What will 2009 bring?

Could you have imagined one year ago what 2008 would bring? Can you imagine what events will happen in your life in 2009, what will happen internationally? What can you do in 2009 to be ready for the changes that will occur in your life and in the world? Since I was a child I have made personal goals at the beginning of each year. I no longer make personal goals but try to think about the communities I'm in and what our community goals will be.

Last night my family sat down to a beautifully prepared meal my wife made. Pork tenderloin wrapped around spinach and provolone cheese, sauteed peas, mushrooms, carrots, salad, and potatoes. Jill offered the children a copy of our family's one year Bible to read personally and suggested we read it together as well. We talked about what the year would bring, we discussed how we were getting our house in order individually and collectively.

Next week our church will have these discussions, sitting around meals, in offices, in coffee shops. I'll have these conversations with various ministry leaders, shepherds, fellow ministers at Garnett. I'll talk to Eric, Keith, Lara, and others on the ZOE team and we'll discern what God is leading us to in 2009. I'll meet with Jeff Krisman and talk about what will happen with Neighborhood Kitchens/Wednesday night meals at Garnett.

To begin this year, I'll also talk with Leonard Allen about what's going on with Leafwood/ACU Press that I can help with. We have a few cool things up our sleeves in all these areas. I'll check in with Clint Davis about Kibo's goals--he and I met yesterday in his yard, but for a different purpose: to cut a pesky tree that was damaging his house. I'm glad I'm down off that roof and the limb is safely down without breaking windows. We were proud of ourselves!

January is really about conversations of direction and purpose in the communities I live in. We don't make goals as much as we prepare ourselves for what could come, for what God is doing in the world. Will we be ready to face challenges that come, and what do we need to do and be to be ready? That question is more important than the goals we make. Are we shaped in the image of Christ? How do we do that so we're ready for opportunities and challenges that life and God bring our way?

So our exercise fitness, the way we eat, the way we daily pray, fast (or not), enter in Scripture and thought of fellow Christ followers, all serves the purpose of the communities of Christ followers I live in. For many years my goals were about fitness and Bible reading and books to get through and degrees to obtain, but those things all serve the end of my life becoming shaped into the image of Christ in the communities I'm in.

What communities do you need to talk to about what 2009 will look like? Enjoy talking and acting on those conversations.

May God bless those talks. Happy New Year 2009.