Having a blog is kind of like thinking out loud for me. I get to process unfinished thoughts, hunches, and bits of intuition in a public forum that allows for some communal refinement and discussion. So thank you to those of you who comment! It’s quite helpful for me and I find the whole process to be loads of fun.
So as I look back on the year that was 2011, here are some of my favorite posts from this blog. I’ve striven mightily to whittle it down to the “Top Ten,” if you will. Here they are, in chronological order.
Forgiveness Isn’t the Whole Gospel
This post was the start of something that became a bit of a theme in 2011 for me. I am convinced that unless we come to an understanding of the gospel that transcends mere forgiveness (but includes it, too – don’t worry, heresy-hunters!), our efforts in evangelism and discipleship will continue to fall flat.
Counting the Cost of Discipleship
I’ve been learning to help people do a cost-t0-benefit study on discipleship, making sure we add up the costs of non-discipleship as well as the costs of discipleship. And while I believe it really is the best deal you’ll ever get as a human being, there are definitely “requirements” that Jesus seems to lay out. This post is about that. Also see What Good Thing Must I Do?
Do We Actually Trust the Holy Spirit?
Perhaps it’s my charismatic roots coming through here, but it seemed like this year I returned to the absolute futility of all ministry efforts unless we engage intentionally in learning to operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. Not just giving him lip-service, but really learning to cooperate with his activity.
The Gospel, Evangelism and Discipleship
A few succinct answers to the questions, “What is the Gospel?” “What is evangelism?” and “What is discipleship?” and “How do they all interrelate?” This is a really straightforward post but was profoundly helpful for me to simply articulate some of this stuff in simple language.
Why We Don’t Make Disciples
This was a bit of a response to a blog post from Mike Breen, where I started to reall come to grips with the fact that, for most Christians, discipleship to Jesus doesn’t actually make any sense because of their inherited (truncated) assumptions about salvation. Again, whatever we think the gospel is seems to affect everything else.
No Mission Without the Gospel of the Kingdom
Following on from that thought, then, I started playing around with a little aphorism that I noticed had been played out in my own leadership: No mission without formation, no formation without discipleship, no discipleship without the gospel of the kingdom. Again, it’s about getting the whole gospel.
A Word for Church Planters from Haggai
This is one of my favorites simply because I felt like God encouraged me me one morning as I was reading Haggai. I just wrote it out because I thought it might also encourage other church planters.
What Powers Mission?
Jesus does! Another post on the absolute necessity of learning to abide in Christ so he can do his work through us. With a quote from Andrew Murray, who rocks.
The Key to Recognizing the Person of Peace
This post emerged from some of my personal wrestling with a general lack of evangelism in my life. I continue to wrestle with these things, but this post is all about dying to our desire to maintain our composure and respectability before others.
Why We Celebrate the Christian Calendar
This one got a lot more attention than I anticipated. It was just a few paragraphs I tossed up hurriedly at the beginning of Advent about why we keep coming back to the Christian calendar (hint: because it’s organized around the gospel!)
Honorable mention goes to some of the “pastoral” posts I like to put up occasionally, like Worries, Wealth, and Wants, Always Enough, and Sifted Like Wheat. These kinds of posts usually emerge from something I am preaching on or my personal reflections and interactions with Scripture. As such they are also my “favorites.”
Again, thanks for reading, everyone! It’s such a privilege to have you as conversation partners. Here’s to a fruitful and beautiful 2012!