Succeeding at Nothing

I really enjoyed reading this blog, and found it quite a personal challenge too.

When it comes to our motives, we must be honest with ourselves and ask why we are doing certain things.

I thoroughly enjoy writing my blog, and equally enjoy writing books. Do I do it for my own enjoyment though? Or do I do it for the Lord?

These are not always easy questions to answer. if, like me, you find yourself all too often checking your stats… Then you must also check your motivation!

I could say a great deal more about this subject, and find myself examining my own heart. I urge you to do the same as you read the post below. I do hope you enjoy it.

This blog seeks to prevent Christians from thinking of “self” and focusing on God.

Succeeding at Nothing

Our First Testimony Tuesday post – My Story in 100 Words, by Jo

If you have not checked out the Berry Bunch Family already, then I strongly encourage you to do so. i’m truly excited to hear more of their testimony and about gods faithfulness in their lives and ministry.

It was something of an honour to be mentioned in this post as well!

Do give it a read, and start following their site. you won’t regret it!

I’ve written, edited, and scheduled our first #TestimonyTuesday post. This is an exciting new, and regular, output for us, and we have Nicola to …

Our First Testimony Tuesday post – My Story in 100 Words, by Jo

Word Count – Update #1

It has been a productive day! I decided to take the day off of work and spend some dedicated time writing.

If you read my previous post – Word Count – you will recall that I am working on two separate book projects right now, and keen to get them done! I said I would keep you posted on my progress, not because you find it all that interesting, but rather to ensure I am accountable. It may only be a personal goal to progress these projects, but it is one I want to stay on course for.

Well, I started the day with a word count of around 17,000 and pleased to report I have been able to add another 4,000 to the total! As I said before, word count is no indicator of quality, but at this phase in the project, I just want to get the words down.

I am hugely encouraged by this, especially as writing does not always come easy on some days. The blog is up to a healthy 18,000 words for the year to date, so I feel that completing these projects is achievable.

Keep me honest, please!

Hope you have a great weekend!

Sharing Sunday – Sunday Suggestion

For this week’s Sunday Suggestion, I want to encourage you to share.

Paul writes in Galatians:

But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches.

Galatians 6:6 (WEB)

In particular, I want to encourage you to share a blog post which has uplifted or informed you in some way. Here on WordPress, there are many wonderful blogs offering Christian exhortation and teaching, and so do share them on so others can reap the benefit.

I am not sure if it is common on all blogs, but my own tends to have slightly less traffic on a Sunday., I suppose this is because many Christians are heading to church, spending time with family or just having a well-earned day of rest. If that is true of all Christian bloggers, then sharing one of their posts today would give them a real boost.

There are two major positives about sharing quality Christian blogs. Firstly, it widens the audience of the blog and so more people can enjoy the writer’s words. Secondly, it acts as a real encouragement to the blogger themselves. I’ve written about success before, and page views are by no means the best or only measure, but they are a tangible way for the author to get feedback on their work.

I hesitate to mention some of my favourite blogs here, as there are so many and I am bound to miss one out! I try to share posts from those favoured authors fairly regularly, and do hope it passes on their work to more people.

Don’t forget though that WordPress (and other sites too) offer search facilities to discover new authors and blogs you might not otherwise have heard of.

Today, share one of your favourites. Others will be grateful. Take a few minutes to scan a new blog you’ve not looked at before. You never know what treasure you might uncover!

Have a great Sunday!

Word Count

WordPress helpfully keeps a total of the words you have written on your blog each year. Although we are only about a week into 2022, I am reliably informed that I have written nearly 4500 words so far.

This is good for me to know, because I really do want to make good progress on some unfinished books I am writing this year.

One project has around 10,000 words written, and another approximately 17,000 words completed.

Knowing that I’ve already written 4500 words on the blog this year, helps me to believe that it may even be possible to complete both projects in the coming 12 months!

why am I telling you this? Simply for accountability!

I want to try to post regular updates on how the books are progressing, as a way of keeping myself honest! Do pull me up dear reader, if I do not do this!

I also ask for your prayers, and that my writing would be fruitful. Please ask the Lord to help me complete these projects this year, but more importantly that they will be a vehicle for him to bless those who read them.

Word count is not the best way to measure the quality of a book… But in this stage of the project, it sure does help me keep track!

Thank you for your ongoing support and prayers!

