What I Want for You

Martin Luther King Jr 250x166I’m going to tell you what I want for you in 2015.

First of all, I wish for you a new dream — something the Holy Spirit instills in your heart that appears so impossible that only God’s miraculous help will bring it about.

Second, I pray you receive joy — not just happiness, but a joy that accompanies you every day; the kind of joy that Paul wrote about to the Philippians; the joy of serving, of praying, of loving, and even joy in the challenges.

Third, I ask for you the luxury of a very special colleague — someone who, along with your spouse, will hold you accountable for your spiritual, physical, and emotional health … and you for them.

Extended family in living room smilingFourth, I want for you this year the unbridled affirmation of your family and their support for what God has called you to do — the unquestioned feeling from those you love most that your household is a team.

Finally, I beseech our Father that you will have repeated opportunities to deeply share Christ’s message. We know Him as Lord and Savior because we have a personal relationship with Him. But the majority of our world is as lost to the truth of the Messiah as those John wrote about: “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5). Our responsibility is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in such a way that all men might know the “light of life.”

Jesus Christ 250x190What a marvelous opportunity you have been given during this coming year to paint a picture of the One who has come. Isaiah proclaimed, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given … And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Just think what that means to people who are searching for something — anything — that will bring them the peace and assurance of a Father’s attention that will never cease. What a message!

Please, my colleague, give Jesus life through your preaching and ministry throughout 2015. You will be blessed.

That’s what I want for you this year. I truly hope you get it all.

“As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near’” (Matthew 10:7).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

Christmas Fireplace - 250x175

During this most busy season of the year, please do not fail to slow down and enjoy Christmas for yourself and with your family. The babe that arrived that first Christmas came for you and yours as well as for those you serve.

As Christmas approaches, remind your people that Christmas is for everyone. Remember the loneliness of Joseph and Mary as they searched for a place for the Christ child to be born. Are we sensitive to the needs of others who may also desire a place to be loved and accepted?

Mary Joseph Baby Jesus - 250x200As the Christ child searched long ago for a place to be born, He continues to search today for a place in the hearts of the more than six billion souls that populate planet Earth. Christmas is not just a pleasant season or a festive holiday — it represents one of the most significant events in human history. Now, more than ever, we need to emphasize “the reason for the season.” Encourage your people to greet those along the way with a smile and a cheery “Merry Christmas!” We must not forget it is Jesus’ birthday we are celebrating.

“Because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7) was a sad commentary in the first century, and it continues to be so even now. We must give our Lord room to love His world.

John wrote, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).

I would often say to my congregations at the beginning of a worship service, “God loves you today as though you were the only one in all the world to love, and that makes you very special.” I really do believe that. I don’t understand it, but that is the mystery of the Virgin Birth.

Angel and Shepherds - 250x200How do we respond to that love? There is no way to repay it, but there is a way to reflect it — to love your God with all your heart and to love His children, your brothers and sisters. Gift-giving is a tradition that captures the imagination of us all, but on this Christmas weekend, our Lord is most interested in how we show our love to Him … and to our neighbors. Looking for a gift? “Love never fails.”

May His love be real to you. Merry Christmas!

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4: 18-19).

‘‘All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:43).

A Blog for Pastors and Their Families