Archives For Blogging

Awhile back I noticed a troubling trend. Most of the keywords that were drawing people to this site were related to controversial or critical posts.

It is, of course, no surprise that a blog that is critical or known for controversy generates far more traffic and conversation than a blog that is more tepid. However, I didn’t like the trend.

The main reason is that I don’t want to be the guy who is always critical. I don’t want to be known for that. It is better to be known for what you are for than what you against.

Also, I hold out hope that writing devotional articles about the gospel or interfacing with living a gospel-centered life or writing book reviews will actually be popular. That type of blogging atmosphere is my personal preference—even without the stats.

This is why I am especially excited today. I happened to lift up the hood on the site and see that there are far more Continue Reading…

As a father of three girls under the age of 10 I know that they are an interesting, entertaining, and creative lot. I am consistently caught off-guard with their cuteness and humor only to be left responding with belly laughs. A main cause for this is the unexpected way that they see and respond to the world around them.

In light of this, I am happy to recommend my little girl Alaynah’s blog for other little girls. The blog is called Birdy’s Nest. On it, Alaynah, or Birdy (nickname–think Larry Bird), writes about crafts, recipes, her devotions, being a big sister or whatever happens to come across her view.

As parents we are pleased that she is watching, thinking, writing, and working on her blog. We don’t really correct her spelling or grammar, as she is learning. We just gently guide and help as she goes. We have seen it really help her writing. It is also fun for her to talk with her friends locally about the articles while also meeting other kids. If you have young kids who are looking for a fun and safe blog to read consider Birdy’s Nest.

As a teaser consider this article: A Day in the Life of a Tea Bag

sad side
Have you ever wounder what it would be like if you were a tea bag?well i have(i am a fan of hot tea) but you have to push it back down cuz it always wants to float back up but you have to get all the flavor out of the tea bag.But i always feel so bad for it:(.Another fact is that it has to drown in VARY! HOT WATER.

happy side
The other side is that maybe the tea bag is happy to be pushed down in HOT WATER.:)

like maybe when it was in a garden it loved being in the sun.But one day the gardener took the plant and put him in a tea bag.So the tea bag was so sad.When he went to the store to be bought it was sad:( but you bought it so it though there was a chance to be hot.So when you push down the tea bag it likes it very much.

When you make your tea have you ever wondered that?

You will also want to check out her recipes, like Birdie’s Favorite Reece’s Peanut Butter Bars as well as her latest post on the epic battle between the dragon fly and a baby spider.

Share it on Facebook or pass it on to others, but you may find yourself enjoying the read too!

I am now allowing some advertising on Ordinary Pastor. While this has become more or less standard in the blogging world, the decision to do so for me comes after some considerable reflection. One of the bottom line reasons for doing so is the amount of time it takes to run a blog with fresh content. Another big reason is the number of children we have who wear braces. To be honest, deferring that cost a bit would be great. This seems like an opportunity to do that. I also was concerned about ads overwhelming readers and becoming a distraction. The company that will run my ads takes care of this to make sure this won’t be an issue.

Who Should Advertise: Book Publishers, Web/Content Management Sites, Ministries, Seminaries and Bible Colleges, and Bible/Tech Companies would all benefit from ads on Ordinary Pastor. And, the readers would benefit from your organizations.

What you get: We are running between 40-50k page views a month. There are over 2,000 readers through Twitter, Facebook, and RSS. This is about a 60% increase from last year at the same time. The blog’s readership continues to expand.

Who reads: Many of my readers are pastors, even church planters like myself. But there is also a wide variety; readers range from college students to retirees as well as home school Moms to military officers. The uniting draw is a desire to better understand and apply the gospel.

Here’s how to get signed up: Click here and get signed up. Ads are pretty cheap at this point (by advertising standards) so take advantage of this opportunity to expand your reach.

As I mentioned in my review yesterday I have a couple of copies of Slave by John MacArthur available for giveaway. The contest will run this week and I will plan to announce the winners and get the copies out in the mail by Friday afternoon.

