Sunday, November 17, 2013

Check the Foundation

"...But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
Luke 6:49


Today a friend who is from the Philippines was asked about family members who may have been hit by the typhoon recently. She gladly exclaimed that no family members were hurt by the storm.

She did go on to tell us that when Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos were leaders of the Philippines, they built many high rise hotels and buildings on a foundation of sand. They did this for outward appearances only. They wanted the world to think that Manila was an important tourist destination open for business to those traveling around the world.

Now that the worst typhoon on record hit the islands, the truth is out: the buildings are dangerous because they have a weak foundation.


This story reminded me of another story told at a writers conference recently by author, Ellen Hopkins.

As Ellen began to tell her story, she used the remodeling of her home as a metaphor for what she and her family had been through over the years.

She was a successful writer of children's non-fiction. She traveled all over the country and met interesting people while doing research for her books. She wrote and sold many books and reaped the rewards of her efforts. As a result, she was able to remodel the home she shared with her husband and children. Life was good.

And that's when the contractor informed her that the house they lived in had no foundation. 

You can imagine her shock! Immediately, the workers began remodeling from the bottom up.

Ellen Hopkins related to us how she thought her life had a solid foundation, too. She thought her life could withstand any storm that came. And that's when everything hit...

One weekend, her fifteen year old daughter went on a camping trip with friends and on this trip she met The Monster. An older boy on the trip introduced Ellen's daughter to crystal meth. The Monster revealed that her family had no foundation and would need to be remodeled from the bottom up.

As a way of dealing with the tragic events that would unfold, Ellen Hopkins wrote the book, Crank. It went on to be a hugely successful novel...the novel she had always dreamed of writing...and led to many sequels.

Now she is rich beyond her wildest dreams, but her family is forever shaken, her daughter remains in prison, but Ellen has learned a powerful lesson: always build on a solid foundation.

"...he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built."
Luke 6:48

How's the Foundation?

Her story and the story of the Philippines got me thinking this morning. I realized I needed to check my foundation. Was my life built on sand trying to appeal to people with outer appearances only? Or was my life built on the solid foundation of rock?

You see, I may not have the fame and fortune that Ellen Hopkins has as an author, but I do have a solid foundation in Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone that aligns everything in my life. This Rock cannot be shaken even by the most powerful storms.

I may not have that beautiful mountain view Ellen Hopkins has when she looks out her living room window, but I have a mansion in glory awaiting me and when Christ returns, I shall see Him descending from the clouds. I'd rather have that view than any other!

I don't know if Ellen Hopkins has Christ as her foundation today, but I do know that Christ is the only solid Rock that we should build our lives upon.

That's where my comfort and security come matter what the storm. My foundation will hold.

You turn: On what is your life built upon? Christ warned His children not to be like those who built on sand. How's your foundation?


My books and many other Christian books
are available through my publisher, OakTara. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Inciting Incident

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, 
but what we are unable to say.
  ~Anaïs Nin

Inciting Incident

I love talking about inciting incident with my writing students, because you can see the thought process happening right before your eyes once the term is explained. 

So what is meant by "inciting incident" in writing?

To me, that's the most creative part about writing: the one BIG thing that happens to your protagonist that will change their life forever. 

Think about the plane crash in Castaway. Or the space debris hitting Sandra Bullock in Gravity. Or how about in books when Ishmael decides to go "shipping" aboard a whaler in Moby Dick. Or when the father dies in Sense and Sensibility

But not all inciting incidents are tragedies...

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the inciting incident is when he receives an invitation to Hogwarts and discovers he's a wizard. That's a wonderful thing! 

In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it is when Lucy enters the wardrobe. In The Lord of the Rings, we see that when Frodo volunteers to take The Ring to Mount Doom, his life will never be the same again. Finally, in my book, The Dragon Forest, the inciting incident happens when Prince Peter enters the Dragon Forest...

What about your story?

Stop and think about the inciting incident in your own story. Is it a major incident that will indeed change your protagonist's life forever or just for the time being?

I had one student say that he doesn't want to have an inciting incident in his story. He just wants his character to lead a nice quiet life. Who wants to read a story like that? No one leads a nice quiet life...that's what makes it life.

So, I told him about a man who also wanted to live a nice quiet life. He worked hard and endured a world war so he had earned the right to that quiet life. He was about to retire form the Army when Pearl Harbor was attacked. As a result, this man was now thrust into yet another world war and that nice quiet life would have to wait many years because after serving in that war, he went on to be President of the United States long before he retired to a nice quiet life. As my student contemplated what was General Eisenhower's life, he realized that a good story requires an inciting incident, otherwise it isn't much of a story. 

