Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Afterword: Smile

Is there anything more exciting than the adventure of the Christian life? Our lives should reflect that, and so should our blogs.

A blog is a quick and easy outlet for frustrations and criticisms. Some of the most popular posts are those describing the ineptness of phone-based customer service, the flaws in a new product, or a poor experience with a customer or employee in a coffee shop, restaurant or store. There's something addictive and empowering in the last word, especially when our well-phrased slam is just a Google search away.

We who serve in the church are rightfully held to a higher standard. Our casual venting reflects on where we serve and the God we serve. We should never allow a thoughtless, snide remark to stand in the way of someone giving God a chance. We’re in the ministry, for Heaven’s sake — why are we writing about the rude person in the checkout line instead of inviting him to church?

I'm not talking about giving the impression that the Christian life is one of ease and comfort or presenting a false happiness. Honest stories about struggles and mistakes are a huge part of what connects people in the blogosphere. A relationship is formed between the writer and reader precisely because the words ring true. Blogs do feel like conversations, but a conversation that is relentlessly positive and void of doubt or difficulty keeps people at a distance. There is a huge difference between joy and happiness. Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship Church where I’m privileged to serve, just wrote a book about that very topic called Outrageous, Contagious Joy.

Each of us has so much to be thankful for. We have been saved by His grace. We have the privilege of serving in ministry. And we have the opportunity to tell others about Christ. No matter what we're facing, we must never lose that perspective.

Often it's as simple as sharing what God is doing in your life. I wrote a post last year while I was staying at a hotel to finish The Blogging Church. The post was about a seemingly trivial experience - soon after checking in, I came across the last remaining free copy of the Wall Street Journal at the front desk. For me, though, that small moment was an amazing reminder of God's love and sense of humor. The title of the post was borrowed from Coldplay — God Put a Smile Upon My Face.

If you want to read about this kind of joy, check out the blog of Steven Furtick, Lead Pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina. This is a man who is on fire for Christ, passionate about reaching people, and in love with his family and his life. He doesn't hide his mistakes and frustrations or shy from defending the vision God has given him, but his pure, infectious joy stands out above all else. No one could read his blog for a week and not want to see what his church is all about. There's no doubt that Steven's eyes are wide open as he looks up and smiles.

U2's latest single, Window in the Skies, says this perfectly:

The rule has been disproved
The stone it has been moved
The grave is now a groove
All debts are removed
Oh can’t you see what love has done?
Oh can’t you see what love has done?
Oh can’t you see what love has done?
What it’s done to me?

Show what love has done for you. Write about it. Tell stories about it. Post pictures about it. Share the love.

And smile.

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