Monday, July 26, 2010

At the Montrose Christian Writers Conference

I'm teaching this week at the Montrose Bible Christian Writers Conference in beautiful Montrose, PA. Will write about the week and update the blog again on Aug. 2.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Video Series on First Responders Targets Faith in the Gulf

New York, NY — They are the first responders to the spiritual crisis wrought by the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico—faith leaders in the coastal communities whose task is to minister to the despairing and the desperate.

Odyssey Networks' "Faith at the Gulf" series of exclusive, on-the-ground video reports profiles these men and women and the communities they serve.

The first in this series of five video reports focuses on the historic Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, MS, and its executive director, the Rev. Shari Prestemon. Founded by the United Church of Christ in 1922 as a social justice ministry to serve the local shrimping families, the mission played a significant role in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Now Biloxi and its shrimpers face a new threat to their livelihoods and way of life—oil pollution in the waters of the Gulf. Rev. Prestemon shares Back Bay Mission's commitment to meeting this unprecedented economic and spiritual crisis.

"Nothing is as it was," she told Odyssey, "This is hitting directly the people we serve. We're here to meet their needs but it takes a lot of strength, a lot of heart, a lot of faith. Faith is not a simple thing. It's a complex thing. But it sharpens and crystallizes when it's tested and we've had a lot of tests."

The first of the "Faith at the Gulf" video series can be viewed now at Succeeding video reports will feature The Rev. Dr. Harold F. Roberts of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and the Rev. James L. Sturm of Leggett Memorial United Methodist Church, both of Biloxi. In addition to the video reports from Biloxi, Odyssey's website also offers articles about the work of its faith group members in the Gulf, along with prayers for the recovery of the area.

Odyssey Networks is the nation's largest multi-faith coalition dedicated to producing and distributing media that promotes peace and tolerance and addresses issues of social justice. Established in 1987, Odyssey Networks is a service of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition, Inc.

Calling All Mime Artists: Ad Deum Has an Intensive Just for You

Ad Deum Summer Dance & Mime Intensive in Houston is coming Aug. 1-6, and there is still time to register.

Calling all mimes! This year Ad Deum is offering an additional mid aftrenoon mime elective track from Sunday-Friday of the intensive. That would be 10 classes throughout the week to learn mime techniques including illusions, body control, characters, statues, and mimography. Mime students can also participate in the student showcase evenings.

There will be a special arrangement for those just wanting to do the mime elective track each day. The mime classes are open to those that have signed up for the full program.

For the brochure, visit

Ad Deum Dance Company is a professional contemporary dance company based in Houston, Texas under the direction of Randall Flinn. Ad Deum celebrates the grace of God through our 10 years of growth and future and hope He still holds for our lives and work.

Join Me at the Joyce Meyer Conference in Hershey, PA

Join me for the Joyce Meyer Conference Aug. 19-21 at the Giant Center in Hershey, PA. Israel Houghton will be leading the worship. I always come away with renewed focus and having enjoyed a wonderful time worshipping the Lord. For details, visit
--Lauren Yarger

Open Mic Night at the Guild

Dream with me if you will: on a small, 87 year old stage, before a friendly, supportive audience, you sing a tune that brings the crowd to their feet. Too good to be true? Not any more, because on Monday July 26th, the Episcopal Actors' Guild presents Open Mic Night 2010!

The Open Mic Night will be a terrific evening of entertainment, provided by you and all your fellow EAG members and friends. Hosting the event will be Eric Kuzmuk, with the incomparable Woody Regan sitting in as accompanist. For more info, visit below.

And as always, for up to date information on this and all other Guild events, check out our website at
-- Matt Roberson

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Book Review: The Worrywart’s Prayer Book by Allia Zobel Nolan

Don’t Worry, I’ve Got a Great Book for You
By Lauren Yarger
Are you a worrywart? If so, stop fretting. Have I got a book for you!

It’s “The Worrywart’s Prayer Book: 40 ‘Help-Me-Get-A-Grip God’ Meditations and Prayers" (Faith Communications, 2006) by Alia Zobel Nolan and it’s full of humor and insightful thoughts sure to quell the most worrisome of worrywarts.

Each brief chapter attacks the different things that make us worry, like losing a job, being alone, taking a test, losing a loved one or failure, just to name a few. I suppose I could add “worrying that no one will think I was influenced in writing this review by the fact that I like the author” because in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you I have had the pleasure of recently getting to know Nolan, a Connecticut resident, at meetings of the CT Press Club, of which we both are members.

Each book chapter starts with quotes from Scripture or famous people, then provides Nolan’s insight into the subject of worry and concludes with a prayer. The format works well for use as a daily devotional, a full read of the book or as a handy reference for when individual worries surface.

