Developing a Personal Vision for 2017

The Bible teaches us it is wise to have vision (Proverbs 29:18). Every new year I love to sit down for a bit, reflect on the previous year and then think through what some personal goals for the new year.

As Christians, we are to be continually changing as God increasingly works to form us into the likeness of our Lord Jesus. This is the doctrine of sanctification. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, "We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another."

How have you changed in the last year? There are three options. Either you have changed a lot, very little, or just stayed the same. Sometimes change can come in large quantities and very suddenly. Other times change is slow and very subtle. Or change can just not happen and we can become stagnant.

How do you know how you have changed and how you need to be changed in this next year? Here are some good self-evaluative tools.

1. Reflect

Take some special time to be alone by yourself and reflect. Think back to your life at this time last year. Remember how things were with your job or school, the relationships you were spending time in and the spiritual lessons you had been or were learning. Think about your current character and life and where you need to grow and would like God to work in you.

2. Ask

Spend some one on one time with people you respect who know you well and ask them what they see in you. Have someone tell you what they have seen in you in the last year and what they see you need for the upcoming year. Be humble and teachable and ask some others to speak into your life.

3. Goals

See how you have accomplished the goals you set for last year and set new goals for this year. Change takes determination and if you don't plan for God to change you it is most likely not going to happen. Think through at least three or more things you’d like to do, accomplish or see change in your life.

4. Write

This can be one of the most helpful tools. If you journal, go back and read some of the entries from this time last year and see what your own personal thoughts were and how God has either worked in those areas or where He needs to. Write down a personal list that you put in your phone or on a piece of paper where you’ll see it regularly prompting you to pray over your goals.

Without having a personal vision for your life in 2017 you’ll likely flounder and fumble your way through the year. So get some vision and go after it. Things may not work out the way we want them to or think they will (Proverbs 16:9), but usually, that provides an opportunity for us to grow in the very ways we are asking God to change us in.

If we’re living for God following Jesus, we have the guarantee that no matter what it will be a good year (Romans 8:28). May our Great God and Savior bless you this year as He works in you to make you the person you long to be and that He has designed you to be.

Pastor Duane

What We Tell Our Kids About Santa

Every year in our home we love to fully embrace all the fun that goes along with Christmas. We decorate our house inside and out, we have a tree, an elf on the shelf and we have fun talking about Santa and playing along in all the fantastic stories about him. However, usually during our nightly family worship times we have a number of serious discussions about Santa. Here's what we tell them and the story of how we developed our approach as a family.

The Importance of the City

Cities are important to God. In the book of Jonah God challenges him about his lack of love for the city and reasons that the people there are important to God. In his book, The Meaning of The City, Jacques Ellul chronicles the cities of the Bible and the move from broken cities to a beautifully transformed city where the savior reigns. The importance of cities are big theme in the Bible: Babel, Bethel, Sodom & Gomorrah, Jericho, Jerusalem, Babylon, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Rome, Ephesus, Philippi, Collosae, Laodicia, Smyrna, Pergamum and to Thyatira, and Sardis all play important roles in preparation for the great city of Zion. 

Storytelling & Gospel Centrality

Stories are extremely significant. Every one of us has a story. Where we were born, where we grew up, what life has been like for us, the things which have shaped us, the people who have become important to us and the things we are currently still trying to figure out.