Happy New Year!
Oh, how I love the New Year transition, as it reminds me of going to the store before elementary school began and I would get brand new blank notebooks, pencils, and pens to begin the new year with. As a writer, I love opening up a new journal with empty pages yearning to be filled with new insights and experiences. This is what the flip of the new year means to me: new opportunities, new relationships, new ministry, and new chances to share the winsome news of Jesus Christ.
For Kelly and me, it means downsizing and moving to a new home and becoming involved, engaged, and partners with our new family at First Pres! We cannot wait to finally get moved in with all our boxes unpacked so we can settle into the larger community with you!
The New Year is also a new blank canvas for us to paint ministry together for both members of our church, as well as for the larger community. This will be a year when we will collectively listen to the voice of the Spirit and discern what the Lord wants us to do to make a strategic impact in our community for the Kingdom. Please don’t think that now that “the new pastor is here” we can shift down into lower gears and coast; on the contrary, this is a new year we will begin getting to know one another and will build on some healthy foundations.
One of the foundations I ask you to build upon is to begin taking regular stock (preferably daily) of your spiritual life. The ancient church developed a practice of the Daily Examen, in which a Christ Follower at the beginning and end of each day would reflect upon a series of questions to plumb how their day of discipleship went. Here is the Daily Examen I use:
The Daily Examen
Beloved, I invite you to join me in this practice of spiritual reflection as we start the new year together. Its purpose is to help each of us keep our eyes on the goal and end of our faith which is Jesus Christ. Let’s make 2018 where our individual discipleship and corporate witness shine that Light that in and through this place, our faith in Christ Jesus comes alive!
Remember who you are (You are a child of God!). Pray hard and be the winsome hands and feet of Jesus Christ to a broken and hurting world!
Your pastor and friend,