Nolan, a self-described worrywart, packs tons of wisdom into the small chapters and at times, you’ll feel like you’re learning at the feet of Jesus. Her practical, down-to-earth, and at times slightly sarcastic advice, like that listed below, will help you follow God more closely whether or not you’re a worrier.

• “Worrywarts soak up other people’s worries like a dry sponge on a wet countertop.”
• Her husband’s philosophy: “Let there be no crisis before its time.”
• “It’s about losing control – the control we think we (not God) have over the events that take place in our lives.”
• “Our goal is to get to the point where ‘Thank you, God!’ not ‘Oh, my God!’ becomes our automatic response to any and every situation that arises, even when we can’t imagine what good can possibly come of it.”

The sections in which Nolan shares her worries over writing a worry book and how worriers would rather “stick a scorpion up their noses” than accept change caused me to laugh out loud, but the book had immediate practical application in my life as well. I read it on the commuter train into New York on a morning when I’d left my son, heavily medicated and recovering from kidney stones at home.

In typical worrywart fashion I had envisioned every possible harm that might befall him until I could return home and attempted to prevent them all with preparations before I’d left. I was half way through the book and reading about how God uses angels to care for us before the irony hit me: I had spent a lot of time worrying and trying to control the situation, but never had actually asked God to take care of my son. Duh! So I prayed and felt a lot less worried as I read the rest of the worry book. In all seriousness, it’s one of the most helpful books I’ve ever come across. It will go on my shelf as a handy reference the next time worry takes over.

You can purchase the book here. You can visit the author's helpful blog at

Note: A free review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Plan to Spend Mondays at the Episcopal Actors' Guild

A series of Monday night activities have been planned by the Episcopal Actors' Guild. All events benefit the organization's programs to help actors in need and will be held at 7 pm, Guild Hall, 1 East 29th St., NYC. there is a suggested donation of $10. Wine and chees will be served.

Sounds Like...a heck of a good time! Get ready to play charades with fellow EAG members and their friends, on stage in the beautiful Guild Hall.

Participants will be divided into teams, with the night hosted by the incomparable Eric Kuzmuk.

Monday, July 19 - Improv Night
Monday, July 26 - Open Mic Night

For more info, email Eric at

Catch Erica Lane on Tour!

A picture from the music video shot in Tennessee.

Join Christian musician and singer Erica Lane on tour this summer and through 2010. Be on the lookout for her latest CD River Road, soon to be released.
Some dates and locations are subject to change.
Aug 18 2010 7:30P
National House of Hope Orlando, FL

Aug 21 2010 7:00P
National House of Hope Orlando, FL

Nov 17 2010 12:00P
Kenya Crusade KENYA

Dec 3 2010 7:00P
Christmas Stroll Brenham, TX

Dec 4 2010 7:00P
First United Methodist Church Bay City, TX

Dec 8 2010 7:00P
Central Christian Church Weatherford, TX

Dec 10 2010 7:00P
Faith Baptist Church Madisonville, TX

Dec 12 2010 6:00P
Grace Baptist Church Fort Worth, TX

Sharpen Writing Skills at Montrose Conference

I'm getting very excited about what God has in store at this year's Montrose Christian Writers Conference July 25-30 at the Montrose Bible Conference, Pennsylvania.

I'll be on the faculty (along with some really cool people I can't wait to meet -- keep reading) to teach one of the morning tracks, a couple of workshops and to meet with writers about their sketches. I wouldn't be surprised if I have the opportunity to make some wonderful friends too.

If you are a beginning writer looking for inspiration and guidance, this is the the place for you. If you are an established writer and are looking for some support and fellowship, this also is the place for you. I know we're going to see God at work. I'll list some of the offeirngs along with the faculty below, but for miore information, or to register, visit
-- Lauren Yarger

MAJOR MORNING CLASSES Monday-Thursday 10:40am-12:10pm
Designed as a continuing track to provide in-depth learning and participation. Most valuable when taken as a series but open to those who cannot attend every day.


Learn how to successfully write for publication. Discuss writing ethics, professionalism, attitude, office set-up, equipment, research aids, market analysis, query letters, guidelines, manuscript preparation and submission, dangers to avoid, the writing process, the publishing process, record keeping, publication barriers (and how to overcome them), and just about everything else you’ll need to hone your skill, polish your writing, and see your work in print.

Joan returned to full-time freelance writing in 2008 after three years as Senior Writer and Editor for a non-profit organization. Her award-winning blog about Labrador retrievers has garnered an international readership from Australia, Canada, England, Europe, and India. A teacher by background, Joan loves to mentor writers just starting their publishing career.


