Cerulean Sanctum’s Best Posts of 2008


Cerulean Sanctum logoI’m a little late to the “Best of 2008” game, but better late than never.

In looking back over 2008’s posts, the major themes that dominated were the crumbling economy and how we Christians should respond, the American Church’s (detrimental) fascination with politics, and the carnival known as the Lakeland Revival and what it means for the Church as a whole (and charismatics in particular). Interspersed between dozens of posts I wrote on those topics are others that sparked intense debate, discussed overlooked topics in the Church, both supported and dissed Christian bookstores, and even included a few works of fiction.

With that, I offer Cerulean Sanctum’s Best Posts of 2008…

The Economy, Finances, and a Truckload of Greed

Most of February and March 2008 saw posts in the enormous “Banking on God” series, which covered a host of financial issues. How prescient, right? Well, for years on this blog I’ve talked about the coming financial meltdown and the Church’s lack of preparation for it. What we are experiencing now may not be the final economic failure, but we can no longer be ignorant.

Banking on God: Series Compendium and Final Thoughts

We Had a Choice, and We Chose…

Living Lighter, Living Larger


Jefty Economics and the Least of These

Moths, Rust

A Nation of Fig Trees

Ragnarok, Recession, and Real ID

Lakeland, Spiritual Gifts, Charismatic Issues, and the Supernatural

Nothing tickled the fancy of a large number of Christians in 2008 more than the Lakeland “revival” in Florida. Even normally sane people jumped on that bandwagon. Yet only months after it subsided, it’s as if that massively hyped “revival to beat all revivals” never happened. And that’s for a very good reason.

Strange Fire in Florida?

Discernment, Revivals, and Godly Common Sense

The Coming Charismatic Civil War

Spiritual Lust and Infatuation


Cleansing the Charismatic Crackup, Part 1

Cleansing the Charismatic Crackup, Part 2

Cleansing the Charismatic Crackup, Final Thoughts

The tendency in the aftermath of the death of Lakeland and what it stood for led to a piling on by those critical of people who believe that the charismatic gifts of the Spirit are still for today or who have a tendency to look beyond the physical realms to the supernatural. That’s a mistake.

Pentecost, 21st Century

Who’s to Blame for the Prosperity Gospel?

THAT Gift—And Why We Need It

More on Charismatic Gifts

Perhaps, though, there is a better way for those who call themselves charismatics.

The Real Secret of Spiritual Warfare and Dominion


The rhetoric from every corner of America concerning the presidential election of 2008 burned white hot. Unfortunately, playing with fire may mean getting burned. Plenty of people said crazy things, with the prophetic movement going especially overboard. Now that the dust has settled on the election, the truth will out.

Only One True Kingdom

The Two Christianities on Display


Christ Alone in All Things, Even Politics


Christian Bookstores

In 2008, I tried to both defend Christian bookstores and offer them up for ridicule for their consumeristic idolatry. I’ll let readers decide which post wins.

The Truth About Christian Bookstores

Deconstructing the Family Christian Stores Catalog


I believe that fiction can be a powerful source for truth. I wrote three fictional pieces in 2008, two of which I offer here.

Tangleknot on Leading the Opponent’s Subjects Astray

And They Laughed at Him

Christian Living

What does it mean to be Christian in 21st century America? How are we to live? These posts offer some clues.

How to Improve Your Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit

The Faith That Isn’t

Dropping Our Stones

The Saint Wore Negligee

A Dirty Tampon by the Side of the Road

The Commodore Decker Conundrum

Live from the Battlefield

Soul Man, Spirit Man – Part 1

Soul Man, Spirit Man – Part 2

Are Small Groups Doomed?

The Bad, Good Son

The “Please, Someone Notice Me! Generation

Thank you for being a reader and supporter of Cerulean Sanctum.

May God richly bless you in 2009.

The Best of Cerulean Sanctum 2007


Cerulean Sanctum logoWhen people come to Cerulean Sanctum for the first time, they’ll read a post and wonder what else is here. Most find the link in the sidebar for “Best of Cerulean Sanctum” and check out a few of the archived posts of the past. I know this because WordPress’s stats tell me they do.

I think it’s important, too, for a blogger to keep in touch with past posts. Some posts are like old friends, while others vanish into the ether. I’ve been blogging since a few days before 9/11, so I’ve written many posts, the majority of which I’m sure I can’t remember offhand.

But the Best Of posts stick because they’re, well…the best things I’ve written here. Many received a majority share of comments from readers because the featured topic touched people. Some are simply controversial. Some discuss subjects that go unmentioned in the Godblogosphere. And some capture lightning in a bottle, reflecting the Lord’s quickening of the best of the writing skills He gave me.

In years past, I’ve grouped my best post together under a variety of headings, but I’ve never done a list of my own personal favorites. What were the posts I liked the most? Well, let’s kick this off with those select Best of the Best.

Dan’s Best of the Best of Cerulean Sanctum 2007

100 Truths in 30 Years with Christ
How do you sum up a life in Christ? This post attempts that feat. The hard-won lessons and the accumulation of wisdom never come easy. I pray each person that reads this post can take away a few nuggets.

