1 Kings 5

1 Kings 5I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set.”  1 Kings 5:6

So Solomon sent shifts of men to Lebanon, 10,000 a month. They spent 1 month in Lebanon and two months at home. 1 Kings 5:13

He assigned 3,300 foremen to supervise the project. 1 Kings 5:16

Lord, today I ask that you pay to me whatever wages you set. I am your servant. I trust you to reward me however you see fit. I do ask that you send shifts of men and women to pray for and help promote our projects. May you assign wise and devote editors to supervise each project. Amen


Whenever God sends us, He will guard our lives. – Oswald Chambers

Never look for justice in the world, but never cease to give it. – Oswald Chambers

1 Kings 2

1 Kings 2Be strong, my son. Show yourself a man. Observe what the Lord requires. Walk in His ways. Keep His decrees and commands, his laws and requirements. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go. 1 Kings 2:2-3

My Lord, help me to be strong. Help me to show myself to be a man after Your heart. Help me to observe all Your laws, commands, statutes, and decrees. May You bless me within Your Will. 


Who of us would dare to stand before God and say, “My God, judge me as I have judged others?” ~ Oswald Chambers

Are You Writing to the Jews or Gentiles?

Are Your Authors Writing to the Jews or Gentiles?“I will keep you and will make you a light for the Gentiles, to open the eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison, to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” ~ Isaiah 42:6-7

At the Florida Christian Writers Conference I asked a group of writers why they write Christian fiction.

“We need to support each other,” “there’s not enough good Christian fiction out there,” “write what you know – I know about Christ and what he’s done for me.”

Great answers but if we ONLY write to the saved we leave the blind, deaf, imprisoned, and lost to the schemes and words of the enemy.

From the beginning I felt God called me to write and publish INTO the general market. I read general market fiction. I watch general market movies and TV shows. More than ever I’m convinced our mission is to share God’s light with the Gentiles.

Tough market, sure, but it’s also a lucrative market. For example, here’s the monthly market revenue for the top 100 titles in three popular Kindle categories.

Religious Women’s Fiction? $90,000
General Women’s Fiction? 7.5 million

Religious Romance? $265,000
General Romance? 2.5 million

Religious Suspense? $440,000
General Suspense? 6.7 million

We already have plenty of examples of how to weave God’s moral truths into story.

The Prodigal Son – a story of a parent’s unconditional, long-suffering love. Themes: trust, hope, and the importance of home and family and forgiveness.

The Good Samaritan – a story of inclusiveness. Themes: tolerance, institutional pride, religious hypocrisy, service, and generous giving.

The Hidden Treasure – a story of one individual’s journey to find his purpose. Themes: Passion, perseverance, risk and commitment to a noble cause.

Not once will you find the words, “God, Pray, Prayer, Salvation, Repent, Jesus, Christ,” in those stories and yet God’s love is shown throughout. You will also see how a lost son seeks guidance (he doesn’t pray, but he contemplates), turns from old habits, and hopes of forgiveness. We see how an individual gives everything he has in pursuit of a God-given treasure (or passion). (The theme of the movie La, La, Land.) God owns the copyright on these ideals. He created them. His moral truths challenge readers to change.

Look, I’m not saying we should abandon the Church and Christian fiction. I am saying that we need to reach beyond the walls of the temple and take His message into Samaria and beyond. God knows the rest of the world needs His light.

Readers are Leaders, Buy a Boy a Book

Dead Calm, Bone Dry Curse of the Black Avenger

Christian Fiction Struggles to Remain Relevant

Christian Fiction Struggles to Remain RelevantOf all the categories in publishing, print book sales of Christian Fiction declined 25% from 2012-2014. This follows recent announcements that:

  • Abingdon Press suspended fiction acquisitions, (removing 25-35 titles per year from the market) – (I’ve also heard recently that Abingdon is acquiring, again.Hope so.)
  • River North (Moody Publishing’s fiction imprint) will reduce its title offerings to 3-5 books per year
  • B&H Publishing Group has “realigned” its fiction strategy to only publish novels tied to its films
  • And Harlequin’s “Heartsong Presents” closed its doors in January

Combine that with news that Family Christian Bookstores, the nation’s largest Christian retail outlet, has filed for bankruptcy, and you have a perfect storm of catastrophic proportions for Christian Fiction authors.

What is Christian Fiction and how did we get here?

[Christian Fiction] is a genre of books [that] typically promotes values, teaches a lesson, always has a happy ending (good prevails over evil in all books), [and] adheres to a decency code (certain boundaries such as sexuality, strong language, and topics of such cannot be crossed).
Deborah Bryan of the Kansas Library Association

Bryan also notes that a Christian Fiction author must comply with certain restraints such as:

  • Accept the truthful authority of the Bible
  • Address dilemmas through faith in Jesus
  • Believe that Jesus died and rose for sins of all people
  • Avoid writing about certain ‘taboos.’

As Ron Benrey notes in his book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing Christian Fiction, “Readers of Christian Fiction in America are Caucasian women, of childbearing through “empty nester” age, who identify themselves as evangelical Christians.” Given that this demographic represents such a narrow slice of the reading public and the recent decline in sales and new title offerings, Christian authors may ask: Will there still be a viable market two years from now? Or are we witnessing the end of the inspirational genre?

As it relates to the general reading public, adult males, teens / tweens, young adults, and readers of color remain an underserved market within Christian publishing. Contrast that to Jesus’ words to “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Could it be this decline in Christian Fiction is an opportunity to take God’s Good News beyond the walls of the church to a hurting world? If so, let’s consider the obstacles Christian authors face (and at least one advantage).

First, too many Christian authors cannot relate to (or in some cases even tolerate) secular readers.

From an agent’s perspective, many faith-based writers simply don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to writing for non-Christian readers. They aren’t part of the non-faith world, they don’t hang out with non-Christian people, they don’t watch non-religious TV or listen to radio programming that’s antithetical to their beliefs. In essence, they CAN’T speak to that group, because they don’t know the language.
Literary agent Chip MacGregor

To reach readers in “Samaria”, we need to spend more time at the well in the heat of the day.

Second, too many Christian authors would rather preach than teach. Judging from Amazon reviews, large numbers of readers – even Christian readers – are turned off by such words as, “prayer, pray, Jesus, Christ, conversion, salvation, and sin.” Stories that emphasize a conversion experience may come across as manipulative and “preachy” in tone. On the other hand, those same readers express similar discomfort with stories that overtly include and promote violence, promiscuity, and profanity. Regardless of the message and author’s agenda, it seems most readers want a story, not a sermon.

Third, Christian authors have an advantage over secular writers. We already have plenty of examples of great stories that move readers to action and leave them pondering God’s truths and challenge us to change.

The Prodigal Son – a story of a parent’s unconditional, long-suffering love. Themes: trust, hope, and the importance of home and family.

The Good Samaritan – a story of inclusiveness. Themes: tolerance, institutional pride, religious hypocrisy, service, and generous giving.

The Hidden Treasure – a story of one individual’s journey to find his purpose. Themes: Passion, perseverance, risk and commitment to a noble cause.

I’m sure you can think of other ways to spin Jesus’ parables. The point is, a great writer can shape the story to move the reader without relying on “Christian” words.

Will ChristianFiction go away? Probably not. But if you want to write to a larger market and expand your chances of publication, consider focusing on story above all else. Do that and you may find God’s Spirit working in the hearts of readers eager for your stories.