Greetings from Marti Pieper in sunny, rainy (almost every afternoon right now) Florida. I first met the subject of today’s interview when I picked him and some other authors up at the Orlando airport to head to the 2010 Florida Christian Writers Conference. We’ve crossed paths several times through the years, and I have always appreciated his deep devotion to God and concern for people. I look forward to introducing my friend Craig von Buseck to you today.
Welcome, Craig! Could you please tell us about your most recent book?
How can you know you are making the right choices in life? This question is examined and answered in Seven Keys to Hearing God’s Voice. No, it’s not crazy to hear the voice of God— it’s a promise from the Bible that we can claim as our birthright of faith.
Sounds wonderful. Why did you write this book?
There are a myriad of questions we ask in life: “What am I going to do for a career? Where should I go to school? Should I take this job, or is there something better on the horizon? Whom should I marry?” Life is a never-ending series of choices. How can we know whether we are making the right decisions? Do we rely on what the experts are saying or go with a gut feeling? Should we consult our horoscope? Maybe we should call the psychic hot line? Should we look to the stars—or should we seek the Maker of the stars?
As a disciple of Jesus Christ, we eventually come to the realization that our life is not our own. In fact, that is what it means to make Jesus the Lord of your life. Your salvation depends on His Lordship. In order to truly make Jesus our Lord, we must be able to hear His voice so we can do what the “Lord” wants us to do in this life. That is why I wrote this book.
That’s a great explanation. So what is the primary focus of your book?
God wants to fellowship and communicate with us. That’s two-way communication. Why? Because we can’t have a relationship unless there is true dialogue. How do we get to know another person? By talking and listening. It’s the same with our relationship with God. He talks, we listen. We talk, He listens.
God will speak, and we can hear His voice, but we must be careful that we seek ways to objectively confirm that we are following the Holy Spirit and not another voice. Our own flesh can scream pretty loud, especially when we are under pressure, or we want something very badly. The world can also be seductive. And the devil is the father of lies—he is the great deceiver. But God has provided a roadmap to help guide us into His plan for our lives—the Seven Keys to Hearing God’s Voice.
What would be your ideal writing place? And … what’s your actual writing place like?
My ideal writing place would be a small writing room with glass windows, lots of shelves for my books, a desk, and a comfortable stuffed chair—set off from the house for quiet and privacy, and surrounded by trees. My actual writing place is my office, which has a nice view of trees!
Why do you love writing?
I was asked to be the opening speaker at the Write-to-Publish Christian Writers Conference, where I made the statement, “If you ever thought prison would not be too bad because it would give you time to write, then you are in the right place at this conference.” The place erupted in laughter—because we all have probably had that thought at one time or another. My father, who is a portrait painter, once said to me, “If they took away my oils, I’d use acrylics; if they took my acrylics, I’d use watercolors; if they took those I’d use a crayon; if they took my crayon, I’d get a stick and doodle in the dirt. I’m not an artist because that’s what I do, but because that’s who I am.” I feel exactly the same way about writing.
I love that. And when did you first recognize God’s call to write for Him?
I first started writing short stories and songs when I was in middle school. There hasn’t been a time since then when I wasn’t writing something. I first recognized a calling to write in my early 30s, and when I went to seminary at Regent University, I enrolled in a writing course in the Communication School. My professor, Bob Slosser, kept repeating to us, “Make writing your ministry. Make journalism your ministry.” I took his advice to heart and pursued a joint degree of Divinity and Journalism. I’ve been writing full-time ever since.
Tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
A reader sent an email to tell me how he had read an earlier edition of Seven Keys to Hearing God’s Voice. He came to the place where it said that one way to help us hear the voice of God was through walking in forgiveness. He had held unforgiveness for his father, who had been in prison most of his life. After reading the book, he felt led by the Holy Spirit to visit his father in prison and to forgive him face to face. His father received this forgiveness and also asked his son for forgiveness. After this breakthrough, the reader said he decided to pursue ministry as a prison chaplain.
That’s so great. What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I love biography and narrative nonfiction. I have recently finished three books on Ulysses S. Grant: Personal Memoirs: Ulysses S. Grant; Grant by Ron Chernow; and Grant by Jean Edward Smith.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I am the editor of digital content for Inspiration.org, the website of Inspiration Ministries in Charlotte, North Carolina. We are launching an online magazine that will feature various kinds of content—Bible studies, devotions, marriage, parenting, finance, health, nutrition, entertainment and more—all from a biblical worldview. The vision of Inspiration.org is to provide content to inform, educate and inspire both Christians and seekers, as the site has both evangelistic and discipleship content. I also write narrative nonfiction and biography, telling true stories to encourage and challenge the reader.
Everyone struggles with time management in our 24/7 world. How do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
I haven’t watched regular TV for more than a decade. I work my day job at Inspiration.org, then I come home and work for a couple hours each evening on my current writing project. Then I relax by watching a movie or a documentary. I split my Saturdays between writing projects and work around the house.
What are your hobbies, activities or passions outside of writing?
I love history, travel, spending time with my kids and siblings, watching movies and documentaries, theater, hiking and fishing.
Thanks for sharing so much with our readers! Now, tell us about your next project.
I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel will be published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas in spring of 2019.
On May 14, 1948, as the British pulled out of Palestine and five Arab nations sat on the border, ready to invade, David Ben-Gurion stood in Tel Aviv and declared the establishment of the modern nation of Israel. Eleven minutes after Israel became a nation at midnight, President Truman became the first world leader to recognize the new Jewish state. This year, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of this fateful decision. Watch for this new biography telling the story of President Harry Truman and the Zionist Movement.
Congratulations on the contract, Craig! I remember you telling me about this book. And thank you again. It’s always a blessing to hear from you!
For His glory,