My Top 10 Posts of 2013

I've had a lot of fun this year blogging. It is hard to believe I've been at this for 2 1/2 years now.  It has been encouraging to watch how God has slowly grown this blog. I love getting to meet readers and connect with new people.  2013 has been a great year, and the following 10 blog posts have been my most popular.

Top 10 Blog Posts (In Traffic)

1. A Case for Early Marriage: Why it is a Good Idea to Get Married Young

2. 6 Ways to Spiritually Lead Your Wife

3. Should Christian Teenagers Date?

4. An Uninvited Dinner Guest - Luke 7:36-50

5. 4 Reasons Why its Advantageous for a Pastor's Wife to Stay Home

6. We Live in a Fantasy World of Christian Community

7. What Should I Tell My Kids about Santa?

8. When Materialism Rules the Home

9. 7 Things We Can Learn From Jonathan Edwards

10. How I File My Sermons in Evernote

Thoughts and Reflections

My posts on family and marriage continually to be the most popular. The top blog post of the year bar none has been my post on early marriage.  This reveals to me that there is needed conversation among Christians about what the Bible says on family. Our culture is confused more than ever on marriage and parenting. As I go into 2014, I plan on continuing to write on the family. It seems to address the needs of many of my readers.

I've got some exciting blog posts and projects in the pipeline for 2014, including a possible ebook! Stay tuned for more information!

A Word of Thanks

Thanks to all of you who subscribe and regularly read my blog (If you haven't subscribe I'd love for you to!).  Thanks to all of you who share these posts on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.  The reason I started this blog is to make an impact for the cause of Christ. Through writing, I seek to bring God glory as I try to encourage the saints and proclaim the Gospel.  Thanks to all of you for staying with me and I'm excited about 2014! Happy New Year!

Reading for Your Weekend 3.29.13

How and Why to Become a Lifelong Learner - The Art of Manliness

For the first twenty-two years or so of our lives, our main “job” is learning. The bulk of our time is spent in classrooms acquiring new knowledge. And then, once we graduate, we feel like the education phase of our lives is done and now it’s time to go out into the world. Have you ever thought about how odd that idea is? That only a quarter of our lives should be devoted to learning, and then we should simply rest on our laurels for the remaining three-quarters of it?

It’s an erroneous idea – but one many have absorbed, at least subconsciously. But school need not be your exclusive provider of learning. Just because you’ve finished your formal education, doesn’t mean that your education is over!

Five Steps to Get Beyond Sacred Cows in Your Church - Thom Rainer

 

I estimated that we had invested nearly 1,500 hours of our members’ time in this ministry during the past year. The apparent result of our ministry had resulted in, at best, two Christian families joining our church. If you assume a workday of eight hours, our members had worked 187 full days with no evangelistic fruit.

 

When I presented my research to a leader in the church and suggested we look at other alternatives, he raised his voice almost to a scream: “But we have always done it that way. And ten years ago we saw dozens of people become Christians through this ministry every year. We’re not about to change!” When I asked what we should do about the 1,500 hours of apparently fruitless ministry, he said we should try to increase the number to 3,000 hours.

 

Don’t get me wrong. Your church may have great success in door-to-door outreach. My purpose in writing this article is not to pass judgment on a methodology. My purpose is to ask the question: Are organizational memories, commonly known as sacred cows, hindering our effectiveness for the gospel?

Do Pastor's Conferences Do Any Good? - Daniel Ritchie

Pastors’ conference (n.) – a gathering of mostly middle aged men gathering together to hear hours of sermons and breakout sessions.

I don’t think you’re going to find that definition in Webster’s Dictionary, but if you were to ask the average person to describe a pastors’ conference that is likely the answer you will get.  Doesn’t sound terribly exciting.  So how does a pastors’ conference do anyone any good?  It can seem to be a gathering to celebrate “rock star” pastors and guys who took churches of a 100 people and saw attendance rocket to 10,000.  In fact, I was able to attend a conference this past week called Advance 13.

Many of the speakers were popular pastors & authors and if you’re not careful a conference like this certainly can turn into hero worship.  Yet, conferences can be a great time of refreshing for your pastor and a time where the Spirit can move in their life.  So here are some of the ways that God can use a conference for His glory and purpose.

