Forward!

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions.  I’m not opposed to them.  I just don’t take the time to sit down and write them out.  I guess you could say that I have a few tucked away that are the standard ones for every year: lose weight, read more, and eat less sweets.  If you were to ask me what my resolutions are, I’d give you those three.  Only after mumbling something about how they’re not really resolutions.  Then you would look at me like you’re confused and slightly offended.  Then I’d apologize.  It’d be a big thing, so it’s best to just not ask me.

We do these resolutions, though, because we want this year to be better than last.  Maybe it’s because of Christmas, but December 27 through December 31 of any year seems to be the 5 most optimistic days of the year.  Everyone wants to be better.  And what better day to start than January 1?  So I know where everyone is coming from.  I’m right there with you.

Everyone is also very quick to downgrade and be negative towards the current year.  Why?  We didn’t get better.  It’s kind of painful to think about, but 2013 didn’t prove to be the year that we lost 50 pounds, or that we found someone special, or that we graduated.  It was the year that we gained 20 pounds, broke up with a special person, failed a class or two, lost our job, got in a fight with a family member, saw our church split, lost a dear friend…

Do I need to say more?

The year was tough for some.  For others, it wasn’t as tough, but we still have those moments we want to forget.  And that’s alright.  Here’s what I know, and 2013 echoed these things:

God is still God.  No matter what.  That’s one thing that attracts people to God.  He is unchanging.  And despite what you’re going through, he is still God.  And he will be God.  Forever.

There is a plan.  At the risk of sounding too flighty, understand that God has a plan that you fit into.  No matter what your theology is, there is something organized and orchestrated that you are doing for the Kingdom of God.  You, and you only.

You’re not a slave.  This may sound like a weird one, but I see a lot of defeated Christians.  We sometimes can’t see past our own sin.  But we know that we are no longer slaves to sin.  We serve and follow Christ, who defeated everything (including death).  Yet we still sit in the shackles of our wrong-doing, although God has forgiven us through Christ.  Just remember that you’re not a slave.

2014, as I write this, is just about 6 hours away.  Japan and Australia have said that 2014 is awesome so far, so we’re in for a treat.  Here are some things I’d love to see happen in 2014 for me, my family, and my church.

Middlepoint Christian Church launching.  God is up to something huge in Middlesboro, and Middlepoint is going to play a role in that.  Just as other churches and people will.  Middlepoint will launch in 2014, and it will be loud.  I can’t wait.

Raising over $75,000.  Starting a church (or any organization) takes money.  There’s a lot of groundwork to do, and the biggest help for us is financial help.  I have set a goal for 2014 to raise at least $75,000.  I can’t do it.  Neither can you.  But God will be able to work through us and we can do it together.  If you want to help us out in this, go to middlepoint.org to find out how.

Take a vacation.  This may sound strange, but it’s necessary.  No matter what job you have, you need to some time to recharge.  This goes for me, too.  My wife and I will be taking some time to ourselves.  It’ll be great.  And I look forward to it.

Go to Catalyst.  This may sound small and insignificant, but it’s needed.  If you’re a leader of any organization, especially something like a church, then you need to take some time and go to a conference to learn.  If you don’t, then you are cheating your organization or church out of the opportunity to have a leader that is growing and learning.  For me, this conference is Catalyst.  I’ve wanted to go for about 8 years, but have never gotten the opportunity.  This past October, though, I got to go due to the generosity of some supporters of the church.  It was magnificent.  I’ll be heading back this October.

Read more.  I know.  I made fun of it at the beginning.  But it’s true.  I want to read more.  Not just ministry and theology books, either.  Recently, a church leader encouraged me to read for enjoyment.  So I picked up a couple of biographies, and geeked out for a while.  It was great!  So I will do that more.  I’m actually reading a book right now about famous people from Kentucky.  Sure, it sounds lame, but I love that stuff!

Ready for 2014?  You should be.  Happy New Year!

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