This time of year my thoughts always turn both forwards and backwards. So I’d like—in what will be my final post before the end of this year—to wish you all a great break, and to review the year. I did thislast year and again in 2004.
Part of the purpose of this post is to give you a bumper post with links just in case you do go online during the Christmas break. Please don’t comment on the blog after the end of today (Friday, 22nd December) until I am back sometime in January after a prolonged break – that is not unless you are happy for your comment to wait in a queue. I will not be approving any comments or answering any emails either for a while. I need a rest, and so do you!
So . . . what of the year that has passed, and what glimmers of expectation do I have for the New Year? I will consider this under four headings — God, Family, Church, and Blog. You will notice the deliberate omission of work. I always try hard to keep my work out of the blog entirely — which I suspect is a wise move for most people. If you are a new reader, this blog is not my full-time job, nor is the preaching I do from time to time.
What can I say? Personally, this has been a great year for my relationship with my Savior. He has been so faithful — there have been hard times, such as beginning the year nervously wondering if my new job was the right move, and if we really would move to our new house in January. Also, my episode of shingles — which incidentally has still left me unable to sit behind a desk for more than a couple of hours at a time — was also a real low point, and yet in it I knew the peace of God in a more real sense than I had known it in other trials. I found myself able to trust God, knowing many times the sweetness of His presence. I also found myself grateful that things were not worse — that I didn’t have a job at all, or that I was homeless or dying of a serious illness. I have learned a lot, and this blog and all my preaching remains primarily addressed towards me.
I thank God for more evidences of His grace upon me, and for helping me begin to learn some key character lessons I have needed to learn for a long time. Looking forward into 2007 — I don’t think I have ever been as optimistic about the things I believe God has in store. I have a strong sense of commission from God in the things that I am currently doing. Oddly, unlike this past year, I do not expect major changes to occur in many areas of my life — although there is one to come as I will report in a moment.
On the 18th of January, I remember praying like I never had before. I was sitting outside the estate agent’s, waiting for the money to go through so I could pick up the keys for our new house. As the hours went by, it really looked as if something else had gone wrong! Buying and selling property in the UK is never easy. You can imagine my joy when I realized that, with a matter of minutes to go before we would have faced broken contracts and a legal mess, I was given the all clear!
Buying this house has, God-willing, secured some aspects of the future of our family, and for this I am grateful. It is a nice location, and a reasonable drive from the church we all love. We now also live near two great schools, which should serve all our children right through to age 18. Like Tim Challies, we don’t home school.
You will notice that I never mention here the exact town in which I live — this is again an obvious precaution aimed at keeping my public life and private life separate — and one that I would recommend, especially to those with young children.
There was a lot of surprise among many of our friends when the news started to leak out over the last couple of months — some of you will know this already — but Andrée is now pregnant with our fifth child. Thoughts of her finding some kind of income-generating work she could do around four school-age children have, for now, evaporated, and we are preparing for what we had believed would not happen again. We are thrilled, and the poor child will undoubtedly be blogged about!
Each of our kids have grown up this year — each one has reached a new level of maturity, which is thrilling. I think that much of this has been because they have learned from such difficulties as the problems with the move — which was eventually resolved; my shingles — which caused major disruption to our lives for a while; my wife being put on bed rest for a few weeks in early pregnancy with recurrent bleeding and contractions — which stopped as suddenly as it had begun following prayers by some in the church; and more recently, the unexpected death of their pet rabbit.
Of all my roles and all the hats I wear, there is no doubt that the one that brings the most joy and biggest challenges is that of being a husband and father to these dear people God has entrusted to my care. If, at times, I neglect my blog, remember that I cannot and must not neglect my family. I am not convinced that up to now I have always had that balance right, so don’t be surprised if there are a few more times when the blog shuts down for a time, or if there is the odd day here and there when I don’t post at all.
I have a family that sacrifices a lot in order for me to be free to do the job I do, and on top of that, to blog and preach. I want to thank them all publicly now, and promise by God’s grace to try to ensure that when my time on earth is up, I will be most remembered as someone who loved his family. They are as dear to me as my soul — and I could easily adapt Jesus’ words to say, “What would it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but lose his family?”
My darling wife, and wonderful children, I truly do love you all more than anyone else alive. Let’s make 2007 a great year for our family — which I trust will finally be complete after a four-year gap since the last arrival.
Again, what can I say? Bei
ng a part of Jubilee Church at this time of astonishing blessing and growth — both in numbers and maturity — is nothing short of a dream for me! My heart goes out in love and appreciation to every single person in Jubilee.
