January 7, 2019
I wrote my very first Long Story Short and sent it out to just over 100 people on January 4, 2016. That was only three years ago, but as I read back over the news, announcements, and thoughts I've shared here over the years, I find some moments and messages that give me hope for this coming year:
January 4, 2016 – Paul Almquist writes in this morning’s Fruit of the Vine that the best way to battle pride might be to “take on a season of service, especially hidden service.” Paul follows that suggestion with a question: “Have you ever done some kind of service and felt that you were not shown the appreciation you deserve?” I find in this question both a challenge – to do what needs to be done without expectation – and a reminder of the many decades offered in service by good people like Dan McCracken and so many others, service that makes it possible for me to be here, at Barclay Press, sending you this letter.
February 13, 2017 – It was while eating a bowl of ice cream that Linda Michael had her moment of awakening. In the middle of all her worries, her busyness, “and a hundred other interrupters,” Linda realized that she “hadn’t really tasted” the ice cream. So she slowed down. “The rest of that ice cream was sweet, smooth, rich, cold. The nuts were crisp and coated in crunchy, dark chocolate, the marshmallow cream soft and sweet.... I experienced the flavors, textures, temperatures.” Linda continues, “We get so busy with life that we forget to live ... not noticing the joys of each moment, the little presents from God that each day holds.” We have to choose to slow down.
September 17, 2018 – Chuck Orwiler notes that in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus “tells a group of people, who want to be his followers, that they are a people of little faith. This was not an insult.” I stopped and read that sentence a second time: “This was not an insult.” I feel exposed when Jesus reveals the truth about who I am, but it’s not a personal attack. How do you react? Are you defensive? Or eager to hear what comes next? Chuck suggests that in the presence of Jesus – our fears disarmed – we might humbly ask, “Please help me know what to do.” And Jesus responds that if we have “but a mustard seed of faith,” it is enough.
Seeds of hope is the three-year campaign to fund the ministry of Barclay Press so we can continue to do the work of developing new titles, supporting small churches, and balancing the budget. As of this morning, we’ve received $205 toward our 2019 goal of $56,000. Your support in 2018 totaled just over $50,000!