Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

A Blog to read…Andy Darnell’s Mindmap

This is overdue…

I want to recommend a friend’s blog to you:  Andy Darnell’s Mindmap.  Andy is a friend going back to high school and dedicated lay leader in his church.  One of things that I appreciate the most about Andy is his passion for Scripture.  This comes out again and again in his blog.  Also, as a lay leader in Christ’s Church he provides thoughts and perspectives that are helpful for me, as a pastor, to consider.  Anyone for that matter.

Keep up the great work Andy!

Public Service Announcement: HMU Operations Relocation

The operations hub of the Help My Unbelief blog has officially relocated to the great city of Huntsville, Alabama.  Permanent housing should be secured tomorrow morning and many ruminations will culminate and emanate from North Hills Church.

At this point, you may be wondering how I can substantiate these claim of greatness for a city that I can call home for all of about six hours at this point.  Well, you don’t have to take my word for it…

Kiplinger has released a rankings of the top ten cities in the US:

Today, many cities are relying on government programs, universities and stalwart industries, such as health care, to bolster employment in a weak economy. Those factors appeared frequently when we assembled candidates for our 2009 Best Cities list, which focuses on places that have stable employment plus the talent to create new, well-paying positions. A robust job market makes these cities safe havens during the recession and will give them a head start toward growth when the recovery takes off.

Guess who is number one?  That’s right…Huntsville.   Needless to say, this was encouraging for us to read and we are excited about our new community, house, & church.  You’ll also be glad to know that another one of my favorite towns ranked number 5…Athens, GA.

Bad Blogger!

I’m a bad blogger…

If you know us, you know the past few months have been interesting to say the least as we work on transitioning down to Huntsville, Alabama so that I can begin a new position (sr. pastor) at North Hills Church (PCA) in Meridianville, Alabama.  Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of the past month:

  • A disappointing near sale of our house over Easter weekend
  • A house hunting trip to AL
  • An amazing, even better than we could have imagined, sale of our house the weekend after Easter (we closed on May 1)
  • Getting a contract finalized on a house in Meridianville and all of the related phone calls, emails, etc… that have gone along with that.
  • Packing up our house…still working on that…
  • Packing up my office (27 boxes of books and notebooks)
  • Replacing the a/c on both of our cars
  • Lydia’s work computer dying, mine on the fritz (they couldn’t figure out what was wrong when I took it in recently…and the problems continue!)
  • Taking our cat to the vet and not being certain of his health (it didn’t look good for a day or two, but he’s better now).
  • Saying goodbye to our church family here at Calvary in Norfolk, VA – we had a farewell on May 3rd.  I preached that Sunday as well and did my last youth group meeting.  It was an incredibly encouraging and exhausting day.
  • Contemplating leaving a place that has really been home (we weren’t just passing through)  to us for the past five years.

I have probably forgotten a few things and intentionally left out some more personal matters that have been a part of the fabric of our lives recently.

Next up:

  • packing our worldly belongings on a trailer (this coming monday, May 18)
  • leaving town on Thursday, May 21 and traveling to Atlanta
  • Saturday, May 23 attending a high school youth group reunion
  • spending time with family
  • traveling to Huntsville on Tuesday and closing on our new home on Wednesday
  • starting work on June 1, installation service on June 7th.

Blogging resolutions

You might think that I had resolved to stop blogging as a New Year’s resolution.  This is not actually the case – I have been a little busy personally (including some out of town travel) recently.  So, I hereby resolve to resume blogging as my life allows me some margins to do so.

