Our Purpose and Activity From God Cannot Be Stopped

Acts 5:36-39

A Fictional Adaption of (Acts 5:36-39)

Recently a conferee at a writers conference commented on the sudden popularity of an author and how almost as quickly the individual’s fame plummeted.

“Some time ago Gladis’ books were everywhere. She was on morning shows, featured on book clubs, even rumored to be about to start her own publishing company. She claimed to  have the secret to publishing success and at one point had about four hundred others committed to doing whatever work she asked. Then she was tragically killed in a car accident and all her followers went back to doing what they were doing before. All of it came to nothing.”

I nodded but said nothing.

“After her, Jude whatshisname, the guy from Gatlinburg, appeared in the days leading up to the last election and led a bunch of people in a march on the Capital. His book was number one on Amazon. He too was killed, in this case by police, and all his followers were scattered. Some are probably still hiding. I’m still trying to figure out if I can replicate any of the success those two enjoyed. Do you have any advice?”

The faculty member I’d come to meet with had been sitting at the table with us during this conversation, listening.

Finally he said, “In instances like these I would advise you not to get too excited about sudden fame or a quick best seller. Instead, work on the craft and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. If your purpose or activity is only of human origin, it will fail. Or at least fade from the public’s memory. Maybe not right away, but in time.”

“Paul wrote almost half the New Testament,” I said, “and as far as we can tell he never earned a cent in royalties. I doubt he saw any of his works in print. And yet who of us wouldn’t like to have that sort of legacy.”

“C.S. Lewis died one week short of his 65th birthday,” my faculty friend added. “Name another author whose books are being sold more now than they were when they were alive. Lewis’ vision for the Christian life was seemingly simple while being very complex. My advice is this: if your writing is from God, no person or event will be able to stop your influence for his kingdom. And should anyone try, they’ll only find themselves fighting against God. Write for him and write what he tells you to write. God is in the business of creativity and productivity.”

When others come against you, meditate on these verses. Take comfort in knowing God is on your side.

Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted; propose your plan, but it will not stand, for God is with us. (Isaiah 8:10)

The Lord thwarts the purposes of the peoples. (Psalm 33:10)

When in doubt as to whether your work is of worth and glorifies him, meditate on this verse.

Whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:21)

Write what the Holy Spirit places on your heart. Write with excellence. Then wait on the Lord. His submission process considers the impact our writing will have for all eternity. Be faithful and let his fame be your glory.

 

Leave Everything And Follow Jesus

Book Promotion Jesus' Way

Leave Everything And Follow JesusPeople crowded around Jesus to listen to the word of God. (Luke 5:1-6)

Leave Everything And Follow JesusNearby an author stood in a booth packing up his books.  When Jesus asked permission to sit in the booth the author shoved aside some boxes of books to make room. After speaking to the people, Jesus asked the author to put out some books for display and some bookmarks.

The author replied, “Master, I’ve worked hard all night—months, actually—and haven’t anything to show for it. But because you say so, sure, I will put out some promotional materials.”

When he had done as Jesus asked, the author sold such a large number of books that his back began to ache from lifting boxes. His hand cramped from signing copies. Overwhelmed, he signaled to friends in other booths for help. Others hurried over to unpack boxes, take orders, and hand out bookmarks. The author sold out all the books he had plus books from his friends’ booths.

Astonished the author said, “Go away from me, Lord! I am a sinful man.”

Jesus replied, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will catch men for me with your words.”

That day the author stopped promoting books the old way, left everything, and followed Jesus.

Will we?

Book marketing Jesus’ way places our confidence in him. We work to make our books known but trust that only he can bless our efforts. When we work with all our heart as though working for the Lord, we can be sure we will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward, for it is our Lord Christ we are serving.

 

Lord, help us to write for you, to have your heart, your compassion, your grace and mercy for others. Through your Spirit inspire us to add words to our books and writings that will draw others to you. We want to catch people for you with our words. Amen and amen. 

Down To Davy Jones

Teaser Text from Chapter One

Down To Davy Jones—From a blackened sky the storm screamed with demonic fury. Rain pelted the vessel’s deck above us, driving our bearded, long haired and haggard crew below. With each wobbling, claw up the back of a wave the leaky ship creaked and groaned in long, agonizing moans. 

Oops, sorry. What I meant to say is that with each wobbling tug on the oars the backs of crew creaked and men groaned in long agonizing moans. 

The ship also made sounds, most of a sloshing, sinking sort.

I sat hunched forward on a wooden bench similar to the type you might find in a primitive church. Five long pews crowded with men, none of whom smelled as if they were fond of bathing. I sat in the center of the middle row grasping the end of a long oar that fed out through an open port. I promise, I am not going to whine about how I ended up experiencing another epileptic absence seizure. But were I to bring up what sent me onto the leaky vessel, it would start with Mom asking me: “Ricky, do you really think when you have an episode, you go back in time?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Why are you asking?”

“I can’t help but wonder if I’d never smoked that first cigarette.”

“Don’t go there, Mom. This isn’t your fault. You said yourself the doctors think it could have come from the paint in your parent’s home, your dad’s weed killer, the air, anyplace.”

“I know what oncologist said, but I’m only wondering if you have another episode maybe instead of helping a pirate change his legacy or find buried treasure you could buy me more time? I’m not ready to . . . ”

Like me, Mom could not bring herself to say the word die. Not with only weeks or days to live.

So no, I am not going to go into how I had an epileptic episode in the back of Dad’s truck and instantly found myself on a leaky ship caught in a storm. I refuse to explain how absence seizures cause momentary lapses in consciousness and that during an event, the person may look as though they are daydreaming, when in fact I really they have no awareness of what’s going on around them. I won’t bring up how teachers call on me but I don’t respond and as a result I get called out for not paying attention. Or how sometimes I’ll raise my hand to ask a question but then never say a word—simply sit there with my hand raised like a clueless goober who can’t hear the other kids laughing at him.

I’ll skip all that.

Instead I choose to be upbeat, like the great explorer Marco Polo who travelled along the Silk Road from Europe to Asia between 1271 and 1295—all while waving to peasants who wielded pitch forks and called to each other, “Marco!” “Polo!” before ducking behind stone walls and snickering. 

This was during a time when people thought Marco Polo was an idiot and cultures were less tolerant of odd-looking fashion attire at community watering holes. ”That Marco, what an idiot,” teens would say. “Who wears a fox fur shawl, puffy pants and bedroom slippers to a pool?”

But the Age of Exploration was a different time and swimsuits had not yet been invented. So after blindly flailing around in water up to his chest while trying to locate giggling boys and girls wearing only their undergarments, Marco would emerge soaked, skin shriveled like an old man’s, hair matted on his fox-fur shawl and open his eyes. Only then would the son of Mr. Polo realize that he was the only one left in the pool. With his white pantaloon pants ruined from chlorine water, this champion of exploration would think to himself: I bet if I had a logo on my shirt with a guy riding a horse and carrying a big stick people would not laugh at me

Such was the positive outlook Marco Polo emitted. Also, due to the fact that scented soap and deodorant had not yet been invented, Marco Polo gave off an odor very much like that of the men seated around me.

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Down to Davy Jones