Well, it’s January 2021. What will this new year bring? Will we finally see relief from Covid 19 or will we have something new to deal with? Chances are, we’ll see something new to challenge us. This year I’ll turn 67, Lakeview will be 51 and we will celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and some graduations into eternity with God.
The Bible has much to say about new beginnings, here are a few:
1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
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.
For the most part, few of us fully know what God’s plans are for the future and I think that is okay. If I knew what God’s plan for me was, I might run in fear or try to orchestrate something slightly different (after all, I could probably do it better). In looking back over my life, I can see times that I tried to plan my life my way and I didn’t consider or invite God to be a part of that planning. In those ‘seasons’ things didn’t always go well, in fact some were downright disasters. At other times, I remember first going to God, then making plans, sometimes not really certain why but those times seem to stand out with greater blessing, more joy, deeper understanding of God and greater relationship.
Regardless whether we continue struggling with a strange new virus or we return to the majority of “what was before,” I think we will see a new church with slightly different membership. While our in-person worship will continue and grow, our new friends across the country will continue to join us and we may never even know their names. People will continue to come to Bible studies while some will join in via Zoom or some other digital platform. Neighborhood groups will become more important as we lean on each other and gain strength from “one-anothering” in our care for each. What will happen is greater room for more at the table of grace and space for those damaged by life to experience God’s grace at their pace, not ours. More people will experience the intimacy of small groups and grow closer to God that way. Because of your faithfulness, the kingdom will expand.
We are entering a new season of the kingdom that is different than how we entered 2020. Our finances are healthy (thank you!), we have new ministries, renewed space for healing and wholeness as God enables us to gather in person and on line. I know I’m excited to begin 2021 to see what God has in store for Lakeview and us. We are on a spiritual adventure so let’s get ready! I’m reminded of a great verse in Lamentations to set our hearts and minds on God, “22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” ~Lamentations 3:22-24.
This year, let’s make new stories, new paths for Christ, and step out on the path he has planned for us!
~ Pastor John