Without WWII, Dwight Eisenhower would have disappeared into history unknown to the world. Perhaps, looking back, he would've preferred that.


That's how the inciting incident should affect your story. It should interrupt the usual and ordinary life of your character. 

Go back and read your inciting incident. It should occur somewhere near the end of Act I of your story. Some stories begin with it, but most end Act I with the inciting incident leaving the reader/viewer wanting more. 

Does your character encounter a life changing event like winning the lottery or falling through a portal into another universe? If the incident isn't that big or doesn't have that much of an impact on your character, you need to revisit it. 

Life happens. It should happen to your character. Look at your own life. You have probably encountered many inciting incidents in your own life:

  • marriage
  • birth of children
  • death of a loved one
  • new job
  • being fired
  • moving across country
  • serving in war
  • loss of a child
  • loss of a parent
  • divorce
  • remarriage
  • new home

...and on, and on, and on. Some incidents were wonderful! Some, not so much. Such is life.

And So it Goes...

After looking back over your own life, you can see how that one inciting incident moved you forward and changed things forever. That's how it has to be for your protagonist. If it isn't that major, that powerful, that REAL...then your readers will yawn and put down your story.

Make it real for your readers!

Your turn: what's the best inciting incident you've read in a book or saw in a movie? What made it so powerful to you?


Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Release Event

After three years of writing and revising and more revising...the day had come.
My second book, The Dragon Forest II: Son of the Oath was released in late September, 2013!!

So, it was time to celebrate with family and friends.

Book Signing/Reading Event

This past Saturday I hosted my book release event at the Foothills Branch Library in Glendale, AZ.

It was such a gorgeous day out and we had many friends and family stop by.

The books were set up and we were ready to go!

I spoke about the inspiration for my Dragon Forest trilogy...

...and then read a chapter from the book. I am so nervous reading for adults! I'm not used to it.

One happy author right there! Relieved that people actually showed up!

Time for cake!  My friend, Catherine, made me a dragon cake.

My wonderfully supportive husband slicing my dragon cake. It was yummy!!

So grateful for the Foothills Public Library. They are very supportive of new local authors.

Celebrating with good friends!

At the end, we relaxed at dinner with family. I had a chilled glass of wine. That did the trick!

It takes so much time to complete a book. It requires patience and dedication to edit the book down. Most of all, it takes faith in God to wait for that book to come out!

I am grateful to ALL who make it possible: my husband for helping and supporting me, my AWESOME editors for sharing their talents, knowledge, and skills, my publisher for believing in a new author and seeing potential in my stories, and my friends for listening to all my whining and complaining!

I am eternally grateful to the Lord for bestowing on me this little gift of seeing my books in the hands of readers. No bigger thrill than that!

Thank you all who took the time out of a busy day to share in my joy!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Voice in Writing

Writing isn't easy...not with so many voices in your head!


What is meant by "voice" in writing?

I began teaching this concept to my students using a lesson based on reading a story out loud in order to find the use of voice, or emotion, in writing.

Voice is the evidence of the writer behind the work. Voice is the enthusiasm, personality, or charm of the writer behind the work. Voice is also how the writer tailors the work toward the audience.

Finally, voice is also words used to evoke emotion in the work.

The Voice of God

While sitting in church listening to a sermon, I was drawn to re-read the voice of God found in the story of Job. 

When God addresses Job, it is obvious that God Himself is speaking. As you read, you can hear the distinct personality of God compared to the voice of Job in chapters 38-40.

However, when you read through scripture, you are fully aware of the voice of the author. You can see and hear the Voice of God as you read through the Psalms and Proverbs even though He used human writers.

And since we were made in the image of God, it is no wonder that we desire to do the same when we write. 

Creating Voice in Writing

How does one create voice in writing?  It begins with locating voice in writing and analyzing it, which is what I had my students do this week.

We began by reading the book, "The Memory String" by Eve Bunting. I highly recommend this lovely and moving book about a little girl dealing with her mother's death and her dad's remarriage. 

But we read the book as a print out of the words images. 

As a result, we focused on the words and the way the writer evoked emotion from the readers. My students did an excellent job of finding the emotion words the author used. For instance, to show us that the cat was bored (an emotion word), the writer simply stated:

"Whiskers yawned." 

