Saturday, February 15, 2014

Writing for a smaller audience

Some time ago I sat at a Father/Son conference and listened intently as one of the speakers told the conception of one of my favorite commentaries bearing the name of its author Matthew Henry.  I purchased a paper copy of the concise commentary years ago and was immediately taken aback at the extensive nature of this piece.  This commentary was compiled into one book consisting of 2485 pages with font smaller than the normal reader would be accustomed to.  I later acquired an electronic copy and found that it was one of the widest distributed free commentaries available online.  The depth to which it exposites Scripture has made it my first commentary resource.  It was for this reason that I was intrigued at the conference to learn that Matthew Henry never personally wrote a full commentary of the entire Bible.  He had portions of it written out prior to his death but what we have available to us today is also constructed from his personal notes, writings, and the information his children obtained through him teaching them Scripture on a regular basis.

The devotion to which this man possessed in regards to teaching his children God's Word is beyond inspirational.  For them to be able to complete their father's work based on what they had been taught should spur every father to devote the same level of commitment to family worship today.  I used this example last October at the Fall for Greenville outreach in at Pendleton Street Baptist Church in South Carolina.  Since then though I have been struck by an additional thought that has continuously tugged at my soul.

Just about everyone has a blog today.  Take me for example.

Who am I?  To be honest, I am no one special. You can find a little about me in the blog elsewhere but you will notice that there is nothing of apparent noteworthiness about what I write or what I do.  Yet, I have the opportunity to express my thoughts, convictions, and teachings through this medium.  My regularity for doing so has purposely waned over the past two years as my focus had shifted more to my own home and local ministry than it had before.  I still post blogs here and elsewhere with no plans to completely cease any time soon.  However, none of them are groundbreaking doctrinal treatise but rather the simple musings of a Christian man, husband, father, and currently a Pastor.

In the coming decades the number of bloggers with increase exponentially.  Whether they are full-time working for some publishing outlet or just your average person with a few hours to spare, the internet will contain a larger amount of people expressing their thoughts openly.

But what if I took a note from Matthew Henry?  What if I also sought to leave something that my children could read long after the Lord calls me home?  Not by searching the web for things I have written which was available to the whole world, but something more personal which was written specifically with them in mind.  How about a book or, better still, a series of journals that detailed not only my personal studies but my struggles, my hopes for them, and the progressive process of God's sanctifying work in my life.

Mind you, journaling is nothing new.  But the purpose for my journaling is specifically aimed at my children.  Matthew Henry likely never thought his children would use his teachings and personal writings to assist in writing his commentary, he only sought to do what He believed God had commanded Him as their father.  Yet what he left them was more than a lifetimes work of treasure that they were able to pass along to their own children.

Below is what I wrote as the opening page in the first journal to give you an idea of how it is starting out.  Aside from this, nothing of what I write in the journals will be posted on any blog because you are not really my target audience...my children are.

"It hit me a few weeks ago that when the Lord calls me home there will not be much written for my children to know about me.  I am not some noteworthy preacher, sought after speaker, or award winning author.  What my kids know of me is what they see me do and hear me teach.

But I wanted them to know more.  I want them to know my thoughts, my struggles, my victories, what I study in Scripture, my silent prayers, and the many desires God has burdened me with that I often fail to convey.

That is why I have written this.  My prayer is that you (my children) will read these words and be able to speak of me to your own children and grandchildren knowing that I held nothing back.  

Know that I love you all greatly.  I love you more than I can express.  I fail often in showing this and I pray that  God works to change that in me.

This journal and the ones to follow are dedicated to you that you may know my daily thoughts as I have sought to glorify God in all I do."

Serving the Savior,
Adam