As our lead elder, Tope Koleoso, would say — we have a lot to be grateful for!
I have deliberately left this to last; as important as it is to me, the blog definitely comes in below all of the above areas of my life in terms of the priority I place on it. Of course, I will spend more of my time in this post on the blog, but don’t think that’s because it is more important to me — far from it.
It started as a small hobby to fill idle time, and has grown into some kind of monster. I truly feel like a kite in God’s hurricane, as Driscoll describes himself.
Why do you guys keep coming back? I do everything I can to drive you away – don’t I give you enough links to visit elsewhere? At the beginning of the year my strategy was to focus a lot of attention on the charismatic issue. I had only really come firmly out as a charismatic on the blog towards the end of 2005 — believe it or not, some people were surprised to hear it. Well, I was not surprised to drive about a quarter of the readers I had away in those early months by relentlessly posting on this subject. But the numbers came back, and many more, as the year drew to a close.
I don’t want to bore you with statistics — and I know it is easy for me to say, but these days I really rarely look at them. But there are a few interesting things that came out of looking at the last nine months of data I thought I would share with you.
- 37% of you have visited the blog more than once — which means there is a whole lot of passers-by, but a significant number who have stuck around to get to know me a bit more! You are welcome — old or new!
- Some of you visit the blog more than once per day — for your sakes, I just hope it is to check the Warnie Headlines box and get out of here — these days I rarely post more than once-a-day.
- 45% find the blog through Google, so thanks are due to them – assuming this was the kind of place you wanted to find!
- 15% of visits were thanks to my top 20 referring blogs; however, TeamPyro was the biggest individual referrer (i.e. not a search engine), but led to only 3% of visits, so a whole bunch of smaller blogs have sent me a whole lot of traffic between you. A BIG thank you to everyone who has linked or commented this year.
- 56% of visitors were from the USA, whilst 25% were from the UK and 5% were from Canada, but a staggering 188 countries were represented (although in many cases by just one visitor).
But before I leave you with those lists, let’s take a look at the year that was:
March was a momentous time, for it was when I discovered Mark Driscoll and was very, very impressed (although I had mentioned him in passing before). O for the days when a post about Driscoll would only generate two comments! April was dominated by the Together for the Gospel conference — the archive page is full of links to posts I wrote whilst “remote blogging,” something I like to do almost as much as Challies likes to live-blog. I did get to do an exclusive intervi The weekend when September became October was the Desiring God 06 conference, and somehow the blogosphere hasn’t stopped criticizing Mark Driscoll since then despite his fantastic talk and John Piper’s public acknowledgement that he had something to learn from Driscoll. A look at the the archive page for December shows that from December 2nd when I reviewed his book, my blog has been completely taken over by an interview with the great theologian, Wayne Grudem. I thought interviewing him would give me a few days when I wouldn’t have to think much about the blog. How wrong I was! Unprecedented traffic and comment levels mean that some of these posts have gathered more traffic in the last few days than some of my most popular previous posts managed to gather in nine months. I have even had to change my comment policy, and thanks to the graciousness of Michael Burer, although the interview has finished, the debate goes on. Thanks, Dr. Grudem, for giving me the highlight of my blogging year of 2006!
ew with Mark Driscoll, however, and that still only generated six comments!
March was a momentous time, for it was when I discovered Mark Driscoll and was very, very impressed (although I had mentioned him in passing before). O for the days when a post about Driscoll would only generate two comments!
April was dominated by the Together for the Gospel conference — the archive page is full of links to posts I wrote whilst “remote blogging,” something I like to do almost as much as Challies likes to live-blog. I did get to do an exclusive intervi
The weekend when September became October was the Desiring God 06 conference, and somehow the blogosphere hasn’t stopped criticizing Mark Driscoll since then despite his fantastic talk and John Piper’s public acknowledgement that he had something to learn from Driscoll.
A look at the the archive page for December shows that from December 2nd when I reviewed his book, my blog has been completely taken over by an interview with the great theologian, Wayne Grudem. I thought interviewing him would give me a few days when I wouldn’t have to think much about the blog. How wrong I was! Unprecedented traffic and comment levels mean that some of these posts have gathered more traffic in the last few days than some of my most popular previous posts managed to gather in nine months. I have even had to change my comment policy, and thanks to the graciousness of Michael Burer, although the interview has finished, the debate goes on. Thanks, Dr. Grudem, for giving me the highlight of my blogging year of 2006!
The 25 Most Visited Pages on My Site
The Top 20 Referrers
The Top Most Popular and Interesting Searches
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