My favorite articles of 2012

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Tis the season for bloggers to write their annual “best of” lists. Recently I shared my favorite reads of 2012; today I want to share a few of my favorite articles of the year. These don’t necessarily represent this blog’s most read articles (although some of them are). Instead, these represent some of the work I’m most happy with from this blog over the past year. I hope you’ll check them out:

Why I quit following (most) “celebrity” pastors on Twitter, and maybe you should too

…lately I’ve found myself continually disheartened by much of what I’m reading from a few “celebrity” pastors on Twitter, Facebook and their blogs, to say nothing of the fuss that ensues. And frankly, it’s all a little bit tiring. So, I did the most helpful thing I could: I stopped following them. Here’s why I did, and why you might want to consider doing the same.

Four functions of sound doctrine

Recently, I wrote that one of the key functions of doctrine is that it divides. Because Jesus himself is the most divisive person ever to live, all doctrine that aligns with him will necessarily cause division. But that’s not all that doctrine does.

Broken, yet intricately woven

My wife’s example here is a standout example of faithfully exploring the

I was diagnosed with epilepsy on Friday. My first thought was, “This is very inconvenient.” I asked the doctor how it happened, but there is no apparent cause. It just is.

In defense of neatniks

Now to be sure, there are some folks who are definitely a bit too… intense about their preciseness and forget that misspeaking is different than being a heretic. Likewise, one can be so focused on the trees that they miss the forest (which a frustration I’ve got with a book I’m reading with my men’s group right now). But I wonder if sometimes we label some folks theological neatniks as a cover for our own sloppiness? That rather than own up to a mistake or do the hard work of making sure that what we’re saying is actually right in the first place, we allow our pride to take over and brush it off by saying, “Stop being such a nitpick!”

Three lessons from shutting down our home business

Ten years ago, I purchased my first domain name and web hosting package. Emily and I were fresh out of school and ready to take on the world as graphic designers for hire. Earlier this year, we shuttered it for good.

Between running this blog, writing books, raising a family with three very young children, serving in our church, facilitating a small group, creating stock art, and—oh yeah!—my day job, it was pretty clear something had to give. And the thing that lost was the business. Here are three things we learned in the process.

Life after home ownership

This week Emily and I are celebrating the one year anniversary of officially no longer being home owners. (Emily celebrated by making brownies.) As long-time readers may recall, we spent eleven months between August 2010 and July 2011 deciding and preparing to sell our home, trying to sell it on our own, having two deals fall through and finally getting it sold when we went with an agent.

Now, a year later, are there any regrets?

Nope.

Three lies we tell ourselves about marriage: my spouse is the problem

I remember some of the first fights that Emily and I had as a married couple. Most were over pretty silly things… but not always. One evening, I came home after another frustrating and unfulfilling men’s ministry play date (there was no real “ministry” happening; it was just a bunch of dudes whose wives signed them up to get together). Emily could see that I was annoyed (I don’t like using my time in unproductive ways) and she wisely told me the truth:

“You need to quit.”

Rejoice! We serve a precise God

This is great news for us; because God is precise, we get to live in confident expectation that the promises He offers will come to pass. That when we place our trust in Christ and in His finished work on the cross, we will most assuredly stand with Him in glory at the end of the age.

Backpedaling and public Christianity

We need to take great care in not being too quick to give an off-the-cuff response to anything. As much as we are able, we need to think carefully about what we are going to say in any and every situation. I realize that mistakes happen; sometimes we let something slip against our better judgment, me especially. Only the Lord is fully aware of how much folly has come from my mouth. But when we see ongoing patterns of foolish talk coming from our mouths, should we not consider seeking assistance and accountability?

Disciples, deal with difficult texts

A number of years ago, I went on my first missions trip. At the time I was excited, but really wrestling with questions of what I was supposed to be doing with my life, frustrated and a little bitter when I saw others around me—some friends and some not-so-much—finding great success. Rather than rejoice at the good fortune of friends who the Lord had blessed, I found myself grumbling over the fact that others who I was working harder than those finding good fortune.

“Didn’t I deserve better?” I thought.”Why was I being treated so unfairly…”

“Where was God in all this?”

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