Plan your story

I was helping my neighbour build his home extension a while ago. It was the first time I was involved in a building project and it was interesting. I think we took as much time comparing the plans to the pieces of structure as we did measuring the placements and nailing them into place.

I was only involved in setting up the frame, but every part of the frame played a part in creating and supporting the floor plan. It wasn’t easy getting the picture of the final product then, but in these final days of construction, I can now see my neighbour’s vision.

Planning takes time. It takes us away from the fun part of writing – the writing. But planning is important as it gives our story structure. It helps us tell the complete story. We know what we’re working towards and what we’re working with.

Even from the very beginning, God had a plan and a purpose for man’s redemption (Gen 3:14-15). And the rest of the Bible serves to build upon that plan. Do a search on Jesus in the Old Testament and you’ll see what I mean.

So before you write, make a plan. It doesn’t have to be detailed, but you need to know what you’re working towards.

Make it last

So for the past few weeks, I have been talking about the Generosity Gospel. If you’re scratching your head, wondering what is the Generosity Gospel, go look at my past few posts.

I hope that in the last few posts, you noticed that I broke the big topic into many smaller items and stretched it out. Like all good things, we want to make them last. And a good, challenging topic is no different.

God, in the Bible talks about many different topics, but He doesn’t lay it all out in one go. He stretches it out and we can read about it throughout the Bible. We learn one aspect here and a few weeks or maybe even months later, we learn another.

Having the time between the different aspects allows us to process and internalise. We get to learn more when we ponder on a topic over time, much like cooking. Simmering over low heat over a long time turns tough sinew from something tough and chewy into something tender and falls apart in our mouths.

The description of God’s throne room in Revelations 4 is the most descriptive reveal of God in the Bible. It describes His surrounds and gives us an physical image to picture. But this isn’t complete. It is like a final reveal after the massive build up that starts in Genesis 1.

Just reading Revelations 4 might give us a description of God in His throne room, but it fails to tell us what God is like, His character, His attributes, etc. In a way, the description fails to fully describe His majesty, glory, holiness, and when taken without the context of all the other things we learn about God, fails miserably in describing God fully. I believe that’s why God doesn’t give us such a detailed description of Himself until the final book in the Bible.

There’s so much to Him that we need the time to process before we get a full idea of who He is. So when you write to discuss difficult topics, take your time, stretch it out a little and make it last.

Finding a topic

“What to talk about? What can I write about?” Those questions, I’m sure, are questions many writers/bloggers face at some point in their careers. So what’s the best way to keep finding different topics?

I know I haven’t been blogging for a long time, but I know what it is like to not have a topic to write about. Thankfully, I haven’t had that issue for a while.

What I did was build a library of topics and stories that I can draw upon before I get to that stage. It’s been a blessing when I’m unable to write a blog before Mondays. Now, when I have time to write, I don’t have to spend any precious time thinking about the topic. As a newbie to blogging, I still have other jobs to do and can’t always make time to write.

But when there is time to think, I like to consider stories and topics to add to the library. Topics that will bring about good discussions are ones with controversy. In Christian circles, the most controversial is the “prosperity gospel”.

The “prosperity gospel” is the name given to the belief that God wants to bless us financially. And the key to unlocking this blessing is to give to various ministries. That’s a very short summary of the “prosperity gospel”.

Many people believe and support it. Many think it promotes greed and paints God as someone we can manipulate. It is so divisive that I cannot go past it.

For the next few weeks, I’m looking to discuss the prosperity gospel. So keep an eye on this blog and see how a topic can be pushed out for a number of weeks. In the meantime, do share with us what you do to find topics to write about.

One Book, many topics

The Word of God is incredibly written. When God wrote it, He had thought of how to keep everyone reading. As we all know, what is the point of writing the best selling book if no one wants to read it.

God knows what we are interested in, much like the character Ashley Grant from Homer Badman (The Simpsons Season 6). She knew how to handle boys and could catch Bart’s attention with a video game and made him run into a wall. Of course God won’t make us run into the wall with whatever it is that interests us. But we can be sure God has covered our favourite topic somewhere in the Bible.

And those topics, together tell the story of God’s work throughout history. His work covers everything. And they serve the added benefit of catching our attention. Here is a small list of topics in the Bible:

  • architecture and construction
  • astronomy
  • biology
  • city planning
  • dreams
  • family drama
  • future events
  • healthcare/hygiene
  • history and therefore archeology
  • human psychology and behaviour
  • interior decorating
  • law
  • miracles
  • music
  • poetry
  • politics
  • science
  • sci-fi
  • sex and relationships
  • ship building
  • storytelling
  • spies
  • ufos
  • war

Love riddles and brainteasers? Yes, you can find something too. Yup, read up on the book of the prophets or the book or Revelations. Here’s a question for you: Are you wise in seeking God’s wisdom, or does seeking God’s wisdom make you wise?

Love problem solving or investigative tasks? How about learning about ancestry? There are a lot of passages on people’s ancestry from the first book onwards.

Here is a challenge to readers. Do you think you can find a topic that isn’t covered in the Bible? Let me know through the comments.