Tag Archives: Rewrite conference

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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1,000th Devotion

It’s hard to believe, but this is my 1,000th post. I started this journey four years ago not knowing what to expect, but having grand ideas in my head. I wanted to learn how to improve my writing, and to have a better understanding of direction, and how to promote my writing so I went to the Re:Write Conference soon after I started. One of the speakers there was Mary DeMuth, who has written over 30 books and has blogged for many years. She said a couple of things that really stood out to me, and I still reflect on them to this day.

The first thing that stuck out to me was that she said she wrote in obscurity for seven years before anyone noticed her. She talked about the struggles of continuing to write when very few are reading. I remember thinking, “That’s not going to be me!” In my mind, I had a message to share and the world wanted to hear it. All I had to do was write, and people would flock to my site. Four years later, I’m still writing in obscurity. I’ve struggled with that because my results haven’t met my expectations.

That leads me to the other thing she said that stood out to me. She said, “Writing is not so we can fill a hole in our heart; it’s so we can give away what God has given us.” That phrase (along with my wife) has kept me grounded throughout these years of writing in obscurity. They both remind me that anything I do for God is not about me. It’s about God. If what I’m doing is about Him, then I need to learn to be ok with obscurity. As my wife tells me, “If what you wrote was for one person and God sent them to read it, you are successful.”

In our world, I’ve learned that God defines success differently than we do. We think of book deals, thousands of followers, and fame as being successful. But God defines it as our obedience to Him. In this journey of writing, I’ve learned that it’s not the quantity of lives that I touch that makes me successful or gives me worth: it’s the quality with which I touch lives. If I’m doing what God has called me to whether it is for one person or one thousand, then I am successful in His eyes and those are the only ones that matter.

For those of you who have been on this journey with me, I’d like to say, “Thank you.” For those of you who have let me know that a particular post has touched your life and been exactly what you needed at that moment, you will never know what that has done for me. Your words have encouraged me as I’ve struggled in obscurity and reminded me that I’m being successful in God’s eyes even when I don’t feel like I’m being successful.

I hope that with this post, you can look at your life and see where you’ve defined success differently than God has. I hope that you can see that your success doesn’t depend on how many people you reach. It simply depends on your obedience to what God has called you to do. If you’re struggling with not feeling successful in what God has called you to, take heart. If you’re being obedient, you are successful in God’s eyes, and He’s the one who ultimately matters.

Roll your works upon the Lord [commit and trust them wholly to Him; He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬


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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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The Best Writer’s Conference


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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