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

Lent 2022

The season of Lent is approaching once again, with ash Wednesday next week.

Christians celebrate Lent in many different ways. Some give something up, while others try to pick up a good habit. in a previous church I belonged to, we tried to read a Christian book during Lent and discuss it as a church family.

If you wish to follow this practice, then may I humbly suggest my own book.

As you can see, it is a devotional book which you can read over the 40 days of Lent. it was written with lent in mind, and tries to think about some of the things Jesus would have considered during his time in the wilderness.

It is available to buy on Amazon, in both paperback and kindle formats.

A Journey with Jesus: 40 Day Devotional https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/1798136317/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_GZ8880VGPRE9ZD8KG2CH

If you decide to take the plunge, I do hope you enjoy it and that it challenges you. Please also leave an honest review on the site, as I value your feedback!

Happy reading!


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!

Is it worth it?

Blogging is extremely rewarding, but can also be quite frustrating. You pour your heart into a post, and it gets only single-digit views. When you can lean out of your window, shout your words and reach a larger audience, it is natural to ask yourself… is it worth it?

I have mused about the fickleness of blogging in a previous post called – On (Christian) Blogging.

Sometimes a blog post comes together quickly, while other times it is a real effort and takes much time. On those days when it takes extra exertion, it can be disheartening to look at your stats and realise that hardly anyone has read it.

Just prior to the new year, I hit a new record on my site and exceeded the best views I had received in a single day. Such things are really encouraging, and it has pushed me forward to posting daily once again. On the back of that “success” though, it can feel like a great fall to drop down to low views once again.

I am guilty of being a bit stats obsessed, it has to be said. I do like to check on views and the performance of my post, and spend much time figuring out the algorithm and wondering why one post attracts lots of views while another does not. It comes from my day job – did you know I have a day job? In “real life” I am a statistician, and spend a lot of my life reviewing data and drawing conclusions. It is therefore hardly surprising that I start to do the same thing on my blog.

Taking an interest in your stats is not wrong, but too much can be unhealthy.

So, on the days where a post gets only a few views (or none at all!) – is it worth it?

If the Lord has called you to write, then do it faithfully. It matters not how many people read it, although of course that helps, but the important thing is to do what Jesus has instructed you. I feel led to write, and so I am going to keep doing it. If even one person reads it, then it is worth it.

If the Lord has called you to write, then do it faithfully #Bible #Writing #Blog #Christianity

I recall hearing a preacher once giving their testimony. They felt as though God was calling them to speak, and that the message would reach people all over the world. Naturally, they were extremely excited by this notion. Too soon though, they became obsessed with the idea and tried and tried again to make their ministry grow. It only did when they finally laid it down before the Lord. God asked them if He called them to speak to a handful of people in a small church for the rest of their life, would they do it? Only when they could said yes, and mean it, did their ministry start to increase.

I have no lofty ambition for my words to be read by thousands across the globe – although I would not turn it down you understand! But I also know that the bigger my audience, the bigger my responsibility.

The bigger your audience, the bigger your responsibility #Bible #Ministry #Blog #Christianity

What is God calling you to do? If it is to teach a half dozen children in a Sunday School for forty years, do it gladly. If it is to write a blog and have it read by ten people a day, then do that. Nearly everyone I know has a blog or a website or some form of content, but we can’t all be creators or there would be no one left to consume!

I will leave you with this thought. Every time you write a Christian blog post, it is there for people to find when they are ready. Maybe no one will read it today or tomorrow, but perhaps next year when the time is right, they will click that link and give their lives to Jesus. On that day, you will be able to say – it was  worth it!

We may never know on this side of heaven what our faithfulness to God will achieve. Imagine someone swinging past your place in heaven and saying thank you! Perhaps God used your words, actions or ministry to reach them, and you will be glad you did it.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 #Bible #faith #Christianity

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!

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!

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!

Lent is Coming

It’s only about a month until Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

I know that Christians mark Lent in many ways. Some observe fasting, while others start a spiritual habit.  I knw many who like to read a new book or follow Lent study throughout the period. And here comes the shameless plug…

If you are looking for something to read and study over Lent, then please consider getting a copy of my 40-day devotional – A Journey with Jesus.

It is available from your local Amazon store, both in paperback and Kindle.

It’s also available in large print for those who prefer.

I hope you enjoy it, but more importantly, I hope you grow closer to God as a result.

Thank You + Blogs & Books

My Kindle eBook is now available for free from Amazon until Wednesday 6th March 2019. Grab your copy here:  A Journey With Jesus: 40-day Devotional

 

I’ve been both humbled and surprised by the response to announcing my book release – A Journey with Jesus. In many ways, I was testing the waters with this and so it’s humbling to receive so much encouragement. I’m genuinely grateful to every one of you. Thank you!

I also want to thank my wife for illustrating the cover of the book. So is an extremely talented artist – among many other things! Thank you too.

Another Book Project

You will (hopefully) have noticed that I’ve not been blogging as much as usual in the last month or so. I’m sorry about this, but I’ve been working on another writing project.

I’ve set myself a very challenging six-week target to get this new project done, and I hope to share more news with you by late April/early May. The encouragement you’ve given me with the release of the devotional book has really spurred me on.

So what is this new project?

I haven’t finalised the title yet, but it is a book about and for women. I know, I know, I’m a man – but I’m also a husband and a father to four daughters, so this one is close to my heart.

Any writing time I have had has been dedicated to the book, and so I’ve not been so active on the blog. Apologies for this, and I will do my very best to get back into a rhythm soon.

I wanted to keep you updated on what was happening, and I will give you any news as soon as I can. Look out for this in April…

Thanks again and have a great weekend!