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?