Jump Start # 2000
Ecclesiastes 12:12 “But beyond this, my son, be warned; the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body.”
This is a special celebration Jump Start, number 2000! Who would have thought? Amazing! Milestones, anniversaries, records—they are important. We recognize these in several industries, especially in sports. The most home runs. The most touchdowns. The fastest horse. The most victories. Banners adorn college arenas marking great seasons that brought national championships. And, today, we recognize our 2,000th Jump Start.
This journey begin in 2010 as a little experiment to challenge folks to read the Bible every day. I never intended this to last this long, nor to have the large readership that it does. Everywhere I go, I meet people who have read Jump Starts. I have a file folder full of emails that have been written through the years concerning these Jump Starts. Originally, when all of this started, back in 2007, I expected to stop after number 30. This is why I simply put numbers on them. They’d be easy to remember. I didn’t expect them to last very long. But immediately our people were sharing them with others. The base of readers started exploding, so I continued to write. Everyday, from my home, I’d start the day with writing a Jump Start. It takes about 30 minutes to write, and send these out. My intention was to have something on your computer when you got to work. You could read it, have a thought, and then get about your day. The readership kept growing, so, I kept writing. We started putting theme books together on a variety of topics. There are now 22 theme books. One of my marvelous deacons built a great display case for our Jump Starts that is in the lobby of our church building. When he built it we had about 8 theme books. The case displays a dozen theme books. I thought that was plenty. Boy, we were wrong on that.
And, this special day brings to memory my dear, dear friend, Jim Babcock. Every milestone number, he would call me up and we’d have a great talk about these Jump Starts. He’d ask, “How much longer are you going to write?” My answer was always, “until the bucket runs dry.” Dear Jim is now on the other side. I wish he were here today to celebrate this but I know he’d rather be where he is.
I’ve noticed through the years, that these writings have become more and more personal and in some ways an online diary. I’ve talked about myself and what’s going on in my family, my travels and even my past. So many have said, “I can just see you saying those things.” Or, “you write like you talk and you talk like you write.” Someone recently asked me if I had one favorite Jump Start. I remember several being written with tears in my eyes, the fond memories of dear family and friends. But I don’t. I do know that there has been some that I felt were rushed and not well written. I remember those more than the other ones.
On this special celebration Jump Start, there are several “Thank You’s” that I must acknowledge.
First, to the Lord who has given me an opportunity and a talent that I didn’t know was there. Many of these Jump Starts have found their ways into church bulletins, been transformed into Wednesday night invitations, and some have even become sermons. There has been many people who have been touched by these simple writings. We have connected with each other and hopefully closer to the Lord because of these things. Had the elders where I preach asked me to write a daily devotion when I first moved here, I probably would have resisted that. But it just came about and so much good has been done. That has always been the driving purpose of this, to help at least one person.
Second, an enormous thank you goes to the Charlestown Road congregation. They continue to be in the forefront of getting the message out. It’s an amazing congregation that is led by the best shepherds. They have supported me and helped me in this project from the beginning. Jump Starts come to you free, but there are costs behind it. This church has covered that for years. Our theme books are all printed and mailed free of charge to you. This church has been behind all of this. They are just good folks who love the Lord. They are never satisfied with just doing what we’ve done in the past. This is why Jump Starts was such an easy thing to try here. Thank you!
Third, a huge thank you goes to our readers. Some of you have been reading these for years. You have supported me by encouragement. You have shared these with others. You have grown our readership, which is the largest it has ever been. I still do not know how many actually receive this. So many have their own little groups of people that they send Jump Starts to, and, several congregations are sending these to everyone in their membership. I’d expect the daily distribution to be close to 3,000. Someone recently told me that he believed the number more accurately to be around 5,000, but I really don’t know. That’s a lot of people. That’s a lot of people who read these Jump Starts. I thank each of you for taking the time in your day just to read these thoughts. I hope you find comfort, hope and help in reading these. That has always been the purpose. Thank you. Thank you for reading these.
Now, the question I’m asked often, “how much longer are these Jump Starts going to last?” I can honestly say, I do not see another 2,000. For now, I have two more theme books in my mind that I’d like to write about. As long as folks keep reading and our readership stays where it is at or continues to grow, I’ll keep writing. But all things come to an end, including me, someday. Because of the internet, these writings will last longer than I will. I suppose, whether I wanted them to be or not, they have become my legacy. In my files, I have articles that were written more than one hundred years ago. They still teach, encourage and help, long after the writer has switched rooms. That will be my story someday. But for now, we write.
Our verse today reminds us that the writing of books is endless. There’s always new books. I’m a lover of books and have surrounded my life with books. Books are useful, helpful and can encourage us. But there is always one book, above all books, that we must treasure, know and love. That book is the Word of God. There is no author as great as God. There is no book that surpasses the Bible. It is indeed a book of life. It gives us true hope in Jesus Christ. Through the Bible, we come to know God. We learn of His wonderful compassion, His amazing power and His great desire to save all of us. God’s book is what needs to shape our character and define our lives. We believe because of the Bible
There are a couple of old sayings I’ve always liked about the Bible:
Carry the Bible when you are young and it will carry you when you are old
A Bible that is falling apart belongs to someone who’s life is not falling apart
2,000! Amazing to me!