2016 Year In Review

This year of 2016 is drawing to a close.  I know it’s really easy to pick on 2016 and say how horrible it was.  I will say it has been a tough year, one of the toughest but hopefully it has been a learning and growing experience.  I hope that your year was good.  If it wasn’t, I hope that 2017 is better for you.  As is tradition for me, I liked 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 (one less than last year, there is one book that I’m reading now that will carry over to 2017 list).

Final reading list for 2016:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston

It:  How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Called to Coach:  Reflections on Life, Faith and Football by Bobby Bowden with Mark Schlabach

Boring:  Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley

Arise by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw

Soul Revolution by John Burke

Auschwitz:  A New History by Laurence Rees

Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

College Ministry from Scratch: A Practical Guide to Start and Sustain a Successful College Ministry by Chuck Bomar

Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman edited by Jim Reimann

This is the 12th 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

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

Five things that 2016 taught me:

1) Words matter both what is said to you and what you say to others

2) A little kindness can go a long way

3) It is okay to say things are not okay

4) Keep plugging away and keep persevering

5) Reflection is important for perspective

*Five personally significant events of 2016:  (Well this year it was three again)

1) I celebrated the 3 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 2017 (in no particular order):

1) Continue to grow in my walk with the Lord

2) Find a full time job in ministry

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 2017 will be a better year than 2016.  That is my prayer for me and for you.

My Favorite Films of 2016

Last year I shared my favorite films that were released in the past year.  I thought I’d make that a yearly tradition and so here is my list of favorite films for 2016.   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:

Only Yesterday

Only Yesterday

Though Only Yesterday released originally in Japan in 1991, the English dubbed version came to North America this year.  Only Yesterday is the story of Taeko Okajima and her life in two parts.  It tells one part of her life as an 8 year old child in the late 1960s Tokyo as well as an adult in the 1980s.  It was one of the last Studio Ghibli films to be dubbed into English and includes the voicework of Daisy Ridley, Dev Patel and Ashley Eckstein.

I Saw The Light

I Saw The Light

Based on the true story of country singer and legend Hank Williams Sr., I Saw The Light tells the story of his life as a singer just before his big break to right before his tragic death.  Hank Williams is played in the film by Tom Hiddleston and Elisabeth Olsen plays Audrey Williams, Hank’s first wife.  I’m usually a fan of a good biopic and when it’s a subject like that of Hank Williams I was drawn to it.  I thought the performances in the film were done well especially that of Hiddleston and Olsen.  It is hard to act and sing especially to play an iconic figure but Hiddleston was up to the challenge in my mind.

The Legend of Tarzan

LEGEND OF TARZAN

The Legend of Tarzan is a new take on an old story.  It tells the further adventures of Tarzan and how he and Jane (along with American George Washington Williams) take on some corrupt Belgians who were trying to exploit the Congo.  There are several nods to the classic Tarzan character while telling a story that resonates today.  And while most people this year will look at Margot Robbie’s other big role in 2016 (Harley Quinn), her performance as Jane Clayton is a showstealer.

The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

A remake of a classic (which in turn was a remake itself) The Magnificent Seven tells the story of a ragtag group of seven men who help to defend a mining town from a evil and corrupt businessman and his hired army.  The cast for this film included Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio among others.  I enjoyed the original The Magnificent Seven and to me this film honors that film while also telling it’s own story.

Amanda Knox

amanda-knox

Probably the documentary of the year for me in 2016, Amanda Knox was a Netflix film that tells the story of Amanda Know, who is most well known for being found guilty and later acquitted of the death of a fellow student in Italy in 2007.  For this documentary there is lots of archive footage and interviews as well as interviews today from some of the key people including Amanda herself.

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Out of the two Marvel movies that released this year, Doctor Strange was my favorite of the two.  Benedict Cumberbatch did a great job as Dr. Stephen Strange.  Strange went from an arrogant doctor over the course of the movie to the Sorcerer Supreme.  It was a good origin story for a character that is not as well known in the Marvel Universe as others.  And it didn’t kill off the main villain at the end of the movie.  It is a good setup for what’s to come in Phase 3 of the MCU.

Arrival

arrival

If there is a “Film of the Year” for me, I would say it’s this film.  From the first trailer to seeing it on the big screen, Arrival was interesting and compelling.  With a cast that included Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forrest Whitaker, Arrival tells the story about humankind’s interaction with an alien species and the key to communicating lies with a language professor (played by Adams) and a physicist (played by Renner).  But it’s a different take on that familiar trope.  The visuals are stunning and the story makes you think.  This is a film I’m interested in seeing multiple times because of seeing the all the puzzles pieces in place.

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

An interesting film that I found on Netflix, Blue Jay is the story of two high school sweethearts that meet up some 20 years later.  Jim (played by Mark Duplass, who also wrote the screenplay for the film) returns back to his hometown to settle some affairs after his mother passed away.  He runs into Amanda (played by Sarah Paulson) at a grocery store and the two reminisce about old times.  It is a very poignant film and one that deals with heavy issues in a thought provoking way.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

rogue-one

Of course a list of my favorite films would have to include a Star Wars movie.  Rogue One is the first Star Wars anthology film and is set right before A New Hope.  It tells the story of how the Rebel Alliance stole the plans for the first Death Star and the group that did it.  It had one of the best battle sequences I’ve seen in a Star Wars movie and there were a lot of cool references that tied into the Star Wars universe.  Thought I still have the original trilogy in my top 3 of Star Wars films, this one is right there in the running for 4th along with The Force Awakens.

Updated 2016 Book List

Here is the updated book list for the books I’ve read in 2016 with little over a month to go in the year:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston

It:  How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Called to Coach:  Reflections on Life, Faith and Football by Bobby Bowden with Mark Schlabach

Boring:  Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley

Arise by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw

Soul Revolution by John Burke

Auschwitz:  A New History by Laurence Rees

Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris

Updated 2016 Book List

Here is the updated book list for the books I’ve read in 2016.  I’m a little behind the pace I had last year but better than I had done in ’13 & ’14:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston

It:  How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Called to Coach:  Reflections on Life, Faith and Football by Bobby Bowden with Mark Schlabach

Boring:  Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley

Arise by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw

Soul Revolution by John Burke

Auschwitz:  A New History by Laurence Rees

Updated 2016 Book List

Here is another update on the books I’ve read in 2016:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston

It:  How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Called to Coach:  Reflections on Life, Faith and Football by Bobby Bowden with Mark Schlabach

Boring:  Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley

Arise by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw

Soul Revolution by John Burke

Updated 2016 Book List

Here is an updated 2016 book list:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston

It:  How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Called to Coach:  Reflections on Life, Faith and Football by Bobby Bowden with Mark Schlabach

Boring:  Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life by Michael Kelley

Arise by Clayton and Ellen Kershaw

Updated 2016 Book List

Here is an updated book list for books I’ve read so far this year.  I am ahead of my pace from last year which is a good thing.  Here’s the list:

Film, Faith and Philosophy:  Big Ideas on the Big Screen edited by R. Douglas Geivett and James S. Spiegel

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Reel Spirituality: Theology and Film in Dialogue by Robert K. Johnston

It:  How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It by Craig Groeschel

Called to Coach:  Reflections on Life, Faith and Football by Bobby Bowden with Mark Schlabach