How simple is that? My students did an excellent job of identifying the voice in the writing. Now, they are learning to create voice and evoke emotion from their own writing. 

What about you?

How do you go about creating voice in your writing?

This is something I struggle with in my own writing. When writing a fantasy adventure, I used a stronger more formal voice and tried to include more rigorous vocabulary, detailed descriptions, and emotion from my characters. But when writing my mystery/suspense novel for middle grade, I decided to use a more informal relaxed voice and had my characters use the slang terms found among middle school kids. 

I tailored my writing toward the audience. 

Because we are created in the image of God, we use words to communicate as He did. We desire to communicate our emotions and feelings just as He did in His word. We long to leave our readers with an impression of who we are...just as God has done in His writing. 

Now that you have an idea of what voice in writing is, go back and read your work. Did you "show" your readers emotion rather than simply "tell" them?  If not, try this exercise:

  • How can you show your readers your character is bored? What does a bored person do? 
  • How can you show your readers a character is nervous? What might a nervous person do or look like?
  • How can you show your readers a character is embarrassed? What does an embarrassed person do or look like?

Try this with the following words:
  • Greedy
  • Ambitious
  • Jealous
  • Guilty

It's a fun way to add emotion and voice without "telling" your readers. Let them see the voice of the writer for themselves. 

Your turn: Is voice in writing something you struggle with? What do you do to add your voice into your writing?


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Word Choice

Image by Stuart Miles

Choose Your Words Carefully

As I teach Word Choice to my students, I couldn't help but think of a blog post for writers regarding Word Choice.


Word Choice is that important. 

It is obvious to me that we were created in the image of God...a God who chose to communicate to His people through words. As a result, we love words and use them to tell stories, explain ourselves, and so on.

God chose each word in Scripture carefully and the more you study His word, the more this fact become evident. The names of His characters mean something:

Adam= man
Eve= woman
Cain= spear
Abel= breath/vapor
Noah= rest
Abram= father of a multitude
David= well beloved
Peter= rock
Jesus= savior

As you can see, God chose words...names...that mean something to the reader.

What's in a Word?

My lesson began with the meaning of words: The denotative meaning and the connotative meaning of words.
It's the difference between the literal meaning and the figurative meaning of a word.

Why is that important?

I had my students look up the denotative meaning of words, the actual dictionary meaning. Then, I had them come up with the connotative meanings for each word on their own. After that, I asked them to select a word and use that word as a name for a sports team.

Some selected Wasps and Meteors while others selected Poodles, Unicorns, and Sloths.

As you can see, you have connotative meanings for each of these words. I reminded them of this fact. How can a football team named "The Poodles" be thought of as tough athletic winners?

Answer: it can't.

My students learned a valuable lesson in word choice. Words matter to people.

Think of the word "gray". What is it's literal meaning? A dull color made from mixing white and black.

What is the connotative meaning of the word "gray"? Sadness, loneliness, stormy, cold, cloudy, depressed.

All of these words come to mind when thinking of "gray".  So, instead of writing, "She woke up to a cloudy morning." Why not write, "She woke up to a gray morning" and let your readers use their own connotative meaning to the word "gray." Let your readers read and imagine your story.

Do this same exercise with the words:

  • home
  • wall
  • sunny
  • Friday
  • Monday

The word "home" might bring happy thoughts for many...but there are some out there who might connect the word "home" with pain, sorrow, fear, loss, or worry.

In Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour", she writes about a young woman who hears the news of her husband's death and enters her bedroom to mourn. She spots a roomy chair near the window and "sank" into it. I asked my students why they think Chopin used the word "sank" and not "sat".

The connotative meaning of the word "sank" works better for this story because the author wants us to use our own connotative meaning, not the literal meaning, of that word when we read her story. What images come to mind when you read the word "sank"?

Choose Wisely

As you write your story, think of the words and names you have selected. Why is this important? Because words mean something to your readers.  We were made to love and use words.

You can see now how important it is to remember the connotative meanings of the words you select for your story. Let your readers use their imagination. Show them, don't merely tell them your story.

This is a lesson I am learning right along with my students!

Your turn: How do you go about selecting words and names for your story? Do you keep in mind the connotative meaning of the words?


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Author's Purpose

And whatever you do, do it heartily, 
as to the Lord and not to men,
knowing that from the Lord you will
 receive the reward of the inheritance...
Colossians 3:23-24

This week in my Writing class, I discussed what is meant by Author's Purpose in writing.

We read the short story, "Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin. But before we discussed Author's Purpose, I explained a little bit about the author...