Help My Unbelief – Year in Review

At  the 4 month mark of blogging, I posted my reflections on blogging (I started blogging in April)  At that time, I gave some stats on the blog and thought I would do the same here at the end of the year for the sake of  posterity (or something):

231 posts
4 pages
21 Categories
162 Tags
324 Approved Comments
480 Spam caught by Askimet
6321 total views/hits (coming from all over the world now)

And following the lead of Unashamed Workman (sort of), here are the top posts on this blog during the year (excluding the pages, which are actually receive the most visits):

  1. Movies As Sermon Illustrations? (88 views)  This is also the most commented upon post
  2. Quick Hitter:  College Football Helmet Quiz
  3. Don’t Eat the Raisin Cakes:  I think I get a lot of hits on this from people looking for the meaning of the Raisin Cakes in Hosea 3.  The ironic thing is that this post is more about studying Scripture than about the answer to that question.
  4. Reflections on the Dark Knight

Bonus:  Thou Shalt Text? has been getting a lot of traffic recently as it was linked on the Preaching Today Blog here (the last link on the page).

Some Good Thoughts/Links

Read Books Not Blogs:  Here are the main points…

Books require more reflection from the reader

Books are the result of much reflection from the writer

Books bring accountability

The author of this post, Stephen Altrogge, provides more thoughts on each of these main points.  Personally, I have found it helpful to generally restrict my blog reading to blogs of friends and the articles they recommend (with a few exceptions).   Otherwise, surfing the blogosphere could be a serious temptation and/or waste of time – my blog excluded, of course.

Five Trends in the Church Today (D.A. Carson)

Gospel Diagnostics

These links are via pastor & friend David Zavadil.

My friend Ed, has a good post here titled What It means to love the sinner and hate the sin.

Also, sign up to receive email updates from this blog:  Of First Importance.  Yes, that was a command.  By getting new blog posts by email, I make sure I don’t miss a daily dose of Gospel truth.  I am finding I need this more and more.

Ten Commandments of Bloggers

I read about the Ten Commandments for Bloggers here.  These are good commandments, especially what passes for “Christian” behavior in the blogosphere.  I do cringe a little bit every time a see one of these lists that take off of the Ten Commandments.  This one, as opposed to simply a list of ten thou shalt nots, actually follows the content of the Ten Commandments.  Any thoughts on these commandments or the application of the Ten Commandmens to various areas of life?

Ten Commandments for Bloggers

1 You shall not put your blog before your integrity

2 You shall not make an idol of your blog

3 You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin

4 Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog

5 Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes

6 You shall not murder someone else’s honour, reputation or feelings

7 You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind

8 You shall not steal another person’s content

9 You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger

10 You shall not covet your neighbour’s blog ranking. Be content with your own content

Reflections on Blogging (4 months later)

I meant to type this up a month ago and here I am.  This is a good time to pause, however, and reflect as my first blog post on this blog was exactly four months ago (April 3rd).  Here are some reflections on blogging – the blessings and the dangers (as I perceive them in particular relationship to my context & calling).  My intent is to write about my own self, rather than make blanket statements about blogging as a whole.


  • Writing & Communication:  As a pastor, one of my main jobs is communication of God’s Truth in a variety of ways and contexts.  So, one of my main desires with this blog is to work on improving my writing and communication skills.  I want to be a good and strong communicator, whether I am writing a blog post, preaching a sermon, or sharing the Gospel with someone for the first time.   Obviously, blogging is not the be all and end all of the task of communication and is limited by its very nature, however, I do believe it can help.
  • Overflow & Bits:  This blog is also a place where I can share small thoughts or bits of things that are crossing my mind.  In some cases, this may be a place where I can work those things out in my mind, even if they never actually make it into an actual post (there have been several thoughts).
  • Repository of Thoughts: I have never been particularly good at journaling, but I find this blog can serve as a journal of sorts. Already, I have been able to use a blog post to help me with a task and I believe that it will also help me when I am struggling to remember my thoughts or impressions of a book I read or a movie I saw.
  • Interaction:  Through the comments, I can get feedback and interact with old friends, new friends, and even strangers.  Comments help the conversation from being solely one-sided, although there is a danger which I will share below.  Anyway, it’s fun to hear the thoughts of my readers, especially the regular variety – all three of you 8).
  • Recommendations:  This is a great place to make recommendations about the good things that you can utilize on these internets and otherwise.  That said, I do like to make clear that I don’t always recommend the media (especially movies) I consume for everyone – discernment must be exercised individually.
  • Fun: Some things are just for fun – God created all good things.  I love to laugh, have fun, and share with others the things that delight me.  This is often where my children come in.