On (Christian) Blogging – Andy Brown (repost)

I remember writing this post from a few years ago, and the algorithms which drive traffic to one’s blog still baffle me today!

For me, what remains true, is that even if one person read my blog and is blessed by it, it was all worthwhile.

I hope you enjoy this repost

-

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…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2020/03/31/on-christian-blogging/

Success – (Best of 2021 sort of…)

I have just received a notification from WordPress to say that today I have had a new record – most views in a day! For this, I can only say a massive thank you to all of my readers.

 I am not certain why the site has attracted so many visitors today, but I am humbled by every single page view. Thank you!

And thanks go to Jesus for all of this. I could not write one word about him where it not for his wonderful grace. May he continue to take these imperfect words of mine and use them for his kingdom and glory.

I have been re-running a series of “best of “posts from this past year. Although not the most viewed, this one entitled “success “is particularly apt on the back of what I’ve just said.

I hope you enjoy reading it, whether it’s the first time you have seen it or not.

—

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…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/06/26/success/

End of Another Year

As we approach the end of another year, it has become my practice to review what has been, and to look ahead to what may come.

2021 has been a tough year for many people, and likewise, my own family has seen a number of struggles. In early January, my grandmother (who we affectionately called the “Queen” of our family) went home to be with the Lord. She held the Word of God on her lips and held it in her heart as she left us, and this Christmas was not the same without her.

On the day of my grandmother’s funeral, we learned that my mother-in-law had again been diagnosed with cancer, and this awful disease took her from us in July.

It would be all too easy to focus on the negatives of this year, and by doing so start to believe that it was a “bad” year. There were many things to be thankful for however, such as our family moving into a wonderful new home in late summer, and my eldest daughter making the transition into secondary school.

Every year is a mix of tears and laughter, joy and pain. Sometimes the balance feels one way or the other, but I thank God that He walks with us through each and every step.

I am not big on “regrets” as it seems unproductive to waste energy on things that cannot be changed. Had I my time again though, I would have liked to prioritise this blog and my writing projects more. It was probably my most successful year on the blog, depending on how you measure success and yet I had little time to give to it in the latter part of this year. Even less time was given to my two unfinished books, and I want to put that right in 2022.

Like most other people I know, I only have 24 hours a days and seven days per week. It is what you do with those hours that matters. I cannot give this blog or my book projects more time by turning days into 26 or 28 hours… instead, I need to prioritise what is important. Lord, help me to do this right! As a starting point, I intend to cut back on a few other commitments so that I can focus on writing more.

I am particularly excited about a project my wife and I are starting. While that may sound contradictory to what I said above about cutting back, this project won’t take a huge amount of time for me, but do pray for my wife! I am keen to talk more about it, but will save the details for another post in future once it takes shape. Watch this space!

I want to close out this post by thinking about something God has been speaking to me about. The Lord drew my attention to these verses from the book of James:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:22-25 (NIV)

God wants me to be a “doer” this coming year, and not just a “hearer.”

I frequently listen to Christian teaching in the form of podcasts. My feed has over a hundred different episodes to be listened to. This stems from pre-COVID days when I used to commute daily. I would spend my time on the train listening to various things. Now, working from home mostly, I have less time to consume content like this.

I believe God has been showing me that while listening to such materials is great, the aim of the exercise is not to reduce the length of my feed and delete another completed episode, rather it is to learn something. I think God wants me to listen to fewer messages, but to really engage with the ones that I do.

James encourages believers to not just listen to the Bible, but to do what it says. Don’t just attend church, nod along to your pastor’s sermon, and then forget all about it by Monday morning. Take notes. Write down some actions. Ask yourself what you will do differently because of what you have heard. Only then will we be “doers of the Word.”

I hope and pray that you will have a blessed 2022. I know that the Lord has a good plan for your life, and His love for you has no limits. That does not mean 2022 won’t have its fair share of problems, but you can face them with Jesus by your side.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for reading any of my posts this year. I remain truly humbled that anyone wants to read my words, and your comments and messages of encouragement are such a blessing to me. I thank the Lord for each of you.

You cannot change the things of 2021, but you can walk into 2022 determined to serve the Lord.

I leave you with these verses from Revelation:

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.

12 In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Revelation 5:11-13 (NIV)

He is indeed worthy! Praise His holy Name! Amen!

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!