Renewing the Vision

IMG_0710If you previously “followed” my posts on this page (and I’m thankful for all 5 or 6 of you who did…), then you realize that it’s been a LONG time since I posted anything here – a couple of years, in fact!  I feel pretty ashamed of how long it’s been since I’ve posted here, but as I hinted in my last post or two, there were several different areas of my life that kept nudging me in other directions and preventing me from making the time to do this.  Specifically, here are some of the thoughts that have kept me away from this page for so long…..

1) Kids – Most obviously, I became a DAD!  Ever since we were first blessed with Luther on May 31, 2011 – and even more so since Nora was born in January 2013 – loving, teaching, and ministering to the needs of our children has been among our top responsibilities.  As any parent can tell you, this takes TIME, and makes it very hard to pull away and invest time doing other things which aren’t urgent or required.

2) Work – It goes without saying that jobs that help us buy food, pay bills, and put gas in the cars are more urgent than volunteer “jobs” that don’t.  As a minister, the demands of church ministry kept pulling me away from other writing-related projects, like this, which I had previously aimed to do on a more regular basis.  In the past year, the transition from church work to editing work (along with my various teaching and preaching opportunities) has put similar demands on my schedule, and has also forced me to sit in front of a computer screen for quite enough hours as it is!

3) More experienced bloggers – There are already SO many great bloggers on the internet, such as Tim Challies, Justin Taylor, Kevin DeYoung, etc., and they have professional-quality blog sites with years’ worth of excellent posts and thousands of online followers.  How can I possibly compete with that?  What new can I offer that isn’t already readily available to readers around the world?

I know several of these guys personally, and while they lead extremely busy lives as pastors, husbands, fathers, etc., looking at their blogs gives the impression that they never step away from their computers!  They write about events WHILE they are happening, they write thought-provoking reviews for books that haven’t been released yet, and they stay just about as current, relevant, and informative as can possibly be.  In some respects, just knowing that these guys are out there, posting new and exciting posts nearly every day, can be very discouraging to young bloggers like me, who have no money and very little time to invest in an endeavor like this one.

4) Poor self-discipline – Like everybody else that I know, I struggle to properly manage my time each day (In fact, one of my earlier blog entries was dealing with this topic.).  My biggest struggle in regard to the blog, though, has been that I’m used to writing sermons, articles, and even book manuscripts – not “blog entries”.  So, I haven’t yet mastered the helpful art of being brief with my comments!

Being a minister and a reader / writer, I like to communicate!  Therefore, whenever I would set out to write a blog entry, I would always invest more time trying to articulate my thoughts fully and articulately than I probably should have.  So, rather than a blog post, I would offer an article, which proved too time-consuming for me as a writer, and probably too substantial for some of my readers (who have limited time for reading articles online), as well.  Even now, I’m struggling to know how to be concise with this post, and not spend all morning typing it!

So, anyway, these are the things have lingered in my heart and mind over the last two to three years, consistently discouraging me from writing anything new on here.  Obviously, I have been seriously tempted to simply delete this page and forget about my blog idea altogether – not because I don’t love to write, but simply because I have lots of other great opportunities to write, and because the blog seems more like a distraction from the other, more important, areas of my life.

Truth be told, I may still give up on this idea permanently at some point in the not-too-distant future.  However, I’ve determined that I’m not quite ready to do that just yet.  I do see some good benefits to blogging more faithfully, such as requiring myself to put my writing skills into practice more often, and inviting other respected bloggers and writers to both critique and (I hope) encourage me in my writing.  Furthermore, in spite of the overwhelming variety of great Christian blogs already available to readers, I still believe that I can build this page up into something that will be of interest and benefit to potential readers, and which will hopefully edify them in their walk with the Lord.

So, in an effort to give this page another go, and to see if I can stay a bit more disciplined and devoted to this website than I previously did, I have updated the layout of the page, hopefully improving the appearance a bit, and will soon begin adding some (other) new posts.  My “renewed vision” for this, though, is to invest less time preparing “theological articles” (as I previously offered), and to focus more regularly on reviews and recommendations of new books, sharing the best posts that I find on other pages, etc.  In other words, I’m hoping to do a better job of making this page actually live up to its name – “Echoes of the Elect” – by spending more time considering what all of us can learn from the writings of great biblical teachers of both the past and the present.

To get this endeavor started back in the right way, I’ll begin by sharing this link to a brand new, FREE “eBook” by John Piper (also available as a PDF file, for those – like me – who still prefer the physically printed page over an “e-anything”…).  It surveys the rich teaching of Jonathan Edwards, and especially the significant role that the writings of Edwards have had in the life and ministry of Pastor Piper.  This should be a great blessing to all of us – and it’s absolutely FREE!

http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/jonathan-edwards-via-john-piper-new-ebook

Of course, I hope that this “renewed” blog page will find its proper audience, and will prove to be encouraging to all who read it in the days to come.  Thanks to all who read this, and thanks for your prayers and encouragement as I continue to strive to serve the Lord to the best of my abilities.  I hope that you, too, will find similar ways to honor God and serve others with your gifts, talents, and the various passions of your heart!

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