REFORMATION TODAY: How I Created a Digital Magazine

 

In a departure from the general spiritual-warfare topics of my blog, I’d like to take a moment to share with you all how I created a digital magazine. I hope this will be a useful, easy-to-use guide for any inquiring minds who’d like to launch digital magazines of their own.

 

THE CONCEPTION

For those of you who don’t know, my magazine is REFORMATION TODAYThe first issue was released in June (Summer 2017), and the sophomore issue came out earlier this week (Fall 2017). I’m currently planning the Winter 2017 issue.

SUMMER 2017

SUMMER 2017

 

REFORMATION TODAY (referred to as “RT” from here on out) was something I’d been wanting to do for some time now. However, I have to lay much of the blame on Perry Stone. I’ve heard him discuss the origin of his publication, Voice of Evangelism (highly recommend!), several times. The presently high-quality issue that comes out five or six times a year and features articles mostly by him (`~ four or five per issue) as well as one by his wife, Pam, was not always the professional work that it is today! He started it as a very young man – a teenager, I believe, and with ZERO experience! If memory serves correctly, he created a small publication, plagued with errors (that were mocked by many), and sold his drum set to a man to get it published!

Well, that was before I was even born. And I knew that I had skills as a writer as well as an editor. And these days, with all of the programs and apps out there, one doesn’t have to be a graphic designer to get the layouts and so forth done in a sleek, professional manner. I knew I could create a magazine, and do it well! So I did!

Editorial History

I’ve written/edited for various magazines in the past: Boudoir Fashion Magazine, DENIM Fashion Magazine (celebrity stylist Jason Bolin), Extant Magazine (no longer in existence), Shulamite Women Community MagazineGlobal Prophetic Voice, and Gospel Today. I wanted a publication of my own that would be a continuation of the topics already discussed on my blog; that would have a strong emphasis on the prophetic and apostolic; and would discuss topics such as prayer/intercession/spiritual warfare, the prophetic, the apostolic, revival, and last but not least, reformation. One of the words declared over my life on multiple occasions was that I am a reformer. Just call me “Martin”! *smile*

Writing from a prophetic vein was not always a liberty I was afforded in the past, and it was very restricting, suffocating to my passion and ability. I wanted to build a team of prophetic and apostolic writers, known and unknown, whose voices could be heard without unnecessary restriction. REFORMATION TODAY was the happy result.

WRITE FOR REFORMATION TODAY!

Below, I will share some of the programs, apps, etc. that I used to put the entire magazine together, start to finish.

TOOLS & SYSTEMS

Google Docs

I am an intense advocate of Google Docs! I’ve lost too many documents over the years by accident using Microsoft Word so I RARELY use it, if ever. With Google Docs, I can access my documents from any location so long as there is Wi-Fi, and you can download the offline version(s) as well.

Of course, you can use Microsoft Word, Open Office, or whatever document program suits your fancy.

Canva

Canva is my lifeline!!! I use it for everything! Book covers (i.e. Judging the PropheticThe Days of Noah and LotDeborah: The Ultimate Jezebel-PreventativeBlogpreneur 101, as well as my notebook covers), Facebook/Twitter cover images, email headers, Instagram/Facebook/Twitter posts, ads, digital thank you cards, PDFs, and more! Honestly, if my magazine was under 30 pages total, I could do the entire project on Canva instead of having to implement Google Slides. But y’all know I’m long-winded and the list of writers is growing, so the magazine currently sits around 50 pages.

How Canva works is that you:

  1. Set up an account.
  2. Complete the quick, initial Canva how-to training.
  3. Select the template of your choice. (There are now two specific magazine layouts. And if you want another size beside 8.5×11, then you can enter your own dimensions in the upper righthand corner.)
  4. Select your layout. All layouts are either free or $1. (I haven’t paid for a layout yet!)
  5. Edit the current template’s image or upload and edit your own. You can edit and manipulate these images in various ways.
  6. Write or copy and paste your content.
  7. Download your Canva document. You may download it as a JPEG, PNG, PDF-Standard, or PDF-Print. I download all documents as JPEGs. You’ll learn why in the next section.

READ THE FULL POST AT DESIREEMMONDESIR.COM!

