Top Posts of 2017

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What a year 2017 has been. I’m so grateful to everyone who has stopped by to check out the blog. I’ve been particularly encouraged to have journeyed with some all year as we’ve been following Jesus together. But if you stumbled on the blog recently I hope you’ve found a place where you are welcomed to encounter Jesus anew.

With 2017 just gone, I thought it would be helpful to review the most viewed posts over the year. I sorted the top posts of 2017 into three categories:

  • Posts I wrote – There were some surprises here.
  • Posts with other contributors – These were mainly Single Question Interviews, but there was also an excerpt from Jeff Vanderstelt’s Gospel Fluency.
  • Reviews.

I’m sure you’ll find something that tickles your interest. Enjoy.

Top Posts of 2017 I’ve Written:

1. Hospitality – The Heart of the Christmas Story

Hopitality the Heart of the Christmas Story Top Posts 2017Two Advent post feature in the top posts of 2017. In this post, I look at how Mary and Joseph were rejected in Bethlehem even though 1st Century Middle Eastern culture highly values hospitality. In what ways can we use the art of hospitality to welcome Jesus during the Christmas season?

2. Idolatry and Why I Stopped Drinking

IdolatryI was surprised to see this post among the top posts of 2017. I wrote this post in 2016 about the tension I experience between trusting things instead of relying on God. It is one of the most read posts even though I didn’t share it on social media in 2017.

3. Missional Prayer

Agent of Grace missional prayerMissional living has been one of the big themes on the blog in 2017. I love the idea that being on God’s mission is to be an agent of his grace. This language captures me, but it doesn’t tell me how to live missionally. In this post, I look at how followers of Jesus can use prayer as a way to be a missional presence in their community.

4. My Pa – An ANZAC Hero

People define heroes differently. ANZAC day is a day to remember those who served in the defence force in Australia. Although my Grandfather never saw combat, I regard him an ANZAC hero because of his character. I’m really happy this post is among the top posts of 2017 because it is my tribute to him.

5. Incarnational Ministry – Being ‘Little Jesuses’ Wherever You Are

Incarnationational ministry is all about immersing yourself among a group of people, acting as Jesus would in order to embed the gospel. This is a beautiful thing – a powerful thing. Seeing mission and ministry in these terms sets followers of Jesus free to serve him in their everyday life.

6. 5 Things the Church Needs to Know About Depression

Depression is something the church doesn’t talk about enough. This surprises me. Followers of Jesus experience times of depression. I know this from personal experience. In this post, I suggest 5 vital things the church needs to be aware of when it comes to understanding depression.

7. Jonathan Martin on Compassion

In How to Survive A Shipwreck, Jonathan Martin uses the example of Job to demonstrate compassion. Job is a fascinating character and his friends were a devastating factor in his suffering. This post shows why compassion is such an important character trait what it means to follow Jesus.

8. Christmas Includes the Losers

The second Advent post I wrote featuring in the top posts of 2017 looks at the role of the shepherds in the Christmas story. In particular, this post looks at the status of shepherds in the 1st Century context and the impact of the angel’s message. What are the implications for people today?

9. What if Mission is More than Evangelism? – A Missional Story

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘mission’? What about God’s mission? Most often I think of evangelism. What if it doesn’t have to be this way? What if mission is more than evangelism? I’m not undervaluing evangelism but what if was part of a bigger picture? – Jesus establishing his everlasting kingdom.

10. Why “Come, Lord Jesus” Needs to be Cried Today

"Come, Lord Jesus"Sometimes words echo throughout history. Followers of Jesus have repeatedly cried out “Come, Lord Jesus.” It has been a consistent refrain. But it’s not one I hear often as I survey Australian Christianity today. However, this short phrase is one of the most significant things we can ever say.

Top Posts of 2017 Others Have Contributed To:

I believe we learn best in community. While I love writing, I also want to hear from others. I’ve tried to create a space where other voices are heard on the blog this year. One of my favourites ways has been the Single Question Interviews, where I ask experienced practitioners a single question to hear a variety of thoughts. But there has also been book excerpts, and occasionally the thoughts of readers and comments from Facebook. Here are the posts that have been viewed the most:

1. Top Advice from Missional Leaders on Disciplemaking Part 2

I asked Alan Hirsch, Gina Mueller, JR Rozko, Graham Hill and Rico Tice for the advice they believed was most important in helping followers of Jesus learn how to make disciples. Find out what they said.

