Today marks Express Yourself 4 Him’s 500th blog. What began as a hobby, something to sharpen my writing skills has developed into an internet ministry. To celebrate this day, I am going to unveil 10 Biblical principles which have guided, inspired and motivated me to express my faith in Christ.
1. Don’t Force the Issue. Sometimes in life, people panic like Sarai, trying to build a legacy on their own, Genesis 16:1-2. With this in mind, I have begun each day with an open mind, ready to let Scripture and the Holy Spirit guide each word I type. Whenever a blog doesn’t flow naturally, I stop, wait a while and either start over or go in a different direction.
2. Follow the Convictions of your Heart. My best pieces are often conceived with a thought while sleeping at night. If I don’t have a pad of paper nearby, I try to visualize each paragraph in my mind. Whenever I sense a moving in my spirit, like a prompting on my heart, I get up in the middle of the night to complete these convictions before they vanish.
3. When the Spirit moves, keep Writing. Writers block is something all writers must face and conquer. Therefore, when God anoints me with words to write, I try to maximize these days. It’s not uncommon to write 2-3 blogs if moved in one sitting. As long as time permits, I try to tie all loose ends, bringing to completion each blog until I sense a peace from the Holy Spirit.
4. Find a Solitary Place. Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek recounts times he spent at a local Burger King in Michigan, sitting in a back corner booth, listening for God to guide his thoughts for future sermons. Before I attended his church, I practiced this while in college, making for great study sessions. Today, I use restaurants with free refills, off hours when possible, allowing me to stay awake, disciplined and focused. This practice has led to the creation of 15 songs, hundreds of poems and a complete movie script.
5. Always Keep a Journal Nearby. Every time I read the Bible, I write down anything that strikes a cord with my soul. In addition, I underline powerful passages or jot down a title for potential blogs. While watching movies or sermons on television, I am like an eager student, writing down each important point I hear. On the days when I struggle to come up with an ideal to blog about, my journal usually triggers memories that result in new pieces. Without this method, I would not be able to write day after day.
6. Don’t practice Isogesis. There is a temptation at times to read too much into a passage or chapter of the Bible. Thus, isogesis means to read things into scripture which is not supported by the actual context. To be theologically sharp, one must examine the Bible, line by line, verse by verse and chapter by chapter, known as hermeneutics. Though I do receive rhemas, words from the Lord, from time to time, I try not to force my beliefs into a specific passage unless I am certain of it.
7. Stay in Tune with the Holy Spirit. When I lose my hunger and fervor for the Lord, my connection with the Holy Spirit becomes temporarily disconnected. As a result, some blogs aren’t as powerful or well received. However, the moment I practice Galatians 5:25, ideas flow, powerful truths come forth and writing becomes natural, like I was born to do this.
8. Use the Sabbath as Inspiration. After my first 6 months of blogging, I realized how difficult it was to write with the same passion daily. Therefore, I began to rely on sermons from the Trinity Broadcasting Network and my home church in Delaware to develop Express Yourself 4 Him. By taking the first 15-30 minutes after returning from church, I have been able to stay a few days ahead, using Sunday as an outline for the rest of the week.
9. Be Discreet. Being a teacher for a decade, has helped me maintain care, tact and prudence while blogging, 1 Peter 3:15. It only takes one ill-timed word to create an internet firestorm. Therefore, it is essential to review every paragraph, think about how your words will be received and adjust each line to promote diplomacy. The Bible will convict hearts, my responsibility is to weave truths from the word of God into each piece I write.
10. Be Original. There are days when I throw away ideas because there are not unique enough or don’t provide an original perspective. Current events are great aids to overcome this dilemma. Yet, the secret to my success is striving to become like a modern day John Wesley. When I attach theology to writing, using the Bible to answer problems in life, people are drawn to the Word of God, not me, Romans 10:17.
I want to thank all my readers for their prayers and support. I can see 1000 in the near future. Until then, I urge everyone to fan into flame that gift or talent God has given you, 2 Timothy 1:6. Don’t be afraid to express yourself 4 Him, Acts 4:29!
by Jay Mankus