 

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Martin Luther Had Pamphlets, You Have Manifestos

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Over the past few months, I’ve been studying reformation. The historical figures Martin Luther and John Knox. The not-so-distant Nazi opposers, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and those involved in the White Rose Movement. They had one main thing in common: their reformation came through information. And that information was printed on pamphlets.

When the rebellious Benedictine monk acted on his righteous indignation over the travesties enacted by the Catholic Church, he nailed his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Castle Church door.

Manifesto2

They were soon printed—along with many other works—on pamphlets distributed far in wide to the German masses.

The young people who headed up the White Rose Movement made their non-violent protests against the inhumane acts of the Nazi-powered Third Reich distributed their righteous beliefs in the form of leaflets.

These were short works, manifestos, expressing their beliefs, values, and guiding principles. When a reformation occurs, it often comes with manifestos that outline its belief system.

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Some not-so great examples are The Communist Manifesto, The Homosexual Manifesto, The Humanist Manifesto, and a worldwide “favourite,” Mein Kampf.

However, there are some other excellent, godly manifestos as well such as A Christian Manifesto  by the late Dr. Francis Schaffer as well as The Reformation Manifesto by Prophet Cindy Jacobs. (I own both of these and they are EXCELLENT, RIVETING reads!)

We may not all be reformers in the areas of religion and government, but maybe you are a thought leader in another area. Business, writing, dancing, whatever! God gives us all ideas for our spheres of influence. It’s our job to share those ideas and belief systems with the world.

With the advent of eBooks in iPad, Kindle, Nook, and PDF formats, it is now easier than ever to express these ideas through eBooks and manifestos.

Manifesto1

I won’t pretend to be Luther, Bonhoeffer, or Jacobs, but I do have the mind of Christ!

Write your manifesto today! Nail your theses to your walls on Facebook, tweet them on Twitter, pin them on Pinterest, and share them on Tumblr!

You have no excuse.

Get to writing!

P.S. Check out this Google Image search on manifestos and find what piques your manifesto-writing interest!

 

Giving It Away–For Free

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You may consider this blog a sequel to “An Author’s #1 Enemy.

I remember when I first discovered Tyler Perry. DVDs of his plays would come into our house. Hopefully purchased *fingers crossed*, many borrowed, and we fell in love with Tyler Perry.

This was when the now movie mogul was doing the “chicken circuit” in the “black areas” of the South, East Coast, L.A. and the like. The only actors we recognized were the likes of Tamela Mann and any other who might have previously sung with Kirk Franklin and the Family (back when Kirk was still singing on his albums—a LONG time ago).

I wasn’t the only one who got introduced to Mr. Perry this way. Black folks across America did. Some of you reading this probably did.

Then, even in his humble beginnings, we became part of Tyler Perry’s tribe.

Now look at him! He’s just released a blockbuster hit,Temptation based on his stage play The Marriage Counselor. He’s got a new drama series (translation = soap opera) on OWN called The Haves and the Have Nots, is doing some Madea-Sophia collaborations with Oprah which is a stupidly brilliant idea, joining the Madea andThe Color Purple franchises the way they are, and that’s just this summer!

And guess what, he’s not just catering to black people now!

The man is literally creating a new, minority-friendly Hollywood in Atlanta and there’s no stopping him now.

You don’t have to like him, but you must respect the hustle.

But if you ask me, it all started with the bootleg DVDs.

Now pleeeease hear me, I am NOT supporting piracy. However, I AM promoting free, worthwhile gifts from your entity to the world.

If you are a writer, you can write an eBook or manifesto. (I’ll blog on manifestos next.)

If you are a singer, you can drop a mixtape.

If you are a choreographer, you can teach a free boot camp.

Whatever your specific niche is, you can discover a way to serve your gift for free.

(This is also a really great way to gather honest testimonials on your work.)

Here’s the key: what you give away must be of undeniable value to the recipients.

Think about it: if you give away your mixtape or eBook to 5; 50; 500; or 5,000 people, that’s 5; 50; 500; or 5,000 people who wouldn’t have been exposed to your work otherwise.

AND if your product is of value to those people, they’ll pass the word along—or the product itself—to those in their acquaintance. The possibilities are astronomical.

