When I first started pastoring I decided to launch jonathanblankenship.com. Did you get that? When I first started pastoring. I was in my mid-twenties and convinced that I knew who I was, where I wanted to go, and what the Lord would do in my life. I have since clearly learned that it is not He who is to follow me, but it is me who is to follow Him. You see, most of my writing was filled with my direction – things which would have brought glory to me and not to Christ even if it was unintended. I was indirectly challenged in those days, through a Q&A session at a conference I was attending, to step back, consider taking my blog down, and allow the Lord to shape some things in my life first. I’m grateful for that piece of wisdom, because that’s exactly what I did. I took it down.
I’m now nearing forty and God has not only changed so much about me, but He is still changing me. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t arrived. I simply have a clearer mindset than I did when I first started. For example, in my mid-twenties I was focused on ministry colleagues, but now I’m primarily focused on the flock God allows me to shepherd. If pastor brothers can be helped by the material they find here, wonderful. But my purest intent is to encourage our people at Laurel, and along the way jot down some thoughts about preaching and pastoring as the Lord leads.
This past year we have certainly seen the ongoing proliferation of conspiracy theories, prosperity gospel, and Bible illiteracy (no, the COVID vaccine is not the mark of the beast!). So, my goal is to continually point our church family back to the truth of the gospel and the hope we have in scripture alone, especially when so much religious legalism and secular philosophy is pulling people away from Christ.
Beware lest anyone spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the [philosophy] of the world, and not according to Christ.Colossians 2:8
So, I have re-formatted the blog from it’s earlier days.
- Articles. You’ll find general articles that I pray will encourage your walk with Christ, whether it’s on parenting, marriage, theology, the church, or whatever we can share that will help all of us focus on Jesus.
- Sermon Resources. My passion has always been expository preaching. The Lord has allowed me to preach through nearly 40 books of the Bible in 13 years of pastoring. I want to take the thoughts that I have learned and am passionate about and put them down here on the blog for encouragement and help. You will also find “preaching maps,” which are quick summaries of those books I have preached through, along with passage breakdowns that I trust can guide you in your own preparation to preach or teach through a book of the Bible. Also, for those who followed us on the Preach the Word Podcast you will find a continuation of that material on the blog, along with a new podcast that one of my assistants and I will be releasing soon: The Church & Life Podcast.
- Recommended Reading. If you’re not reading you’re not learning, and if you’re not learning you’re not effectively leading. We all need to read good books. While the Bible is supreme, books are a gracious gift from God. Let’s be wise and embrace them. I will post books that I have enjoyed and recommend for you to read whether it’s grouped by topic or singled-out for its emphasis.
- Personal. Alright, this is me just writing about things I love that may or may not be ministry related. Running, Disney, my family, etc. So, don’t be surprised to find the occasional post about some of my life-passions.
Ultimately, I want to provoke our church family to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24), encourage friends who share in our responsibility to preach the Word (Colossians 1:28), and help others experience the joy of the Lord as we live each day by faith in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:24).
Thanks for reading, and I pray the site will be a blessing to you now and as it continues to develop in the future.