boyradd

Forgiven…Loved…..Transformed!

Archive for the tag “blogging”

2018 Year in Review

Nehemiah 2:18b, 20 – They laughed at us and despised us, and said, ‘What is this thing that you are doing?’… So I answered them and said to them, ‘The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore, we His servants will arise and build.

2018 was an uncomfortable year for my family and I. We had a lot of struggles come up that many families have had to face, but we hadn’t…until 2018.

Both my wife and I had job problems throughout the year. For her, the company she worked for shuttered her department and she was laid off. This led to us losing insurance and having to scramble to figure it out. Fortunately, my boss stepped up and set up a plan for us. But then, unfortunately, he neglected to pay the premiums and our insurance was cancelled a couple months later. Then, add to that, the fact that my job went through a financial downturn and paychecks were coming late, and, even those that were coming, we only partials.

This led to a lot of inconsistency in both health and finances this year.

But God….

Staying uncomfortable, when kept in front of God, leads to spiritual awakening. That spiritual awakening can lead to all sorts of blessings from God whether they be spiritual, physical, emotional, or mental.

In this case, it was all the above!

Both my wife and I changed jobs this year. My wife changed jobs because she had no other choice. After being laid off, she needed to find something new. This led to her finding a new job in the same industry but in a capacity that is a better fit for her skills. She still works from home. Every day that she works she truly enjoys what she is doing.

God knew.

He knew that she was unhappy at her last company and provided her, after going through the storm of being laid off, the mercy and grace of a new job that satisfies her emotionally, physically, and mentally.

As for me, I have been seeking to follow my call into vocational ministry. That opportunity came late this year. I started interviewing with a local Baptist church (fcbc.church) around the middle of the year, and by early December, I was able to start as their Director of Ministries. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am that FCBC chose me. Even more exciting is that God granted my call!

As 2019 opens, Mimi and I are in a better place professionally and emotionally. Financially we won’t be making as much as we could have been had I stayed in the corporate world, but God….

God provides.

Even through the job craziness the past couple months, we have noticed something.

Our bank account has continued to grow.

Even though I am making less and Mimi isn’t making any more than she was before, we are actually banking more money away, and our expenses haven’t really reduced. If anything, because of 3 cars breaking down in the same week, our expenses in the final month of the year increased!

Simply put, but God…

God knows!

I am always amazed that He knows what we need and provides. I never want to be so rich that I forget about God, but I never want to be so poor that I dishonor Him either.

2 Timothy 4:17 – But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me

As for this blog, I only posted 31 articles this year, my lowest number ever.

But God…

This blog had its highest readership this year in its 7-year history!

I averaged 78 views per week with over 4,000 visitors this year!!!

It was viewed in 77 different countries, which is just shy of 40% of the world has had access to this blog! The top 3 countries are the United States (over 70% of the views came from the USA) followed by both China and the United Kingdom. I am really excited to see that the number 2 location for reading this blog was in China!!!

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 – But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.

I pray that this blog is an encouragement to the Christians in China! Please stay strong, know that your sacrifice for the faith is seen by God. Your faith and your sacrifice will bring about a harvest for the kingdom. The disciples you are raising up will lead to change in generations to come. The struggles you face right now will see an amazing return in the faith of others.

Of all the stats I have ever read about this blog, seeing that it is being read in China significantly a both humbling and remarkable. I pray that God gives me the words to say that will encourage those who are risking everything for the faith.

As for the top posts that were read this year, I always facepalm when I read that my post “Spiritual Farting” is the top read post. This is now 5 years in a row that this has been the number one post.

If I can, please stop reading about spiritual farting lol. Almost 15% of my viewers for the year read that one blog post!

One key learning I have from reading which posts are the most popular is that series seem to be more popular than single posts. The series about Jesus’ disciples provided the most popular posts of those put up this year.

So, what does 2019 look like?

I have no clue. Considering most of my posts are triggered by something that happens in my life at that moment, I don’t know what I will be posting about. The rest of my life is fairly organized, so I like to give this blog to the movement of the Holy Spirit.

One thing I do know, as I move into the next year, boyradd.wordpress.com will continue to post and, God willing, grow.

Psalm 125:1-2 – Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forever.

Thanks for all your support through 2018.

