2013 New Year Blog Ideas

2013 Blog
As I run into 2013, I’m doing the normal “New Year Maintenance” and wanted to bring you along for some of this journey. One of the first things I’ve done to ready myself for learning more, is to clean up and add-to my blog subscription list. I’ve followed some blogs for years, and others I’ve just recently started reading. The list below is part of what I’m reading, and I’ve used these qualifications to create the collection:

I will not subscribe to a blog only to do a favor for a friend. I’m not saying this is a perfect idea for everyone, but I’m pruning the blogs that I don’t really read. I will however offer a couch for any friends to sleep on that come to Passion, Orange,  or Catalyst  Conferences in 2013.

I will only subscribe to blogs that I can allow myself adequate time to read.  The days of reading 2,000 word blog posts are done for me. You may notice a few exceptions on my subscription list, but for the most part I’ve rid myself of the posts that took the most time for me to digest.

Just because I don’t subscribe to a blog doesn’t mean I won’t read it. It just means I’m not getting daily updates on new content.

I love shared content.  I have tons of friends that will send me content from time to time, and I usually reserve time to read what they share. Would you share with me too? You an email me at jc @ jonathancliff .com

rss_32At great risk of being a hypocrite, I’d love to invite you to read this blog in 2013. I’ll be writing some of what I’m up to, much of what I’m learning, and even give away a few books here and there.  

Guest Post: Raising Kids the World Will Hate


I wanted to share a great post by Adam Griffin, the Student Minister at The Village Church. As a parent that prays longs prayers about the future of my sons and daughter; I found this recent blog post to be a real eye-opener. Enjoy!

When I was a boy, my dad asked me, What do you want to be when you grow up? To which I frankly answered (quite adorably no doubt), A daddy. When my relentlessly realistic dad informed me that no one would pay me to be a father, I told him that I would gladly pay myself.

In 2011 my dream of being a father came true when my son, Oscar, was born. Since that day my hopes and dreams have shifted to what Oscar will be when he grows up. Of course, I like to imagine him growing up handsome, talented, godly and kind, but there s no way to really know yet. I can be fairly certain he ll have an affinity for Texas A&M and the Green Bay Packers. There s little doubt that he ll have a disappointing hairline, love to eat and sweat even when it s cold. For the most part, however, I ll just have to wait and see who he grows up to be.

I often daydream about what a great guy he might be and how well loved he ll be by others. I daydream that coaches, teachers and pastors will approve of him and even be impressed by him. I envision his peers holding him in high esteem, wanting him around all the time. I imagine that the generation that follows him will admire him. I hold tightly to the thought that, as he becomes a man, he will grow in favor among any and all he comes into contact with. Some of these desires are healthy, and some are prideful.

I have a strong, and certainly not uncommon, desire for my child to be validated by the love of other people. Most parents want their son or daughter to be a lovable person, and it s that desire that makes  John 15:19so important and so transformative when it comes to the way we prepare our children for the future. Christ tells His disciples, If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. It s not just  John 15:19, either. There are many Scriptures  that describe the adversarial relationship that God s followers will have with those who are not believers.

Reading this, I realized that if God answers my prayer for my son to be a follower of Christ, people will hate him. People will absolutely, unquestionably be repulsed by my son.

To read the  entirety  of this article please visit:  http://www.thevillagechurch.net/the-village-blog/raising-kids-the-world-will-hate  


Get to Know Me


I know that many who read this will never interact with me on a daily basis, and I know that those that do will already know many of these things about me. But to better help you understand the introverts around you, I thought I’d share some more personal introvert tendencies about myself.

I love meeting new people, but after I do then I will nearly always retreat to: my office, my bedroom, my hotel room, my back porch, or anywhere else I can take 10 minutes to catch my breathe.

When my office door is shut it doesn’t mean I don’t want you to come in. It just means I need the silence when I’m working by myself. Most of the time I leave my door open just so people will come talk to me.

I love speaking in front of large groups, and I find it easier than walking through a lobby full of strangers. Explain that to me please?

Before I meet someone for the first time, I will have to be alone to gear myself up. Consider it my own little pep talk.

If you ask me about something I’m passionate about, then you may not get me to shut up for hours. I have no problem talking.

I’m an extroverted thinker. I think out-loud, and need to process my thoughts in front of those that care for me the most. In fact, if you let me process long enough I’ll eventually come around to disagreeing with myself.

Most of those that don’t really know me, and only see me from a distance, would say that I’m an extrovert. That makes me laugh, but it makes my wife laugh the loudest.

If I have you over for dinner, it means I really like you.

I like to be alone to re-energize, but I often get the same energy from being with my best friends.

As introverted as I may be, I’m still awfully hard to offend. I find myself assuming the best in people, but it could also be that I assume everyone likes me and wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings. I’m working through this…it’s a real problem.

Understanding me isn’t the same as  dissecting  a bomb.  I’m not really as complicated as all these blog posts may make me seem.

Calling all introverts! Add to my list please, what are some things you’d like others to know about you?

Friday Bag #16

The Friday Bag

Why Great Ideas Get Rejected“Have you ever debuted an exciting new idea to the world only to receive a lukewarm or even highly critical response? Well, get used to it. Mounting evidence shows that we all possess an inherent bias against creativity.”

The Marks of Maturity“You may have noticed a paradox that exists among students today. Although there are exceptions to the rule, this generation of kids is advanced intellectually, but behind emotionally. They are missing many of the marks of maturity they should possess.” // And if you missed it, I have a great audio interview with the author of this blog post, Tim Elmore.

The Power of Overlooking an Offense – I love this blog post, and subsequent story of President Lincoln. This week, I’ve been writing extensively on ‘not taking offense’ and this story illustrates all the points I’ve been trying to live by.


My Favorites from 2011

Every year I post a top 10 list, based on traffic that came to the website over a 12 month period.  You can go read that top 10 list if you’d like, but today I wanted to share a top list of my own personal favorites.

My favorites from this year, and in no particular order:

Small Group Leading Tips // The best post content-wise my website has ever seen, and it came courtesy of the 3rd grade boys small group leader at our church.  I also sleep with her and have fathered her three children.  She is my wife.

I Hate Sam Luce // When detailing all the reasons I really hate Sam, I also added a dumb little image of him with horns.  The best part of the posts, was the lady that came up to me at the Kidmin Conference in Chicago and said, “I just can’t see Sam without seeing those horns you added to his picture!”  Greatest thing ever.

Wanna know what my family did this year?  Check out any of these post.

Doing Hard Things  and you can see a sermon I gave this year on the topic as well.

On Being a Foster Parent (another guest post from Starr)

Certainty is Overrated

I personally loved writing about Navigating Staff Relationships.  It’s been a big part of my church-life this year, and something I’m still learning to be better at.  Here are the post related  to this series:

What do you Want?

Time to Move

Practice Accountability

Assume the Best

And finally, one of the most exciting things I did this year on the blog was the video interview with David Platt.  I was totally blown away by his presentation at the D6 Conference in September, and was privileged to talk with him some more afterwards about parenting, life, and ministering to our families.

My interview with Pastor David Platt from the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL and the author of “Radical: Taking back our faith from the American Dream.”


Would it be too presumption to ask?  What was a post you loved this year?  Not just on this blog, but anywhere.