Dear June 2015  Steve’s Blog

Hi, it’s June 2016 Steve’s Blog here.  How you doing?  Feeling a little chuffed with yourself?  Feeling a little, like, you know well read?  Feeling a little viral?  That’s ok, just don’t let that virus go to your head.  I know, I know, some important people picked up on something you wrote and soon anybody who is anybody was reading it.

And responding to it! Things just snowballed once it was up on the important evangelical sites, and what started off as a series of muses on church planting has become this cultural phenomenon (in your mind).

Well that was a year ago.  And here are some lessons you will probably learn over the next twelve months.  Lessons that I will leave with you until we catch up with each other.

Not Everything You Write is Good: Some parts are good, some are excellent, and some just sound like a rant.  You can only be 100 per cent sure that a piece of writing has hit the mark when it’s a Bible quote – and even then you better make sure you’ve interpreted it faithfully.

Allow Some Trusted Friends To Tell You the Difference: There will always be people who praise everything on your page. There will always be naysayers.  Find a few trusted friends, preferably those who write themselves, and get them to be your barometers.  You don’t always have to take their advice, but you’d better learn to listen to it, because they may just see in your argument or manner or attitude what you don’t (or not see what you think is plain as day).

Jesus is Your Justification: Not blog hits.  Not comments. Not how widely read or quoted you are.  Jesus is your justification.

If you find your justification in Jesus, you will find your joy in Jesus.  And he is rock solid.  If you find your justification in your writing, you will find a certain joy when your writing is well received.  And you will find self-loathing, insecurity and uncertainty when it is not well received.

Ironically, finding your joy in Jesus will enable you to write joyfully, and less reactively, because you will have locked away the source of your joy before you write. Your writing is not designed to bear the weight of your joy. Jesus is.*

* This can be applied to ANY aspect of life, not just writing. 

You Are Not Your Blog: Blogging about prayer does not may you pray. Blogging about Bible reading will not make you desire God’s Word. Blogging about being holy does not make you holy.  Blogging about wanting to pray or wanting to be holy does not make you want either of them.  Blogging about the need for sexual purity will not make you desire sexual purity.  Only Jesus will do all of that.  So decide now:  How much time will you spend blogging and how much time will you spend with Jesus in the coming twelve months?

Similarly, blogging about the cultural blindspots you see in the church (a topic you will increasingly turn to this coming twelve months), will not anoint your blind eyes with the salve it needs to see your own blind spots.  You will need Jesus (and his servants, your brothers and sisters) to point those out.

Just as you have spoken out about conference speakers not necessarily being the person they present, neither are you.  Let this fact humble you and drive you to prayer before it drives you to write.

Your Wife Will Generally Not Read You: Shocking I know.  Not even “the famous post”, the one about exile. Let that sink in for a while, then turn to her and smile at her, for she is a woman of deep substance and conviction nonetheless!

No she won’t read your blog.  But she will pray for you, serve alongside and love you, work hard in her psychology clinic, love and laugh with you and your children, feel tired and overwhelmed by the juggle of public work and church ministry, and be the friend, lover, confidant, enjoy your family holidays, and give you great joy.  And, believe me, you’re gonna be such hard work over the next twelve months, she won’t have time to read what you blog!

Ok, that’s about enough for now.  It’s fair to say that 2016 will be a more sedate year than 2015.  You might just have to settle down into the obscurity you had before June 2015.  But remember, the gifts God gives us are for serving others, so do that in love for the second half of 2015, and I’ll see you at the start of 2016.

Your, older, wiser, brother in arms

June 2016 Steve’s Blog