Jump Start # 3000
Ecclesiastes 12:12 “But beyond this, my son, be warned the writing of many books is endless, and excessive study is wearying to the body.”
CELEBRATION!!! MILESTONE!!! A NEW RECORD!!! This is Jump Start number 3,000! Unbelievable. Our verse today talks about the endless writing of many books. It seems our Jump Starts have become just that, endless. We started this journey in January, 2010. It was intended to be a 30-day experiment. Now, a dozen years later, our Jump Starts have become international, the number of subscribers are at an all time high, and a total of 27 theme books have been published from these writings. On Mondays, I read one of the Jump Starts from the past. It’s called, “Jump Start Rewind.” It’s part of the Heaven Bound podcast family that our congregation broadcasts. I estimate from a typical Jump Start size that I have written 2.7 million words. The Jump Starts began as a simple reflection from a verse—a devotional type of style. But, through the years, it seems that the writings have become more personal and almost like a diary. I’ve written about my daughter’s wedding, the birth of grandchildren, travels, preaching experiences, the death of friends and preaching heroes and the passing of my father. I have focused heavily upon worship, elderships and preaching.
My ole’ friend Jim Babcock would be calling me about this one. Jim was one of my finest early supporters of Jump Starts. Jim is on the other side now but what a great encouragement he was in those early years. David Parr in Alabama has taken Jim’s place as being one of my best cheerleaders. He even made me a Jump Start polo shirt with our logo on it. When David calls, he doesn’t say, “Hey, Roger,” he calls me “Jump Start.”
I can not celebrate this milestone alone. There is a host of people that without them, Jump Starts would not exist. First and foremost is the wonderful Charlestown Road congregation and their shepherds. It takes both finances and personnel to get these out to you. The leadership of this church has always supported me in this and have graciously allowed me to take this journey. Beyond this congregation, of which the Jump Starts are a part of our work, you the reader must be thanked. I have thought that if the number of readers starts to fall off, then it will be time to stop this. But so far it hasn’t. So many of you have shared these and talked about these and have your own group of people that you send them to. We have some special media people who make this possible to be presented to you. I don’t know what they do, but they do it well. I also need to thank Amy who takes care of all the mailing of our Jump Start books. She has saved me an enormous amount of time and she does such wonderful work in this.
Writing every day, Monday through Friday, has become a daily part of my life. I’ve run into folks who have told me, “You must never stop writing.” That’s sweet and I appreciate it, but I do know the end will come. I’m thankful to have had this unique period in time where we could encourage, share and help one another through this avenue. I truly doubt there will be another dozen years for these Jump Starts, but who knows. I would have never expected it to go as long as it already has.
So, here are some things I’ve learned from a dozen years of writing every day.
First, don’t be afraid to open your heart, share your story and be honest. I have sent a few Jump Starts out that I later thought was just a bit too much about my life. However, we all have a story. You have a story. Sometimes outsiders may think that we are all perfect, we never have a bad day and Satan never bothers us. That’s not the way it is. Creating an image of perfection may hide our flaws but it also can become an obstacle for others. “I can’t be like you,” is something that may keep some away from Christ. Be honest. Be real. Be yourself.
Second, pushing yourself is a good thing. I generally take no more than 30 minutes to write a typical Jump Start. I really do not have any more time than that. There are sermons to prepare, class material to write, and lots of people to engage with. I write in one setting. Most times, I read it over one time and send it out. Later on, I find typos, mistakes and other things that should have been edited out, but there just isn’t time. There are days when the well is dry. Just not sure what to write that day. I’ve had some who have even encouraged me to write less or even stop because of the work load I carry. But I push myself. I find something. I write.
And, so it is for you. There are days that you may not feel like going to worship. There are days you may not feel like preaching or teaching another Bible class, but people are counting on you. You step up and you do it. I think about the apostle who was dragged out of town, stoned and left for dead. Acts tells us that he got up and went right back into that town. Unbelievable. We must push aside excuses and reasons to stop.
Third, one never realizes the good that he does. This is so true with these Jump Starts. I write what I feel like. I don’t know if the readers will read this stuff or even like it. Then I will get an email or a card from someone. They will tell me about a death in their family or a prodigal in their home and how my words helped them so much. I’ve had people tell me that they have used these writings for invitations, sermons and Bible classes. All of that amazes me. But you are just like that. Your smile at services, the kind words you said to a young preacher, the food you took to a family that was experiencing a hard time, those little blessings from you are not forgotten and they have made a huge difference. We do things not to get a “thank you,” from someone, but rather, we want to do our part. We want to help others.
Fourth, one never knows what he can do until he tries. A dozen years ago, if someone had told me that I would be writing a devotional five days a week and it would be read worldwide, that likely would have caused me to run the other direction. So many have asked, “How do you do that every day?” I just sit in front of a keyboard and let the words flow. These come from years of reading, studying and thinking. Sermons have found their ways into Jump Starts. And, Jump Starts have found their ways into sermons. But to say, “I could never do that,” really isn’t true. There are other very good blogs being written today. I follow them. I use them. I do not feel that there is a competition among us. We are on the same side, just wanting to help others. Find what your talent is. Try it. Use it. Develop it. Expand it. Don’t go about trying to make a name for yourself. Honor the Lord in all that you do.
If you are not familiar with our Jump Start website (www.Jumpstartsdaily.com), you can find all the Jump Starts posted there. There is a search engine in which you can look up key verses or even words. One can search by dates as well. Also, we have 27 Jump Start books. The first one was on Psalms. The latest one is on the Land that Jesus Traveled. These are always free. Just send me an email (Rogshouse@aol.com) and your mailing address and Amy will take care of these for you.
If a history of our times is written, I’m thankful that Jump Starts had a small part in the lives of so many. Most of all, I’m thankful to the Lord who has given me this talent and put me in a place where it can be most effective.
God is so good…He is so good to me!