For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Observation and Reflection

Okay, so it’s that time of the year. Time to get all nostalgic, reflecting back on the year that was, what I didn’t do right, what I want to do better and all that. But I’ll keep most of that to myself, thank you very much.

For this space, I want to do a little observing and reflecting about this blog site itself. I want to make a couple of observations based on the information Blogger keeps track of for me, and then reflect on the top ten posts in the history of this site. So most of you can just skip ahead now to the next blog in your Google reader or whatever. This is mainly just for myself and for those who are just so bored, they need something to do with their time, so…

Observation #1 = Interesting Search Results
One of the things Blogger tells me is the search parameters put in by others that led them to my sight. For the most part, it’s stuff I’d expect: my name, things that match titles of posts (fishers of men, all creation sings, arguments against alcohol being the top three, which correspond to top posts listed below), and so on.

However, there are a couple of surprises. One of the more popular searches leading to me is for “wiccan tattoos,” which apparently brings up an article I wrote last year for Tullian’s book “Unfashionable.” I simply mentioned a quote I’d read about supposedly Christian tattoo artists who had no problem doing wiccan tattoos. Amazing what the search engines fined.

And then my favorite search: “Right Wing Sermons.” Do a search on that and you’ll find on the first page of results my 4th of July post this year. Interesting, considering the point was a speech made in the Massachusetts Congress by the sitting president of Harvard. Anyway, guess I’m glad I come up so quickly when folks are looking for right wing sermons.

Observation #2 = Worldwide Reach of the Internet
Okay, maybe I should just say that I’m amazed that anyone ever reads this. I’m just a nobody preacher from the Midwest, ranting and raving about whatever trips my fancy. I can’t believe folks take time to read this. But more amazing still is where folks are reading from.

We truly live in a global society, I know that; but it still blows my mind that just today, people in these countries have stopped by my corner of the blogosphere: United Kingdom, Germany, Indonesia, Jordan, Malta. Malta?? Really?? And in the past week, we’ve had readers stop by from Russia, France, Canada, India, and even three hits from Latvia. Wow. How do you say “I’m reading a boring preacher from Missouri” in Latvian?

Observation #3 = People Will Surprise You
I’m also amazed at what hits the spot, draws interest, etc. I write things that I think are real hot button issues, and it seems there is little response. Then I’ll just throw something out there off the cuff, and bam! Case in point are two of the top four posts in the list below: one on Albert Pujols and one on alcohol consumption (which was simply inspired by the idiotic behavior of some NASCAR fans). You never know, I guess.

Which brings me to the top ten. Here are the top ten most often hit individual articles in the history of this site (at least in the history since Blogger started keeping track). Drum roll please…

Top Ten Posts

10. Wise Words to Young Men – On My Son’s Birthday, Jun 27, 2011.
Written for my sons 17th birthday, this is in large part just quotes from J. C. Ryle.

9. Excerpts from "Surprised By Grace,” Jan 24, 2011.
Having just read Tullian Tchividjian’s treatment of Jonah, I posted a few of my favorite quotes. Mr. Tchividjian himself found it somehow and tweeted a link to my blog. Just goes to show how much more influence he has than me!

8. Preaching to Yourself, Feb 28, 2011.
Some encouragement from Psalms 42-43 for those difficult days, weeks, months in all of our lives.

7. This May Be My Last Post, May 19, 2011.
In light of Harold Camping’s first doomsday date this year, I reflected on what my last words might be if I thought I would never speak/post again.

6. Touched By God, Jan 7, 2011.
A little reminder that getting what we ask for could be dangerous. To be “touched by God” leaves a permanent imprint on our lives. Just ask Jacob.

5. Seeking God's Face: A Sermon Summary, Oct 14, 2010.
Actually, one of my own favorites. This is a shortened version of the message I was privileged to bring to our local Baptist Association in 2010. I prayed long and hard about this message, and was pleased with the result. God was also pleased to bring some good responses from those who were there.

4. Albert Pujols and Missed Opportunities, Dec 8, 2011.
The aforementioned “off the cuff” response to Mr. Pujols leaving St. Louis. Never did I suspect it would take off like it did, jumping to this fourth over all spot in only three days. As I said, people will surprise you.

3. All Creation Sings. April 16, 2009.
Another of my own favorites, this is just a reflection on spending the early morning hours turkey hunting with my son, and the sense of awe it brings when considering our Creator. I included one of my favorite AD songs.

2. Fishers of Men...No Bait Required, March 14, 2011.
Maybe a bit controversial, this is just my reflection on the “bait and switch” tactics we use in the church, questioning if our pragmatic approaches are really what Jesus had in mind when calling us to fish for men. Not sure how many agree with my assessment, but there sure have been a lot of readers on this one.

1. An Argument Against Alcohol, May 3, 2007.
Without a doubt, far and away the most popular post I’ve ever written. And it was almost five years ago. As I said above, it was inspired by the actions of some NASCAR fans and it prompted me to say some things about the use of alcohol and the wisdom Christians in our culture to abstain. Wow, the comments and hits on this one. I never said Scripture prohibited drinking (though many confused that issue), I simply pointed out that with the dangers attached, looking out for our brothers would suggest abstaining from this particular “freedom.” I don’t want to start the arguments up again, I still stand by my original comments, and you can read those plus the follow up articles if you want to know more.

Well, there you have it. Overall, it’s a good exercise to look back, reflect, evaluate, etc. Here’s hoping I still have some things to say in the year to come, and that by God’s grace I will say them better than I have in the past. In all, if just one person is led by something here to go to God’s Word and find the truth there, then all the time and effort is worth it.

If you read this far, congratulations (and condolences). Thanks for trudging through my year end catharsis. Have a Happy New Year and Soli Deo Gloria!

1 comment:

Meghan Smith said...

Happy New Year and Merry rest of your Christmas to you!