Back to the Beginning (1)

It has been some time since I posted last. I am supposed to be posting a short piece every week. Further, I am to be writing one longer piece every month. I haven’t lived up to either commitment yet. I haven’t come close.

I’ve pondered the reasons why it is so difficult to write out my thoughts once per week. If you were to ask my friends, it wouldn’t be because I lack opinions on any and all things.

There are the obvious reasons—two jobs, four children, micro-managing my Australian overlords, etc. But what is at the center of many of the other reasons is my sheer fear of man, and the opposite side of the same proverbial coin, people pleasing.

Some of the reasons are straightforward. For example, I am not sure if I want to put myself in harm’s way in the blogosphere, even just the four people who might read my posts.  Kevin DeYoung is a respected pastor and blogger over at The Gospel Coalition website. Usually, his posts are received with thankfulness and applause. The other day though he got lambasted by his readers when posting about politics. The many comments that shot him down were doing so because he wasn’t “staying within his field of expertise”. I actually wonder if I have any field I can write on. Thankfully, the readers here at The Briefing site are much more charitable and helpful.

It is the other side of that coin that gets me more. Being a fairly avid reader of current books on theology and the bible, as well as following some of the more well-known blogs, I confess that I often ask myself “What could I add?” and then move on to other tasks. I am not terribly insightful. The best I have to offer other people is what I read and hear from, well, other people.

Even with those sobering judgments, I still often set out to impress and wow people when I set out to blog on theology and Christian thinking. This came to light again as I set out to prepare some sermons for the summer and prepare for an upcoming Simeon Trust workshop. In both opportunities, I have been asked to prepare passages from 1 Samuel. And in both cases, I am—conscientiously or unconscientiously—trying to make sure I say something really smart and novel (and at least one humorous thing). Those are not helpful motives; nor are they often obtainable without some “give” on the message.

So, I’ll write something here that is not unique or breathtakingly amazing. I’ll write what you already know. I am a son of Adam in my fear of man (or woman) rather than God. Or, as the excellent book states, I am acting on life as though man is big and God is small.

I realize this doesn’t give me (or anyone) a good reason to blog or write mediocre posts about boring topics. Still, given that I’ve been asked to blog, I should go about it in a Christian manner. What does that mean? My motives should be to exhort, to proclaim, to stir up by way of reminder, to observe, to seek guidance. In other words, in doing what I am supposed to do for and with my brothers and sisters in Christ, I should seek to be faithful to the Lord. Not to be clever or to get re-posted by Justin Taylor (though, that would be cool!), but to be helpful, even if it is only for one reader who never posts a response.

Our mantra at the Trellis and Vine workshops is “do a deep work in the lives of a few and let God multiply the results”. Perhaps by getting back to regularly thinking of what will be helpful for others, God does a deeper work in me.

4 thoughts on “Back to the Beginning (1)

  1. Ah, Marty, from one blogger to another, so good to hear you on this! I’ve been at this blogging thing since 2007 (had to check my blog there for a minute…) and all the things you say resonate with me.

    “…not to be clever or to get re-posted by Justin Taylor (though, that would be cool!)…” Yes, the wait to see if you’ve been re-posted by a celebrity blogger…

    As you say, it is all so very empty if I am trying to impress people. Yet even at my most humble and helpful, this is never far from the back of my mind.

    So I keep praying, repenting, and praying some more. And I keep reminding myself, “less of me, more of Christ”.

    Reminds me of a post I once wrote (and now I’m re-posting myself! Even worse! What will they think of me?!) – “The temptations of ministry: the 3 Ps”

    Speaking God’s word into people’s lives. Sounds like a good goal to me. May God encourage you with and remind you of the gospel as you do so – and I look forward to being encouraged by you.

    • A verse that occurs to me: the importance of seeking the praise of men, not the praise of God (1 Thess 2:6, John 14:3). I’ll have to keep reminding myself of that one.

      I agree with Sandy. The best ideas for blog posts come while you’re reading, reflecting, talking with someone about an issue, preparing a Bible study… They come in the midst of life and ministry and then you write them out. And others are encouraged by the things that God has used to encourage you. Often it’s the ones I’m most uncertain about that encourage others the most. God’s way of keeping me humble.

  2. Marty, thanks for sharing this post. As a fellow blogger here, I think being true to your own voice, and saying what you think is important (under the authority of God’s Word, the Bible, of course). Say what you think needs to be said. Often it is something that gets under your skin and by worrying at it and thinking it through, there’s something worthwhile to share.

    That said, I often find some of the best things I have blogged or shared were not written for the blog. It was a section of a sermon or talk prepared for church. It was an answer to a church member’s inquiry, or a comment card question arising from a sermon. That is, they arise out of real life ministry to an individual or group that you realise is then worth sharing (once you protect privacy if needed). Theologically, it makes sense because we have a common humanity, and therefore often times our particular needs or challenges or sins or situations overlap. And if we are basing our material on God’s Word, then we know it will be relevant to more than the immediate situation, because God can address us perfectly well through the Scriptures hen inspired to speak across eras, and cultures, and situations.

    So please keep at it.

    My 2 cents.

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