Top 12 of 2012


I keep bumping into people who had a horrible year. They say things like, “2012 was my annus horribilis. I’ll be glad when it’s over.” I feel for such people because, for me, 2012 was a ripper of a year. I had a baby. Or rather, I wrote a book.

If you’re a writer you’ll understand me when I say that that book had to come out. It was burning within me and if I didn’t get it out, I would’ve burst.

But it’s out now, and I feel fine. Thanks for asking.

In these fading moments of 2012, I’d like to take a look back at some of the posts I wrote here on E2R and pick a few of my favorites. The posts below are not necessarily the most popular, the best or the prettiest. But for reasons I will explain, I liked them the most.

Paul’s top 12 of 2012

The other reason for the season: This was my Christmas post from last year and I like it a lot. It’s the best post I’ve written on the subject of donkeys and eagles, oxen and doves! To say Jesus is the reason for the season is only half the story. Why did Jesus come? The answer to that is the true reason for the season. It makes me blush to think that I am the pearl of great price in Jesus’ eyes. So are you.

Five ways Jesus revealed grace: This is definitely an area where I plan to dig deeper in the coming year. We say, “Jesus came full of grace and truth” and he certainly showed that when he died for our sins. But Jesus revealed grace many other ways as well.

Is Adam greater than Jesus? For about a month I was distracted by those who preach the historical reconciliation of humanity with God. I felt I needed to examine the scriptures and see if there was any merit to their claims. I found nothing but half-verses stitched together to create a picture far less grand than the one Paul gave us in Romans 5. I wrote a whole series and you’re interested, start with this post.

The top 12 verses on the new covenant: I love lists but had relatively few this year. This was my favorite.

What is holiness? (It’s better than you think!) Another word redeemed from the distorted dictionary of performance-based Christianity.

Is forgiveness something God does or gives? One of the most important scriptures in the new covenant is Luke 24:46-47. Back from the dead, the first thing Jesus says is this: forgiveness is a gift. When I saw this, I was floored. After the resurrection, Jesus changed his message. He no longer preached forgiveness as something to be earned because the old covenant had just ended. From now on, he said, forgiveness is a gift. And he should know – he paid for it with his blood.

The end of the slave trade: The world is run like a slave market – you sell your labor or skills for money. You no play, you no eat. Such thinking inevitably taints our view of the kingdom. You sometimes see it in the way the church honors those who perform well and crucifies those who don’t. It’s appalling and I hate it. It doesn’t have to be this way. Let me tell you about the gospel of acceptance.

What if I disappoint God? Don’t worry. You can’t.

Is Christ the end of the law for you? I’m a frustrated artist but occasionally I am able to convey a big thought in a simple picture. This was one of the rare occasions. (Don’t get your hopes up. It’s just a box. But what a box!)

The Cure (book review): I read a lot of good books this year, but The Cure was the most surprising, the most refreshing, and one of the most original. I highly recommend it.

An open-letter to hot-blooded young men: Boy, did this one start a fire, or rather a flood – of emails and private messages mostly from hot-blooded young men. If I thought writing one open letter for all of them would reduce my correspondence, I was wrong.

Where was God in the Connecticut school shooting? I didn’t want to write this post, I really didn’t. But someone asked me what I thought about the shooting and I often don’t know what I think until I see it written down. Even then I didn’t want to post what I had written because I don’t like to write in reaction to things. I’d rather live in reaction to the Holy Spirit. But then I thought, “This might help someone,” and evidently it did so, hey, as long as my Father comes out looking good I’m happy.

So those are my top posts of the year. Which one was your favorite?

10 Comments on Top 12 of 2012

  1. Thanks for all your posts. I have been greatly encouraged since discovering your site! What do you think of the message coming out of IHOP? They are holding their One Thing conference now with thousands attending. Mike Bickle is preaching on grace….you can view the messages or read his notes at their site. He spends a lot of time talking about the luke warm church.

  2. 2012 was and is a. Year of fulfillment for me. I’m thankful for each year and day. We all have many things to be thankful for. We really have everything we need to get through this day if you think about it. Have a very Blessed new year!

  3. Paul,
    I’ve re-read these posts and I can’t list a favorite because they are all so filled with grace it’s too tough a choice…Thanks for these posts which are making me see and appreciate the love that God has for this world…Many you be blessed with increased wisdom and insights as the New year kicks in…

  4. i think “the end of the slave trade” was one of my favorites also… mostly because i could have stamped the words “acceptance seeker” at the top of the resume of my old life! (thank you Jesus for making me accepted!) i loved the “up-front-ness” about this post, because acceptance seeking is one of those stealthy topics that slips way under the radar… in my personal experience, no one seems to want to look at it and call it what it is, because it is the subliminal driving force and purpose of existence for too many believers… and this post was also the one that prompted me to stop procrastinating about getting your book! 🙂

    maybe you might think this is funny, but one of my favorite things to do when i come to your site is to look at the number of page views – to see how the number has gone from 300,000-something when i first came here in may of this year… to 966,175 as i write this! God is doing some amazing things through your writing Paul! 🙂 i feel blessed just watching the numbers grow, knowing that the gospel of grace and truth is reaching so very many!

    God bless and happy new year!

  5. The flesh test helped me a lot.

  6. Of the top 12 posts of 2012, the one that caught my eye was the book review you did of “The Cure”. I read that book and thought it did a great job of differentiating between performance based Christianity and living by grace. I love that book!

    And I want to point out another book that just came out this year (2013). “Operation Screwtape” by Andrew Farley. He also wrote “The Naked Gospel” and “God without Religion”. In Operation Screwtape, Mr. Farley follows in the footsteps of C. S. Lewis and shares some war mission communications between two of Satan’s underlings on how to thwart, confound and defeat Christians in living and spreading the grace-filled gospel life.
    I could not put it down because it so very entertaining in the way it is told and the crystal clarity it communicates how we can get tripped up in living an unbalanced Christian life. Read the reviews on Amazon. So very highly recommended by me also.

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