Kate Chopin lived during a time in U.S. history where women did not have the right to vote, could not attend college, and could not divorce. Kate was one of the first American authors to write about women's true feelings and accurate depictions of women in her stories.

So, after reading her work, we discussed what her purpose was:

To entertain, but also to inform her readers about the women's movement in America. 

God's Purpose 

Of course, those of us who have studied the Bible know that God has a purpose for writing:

He wants readers to know His story of redemption.

For me, since I read so little fiction, if I notice a theme or message in the story I am reading, it makes me all that much more interested. Which leads me to...

My Purpose

What is my purpose?

When I began my Dragon Forest series, I had a purpose in mind...a couple of them, in fact.

I wanted to write a good story for boys. I wanted them to read about action and adventure, but also about defending a promise, and standing fast in the midst of troubles. I wanted them to take away the message of faithfulness after reading my book.

When I wrote the second book in the trilogy, I was influenced by the story of Joseph in Genesis. I knew my protagonist, Peter, would have to go through a trial of his own and come away from it changed, just like Joseph did.

I want my readers to take away a message of endurance and what it means to endure through a trial. I know Peter struggles with his destiny and wants to go his own most adolescents do...but I also wanted him to face the consequences of his actions. 

So, now that we have discussed Author's Purpose in writing...what is the purpose of your writing?

Have you thought about it?

For me, I want my stories to please the Lord. I don't just want to please my entertain them is fine, but I also want to inform them about an important cause. 

To me, that's what writing is all about. 

What about you?

What about YOUR story?

Why do you write? Does your work have a message or theme to it that you want your readers to take away from your story?

A message of:


Do you have an Author's Purpose in your writing? Why or why not?


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Letting Go...

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:3-4

This morning in church, as we studied the first chapter of James, we discussed about how various trials change through the years. 

What we considered "trials" as teenagers aren't so bad once you become middle aged. 

And as we talked, I couldn't help but think back to when I encountered a trial and learned to let go...

Back in 2001, we were in a financial mess of our own creation. I knew that we would probably need to sell our house to pay off debt, but the very thought of it made me sick. I loved our house! 

So, one morning during my prayer time, I brought all my cares and concerns to the Lord. I knew that He knew my heart and my desires. 

  • I had always longed to return to college and complete my degree in Art. 
  • I had always longed to have more children.
  • I had always longed to see my art career grow.
  • I had always longed to see my book published. 

But I realized that with all our debt college was out of the question. With my physical problems, more children was not an option. Without a degree, how could my art career take off? And with working part time while raising our son, I had no time to complete my book.

I knew I was holding on too tightly to these dreams. It was then and there I realized I had to let it all go.

That morning, I bowed my head and laid it all on His altar. 

I had my hands tightly grasped around each one. I could feel the Lord pointing to my fist, saying, "What you have in your hand...that is what I want from you."

I pointed to all the other things around me and asked God to take those instead...but deep down inside, I felt He wanted what I had in my hand.

I prayed and told the Lord that even if I never return to college...even if we never have anymore children...even if I never get to see my son grow to be a man...even if I never see my art career take off...even if I never see my book published...

That's okay.

"I have You, Lord," I cried. "I have all Your promises. I have eternal life. And that's enough for me."

With tears falling down my cheeks, I prayed knowing the God to whom I prayed. 

I know He gives and He takes away. And I know I would have to bless Him no matter what. 

I let go.

...and found the peace I was lacking. 

In 2002, I was able to return to college and in 2005 I graduated with a degree in Art. I also was able to return to school and complete my Master's degree in 2007.

No school loans. No debt was acquired.

 The Lord provided it all for us.

Although the Lord said, "No" to more children, I learned that He gave us the gift of our son and that is enough for us. 

My art career never "took off", but I know my artwork hangs in many homes across the United States and that's enough satisfaction for me. 

And, finally, in 2011 I held the copy of my book, "The Dragon Forest" in my hands. 

I let go and placed all my deepest desires on the altar of the Lord. I trusted Him with my whole heart. 

I turned my eyes from the things of this earth and looked upon His face. 

I found peace. 

So...are you ready to let it all go?

Can you look at what you hold in your tightly clenched fist and release it to the Lord?

Can you honestly say to the Lord:

"If _______________________ never happens, Lord, that's okay. I have You and that's enough for me."

Fill in the blank with what you desire most:

publishing success

What you hold in your hand is what the Lord wants most from you. 

Be willing to let it go. 

You won't regret it. 

