Success

This week, WordPress notified me of two particular milestones my site has reached. It does not matter exactly what they are, and you will understand later why I choose not to share the specifics. In addition to that, my site also managed to exceed total views for 2020, also something of an achievement.

Are these successes though?

In some ways, of course they are. It is encouraging to me as a writer to know that my posts are being read. That’s sort of the point, right? But take my blog and sit it next to a social media giant or retail conglomerate and suddenly my handful of views does not look quite so successful.

Page views, likes and shares are just one small way to measure success. For the Christian writer, blogger or author aiming to share the Gospel, they are not the best measure.

So what is success in God’s eyes? As ever, Paul has wisdom to share.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV)

In particular, my attention is drawn to verse seven above. Paul, as he approached the end of his life, was able to say that he fought the good fight, finished his race, and kept the faith. While i am sure he had regrets, he was able to say that he did what God had called him to. Surely that is the greatest success a person can achieve.

Whether you are a writer, pastor or anything else. Are you able to say that you are doing what God has called you to? If so, then you are a success. It does not matter what awards you do or do not win in this life, for you will be rewarded with the crown of righteousness by the Righteous Judge.

When I stand before God at the end of all things, He will not ask me how many views my site got. He will ask what I did with Jesus, and then He will examine my works to see if they stand the test. Salvation is unquestioningly found in Jesus alone, but our good works in His Name will also be recognised.

A blog with a thousand followers is not more successful than one with a hundred, if both are seeking the glory of the Lord. The same is true for churches. Worldly success is fleeting so strive for God’s success which is eternal.

What race are you running? Let it be the one that leads to Christ. Once you have made sure that it is, run it with all you can. If you can say, at the end of your life, that you followed the Lord and kept the faith, you will be a true success. Don’t chase after follows or promote yourself, do it all for Jesus. He is the only One that matters.

Review: Mostly Nonsense

As it is Father’s Day, I thought I would share the content of a conversation I had with my nine year old earlier today.

We were chatting about my blog, and she kindly offered to take a look for me. I sent her the link and she came back with the following review.

It was mostly nonsense…

Gwen – age 9

What can I say? It’s perhaps the best review I’ve ever had!

Have a wonderful Father’s Day everyone!

Life Happens

It has been a few days since I last posted to the blog, and sadly I have broken my daily posting streak I started when lockdown began. I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t reach 100 posts in a row, but, as the title suggests, life happens!

Sincere apologies to anyone who came looking for a post and couldn’t find one!

On 17th March, I put up a post called Coronavirus, and that seems a very long time ago now! I posted each day for a few days, and that turned into an ambition to post something to the blog every day. Three months in, I did not miss a day until the weekend just gone.

It wasn’t a bad weekend or anything, but there were a lot of things going on in life and I just did not have the time to sit down and write. Something had to give in the end and I’m genuinely sorry it was the blog.

I am sure I am not alone in this. I suppose we have all had times where life just happened, and prevented us doing one thing or another. We love to plan our lives, and yet our plans so rarely work out! I praise God that He is in total control.

Writing a blog is actually quite time consuming – I’m sure fellow bloggers will agree. I don’t tend to write opinion pieces and largely try to focus on biblical topics. That requires a bit of thought and study, and so it may take a bit of time to prepare and write a post. While on lockdown, I gained a fair bit of time not spent on commuting to work, volunteering, and helping get children to and from various events. Now the lockdown is starting to ease in the UK, some of those things are coming back and my time is becoming more limited.

For example, I volunteer with our village’s local magazine which was suspended during COVID-19 restrictions. We are now hoping it can return in the summer, and so I am starting to pick up that volunteering again.

I’m sure the same is true for you. All that time you gained during lockdown is now starting to reduce as life – hopefully – begins to return to some new normal.

It is probably now a little ambitious for me to try and post every single day, as much as I would like to. I have seen some growth in blog readers and followers over the last few months and I do not want to let anyone down. I have to be realistic about my time however, and I certainly don’t want to put out posts which are not up to scratch!

After some thought and prayer, I will aim to post on weekdays, leaving weekends off. As well as my usual writing, I will try to incorporate an audio podcast and video as well each week (so perhaps three written blogs, a video and a podcast each week). That is still a fair time commitment, but I am hopeful I can maintain this in the coming weeks. If I return to the office any time soon, then I may have to review!

I am always happy to get constructive feedback, so do tell me what you think. I love writing this blog, and I really want to complete writing another book. Knowing the demands on my time, I need to create space in order to do that.

How are you finding the transition through the lockdown? Life changed dramatically when the restrictions came in, and I feel it will change again as it is reversed. What have you learned from this time of life? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Have a great day!

I Thank God For You

Each morning on my Facebook page – which you can find here Andy Brown on Facebook – I try to share a daily Scripture. These are just verses from the Bible which I feel are relevant for the day ahead, and go in no particular order.

Today’s verse was from Romans.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Romans 1:8 (KJV)

Paul is writing to the Roman church, obviously, and is telling them how thankful he is for each and every one of them. He prays in thanks giving to the Father, through Jesus Christ, that their faith is spoken of the world over.

It is proving to be one of those days today for me. I woke with something of a migraine and the computer i’m working on, which was absolutely fine yesterday evening, is now doing some very odd things. The screen looks as though it is stretched in one direction, and the entire left hand side is missing presumed lost! The screen issues are not exactly helping the aforementioned headache!

