Posts Tagged With: Cec Murphey

Making a Difference

One of the teachers and keynote speakers at the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference was Cecil Murphey. In case you’re not familiar with him, Cec is a New York Times bestselling author and international speaker who has written or co-written more than 100 books. Some of his best known titles include Committed But Flawed, 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven Is Real (with Don Piper), Touchdown Alexander (with Shaun Alexander), Gifted Hands and Think Big (with Dr. Ben Carlson), and Rebel With a Cause (with Franklin Graham). He’s a former pastor, missionary, and teacher, so has a wealth of experiences to draw from for his writing.

Cec lives in metro Atlanta and has been a mentor to our local writing group for several years, so anytime we get to see him or hear him teach is a special treat. One of the many things I admire about Cec is his transparency — he’s the same Cec wherever you see him and whoever he’s with, whether he’s teaching a group of new writers, catching up with fellow authors at a conference, or sharing his heart and wisdom from the platform. He’s also one of the most generous people I’ve ever met, and funds numerous scholarships for Christian writers to attend conferences across the country each year. I’ve benefited from those scholarships twice myself. 🙂

He spoke one morning during the conference on “Write His Answer … Transparently.”

“When you open up and become real, you’ll begin to connect with people,” Cec said. “There’s something wonderful about letting people know who you are. Being authentic is where you make the difference.”

Cec was talking to us from a writing perspective, but I think the same philosophy holds true in every corner of life. Nobody wants a fake friend. Nobody wants to play games, trying to figure out how much of what someone says is true. Nobody wants a surface-level prayer partner.

Instead, we want to know that the people we feel closest to are being honest with us. We want to know we’re not the only ones having struggles. We want to know that when someone says they care, they mean it.

In other words, we want — dare I say crave? — transparency.That’s not to say we need to bare our souls to the cashier at Kroger, but people want to know that the people around them are real. I think that especially holds true with Christians, where we sometimes have the misguided idea that we’re supposed to always have our “perfect and fine” face on for the world. If that’s all the world sees, they’re not seeing the real us that God helps through each and every day.

I do better with this on some days than on others, and in some situations versus others. But it’s my goal to put that transparency into practice more every day. How about you?

Categories: Christian speakers, Conferences, Monday Musings | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Trading Gideon for a Levite

 

I’ve long said that I’m a writing conference junkie. Big, small, or in between, there’s always something to learn and someone to meet. There are also many wonderful choices, and I like to keep up with what’s happening even if I can’t attend.

One that I’ve looked at for several years and have read many great things about is the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I decided early this year to just save my pennies so I could go to a big conference next year. That’s what I’ve been doing, but God apparently had another plan. I kept finding myself on the Philly Conference site again and again … and again. Then, through a series of events I can only attribute to God, I ended up applying for a scholarship. My essay/application was sent along with a letter from the director of my local writers group (East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers). I prayed it through, gave it to God, and knew that if He wanted me there He’d make a way.

On Tuesday I found out that He made a way. 🙂

I am completely humbled and amazed to be chosen for one of four scholarships given to members of local writers groups across the country. I’m so grateful to Marlene Bagnull for directing the conference and offering me this opportunity. I’m so indebted to the wonderful Cec Murphey, who is a mentor to our local group and is such an inspiration to and example for writers everywhere. His generosity makes it possible for writers like myself to attend many conferences each year. We love you, Cec!

Most of all, I’m overwhelmed by God’s work in my life and His attention to me. I’ve been in a real season of prayer over my writing during the past few months and seeking God’s direction. The Philly Conference offers the chance to meet with and learn from some people who aren’t always at conferences, and who could be real helps on my writing journey. I prayed that if God really wanted me to change directions that He would open the door for me to go to Philly and take those first steps. Now He’s done that, along with giving some other confirmations I hadn’t asked for.

So many times when I’ve tried to discern God’s direction, I fall back on what I call the Gideon approach — asking God to give me a sign one way or the other, like He did with Gideon’s fleece (the story’s in Judges 6 in the Bible). I think that’s OK sometimes, but know it’s not the way I always need to be. A couple of weeks ago God reminded me of the Israelites when it was time to cross the Nile River into the Promised Land. He told the Levites carrying the Ark of the Covenant to step into the water and that the path would be made (check it out in Joshua 3). He didn’t do it while they were waiting safely on shore — He only parted the waters once they took those first steps in faith and trust. I think that’s what God wants for me, too — to step out in faith more often and then let Him handle the rest.

I believe that’s what He did with the blessing of this conference scholarship. He made the way for me, and He knows the reason why. Now I just have to keep writing, keep trusting Him, and wait to see what happens. What a joy!

Categories: Conferences | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment
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