Monthly Archives: March 2007

Be the first to read Evidence of Grace

evidence-of-grace-small.JPGThey say third time’s a charm. I have tried to post this contest here twice but all that comes up is the book cover so here we go again on a beautiful Monday morning here in Southern Ohio.

Evidence of Grace, Book 3 in the award winning Jenna’s Creek Series is due for release in June. But here’s your chance to read it now before anyone else. Simply post a review on Amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or any other site that allows book reviews for the first two books in the series, either Streams of Mercy or Redemption’s Song. You can even post your review on your blog or the blog of a friend. Just send the link to your review to me at teresa@teresaslack.com or teresaslackfanforum@yahoo.com and you will be entered to win an autographed Advance Review Copy of Evidence of Grace. The more places you post your reviews for Streams of Mercy or Redemption’s Song, the more chances you will have to win.
Evidence of Grace byTeresa Slack
A murder conviction sent Sally Blake’s killer to prison. Nearly thirty years after that fateful night, a phone call from a potential eyewitness may prove the wrong person is serving time for the crime. But what would drive someone to plead guilty to another man’s crime? Noel Wyatt enlists the help of a young attorney, and David Davis, the retired judge who once prosecuted the case, to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. If an eyewitness exists, where has he been for the last thirty years? Is it possible the killer did not act alone? Is that person covering up for the real killer? What evidence does the eyewitness have that might overthrow a murder conviction? Will justice come too late for the person convicted of Sally’s murder?

Evidence of Grace is available right now for pre-order at your favorite local bookseller or at many online retail sites.

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Be the first to read Evidence of Grace

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Our part in the creative process

Years ago, I taught a lesson to my primary Sunday school class about being created in God’s image. Created in His likeness, we also have the power to create. I like what Christopher said that even non-believers are given this gift…they just don’t acknowledge the source. More’s the pity.

We all have different gifts and talents to use for His glory or our own; it’s our choice. But sometimes we feel like those gifts are going to waste or that no one appreciates them. Or maybe it’s just me. I keep writing and plugging away at promoting my books and myself and wonder if any of it will ever matter in the long run.

But that’s not my problem. Jesus said to go out into the highways and the byways and compel them to come in. He didn’t add that if no one pays attention to us or if it doesn’t seem to be working, then it’s all right to stop. No, we are to keep working. The fields are white and ready to harvest.

Just like our gifts. They were given to us for a reason. Whatever the Lord has blessed you with today, use it. Don’t be like the wicked servant who hid his talent in the ground until the Master returned. Use your talent, expend some energy today, and let God worry about if it’s working or not.

I didn’t intend for this to turn into a sermon. This blog is about writing. Let’s just get rid of those excuses and do what we’ve been called to do, whether writing, any other art form, or otherwise.mallory-me.JPG
Teresa Slack

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Why we do what we do

In Teresa’s last post she posed a wonderful question, though she rightly states that it wasn’t hers to ask, but one put forth by some of her readers: “How have you changed with the writing of this book?”

When I read that I was a bit taken aback and thought about it for a moment as if it was being asked of me. How have I been changed? And if I would be allowed to expand the scope of the context to include my CDs and paintings, well then I really have a lot to ponder.

I think one of the main issues derived from the process of distilling all the art that I’ve been a part of creating, whether in part or in whole, would be a single word: motive. And my own analysis of the word rather shocks me.

A Christian’s first response, whether realized in full or in part, is always, “To glorify God.” And I don’t state that for any other reason than that’s what scripture requires of us (1 Corinthians 10:31). I have struggled with my motives all of my Christian walk. And I probably always will because I walk around in a continually deteriorating sack of skin that is constantly at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). This topic (and its history throughout my life) is a post within itself.

But it’s my second thought that I want to briefly discuss today.

Found deep within the womb of my spirit, divided between the essence of my created soul and the God-breathed elements of my eternal self, lies a divine quality imbued innately from my Creator: to myself create.

In every artist there comes a pregnant pause, a profound yet fleeting moment that captures our imagination and deposits seeds. Many are lost or forgotten, but there is always at least one that takes root, and given the proper encouragement, will manifest and bare the intended fruit.

There is not a moment in my life where I was not constantly investing, creating, imagining, and wondering. Now an adult, my parents confess to me their own wonder at how prolific I was in “doing things.” Whether a new Lego creation, a cardboard-box-and-duct-tape space craft, a non-code tree fort, or a stapled together comic book series to end all others, I was always making something.

Some may say I was over active. Some may have tried to slap a medical label on me (an error we make too often as a society). Others may have even called me a “dreamer.” They never knew how right they were.

When you become intimately connected to the divine nature of creativity, you can’t help but create something; its very DNA is designed to prolifically propagating life, a characteristic shared only by God and mankind.

The fact is that I am changed each and every time I write a book, write a song, or paint a picture. Something in me grows a little closer to Christ, and becomes a little more like my Father. I feel His glory when I breathe life into something–I feel I’m being just like my Daddy.

In the creation of art, we have a divine opportunity to become more like our Maker. I believe fashioning something from nothing is one of the most innate and intrinsic privileges we have as human beings. I create as He creates.

Such a privilege is it, in fact, and once again pointing to God’s limitless mercy, that He even allows the unbeliever to participate in it.

Thanks for spending some time with me today.

