Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

My 2018 Favorites


As I’ve done for a number of years, I wanted to share with you my favorites from 2018 in a variety of categories:  movies, music, books, etc. Except for books, these are all items that were released or took place in 2018. For books, I include my favorite books that I read during 2018, regardless of when the book was published. Enjoy!  Please let me know what you think of my list, and also share some of your favorites.

Top Choice: Black Panther

The remaining films in my top 10 are:

  1. Paddington 2
  2. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  3. Mary Poppins Returns
  4. Green Book
  5. Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. Christopher Robin
  8. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  9. Creed II

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

  • Springsteen on Broadway
  • Operation Finale
  • Searching
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Calvinist
  • The Post
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Ready Player One
  • Eighth Grade
  • Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer
  • The Nutcracker and the Fourth Realm
  • All the Queen’s Horses
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse

Below are the worst, or at least the most disappointing, films I’ve seen, in no particular order:

  • Hostiles
  • Phantom Thread
  • The 15:17 to Paris
  • God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness
  • First Reformed
  • The Grinch


Top Choice: Resurrection Letters: Prologue/Resurrection Letters Vol. 1 – Andrew Peterson

The remaining albums in my top 10 were:

  1. I Know a Ghost – Crowder
  2. The Elements – TobyMac
  3. You’re Driving Me Crazy/The Prophet Speaks – Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco
  4. Let the Trap Say Amen – Lecrae and Zaytoven
  5. Egypt Station – Paul McCartney
  6. Believe – Russ Taff
  7. The Eclipse Sessions – John Hiatt
  8. The North Coast Sessions – Keith and Kristyn Getty
  9. The Gift: A Christmas Compilation – 116

Other albums I enjoyed, in no particular order, were:

  • Holy Roar – Chris Tomlin
  • The Beatles (“White Album) Reissue – The Beatles
  • Surrounded – Michael W. Smith
  • Into the Night – Social Club Misfits
  • One More Song – Ashley Cleveland
  • Hymns Vol. 1 – Shane and Shane
  • In the Blue Light – Paul Simon
  • The Advent of Christmas – Matt Maher
  • Acoustic Live Vol. 1 – NEEDTOBREATHE
  • More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series Vol. 14 – Bob Dylan
  • My New Moon – Amos Lee
  • Springsteen on Broadway – Bruce Springsteen


Top Choice: Is He Worthy? – Andrew Peterson. Watch the worshipful video for the song here.

Other songs I’ve enjoyed, in no particular order, were:

  • Joy – 116 featuring Lecrae, Trip Lee and Abe Parker
  • Be Still My Soul – Russ Taff
  • Fight for You – Gawvi, featuring Lecrae
  • I Can’t Lose – Lecrae and Zaytoven
  • The Holy Grail – John Fogerty
  • War Cry – Social Club Misfits (featuring Tauren Wells)
  • Dominoes – Paul McCartney
  • Remember Me – Andrew Peterson
  • Praise Him Forever – Chris Tomlin
  • Forever on Your Side – NEEDTOBREATHE (with JOHNNYSWIM)
  • He Will Hold Me Fast – Shane and Shane
  • Crooked – Amos Lee
  • Everyday I’m Blessed – Crowder
  • Everything – TobyMac
  • Over the Hill – John Hiatt
  • Magnificent, Marvelous, Matchless Love – Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • Better Than I Used to Be – Mat Kearney
  • Cool Down by the Banks of Jordan – Ashley Cleveland
  • Everyday I Have the Blues – Van Morrison and Joey DeFrancesco
  • One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor – Paul Simon
  • Who Cares – Paul McCartney

Artist of the Year

Andrew Peterson for my top album and song of the year, performing and speaking at the Sing! Conference and his Behold the Lamb of God tour stop in Champaign, Illinois.


Top Choice: Eagles and James Taylor at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.

Others that I enjoyed, in no particular order were:

  • John Hiatt and the Goners, featuring Sonny Landreth. Slow Turning 30th Anniversary Reunion Tour in Bloomington, Illinois
  • U2’s “Experience and Innocence” tour in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Andrew Peterson’s “Behold the Lamb of God” tour in Champaign, Illinois
  • Fernando Ortega in Elmhurst, IL
  • John Crist’s “The Human Being Tour” in Peoria, Illinois


Top Choice: The Prodigal Prophet by Tim Keller

The reminder of my top 10 were:

  1. Tie: Letters to the Church – Francis Chan and Inexpressible: Hesed and the Mystery of God’s Lovingkindness – Michael Card
  2. The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row – Anthony Ray Hinton
  3. The Gospel Comes with a House Key – Rosaria Butterfield
  4. Everybody Always – Bob Goff
  5. Servant Leadership in Action – Edited by Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell
  6. The Gospel According to God – John MacArthur
  7. Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 – John Maxwell
  8. Paul Simon: The Life – Robert Hilburn
  9. Dare to Serve – Cheryl Bachelder

Other books I’ve enjoyed, in no particular order, were:

  • Gay Girl, Good God – Jackie Hill Perry
  • Some Pastors and Teachers – Sinclair Ferguson
  • How to Get Unstuck – Matt Perman
  • Take Heart: Christian Courage in the Age of Unbelief – Matt Chandler
  • Immanuel Labor: God’s Presence in Our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work – Russell E. Gehrlein
  • Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock – Gregory Alan Thornbury
  • Susie: The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon, wife of Charles H. Spurgeon – Ray Rhodes Jr.
  • Love Does – Bob Goff
  • The Gospel at Work: How Working for King Jesus Gives Purpose and Meaning to Our Jobs – Greg Gilbert and Sebastian Traeger
  • The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created– Jane Leavy
  • Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent – Sinclair Ferguson
  • Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the Seven Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences – Carey Nieuwhof

Author of the Year

Sinclair Ferguson for publishing four books this year:

  • Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent
  • Some Pastors and Teachers
  • In the Year of Our Lord: Reflections on Twenty Centuries of Church History
  • Let’s Study James


Best: Tim Challies’ Ala Carte. This is required reading for me each Monday through Saturday. Challies includes helpful Kindle deals, links to a good variety of helpful articles and a quote.  Check out Tim’s website here.


Best: The Briefing – Albert Mohler. Each weekend morning, Albert Mohler hosts a podcast providing worldview analysis about the leading news headlines and cultural conversations. This is required listening for me. Check out Dr. Mohler’s website here.

Honorable mention goes to the third season of Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent podcast Revisionist History. On each episode, Gladwell goes back and reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.


Top Choice: Sing! 2018 (Getty Worship Conference) in Nashville, Tennessee.

New Resources

Top Choice: Messages from the 2018 Ligonier National Conference which had the theme “Awakening”.

Television Shows

Top Choice: Shetland

Other programs/series that I enjoyed, in no particular order, were:

  • The Resident
  • This is Us
  • The Man in the High Castle
  • Suits
  • New Amsterdam
  • The Good Fight
  • Making a Murderer, Season 2
  • Rick Steves’ Europe

These are 2018 favorites in a variety of categories. How about you? What were some of your favorites?

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 40 years and a St. Louis Cardinals fan. Before retiring I served as a manager at a Fortune 50 company; I'm a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and 2 Corinthians 5:21 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

2 thoughts on “My 2018 Favorites

  1. Bill,

    Great lists! Thanks for including Immanuel Labor in your list of books you enjoyed this year!


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