Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Top Eleven Posts of All Time (And Some of My Personal Favorites As Well!)

My Wife Kathy and I with our four grandchildren
Earlier, I posted my "Top Eleven Posts of 2014".  As I promised then, I'm now sharing with you my "Top Eleven Posts of All Time."  I've been writing here since 2011, and since then total views have been steadily increasing. As a matter of fact, none of my posts from 2011 or 2012 made this "All Time"  list.

Before I share this "Top Eleven" List, I'd like to share with you a few of my favorite posts that didn't make this list.  For your interest, I've included the number of total views (as of today) on these posts as well.

  • A Christmas Story - December 25, 2012 (240) - This post was written about a deeply moving event which happened at the tire store where I work.  It was such a touching thing to witness, and it reminded me of a greater event from two thousand years ago!
  • Lincoln and Obama - Two Views of Welfare - September 23, 2012 (292) - Although this didn't quite make the Top 11 List below, it was my most read post of 2012.  It's based on a letter that Abraham Lincoln wrote to his step-brother in 1851.   If anything, the contrast between these two presidents is even starker than when I wrote this!
  • TR on Lincoln - The Great Statesman - August 25, 2012 (218) - This was based on a short essay written by Theodore Roosevelt on Abraham Lincoln.  As you can see, I'm a Lincoln fan!  This is the best that I've ever read on what a true statesman is.  I honestly wish every lawmaker in America were required to read this essay!
  • A Man Of A Different Spirit - October 7, 2011 (223) - This was my most read post of 2011.  That's not saying much, as I only wrote three that year!   It is based on one of my favorite Bible characters - Caleb.  What an inspiration!
  • My Letter To President Obama - Concerning Israel - May 11, 2011 (37) - This was my first post on this blog.  I had no idea what it would lead to!  Support for Israel continues to be a subject that is dear to my heart, and my alarm then at the lack of support that Israel has received from this administration has increased even more.

And now, without further ado...

Top Eleven Posts of All Time
(The numbers in parenthesis are the number of "views" for each post as of this writing)
  • 11. My Take On "The Bible" Series Parts 1-4 - March 13, 2013 (304) - This was the first of four posts on "The Bible" mini-series.   These were very well read at the time, as I wrote these during the time that the series premiered on The History Channel.  This actually is probably my most read series in total as it got many more views on my other blog on Christianpost.com.   
  • 10. What Is Marriage? - January 22, 2014 (310) - As I mentioned in my earlier post, this was the first of a series on traditional marriage and easily my most controversial series.  See #5 below.
  • 9. My Take On "The Bible" Series - Parts 5 and 6 - March 20, 2013 (319)
  • 8. Five Secular Reasons To Support Traditional Marriage Part 2 - February 23, 2014 (361)
  • 7. "Church Etiquette"-Wisdom From a Bygone Age - October 18, 2014 (371) - This simple post based on an old church bulletin resonated with a lot of people. I think "etiquette" in general has become old-fashioned to a lot of people, which reflects on the general coarsening of our society.  I hope to write more on this subject later.
  • 6. My Take On "The Bible" Series - Parts 7 & 8 - March 27, 2013 (379) - This was the third of four posts on "The Bible" mini-series. Not really sure why number three did so much better than the other three, but it did.
  • 5. Five Secular Reasons To Support Traditional Marriage Part 1 - February 13, 2014 (383) - I wrote this series of posts after I read the excellent book What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense."  I felt and still feel that there are excellent arguments to be made for traditional marriage that aren't being made (at least not in the mainstream media, whose coverage of "same-sex marriage" has been almost universally one-sided).  I divided my defense up into "secular" arguments (for those who think that the argument for traditional marriage is only about religion...a preposterous idea!) and "biblical" arguments.
  • 4. Thoughts At Fifty - Living Between The Dash - March 12, 2014 (389) - I wrote this post on my 50th birthday.  Some posts (especially on "hot" topics) jump out of the gate and get a lot of "hits" right away.  This was not one of them.  It's just been quietly gaining views since I put it out there.  The subject (the brevity of life) is timeless, and is common with everyone on the planet!
  • 3. BOOK REVIEW: Stonewalled by Sharyl Attkison Part 2 - November 11, 2014 (435) - This was the first time I posted a book review on my site.  Maybe I should do more of these!
  • 2. Reflections On Thirty Years of Marriage Part 1 - February 14, 2013 (449) - This was the first of a series of three posts that I wrote on marriage.  It would become my most read post of 2013. It was the first time that I wrote a series on a subject, and the first time that I wrote about marriage.  Like #4 above, it is on a timeless subject, and has quietly been gaining views since I posted it almost two years ago.  
And my most read post of all time is (you guessed it!)...
  • 1. Oklahoma Beheading - Let's Call It What It Is! - September 27, 2014 (501) - Since my last post, this has become my first post to exceed 500 views.  As I mentioned then, it's really a combination of a "hot" subject matter, an under-reported event, and the fact that I was connecting dots that few in the mainstream media were willing to connect.
Before I close this post, I'd like to invite you to "follow" me on Google+. This is the easiest and best way to be notified of future posts as I write them.  If you have a Google account, all you have to do is click "Follow" under my name on the right (or click here).  If you don't already, you can also follow me on Twitter here and Facebook here.

