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Christian Living Good News

5 Simple Ways to be Good News This Week

 

 

 

Photo by Steve Snodgrass via Flickr (Creative Commons) 

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Practically speaking, that means that going to church on Sunday and rocking a Christian bumper sticker isn’t enough.

Here are 5 simple ways that your actions can be Good News this week:

  1. Personalize your convenience. Ask the store clerk where you go regularly for their name, begin to see them as a person with a story and not an object who collects your money or makes your double shot skim vanilla latte.
  2. Tip well and say thank you. No strings attached, just be a good tipper and look your server in the eye to express gratitude. (Learn more, Christians are Bad Tippers) [Conversely, if you see a Christian leave a tract as a tip, be Good News to servers worldwide and punch them in the face.]
  3. Sweat the small stuff. Did a coworker get a haircut or just come back from vacation? Make a few minutes to compliment them or look at their pictures. Or did your kids school get recognized for an achievement? Send the school’s principal a note expressing your appreciation. Noticing something small is huge.
  4. Mow a solid. Next time you mow your front lawn, go ahead and mow the front lawn you turn your nose up at. You know, the person who hasn’t figured out that Spring has sprung. Maybe, just maybe, that person has a really good reason they haven’t mowed their grass yet. Doing them a solid might open the door to hearing their story.
  5. Bless from excess. Next time you are out to eat and have leftovers, don’t just throw it away. Instead package it up as a meal for a homeless person. Add napkins, a fork, and a bottled water. Not all homeless people are hungry. But some definitely are. You don’t even have to wait until you eat out. Why not make an extra lunch and take it with you… just in case? (Read Under the Overpass for more on this.)

Being God’s handiwork made new in Christ to do good works doesn’t mean you have to save the world. You don’t have to build a house to do good works. You don’t have to go on a mission trip or teach Sunday school to children.

Small, simple things do make a big impact.

Be Good News this week.

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How to write consistently for your blog

I’ve written a series of articles for Immerse Journal describing a digital ministry philosophy for youth workers. The first article, called “Be Consistent” brought a lot of questions because I spent all 800 words talking about “why” to be consistent and it left many struggling readers with a burning question, “How can I be more consistent in this area?”

Here’s my process for daily blogging

  1. I’ve made it a daily habit. To put it in Christian terms I’ve added it to my daily devotions. I consider writing a major discipline of my spiritual life. It’s a daily exercise for my brain. I belive it’s one of the ways the Gospel works its way both into my life and into the lives of the people around me. Since its part of my daily routine I don’t find the time to blog. The time to blog has found me.
  2. I constantly capture ideas for blog posts. I have two distinctly different methods for doing that. Everywhere I go I have a journal and my iPhone. If something comes to mind, a sentence or thought or paragraph, I capture it. (If you spend time with me you may have seen me do it, though you may have thought I was just checking my email.) Sometimes its a visual sketch that I draw out or write out. But typically, its any idea that pops into my head or flows from a conversation and I capture it. (I use Evernote for that. Synchs from my phone to the cloud to my laptop.)
  3. I have a list of blog posts for future writing. Periods of inspiration come and go. So I maintain a list on Evernote called “blog posts” — Just a raw list of things I want to blog about at some point. Right now, that list has 11 posts titles/concepts. Sometimes it has as many as 30 and sometimes it has as few as 5. Each morning, as I sit down to write, I open up Evernote and decide if I want to write about one of the things on my list or something else that just came to mind. (It’s about 50/50)
  4. I write on a timer. Since I ride public transportation to work I have a firm departure time from my house. If you could see  the time stamp of most of my blog entries you’d see it is right around 8:00 am Pacific. DING! That’s when I have to leave for work. So my blog post has to be done even if it’s not perfect. I start at around 7:00 am and I have to press “publish” by 8:00 am. That means I have to write, edit, do artwork, publish, and push the links out to Facebook & Twitter in that hour.
  5. I process concepts in outline form. That may sound weird but it is how my brain is trained to work. If you were to look the concepts I capture on Evernote you’d see a formula: Concept; list of supporting items. That’s why so many posts are often lists or bullet points. I’m starting with that and wrapping an intro and a conclusion. If I have more time each supporting item may be a paragraph. But typically, like this post, those supporting items are bullet points or numbered points.
  6. I allow myself to slip in other posts. Each day I have my “main blog post.” This is the one I get up and write in the morning. But if something pops up and I want to post it later in the day, I do it. Typically, that drop-in post takes me a few minutes instead of an hour. It’s a thought or image or video or life nugget or reaction to something I read. But I’ve found allowing that to flow allows me to have still have that consistency of one thing I’m writing each day.
  7. I don’t punish myself for days off. I don’t have a scheduled day off from the blog. But sometimes, typically a weekend, I just don’t post and I don’t worry about it or force myself to write two on one day to catch up. Or sometimes I’ll skip the morning ritual to take the dog for a walk and in the process of walking him I will generate 3 new ideas. It’s also typical on weekends that I don’t have a “main post” but I’ll just push out two drop-in posts of quick thoughts, videos, family updates, etc.
  8. Blogging isn’t really always on my mind. I’m not sitting there, having coffee with a friend, and thinking… I’m so blogging this. This process actually allows me to NOT do that. It frees my writers mind to be fully present in my daily life. That’s hard to explain– but I think I’m just wired to write and writing in the morning kind of gets it out of my system so I can be productive in my day without thinking about things to write.

So, that’s how I do it right now.

My process is one-part analytical, one part self-discipline, and a pinch of artistic desire. You could even call it a little bit manic.

And if I’m really honest with myself. Part of the reason this process works for me is that it brings order, control, and discipline to my scattered mind– writing a blog is more for my benefit than yours.