Have you ever had a favorite restaurant? One that just seemed to get everything right? The right menu, the right mix of flavors, the attitude of the employees, even the ambiance. When you walked in, you just felt right at home. Then one day, you drive up and you see the dreaded sign, the one that says “Under New Management.” You might approach with a bit of apprehension, but you figure, “Hey, it can’t be that bad right? I doubt they changed everything…did they?” But when you get inside, everything was different! The decor was different, the employees were different, even the menu was completely changed! It may have had the same name on the outside, but it wasn’t the same restaurant anymore. I have to imagine that the readers of this blog might be feeling that apprehension right now, so let me try to relieve some of that concern.
When Pilgrim brought me on about a year ago, I was truly humbled and blessed to be a part of this blog. I was a part time blogger who managed to eek out a couple dozen hits a month with articles about the gospel and about evangelism. Pilgrim took the time to read what I had written and offered me a spot with the Defending Contending crew. Since that time, I have been greatly encouraged and blessed by the those who have read my articles. And while I could never hope to match the quantity and quality of some of our writers, I was thrilled to be a part of something that brought glory to God.
Earlier this month, Pilgrim advised me of his intent to step down from running this blog. Like many of you, I’m sure, I was stunned. But what shocked me even more was his request that I take the reigns of the blog! Me, a contributor with only one year under his belt, and only a fraction of the articles posted that others had done! I was humbled beyond words. After much prayerful consideration, I accepted Pilgrim’s gracious offer to helm the site and prayed that in doing so it would bring glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So that is how we got from there to here. What happens next? Does the menu get changed, the decor thrown out, a total and complete overhaul? No, not exactly. I have no intention of doing any kind of dramatic change over in the flow and content of Defending Contending. Readers of this blog appreciate the biblical, gospel centeredness that the contributors of this blog have brought to a wide variety of topics. Additionally, this blog’s willingness to openly address false teachers and teachings in a time where everyone wants to “play nice” has been a staple that I believe has always been appreciated. I intend to see that these things continue as they always have done.
But there is one thing that I simply must admit. I am not Pilgrim, nor can I ever hope to replace him. He has been a tireless servant of the Lord, bringing numerous articles to the site. While his articles will always remain on this site, his presence will greatly be missed. Anyone who has ever read my articles knows that my writing style and my content is different from Pilgrim’s. He has often spent much time digging into the false teachers and the cults, much to all of our benefit. However, my passion has been in the realm of evangelizing the lost and edifying the church so that they may fulfill the Great Commission. That being said, I intend to keep writing as I have been, albeit more consistently than I did before. Simply by the absence of Pilgrim’s writings and a more consistent effort of my own, some noticeable change in the flow and content will be noticed. Additionally, I may try to recruit new writers to help this site continue to grow and reach as many people with the gospel as possible. If the Lord allows this, each writer will bring his or her unique gifts to this blog and, over time, there may be noticeable changes. But as I said before, I have no intention of overhauling what we have already established here. I desire for Defending Contending to remain a light shining in the darkness of this world. I pray God continues to use us to point everyone to Jesus Christ and Him alone.
I thank Pilgrim for bringing me on with this team. I am grateful to my fellow contributors who have graciously allowed me to add my meager two cents here. I am blessed that you readers have read, commented on and even shared my articles. And most of all, I am grateful to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who, twelve years ago, opened my eyes to the depth and depravity of my sin. Who condescended to save me from the judgment to come. And who today has opened the door to an undeserving wretch to be a light in this world, to be used on this blog and in other venues to preach His glorious gospel of grace.
If you all will have me, I look forward to serving you and our common Savior in the days to come. Thank you.
Welcome to the helm! May God guide and use you in thousands of ways!
sounds like Pilgrim is full of wisdom?
What better way to reduce a person than to hitch em up to something bigger and better than they? That gives sight and removes blindness just like trying to keep the Law with a weak flesh is suppose to do for those who think they have something to offer God!
I say, bite off more than you can chew and let the chips land where they will!
Onward and don’t let go of the plow until the Lord takes His Hand off yours off it!
You’ll please forgive me for my dull mind, but I don’t understand your comment. Would you be kind enough to explain it please. Thanks much.
Well, despite the obscene little quirk that you don’t like real coffee with cream, manly-type sprinkles, and plenty of raspberry flavoring, I guess we can still work together! LOL
Seriously, you have long been welcome from the time you first came on. I pray that you will not only be welcomed but that your writing will take the baton you have been passed to bring more honor and glory to the Saviour.
Mark – TJM
PS – I am pretty sure that the key to success is drinking the right kind of coffee with all the additions!
I know Pilgrim wouldn’t put the blog into hands of someone unless he felt God-led to do so. 🙂 I am so thankful you are taking up the task and that the blog will continue on!
Also…I read Michael’s comment too, Chris, and didn’t understand it…but I thought I just was slow in the head! 😉 When I read your reply to it, a wave of relief washed over me to realize that I wasn’t the only one confused by it!! 🙂
Chris, was that addressed to me about my comment?
Michael – yes it was. Please forgive my slow mind, but I was just a bit confused by it.
first I see what Pilgrim did selecting you to take the helm as wisdom.
I will quote you: “…But what shocked me even more was his request that I take the reigns of the blog! Me, a contributor with only one year under his belt, and only a fraction of the articles posted that others had done! I was humbled beyond words. …”.
It seems to me you want to pick someone who is humble and realizes the greatness of the task asked of them is greater than their ability to accomplish it “by them self” or “in your own strength”. Turning to the Lord in humility and seeking His guidance shows great humility and an understanding about doing a work for the Lord. Really it is the Lord using your weakness to accomplish what He wants accomplished so no one can boast and we all can rejoice and give to the Lord glory!
The purpose of the Law reference is to touch on the purpose of giving the Law was not save you but to show you just how much you need being saved by someone greater than you because you realize the weakness of your own flesh in keeping the Law perfectly, too. For me when the Law came alive within me I became worse than I thought I was and quit judging others. Was I worse? No, I was and always have been totally depraved. It was the Law that helped me by the work of the Holy Spirit to see that.
I suppose the task of managing this blog is going to overwhelm you as it should so that you rely upon the strength and Grace and Wisdom of the Lord and not that of man? If not I would be surprised and think maybe Pilgrim picked the wrong guy then.
When we are weak Christ can come and be the strength we need in spite of our weakness.
Holding onto the plow refers back to the Gospel passage in Luke 9:62.
And finally, as Pilgrim, I suppose there will come a day when you will be directed by the Lord to hang up your hat too and let that day be the day of the Lord’s doing not man’s.
Hope that clarifies what I cryptically wrote in the first comment?
Also I apologize for any confusion it caused you and any one else reading it.
Michael, thank you very much for explaining your comment. I truly appreciate it. I covet your prayers in my efforts to glorify God here.
Rock n’roll, brother. Hard work ahead, but it will be to God’s glory. Be yourself and let God lead. I look forward to the future and the path ahead.
Your brother and friend,
Big shoes to fill for sure. You got big feet?
Best wishes, and let me know if you need any help.
“welcome” but then you have been here already. Looking forward to the future of Defending Contending.