Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Reflecting on the past, looking to the Future

Here we sit at the dawn of another New Year. It turned out that the Mayan Calendar maker was just doing his job all the way to the end which is something that is hopefully said of all of us. After an extremely busy last few months I have had the opportunity to do something rare this week, which is to relax. (I'm really liking it) I'm not a black-eyed pea and turnip green fan but I do have some Pinto Beans and a meaty Ham bone in the pressure cooker and the smell is making me smile. (may it be that way in a day or so)

2012 was a very interesting year for me. One that was satisfying in many good ways and a dreadful one in many others.The number of Funerals that I either conducted or attended during the Calendar year topped more that 15 and among them some very dear and close Friends and Relatives. I've NEVER had a year like this in that regard and I really do not think it is about my aging, it just seemed to never end, even up until yesterday when I received news that a Young Man that I have know all of his life, died from a sudden Heart attack at the age of 40. In the terms of loss, I am more than happy to say good-bye to 2012.

While all of the losses affected me, the most profound one was of my dear Friend of more than 35 years, Pastor Neil Smith. Neil and I were sounding boards to each other.We had attended Junior High School together and stayed relatively close from then on. He would become one of my favorite Evangelist to bring in as a Pastor and probably the greatest thing was that we "got" each other. (not everybody gets me LOL) He was up here in July and we celebrated our 50th birthdays together. Neil's passing came just after Thanksgiving and in all honesty, it has had a profound affect on me. I openly wept as I received the news, my heart breaking at the realization that I would never again pick up the phone and hear, "Hey Ken, it's Neil." I'm one that generally dislikes the telephone in the first place but I always enjoyed chewing the fat with my Friend to the point that my arm would fall asleep and my ear would get numb. Again, to be honest, I am still processing the grief because we were so close in age but at the same time I realize that there is a void to fill in the kingdom and I want to do my part. Neil's life always challenged me to step up and I am finding his death to be much the same. Please pray for the entire Family of my dear, Friend.

2012, however, wasn't all bad. Professionally, Spiritually and in regard to the Indian Trail Church that I Pastor, we experienced some wonderful blessings and increase and I believe that the past year will serve as a spring board for what God has in store. I feel in my spirit the urgency to call out the Church as a whole to live repentant lives because I feel that God is getting ready to pour out in a way that we have never experienced before and we must be ready. While that fact is good news, I also feel that it will come at a cost. Our society is spiraling downward and our moral values are bankrupt. At every level it seems that this Nation is thumbing its collective nose at God and "be not deceived, God is not mocked." You might say to yourself, how can you say both things? It is because I believe that at the same time that we are surrounded by great darkness, we have incredible opportunity to let the light of Jesus Christ shine but we must be ready and recognize things for what they are. The Bible speaks of "fields, white unto harvest" and while that sounds shiny and pretty, the realization is that the darkness of increasing evil is in fact, a harvest field that is ripe for the taking. Sin has, does and always will separate us from God. I even believe that it separates Believers from the plans that God has made for them. So in 2013 I URGE You to go after God in ways that you never have before. Let recognition, repentance and forgiveness of our sin dwell with us each day and may it draw Men toward a God that longs to bless them in the middle of surrounding darkness.

My wish for all of you is for you to begin to understand the incredible fulness of God's love for you and the unsearchable riches that He has in store and that you become willing to pay the price for that to occur. May this be our finest year and may this be God's greatest hour. God bless you all is my prayer.

I'm not a big fan of resolutions as they usually represent us just beating our gums together but I do have a few things that I am going to list that I will attempt to do this year in an effort to be accountable to do it.

1. I am going to begin to write a Book. This has been something on my heart for a few years now and something that I have continually put off. The title will be "Lessons learned on the Run." I ask you to pray with me about it.

2. I am going to seek out a Missions trip to make, whether it is this year or next, I want the target to be selected this year.

3. I again resolve to give God more than my excuses in 2013. I wasn't perfect at it in 2012 but I was improved and I believe that is all that He is asking.

God bless you ALL