20 Years Ago Today: Mohler Elected as President of Southern Seminary - Justin Taylor

Twenty years ago today—March 26, 1993-R. Albert Mohler Jr. (age 33) was elected president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Younger readers may not realize this represented and resulted in an unprecedented transformation of a school from  deep theological liberalism to a bastion of orthodox fidelity. George Marsden says the institutional shift is unprecedented in denominational history.

Holy Week and the Insomnia of Jesus - Russell Moore

When the disciples screamed in the face of a storm, Jesus slept (Mk. 4:37-38). When Jesus screamed in the face of a cross, the disciples slept (Mk. 14:37,41).

Why could Jesus sleep so peacefully through a life-threatening sea-storm, and yet is awake all night in the olive garden before his arrest, crying out in anguish? Why are the disciples pulsing with adrenaline as the ship is tossed about on the Galilee Lake, but drifting off to slumber as the most awful conspiracy in human history gets underway?

Peter, James, and John rebuke Jesus for falling asleep on the boat: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk. 4:38) Jesus rebukes them for falling asleep as he prays before the cross: “Could you not watch one hour?” (Mk. 14:37)

Kindle Deals

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die - John Piper - $0.99

 

My Top 5 Posts from 2012

Believe it or not 2012 is coming to a close and 2013 is right around the corner.  To close out the year, I'd figure I'd share my top 5 blog posts from this past year.  These were my five posts that got the most views  and where the most popular.  

1. Rethinking Worship Wars

The wonderful people at worshipideas.com picked up this blog, and gave me a lot of extra visitors.  There help made this my number one blog of the year.  Here is an exerpt:

"The New Testament does not prescribe a particular style of worship to the church.  In fact, the New Testament is shockingly silent in discussing how to structure worship services.  I think both sides of the debate need to come to the realization that there are far more important things to focus on than worship style.  You can have a piano, a organ, and a choir with pimped out lavender robes and be a Faithful church.  You can also have the same style of worship in another church and be found unfaithful.  What’s my point?  The litmus test for a faithful church is not observing the worship leader to see if he wears a three-piece suit or if he wears skinny jeans and toms.  Worship has nothing to do with music, but everything to do with the posture of the human heart." Read More

2. Amendment One and the Christian Mission

Back in the Spring, there was a furry of emotions in NC over the controversial Amendment One.  How should questions respond to this issue? I wrote a letter to the editor of my local Newspaper, The Wilson Times.  They printed it, but it also proved really popular on the blog as well.  Here is an excerpt:

"As a pastor and a Christian, it has been very intriguing to watch the Christians in the city of Wilson as they handle this controversial issue.  Although I personally supported the amendment, I think some of the zealous passion Christians have shown over this amendment has been misguided.  Christians must indeed stand firm on the truths of Scripture despite the cultural milieu of the day.  However, I am terribly afraid that through this vicious debate over the marriage amendment, Christians in our city have indirectly tarnished the mission Christ has called us to do." Read More

3. "I Deserve This" - The Poison of Entitlement

This was a post addressing a recurring sin issue in my own life.  Entitlement.  Rereading this post convicts me even now. Here is an excerpt:

"You see, many people think just like me. Our sinful flesh tells us that we are entitled to good things. Entitlement is a lie that we deserve blessings and good gifts. When our thanks and enjoyment of what God gives us turns into harsh demands we go from humble gratitude to spoiled Brat." Read More

4. Am I ready to be a Father?

Some of the most popular posts are the most personal.  This one is a personal reflection when I found out I was going to be a father. It is hard to believe that my sweet little baby boy could be born anytime now!  Couldn't be more excited and honored.  Here is an excerpt:

"The thought of being responsible for another person is intimidating.  I hope to be the perfect Dad, but I know my sinful flesh will keep that from happening.  I will fail.  I will sin.  I will fall short from perfect fatherhood.  As a result, my goal is not to be a perfect Father, but a radically Gospel-centered dad.  A dad who constantly confesses his own failure.  A dad who repents daily and finds his restoration at the cross. A dad drenched in the grace of God." Read More

5. Why Does God Allow Hardship in my Life?

This age old question seemed to connect with a lot of people.  Here is an excerpt: 

"Life is hard.  You know it, and I know it.  It seems like everything will be going so smoothly, and then you get blindsided by an unexpected emergency.  Often it feels like life is just a series of obstacles and problems that we must endure.  Many people in the midst of difficulty, ask the common question, “Why does God allow this to happen to me?”  Plagues of doubt haunt many Christians because of this question." Read More