Monday, December 31

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Intro:
Bill Hybels recently tweeted that he was working on a "Top 10 Blessings from God in 2012" list to share with his family on New Year's Eve. His family reads the list to each other and tell the stories behind the blessings.  News outlets inundate us with the top ten pictures and the top ten stories and the top ten personalities and any other top ten list they can. There is something innate in us that wants to look back and wants to reflect on where we've been as we prepare to embark on a new year.

Many of us make resolutions...we've got the extra holiday weight to lose; we know we need to exercise more; we realize we've got to get our finances under control; we want to spend more time with our family; we want to grow closer to God. So many things we long to see happen...so many things we want to improve...so many ways we want to change...

Read: Philippians 3:12-14
12 Not that I have already obtained all this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers (and Sisters), I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one think I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Think:
If anyone had it all together - it was the Apostle Paul. Here was someone who had encountered Jesus on the Damascus Road and been transformed. He had an intimacy with God that most of us only dream of. He communed deeply with his Lord.

And yet Paul could write to the Philippian church that he had not yet reached his goal of knowing Christ completely. He was not perfect. He yearned for more. I can imagine Paul regularly looking back at where he had been and praising God for the blessings of the past...all the while looking forward to growing and experiencing more.

Do:
- Take time to make your own "Top 10 Blessings from God in 2012" list. Share it with your family or close friends. Take time to thank God for his work in your life in the past year.  If ten is too daunting, make a "Top 5" list. 

Remember, your blessings from God may have come through difficult times or hard places. Think about landmarks or turning points. Reflect on your list and think about how you saw God at work in those experiences.

- When you think back over the past year, do any themes or patterns stick out to you? Sometimes God tries to get our attention in many ways but we miss it if we don't look closer and notice connections. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where there might be things you need to notice.

- What is God inviting you to in the New Year? Better than resolutions, what are the blessings you sense God has for you in the coming year? Are there any areas you sense need to change? What are steps you can take to create space to live in such a way that you can walk in those blessings or begin to make those changes?

Prayerfully consider what support or resources you might need to be able to live these things out. Where can you find the community or support systems to help you move forward?

May 2013 be filled with the presence of Jesus more and more in your life and mine! May we sense his presence and pleasure and live for his glory!

adapted from adaptions and revisions by Wil Hernandez, PhD, for The Leadership Institute, Orange, CA (2008)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Rick! Good thoughts and good to be reminded.

    ReplyDelete