Yesterday, we turned the calendar to another year. It’s hard to believe that it’s 2015 already. I remember when the George Orwell book 1984 was a futuristic tale, and when the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey was distant-future science fiction. Now it seems like both of those dates are ancient past.
Much happened in our lives in 2014; some good, some not so good. I read on Facebook in the past few days statuses from two different people–one saying they couldn’t wait to get 2014 over with because it was the worst year of their life, and the other celebrating “the best year of my life.” No doubt for most of us 2014 fell somewhere in between; many of us faced relational and financial and emotional hurdles in the past year, but all of us have much for which we can be thankful.
But now, we look ahead to a New Year, with all of the possibilities of a fresh start and the opportunity for yet another new beginning. This is the time of year when we are inclined to make resolutions about what we plan/hope/wish to do in the year ahead, most of which fade as quickly as the fireworks in the sky on New Year’s Eve.
For that reason I will not suggest any new “New Year’s resolutions,” but I will recommend a few choices once again. We all have decisions before us as to what we will do and who we will be in the year ahead, and those choices will be grounded in the real-life priorities that shape our lives.
As we look back a year from now and evaluate the lives we lived in 2015, whether we will have succeeded or failed will largely be determined by the choices we made. Let’s make good choices, to live our lives according to God’s will.
Specifically in regard to our church, I am excited and encouraged about what God is doing in the life of our fellowship. I believe God has great things in store for us in the year ahead as we serve Him together. However, we are reminded that “our church” collectively is made up of a bunch of individuals, all of whom have our own choices to make.
With that in mind, I wanted to revisit a few basic challenges from years past, and specifically encourage each of you and your family to commit yourselves to do at least these five things in the New Year:
Pray diligently. Our church will only be as strong as our prayer lives, as we seek God’s direction and His moving in our ministry. We can do what we can do, or we can ask God to do what He does. I prefer the latter. So…let us pray.
Attend faithfully. Every member of this body needs every other member, both as we gather together for worship on Sundays and as we connect with one another in community in our small groups. So, “let us not forsake assembling ourselves together.”
Serve selflessly. Like Jesus, we’re called to serve, more than to be served. Ask God to give you a servant’s heart, and then open your eyes for opportunities to use it. See how you can give your life away in the year ahead.
Reach out compassionately. It is time we regain our passion for seeing lost people saved. They need hope. We have it. Share it.
Walk humbly with God. Ultimately, that’s God’s will for all of us, all the time. (Micah 6:8)
Happy New Year to each of you! May the Lord bless you and your family abundantly in the year ahead. I look forward to being back with you on Sunday as we kick off 2015 with a great day of worship together.