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J.J. Turner, Ph.D.

Author of How to Drop Your Excuses and Start Writing Today (amazon.com)

As a writer, editor, publisher, and teacher of writing I am continually asked “How do you start writing?” Recently at a university book display a publisher “stuck a camera” in my face and asked me to share my advice on how to become a writer. When I quickly answered, “By writing one word at a time”, those gathered around the camera person, along with the camera person, either smiled or had a strange look on their faces. The camera person tried to encourage me to say more but I continued to say, “All writing begins with one word. Period!”

     Here’s a rocket science observation. You can’t write the second or third word until you have written the first word. How amazing is this revelation! Try it and you’ll see I am right.

     Hundreds of books, writer seminars and retreats, along with writing teachers have created a mystic or aura around what it takes to be a writer. Some of the advice and suggestions are on target and some is designed to promote and sell. You are discouraged when you hear about all the rules of grammar, syntax, spelling, word choices, etc. If you are interested in writing poetry you are given a list of dozens of acceptable poetry styles you need to master. No, I’m not opposed in pursuing academic knowledge about writing. My interest is in helping people start where it all starts after they’ve completed all the writing courses—writing one word.


Here are 12 simple and basic keys I have discovered which help develop the writing habit. Don’t let the simplistic nature of these keys fool you. Give them thought, questions, and application. Today, write on!

  1. Keep in mind you are developing a new HABIT. It has been proven that it takes on an average 66 days to develop a habit that sticks with you.
  2. Keep in mind you are developing ONE habit at a time; not a multiplicity of habits.
  3. Have a deep and dynamic reason for WHY you will develop the writing habit.
  4. Remember the old K-I-S-S principle: Keep-It-Simple-Sir. Inch by inch it’s a cinch and yard by yard it’s too hard. Choose a familiar and simple subject at first, e.g. an event in your life—past or present.
  5. Never, no never, miss two days in succession in writing something. If you miss one day your chances of continuing drop 55%, if you miss two days in a row it drops to 90%. Keep on keeping on.
  6. Set the time each day you will write. The morning for most persons has been proven to be the best time. The mind is fresh, alert, and productive. Keep the time you choose.
  7. Write out your plan for starting to write. Yes, I said write your plan! This will be your master goal setting agenda, which you’ll change from time to time. Do it NOW!
  8. Keep your practice simple and consistent. You’ll be motived to start launching out but wait until you’ve gotten the writing habit ingrained in your nervous system, etc.
  9. Ask someone to hold you accountable for practicing your writing habit routine. This will serve as a major motivation. Don’t try to make excuses or get out of your commitment to write habit.
  10. Create a reward system for yourself. It may be a certain dessert you enjoy, a book, etc. Give it only after you have achieved a specific goal.
  11. Never surrender your goal to develop the writing habit. NEVER!
  12. START writing right now: Your name:________________ address:________________________

You have already started writing. DON’T STOP.


Have you ever thought of effective prayer as actually being composed of a quartet? A quartet is made up of four distinct persons. Each participant has a specific voice part to contribute to making harmony. Traditionally a quartet is composed of an Alto, Tenor, Bass, and Soprano. In the traditional Gospel Quartets and Barbershop Quartets, there is a lead singer. Because, as a rule, the human voice has a limited range, the various voice types aren’t able to successfully sing outside of their range. In order to have perfect harmony, each member of the quartet has a specific part he must sing. Each quartet member has a responsibility to learn the song, practice it, and work with the other members of the quartet. Together, “they make a beautiful harmony.”


In the “effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man” (James 5:16), there are four participants who make up a quartet of prayer. Each one has a specific responsibility in creating a camaraderie which contributes to the answering of prayers. Here are the four quartet members.

The Father’s Role: 

It is our heavenly Father who has ordained every aspect of prayer. He is our leader. Jesus said when we pray we must direct our prayers to the Father in heaven: In this manner, therefore, pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9).

The Role of Christ:

In the quartet of prayer, the Father has ordained that His Son, Jesus Christ, be the sole mediator between man and the Father. The apostle Paul wrote: “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, that Man Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 2:5).

The Role of the Holy Spirit:

The Holy Spirit who is a member of the prayer quartet is rarely every acknowledged when we pray. The apostle Paul says the Spirit is actually involved in interpreting our prayers when we pray: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit uses the word to help us (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

The Role of Man:

The other three members of the prayer quartet are always ready to perform their part in the concert of prayer. It is the fourth member of the quartet, man, who must activate the prayer concert. Paul wrote: “I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting” (1 Timothy 2:8). This is an amazing responsibility God has given a man.


In 1937 an Italian, Carlo Collodi wrote the Adventures of Pinocchio, the story of a puppet carved by the old wood-carver named Geppetto. The puppet is brought to life by the blue fairy, who promised Pinocchio he could become a real boy if he proves himself “brave, truthful and unselfish.” As he meets various characters he lies and his nose grows longer. Through the year the name Pinocchio was become synonymous with lying.

