Well, we have just returned from a 9 day trip to Fort Worth to spend a lot of needed time with several family members. We were very thrilled to return home and be in our own beds yesterday. I had thought several times about blogging, but just decided to unplug completely for the majority of the trip. While I have that really “disconnected” feeling from you all right now, I know it was needed on many fronts. Thank you for being such a supporting congregation who prays for me and understands times when I must get away to either re-create, relax or work on my dissertation. I appreciate you.
As we enter 2008 I’ve been struck at just how quickly this first decade of the 2000’s is coming to a close. Each new year provides a chance for new beginnings and a better sanctifying work in our lives. I would encourage you (if you haven’t set ’08 goals yet) to use a simple formula that I use. For my personal life, I keep it very simple, focusing on “watershed” points in my life (those points that if they are better, other things will get better as well, even if not focused on).
Luke 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Simply make categories out of Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind and Loving your neighbor and set a measurable goal in each area. For “heart” I tend to focus on loving God through my family and set family goals there, although it certainly extends beyond that in the text. For this purpose, I am doing no Bible study or exegetical work. I am simply using scripture to give me an outline to organize my goals to basically glorify God better this year by loving Him more.
Church / Ministry Goals:
Without setting this apart from the above goals (Col.3 and Eph.5 make plain that there is an inseparability between God, church and our families), I still have to think somewhat distinctly and this is where our ministry plan has helped me in the past.Simply enough, I think of Discovery, Equip, Reach and Renew as categories. Then I set goals within each area to measurably improve upon. Now, for me that translates to my vocation as well as my love for the church, but according to Eph.4 you all have a role as well and are to fulfill your calling in the church.So, take Discovery and set a goal related to discovering Christ and / or the church better this year. Many of you need to discover a regular ministry to get involved in. Many of you need to help out in AWANA or extended care for a season. With Equip, you need to set a goal related to simply knowing scripture better. This could be in better daily solitude, family devotions, scripture memory, etc. Next, take Reach and set a goal related to evangelism in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the End of the earth. Some of you need to pray and give more to global missions, others need to get up and go! All of us need to be more intentional in the evangelism of our neighbors. Lastly, set a Renew goal related to pray and evaluation in your life. It is very likely we will be making some serious changes in our overall prayer ministry this year in order to be more effective and get more of the body involved. You need to think in terms of your personal prayer life and your intercession for the body at UBC, as well as petitions that you read about through HeartCry.
These are just suggestions and you can use them or not. I just know that I have had years of recurring resolutions / goals and this simple method helps me actually feel like progress is being made in my sanctification of hating the flesh and loving Christ more. May God bless us all as we seek to glorify God by treasuring Christ above all things and reaching others that they may find lasting joy in Him!