As always, I welcome your comments on any of these posts.  I really appreciate your feedback!

I wish each of you a blessed and prosperous 2015!  God bless!


For an inspirational lift, check out my new book, "Grace In Shoe Leather." It's an amazing story of grace and forgiveness that has made a difference in the lives of so many. You can download it here: http://amzn.to/1wLL5Mw    P.S. IT'S ON SALE TODAY - JUST 99 CENTS!!!!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Top Eleven Blog Posts for 2014 (Since Everybody Has a Top Ten!)

As we wrap up 2014, I thought it might be interesting to share with you my most popular blog posts from this year.  This year marks four years since I've started this blog, and I'm really amazed to see the growth in readership since I first started.  In the beginning, a few dozen people might read what I wrote.  Now, it's not unusual to get several hundred.  Mostly though, I'm appreciative of the responses which I've received from people about my blog, either in person or online.

I started this blog in 2011, with just three posts that year, so I really didn't get very serious about it until 2012.  Since then, I've learned a lot about blogging and how to get the message out there. This is actually only my fifty-second post, so I've obviously not posted daily or even weekly, as my schedule simply doesn't permit it.  I have a full time job, and a lot of other responsibilities, so I just post when I have time, and when I feel like I've got something to say that might be worth reading.    I do enjoy writing, but I'm not in this to get some kind of fame (and certainly not fortune!).  Although I don't have any degrees behind my name, I've been a reader (especially of history) all my life, and I feel like that may give me some insight into current events that perhaps others might not have. Even more than that, I have been a student of the Bible for many years, and I make no bones about the fact that I see the world through the lens of the word of God.  I believe God's word informs my perspective and gives me a worldview that not many have who are writing about current events and social issues.

Everybody seems to have a "top ten" these days, so I guess I'll join the crowd.  However, in the quest to be "always different," I'm making mine "top eleven!

Top Eleven Posts of 2014 
(The numbers in parenthesis are the number of "views" for each post as of this writing)

