HAPPY NEW YEAR...

Yesterday was the start of a lot of things for most people involved in the church. Those churches that observe the season of Lent (40 days before Easter) more than likely had an Ash Wednesday service last night. Also, through this season, we start to see people give up things. I have noticed a trend, at least in my past, about giving things up; it becomes a second new years resolution almost. People are going to give up certain things for losing weight before swim suit season, or they want to give up soda because we just consume too much of it.

Recently I was talking with my best friend and mentor, Eric Hendrickson, about maybe doing a revival of sorts to my blog. I should update my twitter name, change a few things and do something that would brand myself as "Mark Hashtag" or "Hashtag Mark" Or simply #mark. The reason we talked about this is because it could give me daily things to blog about, using the trending topics on twitter. It also works because my last name, Ashby, sounds like hashtag ( a little bit).

I thought about that conversation with Eric as I started to sit down at my desk this morning. Maybe instead of getting ready to look good in a bikini...not me of course, I can start doing things that would really be possibly helpful or insightful on current issues, or trends depending on how well you are connected into the social network lifestyle.

However, for the lent season, I have decided to limit myself to 1 hour of facebook a day. For those that know me, I am pretty much on it 24/7/365. It is BAD. I even check facebook on the road at red lights from time to time. If facebook were a drug, it would be illegal.

During this time though, I am going to devote more time to God. I really feel like I will be honoring God with this. I am not giving up fast food, chocolate or soda because I eat my weight in each. I am not going to make a better chance of working out, because we all know the only work out I get is lifting the TV remote higher to get a signal to the cable box. However, I want to commend people that are trying to make these sacrifices as they too can be vices in your daily and spiritual lives.

Right now, I am social networking with my blog. Maybe it is time for an upgrade. Maybe it is time for some branding. Maybe it is time for my second new years resolution as well. Maybe it is just my time. I can't really be sure. What I do know is that the decluttering that I am going to do in m life is to not take other pastors words as gospel. I will not be as easily influenced by those who are the current flavor of the week. I will reduce my time to a simple Gospel that ranges to people with PHD's and people who have hardly any education.

Reading a devotional this morning, I read a quote from Charles Spurgeon that says, "God be thanked for the simplicity of the gospel. The longer I live, the more I bless God that we have not received a classical gospel, nor a mathematical gospel, nor a metaphysical gospel; it is not a gospel confined to scholars and men of genius, but a poor man's gospel, a ploughman's gospel; for that is the kind of gospel which we can live upon and die upon."

This is the Christ that I want to go after. I travel 193.63 miles every day to work and back. I pass and encounter so many people along the way. Paul had a route of 1,400 miles on foot preaching the Gospel to all who would hear it. I am challenging myself and those who are in earshot of this blog to maybe get back to the simplicity of the Gospel. Rebrand yourself in the image of Christ that is always trending and will always be topical with situations going on in the world today. Have a revival of sorts, in your own heart to seek out the Christ who seeks out you.

Share Christ's great message of love, grace, peace, and forgiveness to all who will hear it. You never know when you will have a farming moment...(a chance to plant a seed).

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