Happy New Year!


I’m a guy who likes to look back and to look forward, to review and to plan.  I appreciate the opportunities to read back through my journal, to remember what I was feeling, to wonder if any growth or change has really happened.  🙂

I hope you get a few minutes in these opening hours of 2014 to give thanks and to dream.  At dinner last night, my family talked about the things that happened in 2013 that we want to KEEP doing in 2014 and we talked about the things that happened that we want to STOP doing.  Keepers are things that enabled us to talk and be together.  Stoppers included ‘when Daddy is grumpy.’

Where does your imagination go as you dream about 2014?  What are you asking your Heavenly Father to do in you?  What are you looking forward to?  What are the dates you have already circled because they will be hard or full or joy?  Can you find an hour to take a walk with Jesus and tell him your hopes and fears?  Can you steal away for a bit to write in your journal the things you are anticipating for the year to come?

Here are the categories I think through at this time of year:

  • My companionship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit:  Last year I used the Mc’Cheyne Daily Reading Plan.  I coupled it with D.A. Carson’s devotional on the readings, For the Love of God.  Like I said, I need a plan and it really helps me to wake up and have a clear plan for what I need to read that day.  Kept me on track.  You can get both the Mc’Cheyne reader and the Carson devotionals for free in one place right here.  Works really well on an ipad.
  • Financial:  Was I as generous as I could be in 2013?  Are there any budget categories that I can practice the discipline of restraint and simplicity–  because it is good for my soul?  Any places of spending that are really out of control? Did I stick to my budget (do you have a budget?) in 2013?
  • Exercise:  I enjoy exercising with folks.  I have a few races I like to do each year.  I have some mileage goals and pace goals.  For me, it is the 30-60 minutes a day that puts my brain ‘somewhere else’.  Every time I go for a run, I ask God to give me one good idea–  and He is really faithful.  My best ideas have come when I am gasping for air at the end of some run.  I need a goal to get me out of bed.  It’s too easy to just jump in to email or work or rolling over and going back to sleep.
  • Relational:  What are the significant events in the life of my family this year?  How will I create space around them to be present?  What is the daily, weekly, and quarterly time I need to be ‘just with Laurel’?  (yes, we have to plan all 3!)  What are my prayer goals for my children?  What kind of help will my parents need?   Which part of my character do I want to see the most growth?
  • Vocational:  for me, this is about Restoration.  I am thinking about moving in to our new building.  I am excited about our 2 trips to Asia Minor and the visit we will receive from on our partners there.  I am dreaming about the beginnings of church planting in partnership with our diocese.  I am excited about telling the story of redemption and restoration to follow on the chapters of creation and fall.  I think we are going to have some terrific small groups this year.  So how do I need to pray?  What do I need to learn?  What do I need to write?  Who do I need to talk with and get to know?  What will be the consistent topics that come out in my speaking and preaching?
  • What are the things that I ‘never got to’ but really want to have in my life?  Anything I can do to make them a reality this year?  For me this includes some house projects, music, language, and backpacking.  Can you and I create some–  ‘it’s really important but I never have time’ time?

Happy New Year my friends.  I am so grateful that I get to live this next one with you.