First, let me say thanks for all those who were supporting me in my quest to win the 2012 RE:Write contest— especially my lovely wife Suzanne.  While I did make the top ten of 200+ submissions, I must admit that I am disappointed, and discouraged, my submission did not earn the win.  That honor goes to another amazing writer,  Kurt Bubna. Kurt and I have some connections that go back to my days pastoring in the PNW with the Christian & Missionary Alliance so I wish him the best.

Although I could only afford to go to one day of the conference, I was very impressed with the quality of people involved at every level.  All the credit goes brilliant Esther Fedorkevich, President of the Fedd Agency Inc (BTW, not the same Esther Fedorkevich who plays poker) who partnered with the publisher of Tyndale House Momentum, Jan Long Harris.

At the conference, I had the chance to rekindle some old relationships and meet some new, and amazing, people. In no particular order…

Peter Strople spoke and I had a few moments to speak with him personally.  Peter is a former High-tech Executive  at GRiD (inventor of our Modern Clamshell Designed Laptop) and former Director at Dell. Now, he considers himself a compassionate capitalist.  He is an impressive man blessed with a lot of money, but an even greater pasion to use what God has given him to help others.  I’ve never met anyone like Peter before, and I am so grateful to know him.  His “Home Plate” changed my whole approach to creating meaningful conversation with people I meet.

Joel N. Clark is the co-founder and Creative Director of Switchvert, a production and ideas house co-located in Washington, DC and Johannesburg, South Africa. Joel is a gifted filmaker and author of Awake. I spent a lot of time talking with Joel just learning from his experiences.  He is a talented story-teller and I can’t wait to dig into his book which also weaves online movies into the story—very cool idea!

Paul Young is the famed author of The Shack.  Some of you may recall my interview with him a few years back. I had a brief opportunity to reconnect with Paul and have a brief conversation. Paul shared some of the most amazong stories of his life that touched me deeply beyond words.  I was moved to tears just listening to how God has put his life together.  It gives me hope that there is a light at the end of the long tunnel I have been traveling for many years. Paul has a new novel coming out in November called Crossroads, that you can pre-order now if you just can’t wait.

Darrell Park offered some engaging conversation over dinner about his book, “Better Than We Found It,” which details real-world, tangible solutions to the myriad of problems facing our world. We talked about fossile fuels, alternative clean energy, mostly solar, and Darrell’s years of experience in that industry. Darrell is a bright guy with a lot of passion and I was glad we had the chance to connect.

George Barna is best known for his research work at the Barna Group.  As you may recall from the interview I ddi with him a short while back, George has since left BG and his primary passion is writing. George is focused on writing books on discipleship and leadership, as well as novels.  I suggest you check out his book, “The Power of Team Leadership.”  I only had a brief conversation with George, but it was good to meet in person for the first time since our only previous interaction was the two interviews we have done together in the past four years.

Wayne Connell is a fascinating man.  He has the founder of “Invisible Disabilities Association” which encourages, educates and connects people around the globe who are touched by illness, injury or disability. This is a very personal thing for Wayne as his wife has been fighting Multiple Sclerosis for the past two decades.  His wife went from a very activer woman to a woman who struggles to accomplish some of the most basic daily tasks.  Wayne was an inspiration to me and I look forward to learning from him in the years ahead.

I met lot more great people, sorry I could not list everyone here, but I look forward to staying connected to as many as possible in the days to come.

Oh, and if you are interested, RE:Write 2013 is already slated for Texas and I highly recommend you make the time to go.

Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. Outside work, he is a church planter. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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