“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.” (Rom. 11:33 NIV)
After years of teaching Bible Study classes, I have recently felt a desire to reach a wider audience and hopefully have a greater impact for the Kingdom of God. After a two-year hiatus from teaching, I’ve decided to publish this blog, “Ridgetop Reflections”.
The seeds for this endeavor were planted last June. I am blessed to live on a mountain ridge in the mountains of Western North Carolina. From my rear deck, I have a tremendous view of the Blue Ridge Mountain range over which the sun sets each evening. One evening as I sat there reading John’s first epistle on my iPad, I was almost overwhelmed reflecting on the amazing love of God. At the same time, I was left speechless by the sunset God had painted in the Western sky.
As so many of us do in this age of social media, I snapped a picture of that scene (the photo that serves as the header for this blog) and posted it with some quick comments about sometimes being left speechless and in tears over the beauty of God’s creation. But those quick comments seemed so inadequate to convey the feelings that were flooding my heart at the time, especially given the 140-character limit imposed by Twitter. I post fairly often on Twitter, but find myself often frustrated to convey my thoughts in 140 characters!
As a teacher, I put many hours through the years into lesson preparation. I have never been a very skilled extemporaneous speaker. In order to stand before a group and speak confidently, I find the need to write my lessons out word-for-word. Through the years, this level of intense research and preparation inevitably led to burn-out.
I also found myself questioning whether the impact of my teaching was sufficient to justify the hours of preparation I put into each lesson. Feeling a desire to reach more people, I began to email copies of my lessons to friends and family, never knowing whether they were actually being read or enjoyed. From personal experience, I know that an article I encounter on the internet or via email has to grab my attention very early and remain relevant if I’m going to take the time to digest seven pages of teaching!
While this blog was birthed out of that desire to have a greater impact on others for Christ, I have one other selfish motive as well – to enhance my own spiritual growth. I have always hoped that my teaching impacted others in a very positive, God-pleasing way. But whatever positive impact I might have had on others, those hours of study and preparation had the greatest impact on me. Maintaining this blog will serve as an important spiritual discipline designed to increase my spiritual growth.
The Scripture I chose as the theme for “Ridgetop Reflections” is Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out.” ( NIV). This verse begins that amazing doxology which so effectively expresses Paul’s wonder at the mysteries of God – a wonder I share. The longer I taught Bible Study, the more I came to understand how little I really know about God and His Word.
Even Solomon in all his wisdom came to appreciate the limits of our understanding, proclaiming “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the maker of all things.” (Eccl. 11:5 NIV) The older I get, the more I accept and appreciate the mysteries of God. I have heard it said that mystery is not the absence of meaning – it is simply the presence of more meaning than we can comprehend.
Many of my posts will be taken from lessons I’ve taught through the years – I have years of material already researched and ready to be published. But knowing how God works, I’m sure he will be supplying much fresh material as time goes by. In fact, in just the last week, he has given me no less than twelve topics for future posts.
Most posts will be related to issues of faith and practical applications of the teachings of God’s Word. But I expect to also share personal observations of life in general, current events, and any other relevant topics that I feel might be of general interest to those of you who honor me by taking the time to read what I have to say. But don’t look for political articles here – I know how divisive that can be and I don’t want start down those pig trails!
So I hope you will join me in this endeavor. Be patient with me as I get my sea legs. A space is provided for you to post any comments you might have. Whether you agree or disagree with what I have to say, I welcome your feedback. Interaction is beneficial to us both.
Please feel free to share any posts you like on Facebook, retweet them on Twitter, or email them to your contacts if you’re not savvy with social media. This will help me establish as wide a readership as possible and will be greatly appreciated.
Until next time, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Looking forward to your posts as I never had the privilege of hearing your teach Sunday School, but Daddy always said you were the best!
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Thanks, Teresa. I’m excited about the potential of reaching a wider audience through blogging than I ever could through teaching an individual class. Please spread the word!
Can’t wait to read them. You were born to teach and to spread the Word. I am excited about your blog!
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Thanks. I’m excited too, especially given the early response to this first posts – over 100 views in the first eighth hours!
Julian why a wonderful way to share the teachings of our Lord. I love the book of Romans and the Scripture chosen to begin this blog is powerful. The mysterious of God
Thanks, Cathy. I’ve been amazed and humbled by the early response to this first post and am excited by the potential to serve God’s purposes going forward.
Julian I have always enjoyed your teachings and look forward to reading your blog I also agreed with Teresa’s dad that you were a really good teacher and I also consider you one of my best friends so keep them coming I will read them all and hope they can help me walk in the Lords will as we travel this highway
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Thanks, Sam. You’re a great friend, a super mechanic, and a tremendous encourager!
Julian, I am so happy that you found a way to share the utmost love of God’s Word since you left off as my teacher. You are truly gifted with words that picture your deep sincere love and trust in all that God has revealed to your heart that you so willingly share that light He has opened to you.
Thanks for sharing, but you have been sending them to Don’s email so I did not get them till now.
Loved especially “In the Garden” because I love to sing the chorus every day.
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Thanks for the encouraging words, Sally. This has allowed me to reach former SS class members in Virginia, Colorado, and NC, many family and friends, and others whom I’ve never even met. It has been a very useful medium for ministering to a wide audience. Sorry about the mix-up on the emails. I will correct that in future mailings.