Here we are at the conclusion of another year. First, I want to say, “Thank you.” Your honesty, boldness, and transparency inspire me and challenge me to keep writing. I take every story seriously. I prayed over many of you and with a several of you. Regardless of your background or circumstances, I want you to know I am for you. More importantly, God is for you.
In 2015, this site received over 785,000 page views. Although pageviews are an important metric, the stories of freedom, encouragement, and strength are infinitely more valuable. Page views without changed lives equal a huge fail. My goal is to serve you. I pray my posts accomplished this. With that said, some posts resonated more than others. I want to introduce the top posts then provide a few insights afterward.
Here are the top 10 posts of 2015.
Vows are markers that guide your marriage. So, while I’m not against writing vows Casanova would applaud, I am against vows that are more romantic and emotional than practical and honest.
In a culture that idolizes romantic love, we don’t need any more Shakespearean vows. We need vows that will shape and impact marriages.
Here are 12 truthful marriage vows you won’t hear at a wedding.
Savior Jesus and American Jesus are more enemies than friends. More like Batman and Joker than Batman and Robin. Unless we take off our American sunglasses and allow the Savior Jesus to influence our American ideals, we risk spending our lives serving a God who isn’t real.
So, I want to highlight some differences between American Jesus and Savior Jesus. Here are 8 statements American Jesus might make but Savior Jesus never would.
Dear American Church,
Let me cut to the chase. I am tired of this club. I want out.
Here is the thing. I didn’t sign up to join a club. Maybe there was a misunderstanding. Maybe I contributed to the confusion. I am not sure how we arrived here, but things are going to be different. I am not renewing my membership this year.
I see no value in 50 Shades Of Grey. And I am certainly not against freedom of expression. But it’s the same song, different verse for Christians. We beat the world over the head with our verbal attacks, but we fail to provide any substance or foundation. We lash out at the evil world, but our refusal to explain why only leaves us looking like control freaks. Worst of all, we believe attacking a movie means we actually stand against sin.
Maybe the world bought some lies about 50 Shades, but we bought some as well. Please understand my aim here. I want the Spirit to awaken us to inconsistencies. I want us to deal with the substance behind the shadows. With that said, here are four lies Christians believe about 50 Shades of Grey.
I was in an engineering class the first time I watched the tragic explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Even though I wasn’t alive when it happened, I caught a glimpse of the horror thousands must have felt as the events unfolded.
After months of investigation, here’s what the Rogers Commission (the group commissioned to investigate the explosion) discovered: an o-ring seal in the right solid rocket booster failed at take-off. I won’t bore you with the details, but an o-ring is a small device relative to the size of a space shuttle. Very small.
I think there’s a lesson here for the church. What if the big sins, you know the ones you try hardest to avoid, aren’t the greatest threat to your joy and the church’s mission?
Many people are pessimistic about Millennials, but I believe the next generation is poised to transform the culture (and the world) for the good. For many churches and leaders, however, Millennials are (to borrow from Winston Churchill) “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
There are churches, however, that are thriving with Millennials, and if you did some investigation I believe you would find similar results, regardless of the church locale.
So, what differentiates a church culture that attracts Millennials from one that repels them? There are many factors, but I want to highlight ten really important ones. If your church wonders why reaching the next generation is difficult, the following points might shed some light on your struggle.
The Pharisees are mentioned in pulpits and classrooms all over the world. They are the source of jokes. The topic of sermons. Man, I wish I had a penny for every time a Christian teacher referenced the Pharisees. I wouldn’t be here. Maybe in the Caribbean somewhere. But not here. #truth.
Pharisees still exist today. And nobody wants to be a modern-day Pharisee. It just happens. Here are 12 signs you are a modern-day Pharisees.
Ever wish you had the answers to a test before you walked into the classroom? Maybe some of you did have the answers, but you better keep that to yourself. I took some really hard tests during my time in college.
But it never failed. I would follow the guideline. I would study the handout. But on the day of the exam, the professor would put the exam on my desk…and there it was. A foreign formula or equation. It wasn’t in the notes. It didn’t show up on the study guide.
The same is true with the church and marriage. I am grateful for the foundation the church gave me in regards to marriage. But there some things on the test I did not learn until marriage began.
Social media is a world without guidelines. And where guidelines are absent, chaos is inevitable.
It’s time to admit we need some boundaries when it comes to social media. Look, I get it. The idea of a boundary-less world is enticing. We all want to be free. But the irony is freedom never rests outside of boundaries. A boundary-less world only leads to chaos.
I want to propose some guidelines.
I hate mornings…I mean, if the morning was a person and could breathe, I would meet it in a dark alley and punch it in the teeth…twice. I always preferred to stay up late at night because that was when I did my “best work” (whatever that means). I always slept late in the mornings and woke up grumpy.
You might be tempted to stop reading, but I implore you to hear me out. I always believed staying up late at night and getting up early in the morning did not matter when it comes to productivity and effectiveness…then I read the book and actually started getting up early. It has changed my life.
Here are a few insights (and some exciting news for 2016).
1.) Archived posts aren’t dead posts.
I wrote several of this year’s top posts in 2014. If you’re a blogger, don’t underestimate the power of archived posts. Mix them in with newer posts. There’s benefit in writing timely posts with a timeless perspective. God is eternal, timeless. But, as bloggers and followers of Jesus, we must address timely issues and current affairs. We must be careful not to allow timely cultural issues to shape a timeless God. God never changes. Culture constantly shifts. Stand firm on the Constant.
2.) Relationships are important.
By comparison, I write fewer posts about relationships than other topics like Christian Living and Church. Looking at page views (and this list), it’s clear relationships matter. As they should. God is relational. He desires a relationship with us, and meaningful relationships for us. This year, I will devote more posts to relationships, especially marriage.
3.) You’re not okay with status quo Christianity.
Most of the top posts in 2015 were the most challenging and direct I wrote. When I combine this list with the comments and e-mails, one thing is clear: you aren’t content with status quo Christianity! Amen! If God is okay with status quo, he’s not a God worth serving. Keep challenging your faith. Stay open to change. Embrace the tension!
Now the exciting news!!
With every new year, I challenge myself to wade in deeper waters of faith. I want this for you as well. This is hard! But we can’t settle or drift. God’s plans are too large.
Here’s the exciting news!! In 2016, I will write my first book.
I’ve prayed about this for months. Now, it’s time to make it happen! Please pray with me through this process. I love writing, but I care nothing about writing for my own satisfaction. I’m writing now because God gave me a topic (I will reveal the topic in the coming months), and I’m convinced he’s preparing hearts to receive the words.
I would love to hear from you. What big idea is God stirring in your heart? How will you venture into deeper waters of faith this year? Leave a comment below.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!