Top 13 of 2013

In case you missed them last week, I shared my top 13 of 2013 lists:

The Top Blog Posts of 2013

This has been a week of sharing my “Best of” lists.

It started with the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church, then my almost best books & almost best albums of the year. Then I shared my favorite books and favorite albums of 2013. Today is the last list: the top blog posts of the year. To make this list, it had to be a blog post published in 2013, of which there were thousands to choose from. One of the things I love about this list is how many blog posts Katie wrote (which is a new addition to my blog this year).

Here they are:

13. I Can’t Compete With Your Perfectly Coiffed Hair & other Perfections

12. What Now for our Family (And How You can Be a Part of our Lives Now)

11. Adoption Trip Update #3

10. What do Stay-at-Home Mom’s Do All Day?

9. The Most Important Minutes to a Guest on a Sunday Morning

8. The Five Stages of Discipleship

7. My Arms are Too Short

6. The Power of Habit

5. Bring our Child Home from Ethiopia & Serve a Widow

4. Meeting our Son who we Didn’t Know Much About…

3. What our Family Does on Halloween

2. 21 Skills of Great Preachers

And the most read blog post of 2013 was:

1. Finding an Accountability Partner as a Pastor

The Best Albums of 2013

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It’s that time of year again, the time to share my “best of” lists of the year.

It started with the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church, then my almost best books & almost best albums of the year. Then I shared my favorite books of 2013. Today is the last list: my favorite albums of 2013.

Enjoy.

13. The Civil Wars The Civil Wars

This band is just incredible. It’s too bad they can’t stand each other. Still an incredible album.

12. Sleeping at Last Atlas: DarknessAtlas: LightAtlas: Space 1

3 incredible EP’s from this Ryan O’Neal. So good.

11. The Head and the Heart Let’s Be Still

This album took some time to grow on me, but now I love it. Definitely a good step from their last album.

10. The Lonely Wild The Sun as It Comes

I could’ve paid $8 to see this band in Tucson over the summer, but didn’t. Still kicking myself for that because of how great this album is. So much heart in it.

9. Kodaline In A Perfect World

Just discovered this band. Wow.

8. Andrew Belle Black Bear

I’ve been a fan of Andrew Belle for a few years. This is his best and most ambitious album yet.

7. Hey Marseilles Lines We Trace

According to the Seattle Times, “Hey Marseilles is a contender for a local rock band to break out in a significant way in 2013.” This album is that good.

6. Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City

This album is higher on a lot of other year end lists. I think because of my high expectations, it hurt this album. Still good, but not as good as I hoped it would be.

5. Gregory Alan Isakov | The Weatherman

Wow.

4. Sigur Ros Kveikur

Katie and I saw Sigur Ros in April. If you can ever get to their show, you need to. Wow. This album is off the charts.

3. Marble Sounds Dear Me, Look Up

This is such a good album. It would be #1 if not for how good the next two are.

2. The National Trouble Will Find Me

Not quite as good as High Violet, but such a good album. In fact, until I heard the next album, this one was #1.

1. Bastille Bad Blood

I can’t believe this is the debut album for this band. So, so, so good.

How’s my list? What albums did I miss? What albums did I rate too high?

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The Best Books I Read in 2013

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It’s that time of year again, time to share my top lists of the year. Monday, I shared the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church. Tuesday I shared the books that almost made my “best of the year” list. And yesterday I shared the albums that almost made my “best of the year” list.

To see my list of favorite books from past year, simply click on the numbers: 200920102011 and 2012.

To make this list, it does not have to be published in 2013, I only needed to read it in 2013. As always, this list was hard to narrow down, but here are the top 13 books of 2013. Buckle up book worms:

13. How to Deliver a TED Talk | Jeremy Donavan

If you speak for a living or are a pastor, this is a must read book. Donavan takes the best and worst of TED Talks and breaks them down into do’s and don’ts for speakers. You can read my review here.

12. Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail | Larry Osborne

I love Larry Osborne’s stuff. It is so simple and straightforward. In this book, he looks at why some churches and organizations works and others don’t. His chapter on mission statements is worth the price of this book. You can read my review here.

11. Eat Move Sleep: Why Small Choices Make a Big Difference | Tom Rath

Health books are everywhere. Good health books are hard to find. This is one of the great ones. Two things stood out in this book: One, every choice we make matters. They all impact every part of our life. Two, Tom Rath looks at how to eat, move and sleep so that those choices make the most positive impact in our lives. You can read my review here.

10. Sex & Money: Pleasures that Leave You Empty and Grace that Satisfies | Paul David Tripp

There are some authors you should read everything they write. Tim Keller is one of them and Paul David Tripp is another one. No matter the book, you should read their stuff. Tripp takes the two biggest temptations and sins in our culture and shows how they leave us empty. Definitely a convicting book. You can read my review here.

9. Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge | Henry Cloud

The primary message of this book for leaders is you get what you create and what you allow. You can read my review here.

8. Chasing Francis | Ian Cron 

I read this book one Saturday night, one of those hard, dark Saturday nights many pastors have. I could not put this book down as it resonated with me on so many deep levels. So, when you have that dark night, this is a book to read. Here’s my review of it.

7. The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the work of Christ in Your Life & Ministry | Jared Wilson

This book is very similar to Paul David Tripp’s book Dangerous CallingA challenge to pastors to apply the gospel they preach to their own lives and hearts. A great book for doing the deep dive for a pastor and confronting their idols. It also helps that Wilson is hilarious in this book. You can read my review here.

6. Discipleshift: Five Steps that Help Your Church to Make Disciples who Make Disciples | Jim Putnam, Bobby Harrington, & Robert Coleman

The effects of this book will be felt at Revolution for years to come. As we’ve moved more and more towards a missional community model, this book has helped us hone our system of making disciples. This graph has been huge for us. You can read my review here.

5. Give them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus | Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson 

If you are a parent or will be a parent, this is the one parenting book you have to read. It shows you how to parent to your child’s heart, which is the only way to change a child and see them become who God created them to become. You can read my review here.

4. Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence | Crawford Loritts

What set this book apart was that it had very little “here’s what a leader does” advice. This book is all about what influences and shapes a leader. Ultimately, what shapes a leader will eventually come out in their actions. You can read my review here.

3. A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World | Paul Miller

This is the book on prayer.  So good. I love the idea of prayer cards and have since created them on Evernote to use. You can read my review here.

2. In Search of Deep Faith: A Pilgrimage into the Beauty, Goodness, and Heart of Christianity | Jim Belcher

This book almost made the jump to #1, it was close. This book is part parenting book, part history, part travel, and faith. It shows the roots of Christianity and how to bring those into your family. One thing Katie and I want is for our kids to know the history of Christianity and that it is not a faith that just appeared in the last 100 years. You can read my review here.

1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action | Simon Sinek

I love leadership books, so it makes sense that one of them is #1. A leadership book was #1 last year too. This book was insanely good. If you are a leader, this is the one book you have to read in 2014. So good. You can read my review here.

Tomorrow you’ll get my last list of the week: the top 13 albums of the year.

The Almost Best Albums of 2013

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In case you are new to my blog, I love music. My life is rarely silent, whether at home, working on a sermon, in the car, or working out. Music is on. Our family loves music because of this.

So, every year I like to look through my music library and share the albums that have been getting the most play in my life. And as it is the end of the year, it is year end list time. If you’re curious which albums I liked last year you can look at the honorable mention list and the top albums of the year.

On Monday I shared the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church. Yesterday, I shared the almost best books of 2013. Tomorrow I’ll share my favorite 13 books of the year and Friday I’ll share my top 13 albums of the year.

But today. We’re listing the albums that were good, but not good enough to be in the top 13 list of the year. Here they are in no particular order:

Youth Lagoon | Wondrous Bughouse

A great follow up to The Year of Hibernation. A really good, introspective album.

She & Him | Volume 3

“She” is so talented. End of story. All of their albums are worth owning, and this one is no different.

Denison Witmer | Denison Witmer

I went to high school with Denison and have loved his music ever since then. This album is easily his best. I wanted to put this in the top 13 for sentimental reasons, but couldn’t.

Matt Redman | Your Grace Finds Me (Live)

Normally Matt Redman songs are only good when other people sing them, not this album. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe since he’s hanging around Chris Tomlin more he’s gotten better. Either way, this worship album is incredible.

Local Natives | Hummingbird

Hard to believe this is only their second album, but it is good.

Ra Ra Riot | Beta Love

Best way to sum this album up: fun. Good, upbeat fun.

Pickering Pick | Tropic

Make a good cup of coffee on a cold day, grab a blanket, a book and this album. You’ll thank me.

Olafur Arnalds | For Now I Am Winter

His albums are perfect background music to working, reading or hanging with friends. So good.

City and Colour | The Hurry And The Harm

As one review said, “If you’re looking for heartbreak, purpose, and tears, then step on board City & Colour’s The Hurry and the Harm.”

Pacific Air | Stop Talking

A great dreamy pop album.

Washed Out | Paracosm

I never get tired of this band. Perfect for blasting in the car when you just want to rock out.

The Avett Brothers | Magpie And The Dandelion 

Every year The Avett Brothers release an album, they make this list. They are that good.

Courrier | Cathedrals of Color

Great indie pop record. You will not be disappointed with this one.

Hillsong United | Zion

The second best worship album of the year. Matt Redman was third, this one is second.

The Digital Age | Evening:Morning

This is the best worship album of the year.

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Almost the Best Books of 2013

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It’s that time of year again, time to share my top lists of the year. Yesterday, I shared the top sermon downloads from Revolution Church.

