Tuesday, January 1, 2008

This New Year

Sunday at church, we were admonished. Dr. Thomas, our new Pastor's dad, came to speak. James told me that he once held a position of great importance at some local church of great importance, but whatever all of that was eludes me now. Regardless, he presently travels to preach and the message he shared with us on Sunday was remarkable. In total, the message was about the compassion of Jesus, and it seemed to be building up to Brandon's new sermon series called "The House of Blues."

(On a side note: God knows what we need at the precise moment we need it. I think the timing of the press to leave our last church for this one is not something to be ignored, as I couldn't have personally ordered a better course of teaching for myself. On Christmas Eve, when the words floated through in advertisement of the upcoming series, I felt like internally I was saying, "check, check, check." I now wait with eager anticipation. Waiting for you, Lord. Meet me there...)

Dr. Thomas, or "the original Dr. Thomas" as he was called by his Pastor son, admonished us to approach 2008 with Reflection, Projection, and Anticipation. Brace yourselves.

2007 was a very full year for us. James chronicled the major events of our lives on his blog, but to his list I should add these things:

1.) I've changed. I'm not sure you can walk a path as we've walked this year and not be changed at the atomic level. But change, particularly in this situation, is good. I feel I've been spurned on to depth, violently shaken out of a state of complacently. I'm running towards the New Year and God in the midst of it.

2.) I'm the same. James asked on New Year's Eve what sort of resolutions I had in mind. I said, "I don't know -- nothing really," and that disturbed him deeply. I relented and commented that continuing to lose weight was the standard goal. It's been a goal for twenty years, so why not again this year? The thing is, I still struggle by having a relational involvement with my nutritional intake. In that way, I'm really the same, so I guess my purpose this year is to work, to really focus, on altering that behavior as opposed to just taking off a few pounds.

Beyond those things, there's not much more we anticipate in 2008. We feel we're moving into a much-needed season of rest and introspection. In this New Year, may we grow to know Him more deeply, more intimately, more personally. May we call on Him and rely on Him in both big things and little. May He move in us and use us in ways that exceed our imagination.

"I want to know Christ
and experience the mighty power
that raised him from the dead.
I want to suffer with him,
sharing in his death,
so that one way or another
I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
I don’t mean to say
that I have already achieved these things
or that I have already reached perfection.
But I press on to possess that perfection
for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.
No, dear brothers and sisters,
I have not achieved it,
but I focus on this one thing:
Forgetting the past
and looking forward to what lies ahead,
I press on to reach the end of the race
and receive the heavenly prize for which God,
through Christ Jesus,
is calling us."

Philippians 3:10-14


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