Monday, May 31, 2010

Editing is Like Discipleship

Editing is like discipleship. It is hard work. It is my responsibility. It is my Lord's will. Since my last post I have been editing my manuscript "Christian Mythology". I have been focusing on the crucial first three chapters as they go into the proposal There are two publishing editors and two agents waiting on this proposal. I will send it when God says it is ready.

How will I know when it is ready?

Like discipleship, the process works something like this:

A person becomes a disciple at salvation. We must choose to forsake all in order to be a disciple of Jesus. We may choose not to, still retain our salvation, but fail to progress in the Christian life. Immediately we give up our right to ourselves, the Holy Spirit begins to teach all the Jesus said and did.

Discipleship at this time involves the believer and Jesus. Eventually the believer is of sufficient maturity, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God's teachings that he/she is ready to teach another believer. The latter believer, a babe in Christ, is fed by the mature one. As an agent of the Holy Spirit, God uses mature believers to bring up the young ones. The young one is ready to become a discipler at a point of sufficient maturity, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God's teachings.

A disciple is successful when he has reproduced himself in another believer AND that latter believer has then moved on to capably teaching other believers.

If that sounds like hard work, it is. But the fruit is priceless.

Editing is like discipleship. It is hard work. But the fruit of these manuscripts has already borne priceless fruit in other believers. I believe God intends these works for a wider audience.

The work of editing is to turn what God taught me into a story. He is teaching me to tell the story, just like Jesus does in the gospel letters. The first drafts of my manuscripts were written exactly the way God taught me. They were full of Scriptures and very little of my words. I wanted to be sure God got all the glory and that my fallible words were few so that what I wanted to tell would not be in any way misconstrued.

But for a few reasons left unsaid in this post, I have removed most of the Scriptures from the manuscripts and edited in the story. God does not want these works to teach others in the same way He taught me. While I find that most strange, I am following the direction. Instead of Scripture, I am telling the story of how God taught me. The narrative examples of His leading, His teaching, the circumstances, the real-life examples are in there instead. I have not decided yet whether to footnote or endnote the Scriptures which are still critical to the reader. But it will be the narrative to encourage the reader to move on to read the Scriptures so that they will know the truth.

I am certain that my words are powerless to save or sanctify. But if God makes them powerful to lead the reader to His all-powerful Word, then so be it.

As I think back on the initial fruitbearing of those chapters, it came about not because my friends took the time to read them. It happened because of the time we spent together in fellowship and prayer making real those things that were written. Those are the stories I will tell. I pray the re-telling we be even more fruitful. I trust they will be what the editors and agents are looking for.

Over the past two weeks, I have completed five rounds of complete editing those first three chapters and one round of editing the proposal. I felt in the beginning that God would kind of let me do this on my own. Actually I was afraid He would. Because when the manuscript was written in draft for the very first time, God undoubtedly inspired me to put it all to paper. But like discipleship I find that God is with me in the editing as well. That makes it much easier and less dreadful.

How will I know when the manuscript is ready to pitch? When those first three chapters bear fruit from the words of others who are able. My prayer continues to be, "God, show me the remnant." Those who are awake are worthy to "read the scrolls."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Anointed Among the Saints

The closing events of the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference approached and still I did not know what God wanted of me this day. I thought things were pretty well wrapped up with what He wants me to do with the manuscripts. But surely I was still here for the final day and events for a purpose.

Many of you know how I have been praying for years for God to show me the remnant, the saints of His Body. He has called me to minister to this group according to Ephesians 5:25-27 and I Corinthians 15:34. Until today, He has brought them to me one or two at a time. This afternoon He answered in a way overwhelming.

Sue Cameron, one of the faculty, danced before the Lord to the song "How Beautiful is the Body of Christ". This was her sacrifice in which God was well pleased. The response of the believers in the audience brought them all to the floor with Sue. We joined hands and hearts and there I recognized that we were an answer to Jesus' prayer in John 17:21, "...that we may be one...." Indeed, we were one in the Spirit, joined by a common call to reach through our writing both the unbelievers as witnesses, and the believers as disciplers. There were perhaps fifty of us gathered in one accord. There we prayed. And then God did something even greater.

Marlene Bagnull, the conference organizer, has a one spirit with God and just as she naturally and fluidly speaks to the audience, so she interjects prayer to Father. She loves the Lord and has a clear passion and calling from Him. After the gathering, she invited folks to remain and if willing or desirous or called by God, they could come for an anointing.

This caught me completely by surprise that someone was willing to obey such a Biblical task. She and another prophetess poured a fragrant olive oil from a ram's horn upon my head, anointing me in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to the mission I was called. I have never seen this done before so of course I had never participated before that moment. But it was clearly God's final will for me this day.

Now this group of saints, in one accord, knows that I and the other anointed ones, have publicly vowed our calling and mission according to God's commission. We are anointed with the sweet frangrance of the oil and righteous prayers of the saints. And by the laying on of their hands, we have been sent.

Today I can think of no greater example of being the Church as God has called us. Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty. God bless His holy Name. Until He comes, so be it. Amen.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Divine Appointments

This morning in obedience to Romans 11:36-12:2, I asked God for his good, acceptable, and perfect will. He didn't tell me right away. He revealed it later in the afternoon in a series of "divine" appointments. On the surface, these were appointments I made with agents and publishers. My objective was to pitch my manuscript, "Christian Mythology". If you've been following this blog or Facebook the past few days then you know that already two agents want full proposals as soon as possible. This is very encouraging.

But God turned things 180 degres this afternoon. The first publisher wanted me to change the title and remove most if not all of the direct Scripture quotes from the manuscript. He asked me to set up an impromptu appointment with another publisher who would be able to better explain why.

I recognized God's will immediately in the present happenings. A few weeks ago I blogged about my greatest fear in writing - editing. God prepared me and now here I am tasked with an editorial overhaul of my manuscript.

"God, is this what you want? My words instead of Yours?" I prayed. "Yes. Use your words and I will inspire them to lead readers to come to My Word." God's Word is the only quick and powerful two-edged sword that leads men to Himself. But He can use my words from Him to lead people to His Word to bring about salvation, repentance, or a renewal of right spirit within.

So saints, pray for me as I embark on this delightful task. Pray that I shall be bold with my words, sharing narrative personal examples that will lead people to Jesus, the Word of God.
Just met with a publisher who wants me to change the title to "Christian Superstition" and remove most if not all of the Scripture references. He said most readers skip right over them. Instead write the points in narrative form.

Sounds good to me so here comes the major editing that God has been preparing me for. He knew!

Listen to this: Last night at the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference God prompted me to worship and pray. When I arrived here three days ago I was told there was a special 24/7 prayer room here somewhere. I asked a conference coordinator where it was. She was speechless for a few moments.

She said that she honestly did not know where the prayer room was. Then she said that in her six years of working at this annual conference, this was the first time anyone asked about the prayer room. What she meant was that few if anyone she knew of went there.

Another coordinator knew the room was just up the stairs over where we stood. I went up and had it to myself.

Remember saints, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, in spirit and in truth. From heaven God will hear your prayers and give you the knowledge of His perfect will after He is satisfied with the glory due His Name.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I am attending the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference this week. God has blessed so much. Just to get here He gave me a full-ride scholarship. This morning I met the man who provides the scholarship, author Cecil Murphey. This afternoon I had my first agent meeting. Terry Burns of the Hartline Agency wants a book proposal for my "Christian Mythology" manuscript.