     In recent years the media has created an award called the Pinocchio Award. It is awarded through checking the statements made my politicians, scientists, and other disciplines to document the facts as true or false. Based on the perceived seriousness of the words or issues in question, facts are checked for accuracy and truthfulness; then an award ranging from one to four, with four being the most severe is awarded.

     In order to continue placing a high and godly value on truth and truth telling –“Buy the truth and do not sell it (Proverbs 23:23)—take a few minutes and honestly respond to the following observations about yourself:




  1. …you stretch the truth
  2. …you bend the truth
  3. …you twist and torture the truth
  4. …you pervert the truth
  5. …you deliberately change the truth
  6. …you refuse to acknowledge the truth (cf. John 8:32)
  7. …you refuse to stand for the truth (don’t want to be involved, “leave well-enough alone”)
  8. …you refuse to support the truth (keep silent, argue against it, etc.)
  9. …you deliberately deceive people (pattern of lifestyle, hypocrite, etc.)
  10. …you intentionally reject the truth (afraid of the consequences)
  11. …you hurt others by lying (out of anger, dislike, protect self, etc.)
  12. …you make dishonest gain or acquire a position by lying
  13. …you have secret and clandestine behaviors
  14. …you lie under oath, on contracts, about taxes, etc.
  15. …you trick people with misinformation (“half-truths”, concealment, lies, etc.)
  16. …you cannot stop lying—pathological personality issue (need professional help, etc.)
  17. …you continually make a joke out of the truth (try to dilute the effect of truth)
  18. …you avoid exposure to truth (don’t want to hear it)
  19. …you justify telling a falsehood or a lie (“Don’t want to hurt feeling,” “best for them”, etc.)
  20. …you cannot discern error from truth (cognitive disability)
  21. …you never, ever admit you are wrong nor made a mistake (a form of narcissism, pride, etc.)
  22. …you have a secret agenda you are hiding or pushing
  23. …you are contradicting God’s word—THE TRUTH (John 8:32, 36).
  24. …you don’t like to be around persons who stand for the truth or tell the truth
  25. …you keep silent when you should speak up for the truth (may be interpreted as supporting)
  26. …you pervert God’s word to prove or sustain your position or beliefs
  27. …you mix truth with error—just enough to get by or pass inspection (know how to play system)
  28. …you attack a person’s character when he or she tells the truth (“can’t trust them”, “liar”, etc.)
  29. …you had rather be “liked” than known as a “truth teller and supporter of truth”
  30. 3…you want to impress others and stay in good with them (“keep friends at all cost”)





J.J. Turner, Ph.D.




Years ago if I had written this article I would have titled it Christians Are Reader. My experiences now with some Christian, which include leaders and preachers, reveal a lack of reading. Talking to bookstore managers confirm that men aren’t buying books like they once did, and the books they are buying now are “fluff and puff”—shallow content. The good news is that women are buying more books, thus the rapid increase in the publishing of books designed for ladies.

     Men aren’t reading because they don’t have time, as some claim. They have time but they spend it on computer websites, IPad, cell phones, social media, video games, watching TV, etc. Homes which once had bookcases filled with books that were read, now are filled with pictures, plaques with sayings, and a few unread classics; even Bibles.

     I confess that I am writing this article with a bias. I am a readaholic! When I am asked, which I often am, what’s the greatest thing you learned during all your education? I answer quickly, “The greatest thing I learned in school was in the first and second grades. I learned how to read.” Reading opened up the whole world to me, from A to Z. It created an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I average reading a couple of books each week on a variety of subjects, obviously, the Bible is always first on my daily reading list.

     Some books, such as novels, I read simply for pleasure, others I read take me into academics subjects. Some cause me to examine my politics and cultural involvement. Some create a spirit of debate as I doubt and challenge content. I mark in books and take notes. I use quotes and illustrations from books I read. Books of humor help me to loosen up with laughter. Books on Bible subjects challenge my exegetical skills as I search to see if “those things are true.”

     A lack of desire to read as well as a lack of reading skills is showing up more and more in Bible classes and public assemblies. Some children have a reluctance to attend Bible classes because of a fear of being asked to read. Men decline to read Scriptures because of poor reading skills. Many ties those who read in public mispronounce simple words, mumble, read too rapidly, etc.

     The literacy level continues to drop in our country and is evidenced in congregations. In a post by Reading By Phonics.com, under the title Top 10 Reasons Why Kids Can’t Read: The Not-So-Shocking Reading and Literacy Statistics, the following results were given:

Did you know that 67 % of all grade 4 students in

The US cannot read at a proficient level? According

To the National Assessment of Educational Progress

(NAEP), 34 % cannot achieve the lowest basic level

Of reading skills. Unfortunately, it’s not just the

Americans that have reading problems—this is really

A global issue, at least in all major English speaking countries:

*43% of Canadians are considered semi-illiterate

*42% of students in the UK leave school without

achieving a basic level of functional English

                 *33% of year 5 students in Australia do not meet the

                   benchmark literacy skills

     Since the Bible is a document to be read, it is obvious that a person must know how to read in order to know, learn and practice what God has commanded. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth” (John 8:32). Want to hear something that is surprising? It is amazing how many Christians, even leaders and preachers, who have not read the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.

