And so, yeah. The decision has been made and acted upon. For better or for worse, I’m now a full-time blogger for my Lord Jesus Christ — with no visible support except for his grace, and with no plans of action except for his ways.
With this essay I am closing this series of founding documents for Swordsman of the Word. Things have not turned out as I imagined them when I started this website nearly a month ago; rather, they have turned out to be more beautiful. Who would have thought that I’d become a Patreon creator, and not just a blogger? Who would have thought that I’d share my writings freely through Creative Commons? And who would have thought that I’d serve now God full-time through this blog, instead of blogging being just a “sideline” while I do some “real work”?
Even this very essay has not turned out as I imagined. I had thought of working on a previous draft, to talk now at length about the greatest reason why I’m doing all this, which is my love for God. But the supposed-to-be short introduction had expanded into more than 700 words, so that I deemed it wise to shelve that draft for another time, and to write instead about these topics that I’ve discovered to be far more important to me than I first realized.
You see, there is a lot of advice out there on how to be successful — as a blogger in particular, and as a creator in general. They talk about how to write effective blog posts, how to market myself and grow my audience, how to stay motivated, etc. And I would certainly follow them, no doubt — if I am your normal blogger and creator. But I’m not. And so I thought that, as a closing to these founding essays, I’d share my philosophy about these matters.
But first, to recapitulate:
In my first post, The Greatest Reason, I talked briefly about doubting God because of our trials, and then overcoming that when our love for him prevailed against everything else — with that love becoming our greatest reason for serving him.
In my second post, An Assignment I Can’t Do Alone, I talked about my qualification as a teacher of God’s Word, my assignment from God which is this website, and my background. I had emphasized that this blog is something I cannot do on my own, that without God’s help and blessings, I would fail.
In my third post, To Know God More (That’s Why), I talked about the purpose of this website, which is for us to know God more through his Word and through my own life. I also talked about my target audience, which consists of both Christians and those who are not. And then I talked about the story and meaning behind the title “Swordsman of the Word”.
In my fourth post, A Crucial Need to Overcome, I talked about writing as a way for me to deal with my personal issues, and how I’d use this blog to overcome my own burdens of the past. Then I moved on to talked about the special and recurrent theme of the personal essays I’ll be writing, which is overcoming (not just my past, but also myself and my circumstances), and how I plan to proceed with my writing to reach that goal. Lastly, I talked about surrendering to God as the key to victory.
And now this post — the last of the founding documents before we start our formal study of the Bible.
A Work that Belongs to God
I could blog and create using the principles recommended by the experts, but I started this website relying on God’s help and guidance, not on my own strength and wisdom (and not on what other people say), and there is no reason for me to change that strategy. Therefore, that is what I’ll still do — rely on God — until this particular season of my life ends (that is, until God calls me to do something else). And given what God and I have already done so far, especially in creating my Patreon page and releasing my writings under a Creative Commons license — both of which demand lasting commitments from me — this season can easily last for many, many years.
The truth is, I want my entire endeavor here to be a witness to what God is doing through me. If this becomes a success and many people are blessed, I want them to say, “this is because of what God has done,” and not, “this is because of what Arjay has done.”
I want now to share with you two of the principles that I follow in running this website. This sharing is for both our sake. Mine, because this act will finalize some of my decisions, and so release me from second-guessing them. And yours, because it will give you a clearer idea of what to expect from me.
First and foremost, Swordsman of the Word is a ministry, and not just a blog or a website. I am here to serve people as a representative of Jesus Christ. I am not here to make myself famous, nor am I here to make money; though as befitting a worker, I do expect to be financially supported for my work. Such support I am expecting to come from God through people who share my passion and my burdens.
And second, Swordsman of the Word is God’s work, not mine. It belongs to him; I’m only the worker he has chosen to work through. Therefore, all responsibility for its success (or failure) also belongs to him. I may be the one who have founded this ministry, but I also bow down to higher authorities — to my pastor, to my mentor, but especially to my Lord Jesus — the one who really does the planning on my work here, and the one who gives me the strength to do them.