  • 11.  Stand With The Persecuted Church! - May 2, 2014 (280) - This is an issue that is close to my heart, and, to be honest, I wish that I had written about it more.  The church around the world continues to be assaulted from all sides, yet we here in America don't seem to notice.
  • 10.  Five Biblical Reasons To Support Traditional Marriage - February 5, 2014 (284) 
  • 9. God Can Do Things In Prayer That Are Just So Cool! - September 28, 2014 (290) - I usually don't write these on the "spur of the moment", but this is one that I shared right away.  The message is simple: God still works today!
  • 8. BOOK REVIEW: Stonewalled by Sharyl Attkisson Part 1 - November 9, 2014 (291)
  • 7. What Is Marriage? - January 22, 2014 (302) - This was the first of four posts that I wrote on traditional marriage.  It was by far the most controversial series that I've ever written, which I find remarkable.  Ten years ago, it wouldn't have even drawn a yawn!  Though I had a lot of positive feedback, I found out there is a "gay mafia" out there that wants to shout down and belittle anyone who doesn't agree with them.  The level of vitriol that I received was astonishing.  Oh well...It still needed to be said and it is a point of view that you hardly hear in traditional media these days.
  • 6. Five Secular Reasons To Support Traditional Marriage Part 2 - February 23, 2014 (355)
  • 5. "Church Etiquette"-Wisdom From a Bygone Age - October 18, 2014 (361) - This one really surprised me.  This was just based on a fifty year old church bulletin someone showed me.  I think it really struck a chord with people!
  • 4. Thoughts At Fifty - Living Between The Dash - March 12, 2014 (385) - This is one of the most personal posts that I wrote this year.  I think it could very well be the most significant, considering the subject matter.
  • 3. Five Secular Reasons To Support Traditional Marriage Part 1 - February 13, 2014 (397) 
  • 2. BOOK REVIEW: Stonewalled by Sharyl Attkison Part 2 - November 11, 2014 (430) - I did something in preparing for these posts on "Stonewalled" that I don't think I've ever done before.  I pre-ordered a book and paid full price!  I'm a cheapskate, and I almost always wait until a book is out for awhile and is on sale before I buy one.  However, I really felt like this book was important, and I wanted to read it and review it while it was still in the initial rush of publicity.  Judging by the response, I believe this worked!  Side note - This was kind of weird to me.  Part 2 of my post got many more readers than Part 1.  Go figure!
OK!  DRUM ROLL PLEASE....My most read post of the year is...
  • 1. Oklahoma Beheading - Let's Call It What It Is! - September 27, 2014 (491) - One thing that I'm noticing is that the posts that get read the most are the ones that are on subjects that are "hot" at the moment. This one and #2 above both illustrate this quite well.  This gruesome event happened on a Thursday evening, but hardly got reported in the national media until Friday afternoon.  As I wrote in the post, the coverage even then was very spotty, which was inexplicable to me.  There were obvious indications to me that this was terrorism, whether it was "lone wolf" or not, but the national media almost all refused to use the "T" word.  I got up very early on Saturday and wrote this post, so it was a combination of being a very current story and one that was not being covered extensively.  I think people were looking for information about it.  I don't know if you would say it went viral, but it certainly was well read.  I think I had three hundred people read it within 48 hours!
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you who have read my blog this year.  I hope it has been a help and a blessing to you.  As always, I welcome your responses, whether positive or negative.

God bless you and Happy New Year!

Next...I'll share my Top Eleven Blog Posts of All Time...
Hint...Many of the ones from 2014 are on the list!

For an inspirational lift, check out my new book, "Grace In Shoe Leather." It's an amazing story of grace and forgiveness that has made a difference in the lives of so many. You can download it here: http://amzn.to/1wLL5Mw    P.S. IT'S ON SALE TODAY - JUST 99 CENTS!!!!



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Another Silent Night?


I was thinking recently about December 16, 1991. Honestly, I have no memory of what that day was like for me and my wife Kathy. I was serving at that time as a pastor of a small rural church, but, because they were not able to support me fully, I had taken a job at a Mr. Gatti's pizza in nearby Boonville, Indiana. I was the dough maker. I suppose that that Monday morning, I went in to work early just like any other day, made my dough (not much of the green kind!), completed my shift, and went home. It was a rather silent day followed by a silent night.

We were childless and were not able to have children ourselves. A couple of years before, the Lord had called us into foster parenting. We were currently without any foster kids in the home, as we had just sent a sibling group back home to their mom. We had cared for them for over a year. So, for Kathy and I, it was a rather depressing Christmas season. The Yultide was not exactly gay that year, and would pass by pretty uneventfully for us. Silent days followed by silent nights.

Two weeks and a day later, on the last day of the year, I was back making dough at Mr. Gatti's. The manager called for me and told me that my wife was on the phone. That was unusual. I took the call. The welfare case worker had called her, and told her that a baby was in the hospital in nearby Evansville, and she needed a home. The child had been born to a young girl who herself was a foster child. The baby was born with spina bifida, and neither the mother nor her family were able to take care of her. However, this was not to be a temporary placement. They needed a permanent home for this little girl. Needless to say, we accepted. There would be no more silent days and silent nights for us for a long time!

