January 4, 2016

It’s Monday and its 2016. Let me be the four hundred and third person to wish you a Happy New Year!! I hope you have already reflected on 2015 and are ready to move forward in 2016. The great part about having a designated new year on the calendar is the chance to really start fresh again. It’s almost like you can put all those other things behind you and really work towards something great in a new year.
One of the things I try to do in this blog is to make it relevant for FBCWS church members and for those of you reading who are not. Sometimes that can be difficult as I know the majority of the readers are members. So I apologize if some weeks you don’t get much out of this. One of my goals in 2016 is to continue to evolve this blog into something truly worth reading every week. I’m not sure that is possible considering the author but I am going to try harder than ever.
What goals do you have for 2016? Do you have any? Do you write them down? Are they specific? Are you working on concrete steps to accomplish those goals? Do you think, “Oh preacher, I’m too old. I don’t need goals anymore.” I have read several articles recently that talked about the need for purpose in life. People who have real purpose in their lives live longer and live better than those who don’t. At lunch yesterday I was visiting with our evangelist, Michael Gott. For those who don’t know, Michael is in remission from Lymphoma. It was just a little over 9 months ago that he was released from MD Anderson to go to Ukraine two days later. He says that his recovery is 100% a sovereign decision by God but he also mentioned that the doctors were amazed by his determination to get better. He went into the hospital and basically told them he needed to be better in 3 months because he was supposed to be preaching in the Ukraine. They were a little stunned but after 2 five-day treatments the cancer was gone. And he knows it was 100% God giving him a chance to continue on, but he also believes that having a purpose, a reason to get better, propelled him on his journey to recovery. Let me encourage you today to find the purpose God has for you in 2016 and then pursue it with all your strength and energy. God is not finished with you yet. You are still here for a reason. God wants to use you this year!!
If you missed worship yesterday then you missed a real blessing . . . at least at FBCWS. I can say that because I wasn’t preaching. The challenge that Michael Gott gave was exactly what we needed. We are here to glorify God and may we never lose that focus. I want to thank the dozens of you that came forward yesterday and shared your heart with me. It was a joy to pray with many of you and to hear your desire to see God be glorified in your life and in the life of our church. Let me continue to encourage you in these days to not give up your pursuit of God and his glory. I do believe God has some great things in store for us in 2016 but it happens one passion-filled-believer-at-a-time. Michael was an encouragement to me as well. We talked about our community and Michael described how our church is exactly where hundreds of other churches are at all across our convention. Many churches with leadership doing its best to reach a declining and changing community around them. Let me assure that we are not quitting. We are not backing down. In 2016 we will continue to fight to bring the glory of God to our Jerusalem. I pray that you will join the fight with us!!