Here is how you can get enter:

1. Subscribe to Ordinary Pastor’s Feed & leave a comment below stating that you want the book.

2. Follow the Ordinary Pastor blog on Twitter

3. Retweet this post on Twitter

If you do all 3 then you obviously have a better chance to win.

(note: due to a low budget operation here, I have to limit this to ‘contest’ to readers in the US or international folks with an APO.)

Here is the promotional video from MacArthur…

I have not kept up a blog roll on this site. This is nothing personal, just that I have not had the time to research very many sites; I have the ones I use and then, well, I don’t spend too much more time on blogs. I am however, very thankful to the kind folks who have linked to this site in the past. You have helped this site grow far better than I could have.

Now with the renewed emphasis on this blog, in particular trying to serve pastors, I want to establish a helpful blogroll to try to help serve others.

So, here is what I am asking for:

(1) Please comment and provide your favorite blog(s), and if possible, why they are helpful. I am looking for blogs that are a) gospel-centered, b) devotional, c) informational, d) teaching, e) refreshingly funny (these are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive terms)

(2) If you would like me to include your site on this blogroll and you think it is consistent with what I am trying to do here, leave a comment with a link and provide a link back to Ordinary Pastor. I’ll take a look and then begin updating the blog roll shortly thereafter.

BONUS: At the end of the month (or so) I will randomly pick three commentors and send out a gift (book) to each. At this point I have an ESV Study Bible and some Edwards material to give. Maybe a sponsor will pony up some more.

There, you have the skinny. Now, help me help you (and others).

Blogging is a strange thing. You write your thoughts down. Sometimes people read them. Sometimes people comment. Sometimes people email you. Over time, if you have struck a chord, you get some traction. More people are reading, commenting, linking, emailing, etc. The blog grows.

I was largely unaware of this whole process back in early 2006. My senior pastor and boss told me to write. So I did. He also told me to impact people with the gospel. And so I tried to. I would meet with guys and talk about what I was learning in the Scriptures. We would talk about the gospel and how we need to be more impressed with Jesus. I repeated myself often to these guys. They seemed to like it. So, in listening to Pat (my boss, mentor, & senior pastor) I wrote. My goal was to encourage these guys. I picked a funny moniker for the site, “Irish Calvinist”. This is funny because I am not from Ireland. I am from Massachusetts. In fact it is only my father’s side that is Irish (my mom is Polish—but, the jokes would be just too easy there).

Continue Reading…

Recently this blog has been resuscitated.

The reason for my previous blog coma was twofold: a busy schedule (large family and church planting) and a lack of material.

I write this post with the intention of helping busy people be more effective with writing (insert your busy life for mine if applicable). I was helped by my loving wife. One day in August she lovingly kicked me in the rear end and encouraged me to get off the bench and get back in the game. In light of this I was forced to think a bit about writing in general and this blog in particular. Here are some napkin scribbles to that end.

1. Writing is unquantifiably beneficial to me: A friend recently gave me a book on the super foods. In reading about the foods I read repeatedly of how difficult it is to quantify the impact of eating this stuff long term. Similarly, the impact of disciplined writing is tough to quantify.

In 4+ years of blogging (wow, that’s a long time) I have been forced to gather thoughts, chew on them and then drive them to completion. There have been countless times that I have had an idea or thought that I was going to write about but then hit eject when I was about two paragraphs in. Some experts might want to flog me for that, but I think it was probably a good decision in light of where things were going.

At any rate, I have many random thoughts throughout a day. These thoughts pass in and stick around for a time and then leave. If that is all they do, then they don’t help me. They just come and go like commercials. However, if I am disciplined to grab onto them as they stream by, then I may be able to learn something as I walk through them and wrestle with implications. Writing helps me to do that.

2. Writing Reminds me of my weakness. Prior to starting this blog a friend told me that it would be a good idea for me to spend some time writing. He thought that since I was brand new in ministry and had not gone to seminary that it would be good for me to chase down some of the theological jackels that leave footprints in my study. He told me that writing would help me ‘own’ things.

He was right.

