Many of you are aware that I began pastoring Christiansburg Mennonite Fellowship on January 1st, 2014. It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since we moved to Virginia and started a new chapter in our lives and ministry!
While it hasn’t been without challenges, it has been an exciting year filled with God’s blessings for the Flowers family. The Lord has revealed to us throughout the year that we are living in his will for our lives. We are thankful for the Spirit’s continual presence with us in all seasons of life. He continues to reward us for our faith in Jesus and our willingness to trust his leading.
It has normally been the blog custom to recap the year of blogging with stats, what was popular, and/or garnered the most shares and likes. I really don’t feel like doing that this year. If you’re interested, just check out the Popular posts page. It has been updated to reflect my reader’s all-time favorites.
I’m grateful for my 500+ regular subscribers. Pastoring has demanded more of my time, so I have blogged less this year. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to post 1-3 times a month, and I’m glad that folks are still finding reasons to subscribe.
As always, one of the purposes of my blog has been to put forth weightier posts on matters that are increasingly neglected in the church. And of course, those things which are connected in some way to the centrality and supremacy of Christ, hence the name of my blog.
I’ve been blogging since 2008. I must admit that it’s been a bit disappointing over the years to discover that if I were to write more on homosexuality, or some other hot button issue, my views would sky rocket. It’s happened before. However, when I’ve written on prayer, the blog traffic almost comes to a complete halt. What does this say about us? Well, I have to say that it’s not the sort of thing that gives me a boost as a blogger.
I’ve learned how to increase my blog traffic, to be sure. But rather than seeking to have a post go viral, I’m committed to being a pastoral voice and utilizing this blog to approach things differently for those who believe we need it.
Honestly, there have been moments throughout the last couple of years where I’ve seriously considered shutting the blog down (mainly due to time constraints and the lack of engagement from readers), and then I get an encouraging comment or a timely email from one of you.
I appreciate those who have taken the time to give back and express their solidarity with my journey. A handful of you keep me blogging. I sincerely mean that. You remind me that there are some good purposes for the internet.
Personal Reflections on 2014
As I’ve been reflecting on this past year, there are a few things that stick out in my mind that I would like to share with you. These are areas where the Spirit has been at work in my life to convict, convince, and conform me to Christ. I want to encourage us all to think about how these might apply to us in the church, especially those in some form of leadership.
- Personal ambition robs us of the peace and joy of Jesus.
It’s built into our American culture and it’s perpetuated everywhere we turn today. The craving for notoriety and celebrity status is not of God. If being known by Christ and your small circle of family and friends is not enough, nothing ever will be. Ambition may be evidence that you’re empty, and you’re broadcasting that to the world by your narcissistic endeavors, seeking to fill the void in your soul.
- Social media is a mixed bag. Use with extreme caution.
I’ve made some incredible connections with folks through social media. Most of my blog traffic comes through Facebook. I’m happy about that. But I’ve come to believe that Facebook is a virtual dark alley in a really bad part of cyber town. It has largely become a garbage heap where we bring all the trash that’s in us. This year I feel like a veil has been lifted from my eyes to see all of the psychological and spiritual issues people have, including my own. I’m also convinced that social media has for many Christians become a substitute for local incarnational ministry. This needs to change if we want to make any lasting difference.
- Relationships and Gospel ministry are slow, hard, and messy.
I turn 34 next month and have been actively following Jesus for about 20 years, so I knew this truth already. I’ve simply been reminded of it in many ways over this past year. This never changes. There is no fast-track to holiness, no easy way to achieve what is eternally rewarding. People are broken. I’m broken. Evil exists, but God is good. The Kingdom is advancing despite set-backs and our chrono-centric worldview. We may struggle here, but it’s here in the messiness of our relationships that the Spirit thrives. Don’t give up on people. Get down in the dirt with others. Be present and expect to find the Lord there.
I could say a great deal more about these things, but I’ll just leave it there. I hope you’ll do some reflection of your own. What has the Spirit been teaching you this year? Are you expecting greater things in 2015? Let’s pray for our eyes to be opened to God’s presence. He is faithful.
Grace & Peace,
D.D. Flowers, 2014.