Last year around this time, I wrote down some goals for 2012. I even published them on this very blog and went about my business to complete them. Guess what?
I didn’t hit one of them.
There could be many reasons, but I want to list them, in no particular order, so that you might benefit and do better in 2013 than I did in 2012.
I made goals just for the sake of having goals.
Somehow I bought into the idea that I had to have some goals. I had to write something down. What I discovered over this past year is that the only thing worse than having no goal is having the wrong goal. Sure, it’s awesome to have a road map, but just because you take a road on a map doesn’t mean you end up where you want to or where you should.
These were only my goals.
Don’t misunderstand me. We should have our own goals. However, they should be unified with family goals. They should be supported by family. They should even….stay with me for a second….be shared with family. Goals are meant to be shared, supported and celebrated.
These were not God’s goals.
I made a mistake. I set some goals and asked God to bless them. Ouch. That hurts to even write. However, it’s true. So, I’m doing it a bit different this year. I’m praying and asking Him for my goals. A week before 2013 and I have one so far. That’s ok. If that’s all the Lord gives me, that will be fine. I’m reviewing the areas of my life that I would like to set goals for and asking if He has a goal for me in that area. If I get one, good. If not, then I’m cool with that. We’ll see what He does.
Tomorrow begins 2013. My prayer is that it will be successful because I have more at stake in these goals.
Do you have any goals for 2013? Would you like to share them? I would love to pray that you will achieve them this year.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals
Most of us remember the plight of the Chilean miners a few years ago. Trapped beneath the earth for day after day. Hopeless it seemed. We all wondered if they would be able to be rescued. Finally they were. Saved from almost certain death, they were pulled out of what could have been their grave and received the gift of life.
We are the Chilean miners
If you read those scriptures, you can see that our plight is worse than that of the miners.
Without Christ, we live in a domain of darkness
Like the miners, our lives are dark without light if Christ is not in our lives. However, Christ dispels the darkness. He does not merely give us light, though. He is the Light. He rescues us from the darkness that surrounds us and envelopes us. He even transfers us to a kingdom where darkness does not exist.
Without Christ, we experience the wrath to come
We don’t really like this part. We don’t like the idea that we live in a condition where we will face God’s wrath. Heck, we don’t even like to acknowledge that God has any wrath to begin with. At least not for us. Maybe for someone like Hitler or the Sandy Hook shooter, but not us.
That isn’t what the Bible indicates. It tells us that without Christ, we dwell in a condition of wrath. We are sliding downhill headed straight for it and we don’t even realize it. Christ steps in and saves us from that. He performs the rescue.
The question we must ask ourselves is where do we stand at this point in our lives? Are we already rescued? Or are we in need of rescue?
Do you know where you stand right now? Are you rescued or in need of rescue?
This is a fiction series that I have been writing for a while. After a two week break for Christmas, I have resumed it. You can find the other chapters at my Fiction page.
Donald let the screen door slam as he walked in. How many times had he fussed at the kids just a few years before for that very thing. Once he had thought that some grandkids might let that door slam and he would be able to carry that tradition on. Now, he just let it slam, savoring the memories that the sound brought with it.
Donald walked into the kitchen at about the same time Laura walked out of the bathroom. Her eyes looked at his, expectantly. She had that “What happened?” look that he had seen so many times. He would tell her in a minute, but for now he just wanted to hug her. He wasn’t sure which of them needed it more, but he definitely knew that he needed to be held.
After a few moments, Donald pulled away and walked into the living room. As tired as he was, he wanted to sit down. He knew that he could not stand and tell her. He sat down in the recliner, while Laura moved to the couch. She sat down without a word, giving Donald the time he needed to gather his faults. Then he recounted the meeting.
“It was downright evil. Bill was irrational in the way he began to berate everyone in the room. I think the deacons finally saw what we had been through over the past year. The meeting was adjourned and here we are.”
Laura was almost shaking. “What are we going to do now?”
Donald looked at her and smiled. “We’re going to do what we planned to do all along. We’re going to begin packing. We’re going to finish out the month here. We’re going to move and the Lord is going to take care of us like He always had.”
Laura looked away. “Do you think we’ll be ok here? Do you think Bill will give us any more grief?”
Donald looked at the ceiling for a moment. “He might, but I think they pulled his fangs as far as how much damage he can cause for a while. I don’t really think he can lead the deacons out of paper sack after today.”