I’m not promising that you’ll become the next Tyler Perry, C.S. Lewis, or Laurieanne Gibson; however, I will promise what the Scripture promises: that if you are diligent, your gift will make room for you and bring you before influential individuals.

A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. (Proverbs 18:16)

He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. (Proverbs 10:4)

The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor. (Proverbs 12:24)

The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)

Create something of value to give away today!!

The Right to Write

When we as Americans think of our rights, we rarely think of writing. But writing most certainly is an innate right of ours. Merriam-Webster describes a right as,

Qualities (as adherence to duty or obedience to lawful authority) that together constitute the ideal of moral propriety or merit moral approval; something to which someone has a just claim; the power or privilege one is justly entitled to; something that someone may claim as due; the cause of truth or justice. 

You—whoever you are, wherever you’re from—have the duty, claim, power, privilege, and entitlement to write. It is our gift and privilege as human beings to be able to take our thoughts, emotions, wisdom, and advice, record it—either by ourselves or with the help of someone else—and present it to the world.

Writing is Serving

I will refer to a quote which was the basis of my first post “Write to Serve” by author and branding strategist, Marshawn Evans, which states,

“If we look at writing as serving, [it] will probably change our perspective on it.”

We must serve our gifts to the world. What good will keeping it to yourself do? You may not be the number one person in your industry; you may only be a young entrepreneur like myself, but you can help someone. You can encourage someone. You can help someone avoid the mistakes you made along the way. Experience is a great teacher, but sharing wisdom makes you a greater teacher.

What You Love vs. What Serves

Rabbi Daniel Lapin is a wonderful man and author of several books such as Thou Shalt Prosper has a very different spin on entrepreneurship and life than many do. He believes that to tell someone to study and do what makes them happy. Instead, you should serve people by meeting a need and that, in turn, will make you happy.

Take your writing and or entrepreneur giftings, share them, and serve them to your fellow man. You will change someone’s life and be happier than the popular, yet selfish mindset of simply doing what makes you happy. What you feel makes you happy is subject to change; making someone else happy never changes. That is the true pursuit of happiness; not just for you, but for the world. It is your inalienable right.

Be Fruitful & Multiply

Last and most importantly we are commanded to serve our gifts. How? Where? Great question.

A few years ago, I was able to visit Orlando, FL and hear one of my favourite ministers, Bishop Tudor Bismark preach. He taught a new sermon of his entitled “Be Fruitful and Multiply.” In it, he illuminated to us that the first thing God said to [man] after He created us was “be fruitful and multiply.” He also walked through the rest of Genesis up to Jacob’s blessing his son Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Now most people think that “be fruitful and multiply” means to have a lot of babies. And though I do not disagree with the truth of that statement, it does not stop there. We are to multiply in love, kindness, finances, and yes, our gifts.

In the Book of Matthew, Jesus tells a story about a man leaving his servants with talents (money). One had five, another two, and the last one. The first multiplied his talent and when his master returned, was able to give him back ten. The second servant returned four talents to his master. However, the one talent man did not even invest that one; instead, he buried it and returned the single talent to his master.

The master was pleased with what the five-talent and two-talent servants did, so much so that he made them rulers over cities commiserate to their gifts and abilities. However, when the one-talent man faced him, accusing him as a harsh man who takes what isn’t his and so forth and so on, he took the talent, gave it to the one who had five, and threw the man into darkness. (See entire parable in Matthew 25:14-30.)

Let’s look at this story objectively: the men who multiplied their talents were considered faithful and given a reward for their faithfulness. The one who buried his talent had it taken from him, was considered “wicked and lazy”, and was punished.

Some of you may find this unfair. Why should the one-talent man be punished for his fear and returning exactly what he was given? Because seedtime and harvest is a biblical—and logical—law.

Illustration: How would you feel if you invested your money in a bank and at the end of the allotted time, you got back nothing more than what you’d put in in the first place?  You’d be upset.  You’d feel like you wasted your time as well as the investment; you could have put it somewhere else and gotten much more out of it. 

When God created plants and trees and flowers, He did so placing within them the ability to reproduce themselves—to multiply—without Him having to create them all over again (Genesis 1:11). He did the same with the birds, sea creatures, and land animals. Everything created has within it the seed to multiply. Therefore, if we simply maintain what we have, that alone is not acceptable to God.