Writer’s Block

Hebrews 3:13 – But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

I’ve been blogging for almost exactly 6 years.

6.

That is longer than a lot of jobs I have held in my life. It is longer than I have been married to Mimi.

The majority of my posts are theological or apologetic in nature. Ever since I started this blog I wanted to take modern day issues and show that the issue is not modern only and then how the Bible informs us to handle the issue.

I never thought I would have six years of source material, but here we are.

Lately, my brain has been unfocused when it comes to my blog. I am spending a lot of time reading the Bible (currently working to memorize the kings of Israel and Judah and what they did so I can apply it in my life). I am spending a lot of time reading books by others, mostly dealing with being a good husband and what that looks like. I’ve been spending a lot of time in prayer, trying to figure out just what God’s call is on my life (I believe I am called to vocational ministry, but every door I try to open gets closed).

I’ve been learning patience.

A lot has come up recently in current world events to give me enough to write about. Unfortunately, as I begin to write about them, I get a few sentences in and my brain shuts down.

Like right now. I am sitting here, in Panera, staring at my computer screen chanting under my breath, “God, give me the words.”

There are so many topics I could write about.

But I’ve got a serious case of writer’s block.

Psalm 138:3 – On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.

You have to respect pastors. They write about 40-50 sermons a year.

Want to know the secret about sermons, though?

They aren’t writing them from scratch.

Sure, the jokes might be new, the anecdotes might be personal and fresh, and the application might be relevant but the source material is thousands of years old.

A few years back when I went to a church planting conference in Nashville I heard Louie Giglio share a story about a parishioner who went up to him after a few years of being in the church and said that his message spoke to him that one particular day he was preaching. Louie went on to say thank you. The parishioner said that he was amazed at how his source material is always new and fresh. Louie said, with a small smirk on his face, “Want to know a secret? The message hasn’t changed in all the years I’ve been preaching. The only difference is that today you chose to hear it.”

The same is true for blogging.

Over my six years I have received emails and comments from people at one time or another saying that the message I shared really affected them. Honestly, while my stories are personal and truly only lived by myself, the gospel message that is attached to those stories has never changed.

Colossians 2:2-3 – My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

My hope is that if someone who doesn’t believe in Christ reads my messages that they will want to make the choice to seek Christ. My other hope is that for those who already have a relationship with Christ that we can learn how to live as Christ would have us live.

I used to love being considered a “evangelical Christian.”

And that is what I am.

My blog, and consequently my life, is meant to be lived evangelically. And I am a Chrsitian.

But I am not the title “evangelical Christian.”

That term brings up notes of Republican, hypocritical, and focused on power and money.

I am not Republican. I am not Democrat either. I refuse to vote. I am truly non-partisan.

Am I a hypocrite? Of course. So is everyone else in this world. At some point in everyone’s life we have done something hypocritical.

Am I focused on power and money? Sometimes. But back in 2014 I left a 6-figure+ job to focus on both God and future family. God has blessed me and my family enough that we aren’t going hungry and we have been able to live a lifestyle of moderate comfort. But I had one year where I made less than $20,000 and have at times had to work a couple jobs just to make ends meet. So money and power only in the respect that I just want to be able to pay my bills.

Proverbs 30:7-9 – I ask two things from you, Lord. Don’t refuse me before I die. Keep me from lying and being dishonest. And don’t make me either rich or poor; just give me enough food for each day. If I have too much, I might reject you and say, ‘I don’t know the Lord.’ If I am poor, I might steal and disgrace the name of my God.

Simply put, I am a Christian. This is a blog about my journey as a Christian. Will it always be what you expect to hear? Of course not. There are many aspects of God that I wrestle with, even to this day. I may not always seem like I have it all together. But I feel that puts me in good company. Look at a lot of different people in the Bible. A lot of people whose hearts are God’s struggled with everything God said or did. Habakkuk, Elijah, Moses, Ananias, Peter or really any of the disciples are examples of that.

The Christian journey is never one of saying you have confidence in anything…except Christ.

My ways are not His ways. When I think I have it all figured out, God steps in and says, “No, Fred, why do have so much pride in you so as to accept everything people say versus what My Word says?”

It seems like my Christian walk is 2 steps forward and 1 step backward.

But that is still forward momentum.

So, I want to give you some hope, Christian.

