine was one of his favorite times. Finish writing the sermon. Put the outline into a handout and PowerPoint slides. And pray.

Aware of some unhealthy effects of his brown bag habit, he also believed it helped him. “Everyone has their vices. It stimulates my creativity.” He wouldn’t say so, even to himself, but his habit also temporarily soothed a restless feeling within. If he thought about it, gave it a label, he might have called it inadequacy. At times, fear. 

Steve stood the bag on his desk while he removed his jacket and hung it on the hook on the back of his office door. The aroma of black coffee streaming from his one-cup coffeemaker into his favorite white ceramic cup, the one with Beacon Bible Camp on the side, stirred his still sleepy brain. The promise of soon-to-be-delivered caffeine prompted a slight smile. 

Everything in place, he sat in his desk chair, uncurled the top of the brown bag and reached in.

Well, we’ll see where that goes! It’s a little rough still. That’s something else I’m learning: Writers write, then revise, revise, revise.

Writing better
Two other steps I’m taking to further develop my writing in the next year are reading articles and books about writing and joining the Christian writers’ group I mentioned above. With God’s help I intend to write, write more, and write better. I hope for more readers and greater impact. I’ll report back to you at this time next year!

 

 

A Place of Peace

IMG_0406-2In a few days, I will be here. This picture is a sunrise at the Sea of Galilee. I was there 2 years ago. My wife and I, about 20 people from our church, and 20 from other churches will spend almost two weeks together touring the land of Israel. Having been there once before, my anticipation of seeing the Bible in 3-D again is growing.

This place – The Sea of Galilee – is where the men lived and fished when Jesus called them to follow Him. Jesus lived next to it and walked the roads and hiked the hills around it. And he rode with his disciples on it in their boats. One time He slept in the boat. The disciples woke Him up during a life-threatening storm, and He said, “Hush, be still.” And it was.

Storm. Peace.

The Son of God. Lived here. Taught here. Healed here. Calmed this water. Showed His love and power.

He eventually traveled to Jerusalem, about 70 miles to the south. He was crucified there. He rose again. He returned to this place and talked with the disciples. He met them as they returned from a night of fishing but no catching. He gave them fish for breakfast. On the shore. Cooked over a fire.

Fish for breakfast is one of my favorite things in Israel – it’s on most of the breakfast buffets. Delicious. Meaningful. It speaks of Jesus’ power, provision, forgiveness, restoration, and commissioning to ministry. Just like Jesus did with Peter. Just like He has done with me.

I love this place.

A place of peace.

Thank You, Merry Christmas, and a Blessed Beginning to 2016

I am grateful to you who read, thoughtfully consider, and share what I write here.

Why I write:

  • I write to think. Writing helps me organize, refine, and articulate what’s going on in my heart and head.
  • I write to learn. Putting my ideas into writing pushes me to know what I’m talking about and to thoroughly investigate my topics.
  • I write to help. I share from my study and experience in order to encourage, teach, and bless those who read.
  • I write to shape. I hope my ideas influence others. I want to have a voice that reaches more than just a few people, and that contributes to the maturing process of the body of Christ.

So far in 2015,

  • SpeakingofGod.org has had 4,631 visitors and 8,465 page views.
  • The site has had visitors from the following countries:
    United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Singapore, Philippines, Mexico, Ireland, Brazil, Romania, Sweden, India, New Zealand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Netherlands, Costa Rica, Peru, Austria, Guam, Argentina, France, Swaziland, Kenya, Taiwan, South Korea, Croatia, Thailand, Lithuania, Russia, Malaysia, European Union, Nigeria, Bermuda, Switzerland, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Israel, Caribbean Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Zambia, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka
  • The home page is the most viewed, so it’s hard to tell which single articles are the most popular, but the most viewed new posts this year, in addition to the home page, are:
    Sunday Evening Services are Dying
    Ashley Madison
    Church Member Migration Part 1  and Part 2
    Some of the Tipping, Tithing, and Grace Giving series

Thank you for reading. I hope you learn, grow, and are encouraged. Have a great holiday season and celebration of our Savior’s birth.

Dean