Tag Archives: Peter Strople

A Love That Values Others


A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a man named Peter Strople. He was at the Re:Write conference as a speaker. Honestly, I had never heard of him even though he was known as the most connected man in America. When he got up to speak, you could see and sense his humility. It wasn’t what I was expecting from “the most connected man in America”. I quickly understood his humility and his ability to connect when he said his personal motto is “When in doubt, love.”

In a room full of writers who wanted to bless God with our talents, there was one person in the room who didn’t appear to belong. He had jet black hair done up like an 80’s band member. I think he even wore a leather vest that showed how his arms were covered in tattoos. Peter called him up to the stage to demonstrate what he meant. As he asked questions, diving into this man’s story, it was like watching a flower bloom. The one who was different, and an outcast, became the most beautiful thing in the room and everyone wanted to get to know him more.

Peter demonstrated what it mean to show love to someone. He didn’t just talk about it, he showed us how to do it. My whole life, I’ve read that we are to love one another, and have been taught about it as well from the pulpit. This was the first time I remember watching it in action and saw the result. Peter showed this man love by genuinely getting to know him and listened intently. It wasn’t about making himself look good. It was about valuing this person and showing them that they mattered.

Romans 13:10 says, “Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love” (MSG). Wherever you are today, there are people around you who need value added to them. Make a choice now to look for them and to show them love. Let’s not just talk about loving them, let’s do it. Don’t ignore someone because they’re different from you. Get to know they’re story and show them that they matter. 

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When In Doubt…

When I was young, I loved the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. Each time you read them, it could be a different story. Every couple of pages, you had a choice to make. If you thought the character should do one thing, you turned to a certain page. If you thought they should do another, you turned to that page. Sometimes, I made the wrong choice, the character died and the book was over. I’d flip back, choose the other one and keep reading. It was easy to keep the story going.

In real life, it’s not that easy to go back and make the right choice after you’ve made the wrong one. Our story is forever altered by the decisions that we make. Often we are presented with dilemmas where there is no clear cut right or wrong answer. There are times when we can’t foresee what the outcome of our decisions will be. It’s hard to know what to do. Sometimes those decisions have eternal consequences and we can’t easily just go back and make the other choice.

At the first ever ReWrite Conference, I got the opportunity to meet and interact with Peter Strople. I was invited to attend a small group meeting with him and a few other writers. That meeting had an impact on my life and will be something I remember forever. In that meeting, he said, “When in doubt, love.” It’s so simple, yet so profound. I find myself constantly trying to find the right answer for every situation, and the answer is always the same. Love others.

A few years back, everyone was wearing “WWJD” bracelets. I can tell you what Jesus would do in any given situation. He would show love. He made His decisions based out of love for the person. It wasn’t always the easy decision, but it was the one He made constantly. He loved Peter enough to go to him after he had denied Him. He showed compassion to the woman caught in adultery. He was patient with Martha when she was concerned about all the wrong things. He didn’t disassociate himself from the woman at the well who had been divorced multiple times and was living with a man.

Jesus knew that love is what is required in each situation. That’s why when someone asked Him what the greatest commandment was, He added a second. In Matthew 22:37-40, He said the most important commandment was to love God with all your heart, soul and mind. Then he said, “The second is equally important: love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Both of the greatest commandment were about love. Loving God. Loving others. When you learn to love both, the right decision becomes clear. When in doubt, love.

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A Call to Love

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to truly love people. As Christians, we are called to love others. Jesus said that the world would know we are His disciples by our love for others, but is that what we are known for? I’ve been reminded a few times this week through conversations and quotes I’ve read that we need to learn to love more than we are. We spend more time judging than we do loving and that’s a problem.

One of the quotes I read this week came from Mother Teresa. It said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” We have to fight against our human nature with this one. It’s easy to sit and judge, but difficult to go and love. Loving others requires us to act and it’s not an easy thing to do at times. Judging simply involves talking and requires little effort. It’s up to each one of us to consciously keep our mouths closed and to show others love instead.

Another quote I was reminded again came from Peter Strople. He said, “When in doubt, love.” If you aren’t sure what to do in a certain situation, ask yourself how you can show God’s love to that person. If you were the on,y one who had the opportunity to show God’s love to them, what would God ask you to do? Don’t pass the buck. You may be the only person who can show them God’s love and He is waiting on you to act on His behalf. Mark Batterson said, “Inaction is action. Indecision is a decision.” By not doing anything, you are telling them everything.

I also read an article about Uncle Si Robertson from Duck Dynasty this week. He was asked what his favorite verse was. He said, “John 3:17. Everybody knows verse 16, but nobody looks at verse 17.” In the Message it says, “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help.” Jesus didn’t spend His time judging sinners. He spent His time building relationships with them. Why aren’t we following His model?

I’m writing this today to myself as much as to anyone else that bears the name Christian. We are known more for judging than for loving. We are known for pointing fingers instead of helping hands. We’ve been so caught up in being in the world, not of the world that we’ve built walls between the ourselves and the ones we’re called to help. It’s no wonder that church growth is comprised mainly of switchers instead of new converts. We spend time and money trying to build a better service than the church down the road instead of spending time and money on things that help to build the relationships needed to truly grow the Church.

It all comes down to love. It’s not our minister’s job to do it, it’s ours. They can’t touch as many people as we, the body, can collectively. We can’t grow the Church because we’ve separated ourselves from those who need God’s love in an effort to stay clean. Jesus hung out with leppers, prostitutes and the worst of sinners because that’s who needs His love the most. It’s time we followed His example, built relationships with unbelievers and showed them His love in action. Don’t sit in judgement behind walls. Get your hands dirty and love others.

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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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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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