Well, it is the beginning of a new year, Christmas is in the rear view mirror, and we have survived the blizzard of 2017, one that will go down in the record books (for Erie, Conneaut, and lakeshore, especially). I am writing this on January 9th, so we have already had time to break at least some of our New Year’s resolutions. Hopefully, yours are going better than that and some of you are doing very well with them. I hope that you are using this calendar change to get a fresh start in life. Please, let God be in control of your plans for 2018 and beyond. I was going to say, “Let God be a part of your plans,” but that doesn’t cut it. He wants to be in control of our plans. His guidance is perfect and His ways are best. What changes does He want to bring about in your life this year? In what areas of life does He want you to grow (or shrink)?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)
Above, I asked a question related to in what areas of life does God want us to grow (OR SHRINK). My initial thought was related to shedding the holiday pounds, but even more important is what we read in John 3:30. “He must become greater, I must become less.” When it comes to who is in control of our lives, we must shrink so that He can increase. There just isn’t room on the throne of our lives for both God and us. We need to do more than just shrink, we need to come to the point where we believe and live the belief that God is fully in control and not us. He will let us struggle along trying to figure out our own life, all the while waiting for us to come to our senses by turning over the controls to Him. It’s not about us! It is about Him!
Never start a new chapter in your life with the words, “I decided to _________________.” Start that new chapter, that New Year, with, “I gave God control and He decided to _____________.”
May God direct your life because you have given Him permission to do just that!
You will be hearing a lot about discipleship this year in our church. Pastor Connie, whose ministry focus is on discipleship, is completing a series of discipleship lessons with the Church Board. She and I will then be sharing several messages related to us being disciples of Jesus Christ and us then discipling others. Pray for our church as we renew our emphasis on what the Great Commission from Christ tells us to do, “GO, make disciples!” Matthew 28:19. Our local church mission statement is based on that verse and is “to be and develop disciples of Christ.” God isn’t looking for people to just talk about Him or read about Him or sing about Him. He is looking for people who will follow Him! He is looking for people who will dedicate their lives to living like Jesus, His Son, taught us to live. Don’t pattern your life after your friend or after the latest Hollywood or media idol. Don’t pattern your life after some messed up image of what society seems to propose we should be. Pattern your life after Jesus Christ! Be His disciple!
Join with us on this journey of spiritual development. Support one another and pray for one another. Share the Good News with those around you who desperately need to see Jesus. They may only see Him in you!
In Christ’s Love,