2017 Year in Review

This year of 2017 is finally drawing to a close.  This has been another rough and tough year for me.  It has been that case the last several years.  I hope though that your year was good.  If it wasn’t, I hope that 2018 is better for you.  As is tradition for me, I like to look back and review the year.  Here is the year in review starting with the final book list of books I’ve read this year.

Final reading list for 2017:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

College Ministry 101: A Guide to Working with 18-25 Year Olds by Chuck Bomar

Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Unscripted: The Unpredictable Moments That Make Life Extraordinary by Ernie Johnson Jr.

Gospel Centered Discipleship by Jonathan K. Dodson

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Star Wars FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Trilogy That Changed The Movies by Mark Clark

Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the King of the Monsters by Brian Solomon

Anime: from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation by Susan J. Napier

What is the Mission of the Church?: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom and the Great Commission by Kevin DeYoung & Greg Gilbert

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Church by Dave Anderson & Tim Wilcox

You Can’t Make This Up: Miracles, Memories, and the Perfect Marriage of Sports and Television by Al Michaels


This is the 13th year of keeping track of books I’ve read. Here’s the number breakdown:

2005: 19

2006: 20

2007: 18

2008: 22

2009: 29

2010: 24

2011: 15

2012: 14

2013: 9

2014: 7

2015: 13

2016: 12

2017: 12

2016 Year in Review

Highlights of the year: The highlights were the following:  Board game nights with friends, Opportunities to preach, The joy of writing for this blog, Seeing the total eclipse and a baseball game afterwards

Five things that 2017 taught me:

1) It’s okay to let go of some things so you can better grab hold of what’s better

2) Being a jerk is never okay no matter the situation

3) It’s important to know what fights to pick and what hills are worth dying on

4) Hold onto hope with every part of your being, especially in the rough times

5) Show kindness to others, a little goes a long way

*Five personally significant events of 2017:  (Well this year it was three again)

1) I celebrated the 4 year anniversary of this blog

2) Had opportunity to preach several times

3) Got to spend quality time with friends

4) ——————————————–

5) ——————————————–

Ten things I want to do in 2018 (in no particular order):

1) Continue to grow in my walk with the Lord

2) Be faithful to the work God has called me to

3) Hopefully find and be in a relationship with a girl that is honoring God

4) Continue to pray for my friends around the world

5) Show grace and mercy to everyone around me

6) Find time for recreational reading

7) Travel to see friends

8) Be an encouragement to those around me

9) Learn as much as I can from the experiences I have

10) Smile every day

Five things I don’t want to do in 2017:

1) Grow weary in doing good

2) Not appreciate the blessings God has provided for me

3) Forget where God has brought me and where he’s taking me

4) Hurt people and lose friendships because of my actions

5) Grow angry and bitter at my circumstances

Five things I love beyond all reason currently:

1) God

2) My family and friends

3) Opportunities for the future

4) Reading

5) Writing

Five things I hate with good reason currently:

1) My sinful nature

2) Frustration about circumstances beyond my control

3) Being lonely

4) Being hurt

5) Bad attitudes

I hope that 2018 will be a better year than 2017.  That is my prayer for me and for you

Advertisements

Sunday Devotional: John 21:24-25

“This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which, if they were written one by one, I suppose not even the world itself could contain the book that would be written.” (John 21:24-25)

These are the last verses in the gospel of John.  Throughout the book, the apostle wrote of things that he had seen and experienced in following Jesus.  But as John mentioned here, there was so much more that happened that he wasn’t able to write down.  Stories and experiences that will hear in heaven I’m sure.

We are at the end of another year.  Things happened that a lot of people know.  But there are things that happened that few if any know about.  Good times and bad.  Happy times and sad ones.  But through it all God is still in control and God is still at work.

Today let us look back and reflect and prepare for the year ahead and what God has in store for next year.

My Favorite Films of 2017

I’m keeping up the yearly tradition of sharing my favorite films of the year and so here is my list of favorite films for 2017. They are in no particular order, just in the order that I can remember them from the beginning of the year until the end of the year:

Kong: Skull Island

This film both reintroduced King Kong back to the big screen but also set up future films involving Godzilla and that line of monsters.  There was a tremendous cast with Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly & John Goodman and a great version of Kong.  I have high hopes for this franchise after 2014 Godzilla and now this one.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2

The sequel that did not disappoint.  I blogged earlier this year about this film and how much I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It advanced the story while at the same time developing the characters without losing the charm that made it special.  Another great Marvel film.

Wonder Woman

Probably the first really good film in the DC cinematic universe, Wonder Woman had that heart and hope.  Gal Gadot embodies the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman.  The film (which is set mainly in World War I era) has a similar feel to the first Captain America film (which is my favorite Captain America film).  Superhero films that have heart and hope are the best ones and Wonder Woman is one of those.