CH

http://www.christopherhopper.com

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Art that inspires

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This past Saturday I was the guest speaker at The Word Talks book discussion group in Norman, OK to discuss my book A Tender Reed. Few writers will pass up an opportunity to explain the inspiration behind a book to readers who loved it. I am no exception. I love talking about the creative process, my journey to publication, and of course, my books.

They asked me typical questions like how I came up with the title–from the first line in The Rose: Some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed–why I dedicated it to my dog, and if any of my characters are based on real people. They also asked some atypical questions that put me on the spot like: How have you changed with the writing of this book?

Then these wonderful ladies did something a little different. They took turns telling me how A Tender Reed touched them on a personal level. Nothing is more gratifying for a writer. We spend our days, months, and years pounding away on our keyboards in virtual anonymity wondering if anyone will ever read our words. Asking ourselves the same question over and over again: Do I have anything relevant to say that hasn’t already been said by someone more qualified than me to say it?

I believe every person on this planet was put here for a reason. I also believe God gave me the gift of stringing words together in a loosely cohesive manner to tell a story. In the last few years I have come to see that every day we use our gifts and talents to glorify ourselves or glorify God. What a blessing to know my writing has ministered to a small group of women in Oklahoma. There is no greater accolade than to know that the message on this writer’s heart ministered to another.

Whatever your ministry, whatever gift the Lord has given you, whatever unique perspective on seeing Creation’s beauty, use it to edify others and uplift Jesus. There is no greater calling on any of our lives. slack6-small.JPG

Have a blessed week,
Teresa Slack

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The Day God Walked Me Home From School

When I was in the second or third grade, a child molester attempted to capture me as I walked home from school. My true story is part of an anthology, Scripture to Live By by Arron Chambers, and is being published this month.  If you have always wondered how a child felt, knowing he or she was about to be abducted, please read “The Day God Walked Me Home From School.”  

My current long historical novel, The Winter Pearl, is available in stores now. Another long historical, Sanctuary, will be published by Tsaba House in September 2007. 
Blessings,

Molly Noble Bull, http://www.mollynoblebull.com

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It’s Your Right. (It should be your joy, too).

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So I guess people are actually reading my posts on my blog, at least the most recent comments would suggest at least two people are. Wonder of wonders! That’s encouraging! Though I must say, one of the comments was written far better than anything I could write; I was even becoming mad with the person they were talking about! Then I realized…

…oh, it’s me!

It seems everywhere I turn these days I hear a Christian talking about the arts. I was just on the phone yesterday with a dear friend who is thinking about starting a school for the arts, but unlike anything ever done before. And considering this guy has the means and experience to do so, I don’t doubt he will. Not wishing to disclose his ideas at present, that subject will have to wait.

But not an hour later, I’m with my dear friend Dudley Danielson, an amazing writer/photographer in his own right, who hands me a “jewel”: an out of print issue of Melody Green’s “The Last Days Magazine,” and in it an amazing article by Andrew Sievright entitled, “What’s The Church Doing With The Powerful Gift of Art?” If you can find it, read it. It will change your life.

But one of Sievright’s points identifies the next “Christian Renaissance.” Next to Jesus coming back, I dare say nothing could inspire me more.

If there was ever a need for the Church to stand up tall and strong, it is now. The world needs to notice Her beauty, and not because she’s blending in with them, but because she is so unqiuly stunning that she makes all else pale in comparison. Minstrel Michael Tyrrell makes this point so clear in his song “Beautiful Mountain,” when he says, “Stand tall, beautiful mountain, your foundation is sure. Stand tall, beautiful mountain, till your waters run pure.”

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I had the privilege of doing a photo shoot with Dudley yesterday. With my wife toting the wardrobe duties, as well as make-up, and even holding up sun screens against the glaring direct sunlight, the three of us wandered about the gorgeous Boldt Castle BoatHouse located on Wellesley Island in the beautiful 1,000 Islands. Privileged to have this spectacular scenery not 20 minutes from our home, it was a delight to be with my wife and my brother in the Lord, making art for the King. Between Dudley’s prolific skill, a vast photographic repertoire spanning over half a century, and the fact that these photos were taken for my second novel, I couldn’t help but feel giddy, immersed in the world of creating marvelous art for the Kingdom.

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Everywhere we turned, Dudley found a new angle, a new potential masterpiece. It wasn’t until we made our way into one of the old turrets of the BoatHouse, currently closed to the public (we call that “favor”), and found a 100 year old stair case, that the juices really started flowing.

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I guess what I’m realizing is that it’s not only our right as the Bride of Christ to make art that surpasses the world’s, but it should be our joy as well. We should be excited to be setting the standard.

Which raises another point: if you’re not excited, are you making the right art? In the right way? For the right cause? With the right people?

I think we all could drum up any number of excuses to justify, and even defend, our “turmoil,” but are they true? And is that really the heart of the Father for us in our art-making? Or does He intend for us, as I believe He has all along, to be so full of joy, and find so much fulfillment, that the world would not only marvel at our fruit, but also at our labor? I couldn’t help but think that even the winter staff at the BoatHouse noticed our fun, and smiled at they watched.
Though that BoatHouse was all of 10 degrees Fahrenheit inside, I found great joy, even while changing shirts, laughing at the privilege afforded me. Who in the world gets to do this? Then I realized again…

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…oh, me, again. I do. A son of the Most High, rightful heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.

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And my hope is that you would see yourself the same way.

Thanks for spending time with me today,

CH
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