This is coming from one Christian whose life looks nice and clean on the outside but on the inside is filled with question. This is coming from someone whose goal in life is not be a mouthpiece for a government party but to be a mouthpiece for Christ alone. This is coming from someone who is just as screwed up and messed up as you are.

Take it from me that if this man can find the hope that comes in Christ and be transformed daily by it, then you can too.

That is my hope.

That this blog will be an example of sanctification. It is a slow process, but it is forward momentum.

So, take hope that even if you have questions about how the Scriptures and God will affect your life, know that you are not alone in your struggle. There are many of us out there trying to figure it out with Christ at the forefront.

And never give up.

Stay the course.

Taking two steps forward and one step back.

Each day.

Until God calls you home and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

End of Year Summary

Mark 16:15 – He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Every year I am amazed by the statistic of this blog. Thousands of people each year visit here and it makes its way into so many different countries. This year alone my blog has been to 72 different countries, over 36% of the world! Since I started writing this about 5 years ago, it has been read in over 107 countries, 55% of the world!

I am absolutely amazed that anyone would want to read this site.

Galatians 6:9 – And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

When I started 5 years ago, I really thought that only a handful of people would want to read this, and for a while I was right. I had just started getting involved in social media and had a few people following across all social media sites.

Since then, I’ve learned from my beautiful wife, Mimi, how to manage my social media presence. I keep my Facebook more private at only 323 followers. Twitter has just shy of 2,000. With LinkedIn I am pushing 4,100.

Bottom line, I live in the public eye. And I like it. Just ask Mimi, she would say that I feed off of it.

I don’t bring this all up to show how great my numbers are. Am I proud of them? Of course. But I realize that they can go away just as quickly as they came.

I bring this up because it teaches me two very important things:

  • People are hungry to find the Word of God.

Next to those who subscribe to the site, the top way that people come to this blog is through online searches. Even after almost 5 years, my number one searched post is “Spiritual Farting.” Almost every day someone searches for that on Google or Yahoo and finds this site.

But regardless of how people are finding this site, it has become an important part in many peoples’ weekly reading.

Colossians 2:2-3 – My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

  • This has shows amazing opportunity for the church!

There are thousands of pastors who blog. Many of them post very rarely while others post frequently. I try to post weekly. The more a pastor posts, the more followers they will most likely have. With only 45 posts this year I have reached thousands of people.

Granted, not all pastors are good at writing. And many pastors simply don’t have the time to write one.  But I believe that if a church enlists one of their members or staff to write a blog for the church, it will help to build up that church.

As the church turns more and more away from bricks and mortar and into a clicks and engagement strategy, online posting will be very important.

Most churches use Facebook. Some utilize Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube. In the grand scheme of things, very few blog or post snippets of their sermons on any sites where people could read them.

I believe that if we started to incorporate more of a teaching mentality to our social media as the church, then we would start to see people get more involved in understanding the Christian faith.

Many churches use social media to put memes of platitudes, announcements of weddings or funerals, and the occasional prayer request.

But there is very little teaching going on.

If we could take this opportunity to teach rather than tickle the ears of people, we might see a lot more growth and discipleship going on.

So, tell me, what are YOU going to post about?

If you would like to guest post on this site, leave a comment with your email address and I will reach out to you and see if our beliefs would be compatible for doing a guest post.

I look forward to hearing from you all!

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

A Year to Remember

Because if we forget it then we will be forced to repeat it.

Psalm 43:3 – Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!

This year I was planning on taking a hiatus from the blogging world to plant a church. Well, that didn’t go as planned.

So I am back.

And, as I do every year, I like to give you an idea of just where this blog has been and where it is going.

So I took 9 months off from blogging. It was glorious, lol. I did all those bucket list items like climbing Mt. Everest, surfing Mavericks, and base jumping Shanghai Tower. But that gets bored pretty quick.

Actually, I did none of those things except in my dreams.

If you read last week’s post, you will find that 2016 has been a tough year for me. I had intended to be in full-time ministry by now and only using my business to supplement income but that didn’t happen so I needed to go back into what I know best, regional retail management, and put the ministry on hold. I also had health issues that kept me from surfing Mavs.

But this year has also seen some amazing things happen. Even though my ministry life has seen more frustrations than in year’s past, my faith has grown much deeper.

