|Date:||May 1, 2015—May 2, 2015|
|Event:||PENCON Editor's Convention|
|Topic:||Business Plan: The Effective Way to Grow a Powerful Ministry Business|
|Sponsor:||The Christian Pen|
Hilton Garden Inn Austin NW/Arboretum
|Location:||11617 Research Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78759
|Registration:||Click here to register.|
|More Info:||Click here for more information.|
If we, as the church, do not get back to spiritual vision, glimpses of heaven, and an awareness of a greater glory and life, we will lose our faith. Our altar will become nothing but cold, empty stone, never blessed with a visit from heaven.
Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 421
I know, O Lord, that man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
Lead me in a straight path. (Psalm 27:11)
What tips or tricks do you use to reduce holiday stress? Planning? Preparing? Performing? Relationships?
Many of you asked how to set up a blog and learn to write your thoughts, experiences and ideas. I’ve even had some ask about turning their story into a book for the benefit of others. Obviously you have some expertise to share, a service to help, or a product worth talking about. Either way writing a blog and hosting a website will help you get the word out. Some blog writers have even jumped from online writing to publishing a book. Sometimes the posts themselves can be massaged and rewritten into a book. My aim is to tell how I began this journey and to show you how you can get started as well with just a few simple steps.
But before I share the tutorial, my story will give context and help answer some of your questions.
The Way I Started a Website
I first began writing spiritual thoughts for friends and fellow church members. I’d email these devotions once a week. I received encouraging stories about how my words, experiences, and thoughts helped others. So I kept writing. Eventually, from someone’s suggestion, I started a blog and my readers multiplied. (Side note: If my experiences helped others, then yours can too.)
The Part I Don’t Suggest You Follow
When I started, I didn’t know any better than to hire a web designer. Thankfully, I enlisted one at a fraction of the cost of most web designers. But just figuring out the design became a chore. Eventually I learned a simpler, easier—and cheaper—way to set up a website and begin writing for my readers.
Following my step-by-step instructions will save you an arm and a leg in designer fees and you’ll find them simple and easy even for a non-techy person like me. Unlike the hours and days of talking to the designer to settle on the design and months to get the site up and running, my total set up time to get you up and writing will take only a few minutes. You could do this during lunchtime. Just think about it. You can be reaching your audience in under an hour.
This information outlines setting up a self-hosted WordPress website. Self-hosted is the best option to keep your blog safely yours. At a fraction of the designer costs, you can have your own blog for less than one drink a week. It’s actually less than $7 a month for 12 months. (Keep reading and I’ll show you how to save even more money!)
Yes, there are free options such as Blogger and WordPress.com, but these free hosts can take down their hosting and urls for any reason and your blog will be gone forever. And yes, they allow free rent but they can close shop leaving you with nothing.
If you pay the price of one lunch a month, you own it and have paid the rent to park it in the cloud (on host servers). That’s called self-hosted. And if you put a little money into your endeavor, you’ll tend to be more committed to it. So let’s take on your fear of setting up a website. Bring your lunch.
What will prayer do for you? My answer is this: Everything that God can do for you. “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (2 Chron. 1:7).
Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 414
So each time you intercede through prayer, first be quiet and worship God in His glory. Think of what he can do, how he delights in Christ his son, and of your place in him—then expect great things.
Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 413
Our prayers are God’s opportunities.
Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 413
I have learned to love the darkness of sorrow, for it is there I see the brightness of God’s face.
Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 385
I always thought that abstract art was an excuse for untalented, wanna-be artists, but I have been converted. As I twisted my head and closed one eye, a black funnel emptying into a mess of fiery reds became a beautiful mountain that touched the colorful sunset sky.
What normally looks like underwear left on the floor, dishes by the couch, and toilet paper that never makes it into its proper holder is really beauty in action. Even my husband’s lack of appreciation for inspired cuisine void of red meat and carbohydrates as well as his inability to distinguish a face cloth from a dish rag is wonderment.
I’ll admit these things alone leave me wanting. Yet, I have learned that their beauty can only be seen when they come together on the canvas of love, respect and acceptance.
I have grown to love abstract art so much that I now have a masterpiece in my home.
- The man whose underwear and dishes I’ve been picking up for twenty-four years is the same man who has worked three jobs at times so that I could stay home with our kids.
- The man who hates shopping is the same man who endures a chick flick and patiently waits on a bench in the mall if I insist he be my shopping buddy.
- He’s the same man who has what it took to raise my boys into men even when I had to bite my mama-bear tongue in the face of his toughness.
- The man who rarely cleans a toilet bowl is the same man who prays and seeks heaven’s direction in leading this family.
- He is the man who bought me small pajamas (from a sporting goods store) because he hadn’t noticed that I don’t wear the same size as I did the day we wed.
- He’s the one who will skip the raspberry vinaigrette but will drive back to the drive through to get my favorite special sauce that didn’t make it in the sack.
- He’s the one who still can’t read my mind, but has mastered the art of an agreeable nod when tensions rise.
He is my masterpiece of abstract art.
Second Look Beauty
Some couples wish they had picked differently in their marriage. They’ve become dissatisfied. The bumps and scratches along the years left them disillusioned. The sweet smell of new love has long gone. Left instead is the lingering smell of sour milk.
These moments are the perfect time to head to the art gallery of marriage to tilt our head a little. Tilt it more. Squint. Heck, we can toss our glasses if it helps us find the beauty in our marriage.
There’s beauty in our abstract marriages: a beautiful sunset hidden inside that mess of color.
I will admit however, that some days I squint at the man who is standing on his head, glasses removed, looking back at me.
Question: How is your marriage like a disorderly mess of color? And how can you focus on the masterpiece in your mate?
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