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The Best of 2016

The Best of 2016

As we begin this new year, I have tried to slow down and reflect on what all I accomplished, experienced, and learned during 2016. As I've been processing my 2016, I realized that there were several resources and experiences that helped me develop as a leader over the last 12 months. 

And I wanted to share them with you in the form of several lists of the "Top 3" in each genre. 

Check them out and perhaps one or two of them can contribute to you developing as a leader in 2017.

I have fallen in love with podcasts over the last two years and currently subscribe to 68 different podcasts. And here are the best podcasts I discovered in 2016:

  1. Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast: Carey, a pastor near Toronto, interviews some of the brightest minds in leadership both in the church as well as in the business world. This has been the podcast I have listened to the most since I learned of this podcast in April.
  2. 99% Invisible: Simply, I love this podcast because I learn the most random stuff from it and how that random stuff impacts our lives on a daily basis (Like Episode 239 on guano - i.e. seabird poop). 
  3. Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller: Donald is one of my favorite authors and his podcast on building a brand which clearly communicates your message is both hilarious and jam-packed with marketing wisdom.

I completed 16 books last year of various genres (see the full list here) and here are my favorite books I read over the last 12 months:

  1. The Crown and The Fire by N.T. Wright: This compilation of meditations and sermons leads the reader to the foot of the cross where Jesus Christ died and wrestles with the meaning of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. One great quote from Wright in this publication is: "Jesus is numbered, voluntarily, with the transgressors: but instead of that making him a sinner too, it means that sinners are rescued." 
  2. Be You. Do Good. by Jonathan David Golden: If God created each of us on purpose, for a purpose, we should be ordering our lives around that purpose. And that is what this book is all about. Golden breaks down what a calling is and is not. One of his best points is that our calling is not some train that if we show up late to the station, we never get a second chance to board it. 
  3. Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond: In this lengthy book, Diamond breaks down human history and builds a strong argument for why the fate of human societies depended on geography, not human biology. 

As a staff pastor at a church here in central Indiana, I get the opportunity to preach every few weeks and share with our congregation about what God has been teaching me and wrestling with me about. Here are three of those sermons from this past year: 

  1. James Alphaeus: This sermon is on one of the lesser known disciples of Jesus and what he can teach us about obedience.
  2. Simon Peter: This message, on a much more well known apostle, looks at Peter's last recorded conversation with Jesus. 
  3. Scars (and the stories they tell): Most of us have scars. And behind some of those scars lies an interesting story. This sermons discusses how Jesus used a man who was deeply scarred to tell a story of His amazing love - and how He wants to use the story of your scars to share His love, too.

I'm a product of our time, and thus my smartphone is one of my top tools I use daily. Here are my 3 favorite apps that I downloaded this year: 

  1. PAYG: This app is my favorite download of 2016 as it helps my prayer life daily through its audio-guided prayer devotions. Read more about the app (and my thoughts on it) here.
  2. Twilight: As an Android user, this app cuts the blue light out of my phone in the evening and first thing in the morning to help out my eyes (and sleep cycle).
  3. Prisma: This photo app takes your awesome photos and makes them even more awesome with some innovative editing features. I love playing around with old photos of mine and giving them new life with Prisma.

I love signing up to receive informational emails (though it does make Inbox Zero harder to attain some days). Here are three of the best blogs/email lists that I subscribe to: 

  1. Smart Passive Income: Pat Flynn is a great guy with a ton of wisdom about entrepreneurship and business. Check out his blog (or weekly highlight emails) to learn from him and the wide swath of thought-leaders he interviews. 
  2. Quartz: Sign up for the Quartz Daily Brief, where you will receive a morning email every weekday with news highlights from the previous day, things to pay attention to that current day, and random tidbits from around the web and world. It's the one email I open every time.
  3. Highbrow: Want to continue learning? With Highbrow, you can sign up (for free!) for a 10 day course on a wide variety of subjects. And how do they teach you? Through 5-minute lessons every morning. Quick and effective. I'm currently in a course on desk yoga (to help my bad back!).

And those are my "Top 3" lists from 2016 - I hope you find them helpful and inspiring!

What makes your list in these different categories? Comment below and share with others!

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What India Taught Me About Community

Every Book I've Read In 2016

Every Book I've Read In 2016