Mimi and I also, I believe, grew much closer than we ever have been. And that has also happened with the overall family.

As for the blog, I went away in January and returned at the end of September. This, of course, affected the overall numbers of people coming to the blog. For the year, I only reached about 1500 people, very low versus years past, but still pretty decent.

As for posts, I touched upon the churches in the book of Revelation, spoke about superheroes, and posted a few times about missions and our journey to Peru this year.

Psalm 19:8 – the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;

As I move into 2017 with this blog, this will be the 5th year for this site. In year’s past I have averaged about 11,000 visitors a year to the site and it is pushed out to almost 3,000 weekly. Unfortunately, the way WordPress works, I am unable to see people who come to my site from places like LinkedIn or use the “reader” function. Looking at my LinkedIn numbers, I am averaging about 150 per week clicking the link to my blog, so I am pretty sure I can add those to the mix. That alone adds almost another 8,000 viewers per year. So I am going to go out on a limb and say that this blog averages about 20,000 views per year in a full year.

This site has been shared 271 times this year. That’s pretty exciting because I am not sure what that means, lol. It doesn’t mean it is being shared on Facebook or Twitter from those apps directly, but I guess it is someone clicking the share button on my site and then posting to their Facebook or Twitter.

My most popular posts this year weren’t actually written this year. Spiritual Farting had the most (written in 2013) followed by Predestination and Election 1 & 2 (written in 2012). Mostly people are finding those through web searches. I think I must be the only person writing about spiritual farting, or at least it is a very small number of us.

This year my blog reached 58 countries. Much less than prior years, but again, I was dark for almost 10 months. The USA was the top viewer of my site followed by India, Canada, and Australia. But this blog has reached people in countries like Lithuania, Zambia, Malta, Bahrain, and Cyprus along with many others.

Here is what I have planned for 2017: more of the same.

As of now I plan to be posting at least once a week. I also plan on getting back into the Church Central blogging world as well by spring.

My first few posts of the year are going to be tough ones. A few days ago I posted on my Facebook a question to my friends: “What is Christianity about?”

Pretty big question, eh?

But I plan on doing a series at the beginning of the year about what Christianity is, what it isn’t, and why it matters. That should take up a few weeks, or maybe months lol.

As with all my posts, I am always looking for God to share those glimpses of grace that He has given me. And every time, even when the post is tough to understand or even shares the brokenness of myself, my family, or mankind as a whole, God provides me a lens into His kingdom to see a small part of it.

So I look forward to 2017 and sharing thoughts, proverbs, psalms, and theology with you all. Thanks for spending the past few years with me on this journey. I hope you will continue to join me on it.

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path

Growing the Reach

Proverbs 28:20 – A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished

God has blessed this blog. He has also blessed my social media presence. Much of that has come from my wife who is a social media guru (her website is called www.wovenbywords.com, go visit her!!). When I first met her, I didn’t have a Facebook account, I didn’t have an Instagram account. I had a Twitter account but only had a small following (under 100).

Then I started listening to the things she was telling me to do. To date, my Twitter has grown to over 1,800 and I am on both Facebook and Instagram and I have started blogging.

I’ve now been blogging for over 3 years and have found that it is a very good way to help me dive deeper into the Word of God.

Each week, my blog has the potential to reach about 2,000 unique visitors monthly. My top day was over 250 views.

When an opportunity presented itself to blog for another organization, one that was started by one of my favorite Christian authors on leadership, I did everything in my power to join their group.

Their site has over 12,000 unique visitors monthly.

I am humbled to say that I am now an official blogger for www.ChurchCentral.com.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope

So how is this blog going to change?

First, I will continue to post almost weekly on this blog with my views and interpretation of Biblical and theological ideas.

Second, I will be attempting to post twice a month to Church Central. So every 2 weeks I will be posting a link on my blog to the Church Central site. It would be awesome if you would click the link from here and visit my blog on their site. The material on there will be completely different than the material here. You won’t find the post that I provide their blog site anywhere else but there.

Third, I plan on doing some other blogging in the future. There are a couple of other places I have submitted samples to and hope to increase the reach even more. It would be really cool if I could blog a lot more regularly. I really enjoy the writing.

I learn so much from when I do it.

