Greeting the New Year…

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ’They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”
(Jeremiah 29:11, New Living Translation)

As we begin another new year it is so important for us to understand that God has a plan for all of us and His plan is always perfect.  This text from the prophet Jeremiah is one of my favorite passages because it constantly reminds me that God is in charge of my life and He is looking out for me.  It also reminds me that my ways are not God’s ways, my plans are not God’s plans, and my timing is not God’s timing.  It reminds me that no matter what I do, God is in the middle of things – guiding and chiding me, trying hard to coax me toward Him, and offering immeasurable grace to transform my sinfulness.  What a great New Year’s blessing that is!

As we take down our Christmas trees, put away the tinsel and garland, and take stock of all the gifts we received this Christmas, let us look forward to a new year filled with God’s promise to plan for us and lead us into His plan.  As individuals, and as the church, we can know that God is working His perfect plan in and through us.  Our challenge is to listen for God’s leading and to respond faithfully.  Our challenge is to daily seek to become the people God wants us to become.  So we look forward to this New Year full of God’s promise for a future and a hope.

Remember Jeremiah’s words in the coming year when Bible Study Groups are being formed; when our Confirmation Class looks for sponsors; when our Ministry Teams seek new volunteers; and when Vacation Bible School asks for help.  Recognize God’s plans when we talk about such things as faithful stewardship, spiritual gifts, and full participation in the life of your church.  Feel God coaxing you to give completely of your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness.  Allow God to lead you in work on a mission project; there may be a place for you on a Ministry Team or helping with our youth.  Know that God’s plans are not reserved for any particular age group or gender; God has plans for all of us.  We will be seeking to discern God’s plan for our church as we move forward into multiple worship services.  We will be seeking God’s guidance as we work to retire our building debt so we can move ahead with plans for the new campus.  We will be seeking God’s mercy as we work together on many projects where we need to set aside our egos to find our way into God’s will.

There are many opportunities to be involved in the life of our church through service, fellowship, study, and worship.  The great thing about these opportunities is that they are gifts of worship offered by us for the glory of God.  Worship is our primary purpose as Christians and every time we serve God’s people, study God’s Word, or gather together in God’s name, we worship God as our Creator, Savior, and Comforter.  That sounds like a great way to spend the coming year.

Many people make New Year’s resolutions at this time of year.  Unfortunately, most of those are forgotten by Valentine’s Day and we seldom follow-through with our resolve.  This year I want to challenge you to make a resolution to seek God’s plan for your life and to make the effort to really follow God’s leading.  To help you remember this resolution, I ask that you cut out the text from Jeremiah 29:11 from the top of this page and put it on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror or on the dashboard of your car – or maybe all three.  The point is to listen to Jeremiah every day as a reminder of your resolve to trust in God’s plan and faithfully step into the wondrous journey God has in store for you.  Believe me, if you do you will find immeasurable grace and radical transformation in your life.

Peace be with you,
Pastor Don