Welcome 2016

I’m not always a consistent blogger, but one thing I have been regular on has been my New Years post.  As many bloggers do, I like to take this post to reflect briefly on the year behind us and then look ahead to the new year.

2015

Last year, always feels weird to say that at first, was an interesting year to say the least as there were many highs and some lows, but I do feel I learned a lot about myself, my relationship with God and how that effects my daily life.

Looking back on my New Years post from 2015 is always interesting as I like to see what I was expecting and hoping I would do and then see how well I accomplished that.  Last year I wanted to focus on figuring out where God is leading me, I wanted to pursue God, not sit there waiting to see what happens.   The focus from last year was to see how to change myself.  There were three aspects I talked about, being more humble, reading more and to be still.  I really want to reflect more on the first one…being humble:

Being more humble.  I think I’ve always been somewhat humble, but I wanted to focus on thinking of OTHERS instead of myself.  I may not have truly discovered that until the end of last year, but in some ways I’ve succeeded.   But before I could do that, I had to learn one other thing…something I’ve always struggled with.  I had to learn to LOVE myself.  That was something I really hadn’t thought of, but if I thought less of me, that I wasn’t worthy of God’s love it actually made me dwell on myself…I couldn’t think of others, when all I thought of was how much I really didn’t like myself.  Well I learned, that God loves me no matter what.  And it’s not that he is just sitting on the sidelines thinking how much he loves me as I continue heading over the cliff…no he actively pursues us.  In a post that I’ve been writing, but have yet to post, I highlight a few verses that have taught me much.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever – Psalm 23:6

God’s love follows us wherever we go, he loves us unconditionally even when we continually reject his overtures of love towards us.  He continues to let us know, ‘I’ll be here when you are ready‘ and in fact, he goes one step more and reminds us constantly, sometimes forcefully, ‘Hey, I’m here and I still love you.

God has a plan for our lives and He will go to great lengths to complete his plan in us…in fact, nothing will stop him.

And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.  -Philippians 1:6

Life’s Journey

So in 2015, I went on a journey to find out what my purpose in life was, what I was meant to do and how God was going to use me.  I wrote a whole series of posts focused on this (and read them in reverse order to get the gist of my journey) and it was really quite illuminating, but it didn’t take me long until I actually believe I found what my purpose is, and it applies to all of us I believe.  I wrote about it in my post entitled, Come and See.

This was truly enlightening and I can say that it changed my life.  I learned that God has me where he wants me…and when he’s ready to move me, he will.  I was struggling to find out where I was going so I could prepare or perhaps try and talk God out of it…but I found that I’m serving God each and every day right where I am.  There is no need for me to do something “great” at least how humans define greatness.  God has me doing “great” things right where I am.  Someday he may call me to the human definition of “greatness”, but right now I’m exactly where he needs me.

Look at these lyrics from a song by the Newsboys song, How to Change the World.  This really epitomizes my journey in 2015.  It was the culmination of a year of learning, about myself, about God.  I learned that I’m serving him in every moment of my life.  When I’m at work, I’m serving him.  When I’m coaching my son’s baseball team, I’m serving him.  When I am grocery shopping, I’m serving him.  As I’m typing this post, I’m serving him.

It’s the prayer in an empty room
Little things we do when nobody’s around
A hand reaching out to a heart in doubt
It’s the smallest spark that can light the dark

That’s how you change the world!

2016

So what do I think 2016 will bring?  I’m not entirely sure.  I’m sure it will have it’s high points and low points.  I’m sure I’ll reflect back in a year from now and see things that I had hoped to accomplish, still sitting  undone…but as usual, I suspect that I’ll learn something completely unexpected, but it will be exactly what God had in mind for me all along.

God bless and Happy New Year!

 

How to Change the World Today!

So many of us what to go out and change the world.

We find the perfect job, make plenty of money, move up in status and say…now we can go make a difference in the world by doing big things. Maybe we start a foundation or setup a movement to help some disadvantaged people. Or maybe we purely use our wealth and donate much to groups already in existence. All in all not a bad thing, but my question is Why Wait? What I’ve heard people say, myself included, well when I get financially stable, I can do this or that to make a difference. Or when I reach a certain status or level in my company, I’ll then have time to devote to this cause or that group. But will it ever be enough? Will we ever reach that point where we can say, “finally, I’m there…I can finally change the world!”

Or how about another scenario. We are on the other spectrum. We’ve spent our lives just trying to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck. We think, if only we had some stuff or didn’t have to work so many hours, then maybe we could finally make a difference. We feel we spend so much time just trying to change our own world, that we don’t or can’t make a difference anywhere else. Do we say, “If only I had a little more, then it would be enough…then I could finally change the world!”

Or how about a third scenario. We have good jobs, we’re not wealthy but we live comfortably in our small town. We provide for our families and while we don’t have much, we have enough. So we come home from work, eat dinner, and sit down to watch the news and we see the troubles around the world or even just in our own community and say, “If only there was something I could do…but I’m really no one important, so there’s not much for me to do.”

Well, if you haven’t watched the video above, watch it now. I’ve had all the excuses I listed above. Those have all been me at some point in my life. The last few weeks, I’ve been reevaluating how I’m trying to make a difference for God, but trying to find out what Jesus really means to me and what his plan for me really is. I’ve been slowly realizing that while I’ve felt that the only way to make a difference was to do something BIG, the way God tells me I can change the world now is by Going Small.

The other day when I was listening to some music on the way home from work, these lyrics from the Newsboys song “That’s How You Change the World” jumped out at me and really smacked me across the face.

It’s the prayer in an empty room
Little things we do when nobody’s around
A hand reaching out to a heart in doubt
It’s the smallest spark that can light the dark

That’s how you change the world!

You don’t know when God will use the small gesture, the smile, the simple “How you doing?” to change someone’s world. To make a difference in someone’s day, perhaps in their life.

Somewhat coincidentally (well God driven to be sure) I’m reading through the book “Go Small: Because God Doesn’t Care About Your Status, Size, or Success” and starting off in Chapter 1 is this little snippet, that I read just a day before God sent the Newsboys song my way.

There was a suicide note collected a few years ago that was written by an anonymous person as they made their way to the Golden Gate Bridge. The writer remarked that they were walking to the bridge with the intent of ending their life; but one sentence of the note immediately leapt out at me.

“If one person smiles at me on the way,” this person wrote, “I will not jump.”

They jumped.

It’s the small things that God can use in big ways to change the world. Go out and change the world today, I am.