So go visit www.churchcentral.com. I will be posting there tomorrow and will post the link tomorrow night to here.

Proverbs 18:15 – An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge

Into All the Digital Universe – Part 4: Blogging

Habakkuk 2:2 – The LORD answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it.

So we have covered Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the need for social media in the church today.  It is a very media-centric world.  God calls us to be in the world but not of it.  Today, being of the world means finding past lovers on Facebook, over-contextualizing the Gospel on Twitter, and risk losing the title of “above reproach” on Instagram.  But we are called to be in that world.  It is how souls will get won.  We need to meet Satan in the trenches on the frontline of the battle, and this is one of those fronts.

One more of those fronts is blogging.  There are many out there who say the blogging world is dead today.  The next generation of blogging is coming and that this is a thing of the past.  If that is the case, then why are there still so many readers of blogs around the world?  It is because there are blogs about every little thing out there.  You want a blog about applying makeup?  There are plenty.  You want a blog about improving your golf swing?  Yep, there are those.  You want a blog about how to eat a Maryland blue crab steamed and spiced with Old Bay?  You got it.  And if you want to find blogs about Biblical topics?  You can find more than you would ever be able to read in 10 lifetimes.

And guess what?

Not all those Biblical blogs are, well….biblical!

Romans 1:26 – For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature;

You can find someone somewhere blogging about things that they believe and fitting the Bible into their beliefs, not their beliefs into the Bible.  You see, THAT is the danger with blogging.  Once you post your views, they are on the world wide web for everyone to see.  When I started writing this blog series, my blog had been read in 58 countries worldwide.  As of today, that number has grown to 62.  That means that if I post something heretical, then it gets seen in as many as 62 different countries currently.  That is a lot of pressure to put any preacher or saint under!!!  I’m blessed to have a seminary degree under my belt.  But not everyone that has a blog that posts about Christ graduated seminary.  (lol, that can both be a good thing and a bad thing, by the way)  There are numerous blogs out there that preach not just incorrect information, but flat out rebellion to Scripture.  With the potential to reach billions of people, it is no wonder that there is danger in posting.

But with the majority of young adults getting their Biblical teaching from a blog that someone posts in a tweet or on a Facebook wall, the need is great for us to get deep-rooted Scriptural teaching in the hands of everyone.

This means that all pastors need to blog.

I understand the need for time.  It is a precious commodity.  Especially for pastors who not only need to spend 20 hours preparing a sermon, going to visit people in the hospital, performing weddings and funerals, running Bible studies, but also have to make sure all the toilets in the church are unclogged, the windows are cleaned, and all the bills are paid.  And this happens while they are growing their family who needs them as well.  As a matter of fact, I am writing this at almost 12:30 AM on a Monday right now.

While blogging can be both time-consuming and potentially dangerous if unbiblical views are posted, there are many reasons that pastors should blog.  First, blogging creates in the writer spiritual formation.  Many Christians do not study their Bibles.  Unfortunately, many pastors don’t study, or even preach from, the Bible.  When I blog, I find a single verse that I study before writing.  I will do a systematic theological study of that verse with other verses it is tied to in the Old and New Testaments.  I spend about an hour studying the Greek and/or Hebrew meanings of the words.  This is all forming in me a knowledge of the Bible.  It is creating a spiritual discipline in me.  Not only does this help me understand Scripture deeper, it will hopefully help others to research the verses I use in my blog.

Next, blogging develops my leadership skills.  While I am studying and writing about my topic, I have occasionally sent off previews of my blog to others around the world to get their thoughts before I post.  It opens up conversations with others around the world, from different denominations and even faiths, to hear their point of view.  It has also been used as a resource to others.  At least 4 times my blog has been cited in some seminary student’s research paper.

Finally, blogging provides outreach to billions of people worldwide.  There are communities in the world that have no access to a Christian missionary, but they may have a computer.  This gets the Word of God into their village.  This is a great tool for engaging others and shaping conversations internationally.

So pastors should blog.

All Bible-believing, Holy Spirit-led pastors should blog.

I pray this series has sparked some thought in you.  Thoughts that perhaps you can get online and increase your ministry reach.  In today’s world, it is so very important that we have a presence in it and not fall to the fringe of those who let technology stop the spreading of the faith.

Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

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