New Year

What Is Your "Word"

We’re two weeks in to the new year. Have you kept your New Year’s resolutions? Did you make any? According to surveys done at the beginning of the year, the top resolutions were to be healthier and to save money.

Some people make resolutions. Some people simply decide on one word that they want to represent areas of their life over the next year. For example, someone may choose the word “content”. They may want to strive to be content in all areas of their life over the next year. Someone may choose the word “passionate.” They may want to strive to be passionate in everything that they do. Someone may choose the word “joy.” They may pursue being joyful in every circumstance over the coming year. Choosing a word for the year has become a new favorite thing of mine!

If I could choose a word for Northside over the next year, it would be “service.” Not only are we striving to serve together in the 2020 Vision campaign, but my hope is that we serve together in regards to those around us in the community and in the everyday lives of those in this congre-gation.

One word that MANY of us would use to describe Jesus would be servant. Jesus didn’t “go to church” and leave it at that. His life was a life of service. He didn’t simply preach, but He practiced what He preached. We are commanded to serve one another, and we are called to be like Christ. Are we living a life where others are captivated by our words but our actions are far from our words? If we aren’t serving in some way, how are we striving to be more like Christ?

Do you have a word for 2019? If you could think of one word to describe the change you would like to see in different areas of your life, what would it be? 

Don't Write 2019 in Olde English Script

     This is the first Sunday of the new year.  There has never been a 2019 A.D. This year is brand new. The calendar rolling over is always a chance to mentally renegotiate with yourself. There are certainly things of the past that we want to keep, cherish and honor.  For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne (whatever that means).

    But don’t stay stuck in the past with your same fears, bad attitudes and negative thinking. God is doing so many wonderful things in our church family right now. Make a resolution to joyfully join in and see what he will do this year in your life.

     Make some personal resolutions. Don’t worry about what you    haven’t gotten done yet in life. Pick up where you are! You are not too young. You are not too old. God is always making all things NEW.

     My favorite “Dear Abby” of all time went something like this: “Dear Abby, I have always wanted to go to law school. My family encourages me to go. But I am thirty-eight years old. In three years, I will be forty-one! What should I do?” Abby’s response is brilliant and so encouraging.  “How old will you be in three years, if you don’t go to law school?”  That’s great! Go for it! Let’s take that attitude with us into this year.

     Friday, I have a birthday. It one of the big ones. And no, I’m not  going to be a hundred.  But it is the one where I get to go on Medicare.  Actually, that does sound like a hundred. But life here with God, my family and all of you is still so great. I thought that I was finished with full-time preaching. God had other plans. And I am so excited about the future we have together.

     Most of you are younger than I am. Some of you are older than I am. That’s irrelevant. I want God to use you in powerful ways until he takes you home. I want you to be a thriving part of this church family. I want that for myself too. Don’t let age or physical limitations or lack of talent in some areas keep you from joyfully doing all you can do in the kingdom of God. You are part of the body. You are just like God needs you to be.  

     Do what YOU can. Celebrate that. Don’t worry about what others can or cannot do.  

     You be the best you in 2019. That’s what the church and God and YOU need from YOU.

     I just checked that Medicare card.  It’s not in Olde English script.


(The following is an article by Ray Fuson that challenges us on our spiritual walk with God during 2018. I hope you enjoy it).

It's a new year–did we grow personally in 2017, and how will we pursue 2018? Genesis 1:26 says, "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness..." Romans 8:29 says, "To be conformed to the image of His Son, the first-born of many brethren." First, let's understand that Romans 8 explores in depth the work of God. Moving a Christian from the carnal nature to the spiritual nature is the work of the Holy Spirit in a process the Bible calls "sanctification." It is important that we understand that the work of the Spirit is a life-long process com­pleted only at the Resurrection.

Question–Can the Christian reflect Christ's image perfectly all the time? I don't believe we can in this life. If we could, we would not have to fight this spiritu­al battle each of us fight every day. Instead, I believe that there are moments when Christ is more evident than others–and then there are other moments when self and the flesh get in the way.

Sometimes, we may reflect and see a milestone of growth in our walk with God; but more often it is the little steps–little ditto marks that point the way. For­tunately, the blood of Christ makes up the difference.

The litmus test for us is found in Galatians 5:22-23 which says, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-Control ..." Can we truly say that we continually express agape, or storge (family love), or even phileo (friendship love)? Of course not! Is it joy (the glad expectation of God's deliverance), or is it our own happiness we seek? Is it peace (the calm assurance of God in control), or the world's peace (the cessation of conflict)? Is it patience or is it our hurry–our "want it now"–that drives us to reach our destination?

The Bible says in 1 John 4:8, "God is Love". How much of God is love? All of Him and all of Him is joy, peace, patience, etc. I think we need to return to the burning bush on the mountain of God, take off our shoes because we are on holy ground, and hear God say, "I AM is My Name!"

When we bring that into the context of Galatians 5:22–I AM  Love, I AM Joy, I AM Peace, and I AM Patience–we get the whole complete sense of who I AM is and our relationship to Him. Our walk with Him becomes more than just a stroll. He can take our little steps, our ditto marks and keep drawing us to Him; making and conforming us to His image. Not an easy task–rather it is His love and His pa­tience allowing us to take missteps like a parent with a child, guiding us the whole way.

May "I AM" strengthen us to do His will and may we continue to grow in the nurturing love of His Son this coming year!

 

(If you were blessed by his thoughts like I was, please tell Ray "thank you.")