Cars 3

The third film in the Cars franchise (and in feel more a direct sequel to the first Cars film) Lightning McQueen has to deal not only with young upstarts but his own mortality as an athlete.  It has a lot of feels like the first film as well as tells a good story on its own.

The Hero

This is a film that stars Sam Elliott as an aging actor best known for a role decades earlier as “The Hero”.  It’s a film that deals with fame, mortality, loss, love and life.  I blogged earlier this year more in depth that goes into more detail.

Dunkirk

Set during the heart of World War II, Dunkirk tells the story of one of the biggest rescue missions in history.  The British army was trapped in the city of Dunkirk and it took 800 civilian ships to save the day.  Christopher Nolan directed the film and it covers the land see  and air aspects of this battle.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

The first Spider-Man film in the MCU, Spider-Man: Homecoming was really well done.  Going back to Peter Parker in high school along with having it be the “Tony Stark Redemption film” was a good touch by Marvel Studios.

Blade Runner 2049

The sequel to the 1982 film, Blade Runner 2049 is one of the most visually stunning films I’ve seen.  Starring Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford, the film is set 30 years past the first film.  Like the first film, it asks what does it mean to be human?

Marshall

Based on the true story of Thurgood Marshall, Marshall looks into the life of the future Supreme Court judge when he was a trial lawyer and the case of a Connecticut man accused of rape and attempted murder.  Chadwick Boseman was at his best again and the rest of the cast including Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown and Kate Hudson stood out as well.

 

Goodbye Christopher Robin

A film based on the life of writer A.A. Milne and his family, Goodbye Christopher Robin is probably one of the most poignant and bittersweet films I’ve seen.  I grew up (and still do) love Winnie the Pooh and all the characters of the Hundred Acre Woods.  This film shows the ups and downs of the creation of those characters and the lives of the family around that.

Wonder

Wonder is based on the book of the same name.  I will go on record and say it is one of my favorite films ever.  The story of the Pullman family is such a heartwarming film and the story it tells is so needed in this time.

Coco

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second Pixar film released this year, Coco is a story about family and finding one’s place in the world.  It is centered around the holiday of the Day of the Dead.  It is such a lovely story and another example of the Pixar charm.

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour looks into the right before and the first month of Sir Winston Churchill as prime minister of Great Britain.  Gary Oldman was spot on in the role of Churchill and the film as a whole was great storytelling.  It also fit in well with Dunkirk which also released this year since they both are set in this same timeframe.

Thursday Quote Day: Helen Keller

This week’s “Thursday Quote Day” features a quote from Helen Keller:

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find joy in overcoming obstacles.” (Helen Keller)

Sunday Devotional: Hark The Herald Angels Sing

“Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

It’s Christmas Eve and it’s the eve of celebrating the birth of Jesus.  This Christmas hymn reminds us of the reasons why the angels were singing that night.  Not only to celebrate and mark the occasion of the birth but what the birth meant.  It meant God and sinners could be reconciled.  It meant that Jesus was Emmanuel (God with us).  It meant the opportunity for second birth, that we don’t have to die a second death.

This is the good news.  This is the reason the angels sing.  This is the reason we should sing.  So let us do just that.

MoviePass Adventures: Month 2

Into month number 2 of MoviePass and this time of year is great for films so ample opportunity to put it to use.  Here are the films I saw the second month of of having MoviePass:

1) Wonder

This film is based a novel and tells the story of Auggie Pullman and his family.  He’s a kid who’s just starting middle school and has had a lot to overcome and over the course of the film you see the impact that he has on everyone that comes in contact with him and vice versa.  This is one of the best films I’ve seen period.  Loved this film and would recommend it to everyone.

2) Coco

The next film in the long line of great Pixar films.  This one features the story of a young boy named Miguel who feels he’s a musician but his family doesn’t approve.  The film tells the story of family and following your dream.  It was really good and worth seeing in theaters.

3) The Man Who Invented Christmas

This film is a mix of “based on a true story” and a telling of the classic A Christmas Carol.  It tells the story of author Charles Dickens as he finds the inspiration to write the classic novel and how those characters mingle and intertwine with what’s going on in his life.  Christopher Plummer plays a great Ebenezer Scrooge and Dan Stevens is a wonderful Charles Dickens.  This is a great Christmas/holiday film to watch this season.

4) The Mountain Between Us

The film, based on the novel of the same name, tells the story of two strangers who catch a charter flight.  That flight crash lands in the middle of the Rocky Mountains and the two depend on each other to survive out in the middle of nowhere.  It’s a visually stunning film and both Elba and Winslet carry the film as the two principal actors.  It was worth seeing on the big screen just for the outdoor/mountain shots.

(I thought I’d end up seeing more films but there was a stretch where there weren’t any major releases worth seeing due to The Last Jedi looming so it looks like month 3 will have more films to see)