Like it or not, the best way to build a freelance writing career is by starting with magazine articles. Move past the predictable to explore fresh ideas. Examine the kinds of features that editors look for, the calendar-content connection, the wide world of shorts, and copyrights and wrongs. Learn how to market articles at the right time to the right publication and how to write successful online articles. Get answers for your questions with a Q and A session on Thursday.

Holly is an award-winning author or co-author of 14 books and thousands of articles and short stories that have appeared in Today’s Christian Woman, The Saturday Evening Post, Reader’s Digest, Writer’s Digest and The Writer. She is an annual judge for writing competitions sponsored by the Evangelical Press Association (magazines) and the Evangelical Christian Publishing Association (books). Her most recent book is "Feature & Magazine Writing: Action, Angles and Anecdotes."

Ginger is editor and manager of discipleship and women's resources for Christianity Today International which sponsors and award-winning Marriage, each visited by 1 million unique visitors annually. She's also a former editor of Today's Christian Woman and an award-winning author who has written more than 250 articles and written or contributed to more than 16 books, including Surprised by Remarriage and a novel, "Katt's in the Cradle."


Fantasy has become one of the most popular genres. This track opens the doors to learning how to create an idea for a fantasy tale, begin the adventure, and carry it through to the end of the journey—a completed novel. Writers of all ages and all skill levels are welcome. Be ready to dream and imagine as a group. Who knows? Maybe we’ll conjure up the next best-seller!

Bryan is the author of the best-selling "Dragons in Our Midst" and "Oracles of Fire" series, contemporary/fantasy blends. His book, "Eye of the Oracle," hit number one on the January 2007, Young Adult CBA best-seller list. He has also written "Echoes from the Edge," a mystery/suspense trilogy. His newest series, "Dragons of Starlight," is a 2010 release that is geared for both teens and adults.

A seminary graduate who was once a computer professional, Bryan has also written books for children, fathers, and husbands.


Where is the line between artist/Christian? Sometimes there isn't one. Learn how to write in both worlds. How do writing, music, drama, dance, visual art, and the pastor fit together? Pause to look at the big picture. Master the basics of writing . . . and rewriting . . . sketches for church or publication so they have maximum impact. Explore the art of critical writing for theater, book, or movie reviews or when offering edit suggestions on a script. Learn how to receive criticism well.

Lauren, Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, writes, directs, and produces for theater. She produced a three-year tour of a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that ended Off-Broadway. Her adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” won a 2000 VT Bessie Award. She writes Broadway, New York, and Connecticut theater reviews and has a blog for Christian artists at Lauren is a member of The Outer Critics Circle, The Drama Desk, the American Theater Critics Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists.

5. BLOGGING 101-401: WHAT, HOW, and WHY: Jim Willis

Just what is a blog? Why are blogs so important for writers? Learn about personal, professional, and corporate blogging as well as microblogging. Discover how to track, read, and respond to blogs. Learn to design blogs to showcase your talent and capture a publisher. Explore personal brands, author platforms, and online portfolios as well as practical tips for blogging. Examine the blogging marketplace, where to find opportunities, how to make submissions, and how to freelance and get paid.

Jim is vice president of marketing for the A-Team Groups, a British-based publishing company that publishes news and research in the financial services marketplace. Prior to that, he was director of electronic marketing for Knovel Corporation, an e-book publisher. Jim has been blogging since 2007. He has been a freelance reporter, and in his youth, was a staffer in the Ronald Reagan White House. Jim has had a lifelong passion for writing, loves to blog, and loves to read e-books on his Kindle.

Additional 2010 Writers Conference Faculty

Bonnie Calhoun:Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, a 220+ member organization that conducts weekly blog tours for the latest in Christian fiction from major publishing houses; publisher Christian Fiction Online magazine; and Northeast Zone Director for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Grace Fabian: Author, speaker, and teacher who served with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Mexico and Papua New Guinea. Her husband was murdered while translating I Corinthians 13 into the Nabak language. Her memoir, Outrageous Grace, tells of her quest with grief, forgiveness, and unimaginable redemption.

Jean Otto Ford: Freelance writer, editor, public speaker, graphic designer, award-winning artist, and marketing-communications generalist who has written 12 published books and countless magazine articles. She currently works as a doctoral dissertation editor, but for fun, enjoys writing and illustrating children’s books.

Mark Hamby: Author, speaker, and Bible teacher whose passion is seeing God use the power of story to transform lives, “one story at a time.” He is the founder and President of Lamplighter Ministries International, publisher of life-changing classic books and producer of world-class audio drama productions heard on radio as Lamplighter Theater.

Vie Herlocker: Editor for Sonfire Media, a Christian partnership publishing house in Galax, Virginia. She is also a writer with articles published in several magazines and collection books. She co-wrote the book, Building Better Schools by Engaging Support Staff, and ghostwrote, Until My Blindfold Comes Off.

