This year was the first full calendar year for Lifeway Voices, and it was a great year! I absolutely love that a major part of my job is getting to work with authors to provide helpful videos and blog posts for others.
Lifeway Voices is home to content created by 125(ish) authors and counting. I am so grateful for all of the different perspectives we are privileged to host. I pray regularly that what we do here will be helpful for people around the world.
One of my favorite parts about leading Lifeway Voices is watching what blog posts and videos get the most attention on the site. I love watching what gets a lot of attention because, in my opinion, the attention communicates the felt needs of the audience. What you read and watch helps me and the rest of the Lifeway Voices team know what would be most helpful for you, the audience, moving into the future.
So, without further ado…
Here are the top 10 most-read blog posts on Lifeway Voices in 2019, with a brief excerpt from each:
1. 3 Reasons Drifting From the Faith Starts With Drifting From the Church by Michael Kelley
Part of the reason we go to church is that we need to. We need to because we know we are weak. We know we need other people. And we know that other people need us. This is at least part of the reason behind the biblical metaphor of the body Paul used to describe the church. To keep with that metaphor, can you imagine the pride of a leg thinking (if a leg could do that) that it could just go off and have a sustainable experience without the rest of the body?
2. Find a Bible Reading Plan That’s Right for You by Trevin Wax
Going through a reading plan makes sure that you don’t just camp out on your favorite Bible passages. Some of the stories in the Bible will surprise you. Some passages may puzzle you. Some verses you’ve never seen before will jump off the page. The element of surprise as you read through the entire Bible is one of the great reasons you should consider a reading plan.
3. The Secret Thoughts of a Pastor’s Wife by Katie Orr
Your pastor’s wife is in a very unique position. What she does (or doesn’t do) affects her husband’s ministry. For those of you who are married (except in the rare case of some very particular jobs), your behavior, your spiritual growth, your words, your involvement in church has no bearing to your spouse’s job security. He was most likely hired without as much as a glance your way. Nor are his clients, or whomever he serves day-in and day-out, holding strong opinions on what you should or should not be doing right now. This is not true of the pastor’s wife. Just last month a pastor’s wife friend shared that her husband, an interim pastor (who had previously served the church for years in another role), was not offered the permanent pastorate job because they thought his wife wasn’t pulling her weight.
4. The John 3:16 Story by Tim Tebow
And honestly, my first thought was, “How the heck do 94 million people not know John 3:16?” It’s like, it’s Sunday school, bro. That’s the first thing you hear.
But it was just so humbling for me sitting in that restaurant, thinking about how big the God that we serve really is. Like, really, how big the God that we serve really is. So many times we put Him in a box. We put Him in a box. But no, the God that loves us, the God that created us, the God that has a plan for us, the God that wrote a poem about your life, He is a big God that wants to do amazing things. And when we just turn around, and say “Hey, here God.” It might not feel like a lot. Guess what? He can perform miracles. He can do amazing things. And I really believe the God that we serve wants to do amazing things in us and through us.
5. What Does the Bible Say About Women? by Katie Orr
Many a “believer” has walked away from the faith because they just couldn’t reconcile what they read in the Bible with what they felt to be true. Even Oprah admits that is what caused her to stop believing in the biblical God. Let’s not let our lack of understanding of the Bible corrode our trust in the Bible. Instead, let us use the muscle of faith, stand firm on the promises of who God is, and cling to the reality of the Bible’s reliability. Then, from this foundation, we can dive into the depths of what the Bible has to say about women.
6. We Steer Where We Stare by Lysa TerKeurst
The enemy doesn’t have to get real clever because we just tell him what we’re fixated on. We can be fixated on our computer, gotta achieve more, do more, answer more, please people more, go to websites, shop more, connect more, more likes, more followers. We pick up our phone, we gotta text more. We gotta swipe more. We gotta get more followers. We gotta get more likes. Right?
7. They Aren’t Heretics Because You Disagree With Them by Jared C. Wilson
It all boils down to this: unless and until someone actually teaches something heretical, we shouldn’t call them a heretic. In other words, someone’s not a false teacher just because you disagree with or don’t like what they teach. Someone is a false teacher if they deny a first-order doctrine or promote any teaching that would compromise a first-order doctrine.
Look, the world is in such turmoil right now, barreling full-steam further into the post-Christian era that dawned on the West years ago. The true Church cannot afford to keep turning on each other and condemning each other over second- and third-order doctrines. We may not be able to join the same church. But we should be able to affirm the Christianity of those who share our central convictions. The world will know we are Christians not by our loathing but our love.
8. 7 Facts About Christianity and the Transgender Debate by Bruce Ashford
As an ideology and a political movement, transgenderism has three main tenets. The first is that gender is malleable; a “trans girl” is a girl and not just a boy who identifies as a girl. The second is that modern medicine—puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender reassignment surgeries—should be utilized to help gender dysphoric individuals change their gender identities. The third is that public policy should be reformed to reflect transgender preferences, including participation in sex-specific sports programs, access to public bathrooms of preference, and the criminalization of “misgendering” individuals.
9. Did Jesus Fail at His Job? by Nathan Betts
“So, is it true that Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead?” My skeptical friend had been peppering me with questions about my Christian faith. The validity and meaning of Christ’s resurrection now became his point of focus. “Yes, that is true,” I said. His voice grew louder, “Well, if it is true that Jesus died and rose again, doesn’t that mean that evil has been conquered?” I just listened and waited for him to finish his thought. “But there is still a lot of evil in this world,” emotion filled his voice, “And if there is all this evil around us, it seems to me that Jesus failed at his job.”
As I listened to my friend’s question and the verbal jabs he aimed at the Christian faith, a sense of indignation grew within me like lava bubbling under the earth’s crust. I was offended, not by the intellectual accusations, but by the way in which my friend charged at my faith on an emotional level.
10. Routine Bible Reading Can Change Your Life by Trevin Wax
Why do so many Christians start with a strong commitment and yet lose their way when reading the Bible? One reason may be that we have too high of an expectation of what we will feel every day when we read. We know this is God’s Word and that He speaks to us through this Book, and yet so many times, when we’re reading the assigned portion of Scripture for the day, it all feels so, well, ordinary. We read a story, note a couple of interesting things, don’t see how it applies to our lives today, and then move on. By the time we near the end of the first books of the Bible, we’ve gone through extensive instructions on how to build the tabernacle, or how the sacrificial system is to be implemented, or a book of Numbers that is aptly titled. We read the daily portion of Scripture, put down our pencil or highlighter and wonder, “Why don’t I feel like my life is changing?”