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Encouragement For all You Struggling Writers

I recently read a book titled, “teacher” The Henrietta Mears Story, by Marcus Brotherton.  In the Introduction section, Brotherton is describing the influence Donald Miller’s highly successful book, Blue Like Jazz, had on his friend’s widow shortly after he had passed away.  He talks about our simple and small influence in people’s lives being so alive it “thunders with reverberation even after a passage of time.”

In tracing the influence of ministry he uses Miller’s book as an example.  Miller’s first book, Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance, sold so few copies that Miller considered giving up writing as a career.  What many people do not know is that his second book, mega hit Blue Like Jazz, also floundered desperately when it first came out—until Campus Crusade for Christ (now known as CRU) got a hold of it.  A staffer at CRUread the book and they soon ordered a total of 125,000 copies to put in their college Freshman Survival Kits.  This was a staggering launch forward for any young writer and solidified Miller’s writing career from then on.  The founder of CRU was Dr. Bill Bright.  CRU has reportedly touched the lives of over 3.4 billion people.  Bright also championed another young author, Ted Dekker, who went on to be the bestselling author of many novels.

So who influenced Bill Bright?  One of the major influences in his life was an elderly Sunday school teacher that no one has ever heard of (Henrietta Mears).  She had a major influence on the lives of many men such as Bill Bright and Billy Graham.  Because of her influence those men went on to influence billions of lives.

You never know who or how God is going to use your influence to make a difference in the world.  If you are a struggling writer, do not despair.  It only takes one person to change the fate of your book and the lives of all who come in contact with it.  Not only that but you are influencing unknown numbers people you will meet.  The question to ask yourself is, “Who are you being influenced by?”

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20 Books all Boys Should Read

20 Books all Boys Should Read

Here’s a list of 20 books all boys should read (in no particular order).  Consider reading these aloud with your son:
Treasure Island, by Robert Lewis Stevenson

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

White Fang, Sea Wolf, and Call of the Wild, by Jack London

The Jungle Book and Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Endurance, by Alfred Lansing

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Shogun by James Clavell

African Queen by CS Forrester

King Solomon’s Mines by H.R. Haggard

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkein

List from Rick’s book, Better Dads Stronger Sons.  You can get a copy here:  www.betterdads.net

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Political Correctness versus Creativity

Does political correctness stifle creativity and courage? A generation of youth has now been raised under the oppressive boot of political correctness. With few exceptions, nearly all movies made today are either sequels of existing hit movies, remakes of previously made movies, or adaptations of comic books, video games, TV shows, or old skits from Saturday Night Live. Reliance on computer graphics often supersedes script writing, plot development and acting ability in films. Television now relies on reproducing older shows with minor changes or “reality” TV which does not require any forethought or creativeness. Even the music industry stoops to re-mixes of past hit songs for a significant portion of its volume and revenue. Where is the uniqueness and creativity? Perhaps political correctness and reliance on technology has made us intellectually lazy and dull as a nation—or just plain afraid.

Some claim political correctness makes us more sensitive of other beliefs while others state it produces a society of blamers and small-minded, self-righteous bigots. For whatever other traits it may have, the truth is political correctness keeps people from thinking outside the box and expressing themselves for fear of offending anyone or anything. Creativity by its very nature is destined to offend at least some people. Being creative involves risk, change, new ideas, and new ways of looking at things—all of which frequently frighten people or make them uncomfortable. Today’s version of creativity only targets seeing how far it can push the boundaries of decency and good taste. That kind of creativity does not appear to offend the sensibilities of the politically correct elite and so is not subject to their attack.

If we want creative solutions to the world’s problems, perhaps it’s time we began encouraging our young people to develop critical thinking skills instead of worrying about being as inoffensive as possible.