New Year 2020

New Year 2020


Every year around this time, we do a lot of reflecting. Christmas is over, there are new gifts to enjoy and some to exchange and return:) We are sad to see it go and very glad to put decorations away and get back to some order!

As you reflect on the year past and make plans for the new year, here are a few articles to consider:

Will you Say "No" this Year?

If you have not yet carved out some time to quiet yourself and think about some basic goals…

Simple Way for your Family to Pray for a lot of People

Our family has been using this approach for years now!

How to Prioritize your Relationships

One of the problems with being too busy is that we easily lose sight of our priorities…

Ministering to Neighbors

Practical ideas and encouragements for making ministry in your neighborhood a reality this year!

It is important to start off the new year remembering that we are New Creations! If you have not already purchased a copy of one of our Who Are You? resources, consider signing up for our newsletter you will get a free PDF copy of twelve key identity statements to meditate on. Fill out the form below!

It is easy to get overwhelmed with plans for great change and personal growth. These goals in themselves are not harmful. They should never be made outside of the Gospel and our identity in Christ. We are new creations in Christ, this means for us that everyday is New Year’s Day. If you don’t already have a copy, consider reading through Who Are You? as you start your new year. Remember your identity!

Called to Someone… Everyday

Funny businesswoman with stress isolated. High angle view fish eye like image of stressed young woman in suit, Isolated on white background.

“The Primary purpose of the church, before mission, before healing, before transforming the culture; the first purpose of the church is to give a ravishing vision of who Jesus Christ is and let him draw people to himself. But we are not presenting Jesus Christ, we are presenting mission, or we are presenting transformation, we’re presenting healthy marriage or healthy family. And so, people come for reasons other than Jesus himself…Until we get the Gospel right, we shouldn’t be surprised that young people are walking away…Before we are called to something, before we are called to somewhere, we are called to someone.”

-Skye Jethani, Senior Editor, Leadership Journal

Yes, we need to be called to Jesus; not once, but every day! Whether or not Jethani meant that exactly, I don’t know.  But what does it really mean? let me offer an example.

I had a conversation with one of my children the other day. This child was dealing with an idol of control which evidenced itself in angry, frustrated, fearful behavior. It took 45 minutes of relationship-required conversation to get to the nub of the issue: she needed to see that her happiness in life was not tied to her ability to control a certain situation she was facing. She did not need therapy. She did not need to be at the church building on Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm.

She needed the person of Jesus.

She needed to see that her happiness in life was not tied to her ability to manipulate events to the end of her own liking. She needed to discard the wrong, idolatrous belief that she could achieve happiness by controlling the situation. Rather, she needed to see that even if the situation did not go the way she wanted it to, she could still be happy (i.e. satisfied)–and obey the Lord– simply because Jesus is.

Because she is “in Him” (Col. 3:13); because he himself is her life (John 14:6), because in his presence she can experience pleasures forever (Ps. 16:11) she could in fact be happy and did not need to control the situation. This was my message to her…and she took it to heart.

Our need every day is to see Jesus in all of his glory. We need to become intimately familiar with who we already are in him; and we need to intentionally dwell (2 Cor. 3:18) on Him. By dwelling on Him, we are better-equipped to expose and defeat the idolatrous lies of the Devil. We are also motivated to greater obedience; obedience which glorifies God because it is obedience that is done out of joy in God first and foremost, not duty, or an attempt to gain brownie points with God.

I suggest that this is how we must understand being called to “Someone”. It is a calling that we are to intentionally remind ourselves of every day, and not just once.

How to Prioritize Relationships

How to Prioritize Relationships

prioritizing relationshipsOne of the problems with being too busy is that we easily lose sight of our priorities. Everything seems of equal value. In some cases things of lesser value get higher priority than things of greater value. For example, rushing to take advantage of a sale at Home Depot (or Target!) clouds your devotional time on Saturday morning. Checking email competes with talking to your spouse.

Relationships are one of those important things that are often shoved aside in pursuit of usually urgent, but less important things…including less important relationships. Our relationships are very important to God because they are vital to our growth in the likeness of His Son and thus the beauty of the bride of Christ! For both reasons, we should be much more intentional about pursuing relationships. God’s Word has provided clear principles for use in prioritizing our relationships.

Check out this simple “Covenant Spheres” graphic (and scriptural justification) excerpted from You Are Ministers*.

Before you go to the graphic, take a few moments and on a sheet of paper list four people with whom you have some sort of relationship. Next to each name, write down how much time you’ve spent in face-to-face communication over the past week. Next to that, rate on a 1 to 10 scale (1 being low, 10 being high) the spiritual depth of each relationship. THEN look at the graphic.

After looking at the graphic and doing a little comparison, you may discover that the relationships where you spend the most time are a bit out of sync with God’s priorities. Perhaps you discover that the relationships where you spend the most time may be in proper order, but not have a strong spiritual focus. Or you may discover that the ones that should be most important to you really aren’t all that important.

We should seek relationships in each sphere depicted in the graphic. However, they are not of equal importance. The graphic helps us prioritize our relationships so that we can ensure that we’re generally focusing the most time on the most important relationships.

As an elder, consider that this simple tool gives you something practical to discuss with your Heads of Household that will help them think clearly about their relationships and leadership priorities.

The same is true for husbands and wives and their children. The Covenant Spheres graphic offers a tremendous opportunity for discussion about a very important part of our Christian lives: our relationships!

*You Are Ministers will help church leaders and home leaders build relationships that transform lives. Order your copy today!