2018 “Thank You” List

Here are 18 people, books, media, and institutions I’m grateful for from 2018:

  1. The women who persistently, bravely, and selflessly forced the church to confront issues of abuse, especially Rachael Denhollander, Nancy Beach, Beth Moore, and Nancy Ortberg.
  2. Jemar Tisby – Grateful for his wisdom around issues of race and the church.
  3. Russell Moore – There’s no one I’d rather see representing evangelicals on the news than Dr. Moore.
  4. I don’t know that I’d have the courage to talk publicly about my experiences of attraction, sexuality, and Christian faith, even as a person with attractions that are very traditional. I’m grateful for the courage of Sam Allberry, Wesley Hill, Jackie Hill Perry, Chris Yuan, and Rosaria Butterfield for being willing to talk about themselves in such a vulnerable and powerful way.
  5. Dave Guiles and Encompass – As a pastor of a Charis Fellowship church, I’m grateful that our denomination’s mission organization is led by a man of such character, insight and wisdom as Dave.
  6. Fleming Rutledge – Her book, The Crucifixion, is the rare book worth 500+ pages. Her twitter account is shorter, but also helpful.
  7. Tim Keller – Rarely do I give a sermon that isn’t influenced by Keller. If you think I quote him in my sermons a lot, just think of all the times I hold back.
  8. Persecuted church leaders – The courage of Christians around the world continues to amaze me. Thank you, God, for people like Andrew Brunson (an American pastor jailed by Turkey for political reprisal), Wang Yi (a Chinese pastor recently jailed by authorities), and Leah Sharibu (a Nigerian teenager held hostage by Boko Haram).
  9. Dennis Mukwege won the Nobel Prize this year for his work in the Congo with rape victims. He also won my quote of the year prize for this: “It is up to us, the heirs of Martin Luther, through God’s Word, to exorcise all the macho demons possessing the world so that women who are victims of male barbarity can experience the reign of God in their lives.”
  10. Biola University, especially Talbot School of Theology – There are many great seminaries throughout the country, but Talbot holds a special place in my heart. When looking at prospective candidates for staff roles here at Grace, there is no school I am more confident in the graduates of than Talbot.
  11. Christianity Today – If you’ve clicked through many of the links in this post, you’ve probably noticed many are from Christianity Today. Grateful for the quality of the writing, editing, and reporting.
  12. Dale Allison, The Luminous Dusk – This was my favorite book I read this year (originally published in 2003). The central premise is, “What do miss out on spiritually by being modern people? What is different about our world than the ancients?” He’s not an evangelical, but the book is relentlessly thought provoking.
  13. The Gospel Coalition, especially the writing and blogging of Brett McCracken, Justin Taylor, and Collin Hansen. If you’re looking for a church in a new area, their church directory is helpful, too.
  14. Pete Scazzero and the Emotional Healthy Discipleship podcast
  15. David Crowder – In my mind, I’m still a college student listening to some of his early David Crowder Band albums. But in body, he and I are both reaching middle age. Grateful for his creative music, joy, and faithfulness. His new album this year (“I Know a Ghost”) is unlike anything you’d normally hear on Christian radio (and that’s a good thing).
  16. Ellen Burany and CRM – Besides the birth of our second child, I’ll remember 2018 most for the sabbatical I was given by our church. Ellen was my coach throughout that process and helped me walk through that process with God. Grateful for her. If you’re considering a sabbatical and looking for coaching, call Ellen!
  17. Center for Individual and Family Therapy (CIFT) – The place I recommend most often for people looking for a therapist is CIFT.
  18. Grace Community Church of Seal Beach – Grateful for our church!

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