Happy New year

We are just a couple of days away from the beginning of a new year. As you think about 2016, was it a good year or would you call it a bad year? For Cindy and I, we would definitely call it a good year. In February, we were blessed to be a part of a tour of Israel. We spent about two weeks walking where Jesus walked. It was the trip of a lifetime, truly something that I have longed for my entire life.

In July, we agreed to come to Hopewell as the new senior pastor. It meant leaving the Christian and Missionary Alliance (in which we have been a part of for more than 25 years), but are excited to join the United Brethren and lead such a great group of people. It has been amazing how quickly we feel like this is ‘home’.

Best of all, in November, my Chicago Cubs won the World Series. I have been a Cubs fan since 1972. I remember watching ballgames with my grandfather. I would cheer for the Cubs and he would cheer for whoever the Cubs were playing. I have stuck with them through many ugly seasons and was just thrilled to see them finally win it all. Yes, 2016 was a very good year for us.

Now as we are prepared to begin again in 2017, the question that faces us is, ‘What’s next?’ Where do we go from here? How do we improve on 2016 to ensure that 2017 will be better? I believe that the answer to those questions are all wrapped up in one name…Jesus!

I would like to challenge you to give more of yourself in 2017 to Jesus. Schedule more time for Him in your day. Perhaps in 2016 you spent 10 minutes a day in Bible reading. Try to get up five minutes earlier and go for 15 minutes in 2017. Perhaps you attended church twice a month in 2016. Try to up that number to three times a month in 2017. Also, how about volunteering more of your time for the Lord’s service in 2017? You could spend an afternoon a month visiting shut-ins. You could spend a Sunday each month working in the church nursery or as an usher or greeter. You could volunteer to mow someone’s lawn that perhaps has some physical limitations. Find a place where you can serve and get started.

Do you want to be closer to God? The secret can be found in the first part of James 4:8. The Message Bible says, “Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time…” Just tell Him ‘YES’ and He is there! The ball is in your court. What will you choose?

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