Every year at the conference God shows me something different.
This year, as I mentioned in my previous entry, God wants me to concentrate less on writing and more on him.
I’ve run out of steam with regard to the conference, so this will be my last entry about it. I will share some quotes by the speakers that struck me with a short explanation of each.
As writers seeking publication we’re told time and again how competitive the market is. That fact can either frustrate us to the point of quitting, or spur us to continue to hone our craft.
Dr Dennis Hensley noted in his speech Friday morning Jesus didn’t come to beat (or win against) anything or anyone, but to succeed. He didn’t win against the forces trying to destroy him, but he did succeed in delivering his message. Writers, Christian or otherwise, need to remember we also shouldn’t assume the attitude of beating other writers to achieve publication, but work to succeed.
As one magazine editor noted, "You’re not competing against other writers, you’re competing against the magazine’s guidelines."
Sammy Tippet: "Allow God to work on our character, and he’ll take care of the ministry."
Too often we want to know and understand all of God’s plan for us. Instead, God wants us to dconcentrate on building our character, learn from our mistakes and successes.
Mr Tippet then described how God impressed on him to wait upon the Lord.
God often tells me to wait. And wait. And wait.
As Mr Tippet spoke I finally understood the meaning of ‘wait’. It’s not to sit around and wait for God’s direction, but to serve such as a waiter in a restaurant.
Karen Kingsbury described how someone watched a butterfly struggle out of its cocoon. The person felt sorry for the butterfly, and gently cut the opening larger. The butterfly soon dropped down, its body bloated and its wings small and wrinkled.
The butterfly lived only a few minutes. The man then researched into butterflies to determine what he did wrong. Turns out the butterfly needed to struggle through that tiny opening, because it pushed life into the wings.
"Don’t avoid struggle," she said. "for it’s in the struggle we learn how to fly."
McNair Wilson said in the Saturday evening session (and in every speech I’ve heard of his): "If you don’t do you, you doesn’t get done, and creation is incomplete."
God’s creation didn’t end on the sixth day. He continues to create through each of us. If we don’t accept and embrace who we are, hone the gifts he gave us and follow the dreams he placed on our heart, then we hinder his wondrous plan.
Lastly, before each meal and a one-hour concert on Saturday the incredibly talented pianist Randall Atcheson played for us.
God gave Mr Atcheson an indescribable talent to play the piano, and you can tell with every note he pounds out (and he does pound), he praises God.
Mr Atcheson not only shows how to praise God, but the meaning of dedication. Yes, the man has a gift, but he worked 10 hours a day most of his life to get as good as he is.
Therefore, I should not begrudge the time and dedication God asks of me to improve my own talents.