For our inaugural edition of Friend Friday, I am so glad to introduce a fellow Texas author, Cathy Bryant. A Texas gal by birth, Cathy Bryant lives in a century-old Texas farmhouse with her husband and a phobia-ridden cat. Her debut novel, TEXAS ROADS, was a 2009 ACFW Genesis finalist. You can learn more at http://www.CatBryant.com.
This is a wonderful post which has touched my heart. Please be sure and leave Cathy a comment to let her know how it’s touched you. If you would like to submit a guest blog for a future Friend Friday on writing, an upcoming book release of yours, ministry, Christian living, parenting, or quirky observations about life that fit within the theme of my blog, please contact me at conversationswithkristen*at*gmail*dot*com.
WRITING AS A MISSION AND A MINISTRY
© 2010, Cathy Bryant/These Roads Lead Home/Synopsis 1
The definition of mission is the actions we perform which have the potential to lead non-believers to Christ. Ministry, which can be for the benefit of both believers and non-believers, is the actions we take to serve others. As writers, we have the opportunity to do both with our stories.
Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” ~Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
Salt is both a flavoring and a preservative. We flavor the world with the good news, and we serve as a preservative through our prayers and actions in this world. We’re also light in a very dark place.
There are people who will never crack open a Bible because they’ve become hardened to God’s Word. But they might just pick up a novel and start reading. Some questions to consider in our writing: Is my story flavored with the message of Christ? Does it spread light?
The Urgency of our Mission
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” ~John 9:4 (NIV)
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” ~Ephesians 5:16-16 (NIV)
All we have to do is look in the newspaper, watch the evening news, or even prime-time television to see how depraved the world is. As a child I remember hearing grown-ups talk about how bad the world was getting. I didn’t see it then, but as an adult it seems our world worsens by the second. We must take advantage of today’s opportunity. It really is a matter of life or death, a mission with eternal consequences.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
~Acts 1:8 (NIV)
I’ve always loved this verse, because that same power made available to the early disciples is ours today. In fact, the Greek word for power is the same word that’s used to describe the power that raised Jesus from the dead. We get our word “dynamite” from the Greek word used here. To know we have that same dynamite power available to us is a comfort and encouragement to me.
Another point to this verse which speaks to me is that we will be witnesses. Not we might be, or we can be if we want. We are witnesses whether we feel like it or not. It’s important to keep in mind that we are witnesses through our writing.
The Ministry of Encouragement
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” ~Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” ~Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” ~Galatians 6:10 (NIV)
There is not a person alive who doesn’t occasionally need encouragement. We live in such a negative world. Sometimes the thing that most encourages me is to know I’m not alone, that others feel and think the same way, that they face the same problems and temptations I face. As writers we have a unique opportunity to tell our stories in a way that builds others up in their faith.
Working for God
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
~Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
“God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” ~Hebrews 6:10 (NIV)
God’s Word tells us to give our work everything we’ve got and to remember its God we’re working for—not a boss, not a paycheck. In my own life, when I view my work as something I do in partnership with Christ for His kingdom and purposes, it makes a huge difference in my attitude and outlook.
God sees the work we do for Him. He knows our motives and the intentions and attitudes of our hearts. Any action we do or any word we proclaim on His behalf in our ministry for the benefit of others won’t be forgotten. Every smidgeon of ministry we do shows Him our love.
Each of us has been given a unique voice as a writer. Your words may reach some people in ways that mine can’t and vice versa. All that’s required is a willing heart to follow His calling, to seek Him, to search for ways to be a missionary and a minister with the gifts and abilities He has given us. With His power behind us and His gift inside us there is nothing we can’t accomplish for Christ and His Kingdom.