boyradd

Forgiven…Loved…..Transformed!

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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.

Learning to be a Blogger

Mark 16:15-16 – And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

So I just got my stats for blogging for 2013.  They look very interesting and I am able to make some very (un)scientific conclusions from the results.  I’d like to go through some of the stats and explain how I think my writing will change over the next 12 months.

First, the number of people to my site doubled in 2013 and the busiest days for my blog were basically the month of July.  This is very similar to 2012 when the majority of my visits came in at the end of July.  So what happened in July of both years?

I went on a mission trip to Peru.

CONCLUSION #1:  People love Peruvians.  Ok, maybe THAT isn’t the conclusion to draw here.  I think that people love to read about mission journeys.  The reason for that, I believe, is that everyone really has a desire to travel the world to help someone in need.  Years ago when I was preaching in Nigeria, there was a kid who had very little telling me, “Sir, thank you for coming to my country to preach to us.  The reason you do so is that we can come to your country on missions trips and save them.”

That comment has never left my brain.  It affected me so much that from that moment forward, I knew that my life is small compared to what God’s plan is for this world.

Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Next, of my top 5 posts, four of them in 2013 were direct apologetics or theological statements.  The fifth was on farting (spiritual farting, but farting nonetheless).  And of those top 5 posts of 2013, three of them I posted in 2012!!!

CONCLUSION:  People love apologetics and farting.  Ok, maybe that is a little off base as well.  But 2013 I spent a lot more time trying to use my direct experiences to lead people to Christ.  But the most read posts were ones that simply led people to study the Word more.  Maybe that is what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me in my posts, that I should spend more time digging into the Word on my blog rather than applying it personally.  My top read posts for both 2012 and 2013 were on predestination and election.  Those posts for two years straight have been used as sources in seminary papers even!

Well, I can tell you that I am feverishly working on where my own views of theology lie.  I’ve been reading Millard Erikson’s Christian Theology and peppering in many other sources as I read through his 1300 page book.  Slowly, I am finding that I agree with much of the systematic theological method and that I have some concerns as well.  Throughout much of 2014, I plan on posting pieces of this theology as it grows inside me.

Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Third, where people found me is not very surprising.  In 2012, Twitter and LinkedIn were my top two referring sites.  This year, Twitter was number one with Facebook number two.  What is interesting about that is that I don’t even have a Facebook account.  This means that my blog is being posted on other people’s accounts and other people I don’t even know are clicking onto my blog.

CONCLUSION:  If you are in ministry, you should be blogging, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on LinkedIn.  While this is unscientific, I have posted multiple times about the use of social media and how it can be used to gain significant traffic to your sites and eventually your brick and mortar churches.  Pastors…BE ONLINE.

This next piece kind of goes along with the above information.  In 2012, I had people from 26 countries visit my blog.  That is 13% of the world’s countries.  In 2013, I had 64 countries find my blog, including places like China, North Korea, and Iceland (I know Iceland isn’t filled with danger for Christians, but it is a really cool thing that someone from Iceland read my blog!).  64 countries equals 33% of the known world!  My goal is to have my blog touch at least one person in all 195 of the countries in the world today.

CONCLUSION:  We are called to make disciples in all nations.  I understand that reading an electronic blog is not discipleship in the traditional sense.  But in many countries, especially in countries where the church is persecuted, the only opportunity Christians have to get the Word is either orally or digitally.  Don’t you think it would be wonderful for members of the persecuted church to get actual digital representations of the Bible on their computer?  They wouldn’t need to save it to their computers where militants could find it and persecute them more.  They could just go to your website and find a verse here or there with a parable, story, or explanation.  How cool is that!

2 Corinthians 2:14 – But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

So what am I taking away from all of this blog analysis?

First, I will write more studies on the Word and more apologetics.  I’ll still use parable, story, and experience but it is evident that my readers want more meat and potatoes.

Next, I will strive to get the word out about this blog so that it can touch lives in all 195 countries of the world.  Please keep that in prayer.  That is one vision God has given me and I would love to see that come to be.

Finally, I will remain a voice to the church about turning social media into God’s channel.  I learned today that groups like Al Quaeda and the mafia have been using social media to get the word out about the dark dealings.

Why can’t we use it to shine the light of Christ?

We should strive to own the world wide web!  We want to take Christ and the gospel into all the world, right?  What better way to take Bibles into places where there are none?  What better way to spread the gospel to places that have little or no missionaries.

What better way to become a missionary?  A digital missionary!

So church, let’s work together to take the Word of God to the world.  Not only physically, but digitally.  Let’s show the world that we as Christians will not be silent.  That we will go into the places that no one else will and share the love of Jesus.

Amen.

Matthew 28:19 – Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

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