Tomorrow I’ll begin sharing my favorite albums of the year. First, the honorable mentions, then on Friday you’ll get my top 13 albums of the year.

Today’s list are the books that almost made my favorite books of 2013. To see my list of favorite books from past year, simply click on the numbers: 200920102011 and 2012.

I’ll share my favorite books of 2013 on Thursday. To make this list, it does not have to be published in 2013, I only needed to read it in 2013. As always, this list was hard to narrow down, but here are the honorable mentions for the top 13 books of 2013:

The Conviction to Lead | Al Mohler

Mohler said, “The problem is a lack of attention to what leaders believe and why this is central. If our leaders are not passionately driven by the right beliefs, we are headed for disaster. At the same time, if believers cannot lead, we are headed nowhere.” You can read my review here.

Contagious: Why Things Catch On | Jonah Berger

While this book is mostly a business marketing book, the implications for pastors when it comes to preaching and communication are enormous. When you preach, you want your topic and ideas to spread, to “catch on.” That’s the goal of this book. You can read my review here.

The Power of Habit: Why we do What we do in Life and Business | Charles Duhigg

He talks about the habit loop, which is when there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future: Over time, this loop—cue, routine, reward; cue, routine, reward—becomes more and more automatic. You can read my review here.

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success | Adam Grant

Give and Take looks at who are the most successful people in the world: givers, takers or matchers. What he found from all walks of life, those that are givers are more successful than takers or simply matchers. This is counter-intuitive and what makes the book so good. You can read my review here.

Stay tuned for more “best of” lists tomorrow.

Top 13 Sermons from Revolution Church in 2013

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It’s that time of year again, time to share my top lists of the year. Below are the top 13 sermons downloaded from Revolution Church in 2013:

13. What Prayer Changes (John 17:6-26)

Big Idea: Prayer always changes someone and always does something.

12. For God So Loved You (John 3:16-21)

Big Idea:  God loves us before we sin, not in spite of our sin.

11. Designed for a Purpose (John 3:22-36)

Big Idea:  Everything is designed to point to Jesus.

10. Living with the End in Mind (Ecclesiastes 7)

Big Idea: Wise people live with the end in mind, not by the seat of their pants.

9. Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering? (John 11:1-57)

Big Idea: God breaks us to build us.

8. How to be a Man (John 5:18-47)

Big Idea:  Men who accomplish anything worthwhile are focused on the right things.

7. The Life God Created You For (Ecclesiastes 12:9-14)

Big Idea: Following Jesus means making Him first and living different from others.

6. Jesus and Miracles (John 2:1-11)

Big Idea:  Jesus transforms our shame and guilt into joy.

5. Seeing Clearly (John 9:1-41)

Big Idea: Jesus allows things into our lives so we see our need for him, so He can heal us and glorify God.

4. Seeing Jesus (John 1:6-18)

Big Idea:  Jesus came to show us grace.

3. Come Home (John 14:1-6)

Big Idea: Coming home means trusting Jesus as the way to life.

2. Finding Meaning and Purpose (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11)

Big Idea: The search for meaning without God leaves us longing for more.

1. Jesus Loves Whores and Hypocrites (John 4:1-45)

Big Idea:  The labels people put on you could cause you to miss God’s plan for you.

I’m really excited for what 2014 holds for Revolution Church and what we’ll cover. For the first time, we will do a series geared completely towards women called Beautiful and one geared completely towards men called Fight. We are going to cover 1 Corinthians, do a relationship series called The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating, a series on the afterlife and to kick off the new year, we are doing a series called Breathing Room

Your Input Please | Best Albums of 2013

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It’s almost the end of the year. If you are new to my blogyou may not know that at the end of the year I share my favorite albums and books of the year. You can see pasts lists here.

Before giving you my list of favorite albums of 2013, I’d love to hear what were your favorite albums of the year. Unlike the book list, to make my favorite albums of the year list, it must be an album released in that year (ie. 2013).

So, in the comment section, fire away and share with us your favorite albums of the past year. I’ll share my list next week.

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Your Input Please | Best Books of 2013

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It’s almost the end of the year. If you are new to my blogyou may not know that at the end of the year I share my favorite albums and books of the year. You can see pasts lists here.

Before giving you my list of favorite books of 2013, I’d love to hear what books you read this past year that were life changing, must read books.

The books I read are usually ones that will benefit me as a leader, for sermon prep, in my marriage or family, or books I’m asked to review by authors or publishers. I’m always on the lookout for a life-changing book.

For my favorite book list, it doesn’t have to be a book that was published in 2013, just a book you read in 2013.

So, in the comment section, fire away and share with us your favorite books of the past year. I’ll share my list next week.

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Top 12 Lists of 2012

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In case you missed them last week, here are my top 12 lists of albums, books and blog posts for 2012:

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