Tag Archives: New Year

2018 Theme(s)

I can’t believe that is almost February 2018 already. I also can’t believe I haven’t written since November. Usually in January I write about my theme for the year. In 2017 the theme was “review.” In 2016 the theme was “bravery” and in 2015 it was “doubt.”

Looking back on those themes, the themes from 2015 and 2016 really did define my year. In 2015, I went through a period where God worked in my heart to redefine my calling. Looking back at my blogs from 2015, I find a process of working through hurt, confusion, and doubt about what God was trying to do in my life.

In 2016, the theme of bravery led me to do some things that are not naturally characteristic of me. I wrote about humility, I stepped out and did some teaching, and (most importantly) I sent a resume to a church in a town I’d never heard of, in a part of Texas I’d never really visited. Then I watched how God worked and put me and my family together with the perfect church to pastor and lead. All because sometimes faith takes some bravery.

Last year my theme was “review.” I wrote that I wanted to reexamine, relearn, reengage with some authors I have in library and with some of the ideas that I spent time writing about on this blog. Ideas of how we should structure church and work in ministry today. Last year, however, was a hard year on bloggers. The news and the world was consumed with politics and that’s not a world that I want to enter as a blogger. So, many of my posts last year were reviews, just book reviews. I wrote about eight different books over 2017. Maybe last year’s theme didn’t turn out the way that I envisioned.

But what about this year? What about 2018?

To be honest I haven’t settled on a theme yet. But I do have some concepts that have been churring in my heart and mind. Perhaps this year I won’t have one theme but several.

Sow. One of Jesus’ most famous stories is about sowing. You can read it in Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23. In the story the farmer scatters seeds far and wide- all the way from the road to the field. The farmer knows that nothing will grow if he doesn’t sow, and while we might see him as wasteful (letting seeds fall on the road, the rocky soil, and among the thorns) the principle is that we sow far and wide. One of my themes for the year is to sow far and wide and lead the church to sow far and wide. And in doing we will trust God for the fruit.

Productivity. On a more personal level, I’m realizing more and more the speed of life. It’s easy to let days turn to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years (the fact that I haven’t written since November is exhibit number 1). There are things I want to get done (personally, professionally, with my family, spiritually) that I know can be accomplished if I spend time wisely and productively.

Contemplation. This is the balance to productivity. There is a danger in measuring oneself simply on production. There has to be balance in working and resting, giving and  refilling, production and contemplation.

Those are the ideas in my mind as we begin a new year. I’m excited to see how the year unfolds and how these themes play into the journey.

2017’s Theme: Review

Even though we’rimages-2e already over halfway through January, I haven’t written a post for the new year. For the last couple of years, I’ve chosen a theme that shaped my year. In 2015 the theme was doubt. In 2016 the theme was bravery. This year the theme is review.

Why do NBA coaches spend practice time on dribbling and ball handling skills? Or passing drills? Shouldn’t NBA players focus on other things that aren’t so elementary? Perhaps, but if the basics aren’t there and if they’re not reviewed regularly those skills could fade. The same is true for you and I as well, there are things in our lives that we should take the opportunity to review from time to time to review.

For me this means that my plan is to do a lot of re-reading. I have so many good books in my library that I need to take a second, third or fourth look at in order refresh myself on their messages. I also plan to review some of the posts that I’ve written and reexamine them to see if I still agree with what I’ve written or if my thinking has progressed. I also want to take time to see if I am putting into practice what I have suggested to others.

My theme for 2017: Review. Reexamine. Relearn. Reengage.

What’s your theme for the year?


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Hello 2016!

2016

2016 begins the fifth year of this blog. Currently I have published 200 posts, putting out new content each Tuesday. In the last year my total views have grown by over 60%. So to begin 2016, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has read and interacted with my thoughts, opinions and questions. This blog wouldn’t exists without readers.

If you haven’t subscribed to the blog, I encourage you to do so. By subscribing you will receive notices of new posts via email. All you need to do is click the follow by email button on the right-hand side of the page. I also hope to create exclusive content for subscribers.

In this opening post of 2016, I want to briefly outline some of the goals, plans, idea and topics that I hope to explore this year.

A few weeks ago I read a blog by Frank Viola who recommended selecting a word or short phrase that becomes the theme of the upcoming year. His 2015 word was simplicity. I did something similar last year, naming 2015 The Year of Doubts. My theme for 2016 is bravery. I touched on this theme in a post I wrote in October and it has really stuck with me. You’ll see me returning to the theme of bravery throughout 2016.

Other themes and ideas that I’m working on include: the theme of spiritual rhythm, justice and church planting.

My goal in these posts is, as always, to engage the reader in new and interesting ways and to present ideas from a different angle. As a writer my goal in 2016 is to construct posts that are more substantive in development- meaning they’ll be longer and more nuanced than before.

In 2016 I will continue reviewing books, however, I want to change my focus and read more biographies and novels. I believe there are lessons to be learned by examining a story and I want to explore that more fully in the upcoming year.

I am also excited to announce a teaching series, The Way of Jesus Study, that is beginning in February 2016. Find out more about that here.

Here’s to an exciting, productive and, hopefully, amazing 2016!

 

 

2013

UnknownJanuary 1, 2013.

On the first day of 2012, I never would have thought that the year would have turned out the way it did. There were some really good times: being at the Passion Conference last January, skiing Crested Butte, finding out I’ll be a dad again, Collegiate Summit in Nashville, being with our junior high students, high school students and leaders at Orange Beach for Student Life Camp and serving with some awesome college students in Quebec.

2012 also had some hard, confusing and tough times: family health issues, having to drop out of my doctorate program and last, but certainly not least, my church’s decision to end my college ministry position after just one year (5 ½ years on staff with the church) before I even got a chance to implement the vision that I had for the collegiate ministry. You can read more about my job loss and job search in my previous posts here and here.

However the new year stands as a metaphorical, or symbolic, new beginning; a time to reflect on the successes and failures of the last year, a time to set goals and perform both personal and corporate “state of union” evaluations.

Now, on the first day of 2013, I want to simply make three statements: one in looking back over the last year and two looking forward to 2013.

1. Through all the blessings and despite all the challenges, I have much to be grateful and thankful for as I look back on 2012. I have learned so many things during the last year and much of it has come through the last few months of trials and walking through the unknown. I am also very grateful for this blog and people who have read, follow and like the posts. To everyone who reads, I want to say a big and sincere “Thank You!”

2. I know that God is still sovereign and is not in an emergency session wondering what is going on and what is going to happen.This is true, not only of my own situation, but it is also true in whatever situation you, the reader, are going through or whatever situations are occurring in the world. God is in the process of redeeming the world while bringing glory to himself. God also has your best interest in mine and God has my best interest in mind and that thought brings great comfort in the midst of hardships.

3. I have some exciting plans in the works for this blog during the upcoming year. I’ll make one shameless plug here; I have some great blog series coming up as well as a few surprises for email subscribers. If you are not an email subscriber, I suggest that you sign up to follow by email.

Here’s to a happy and blessed new year!