  • Writing & Communication:  If my main goal is to improve my communication skills, then there is a danger in how & what I communicate.  I am especially concerned about this as a pastor and am very clearly representing Christ here in “blogdom.”  Though most readers know me and can forgive a flub or read in such a way that my “voice” is heard, there are others who have no such context.  So, in short, I am very concerned that I honor Christ through my blogging/writing and that I represent Him well to all, regardless of religious conviction.  Recently, a good friend brought to my attention something that concerned him about something I had written and he was right and I appreciated that he did bring it to my attention.
  • Ego-trips & Pity-parties:  Another danger is making too much of the blog and the attention it does or doesn’t get.  On one hand, I could view myself as special if I get a lot of readers.  On the other hand, I could be down on myself if I don’t.  Both is pride and could undercut the stated blessings/goals above.  My goal has to be that this blog is another expression of my calling to shepherd God’s people and proclaim the good news, rather than building some blog empire for myself (not that I think would happen).  I think you get the point.
  • Comments:  Similarly, I can’t view the success of this venture on the number of comments, though they are desired and appreciated.  And there is a danger that someone, particularly unbeknownst to me, would try to promote an agenda through the comments.  I can only think of one occassion where this seems to be the case (I can delete comments, but I decided to gently responded in this particular instance).
  • Priorities: Because I try to post regularly, there is a danger that I would put blogging in a higher place of priority in my life than it really deserves.  This means that I need to think about when I blog, how long it takes, and how it fits into my other responsibilities.

Just for fun – here are a few stats for these four months of blogging:

  • 136 posts (this includes a few grandfathered in from my first ill-fated blog)
  • 183 comments (includes a few pingbacks and my own comments responding to others)
  • 4 pages
  • 2,380 hits (as of writing)
  • 19 categories
  • 108 tags
  • Worldwide Audience (or at least some good friends in Germany!)

What’s been going on…

Just a few quick notes on what’s been going on the last few days…

  • We’ve have finally begun a long planned/thought about redo of our playroom.  This room has been great for us and for the kids, as it has allowed us to keep the living room free of toys and the various acrutrements of our children.  In our 1953 ranch house, this was the former carport – which translates into a long skinny room.  When we moved in we were happy with the paint color (think milk chocolate), but we are changing it to a much lighter color called butternut cream.  The other part of the project is to replace the carpet.  Currently, it is a green carpet a slight step above that indoor/outdoor stuff (no pad underneath).  The kids have enjoyed painting along side their parents and it has been fun (mostly) to have them.
  • I spent Saturday at presbytery in the Richmond area and then had a very nice evening with some neighbors/friends over for dinner and dessert.
  • Note about the blog design:  I got frustrated that my header was not showing up and so I ended up trying a new theme (to no avail).  Ultimately, the problem was with Amazon S3 service, which wordpress uses for hosting.  The end result:  trying out the new theme and a new header (for the record that is a picture of my father’s famous rock wall).  I’ll bring back the old header (with the kids) and we’ll see about the theme.
  • We are looking forward to a very quick trip to D.C. later this week for a little away time for Lydia and I.  We are celebrating our ten-year anniversary in early August!
  • Can’t believe July is near over.

Welcome back!

Welcome back to me blogging. I started a blog a couple of years ago and blogged for a year or so (off and on). I have been thinking about blogging again over the last few months and have finally thought of a couple of good reasons to do so again. I was also encouraged by this post. My previous blog is still here and I have imported those posts into this blog (for the sake of posterity or something). Anyway, welcome back.