At this time last year I had just finished up seminary work, closing the door on a educational journey I never dreamed possible in my 40s. One of the most immediate takeaways was the rigorous requirement of reading, studying—and then writing some 5, 10, 20 pages on any given subject I had been assigned over the semesters.
Yes, it’s tough enough to read (see How to Become a Better Reader), but the real investment is found in the purposeful practice of studying and writing. That is why I committed to writing a blog in 2016. My writing would be an obvious and essential outgrowth of that time and energy.
After all, I do a lot of reading and studying for personal growth and ministry. It made sense to me that if I didn’t want to lose this discipline, then I had better not stop doing it. Plus, I want to be a better writer. Dr. Albert Mohler in his book The Conviction to Lead proclaims:1
For Christian leaders, the commitment to words is a matter of discipleship and personal devotion, for our faith is communicated by words… learn to use words as arrows fired from a bow, carefully chosen and aimed in order to accomplish a purpose.
I’ve learned much in my first year of writing. One of the biggest lessons is that it seems the more I write—the more I can retain. Writing is a form of meditation, which means it is the perfect discipline for teachers and preachers. After reading and studying on a subject, it takes effort to then sit down and write on it. This investment of time is no longer optional for me, it is a necessary component of my personal ministry.
Before this year comes to a close, I would also like to take a moment here and thank each of you for taking the time to read and often respond to my blog posts—your notes were always encouraging to me. Again, thank you. Below are the five most-read posts of the year.
TOP 5 POSTS OF 2016
1. Anger is Learned – Some thoughts on why we express anger the way we do, based upon Dr. Powlison’s book Good & Angry.
2. Replacement Theology: Conclusion – My ninth and final post on the subject of replacement theology with much help from Dr. Vlach’s book Has the Church Replaced Israel? A Theological Evaluation.
3. Escape From Alcatraz – This past summer I read about Alcatraz Island. One of my favorite movies is the 1979 Clint Eastwood docudrama by the same name.
4. 3 Reasons Why Character Counts – From a great little book Mighty Men: The Starter’s Guide to Leading Your Family by John Crotts.
5. 7 Practices for Healthy Sermon Listening – Christopher Ash’s Listen Up! A Practical Guide to Listening to Sermons provides us with instruction on how to listen to good sermons, bad sermons, biblically inadequate sermons, and what makes for a heretical sermon.