It's early at the Taylor house and Sadie and I are soaked from our early morning walk. The house is quiet as Marla and Peyton sleep. And I sit here alone in solitude reflecting on the year that is almost over - and oh what a year it proved to be! My daughter Jordan graduated from College with the highest of honors - what a blessing. My son Peyton graduated from High School as valedictorian - what a blessing! Jordan married the love of her life - an wonderful man of faith named Jacob - what a blessing! But then she moved 17 hours away from us - not so awesome. Peyton achieved much on the basketball court and in the throwing world of track and field - state champ in discus - what a blessing! Jordan completed her first semester of student teaching in New England - what a blessing! Marla and I have become "empty nesters" - certainly not a blessing but we have spent a lot more time together the past four months and that is certainly a blessing! 2018 will go in the books as one of the biggest and best years of my life - what a blessing!
And tomorrow it starts all over again - a New Year - what will 2019 bring? We can never be 100% assured of what will happen but here are 10 "HOPES" for 2019:
#10 - I HOPE our world and especially our country will become a more civil and loving place to live - my prayer is the new year brings a renewed commitment to live our the words of Jesus: "love your neighbor as yourself."
#9 - I HOPE our church will move closer and closer to an Acts 2 biblical community - a community where we live out Acts 2 nuggets like "they had everything in common" and "they had glad and sincere hearts" and "they enjoyed the favor of all the people" - let's make this happen in 2019 FCC!
#8 - I HOPE our monthly mission partners at FCC enjoy an incredible year spreading the good news of Jesus Christ literally all over the world! So many of our partnerships are producing much fruit, living out the words of Paul to the church at Corinth: "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." May much planting and watering take place in 2019 in the name of Jesus!
#7 - I HOPE the ministries of the Neighborhood Care Center continue to shake and shine for Jesus and new efforts and ideas produce much fruit. Jesus said, "you are the salt of the earth . . . you are the light of the world." If you want to shake and shine for Jesus, consider serving in the NCC in 2019!
#6 - I HOPE FCC will continue to be a church where the word of God is front and center in who we are and what we do! "I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." "Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Reminder: FCC is now publishing a monthly Bible reading plan - get your copy of January 2019 today!
#5 - I HOPE to personally read and pray more in 2019, and watch tv and surf social media much less in the new year. Will you join me in attempting to live out the truth from Psalm 46 "be still and know that I am God"?
#4 - I HOPE 2019 is a year of reconciliation for many of us who are in relationship strain with others - may this be the year we break through and live out the forgiveness Jesus modeled for us throughout his earthly ministry? Don't forget the words of Jesus in the model prayer - words we are told to pray - "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us." Don't forget the famous words of Corrie ten Boom: "forgiveness is to set a prisoner free . . . and realize that prisoner is you!"
#3 - I HOPE another year of ROOTED will bring dozens and dozens of more participants both this winter and during the fall of 2019! I echo the prayer of Paul for the church at Ephesus - may this prayer become reality for YOU in 2019: "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ."
#2 - I HOPE more and more people in our lives become Christ Followers in 2019, confessing what Peter said to Jesus in Matthew 16 "I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God" and submitting to Jesus in the waters of baptism.
#1 - I HOPE the faith community in 61727 and beyond will live out more intentionally the words of Jesus to his disciples "by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)
Happy New Year!
Several quick thoughts as I conclude the last weekly update of 2018:
** Great job Allison and Cassandra on Family Sunday - you both did great! And great job Don and Penny MacIsaac sharing your testimony via video! And great job to my wife Marla sharing the communion meditation, something that is way outside her comfort zone.
** This Thursday January 3, FCC will host the Area Men's fellowship at 6:30pm in the Family Life Center - my friend Jeff Mayfield will bring the message and we will get an update from the camp! All men are welcome!
** This Friday January 4 at 6:15am - RELOAD for Men! See you at Y men of faith!
** Today is the last day to give financially to FCC and have it "count" for 2018.
See you Sunday,