A post from a couple of years ago
At the time that I am writing this, I have just finished reading a guest blog over at Stuff Christians Like. My reaction to this is not what I thought it would be. I sat there thinking to myself, “Why can’t I write like that? Why can’t I be that funny? I want to write that kind of humorous blog.” I sat there for a while thinking back over the past few weeks of writing Deuceology. Several of my posts have been my attempt at humor. Others have been serious. Some have simply been about whatever I have on my mind at the time. A good number are doing my usual rant about what should change in our churches.
The point of this is basically something Popeye said a few years back. I am what I am. I just can’t force what I write about. I write what I write, even if I’m writing about my writing. Did that just make any sense to anyone but me? I mean, today I’m writing about my writing. Tomorrow may be a humorous take on something. The next day it may be about twenty-five things I love about my church and twenty-five things I don’t like about my church (thanks for letting me put that preview of an upcoming Twofer Tuesday in here). Basically, what I realize is that I’m just going to be me in this blog. And guess what?
We all need to do that. Quit trying to be like someone else. Quit expecting others to be someone else. Manage your expectations of
others. I read another blog the other day where a Christian couple tried to share their faith, unsuccessfully, to a waiter. He didn’t want to hear any of it. They couldn’t understand why he didn’t jump at the opportunity once he was told the truth. Their expectation was that he would jump at the opportunity to be saved and Christian like them. They don’t realize that the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (see 1 Corinthians 1:18 for the biblical reference). Their expectation is that it isn’t foolishness to them.
The great thing is that for those of us who know Christ, the opposite is true. For us, the word of the cross is the power of God. Our expectation should be that we would live according to this power. The expectation that I have of myself should be that I would live according to this power. What kind of should that be for us? A Great Expectation. Unfortunately, we have misplaced expectations.
My expectation should not be that I am a funny blogger like Jon Acuff all of the time. My expectation should not be that I live like the word of the cross is foolishness. My expectation should be that I live as though that word of the cross is the power of God. And that is transforming.
With what kind of expectations do you live your life? As thought the word of the cross is foolishness? Or as though it’s the power of God? Is your life full of a great expectation?
Today is the last day of Deuceology as you know it. Everything that you have known over the last couple of years is changing after today. I am scaling back to three regular posts each week, with Saturday remaining the day that I post fiction.
Let me explain. I am in the midst of what you might call a slight shift in theology. At one time I would have considered it a major shift, but as I have sat back and examined it, it’s not really that major. Perhaps I’ll even write about it in more detail soon, but I would describe it like this: Sovereign Spirit-Filled Satisfaction. Regardless if anyone else thinks that it is a shift or not, I am experiencing some change as a result of this.
Obviously we have changed churches. I have come to realize that my lack of involvement in a local church enabled me to crank out a daily dose of Deuceology. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I want to be more involved in our new church. Something has to give if I do that and writing six blog posts each week has to be one of them.
There are a couple of other things that I am interested in doing as well. I have been piddling around with writing a book. I have some of it written. I want to spend a bit more time doing that in the near future. I also have ideas for a novel or two. I want to write those things as well.
So, yes, change is in the air, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. I’ve changed before. I used to have Two-For-Tuesday. Twitterific Thursday used to be one of my regular posts. I have changed each time these have gone away.
What I want to happen is for my posts to be of greater quality. I hope that less quantity will bring that.
Pray with me as I head in this new direction.
Or Ms. Christian Blogger Gal:
Thanks for reading this blog post. I know you probably have better things to do that to mess around with a blog like mine. You probably have posts to write. Maybe you’re working on your next book or something.
Listen, I’ve been following you on Twitter for a while. I don’t read every blog post or tweet of yours, but I see plenty of them. You are immensely talented. You will have more people read your blog today than I will in a year. That’s pretty dang cool.
Lately, though, I’ve been worried about you. Well, worried isn’t the right word. Concerned would be better. Let me tell you why.
As I scan your tweets and blog posts, there just seems to be something missing. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been there. It’s just, well, here it is.
You seem angry.
You rail against things. Celebrity pastors seem to be one of your main targets. I’m not real crazy about the one who seems to especially get under your skin. He seems like a jerk. I can see where it is easy for him to rub you the wrong way.
There are issues that really irritate you. If someone well-known writes a blog post that runs counter to your view, you seem to immediately fire off a response.
Here’s my problem. I seem to know you more for what you are against than what you are for. Or Who you are for. You spend most of your time talking and writing about who or what you are against rather than the One you claim to follow. I hardly hear about Christ from you. Instead, I hear about what is wrong with this person or the church or the Church.
I’m not immune to that. I have done my fair share. Hopefully I won’t spend any more time doing that.