2. Why You can have Confidence in Jesus’ Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most important aspects of Christian belief. In this post, I asked leading experts Gary Habermas, Mike Licona, Sean McDowell, Greg Koukl, Tim Kimberley and Paul Copan why they are confident the resurrection was an historical event.

3. Top Advice from Missional Leaders on Disciplemaking Part 1

Jesus’ instruction to make disciples of among all people wasn’t a suggestion. But how do you go about making disciples? Tim Chester, Jeff Vanderstelt, Carolyn Curtis James, Paul Tripp, Karina Kreminski and Caesar Kalinowski offer their best piece of advice.

4. What is a Missional Life? Part 2

Missional is a buzz word in Christian circles. But what does it mean to live a missional life? Alan Hirsch, Felicity Dale, Caesar Kalinowski and Andrew Turner offer their thoughts on what it means to be on God’s mission.

5. What is the Biggest Barrier Followers of Jesus Face in having an Everyday Faith?

Following Jesus isn’t a bunch of roses. Jesus himself said it would be difficult. What are some of the challenges we all face as we follow Jesus? John Stackhouse, Michael Bird, Michael Patton, Mark Meynell and Karl Faase explain the challenges Christians have as they follow Jesus every day.

6. How to See Where Your Story and God’s Story Entwine

StoryThere are 2 stories going on at the moment – your story, and God’s story. God’s story is a grand epic. It’s been going for a long time. And it’s a good story. It’s moving toward redemption. Even though your story is fairly short, God invites you to join his story. In this post, NT Wright, Mary DeMuth, Sharon Garlough Brown, Karl Faase and Mark Meynell share how they’ve helped people see how these 2 stories have become entwined.

7. What is a Missional Life? Part 1

Missional LifeIs the Christian life just about going to church on Sunday? Is being missional inviting people to church? Or does Jesus want to inhabit your whole life in ways that engage those in your neighbourhood bringing beauty, peace, healing and forgiveness? JR Woodward, JR Rozko, Dhati Lewis, Karen Wilk and Rhys Bezzant give their thoughts.

8. Gospel Metaphors

Jeff Vanderstelt’s book Gospel Fluency is one of the best books on everyday mission I read in 2017. In this excerpt, Jeff demonstrates what it means to live in such a way that shows others what Jesus is like.

9. Helpful Advice on Prayer Part 1

Prayer is one of the things we do as Jesus’ followers. But it’s not always easy. Sometimes prayer can be hard work. In this post, Mary DeMuth, Nathan Foster, Mark Meynell, Shelly Miller, Rachel Jones and Rob Day offer you encouragement.

10. Helpful Advice on Prayer Part 2

I struggle praying as regularly as I want to. The second part of this Single Question Interview features Ruth Haley Barton, Sheridan Voysey, Darryl Dash, Vanessa Hall and Keith Ward continuing to offer encouragement and advice from their experience of prayer, and ways that you could develop a habit of prayer.

Top Posts of 2017 – Reviews:

1. Jesus the Game Changer

Jesus the Game Changer is the latest video release from Olive Tree Media. In short, the documentary series is a winner. It features 10 episodes, each 28 minutes long, which explore the person of Jesus, and the impact his teaching and followers had on society.

2. Present Over Perfect

Top posts of 2017Present Over Prefect by Shauna Niequist could be described as a memoir, but in truth, the book is so much more. Throughout its pages Niequist recounts story upon story to uncover what lies at the heart of her journey – there must be something more in life than endless striving, travel, and speaking opportunities.

3. The Seven Laws of Love

Top Post of 2017The Seven Laws of Love by Dave Willis seeks to offer practical ways that followers of Jesus can understand and develop stronger relationships.  The book is laid out in 2 parts – the first outlining the ‘laws of love’; and second demonstrating how this looks in practice.

4. How to Survive a Shipwreck

Top Posts 0f 2017The crux of How to Survive a Shipwreck is Martin’s personal journey from Pentecostal pastor to hitting life’s rock bottom. He finds that God is present in the midst of chaos. But more so, it is here he rebuilds, restores and recreates.

5. Gospel Fluency

Top Posts of 2017Gospel Fluency is a must read book for followers of Jesus. It is full of practical ideas that will help you integrate your faith into the everyday stuff of life. The book will also help you see how the gospel relates to the way you see yourself and those around you.

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