Words for the New Year

2012 is about to come to a close.  That sounds a lot better than saying that 2012 is coming to an end.  Perhaps that is all that the Mayans foresaw; 2012 was simply coming to a close, not an end.

I look at the year ahead as a great journey that God has already planned out for me and for you.  The journey is the purpose of life.  The journey is the reason that there is this gathered group of people called the church.  The journey is enjoying God, enjoying one another (joining with those who enjoy God), and bringing others into this joy.  This the reason mankind was created.  This is the reason that Jesus Christ said that He would build His church (Matthew 16:18).  We are placed here on this planet in this vast universe to enjoy God.  He made us and He made us to know Him.  We are His and the great need is to have eyes opened to reality and that reality is that God knows your name and He wants you to know His.  He has made you.  All those who realize this reality cannot help but be overcome with joy and find themselves worshiping God (Psalm 100).

So life’s grand purpose is to enjoy God, worship God, serve God.  Those are just three ways of saying the same thing.  And we are not isolated in this grand purpose.  There are others who are enjoying God and the point is that we are to join with them in this enjoyment by enjoying one another.  Enjoy one another by enjoying God together.  We want others to share in this same joy, to have this joy that is unmatched – a joy found in God alone (1 John 1:3-4).

So that is the grand purpose of our time on this planet.  Enjoy God.  Enjoy others who enjoy God and bring others into this joy.  Ten thoughts come to mind in fulfilling this grand purpose.  These are things to see and do for 2013 in view of this purpose.

1. Actively embrace and proclaim that God is here and He is in charge.

2. Fulfill the simple order of leadership that God has gifted to the church for the function of His church.

3. Grow – may there be gospel growth and relational growth (knowing God better and knowing one another better).

4. Get with a small group made up of those who enjoy God.

5. Know that you have value to Jesus Christ and a place and value in His church.

6. Be a part of the multi-generational ministry of the church; each generation transmitting truth to the generation after it.

7. Develop a special time of knowing God and His Word better together with those who are enjoying God.

8. Vacation Bible School

9. Be a reader and thinker.  Reading begins and ends with a thoughtful, daily reading of God’s Word.  Reading good books complements this.

10. Expand your missions outreach to the neighborhood and world around you.

Very First Words

I am blogging now.  It is actually rather exciting.  As of writing these words I have just one person following this blog – me.  I feel like I can say anything.

Life is such a precious gift.  I know that those words are not unique or dare I say profound.  Perhaps it is because the wonder of life has gotten lost in our pursuits in life.  The letter by James the half-brother of Jesus Christ writes what I think is probably the most staggering assessment about life.  Life is but a mist (James 4:14).  Should we illustrate this truth?  The next time you spray Windex on your bathroom mirror, count how long the mist from that bottle lasts before you go to wipe the mirror clean.  Or how about this, how often have you asked, “where did today go?” The brevity of life intensifies the value of life.

I will never have yesterday  back.  I love time travel discussion and time travel movies, but there is no flux capacitor to make time travel possible.  I cannot go back to yesterday and see the moment my parents fell in love.  I cannot reclaim yesterday.   However, there is God and He has reclaimed me.  He has opened my eyes and has given me perspective.  When I remember my past I now see His hand.  When I look at the days ahead of me I do so with a courage found in the promised presence of God.  In other words, I face today, tomorrow, and the regrets of my past knowing God has never left me.  He has never disappointed me.  He has never abandoned me.  Will there be trouble?  Has there been trouble?  Have I been depressed?  Yes. Yes. And yes.  But God has always been God.  And He has always been with me.

So, I must make the most of my life.  I must make the most of the life ahead of me.  And since God is always with me, I am always in His presence and He is God, I must know Him.  I must enjoy Him.  And the great thing is that He wants me to know Him.  He wants me to enjoy Him.  “You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Since I live in His presence and you live in His presence then the goal of life for both of us is the same.  This goal is three-fold.  We must enjoy God; we must enjoy each other; and we must bring others into this joy!