Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

My 2015 Favorites


 A Few of My Favorite ThingsAs I have done for the past several years, I want to share with you some of my favorites from 2015 in a variety of categories. Except for books, these are all items that were released or took place in 2015. For books, I include my favorite books that I actually read during 2015. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think.


I enjoy music in a variety of genres. As a result, you will see in my 2015 favorites such diverse genres as hip-hop/rap to sacred music. My favorites were:

Albums Saints and Sinners by Matt Maher

Top Pick: Saints and Sinners – Matt Maher. This album featured two of my favorite songs – my top song of the year “Abide with Me” and “Because He Lives” (which was actually on my list last year when it was released as a single).

The next 10 in order are:

  1. Uncomfortable – Andy Mineo
  2. This is Not a Test – Toby Mac
  3. Glory to the Holy One: Sacred Music for the People of God – Jeff Lippencott and R.C. Sproul
  4. The Burning Edge of Dawn – Andrew Peterson
  5. Unbroken Praise – Matt Redman
  6. Before This World – James Taylor
  7. Cass County – Don Henley
  8. The Wonderlands EPs – Jon Foreman
  9. Shadows in the Night – Bob Dylan
  10. Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship – Third Day

Others I enjoyed, in no particular order were:

Floodplain – Sara Groves
The Best of The Cutting Edge 1965 – 1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 – Bob Dylan
Adore: Christmas Songs of Worship – Chris Tomlin
Duets: Reworking the Catalogue – Van Morrison
JOY — An Irish Christmas LIVE – Keith and Kristyn Getty
Live from Red Rocks – Amos Lee
Live from the Woods – NEEDTOBREATHE
Passion: Even So Come – Various Artists
Tomorrow We Live – KB


Top pick is “Abide with Me” written by Matt Maher and Matt Redman, and recorded by both.

The next 10 in order are:

  1. The Power of a Great Affection – Andrew Peterson
  2. Feel It – Toby Mac
  3. Good, Good Father – Chris Tomlin
  4. Clothed in Righteousness – Jeff Lippencott and R.C. Sproul
  5. Now I Know – Andy Mineo
  6. Unbroken Praise – Matt Redman
  7. Soul on Fire – Third Day
  8. Watchin’ Over Me – James Taylor
  9. Even So Come – Chris Tomlin
  10. Brother – NEEDTOBREATHE (featuring Gavin DeGraw)

Others I enjoyed, in no particular order were:

Be Kind to Yourself – Andrew Peterson
He Shall Reign Forevermore – Chris Tomlin
No More Pride – Don Henley
Sweet Pea (live version) – Amos Lee
Sideways – KB (featuring Lecrae)
Wonder – Crowder
No Longer I – Matt Redman
Desperados – Andy Mineo
Where I am Now – Don Henley
Amen – Steven Curtis Chapman


Stevie Wonder Concert
Top pick: Steve Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life Performance Tour in Indianapolis

Others I enjoyed, in no particular order were:

U2 in Chicago on the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour
Andrew Peterson in Normal
Jim Gaffigan in St. Louis
Michael McDonald’s This Christmas Tour in St. Louis
Lecrae and Andy Mineo Anomaly Tour in St. Louis

Andrew PetersonArtist of the Year

Andrew Peterson – OK, so I’m late to the game of appreciating his work, but in late 2015, I made up for it. After seeing him in concert in August, I purchased his new The Burning Edge of Dawn, a compilation After All These Years, and his wonderful Christmas album Behold the Lamb of God.

Spiritual DepressionBooks

In this category, while many of the books will have been released in 2015, I list those books I have actually read in 2015. My favorites are:

Top pick – Spiritual Depression – Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I read this 1965 book while listening to Lloyd-Jones preach the sermons that made up the book over a period of weeks. It was a wonderful experience.

