This week marks the one year anniversary of “Students of Jesus.” I’ll leave judgments of quality to others, but I’m amazed at the reach of a text-driven blog with almost zero promotional effort in just 52 weeks: in 2009 Students of Jesus had more than 2,700 unique visitors from more than 60 countries. It reached all 50 of the United States--who knew North Dakota had computers? I’ve enjoyed dialogue with new friends from Maryland to California, as well as interaction with readers on four of the five livable continents (com’on, Australia, join the party).
Please allow me to share just three of the lessons I’ve learned this year:
1). God gives generously and without reproach. After 40 years of walking with Jesus I thought I might have something to offer, but in just a dozen or so posts it became clear how small was my storehouse. Fortunately, God encourages us to ask for wisdom, and His streams are full, rich, and never-ending. His mercies are new every morning, and the scriptures assure us that his voice goes out to all creation day after day. We need only to be still and listen. A notebook helps, too.
2). I rediscovered the place of Scripture. My faith tradition emphasizes the importance of encountering God both practically and experientially. During this first year of trying to share these priorities, I have been reminded that there is one sure location to encounter God: his written word. While many Christians make the mistake of worshipping “Father, Son, and Holy Scripture,” it is equally true that some believers so frantically desire experiences with the Holy Spirit that they rush past the word of God. For those with ears to hear, the scripture is the Holy Spirit’s home address. Of course, He gets out of the house a lot!
3). Inspiration is the intersection of our faithfulness and God’s grace. God is looking for those who will step on the dance floor with him. He provides the music and He will lead, but we have to excuse ourselves from the banquet table and wrap our arms around him. We’ve been tempted to think that inspiration will sneak up from behind and wrestle us to the ground, when the most inspired moments come as our effort meets his kindness. His kindness is always available--what about our effort? Showing up day by day, ready to work, is the best way to find the breath of inspiration--whether you are an artist, businessman, or student.
Blogging is an exercise that combines both hope and vanity. It’s pure vanity to believe others would really care to read my words. But I hope you do.