Thoughts at New Year

The new year is an interesting time – because it is somewhat of an arbitrary holiday; we are not celebrating a person or a great historical event. All we’re really celebrating, other than the fact that the Earth went all the way around the sun and now we have to go replace our calendars…

The value of the new year is that it gives us a gauge to measure by, it gives us perspective, and perspective helps us to see things more clearly.

The new year also comes with a sense of a new beginning – something which, as Christians, we can have a sense of each and every day because of God’s grace.

I’m not in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions, but there is one thing I do every year, which I find helpful: I sit down and write a list of things which I would like to see in one year from now. These are things which are not yet reality, but things which I would like to see become reality. Having written these things down, I keep that list on my desk, and pray and plan over these things until they become reality. Having this list helps direct my prayers and my focus, my time and my energy.

Zig Ziglar famously said: “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

We have a big God, with whom all things are possible (Mark 10:27) – a God who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20). I encourage you to dream and pray in faith for those things which are yet unseen. Write them down, so that you won’t quickly forget them because of the tyranny of the urgent that creeps into our lives. At the end of the year, you will find yourself with a list of things which God has done.

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Thoughts on Vision and Planning

I overheard this conversation between two cashiers at a store the other day:

“…then he asked me what my 5-year plan was, and I’m like: ‘I don’t know! I don’t even think like that!'”  “I know, right?!”

I remember when I used to think like that myself. When I first planted the church in Eger, people often asked me what my “vision” was, or what my 5-year plan was. I told them, “I don’t know. I just want to lead people to Jesus, plant a church, and raise up Christian leaders.”
Little did I understand, that what I was expressing was a very clear vision and plan!

I have come much more to embrace the mentality of having a plan or a vision.

Dave Ramsey says, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time”.

I have been in circles before where it was seen as unspiritual to plan or strategize. The thing these people don’t often realize is that they have unspoken plans and strategies, even though they don’t articulate them. It can be a strategy, for example, to not plan, and leave yourself open to whatever the day brings you. That’s a strategy – it’s a plan, and one which, like all strategies and plans, has advantages and disadvantages.

The New Year is a time of year I have come to love and appreciate, because a year is a measurable period of time, which gives us a scale to measure by, a scale to reflect upon, and a scale to plan by.

In reflecting on this past year, I realized that God did so many great things in the life of our family and our church. We finished the legal process of our son’s adoption and immigration, our church had several successful outreaches and did more for mission work, my wife and I celebrated 10 years of marriage… I could go on and on.

When it comes to strategizing and planning, I believe the best way to do it is in accordance with your long-term goals of what you want your life, or your organization, to be about.

I have a lot of ideas about things I would like to do in this New Year, and I pray by God’s grace that I would be cognizant of these things, and be able to bring them through to fruition. After all, it’s easy to start things, and a lot of people start things – but few people finish things, and even fewer finish them well.

Happy New Year!