Laura smiled for the first time that day it seemed. “What are you going to say to the church? You know half the county will know about today soon enough.”
Donald scrunched up his face and shook his head. “I’m not going to worry about that. I’m going to preach eight more messages. I’m going to lead four more prayer meetings. I’m going to encourage the church to form a search team so they can line up some guys to fill the pulpit. And I’m going to pastor for the next month.”
About that time the phone rang. Donald looked at the caller I.D. and saw that it was Ben Hayes, one of his oldest preacher friends in the area. He picked up the phone and talked to Ben for a few minutes. He hung up and came back to Laura.
“That was Ben. He was just checking on me. He said that he knew of several churches that would be in need of some supply soon and a few might need an interim pastor. I told him we might want to just visit for a few weeks to have some recovery time before we jump into anything.” Donald smiled as he relayed this to Laura.
Laura looked at him with a weary smile. “Visiting for a while will be nice, but you will be itching to get back in the pulpit soon enough. Let’s visit Ben’s a church and a couple of others. Then get back at it. And you will make a great interim pastor. Some of these churches could benefit from what we’ve been through.”
Donald nodded his head. “Sounds good to me. Sounds like a great adventure the Lord has planned for us going forward.”
I was having a conversation with someone in my church family the other day. We discussed some of the circumstances leading to us being at this church and he was visibly moved. One thing he said really stood out to me.
He said, “When I had tried to talk to you several times, there was a wall there. I knew something was going on.”
Little did I know that I had created a wall between myself and this person. Did I know something was there? Yes, but not consciously. I stopped and thought about it for a minute and realized that for nine years I had let a wall build between the two of us.
We live near each other and I would see him drive by on a regular basis. Each time the wall grew thicker and taller. I guess Pink Floyd was right, “All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.”
For two months now we have been attending our new church and this person has been there and greeted us warmly. The wall has been chipped at by both us during that time.
That conversation? We both tore down the wall between us. It took both of us making the effort.
That’s part of our job description as followers of Christ.
In Christ’s name, we are to tear the walls down that separate us from each other. Why? Because He tore down the walls that separated us from the Father.
Paul calls it a ministry of reconciliation. Paul emphasizes that God is reconciling man to Himself. Implied in that is that we must be reconciled to each other.
Jesus might have said that if your brother has something against you, then you should be reconciled to him over attempting to worship.
A ministry of reconciliation.
Breaking down those walls.
Do you practice a ministry of reconciliation? Do you try to break down the walls in front of you?
Last year about this time I was in the midst of a church search. We spent a great deal of time traveling twenty to thirty miles sometimes to visit a church. Then we found it.
Or so we thought.
It was good for a time, but like I said in other posts, it just wasn’t a good fit. We met some great people. We renewed relationships that been long dormant. But , in retrospect, it should have just been a place we gathered to heal rather than what we thought was home.
You might recall that at some point around the end of the year and beginning of the year, the One Word I chose for this year was Community. Community was the theme for my blog and for my church life for the year.
Unlike Bono and the Edge, I finally found what I was looking for.
After all of that travel and months of grinding, we found it. And only minutes away from where we live.
That doesn’t mean it ‘s perfect. It’s no more perfect than any other church we have belonged to and visited.
But it’s ours. It’s our community.
Have we jumped in full force? No. But we are moving in that direction more every week to the point where we won’t really jump. We’ll just be in it.
Community. I like it.
I could have written this post last week. It comes, obviously, from the Christmas story. No, not the one that Shrek talked about in his Christmas special. I’m talking about the real one involving Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Mary thought it was impossible for her to be pregnant without having been with a man. She was right under normal circumstances.
This was anything but normal circumstances. She was pregnant with the Messiah. Her world turned upside down. Joseph wanted to put her away. She had to go away to live with a cousin. In the midst of that Gabriel had some important words for her.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”
You will not find yourself pregnant carrying the Messiah this year. That doesn’t mean that you won’t find yourself in some interesting circumstances and predicaments. You might want to throw in the towel. You might find yourself in difficult situations.
Any of these can produce circumstances that may overwhelm you. You may come close to quitting in 2013.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Go with God. Stay with Him. Trust Him. Have faith.
It isn’t hopeless.
Nothing is impossible.
Do you have any circumstances in your life that feel impossible to overcome?