     The Bible emphasizes the reading of Scripture:

1.      1 Timothy 4:13, “Till I come, give attention to READING, to exhortation, to doctrine.”

2.      John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they  which testify of Me.”

3.      Acts 8:30, So Philip ran to him, and heard him READING the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are READING?”

4.      2 Timothy 4:13, “Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the BOOKS, especially the parchment.”

5.      Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he who READS and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep those things which are WRITTEN in it; for the time is at hand.”

6.      Ephesians 3:3, 4, “how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which when you READ, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).”

7.      1 Peter 1:10, 11, “of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ Who was in them…”.

8.      Acts 13:15, “And after the reading of the Law and Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, ‘Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on’”.

9.      1 Thessalonians 5:27, “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be READ to all the holy brethren.”

10.  Matthew 19:4, And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not READ that He who made them at the beginning, ”made them male and female”’”?

     There is no question nor doubt that the Bible ought to be the number one priority on our reading list. In the early years of our nation, when school was conducted in church buildings, the Bible was the major textbook for learning to read and write. In time the function was turned over to the government, which now makes it criminal to read or pray in public schools.

     We need to start a revival of reading in the church. It needs to start with the leaders. Since the Bible places an emphasis on reading, why can’t we teach our youth, and older members, how to read? The sequence is simple: First, we learn to read and second we read to learn.

     What we are reading shows up in our lives. Emerson wrote, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” Jim Rohn was right when he said, “The book you don’t read won’t help.” And Margaret Fuller was on target when she said, “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” “It is what you read when you don’t have to,” wrote Oscar Wilde, “that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

     Think about these words of Ray Bradbury: “There are worse crimes than burning books, one of them is not reading them.”


I encourage you to take a few minutes and browse in my book stores listed on this site. You will find numerous subjects that will edify, educate, and contribute to your growth in Christ.




     Webster: “a religion that is considered or held to be false or unorthodox, or it members.”

     Theological: “In the context of traditional doctrines and practices of biblical Christianity, a cult is a group that believes and practices beliefs that are contrary to the (1) Divinity, (2) eternal existence (3)incarnation, (4) virgin birth, (4) exclusive saviorhood, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Christ. Plus many other teachings and practices that contradict the Bible (e.g. 66 books).


     A cult associated with “Christianity” may be identified, according to basic definitions, by one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. Usually identified by a human founder: (1) Joseph Smith, (2) Charles T. Russell, (3) Mary Baker Eddy, (4) Ellen G. White, (5) Sun Myung, (6) Jim Jones, (7) Ron Hubbard, (8) Hare Krishnas, etc.
  2. Members are taken though a psychological indoctrination (“brain washing”).
  3. Their belief system is characterized by closemindedness and a superiority complex.
  4. Members tend to be antagonistic and rejecting of others who don’t share their beliefs.
  5. A high level of intolerance toward any position, doctrine, or practice not like theirs.
  6. Most cults were founded by persons—men and women—who claimed to receive divine authority, revelation, and appointment by God or angels. Some claimed to be God or a god.
  7. Most cults are apocalyptic believing in the future there will be some cataclysmic, Armageddon, or other major event that only faithful members will survive, etc.
  8. A cult member will usually stop studying with you if you don’t readily accept their teachings or ask questions they cannot or don’t know how to answer. They are always right, you are always wrong.
  9. Most members accept organizations teaching without questioning. Usually afraid to question.
  10. There is usually a national headquarters that controls members and practices.
  11. There is usually a magazine, book, Bible translation, radio and TV programs to propagate teachings.
  12. Beliefs are propagated by outreach and “evangelism” efforts (door-to-door, street corners, etc.).
  13. Members are required to participate in various programs—disciplined if don’t.
  14. Members support with time, money and participation.
  15. Some cults emphasize a strong ethic and morality; some just the opposite. Some are inconsistent.
  16. Some practice “anti-government” and “anti-medical” behavior (Reject all holidays, blood transfusion).
  17. Have a form of discipline, shunning, and shaming of “unfaithful” members.
  18. They have members, like all groups, who aren’t faithful to teachings and practices.
  19. Members are isolated and prohibited from marrying or dating a “heathen”, “unbelievers”, etc.
  20. Bring reproach on the simplicity of the Gospel, worship, and Divinity of God, etc.
  21. Perpetuate behavior that brings “persecution” proving they are right and approved by God.

READ: Galatians 1:8, 9; 2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Romans 1:14-16.

© Dr. JJ Turner and ©Jeremiah Institute - All Rights Reserved (usage)

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