As you will now see, these two principles are the reasons behind my decision not to use determined marketing strategies for Swordsman of the Word: I am relying mostly on word of mouth to spread the news about this website, and on the work of the Holy Spirit on people’s hearts to convince them to give for my support. And this is actually a great act of faith on my part: I have determined right from the start that I cannot do this work on my own, and so I’m simply hoping on God to help me. Of course, it is my responsibility to make sure that these things do happen — to build channels through which God’s blessings would flow. Thus my Patreon and donation pages. And thus the Creative Commons license for my writings, to encourage people to share and spread the word.
These two principles are also the reasons behind my decision to accept God’s call to full-time ministry, even though reason and circumstances dictate that I should not, because I’m not ready for it. Believing that God will provide for me and help me, I’ve taken this step of faith that has put my entire life — and the name of God — on the line.
You see, this isn’t an experiment that I could simply shut down if it doesn’t work. I’m not just some blogger writing about my own interests. Rather, I’m blogging in the name of Jesus, offering hope in this dark world. Also, my real identity is revealed here; I’m not using any pseudonym nor hiding behind some faceless graphic. Imagine the shame then if I quit — if I renege on the promises I’ve made. My family knows about this. My church knows about this. My friends know about this. You know about this. Imagine then the hurt I’ll cause you if I betray the trust you’ve given me… if I destroy the hopes I’ve made you feel.
And if I do quit… if I show you that I am but a fake… would you ever (again) believe in God?
Yesterday, I was browsing a very popular Christian website that is run by a real organization — an organization that probably has millions of dollars in its operating budget. For sure, they are doing a great service and should be commended, but as I sometimes feel when browsing such sites, I feel discouraged.
Because here I am, attempting to do great things for God, when I don’t even have enough money to upgrade my free WordPress.com plan so that I can remove these annoying ads and get my own domain name!
If God wants to show the world how mighty he is by working through someone as lowly as me, now is the time.
The Source of My Strength
At least two posts every week. A major post with a minimum of 1,500 words for this blog. And a devotional essay of at least 800 words for my Patreon page. This is the commitment I’ve made, a great devourer of my time and energy.
Besides this, I’m also attending a Bible school, and soon I’ll receive my assignments from my pastor as a church worker.
And yes… let us not forget the responsibilities I have in my home….
The question that now comes to mind is this: Can I really do all this? Or, to be more exact: Given my other responsibilities and commitments, can I really do all this writing for a long period of time?
Fortunately for me, I have a divine source of strength, a source that I know would never fail me. Because it is a well that never runs dry.
Jesus said to the Samaritan woman when he asked her for a drink of water:
“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14 WEB).
I know the struggles that come with writing, including finding the time to write and writer’s block. I may be writing easily now, because I don’t have yet a class at the moment, and because I still have many things to say, but I know that sooner or later the struggles would come. However, I am walking boldly with courage because I know that, having drunk of the water that Jesus gives, his life would sustain me through such busyness and such dry spells.
Jesus has a more vivid description of this when he said, “Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5 WEB).
It is so simple, really. All that I need to do to make a success of all of this — to bear much fruit — is to stay connected to the source of my life, Jesus Christ.
And the bearing of that much fruit… it begins now.
Do you want a much closer look into my walk with God?
Support me now at Patreon. For only $3 a month, you’ll be granted read and download access to all my devotional reflections, which are based on the classics Streams in the Desert and Morning and Evening. You’ll also get to read posts from my journal.
Or if you want, you can simply send me love-gifts to support my ministry :)
This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. — John 17:3 WEB
How has this ministry helped you, my friend? Have you started to know God more?
The truth is, all these things I’ve talked about won’t have any real meaning to you unless you first have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know how to start such a relationship (and to know the story, the privileges, and the responsibilities that accompany this relationship), please read this: God’s Plan of Salvation.
Maybe you already have a relationship with God, my friend. Or maybe you’re not ready yet to take that step. Either way, if you are blessed by what you’ve read, even if only a little, and you want to stay blessed and grow in your knowledge of God, I’m inviting you to join my mailing list now, and receive my posts in your inbox.