Matt Holliday: Editor of Pennsylvania Magazine, launched by his parents 29 years ago, enjoys connecting the stories produced by writers and photographers with readers who enjoy them. A man of broad interests, Matt has served in the military and worked as a cook and real estate agent.

Marsha Hubler: Author and educator who has written poetry, short stories,articles, and 12 books. Books 7 and 8 of her best-selling Keystone Stables series were released by Zonderkidz this year. She has also published two new releases: Rickie Rides To The Rescue and The Secret Of Wolf Canyon.

Kathy Ide: Freelance editor for authors and book publishers and published author of books, articles, play/movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum. She is also the founder/coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network.

Donna and Conrad Kreiger: Worship coordinators for the conference. Donna is a songwriter, soloist, pianist, organist, arranger and recording artist who has been involved in radio drama and taught on the college level. Conrad plays several instruments and has served as Minister of Music in a variety of churches.

Shirley Leonard: Graduate of the Christian Writers guild whose devotionals have appeared in the Secret Place, the Quiet Hour, Devotions, and Penned from the Heart and whose stories and articles have been published in Live, Women Alive, and Pennsylvania. A contributing writer for American Window Cleaner, she loves to see new writers find their niche.

Elaine W. Miller is the author of two books in the Splashes of Serenity Series. Her work is published in Sanctuary: A Devotional Bible for Women as well as several magazines. A featured guest on radio and television broadcasts, Elaine is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Mary Sue Seymour: Literary agent who founded The Seymour Agency in 1992. Most interested in Christian romance and women’s fiction but also sells a little nonfiction. A member of the AAR, WGA, The Author's Guild and RWA, she represents about fifty clients, many of whom have multibook deals with major publishers.

Carol Wedeven: Teacher, speaker, artist, and musician who has written several picture books, curriculum, articles, short stories, fillers, and poetry. In addition to traveling, she continues to work on a book project and serve as Assistant Director for MCWC.

ReFocus on Outreach Effectiveness

The National Outreach Convention Nov 3-5 in San Diego offers an opportunity to refocus and increase your outreach effectiveness.

According to George Barna, half of all US churches did not add one new member through conversion growth last year. Has outreach been moved to the back burner in your church?

Effective outreach to an increasingly unchurched population is urgent and nonnegotiable. Don't allow the pressures of programming, staffing, budget cuts, equipment needs and all the myriad of ministry "have to's" distract you from the primary reason your church exists. Even the best programs are wasted, if they don't result in reaching people with the truth of the Gospel.

Make outreach and evangelism a priority and ReFOCUS your Outreach by joining hundreds of other leaders at the National Outreach Convention. Equip your team to create effective assimilation strategies. Get the ideas and help you need to make outreach a priority.

Learn proven outreach strategies from today's outreach leaders.
Network with others and discover what has and hasn't worked for them.
Be re-tooled for increased outreach effectiveness.

Save up to $50 per person by registering by Aug. 31. For infomration visit

Selling Yourself without Selling Out

Does self-promotion have to be "shameless?" Is there a conflict between the humility we are called as Christians to have, and practices that seem necessary to advance your career?

Find out when Redeemer Arts Ministries offers the second in a series of Professional Development Workshops for artists 7 pm Friday, July 23, at the Redeemer offices,1359 Broadway (at 36th Street), fouth floor. The workshop will look at how to create and implement a marketing strategy for your "product" - even if that product is you.

The event features a lecture, discussion, hands-on exercises and testimonials from artists who have been there. No admission fee will be charged. Light snacks will be provided.

To register click here. For more information, contact Luann Jennings, or (212) 808-4460 x1343

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Lights are Bright on Broadway!

Max McLean, Kia Corthron Receive "The Lights are Bright on Broadway Awards"
Max McLean, star of "The Screwtape Letters" and Kia Corthron, author of the play "A Cool Dip in the Barren Saharan Crick" received Masterwork Productions' 2010 "The Lights are Bright on Broadway" awards, presented to individuals and organizations making a difference in the Broadway community through their faith.

McLean, above, was joined on stage at the Westside Theatre, where The Screwtape Letters currently is playing, by co-star Karen Eleanor Wight, right, who plays his assistant demon Toadpipe in the production (co-adapted by McLean with Director Jeffrey Fiske) of the C.S. Lewis book. The award was presented by Masterwork Executive Director Lauren Yarger, left.

Corthron, pictured below, was honored at Playwrights Horizons, where her play ran earlier this season and was honored for its positive depiction of main character Abebe, an African preacher in training, and the sharing of his faith.

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."



Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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