We had not gone into foster parenting expecting to adopt. In fact, they cautioned us to not expect such a thing. Yet, God in his timing brought our daughter Britny into our lives in the most unexpected way. Her arrival into our home changed our lives forever. It is hard to imagine what our lives would have been like without her. We would face many trials ahead, including many surgeries, yet she has brought immeasurable joy into our home, as did the two other little girls who God would eventually send into our lives as adopted children.

Every year when we celebrate Britny's birthday, we are so thankful for the gift that the Lord gave us back in 1991. When is her birthday? Oh, December 16, 1991. That silent day and night had passed by so uneventfully for us. Yet, behind the scenes, God had been working in a marvelous way.

This reminds me of another December day and night, much farther back. Almost two thousand years ago, a young girl and her espoused husband struggled just to find a quiet place to have her baby. All the hotel rooms were full in Bethlehem that night, so Mary and Joseph found themselves in a nearby cave, sharing space with the animals whose home they had invaded. The entire story of this familiar evening is told to us in Luke in only twenty verses. Matthew is even briefer. Less than a verse tells the story of Jesus' birth there. Except for the strange appearance of some lowly shepherds, who told of a celestial appearance on a hillside several miles away, the birth of Christ seemed to be an uneventful event to those around it. Most people in Bethlehem went to bed that night and woke up the next morning without any knowledge that anything special at all had happened. The Savior of the world had been born a stone's throw from them, yet they went back to their homes in other parts of Palestine not having a clue as to what they had missed.

Perhaps the days and nights of your life also seem to pass uneventfully. Maybe you're a single mother, just struggling to get by from day to day. Perhaps you're a construction worker or a factory employee, finding your days and nights filled with monotony, amid the wreckage of unfulfilled dreams and broken promises. You might be a homeschool mom, worn out with dealing with attitudes and demands from your children. Your days and nights might not be silent, but they could seem pointless to you. 

However, whether you realize it or not, if you are a child of God and have put your trust in His son Jesus, your days are never pointless. What you do from day to day really matters. And, like that long-ago sixteenth day of December for us, the Lord may be working behind the scenes in your life in ways that you can scarcely imagine. All He asks of you is to trust Him. Like a weaver making a stunning tapestry, He is weaving the seemingly useless events of your life into an array of beauty. You just can't see it yet. "He has made everything beautiful in its time." (Ecc. 3:10)


I realize as I'm writing this that there a few of you that could only wish for a silent night. You are going through trials that make you wish life were more monotonous. A sick child. An unfaithful spouse. A lost job. A December death in the family. That quiet hillside in Bethlehem has no comfort for you as you try to survive this tragedy. You are right. Thinking of the little baby in the manger is not enough to bring you much comfort.
However, I would point you to another hillside just a few miles from Bethlehem. In Hebrew, it's name is Golgotha. In Latin, Calvary. Thirty-three and a half years after that Bethlehem morning, the Son of God hung on a Roman cross. He'd done nothing to deserve this miserable death. Quite the opposite. He'd lived the only sinless life in the history of mankind, yet here he was. Face beaten to a pulp. His back gory beyond imagination. Strong Roman nails adorning his feet and hands. In agony, He exclaims, "Eli Eli lama sabachthani?" "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

Because He died that day, in our deepest grief we never have to say those words. God forsook Jesus briefly that day, so that we can never be forsaken.


He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21)

As a result, when we accept that gift of righteousness, we can claim all that God has for us. No matter what tremendous struggle you or I might be facing, we now have no reason to despair!


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

What a promise! Notice that God can use all things in our lives, even the most horrendous tragedies, to work together for our good and His glory. We only have to love Him and trust Him. He will not allow us to suffer beyond what we can bear, but will make a way of escape that we might be able to bear it. (1 Cor. 10:13). That way of escape is Jesus Himself.

Whether your nights are silent or noisy, whether you are facing great trials or just the day-to-day tedium of life, your hope and my hope this Christmas is found in Christ. His promise to you and to me is that He will never leave us nor forsake us!

