2016 has been a really good year. I want to thank everyone who has read, followed, and shared this blog. It is truly humbling and honoring. This blog post is more of a review of this last year as well as some personal thoughts.
In February of this year, I finally finished putting together my application to be a Reasonable Faith chapter director. Took quite some time, as it mostly involved both reading Reasonable Faith: Christian Faith and Apologetics, but also completing the workbook, as well as typing it all up for submission. My final application was over 70 typed pages. This was something that I actually just wanted to see if I could do. (I tend to do things like that, in not having a real goal but do things to see if I can do them.) It seemed like a natural progression from me starting an apologetics Bible and book study 3 years ago. (Which in itself seemed like a natural progression from all the personal studying and reading that I had been doing. (Which that was a natural progression from me finding answers to questions of faith since I used to attack those of faith before I became a Christian.)) After 3 follow-ups (which meant more typed pages), and then a phone call, I was accepted. The plaque is now hanging in my dining room, which also doubles as my study.
Also in February, I, along with my wife and several friends, attended a Fearless Faith Apologetics conference with Frank Turek, J. Warner Wallace, and Mike Adams. I’ve been following J. Warner Wallace (of coldcasechristianity.com) on twitter for several years, sharing a lot of his material, and it was cool to finally meet him in person.
In addition to the monthly Apologetic Bible and book study that I’ve been hosting for 3 years, I’ve also been hosting my own group that participates in a monthly Reasonable Faith Zoom video conference study for a year now. Several Reasonable Faith chapters connect to this to hear great speakers like Michael Licona, J. Warner Wallace, Sean McDowell, Greg Koukl, and more.
In April, the wife and I took a vacation to St. Louis and splurged on VIP Admission to Comic Con to meet David Tennant and Billie Piper of Doctor Who. I’ve been a fan since my good friend Don Kerr turned me onto it in 1984, and I turned my wife on to the show in the past few years. It was actually her idea to go, and it was a lot of fun. (I don’t hide how much of a geek I am. 🙂 )
In August, I started this blog. And like anything I seriously do, there is a story to that. My wife has been challenging me to do something with all of the studying and reading that I do. (Side note: I actually don’t have a degree in Apologetics nor even a certificate, I just really enjoy it and spend a good portion of my spare time in it. In fact, I don’t have a degree in anything, being a college drop-out.) And during one of the Reasonable Faith Zoom meetings that J. Warner Wallace spoke at, he challenged everyone to do something with the Apologetics knowledge that we had. (To which my wife nudged me with her elbow.) I just logged all of this in the back of my mind and went on with my regular day to day things.
But one morning in August, I woke up with one of those convictions where you really feel that God is leading you to do something, where you can’t get rest until you do it. In this case, it was to start this blog. I’ve had several of those in my life (one of which was a leading to do the Internship at Guts Church, which is a year-long, full-time commitment. I graduated in 2006.)
Following the leading, I started researching blogging, finding a site to use, deciding on the name of Cyber Penance, and went with it. I also researched the best times to post, which is why I try to post new material on Mondays and Thursdays. But I also follow a template of Greg West of The Poached Egg (whom I have been following and sharing for years now), and so I re-blog blogs from other bloggers that I follow (like Wintery Knight, whom I’ve also been following and sharing for years now.
It was a little scary in the thought of “If I commit to it, can I keep coming up with topics to write about?” And could I actually write? I almost flunked English in High School. (On the flip side of that last thought, I did do some honest research papers during my Internship at Guts Church, something that I never did in High School.)
After a few posts, I decided to reach out to J. Warner Wallace to let him know that I was following his charge of doing something with apologetics. His response was humbling, in a good way. Many, many serious thanks to him.
October came, which at my church is Nightmare season. Nightmare is a haunted house outreach that my church has been doing for 24 years now. They take the biggest killers of kids and graphically portray them, then take you through the grave, and then through hell, and then finally show you the price that Jesus paid for you. Thousands of people get saved every year. It’s something amazing to be a part of.
In November, I went to the Evangelical Philosophical Society conference in San Antonio, aptly named Reasonable Faith in an Uncertain World, hosted by Biola University. If ever I was to go back to college, even for a certificate, it would be through Biola. So many great people teach there and have graduated from there. I got to meet in person several people that either I had been following in online (like Lenny Esposito of Come Reason ministries) or had made friends with online (like Tim Stratton of Free Thinking ministries). Plus got to talk Dr. William Lane Craig, of Reasonable Faith ministries. There were a lot of great lectures. I really wanted to catch them all and am thankful that they are going to be posting the videos of them. (Some have already been posted.) Also during the conference, the annual Reasonable Faith chapter meeting was held, where I got to meet many more great people.
At the conference, I was challenged in my spirit to do something else with what I know. To get out and start speaking or teaching on apologetics. When I got back home, I took a step of faith and reached out in my church, and am now going to be teaching apologetics to the next class of interns at my church. Again, a little scary, but also exciting. I had my curriculum submitted within days.
December has been a time of family and some downtime, as I’ve had 2 weeks off from work to take care of things. As well, some friends and I got together to jam in the potential of starting a new band. We jammed a few times but the drummer is super busy, so this seems to have fizzled. I do hope it picks back up.
I should also add that I really enjoyed the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One. I’ve seen it 4 times now. It gets better with each showing. (Yes, I’m a huge Geek.)
So that’s the highlights of this year. I hope you haven’t been bored by this review. I look forward to what 2017 has in store already.
I pray that your 2016 was awesome and that 2017 be the best year yet for you.