We are meant to multiply, increase, our talents and gifts. Don’t just limit your writing abilities to your personal journal, launch a blog. Write for a community newspaper.  Start your manuscript—something! It’s the same with the fashionista, the history buff, science “nerd”, and more. Find what your gifts are, no matter how great or small, how popular or obscure—bar anything illegal of course—and serve them. Multiply them.

And guess what? God will bless you! Why would you not want to usurp your God-given right to write, serve people, and make God happy? “Try Him in this” and see if He won’t bless you!

For more information, please check out the following resources:

Write to Connect

As a human being and especially as an entrepreneur, you absolutely need to harness the power writing to connect. Now that connection could be to yourself or to other people, but the connection—whatever it may be, is paramount. Let’s look at the three different ways you can connect through writing.

Connect with Yourself

Connecting with yourself through writing is absolutely important if you expect to connect with other people. Often at the beginning of English or writing classes, the teacher/professor will have the students start of by answering a question about themselves; other times, the students are required to keep a journal. Answering the indicated questions and keeping a journal allows the students to connect with themselves further than they would have without the journal.

I have kept a journal off and on since I was 11 or 12. Oftentimes, I am able to look back at my journals throughout the years and see where I was—good or bad—at that time because it was plainly expressed in my writing. Sometimes I cringe, other times I’m thrust into a state of retrospection, and other times still I am astounded at what God has brought to past or revealed to me over time. You see, as I began to mature in Christ, I started to keep journals of that relationship specifically.

Many times, God will speak to me and I will immediately record it in a journal and if I keep it before my eyes, it is an encouragement, instruction, as well as indications of what to look and hope for. It helps me connect in my relationship to God which rebounds and allows me to connect with myself. I also have a Promise Journal which I employ to record the manifestation of God’s [prophetic] word to me as it comes to past. I find it very encouraging and also believe that it increases my faith and in turn encourages God to keep doing what He’s doing. It’s wonderful really!

In some cases, I will write letters. These letters could be to God or to an actual human being. I find that especially in these letters to other human beings, it helps me make plain and connect with my emotions and heart concerning that person and I can say things that either do not need to be said verbally or need to be tempered with wisdom, discretion, etc. Then I either keep the letter in my journal or destroy it so no one will ever find it. You see, these letters are more for me than they are the other person. It helps me deal with my pain or frustration without drama or angst and then when it’s all said and done, I can throw it in the trash, shred it, or if I’m feeling particularly dramatic—burn them and flush the ashes down the toilet. Works every time.

Journaling—whether about everyday life or you relationship with God—is an excellent way to connect with where you are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

Connect with People

Writing to connect with people is also utterly important. Just think if God had never decided to inspire the prophets of old and apostles of the new dispensation to write the Bible! We would only have myths and legends passed down by word of mouth for thousands of years that would have been so skewed by the time they reached our generation that there might not have been any truth left. But instead, God in His infinite wisdom understood the power of the pen and caused His Holy Spirit to infiltrate the minds of His people to have a living testament of His Words and will in the form of the Bible.

When any kingdom or nation wanted to implement their government and law, whether it was the ancient civilizations or newly formed democracies, each ruling class will make constitutions and decrees for the people to understand and implement.

Whether it is the business plan for your company, the manufacturer of your new shiny car, the college you apply to, or the text message from your significant other sent at just the right time, writing allows people to communicate and thus connect with other people. We would be very likely clueless without this connection, especially in a day and age where we are always on the go, working virtually/remotely, and rely on technology to communicate on all plains.

Connect through Translation

Now that we understand the importance of writing to connect with people, we must understand the importance of translation in that connection. When your church’s prophet stands up to deliver a message in tongues [heavenly language] chances are—and proper order indicates—that the said prophet or another prophet must translate the message so all present will understand what exactly was said in tongues. My pastor is from Honduras, but pastors in Miami, FL and in order to reach all of the people under his church and influenced by his ministry, he translates his books into English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Russian (so far). If I were to teach a writer’s workshop in Holland, I would need a translator to interpret what I am saying to the participants and vice versa. But translation does not just deal with different tongues of men and angels.