The next 10 in order are:

  1. Reformation Study Bible – English Standard Version (revised and updated edition). A negative was the long delay in the release of the e-book version, which is how I read all of my books. The book version released at the Ligonier National Conference on February 19 and the e-book November 30. This is the Bible that I will use for my daily reading/studying. The New King James Version of the Reformation Study Bible is scheduled to be released at 2016 Ligonier National Conference.
  2. We Will Not Be Silent – Albert Mohler
  3. Child in the Manger – Sinclair Ferguson
  4. One Thousand Wells: How an Audacious Goal Taught Me to Love the World Instead of Save It – Jena Lee Nardella
  5. What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? – Kevin DeYoung.
  6. Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity – Tim Challies
  7. Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Realistic Hope for those who Suffer from Depression – Zack Eswine
  8. Fortunate Son – John Fogerty
  9. Amy Carmichael: Beauty for Ashes – Iain H. Murray
  10. Rejoicing in Christ – Michael Reeves

Others that I read and enjoyed, in no particular order were:

Deserted by God? – Sinclair Ferguson
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century – Christopher Catherwood
Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel – Russell Moore
Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work – Tom Nelson
7 Women: And The Secret of Their Greatness – Eric Metaxas
Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ – Rosaria Butterfield
A Loving Life: In a World of Broken Relationships – Paul Miller
The Wright Brothers – David McCullough
Gospel-Centered Work: Becoming the Worker God Wants You to Be – Tim Chester
John Knox: Fearless Faith – Steven Lawson
The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do – Jeff Goins
The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life – Mike Matheny

Books that I read for the second time and enjoyed were:

What’s Best Next – Matt Perman
Kingdom Calling – Amy Sherman
A Praying Life – Paul Miller
A Hole in Our Holiness – Kevin DeYoung

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Dr. Martyn Lloyd-JonesAuthor of the Year

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones – after waiting impatiently for Spiritual Depression to be released on e-book, I grudgingly read an actual physical book (yes, I dislike doing that now). I’m currently reading his classic Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. Add to that watching the film Logic on Fire and the new book by his grandson Christopher Catherwood, Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century, there is no doubt that 2015 was for me a Martyn Lloyd-Jones year, 24 years after he went to Glory.


Top Pick: Spectre. Daniel Craig is my second favorite James Bond (behind Sir Sean Connery, of course). This film included all of the things I enjoy about a Bond film – a great opening scene, gadgets, cars and exotic locations.

The next 10, in order were:

  1. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
  2. The Martian
  3. The Big Short
  4. Spotlight
  5. Bridge of Spies
  6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  7. Cinderella
  8. The Peanuts Movie
  9. The Intern
  10. Woman in Gold

Others that I enjoyed, in no particular order were:

Inside Out
Steve Jobs
McFarland USA
Avengers: The Age of Ultron
War Room
The Walk
The Gift
Mr. Holmes
The Drop Box

Worst:  Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 – a “no doubter” here. A legitimate zero star movie.

Television Programs

the profitTop Pick: The Profit

Others that I enjoyed, in no particular order were:

Downton Abbey
Wayward Pines

albert mohlerPodcasts

Top Pick: The Briefing – Albert Mohler. This is required listening each weekday morning.

Honorable Mention – The Eric Metaxas Podcast. Over the past few years Eric Metaxas has become one of my favorite authors. I was excited to hear about his radio show and even more excited when it became available as a podcast.

Tim ChalliesBlog

Top Pick: Tim Challies’ Ala Carte. This is required reading each Monday through Saturday.

Among the other blogs that I check daily are Ligonier Ministries and Desiring God.

Recommended ResourceLogic on Fire

Logic On Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones


These are my favorites for the year. What were some of your favorites from 2015?

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “My 2015 Favorites

  1. Here are my, and my wife Julie’s, best and worst movies for 2015:

      Mike – Best

    Mission Impossible
    McFarland USA
    Jurassic World
    Pitch Perfect

      Mike – Worst

    Jupiter Ascending

      Julie – Best

    Secret in Their Eyes
    Imitation Game
    The Gift
    The Martian
    Walk in the Woods
    McFarland USA
    Far from the Madding Crowd
    Crimson Peak

      Julie – Worst

    Hot Pursuit
    Jupiter Ascending

  2. Pingback: The Best List of Lists of the Bests of 2015 | Glory Focus

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