A few days ago I wrote an informational post of gratitude regarding the departure of my family from our church of many years. The response has been amazing. 155 page views so far. That may not sound like much but for a blog that averages 40-50 page views with the occasional peak, 155 is phenomenal. I recognize that many may read the posts via email and never go to the page, so I try not to get to hung up on page views but they are in my face all the time so I do notice. What this does suggest is there are many who may have never seen this blog before that read that post.
I did not write the post looking for exposure, but I am very grateful for the response, love and support that we have received from so many. Everything I do is not so very personal in nature and that's ok, but this response has prompted me to consider who may have been exposed to this blog for the first time that might check it out again courtesy of the popularity of the last post. So, since I am getting back into the swing of things I thought for current readers and any new readers that may come along, that I would continue the personal touch a little longer.
Even though I try to be honest about the fact that I am on the same journey of Chirstian growth as everyone else, I recognize that it would be very easy to read the challenges that I present as a "holier than thou" kind of process. I want to, as a reminder, dissuade anyone from that concept. I am just another guy. Another person on a journey toward ever-increasing holiness and Christ-likeness. I do not consider myself to be better than anyone else. I have struggled and continue to struggle with sin that manifests itself in, struggling to love my family properly, being consistent in bible study and memorization, and evangelism, among others.
However, I, like every other sinner saved by grace, am commanded by Jesus and compelled by the Holy Spirit, in the spirit of Matthew 28:19-20 to spread the gospel and make disciples, teaching all of the commands of scripture. So this I must do in spite of my many flaws and struggles with sin. This is true of every Christian and minister of the gospel. So, here we go.
I struggle with sins to numerous to mention. I am a man so, of course, I battle with lust. I do not give in but, it is an ever present nag striving to draw me away from those things that I am commanded to be committed to in marriage and in Christ. I have a temper, so I struggle to keep that bound up so as to love my wife and children appropriately even in the most frustrating of moments. I battle the temptation of pride. I continually strive to remember the grace of God in my life, and that it is this grace that enables me to find any success at all. This same grace reminds me also, that I must have more compassion than I do for the lost, the needy and other believers also struggling with sin. We are not to judge hearts as regards eternal security. However we are to judge word and actions as sinful and hold each other accountable. That is biblical and loving as words and actions are the fruit of the attitude of our hearts. However, to allow the recognition of the sin in other peoples lives to cause us to forget the sin in our own and thus loose compassion is unacceptable. We cannot love each other appropriately in that way. We must always remember that the same grace is working in all of us but the timetable is not always the same. This is just a handful of the many ways in which I do spiritual battle with this body of flesh that I am clothed in.
Love For Family
One of the hardest things to do as a husband and father is to lead your family spiritually. Often the Lord will take you to a place of growth spiritually that is ahead of your other family members so that you know where to lead them. You have been down the path, seen the pitfalls and gotten a glimpse of the safest route. However, as I said before, pride and impatience are always lurking on the side of the path waiting to ambush you. We are so quick to forget the struggles that we had as the grace of God led us to where we are. Thus we forget to show that same grace to those that we are leading. As I said, I have a temper and while it is much more controlled than it used to be, it is an ever present reminder of my need for God's grace to help me lead patiently and lovingly. Please pray for me in this as I strive to be a good shepherd to my little flock.
Bible Reading and Memorization
Yes, I am a blogger of biblical ideas and yes, along the way I have memorized some scripture. The challenge I face is similar to that of pastors and that is to not only read the bible as a means to the end of delivering a message. I can say for myself that the ways in which I use the bible to support this blog are devotional for me. I am ministered to every time I blog because ideas form and pour out of me even as I am writing. They often jump right off of the screen and back into my heart. Often, it is as if I am speaking to myself. But, I must confess that I have struggled to read through the entire bible. I understand many things regarding the continuity of scripture from beginning to end via teaching from those who have read it all the way through many times, but I need to do it myself. I have read much of it, but never the whole thing. I recognize that this is not ok and I must fix it. The same is true of bible memory. There are many scriptures that I have in my heart courtesy of quoting them so many times here, but I know that scripture commands that I hide God's word in my heart that I might not sin against Him(Proverbs 119:11), so I strive to improve in this area. Please pray for to that end.
You might ask, "Isn't that what you are doing with this blog?". And the answer would be yes to some degree. But this blog is akin to street evangelism in some ways in that I do not have a personal relationship with all my readers. In some ways this blog requires less guts because it is not face to face so I don't have to experience the negative reactions. I want to make it clear that I do not blog to avoid face to face persecution. However, I do understand that blogging must only be one form of the ways in which I share the gospel. I want to improve in evangelizing strangers, friends, and family alike. I want evangelism to be a way of life. Some have described effective evangelism as thinking of threads of the gospel that are woven into every aspect of our lives so that it informs everything we say and do thus inevitably impacting everyone we come in contact with. That is my ultimate desire. I want others to see Jesus in me. For that to happen an increase in bible reading and memorization is a must because it is scripture that transforms and informs my heart and changes my actions for God's glory.
I hope you don't mind that I have shared my heart with you a bit. The reason for this blog is to share the gospel with a two fold purpose. One, to inform the lost of their need for Jesus and hopefully give good news that the Holy Spirit will use to draw their hearts to Him. Two, to lovingly challenge a culture that is continually tempted to compromise the authority of scripture as the means, that informs the way in which we live, in every aspect of our lives. The church must have a high view of God, and of His word, and live that out, if it is going to impact the world for the glory of God. Please know that even when I appear to be ranting or rough around the edges at times, it always fueled by a zeal for God's glory to be made manifest in your lives. That end is always going to be beneficial to your hearts. As I have quoted several times from John Piper, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him". May it be so in your lives and mine, in Jesus name. Amen.
With much love and affection in Christ,