Your turn:  what is it that you desire most? How hard would it be if it never happens for you?


Let. It. Go.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

GREAT is His Faithfulness

As I sat in church today listening to my friends speak of God's faithfulness in their lives, I couldn't help but think back to a time in my life when God revealed so much to me of His faithfulness...

January 1991

I was a young Marine wife to Scott who was overseas since April of 1990. He was supposed to be home in October of 1990, but thanks to Saddam Hussein, his tour was extended due to the unrest in the Middle East.

America anxiously watched CNN awaiting news about the "line" drawn in the sand by our President, George H.W. Bush. Would Hussein withdraw his troops out of Kuwait? Or would America be at war for the first time since Vietnam?

Those were hard questions for a 23 yr old Marine wife to ponder as I stayed up all night watching ABC's Peter Jennings fill me in on what was happening so far away in Iraq.

Well, Hussein didn't pull out of Kuwait, so America was at war that January 1991. Which meant my husband was over there somewhere in the midst of it all.

And I was in North Carolina alone.

But I wasn't alone.

The Lord was with me and He put kind people in my path to get me through the storm.

Mr. Ballantyne 

My boss at that time, Mr. Ballantyne, was a World War II veteran and so he was a bit dismayed that America was at war yet again. He knew about the cost of war.

That next morning, I walked into work and surprised my co-workers. They expected me to stay home, but I couldn't. Staying home meant watching the news all day, thinking the worst, and being miserable. I needed to be away from that TV.

But Mr. Ballantyne new exactly what I needed to get me through that day:
 to come to his house for a dinner party with his friends.

What? I explained to him that I wouldn't be very good company that night, but he insisted.

So, after work, I reluctantly drove the 30 minute drive to his house  that evening and parked my car. I loved his house. It was a ranch style house with large windows. His late wife had decorated it tastefully. I always felt so comfortable in his house at Christmas parties. But that evening, I just wanted to be at home watching the news for any updates.

When he opened the door with his usual smile, I felt better. But it was when I entered his home that I soon realized why he insisted that I come over and join his dinner party.

All of his guests were of his generation...they had all endured World War II, Korea, and/or Vietnam. In other words, they each knew what I was going through.

As I spoke with each white-haired couple, I was drawn to their stories of how they survived the long separations WWII had caused, all the letter writing they had endured, and the wonderful reunions that followed that war.

WWII is my favorite era in American history, so I was in heaven sitting at the dinner table listening to their answers to my questions.

They gave me what I needed most that night. They gave me hope.

At Long Last

That night, as I drove home alone, I wept the entire 30 minutes. I wept with tears of joy mixed with sadness. Joy for having such a loving God who looked after me and put Mr. Ballantyne into my life for that moment in addition to many other moments. I thanked the Lord for each couple I met that night and for all their stories of His faithfulness.

I wept because I missed my husband so much and I knew I would return to an empty house yet again. But I also wept for joy because I knew we would be okay.

The Lord was with us then as He is now.

At long last, my husband returned safe and sound in March 1991.  We had a joyous reunion, hundreds of letters to share, and so many stories to tell. We still speak of that time today.


This morning, as I listened to my friends share their stories, I smiled and dabbed away a few tears when I remembered Mr. Ballantyne's kindness that night in January. He's with the Lord now and I can't wait to see him again.

There's nothing like looking back and seeing God's hand over your life. I tell my son this over and over again, but he won't truly learn this until he has a family of his own and can look back over his own life experiences.

God's faithfulness endures. He is there in the midst of the storms, battles, and wars of this world.

I can attest to that over and over again.

GREAT is His faithfulness.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Our God is Great

Yesterday, Scott and I attended a memorial service for a godly man...father, husband, and friend to many.

It was humbling to listen to how he influenced so many to go out and be a better person. It was moving to see just how many lives he touched on earth...both young and old. You couldn't help but be changed after that service. Changed for the better.

We sang songs of praise to the One who made it all possible: Jesus.

This man loved Jesus and taught his kids to love Jesus, too.

As we sang, I couldn't help but thank the Lord.

I thanked Him for eternal life that, even in pain and sorrow, we could glorify His name knowing our friend is there with Him and we will see him again.

Oh how great is our God.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Are You Running To or Running From God?

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Psalm 139:7-8

Running From The Empty Tomb

Last week, I listened to a wonderful message by Dr. R.C. Sproul regarding how Peter denied Christ 3 times...and then the rooster crowed.

It's a story I have heard over and over again all my life, and yet the impact is still profound.