I visited my best friend’s law school a couple years ago and to me, the professors might as well have been speaking Chinese. It is the same when someone starts rattling off on the topic science or math or finances. Since I do not “speak” the languages of  science, math, and money, someone to “translate” it into terms that I can understand. And similarly, I can go a million miles per hour talking about the things of the Spirit, fairytales, and weddings and you may need an interpreter because you do not speak those languages. So you see that translation is paramount.

The Jewish Torah and the Greek Septuagint had to be translated so that people who could not read Hebrew or Greek could still know what God was saying to them. I have a very good friend who is a private banker and I keep telling him he needs to put his wisdom and experience into a book because when he teaches and writes about finances, he puts them in terms that anyone—even children—can understand. In my event blogs, The Hostess List and DA Weddings, I do not typically use highfalutin, academic, or spiritual words or terms because it’s a wedding blog. I use conversational, informal language and style of writing because that is what communicates what I need to say about weddings best. And as you can see, I use an entirely different style of language for Write Way to Light and my Godly Government column. Writing styles must also be translated for the best level connection with the anticipated readers.

If we expect to make an impact in this life, we must write to connect. Whether by blog or article, interpretation or translation, business plan or book, we must do it.

Write to Serve

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I’d like to introduce myself to those of you who may not know me. I’m Desiree M. Mondesir and I run my own virtual writing and editing company, Desired Assistance (a.k.a. DA), as well as my own personal blog, DesireeMMondesir.com. I am also the Managing Editor of GospelToday.com. As you can probably imagine, I love to write.

Marshawn Evans-Daniels

Marshawn Evans-Daniels

A Powerful Statement from a Powerful Woman

A few years ago, quite by chance, discovered a wonderful woman named Marshawn Evans who is a marketplace mentor and reinvention strategist who specializes in helping women leaders elevate their purpose as well as launch lucrative brand empires. And I’ve decided that she is my new mentor-from-a-distance. She may not know me personally yet, but she has already impacted my life in a significant way.

(By the way, if you all do not have mentors in close proximity to you, I encourage you to adopt them from afar and allow their materials whether they be interviews, podcasts, books, blogs, etc., to mentor you from afar until you’re blessed to know them or encounter other personal mentors.)

Around that same time, I received an email from her site and it had a clip of a radio interview she did recently. In it, she made a point that made me cringe a little and that I think we should all consider and implement. The statement she made was:

If we look at writing as serving, that will probably change our perspective on [how we view] it.

I was floored. Yes, I am a writer and yes, I have multiple blogs. However, the writing I’d been saying I’d publish and unsuccessfully attempting to do for years is becoming stale. The many books fanciful, theological, and poetical, I’d been saying for years I’d write sit unfinished or un-started.  (Yes I just created a word. Shakespeare did it, cut me some slack!) And with Marshawn’s weighty words settling on me, I realised the treasures, the advice, the wisdom, and the knowledge that I had—willfully—refused to serve my generation with.

Was it intentional? No. Was it somewhat discerning? Depends. Was it acceptable for me to be largely unpublished by this point? Absolutely not. I know I could and can do better, and now I will. I allowed immediate situations, concerns of inadequacy, and Lord knows what else stop be, but no more.

The late Dr. Myles Munroe

The late Dr. Myles Munroe

Serve Your Gift

Some of you are not necessarily meant to be publishers on the New York Times’ Best Seller List, but perhaps there’s a blogging or similar void out there that will forever remain empty until you serve your gift in your respective area. It could be weddings or events, a mommy blog, bookworm blog, or beauty blog. Maybe there’s a financial or scientific column somewhere that needs an author and it’s you. Now that you are sufficiently informed, will you continue to deny the world—either on a local or global level—your voice and gift(s) in that area?

Dr. Myles Munroe, one of the foremost voices in the world as it concerns leadership as well as the Kingdom of God, produced messages and materials without number on the subject of servant-leadership. Something I’d heard and read him say time without end before his death is:

Die empty.

The grave yards throughout the world amass the greatest treasures in the world because it is full of people who refused for one reason or another to serve the world their gifts; they died full. I implore you not to do the same.

Serve the world your gift; die empty.

P.S. If you would like to learn more about Marshawn Evans or Dr. Myles Munroe, please follow the appropriate links: