Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thoughts on the End of a Year

My house is full of family for the next two weeks. The rain is falling, non-stop from a steel gray sky. We haven't seen the sky or the sun for days now.

Here at the end of the year, I am unsure of how to summarize all of it. Losing my friend Robert Higgins to bone cancer eclipses nearly everything else.

My youngest son will turn 13 at the end of this month. I'm afraid I've not done all that I should to disciple my two boys. I only have six or seven more years with them before they graduate high school and enter college. Can I redeem the time?

There are people in my life that I hope to encourage more: Angelica, our Easter Angel, is planning to be baptized this week as a Mormon. Hopefully we can convince her otherwise. Our neighbors are struggling to get their lives together. How do we help them without enabling them in their addictions? What's best for their children? How do we cooperate with what God is doing in their lives without interfering in the process?

My passport came in the mail yesterday. Where will God take me in the year to come? Mexico? India? The Phillipines? Nowhere? I'm not sure.

We've partnered with Saddleback church to plant a discipleship-based organic church at the motel in Santa Ana. This Sunday will be their third gathering. A year from now I hope they are stronger, more mature followers of Christ who are empowered to make new disciples.

We've formed a loose co-op of local house churches to provide connection points and resources for those in the Orange County area interested in forming or joining house churches.

We've seen miraculous answers to prayer this year: A lost brother was found walking along the sidewalk where his car had broken down. A marriage that seemed forever broken was healed and mended. A mom who was counting her days before the cancer took her life was miraculously and absolutely healed completely. A son was reunited with his long-lost father.

But what does God hold in store for us in 2011? Of course, we cannot know. Sitting here now I can only guess, and make plans and pray.

I hope to finish my third book, "This Is My Body" and publish it soon. I hope to publish a collection of my interviews, too. I hope to see God do something amazing in our house church family. I hope to go deeper with Christ in my personal life, and to seek Him more with my wife and my sons.

In a general sense, I hope to really understand more about who I am as a person; what I have to offer as a father, a husband, a follower of Jesus, and a friend. I hope to let go of things that do not matter and I hope to take hold of Christ who has taken hold of me.

There are these separate ideals that I click through like some sort of internal Viewmaster reel: God's heart for the poor, the Gospel of the Kingdom, the Priesthood of all Believers, the New Testament model of ecclesia, the separation of Christ and State, following Jesus in my daily life, and loving others as Christ has loved me.

What I hope to experience more this year is the integration of all of these things into my life as a single, cohesive reality.

Beyond these ideas themselves, I know that the key is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the presence of Christ Himself. Each of these things is found and embodied in Christ, Jesus.

He must increase. I must decrease.

This is my prayer for 2011.


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