I’m going to pray for you. I’m going to pray that whatever is sticking in your craw will get pulled out. I hope that you will somehow become a happier person. At least in public.
I wish you the best and God’s will in all that you do.
Recently I realized that I had written the six hundredth Deuceology post. At one point I might have made a big deal about that six hundredth post. I would have tooted its horn that day. However, I have two reactions to it today.
First, I’m just glad that you folks read this little pit stop in the blogosphere. It’s humbling that I have people who tune in to read my musings.
Second, numbers really don’t matter. The number of posts I write and are read just doesn’t mean a lot. What matters are the friendships I have made. What matters is if this blog has made a difference in someone’s life.
The number of blog posts I have written really doesn’t matter. What matters is if those blog posts have made a difference.
A lot of bloggers are concerned about their numbers. I know I have been. In the spirit of full disclosure, I do peak at my stats. But the number of views and visits really doesn’t really matter. What matters is if any of those views and visits have made a difference in those visitors lives. And mine too.
A lot of churches are concerned about numbers. Their numbers are too low. The numbers in their tithes and offerings are too low. Their attendance is growing tremendously. They grew at ten percent last year. Their tithes and offering grew at fifteen percent.
Those numbers don’t matter if people aren’t being reached with the gospel and spiritual growth isn’t taking place.
Do numbers matter? Yes and no. The right numbers matter. The problem is that we too often focus on the wrong numbers.
Have you ever gotten caught up in numbers madness?
I am taking a break this weekend leading up to Christmas. This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago on another blog I wrote. I hadn’t committed to writing on a regular basis as you can tell from this post. I look at this one with fondness and I hope I have improved since 2010.
Christmas is hard.
Do you remember waiting as a kid for Christmas? It never could get here could it? When did you start getting really excited about Christmas as a kid? For me, it was when my grandma would get the Sears Christmas Wish Book. From October on I would sit there for hours looking through that book. Wishing. Waiting. Wanting.
Writing a blog is hard. I usually write one a week. I’ve committed myself to writing one a day through Christmas. It’s hard to sit down and write what you have on your heart and mind every day.
What I’m writing about was hard for a group of people. They were looking forward to the Messiah coming. Israel was waiting on the virgin born Son of god. They were waiting for Emmanuel. God with us. Wishing. Waiting. Wanting.
It’s hard for those of us who put our faith in the One whose coming we celebrate at this time of year. We are looking forward to Him coming back to us and for us some day. Wishing. Waiting. Wanting.
That’s what Christmas is all about. Wishing. Waiting. Wanting.
Have you ever found Christmas to be hard?
This is a work of fiction that I am publishing on Saturdays. You can read the others in the series by following this link.
June looked up as soon as the prayer was done. She could feel the confusion that was swelling inside the auditorium. She understood how everyone felt. She would have too if Donald and Laura had not given her a heads up on what was going to happen.
June looked up at Donald. She had watched the weariness build on his face each week for the past year. She knew the toll everything had taken on him. She knew how hard all of this had been on him and Laura. He had done everything he could to keep any of it from affecting her friend and his wife, but it was impossible for Laura not to suffer some collateral damage. Donald made eye contact with her and she could see that much of the weight had been lifted from him. He smiled at her with his eyes and quickly nodded. She knew that he was better than he had been in months.
June quickly scanned around. She saw David making his way to the front. He was walking with a purpose that June assumed was similar to the one she had. She was glad that Donald had a friend like David, who was making his way to stand by his side and with him. The last thing Donald needed was the assault that would surely come from the well-wishers and detractors alike. David reached Donald, grabbed him in a hug and whispered something in his ear. She could see Donald nodding and begin to move off of the stage.
June looked to her right and saw Bill. He did not look happy. She did not understand this, since he had been pressuring Donald for the past year. He stepped out of his pew and she could see that he was making his way down toward Donald and David. Perhaps, she thought, he thought that Donald should have told him in advance that he was going to resign. If that was the case, what nerve he had. He had spent a year pushing and prodding and then wanted to be notified that Donald was going to resign. But that was Bill.
She glanced around again at the congregation. She could see that some were crying. Donald had been the only pastor that some of them had ever known. Many had joined during his time there and he was THEIR pastor. Others were milling about and talking. Perhaps they were gossiping, wondering what would happen next. A few folks were laughing and acting like it was the best church service they had experience in months. Some just milled out as usual. They had seen this before and they would see it again.
Finally, June locked eyes with Laura. She could see the tears rolling down her face. She could not recall how many times they had cried together over the years. Those times had multiplied over the past year. June knew the emotions that Laura was going through. They had talked about them weekly and sometimes daily for so long. She knew the sadness and hurt that Laura had felt. The betrayal. However, she also knew the relief that Laura felt. What else could these people do to her? She knew that Laura was experiencing a type of freedom at that moment. After all, what else did she have to lose?
June finally made it to Laura. She wanted to intercept her before anyone else had a chance to. A few ladies had come by and just patted Laura on the back. What she really wanted to do was get her out before the busy-bodies got to her. That was the last thing that Laura needed. Laura looked at June and just hugged her. June just held for a moment and then quietly spoke to her.
“Let’s get you out of here.”
My friend, Jim Woods, has told me before that he was amazed that I can publish a blog post every day. It’s really not that hard, but it doesn’t really happen the way I wish it did.
If I had my druthers, I would get up every day and go for a run. I would come back, take a shower and drink some Diet Mountain Dew. Then I would go to my special writing place and knock out a couple of blog posts. I would schedule them and then write some other stuff for the remainder of the day.
That’s not how it happens.
Below you will see a picture I took at work. It is a list of blog ideas that I had one day at work. I was really focused on some work I had to do that day and suddenly the gates opened. Idea after idea after idea flowed. I started scribbling those ideas on this sheet of paper.
After that, I would kind of look at them and mull them over in my mind. I got rough ideas for what direction I wanted to go with each one. Then I just kind of sat down and wrote some.
Nothing special or magical. I just wrote.
A few of them came out completely different from what I originally intended. Some of them tend to take on a life of their own and they tell me how to write them. It’s an interesting process.
That’s how I work.
Oh yeah. I prayed. I asked the Lord to give me the words and use me. I pray He does.
If you are a blogger, how do you work?
I’ve had a rough time lately.
For a while, I had so many ideas that I couldn’t keep up with them. I had a stockpile. I was days ahead. I had posts scheduled day in advance.
Then it happened.
The ideas stopped coming so easily. The flow slowed down to a trickle.
I ran into what my friend Joe Lalonde called a roadblock. I fell on my backside. I didn’t know what hit me.
I was scared.
I wondered if I would ever have another idea.
I thought I was done.
Then, today, the ideas came back. The floodgates opened. I suddenly had my mojo back.
That happens to all of us. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in. It doesn’t matter what your vocation or avocation is. You will run into a roadblock. Or a writer’s block.
What do you do?
Quit stressing about it.
Look for another direction.
Choose another course.
Ask the Lord.
The ideas will return.
I lost my mojo.
Now it’s back.
Have you ever lost your mojo? What did you do to get it back?
Just wanted to give everyone a little preview of what is coming up on the blog.
I have slowly working on a book. When I say slow, I mean slow. I want to accelerate the process a bit, so if you read the blog you will probably begin seeing chunks and pieces of it being played out right here. At least that is my aim.
I also have been wanting to write some fiction, so I am going to start writing and posting some on Saturdays. I think that will help discipline me to write some of these different sorts of things I want to write.
Like Paul Harvey used to say, “Stay tuned for news.”
We hear a lot about mountaintop experiences. It feels great when we have hit a period in our life where everything is just clicking. All cylinders are firing perfectly. Life is in some sort of perfect rhythm.
There’s a problem, though.
We don’t stay on the mountain top.
Something happens. Life returns to normal. We get back in a rut. Worse yet, we dive headlong into a valley. It’s not just any valley, either. It’s the valley of the shadow of death. We wonder how we’ve made it and how it can ever get good again.
I had one of those mountaintop experiences the other day.
My blog had more views and more comments than any day it has ever had. It was exciting. I was drunk on the wine of success. Except for one thing.
I realized that it was temporary.
I realized that it was really a timing issue.
It wasn’t me that people were excited to read. It was just the topic.
I even feared that there would be a day before long where no one would even read this blog.
I put the brakes on my plans to quit my job and become a full-time blogger and writer. It wasn’t quite time to start sell advertising on my blog.
I realized that pretty soon things would return to normal. It was just a blip. It was an anomaly. It was just part of the journey.
I headed back down the trail from the mountaintop, hoping to avoid the valley that brings fear, knowing that I have a shepherd who is with me on the trip. I have a shepherd who leads me beside the still waters. He comforts me with his rod and staff. I don’t have any need to want. He gives me a table right in front of the enemy. He anoints my head and my cup overflows. Goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life. We’re headed toward His house (I hear it’s a big, big house) where I will live the rest of my life.
Where are you today? Are you in the valley? Or are you on the mountaintop? It doesn’t matter if it’s in your job or in your marriage or anywhere else you are. You will travel up and down the trail between the mountain and the valley. The difference is in who is walking with you.
Who is traveling on this journey with you?