We had a very busy day yesterday, as it was my eldest daughter’s birthday. They had quite a late night in the end, so today the children haven’t exactly been totally co-operative…

It would have been all too easy to just give the blog a miss today, but as I’ve posted every day since 17th March, I didn’t want to break the posting streak!

Why am I telling you this? Firstly, I think it is important to be open and honest with people where you are. It can be all too easy to read a blog or listen to a Bible teacher and mistakenly believe that all is well in their lives. Our nature somehow convinces us that everyone else is better and isn’t facing the same issues we are.

Bible teachers, while absolutely should be setting a good example, are human too and have problems like everyone else.

So, when I sat down to write after lunch, I was not exactly in the right frame of mind to do so.

As I pondered at the keyboard for a few minutes, I got to thinking about the verse above from Romans, which I had shared that morning. I cannot say that God “spoke to me” but felt perhaps it was enough to say to – the reader – that, like Paul, I thank God for you too.

To each and every reader of this blog, and to every follower of the Facebook page and social media, I say a massive thank you. It means a great deal to me when people read this blog and make the effort to get in touch. I read every comment and message, and I do my best to respond where I can.

Not only do I thank you, but I thank God for each of you. Most people who read this blog are seeking a deeper journey in their faith and walk with God, and I am humbled that these words can play even a small part in that. I am honoured that you would take time to read, and I pray that this blog encourages you and helps you draw closer to Jesus.

If you like what you see here, do let me know and please do pass it on to anyone else you think may benefit. I notice when people share my posts, as I see a bump in the page views and it is really encouraging. I do not want fame or fortune of course, but it is uplifting to see readers and sharers alike.

Thank you again, and I will be praying for every reader. It is an immense privilege to pray for you, so if you have any requests, then please do pass them along to me as well.

God bless you, and I hope normal service will resume tomorrow – stretchy screen permitting!

Welcome to All New Followers

Here is a brief video thanking all the new followers to the blog and Facebook page. It really is wonderful to be able to share these words with you, and I genuinely hope and pray it blesses and encourages you.

It would help if you would share any posts that you enjoy with anyone you think might benefit from it. I also love getting comments from readers, so again, please do share your thoughts below.

Perhaps most importantly, I would love to have the privilege of praying for you. If you have any requests you want me to pray over, then please do send them in. You can do so by commenting or via the Prayerpage.

May I also ask you to pray for me and other readers of the blog. Believers are meant to support one another, and even if we never meet in person, it will be great to meet you one day in Heaven and thank you for your prayers.

Have a blessed day!

On (Christian) Blogging

This post lands on Tuesday 31st March, and I think is the 15th day in a row where I have posted. That is a pretty good run, and although I did not start this because of COVID-19, I am carrying on because of it. There is so much negative news going around, and I just want to put a bit of positive material out there!

And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (Good News Bible)

Blogging is a funny business, and even more so when you are a Christian blogger! As I mentioned above, I’ve been blogging daily for a couple of weeks now. My post last Friday – A Jealous God– has not been read by anyone at all, as far as I know… and yet a day later, Saturday’s post – Lessons from the Supermarket– has been one of the most read posts I’ve ever put out!

Why? Not a clue! Was it because Friday’s post was terrible and Saturday’s was amazing? I suspect not. It is just one of those things.

When I hit the publish button, I generally have no idea what kind of reception a post might get. Comments are a little few and far between, but that’s ok. I try to trust God to put out the right words at the right time, and let Him do the rest.

One reason Saturday’s post was more successful than others was because someone shared it on their social media feed. It is surprising how effective that can be at geting the word out. I know there are algorithms managing social media in the background, and just because I post it does not mean you get to see it, but occasionally it all comes together.

If you enjoy a particular post or the whole blog in general, please do share it. The sharing buttons are right at the bottom, so it’s easy to do.

Likewise, literally LIKE-wise, please do hit the “like” button if you enjoy what you read. It keeps me, and any writer, encouraged. If we see responses to what we are putting out, then it gives us that little push we need to keep on going.

In a similar way, follow the blogs or channels that you like. Subscribing is not like a marriage; it’s not a big commitment!

I know that at times my posts are a little hit and miss. I might go weeks without posting, and then suddenly I’ll release posts daily for a long period. Life just happens on this side of the keyboard, and as much as I’d like to commit to posting every day without fail, I do just that – fail – at times.

I am not the most accomplished writer in the world, nor am I the perfect theologian. I write about Jesus and the Bible because they are important. In fact, there’s nothing more important.

I keep going because of verses like the one above. In that verse, Paul tells us to encourage one another. That’s what I hope to achieve with this blog. I make no money from it, and it is unlikely fame will follow either (not that I want that!). I do it because of every single reader. If even just one person reads a post and is inspired to build up their relationship with God, then it is worth it.

What can you do to encourage someone today? If you live somewhere where you are forced to be at home at the moment because of COVID, then you might need to be a little more creative. Thank God for the telephone!

My wife is rather good at encouraging people. Just this morning she left a note of encouragement and a chocolate bar out for the postman. As a key worker, he is not isolated at home but out and about, making deliveries and in some ways actually risking himself to ensure we keep getting letters and parcels. Just a little note may give him that boost during this tough time.

So what can you do?

Phone or text every person in your contact list. Send a PM to all of your Facebook friends – individually. Write a letter, the old fashioned way. Send someone a Bible verse and pray for them.

If you are stuck for ideas, then pray about it. The Holy Spirit is excellent at coming up with new ways of doing things. He can certainly point you in the right direction!

Failing all else, click the like button below… that will really encourage me!

Thanks and God bless