It was March of 1997. I was asked to write an article for the Baptist Messenger on parenting.
“Just one,” they said. Then it became “just one more.” Now, 26 years and 1,250 articles later, I am still writing “just one more.”
With this article, I have completed 26 years, and I have seen lots of changes. When I started writing, Wi-Fi wasn’t around, and neither was Google. There was no such thing as a smartphone, Kindle, Bluetooth, Facebook, or a flat-screen TV. We didn’t even have GPS! How did we ever get to Grandma’s house?
In the beginning, I was asked to write 300 words a week. I thought to myself, “This is like being back in school and having to do a weekly term paper.” I mastered the art of using filler words. Instead of writing my grandson’s name as “Titus,” I used his title, Titus the Honorable, and I did the same for his brothers, Cohen the Goodhearted and River the Peacemaker. Did you see how much space those titles took up? Then it dawned on me that God could use these names long after I’m gone to remind the boys of their character traits.
Later, they asked me to move up to 500 words. For a dyslexic guy who was advised in high school to seek jobs where I used my hands and not those that required writing or speaking, that required a miracle. Later, they moved my word count to 800 words. These days, I’m back down to 500 words a week, and my article comes out in print only once a month. But I still write each week; the other three are posted online, and I would love to send them to you. Go to back40.org, put in your email address, and I will make sure the articles come your way.
As I look over the last 26 years of writing, my message has always been the same: the need for Jesus and His Word in our lives. I’ve written it from a gazillion different angles, sometimes through humor, sometimes with a more serious tone, but in the end, it’s all about Jesus. My goal each week is to give your spirit a lift and your heart a laugh.
Through this journey, I have fallen in love with my readers. We have become family; we care for each other. Just the other day I connected with one of my longtime readers, Carlene Fisher King, who happens to be the mother of Todd Fisher, my new boss. Connections like that are my joy. They may happen on this page, through an email or in person, but I find great joy in connecting with you.
I am not sure how much longer I am going to write this column. I have used up nearly all the words in the dictionary, and I may have to start inventing some. Nonetheless, it has been a joy and privilege to serve you all these years. God bless you, my friends!