Tag Archives: George Barna

The Best Writer’s Conference

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Since it’s Labor Day, I’m going to take a break from my normal devotional message to share with you about a conference that got me writing devotionals like I do. I don’t get a kickback or anything from this conference for telling you about it. I was simply blown away by attending and want to share with you the difference it made in me.

I can’t believe it has been several months since I attended the inaugural Re:Write Conference. I had never been to a writer’s conference so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The truth is, I paid the money for the conference just so I could have a chance to meet Mark Batterson. I had heard of a couple of the other speakers, but wasn’t familiar with many of them. I had only one goal in mind by attending: meet Mark. That being said, I was totally unprepared for what would happen at the conference and in turn, I was blown away.

What was supposed to be a trip to meet one person and pick up a few skills to better my writing turned out to be a spiritual journey beyond my imagination as well. The speakers who attended the conference didn’t get up and give us formulas for success. They poured out their hearts into our lives instead. They shared their heartbeat of why they write, their insights into having a relationship with God and how to be satisfied with how God uses you wherever you are. Where I expected clinics, I got wisdom. Where I expected reclusive authors, I got to sit by them and have personal conversations.

What conference can you go to that has people like Paul Young author of The Shack (20,000,000 copies sold), George Barna the authority on church statistics, Ken Blanchard who wrote the book on business leadership, Peter Strople who is the most connected man in the world and so many more authors who won’t go hide in a green room, but will sit at a table with you while you learn? These authors were the opposite of reclusive. They sat at our tables during the conference and at breakfast. When I was at the airport leaving, I ran into Jim Henson. He initiated a conversation. Later I walked past Paul Young. He called out to me, came over, gave me a hug and said goodbye.

This conference instilled in me the importance of relationships in the writing community. None of us have all the answers or the market cornered. It is through relationships that we build our platforms. We are not competitors against each other fighting for readers. We are co-workers in the Kingdom trying to spread His message, not ours. I got to meet other bloggers, published authors, speakers and other incredible people from all walks of life and levels in writing at this conference who still keep in touch and offer practical advice.

The relationships, the information and the spiritual growth that I came away with from that conference are invaluable. This year, the conference is going to be in Austin, Texas on October 18-20. The list of authors headlining this event is second to none. We’re talking Mark Batterson, Ted Dekker, Lisa TerKuerst, George Barna, Crystal Paine, Carlos Whittaker, David Kinnaman, Mary DeMuth, Peter Strople, Chad Allen, Emily Freeman and Jim Henderson. If you are looking to grow spiritually and improve your writing ability, this is the conference for you. I encourage you to check out their website here for information. You can also follow them on Twitter here for info, highlights and even discounts. It’s a small investment compared to the eternal changes you will experience. I hope to see you there!

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Are We Goats Thinking We’re Sheep?

I’ve got Haiti on my heart this morning. Partly because I’m headed back in a few months and partly because we watched a video from Richard Stearns from World Vision last night. He reminded us of the scripture in Matthew 25:35-40 where Jesus told of the day where God will separate the sheep from the goats. Jesus said that He will turn to the sheep and say, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (MSG)”

What stood out to me last night as he read that scripture was the response of the sheep. They said, “Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ (MSG)”. They didn’t even realize it was Jesus they were doing it to. They were doing those things because God’s love compelled them to.

That’s a stark contrast from where the Church is today. The Barna Group released the results of a study yesterday. They interviewed over 700 self-professed Christians and asked a series of 20 questions about attitudes and actions. In the end, only 14% of self-professed Christians were found to have the attitudes and actions of Jesus. Another 14% had the actions of Jesus, but not His attitude. The results show a lot more and if you like, you can see it here.

If we add those numbers together, barely a quarter of Christians act like Jesus. He spent His time in ministry to the poor, the hurting, the outcasts, the leppers and the unwanted. He spent very little time with those who were looking for power and prestige. He made it clear that He wanted us to do the same. You can see that in what He said in Matthew 25. The ones who made it to Heaven were those who fed the hungry, gave drinks to the thirsty, sheltered the homeless, gave clothes to the poor and visited those who were sick or in prison. When is the last time we’ve done any of those things?

We’ve spent millions building bigger, more stylish churches and only thousands on taking care of the poor. I look at those results of the Barna group and ask myself, “What area do I fall in? Do I have both the attitudes and actions of Jesus? Am I in the 28% or in the other 72%?” Those are tough questions that God and I are going to work through. I encourage you to ask the same questions. If you’re not in the 28%, what can you start doing today to move in that direction? How can you be one of the sheep instead of a goat?

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Re:Write Conference Take Aways

I can’t believe it has been 4 months since I attended the inaugural Re:Write Conference. I had never been to a writer’s conference so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The truth is, I paid the money for the conference just so I could have a chance to meet Mark Batterson. I had heard of a couple of the other speakers, but wasn’t familiar with any of them. I had only one goal in mind by attending: meet Mark. That being said, I was totally unprepared for what would happen at the conference and in turn, I was blown away.

What was supposed to be a trip to meet one person and pick up a few skills to better my writing turned out to be a spiritual journey beyond my imagination as well. The speakers who attended the conference didn’t get up and give us formulas for success. They poured out their hearts into our lives. They shared their heartbeat of why they write, their insights into having a relationship with God and how to be satisfied at every level where God uses you. Where I expected clinics, I got wisdom. Where I expected reclusive authors, I got to sit by them and have personal conversations.

What conference can you go to that has people like Paul Young author of The Shack (20,000,000 copies sold), George Barna the authority on church statistics, Ken Blanchard who wrote the book on business leadership, Peter Strople who is the most connected man in the world and so many more authors who won’t go hide in a green room after they speak, but will sit at a table with you while you learn? These authors were the opposite of reclusive. They sat at our tables during the conference and at breakfast. When I was at the airport leaving, I ran into Jim Henderson. He initiated a conversation with me. Later I walked past Paul Young. He called out to me, came over, gave me a hug and said goodbye.

This conference instilled in me the importance of relationships in the writing community. None of us have all the answers or the market cornered. It is through relationships that we build our platforms. We are not competitors against each other fighting for readers. We are co-workers in the Kingdom trying to spread His message, not ours. From that lesson learned, I began to meet other bloggers, published authors, speakers and other incredible people from all walks of life and levels of writing at this conference. I still stay in touch with several.

Another big take away was that I needed to focus my attention on one thing. If I want to write better, I need to ask better questions and narrow down my target. I need to give practical advice, not pie in the sky stuff. I need to keep my audience in mind at all times and I shouldn’t have just a vague picture of who they are. Lisa TerKeurst said at the conference that our readers don’t need another preacher. They need a friend who has struggled or is struggling with them. I have changed how I write thanks to speakers like her.

The relationships, the information and the spiritual growth that I came away with from that conference are invaluable. This year, the conference is going to be in Austin, Texas. My wife wants to go with me this time. She is not a writer, but saw what a change this conference made in my life aside from my writing. She wants to experience what I and so many others did in San Diego. If you do too, check out their website for information. It’s a small investment compared to the eternal changes you will experience.

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