Saturday, November 22, 2014

Common But Extraordinary

Amos was another prophet God used to try to get His message across to the people. But, Amos wasn’t a well-learned man. He was a shepherd from Tekoa. To the people who would have read or heard about Amos back in Biblical times this would have been like saying he was just a farmer from an out of the way obscure town. But, God chose Amos.

The Bible is full of common, ordinary people being used by God and most of the time these people end up doing extraordinary things. Of course, God knows by choosing a common person and having him or her accomplish big things, people take notice. By trying to decide how the person was able to do such big feats, they might just discover the God who put the extra to the ordinary.
As Christian writers, we want to create relatable characters. Think of popular fairy tales and love stories. The main character is just plain and common or maybe even of lower status. We tend to cheer at the end when that ordinary character wins the happily ever after. Why?
Let’s face it. Many readers like to think they might just be able to have a happy ending like the latest book they read.

Your story doesn’t have to have superstars. Start with a common person who has a goal or an obstacle to overcome. Show your reader the character’s unique personality and qualities and gifts. Then show your reader how God shapes that character into something more than could have been possible alone.  

Think about yourself as a writer. God has gifted you with your own spiritual gifts and abilities. If He calls you to tell a certain story or relate a specific message, step up because He will give you the “extra” to make the ordinary become extraordinary for His glory.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Theme of Returning

Joel 2:12 says, “’Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ The Lord was using his prophet, Joel, to again bring forth the message of returning to Him. Such a vicious cycle would take place. The people would turn from God, follow other gods, slip into ruin, cry out to God, and He would extend the call to return to Him.
A return to God is a common theme in Christian literature. Very often the main characters find themselves involved in worldly things that have taken their focus off  the one true God. Throughout the storyline, the character or characters must have a realization and a returning to God.

Brainstorm a character who has fallen away from his or her relationship with God. What kinds of situations have occurred to pull that character away? List some possibilities.

Now that you have an idea of how that character could be pulled away, list some ways that God might reveal Himself anew to the character. Consider not only positive occurrences but maybe even problems or calamities that might get the character’s attention.

What might be the character’s reaction to the circumstances leading to the return? Will he or she ignore at first? Will he or she have to fall further to understand the need to return to God?

What will happen in that scene where the character returns to God? Will there be fasting, weeping, or mourning?

This theme of returning to God is common because many Christians can relate to falling victim to this very circumstance. Some like reading this type of story to show the hope that a person can return to God. Other readers might find encouragement in dealing with a strayed family member or friend.

As Christian writers, we might stray away from God or even His true purpose for our writing. It is easy to be swept by what is popular or what will sell to a publisher. But, if God has called you to write a particular story, there must be a reason. Some stories may be only for the writer’s benefit. Some stories may be for the benefit of a certain person or group of persons.

Now is the time to return to Him with all your heart.