In the message, Dr. Sproul focuses on how Christ looked at Peter right after he denied Him the third time. Dr. Sproul wondered allowed just how did Christ look at Peter? What did that glance look like and what did it say to him?

"Peter, how could you? After all we've been through..."

"Peter, now do you understand what I was saying?"


"Peter, go and edify the brethren..."

Whatever that look was, it must have been devastating.

But then Dr. Sproul went on to talk about what happened after the crucifixion. Another Bible passage I have read and studied over and over again, yet I saw something I hadn't seen before. 

I love that about God's Word, don't you?

When the women go to the upper room to tell the disciples that the body of Christ isn't in the tomb and that they actually saw the risen Jesus, how does Peter react to the news?

He runs.

But does he run to the empty tomb?  ...or does he run away from the empty tomb?

By reading that Peter ran toward the empty tomb, we can know that the look Jesus gave him that night had to have been a life changing look.

Amazing, isn't it? What we glean from God's word is truly amazing.


Our pastor announced he will be going through the book of Jonah for the next four weeks. As he spoke, I read through the first chapter. Again, I have read and studied this book over and over again. 

So I prayed and asked the Lord to show me something new.

And He answered my prayers. 

As I read, the Lord showed me how this book is applicable even today. As I blogged about last week, so many friends are hurting right now. 

They are dealing with real issues that can either strengthen one's faith or destroy it. 

These friends can either run to the empty tomb...or they can be like Jonah, and run away from it.

But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
 He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish;
 so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go 
with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah 1:3

His desire was to avoid God altogether. 

Jonah's motivation was to flee from the commands of the Lord. Why?

Hatred. He didn't want to proclaim forgiveness to the wicked enemies of God.

Have you ever been there? The Lord has commanded you to take His word, His healing gospel message, to the wicked of this world...and, instead, you run off in the opposite direction?


a. Because you don't want to be rejected.
b. Because you don't care about those evil wicked people.
c. Because deep down want those evil wicked people to burn in       
    hell for what they do. 
d. All of the above.

Sound familiar?

I know I felt that way, too. 

I tried to pull a "Jonah" many times. I ran away from God instead of running toward Him and His perfect plan. 

God Found Jonah

You might be saying to yourself that your situation right now is dire. You are hurting so badly now, that you can't possibly talk to anyone about Christ, let alone the wicked.

Or you might be telling yourself that you don't have the gift of evangelism. That's a gift other people have.

But trust me, the Lord has commanded all of His believers to GO and proclaim what the Lord has done or is doing in your life. 

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,

Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy
Psalm 107:2

Has the Lord done great things in your life?

Proclaim it!

Has He healed you?

Proclaim it!

Has He redeemed you and saved you from the pits of hell?

Proclaim it!

Has He shown you great things in His word today?

Proclaim it!

There are so many ways to tell of God's glory today that we are without excuse. Yes, social media and the internet can be used for evil...But instead, use social media for good! Use it to His advantage!

You have a story, you have God's Word, you have Him on your side....there is nothing to fear.

So you might be rejected. So what? So, the person might call you bad names, so what?

Think of what some Christians are facing right now just because they proclaimed the gospel message of Christ:

Financial ruin

Remember what happened to Jonah who ran away from the commands of God: 

God found Him.

God found him unfaithful. 

How do you want God to find you?

Run To the Empty Tomb

God warned Jeremiah and Ezekiel that if they did not go and speak the words of God, they would be punished:

 Jeremiah 1:17

“Therefore prepare yourself and arise,
And speak to them all that I command you.
Do not be dismayed before their faces,
Lest I dismay you before them."

Ezekiel 3:18 & 20

"When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 

“Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand."

You might say, "That's the Old testament...surely, God was talking to them, not me!"

Remember....the God of the Bible does not change. If He has commanded us to Go, we are to go and speak His words to the world!

As Dr. Sproul pointed out in his message, we can either run to the empty tomb or run from it. 

The Bible is full of stories of people who ran from God. In the end, it wasn't pretty. 

In our sorrows and trials, we can either run from God or run to Him. He clearly says in His word to proclaim your story. 

If you have been redeemed...say so!

We cannot hide from the presence of the Lord no matter how hard we try. And we definitely do not want the blood of others on our hands when we stand before Him. 

My advice? Be found faithful. 

Put on your running shoes...and run to the Lord!

Your turn: where are you at right now? Are you running toward the empty tomb or away from it? Are you telling your story or not?