 

While I was writing this post, my wife shared with me Mark Schultz' new song, " Different Kind of Christmas." It just seems to fit so well with what I wrote about here, I wanted to share this with you, especially for those of you who are dealing with the death of a loved one this time of year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PBEMfbWq_Y


For another inspirational lift, check out my new book, "Grace In Shoe Leather." It's an amazing story of grace and forgiveness that has made a difference in the lives of so many. You can download it here: http://amzn.to/1wLL5Mw   P.S. IT'S ON SALE TODAY - JUST 99 CENTS!!!!

 


 

 

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Free Preview of My New Book: Grace In Shoe Leather - Now Available on Amazon.com!

I'm pleased to announce that my new book "Grace In Shoe Leather" has been published and is available on Amazon.com.  It is a remarkable true story of God's grace in the lives of two ordinary yet remarkable people.  Here's the description:

In March, 1998, the Evansville, Indiana area was rocked by "The MotoMart Shooting" and the ensuing arrest of a local youth for murder. "Grace In Shoe Leather" is the true story of one victim's widow who refuses to take the path of bitterness and resentment, but instead chooses the path of forgiveness and grace. In a surprising turn of events, that widow, Ina Kae Simpson, eventually befriends Erick Schmitt, the man convicted of taking her husband's life. The unexpected results of this unusual friendship are inspirational!

I already have several good reviews that have been posted, for which I'm really grateful.  I'd like to share some of these with you:

I have read Wayne Nall's book "Grace In Shoe Leather" and found it to be informative, encouraging, and touching. In my view the theme is "the value of forgiveness." It is about real people living in a real world of problems, trials, and discouragement, yet finding hope in having a forgiving spirit, which Jesus taught throughout the gospels. It contains pictures which add to the import of the text. It is written in a style that is easy to to read and once I started it I could not put it down. I would encourage all to read this book, it will be well worth your time. 
 When reading Wayne Nall, Jr.s book, Grace in Shoe Leather, I was touched by the unfolding of an amazing story. It really shows that there are people in this world who live their faith "out loud" and that can have real and lasting consequences that ripples like a stone tossed into a pond. Thank you for sharing such an uplifting story!
As our son was getting some driving practice in this evening, I began reading the forward aloud while we drove around town. He commented that the forward was just what it should be. He was "hooked" and ready to hear more. His thirteen year old sister asked for my phone and continued reading chapter one aloud till we got home. And at 1:00 a.m. I've just finished the book. I couldn't lay it down! Thank you, Ina, for extending grace. Thank you, Erik, for receiving grace. Thank you, Wayne, for taking the grace from "shoe leather" to print. In this day of un-grace, this story shines as a must read! 
I love to hear stories of people who live their faith "out loud", don't you?  "Grace In Shoe Leather" is one of those stories, and it's one that people need to hear about.  I've chosen to put a very reasonable price on this book, in the hopes that more people would read it.  It's actually only $2.99 on Amazon.  That's really affordable for just about anyone.  And I hope that, after you read it, you will think that this was worth much more than this price.  Update:  "Grace In Shoe Leather is free today!

Here's some good news: you can read the first part of this book for free!  Just follow the link below to the Amazon webpage for the book, then click on the book cover on the left right under the "Look Inside" banner.  http://amzn.to/1wLL5Mw

Don't have an Amazon Kindle?  No problem!  Amazon has free Kindle reading apps available for download.  You can read this on your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet, or your computer as well as on your Amazon Kindle device.  To get the free app, just go to the webpage and follow the instructions under "Free Kindle Reading App."

If you read the book, I would love to hear from you to let me know what you think of it...good or bad.  You can email me at waynenalljr@gmail.com privately, and you can also post a review on Amazon.  In fact, if you do, I would really appreciate it!  I'm a new and unknown author, and reviews are what makes the difference in a book getting noticed or "staying on the shelf."  I'd love for this story to "get out there."  After you read it, I hope you will too!

 P.S. IT'S ON SALE TODAY - JUST 99 CENTS!!!!

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