Looking Forward | Looking Back (2020)

For my final post of the year on this final day of the year, I’ll begin by providing some of my plans for the upcoming year (although this year has shown us exactly how much the grandest devices of men are worth!) and then I will present a “round-up” of some of my favorite posts from this year. Thus, we will begin by looking forward and end by looking back.

In April of this year, I began to post five days of the week, which has been a much-needed challenge to my consistency! However, with our second child arriving into the world in April and with a few more intensive studies that I hope to dive into, I will be returning to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule for at least the beginning of 2021.

As for content in the coming year, this Sunday I am beginning to preach through the book of Daniel, which should prove to be a challenging but deeply rewarding exposition. As for Wednesday’s posts, my hope is to read through both John Owen’s The Mortification of Sin and John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress with other midweek teachings (similar to the Attributes of God study) between the two. Since we just finished Heaven Taken by Storm, we will kick the year off with one such study, titled An Appearance of Godliness: Dissecting the Secular Creed (look for the introduction soon). Fridays will continue to be meditations, particularly my weekly verse-by-verse walk through Psalm 119. Articles, quotations, and other such posts will be made irregularly on weekends or on Wednesdays between series.

But again, if we do not know what a day may bring, how little do we know of a year! All of our plans must be held with open hands, trusting the good but mysterious providence of our sovereign God.

Having looked forward, here is my round-up of my favorite studies and posts from the past year with a brief reflection of why.

Favorite Articles

  1. What Cancer & My Father’s Death Taught Me
    • This article, written by my wife instead of me, was hands-down my favorite from 2020. Having walked with her through the death of my father-in-law, I believe it to be a helpful reflection on processing the grief of cancer and ultimately death as a Christian rooted in the love of our heavenly Father.
  2. Safety Is a Secular, Not Christian, Virtue
    • COVID-19 has tossed so many things into chaos this year, and while this article was not written directly at how people have responded to the pandemic, the virus has certainly highlighted our secular society’s fixation upon safety as one of the highest virtues. As Christians, we must think differently.
  3. Trump, Biden, & the Killer of Hostility
    • I’m not sure if you noticed, but an election occurred this year… This article was my attempt to discuss, diagnosis, and prescribe the solution to the increasing divide in the United States that seems only to be deepening.
  4. The Secular Utopia Is Not Coming… But Jesus Is!
    • In many ways, this article began the theme of today’s secularism that the two articles above continued. Why are socialism and social justice becoming people’s highest hopes? Because our society largely no longer hopes for the return of our Lord and the eternal kingdom that He will bring.
  5. Kids Need Genealogies
    • As I continue trying to teach my daughter, the Spirit is ever faithful to teach me through her. Here is one such reflection.

Favorite Sermons

  1. The Cosmic Order of the Household | Ephesians 5:31-33
    • This sermon was easily my favorite one this year to study and prepare for because it is a microcosm of Ephesians as a whole: full of the grandest, cosmic-level truths and aimed at our ordinary everyday lives.
  2. This Ordinary, Cosmic War | Ephesians 4-6
    • In this interlude sermon over the second half of Ephesians, I also attempted to draw out how the gospel infuses our ordinary lives with vast cosmological significance.
  3. The Unsearchable Riches of Christ | Ephesians 3:7-13
    • This passage of Scripture amazed me with the simple phrase “this was according to the eternal purpose…” Before this sermon, I never truly processed the beauty that the gospel was God’s eternal plan to rescue us from our sin.
  4. Helmet of Salvation | Ephesians 6:17
    • As I wrote at the beginning of this sermon, uncertain passages often become some of my favorite ones to study because they bring my dependency upon the LORD into focus and force me to spend a large amount of time meditating over Scripture. The helmet of salvation was my favorite such passage from this year. The fact that its theme of hope fits well with our coming study of Daniel certainly helped as well.
  5. Consider Your Ways | Haggai 1:2-11
    • January and February of 2020 almost feel like a different era entirely. Nevertheless, I began this year by studying the book of Haggai, and while each of those six sermons were precious dives a neglected text of Scripture, this cornerstone passage of the book was still the most impactful to me.

Favorite Quotations

  1. The Strongest Spell | C. S. Lewis
    • What began as a simple quotation from Lewis’ book The Weight of Glory turned into a very small tracing of the theme of spells in the writings of Lewis.
  2. The Vocation of Parenting & the Local Church | Candice & Steve Watters
    • Sadly, too few Christians ponder the marvelous significance of raising our child in the discipline and instruction of the LORD. “Parenting isn’t just one of many roles in the life of the believer, but is a primary domain for the Christian life, for service, sanctification, evangelism, and discipleship.”
  3. Human Freedom & Divine Sovereignty | R. C. Sproul
    • If you have ever wrestled with understanding the relationship between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will, read this brief statement from Sproul. “God is free and man is free. But God is more free than man.”
  4. Scandalously Simple | Joe Barnard
    • I’ve probably referred to no quotation more than this great one this year! “Christian discipleship might be challenging, but it is not complicated.
  5. Demons & Music | Walter Chantry
    • This is a wonderful quote from a wonderful book. Here Chantry reflects upon David’s time as a youth playing music for King Saul

Favorite Meditations

  1. The End of All Things Is at Hand | 1 Peter 4:7
    • I wrote this meditation at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, but the message of 1 Peter 4:7 is true for all seasons.
  2. They Know Me Not | Jeremiah 4:22
    • This verse stood out to me largely because I was joyfully immersed within the attributes of God and it provides a poignant warning against being ignorant of Him Who Sits on the Throne.
  3. Unity, as Seen at Babel | Genesis 11:4
    • Unity has been much discussed this year, yet Babel reminds us that not all unity is good.
  4. You Have Only to Be Silent | Exodus 14:14
    • “All you and I contribute to our salvation is silence.”
  5. I Declare All the Rules of Your Mouth | Psalm 119:13
    • While this may seem to be a random selection, this verse deeply impacted me because it was the first of my meditations through Psalm 119 that truly struck me with its simple but profound beauty seen through much pondering.

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