One Word Goal For 2020: Acceptance

Most years, I choose one word than a resolution to focus on to start each New Year. In prior years I’ve chosen hope, faith, and peace. With each choice has come a singular area of focus for growth.

My goal came after doing ministry over multiple days, with two different approaches — the second day’s attitude being the healthiest approach, which resulted in no stress, success, and a lot of fun because I accepted the day’s events, no matter the obstacle. Continuing then, my one-word goal tradition in 2020, I choose acceptance.

Here’s the fuller story that led me to this word:

The first day of ministry was met with confusion, miscommunication, reliance on others, and other stressors that put me beyond my element to minister to the group as requested. Fortunately, the primary party never perceived my frustration that I was failing to serve them to the best of my ability. Still, the internal angst I felt personally bothered me, and I feared my stress would make for a miserable next day. To serve the party well, something within me had to change!

Continue reading “One Word Goal For 2020: Acceptance”

Advent: Week Four, Peace

First, Merry Christmas, especially if you are reading this on 25-December. If not, Merry Christmas as we celebrate Christmas over multiple days during this holiday season. 

Advent: 2019

Also, as Advent this year has looked at Hope, Faith, and Joy, it now concludes with the final word this year: Peace. 

Isaiah 9:6 reminds us that peace is at the core of who Jesus is, was, and will be forevermore. Isaiah writes, 

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. A Prince who was born of a virgin, His mother Mary, approximately 2,000 years ago. Look though at the attributes that support his title as the “Prince of Peace.” 

Continue reading “Advent: Week Four, Peace”

Advent: Week Three, Joy!

As we continue in our Advent season, so far, we have looked at Hope and Faith during weeks one and two. This Advent week, the focus is on joy and what better payoff for one’s hope and faith than joy! A truth evident in Luke 2:

“The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:20)

The shepherds were praising God because they found Mary, Joseph, and Jesus after being told by an “angel of the Lord” that the Messiah, Savior, and Lord was born.[1] Initially, their response was terror, but instantly they were calmed with this good news of Jesus’ birth. Still, seeing is believing.[2] Until they saw, they would rely on their hope and faith.[3]

Continue reading “Advent: Week Three, Joy!”

Advent: Week Two, Faith!

Image result for advent faith

Faith can be challenging! Faith is rough when we don’t know how long our faith must sustain us. Faith is even more robust when we struggle to see if we’ve heard from God rightly. Despite these and other challenges, there are some certainties with faith too. Christmas then reminds us that the object of our faith should always be Jesus. 

In Luke 2:25-38, we meet Simeon, who received word from the Holy Spirit that he would not die until the coming Messiah. Today if we heard someone make that kind of claim, we’d consider such a person arrogant and pretentious. Yet, Simeon’s proclamation was to confirm the Lord’s coming than elevate himself. He displayed a show of faith. 

This Christmas, there will be a lot of emphasis on important things. Yet, are these essential things, be they local traditions, family traditions, new traditions, friends, gifts, etc., yet, how are they pointing to Jesus? How are they enhancing our faith than self?

If we are honest, for many of us, Jesus is not the object of our faith enough during Christmas. Yes, we might attend Christmas services, but we’re too caught up in the culture’s concept of Christmas. That’s not to say we should avoid cultural traditions, but we should remember that no matter how great our traditions might be, Jesus is better. 

Looking back then to Simeon, why not start a new tradition. One where – like Simeon – we marvel at God’s faithful plan to ensure His Son would be born. The Son, who is the promise to all humanity. A birth that began a chain reaction of wonders from earthy ministry, to Cruxificiton, to Resurrection, and the birth of His Church. 

If, then, God can ensure Simeon’s confidence would be rewarded due to His faithfulness to the Lord, then let’s start a Christmas tradition where we faithfully trust God more. A faith that remembers His plan for us through Jesus every day, no matter our circumstances. 

This Christmas, don’t seek to “check off” a Christmas Eve service as an obligation. No, extend your faith to worship the birthed Savior with others both in and out of the church. Doing so, I bet you’ll worship Jesus in more profound and more faithful ways, who again, is better!

Growing our worship is a great tradition to start during Christmas. A tradition based on faith in the greatest gift of all, Christ! His plan would not be thwarted years ago with Simeon or others. Therefore, worship Him each day because his plan won’t be prevented in your life, especially when He remains the object of our faith!