I started writing Life Matters in 1996. Back then, it was an opportunity to use relatively new technology (email) to share some encouraging thoughts with members of my congregation at Eagle Mountain Baptist Church, where I was pastor from 1991 to 2008.
As more friends and family members started using email and as church members found the dreaded “forward” button, the subscriber list expanded. (Now if I see the letters “Fwd,” I think it is an abbreviation for “Delete.”)
Over the years, I occasionally would receive a short email response where someone would tell me they enjoyed what I wrote or they had a question about something I said. Sometimes there would even be a few emails exchanged (almost like a conversation). I loved the interaction, so when I relaunched “Life Matters” as a blog in 2009, I was hoping for a more interactive experience with my readers, but I still really didn’t know how to write in a way that made people want to respond (other than shaking their heads). Admittedly, I’m still working on that.
A new door and chapter opened in 2011, when “Life Matters” began appearing as a weekly newspaper column. Talk about embracing new technology! As of this week, I believe the past 130 or so editions have appeared in a local newspaper somewhere. Even with all the technology that exists, I know for a fact that more people read my thoughts with an actual newspaper in their hands than they do sitting in front of a computer screen. I am incredibly blessed and humbled by the opportunity to invest myself in the lives of local folks through that medium and hope the opportunity lasts for years to come.
But I still crave interaction. As a writer and as a preacher, I am accustomed to casting my words out for consumption and contemplation. I hope to sometimes make you smile, sometimes make you laugh, sometimes make you think and sometimes touch you deeply. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” When I tell you that your life matters to God, I hope you believe it. I also hope my words inspire you in some way to think about, and maybe even talk about, life in a new light.
That talking is what I want to invite you to this week. I run into people all the time who tell me they enjoy reading my column. I love that, but I don’t just want to know you enjoyed it. I’d love to know how it made you think or how you apply it to your life.
I’d love to hear you expand on my thoughts, and I’d love to learn from you.
Romans 15:14 says, “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.”
Keep reading. Your detailed invitation to the conversation is coming next week.
Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.