It’s commonplace at the end of each year to see compilation programs across many television channels recapping the year that was. The beginning of a new year is also when the past year is reflected upon in many walks of life with a variety of awards shows. I’ve never gotten into the awards programs but I loved watching the best-of-the-year sports shows…especially the countdown versions in that week between Christmas and New Year’s Day when all regular programming was on a break.

Reflection is valuable. Sometimes it’s just plain fun, and other times it’s necessary. When we take even a moment to stop and assess where we’ve been it either gives us confidence to go forward or allows us to recalibrate what’s not quite right so we can take the next step.

Consider this the Pastors’ Blog version of a best-of-the-year countdown show (with the top ten blog posts ranked by the number of webpage views each have had in 2016). It’s been rewarding to contribute to the Pastors’ Blog on an occasional basis and to share a little of my life and what God is impressing upon my heart.

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, thank you! I trust a few of these posts may remind you of some challenges you’ve received. If you only occasionally stumble upon the Pastors’ Blog, maybe you’ll be encouraged by some things you’ve missed.

10: I Rocked My Son to Sleep Last Night by Dave Nicodemus (January 11, 2016)

I rocked my son to sleep. As we rocked, he stopped fighting. As we rocked, we smiled at each other. As we rocked, we looked into each other’s eyes…until his slowly closed. As we rocked, I prayed for him and I let my heart consider that these moments are quickly fading away.

9: Don’t Waste Your Rest by Danny Nathan (March 18, 2016)

God offers sobriety and wisdom in a drunk, lost world. Not because He’s anti-happiness and fun, but because He wants a deeper satisfaction for us that is more than cheap thrills and empty pleasure.

8: Of Bad Days and Stinky Toddlers by Danny Nathan (August 29, 2016)

A lot of the suffering we experience on bad days is caused by a “why me?” attitude. We hold an expectation that we should be having only good days, that we deserve something better, and maybe there’s something wrong with us because things stink.

7: Clarity Amidst the Chaos by Mike Yoder ­(March 9, 2016)

Unless you’ve been on spring break on Mars, you’re aware that we’re in the middle of an election season. It’s been full of trends and topics and uncomfortable transparency—to say nothing of twists and turns.

6: Welcome to the Family by Dustin Speaks (September 19, 2016)

The Gospel is an adoption story! We, who were destined for death and destruction as a result of our sin, have been purchased by Jesus blood and brought into the family of God to live eternally with Him.

5: My Heart is Calloused by Dave Nicodemus (August 22, 2016)

So often we want to look away and keep our guard up to stay safe inside the compound of our own dwelling places. But don’t look away. A life lived with a calloused heart is not a good life.

4: Born a Slave by Dustin Speaks (October 24, 2016)

I was a captive from birth. I was never free. I was consumed by the lusts of my flesh, driven to satisfy every craving. I was a slave.

3: What is Ash Wednesday? by Dan Green (February 8, 2016)

In Brazil, where I lived and worked for 15 years, it was common to see people put ashes on their forehead on Ash Wednesday — a day that is observed which coincides with the end of Carnival (Mardi Gras). For many, they sought forgiveness for the sins they committed during Carnival.

2: Vote Responsibly — Election Toolbox by Zac Hess (March 11, 2016)

Vote with a Christian worldview and with the sovereignty of God in view showing care and love for your neighbor. To do this, you must do your homework.

1: In ALL Circumstances by Dave Nicodemus (November 23, 2016)

A funny thing happens when you are feeling near death (whether my feelings were unfounded or not, I was scared): the things you take for granted are greatly appreciated.