Last week I shared that this column is my finale for Forum Communications. I deeply appreciate the notes of encouragement and thanks I received this week and throughout my four-plus years as a weekly columnist.

In social media a hashtag (#) represents a one-word or short-phrase summary of the main points of a conversation. When wrapping up engagements at a business or church like using hashtags to summarize the key thoughts I would like to leave with.

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#friend My posture as a columnist was to have authentic conversation with you as your friend. I do not have life all figured out. I choose to put my faith in and follow Jesus Christ because it is the most reliable and secure life decision someone can make. I have struggles, doubts, fears, hurts and plenty of areas of growth. I am not a professional speaker or writer. My goal was not to preach at you. I am a man on a journey seeking God’s wisdom, courage and strength through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Bible. My invitation was to journey together. One of the emails I received last week from an 86-year-old reader said, “I look forward each week for your column because I feel it’s like a letter from a friend.” That made my day!

#prayer There are many amazing prayers in the Bible. The one that has recently impacted me is from Ephesians chapter 3:16-19: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

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Religion is from the outside in … performance based. Christianity is from the inside out … our inner being. As a Christian my identity is not in what I do, where I work, or what other people say or think about me. My identity is not outcome-based or circumstantially driven. My identity is firmly rooted and established in who I am! God’s intention is for our lives, resources and relationships to be wholly his; to be set apart for his holy purposes. You are created and chosen by God for God. When we grasp that, it is a game-changer. I pray you grasp this!

#grow Fifteen years ago I started a leadership coaching, speaking and training company called Growing Forward. God has gifted me to help leaders and organizations grow. Growth is optional but not an option. We are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. I choose to grow daily. I pray that my life, in some small way, has spurred on growth in your life. Many readers have shared my column with a friend or family member. Let’s keep rippling our growth to others!

#stayintouch I am no longer a regular weekly columnist. Forum Communications stated they would absolutely consider including me randomly as a guest columnist. Keep your eyes open. I will stay in touch. You do the same. God bless you.

Jon is a pastor and leadership coach and can be reached at