I have realized repeatedly that not only do I have issues with communication in general, but thinking, grammar, spelling, and content. Further, I don’t have all of my theological i’s dotted and t’s crossed either. I may think I own something on paper but owning it with the pen is a different ballgame. If you grab a topic and aim to write on it you quickly see your weakness. I wonder if my friend ever thought I would start blogging. He probably figured I’d start a diary or something. I am thankful for his encouragement.

3. Writing Reminds me of what is on the front burner. There are times that I think about what to write and I realize quickly that my heart is cold or bitter or angry. The pen reflects the pulse of the heart. In so many ways I hate that I don’t write more. There should be gallons of edifying material flowing out of my heart. Why is there not more? Writing helps me to see what is (or is not) bubbling up at the surface.

4. Ways to Write more amid a busy schedule. In this latest revival of my blog I have made some changes to help myself write more and do so more efficiently. Here is are some of the more effective items.

  • Write down ideas in a notebook. I have a couple of  pages in my Moleskine journal that I have specifically dedicated as a basket for ideas. I try to write down these ideas when they come and then think through them on occassion. If I don’t do this I am left with fading memories of thoughts and topics that are at best fragmented. For some reason, if I write them down in my notebook it is like writing them down in my head. This has really worked. I have about 30 articles/topics in the magazine clip ready to either steep in my mind or find their way out onto this blog or other forums where I write.
  • Read more books. Even amid a busy schedule I have found that the best way to engender more writing is to read more writing. Reading does something amazing to our minds. It leaves all kinds of untraceable cookies in there that we access behind the scenes when we aren’t paying attention. This has really helped.
  • Set a goal. I am trying to write a few articles a week. The goal is reasonable and helpful (but not oppressive nor unflexing).
  • Write about what you enjoy. I would hate to write about repairing an engine (any type) or sewing. But theology, ministry, family, books, sports, life, etc are all things I enjoy.
  • Write for yourself. This sounds strange but it’s not. In light of what I wrote above, writing is a very helpful tool. Write for yourself to get better and enjoy it. If other people benefit that is great too. Don’t get discouraged, the discipline works.

Feel free to add other tips that you have found helpful. Learning from others, particularly good commenters, has been an enduring benefit of this blog.

I talked recently with friend and fellow pastor Mike Abendroth about preaching (specifically preaching Leviticus), blogging, Massachusetts, legalism and other stuff on his provocative radio show / podcast entitled No Compromise Radio.

It was a good time and an encouragement.  The radio show plays in region where I grew up, so it was a double blessing to do the show.

No Compromise is a relatively new ministry and is seriously worth your subscription.  I do not have a ton of time to listen to podcasts but this is one of the ones I make time for.  Mike is a faithful pastor who loves the Word and the church.  His interviews are solid and his topics are most usually provocative (evangelically spicy).  Furthermore, he is hilarious so he will regularly have you laughing.

In this interview Mike got me talking about some of my favorite things: the glory of Christ, gospel, & expository preaching.  He also got me going on the reverse legalism promoted by many of the 25+ guys who enjoy their liberties and may look down their nose at those who don’t (this is an issue I’ve written on here)

Here is the audio from the interview (link)

Also here:

Interview on No Compromise Radio

Help me…Help you

Erik Raymond —  March 5, 2009

One of the regrets over the last 3 years of running this site is the small number of times that I have posted links to other helpful articles and resources.  I have often benefited from other resources but have not had the format to share them.

In effort to change this I have decided to have a regular tab right on the right of the most current post that points to resources that I have found helpful.  This means that RSS readers would actually have to visit the site on occasion to see the updated resources.  This is unless someone is able to help me hack WordPresss and allow my widgets to act like a post and distribute an RSS feed.

I also need help on a name.  Currently I am stuck on two titles but they may not be the most suitable.  So for now we are going with the very vanilla “Notable Links”.  If someone comes up with a good name I’ll go to the Irish Calvinist warehouse and send out some goods.

So to review: news and notes in a widget, need rss from this, and also need a name.

Check out what is in there now: