for 2016 – have courage, and be kind

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33


2015 REVIEW: If you missed our “2015 Newsletter,” you can take a look by clicking this link. There is a lot of interesting information, plus some of the best photos of the year.

Today’s post is more of a philosophical review. As a writer I tend to overthink things. But, given the alternative of under-thinking, or the popular “not-thinking-at-all,” I’ll take my chances with the occasionally gratuitous (case in point) cogitation overreach.

First, as a communicator, I’m mostly pleased with 2015. Over four years this blog has gone from 54,000 views (2012), 69,000 (2013), 99,000 (2014), to 132,000 (2015). Life, Gratitude, Faith, & Passion now has 6,100 followers, and I feel like this space has become an important part of the national conversation when it comes to the day-to-day application of faith.

At the same time my books still need to gain some traction (check here for the complete list). But I’m confident that my latest volume –Pilgrim in Progress: notes from the journey, offers a more credible take than typical Christian bookstore fare when it comes to what it means to be a follower of Jesus in 2016.

YOUR VOICE NEEDS TO BE HEARD: I’ll be frank – the majority of top-selling books on contemporary Christian faith tend to lean toward the following:

  1. Toe-the-line, knee-jerk, politically slanted neo-evangelicalism;
  2. Chauvinism;
  3. Nationalism;
  4. Reactionary theology;
  5. Precious-little-to-do-with-Jesus social conservatism;
  6. Southern Baptist-esque doctrine…

41fRYB7nCnL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_If you’re Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, a member of the Disciples of Christ/Christian Church, a Cooperative Baptist, an American Baptist, Assemblies of God, or an affiliate of any denomination that doesn’t confuse political conservatism with Christianity (or if you’re a member of an “evangelical” church and you want to think outside of the box), then I’d like to challenge you to pick up a copy of Pilgrim in Progress, to share the work with your friends, and to generate some more exposure for this critically important conversation about following Jesus. I have no marketing team, so I’m relying on you!

THE WAY THAT WE LIVE: The biggest and most compelling communication tool we all have at our disposal is the way that we live. So I’d like to grab a line from the new Cinderella movie to help parse an essential faith perspective I’ve been thinking about a lot these past few weeks. Here it is: “Have courage, and be kind.”

“Have courage, and be kind…”

Of course, the words are not original to Disney. So, to take the quote closer to the primary source, we’d have to read, “Be courageous, I have conquered the world!” and, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” Jesus – John 16:33

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.” Paul – Ephesians 4:32

I’d like to challenge each one of us to enter 2016 committed to living faith out loud, to following Jesus with intention and with integrity, to living like we mean it, and to spreading the good word about the good news of the Gospel of Love.

IMG_1769To use the words that conclude Pilgrim in Progress, “We have stories to live, you and I, and we have great exploits to unwrap; sometimes one careful layer at a time, and sometimes plunging over the precipice on a wing and a prayer. It is my firm belief that the Creator designed us this way, and that we all have astonishing, challenging, dynamic, surprising stories – tales to seek out, to live, and to tell….”


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