The World’s Best Bible-Reading Program
I never thought this post would be the phenomenon that it’s become, but I’m glad for it. We go through our Bible-reading plans and one-year Bibles, yet so few of us glean deep truth from these arbitrary and casual approaches to reading the Bible. Most of us will be Christians for decades before we pass into glory, yet we don’t come to the Bible with long-term discipleship in mind. This reading program addresses that glaring issue.

The Holy Who?
The second most commented post of the year, this one touched off a firestorm on a number of other blogs and got people talking about the Holy Spirit. Just who is He? And why have we tended to ignore the Third Person of the Trinity?

The ChristCon Con
Another huge Christian conference/convention/event is coming to town. They seem to come with great promises and leave with a whimper. Yet we mark up our calendars and spend millions of dollars to attend them. What is the fruit? A look around should tell you the answer.

Fumbling the Torch
As I see it, one of the greatest losses to my generation of Christians (and generations that will follow me) is the previous generation’s failing to pass on their knowledge of Christ. Every day, we lose touch with the generation before us and the godly wisdom they acquired. How could it happen? This post discusses that how.

The Two Christianities & The Two Christianities: Comparison Table
Two other posts that got plenty of others talking. Has American Christianity bifurcated into two separate branches with entirely different worldviews? I believe it has. What do you think?

Welcome to Jerkville, Population Me
Being a jerk comes easy to some of us, especially when we’re confronted with the harsh realities of life. Lay down my life? Esteem others better than myself? Well, it’s a lot tougher than it sounds.

A Letter to Rich, the Young Ruler
Wherein I send a letter to a well-off young American who, tonight, may have his very soul required of him. You may even know him yourself.

The Church God Uses
Ekklesia is the Greek word for the Church. We attend church every week, sometimes more than once in a week. Some of us live and die by our churches. But what is the Church that God uses and how can we be that Church?

Choosing Your Canaan
Be in the world, but not of it, right? Yet how do we live out that practical wisdom? This post asks that hard question and comes up with controversial answers.

Those are my picks for the top posts of this year.

The Best of the Rest

On Pastors:

I wrote on pastoral ministry a couple times this year and both posts resonated with people. One addresses how we treat our pastors as fellow believers and the other looks at the ridiculous ministry load we place on them:
The Pastor: Not One of Us
Killing Him Softly

On Community:

Rodney King once asked if we we can all get along. Should it be so hard? That denominations skewer each other should appall us all. That we fight so easily over petty things should shame us. That we continue to talk about community yet live in antithesis to that talk should drive us to the altar for repentance.
Throwing Stones in Glass Houses of Worship
What the Other Guys Taught Me
Radical Thoughts, Real Community
Why We Need Each Other…
Love Your Lord? Love Your Staff!

On Men:

Several of the posts I wrote about issues confronting Christian men received plenty of feedback. Men in the Church face a number of trying issues. These posts address some of those intractable problems.
The Gospel of Manliness
Nowhere Men & Nowhere Men—More Thoughts
The Cash Value of a Man

On Charismatic Issues and the Holy Spirit:

As a believer who upholds the modern workings of the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, I wrote several posts addressing the mishandling we give those gifts and how poorly we understand the Holy Spirit’s work in the believer’s life.
When the Spirit Falls
A Lesson on the Spirit from the Three Little Pigs
The Spirit Has Left the Building
And Now a Word from Our Sponsor…
Following TBN Off a Cliff

On Discernment:

For all our talk of knowing Christ, why is it that we don’t seem to be able to hear Him very well? Listening to the Lord and testing the spirits to see if they are of Him should be bedrock to our faith.
Dissing Discernment
Guidance the Monty Hall Way

On Our Status As Believers:

Sometimes we Christians fail to understand who we are in Christ and the intimacy we should have with him. This failure colors the way we live out the Faith before the world.
Sinners or Saints?
OT Christians vs. NT Christians
In the Bedroom

On the Richness of Living the Christian Life:

Being a Christian means more than doctrinal adherence. It means an intimate walk with God. It opens our lives to richer experiences of truth. It takes a drab world and colors it through God’s goodness to us. Yet sometimes we settle for so much less than God’s best.
Blind, Deaf, and Dumb
The Half-Born
The Wrong Toy in Your Happy Meal
The Marriage of Word & Image
The Jesus Love Revolution
In My Little Kingdom (and Yours)

On Issues Facing the American Church:

Because this blog focuses on issues facing the American Church, I’m going to write about those issue. Seems obvious enough. The follow posts tackle a wide variety of topics that we must confront if we’re to be salt and light in a dying world:
Church Growth Movement Fall Down and Go Boom!
The Question No One Wants to Ask…
Two Halves of the Whole Gospel
Need? What Need?
One Simple WordModern Evangelicalism: An MAO Inhibitor?
Caltrops on the Road to Glory
Kingdoms and BitternessThe Church of Gil Gunderson
Sex and the Created Order
21st Century American Evangelicalism: The Ne Plus Ultra of Christianity?

I’ll end this 2007 edition of the Best of Cerulean Sanctum with two posts.

Many of you reading this blog. As Christians who blog, we have an enormous responsibility to the Lord. For this reason, our every word should matter for the Kingdom.

How to Be a Godblogger Who Matters…

And on a personal note, I had a chance to get behind the wheel of my dream car. It may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but I saw something bigger in that experience. I hope all of us have dreams and that God teaches us His unique truths through our experiences of receiving those dreams—and also in muddling through when they fail to come to pass. The Lord is good.

Lessons from a Dream Car


Thanks for being a reader. Be blessed!

See also:

The Best of Cerulean Sanctum 2006


Cerulean Sanctum logo

If any one theme marked 2006 here at Cerulean Sanctum, it’s that everything changes. This year marked a big transition from Blogger to WordPress, and all in all, it went fairly smoothly. Despite this, the pressure from five years of blogging finally caught up with me and I took a hiatus for six weeks.

In keeping with the kind of bad timing I seem to suffer from, the day after my hiatus started, The Wall Street Journal ran an article noting that bloggers who step away from their blogs risk losing their audience. I’ll leave it up to the five readers who stayed with me to determine whether that’s true or not! 😉

Despite fewer new posts than last year, I still managed to come up with enough decent ones to include here. I’ll let you all be the judges of whether or not these picks live up to their billing.

God bless you!

General Church Issues

The year got off to a bang with a series that tackled what the American Church can do to be effective in an age much different than even fifty years ago.

Do our churches preach messages that are impossible to live out? Are we putting millstones around people’s necks and offering no means of escape?

Ah, the missionary drops by the church to tell tales of other lands and peoples. Yet what he describes sounds nothing like church the way we do it here in America. When did we become the measure of all godliness?

Jesus didn’t come to found a loose band of disconnected individuals, but a vital community that has all things in common.

What are the issues today that hold us back from being the the kind of Church God desires?

Cerulean Sanctum is a blog that asks tough questions about the American Church and what it’s doing wrong. But what is it doing right?

What will it take for us to break down the man-made artifice within our churches that shoos unbelievers away?

The title of this two-parter says it all:

We’ve had small groups in the modern Evangelical Church for forty years. Where’s the fruit?

What it means to live out real community in our churches:

Evangelicals love a winner. But how do they treat a loser—especially when it’s them?

Lifestyle Issues and Christian Living

We ask so much of Christian women today. Perhaps too much.

Why do some Christians seem twice the child of hell now than before they got “saved”?

So heavenly minded you’re no earthly good? You just may be…

When we carve the Bible up into little snippets and toss them around willy-nilly, we may not be using the Book as God intended.

Right eye causing you to sin? Got a wardrobe straight out of Fredrick’s of Hollywood? You might be suffering from…

Or you may be suffering from never having heard that you’re beautiful. And that’s heartbreaking.

When Christians attempt the melding of Hollywood and the Faith, usually one of those components gets slighted.

We focus on the moment of salvation, but what about the sixty years of life—and an eternity beyond—that follow?

Some people would crawl over broken glass to save another person from hell. On the other hand…

If we have the mind of Christ, how is it that we can’t live out His thoughts?

One day, we’ll see how it was all worth it.

Tough Questions

Christians should never run from tough questions others ask about the faith. But what if we’re asking ourselves those same questions?

Does any of the Imago Dei still reside in us after the Fall? And if so, what are the ramifications for us?

Can you have both money and a ministry?

Are Christians living prepared for an economic meltdown?

Why is it so hard to pick a Bible translation?

Controversial Subjects

Used to be that anyone claiming he heard from God wound up in the nuthouse. If so, all Christians should be in a rubber room—and be overjoyed for it.

Worshiping in Spirit and Truth? Well, not according to that guy…

To baptize or not baptize? And how do we know our child’s profession of faith is genuine?

And still the partying goes on! Well, until it ends…

A sad face is good for the heart, but you won’t hear a sermon condoning it.

Charismatic Issues

Faith is faith. We either have it or we don’t. We shouldn’t belittle those who do.

Heretic Hunting and Judgment

Always arguing, but never doing the works of Christ in the world. What good is being right if our neighbor goes to hell or the poor man dies from neglect?

The year started out with a witch hunt against the classic spiritual disciplines practiced by Christians for centuries. Are they from the pit of hell or from the hand of God?

The most linked-to post of 2006. Physician, heal thyself.

Are we so desperate to be found right that we’ll gleefully destroy other people?

He’s a better Christian than we are. Has better ideas, too. Someone better take him down before he makes us all look bad.

I’m a Charismatic Reformational Quasi-Amillennial Post-Lutheran Credobaptist Homeschooling Christian Educator! Now do you have enough ammo to rip me to shreds?

If we have a problem with our brother and the way he handles truth, we are called by Christ to speak with him face to face in order to rightly resolve our dispute. Especially if we’re writing a book on absolute truth.

Writing and Publishing

And speaking of writing, why is it that Christian novels feature characters that don’t seem like the people you know?

We’re always complaining that our society is awash in sex and violence.  If Christian fiction is any measure, one of those two vices gets a reprieve.

More Cowbell Awards

The readers love The Award No One Wants to Win. I think it’s a conspiracy.

So do the Christian Educators.