If you’re depressed and discouraged by all the bad news that’s abounding, try Chelsen Vicari’s Ten Things Evangelicals can be Thankful for This Year. In summary, her Top Ten are:

  1. Florida Orphan Flooded with Adoption Requests
  2. The Gospel Reaches Millions through the Record-BreakingThe Bible Series
  3. Pastor Saeed Abedini’s Family Allowed to Visit, Health Reported to Improve
  4. Megachurch Donates 1,500 Coats to the Poor, Homeless
  5. U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Hobby Lobby Birth Control Plea
  6. Dr. Russell Moore’s Commitment to a Strong Social Witness
  7. Rev. Billy Graham’s Powerful Final Address to America
  8. Amidst Attacks, Operation Christmas Child will Spread the Message of Christ Worldwide
  9. America’s Pro-life Initiatives
  10. IRD Successfully Launches Evangelical Action

While I agree with many of these, some of them leave me underwhelmed. So what I would put in their place? My suggestions:

1. The Reformed African American Network: Jemar Tisby, Phillip Holmes, and their team of lively writers are continuing to challenge their own and other communities to build local churches that better reflect the beautiful diversity of God’s Kingdom. I’ve learned so much from these brothers (and sisters), and earnestly pray that God will use them to transform His church by transforming our hearts and minds.

2. 20 Schemes: This extremely tough groundbreaking mission to establish churches in Scotland’s housing schemes has given me hope for my beloved Scotland again. I love the energy, courage, and honesty of Mez McConnell and his co-workers as they journal the disappointments and triumphs of mission work in Scotland’s poorest and most violent communities.

3. Tim Challies: I’m grateful to all my blogging friends who daily sacrifice their time and energy to write edifying and informative posts and connect us with the best resources on the web. But special thanks must go to Tim Challies who maintains a consistently high quality throughout the year, serving hundreds of thousands of readers across the worldwide church. He’s a model of humility, courage, transparency, discernment, and biblical ecumenicity. I read him even before the BBC!

4. Ligonier MinistriesAnother ministry that’s producing high quality, reliable, attractive resources year on year. It’s so encouraging to see how well the leadership transition is going under Chris Larson’s visionary guidance, with high quality teaching fellows and faculty supplementing the R.C. Sproul teaching archive. And perhaps the highlight of the past year has been R.C. Sproul Jr’s writing about his painful yet grace-filled journey through the valley of the shadow. It’s a Christian classic in the making.

5. Christian Publishers: I’m so grateful for the work of Christian publishers who continue to provide the church with so many wonderful books.

6. God’s Common Grace: I could provide a multitude of links to examples of this. Where would we be, church or nation, without the mercy of God over all His works (Ps. 145:9)? I praise God every day for His restraining providence and His making the sun to shine and the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust. Without common grace, we’d be unable to preach saving grace.

7. Local Churches Everywhere. No, they don’t make headlines, or appear on Top Ten lists, but it’s where the ultimate kingdom work is done week in week out. Of course, every church has its problems, but the vast majority of us love our churches and are so thankful for all who serve there in various roles.

What else do you think should go on the list?

  • Dave Murphy

    Great list, Pastor! I would only add the astounding fact that people are coming to Christ daily. Through parachurch organizations working with High School kids and on College Campusses, through faithful preachers and Sunday School teachers, through work-site evangelism, within families and through Christian Radio. The list for 2014 that would delight my heart would include the longed-for and hoped-for news that my Brother-in-Law, an alcoholic living in Grand Rapids, had come to know Christ!

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      So important to keep seeing the big picture of the kingdom coming.

  • Les

    God has given us blessed rain this year. Texas and Oklahoma had been under a terrible drought for the previous two years to the point that the small lakes were drying up, the wild life was suffering and ranchers were being forced to sell of their breeding stock. It was cooler this summer whereas the previous summer we went weeks when the temp was well over 102F even up to 113F.

    I am also thankful for my family and friends.

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      Yes, the farmers have have much cause for thanksgiving.

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