Archive for January, 2009

Where My Heart Is

Monday, January 19th, 2009 | Uncategorized

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I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Christmas is often a time where we reflect—resurrecting memories from our childhood.  For example, I remember celebrating Christmas for many years at my uncle’s mother’s house.  She had a bad case of arthritis.  We would gather near her bed and open presents so she could be involved.

I also remember my high school days in Illinois.  It was cold and often snowy at Christmas, and I sometimes had to shovel our driveway so we could go out during the holiday season.

I was refreshed in my memories of high school a few weeks ago when I attended my reunion.  Meeting and interacting with some old friends was both exciting and enlightening.  The majority of my classmates had retired.  They talked about hobbies, retirement homes and grandkids.  A lot of water had passed under the bridge.  One of my classmates even had been married four times and had the most grandkids, counting all of his wives’ children.

What struck me about the time, though, is how natural it is to look back in our lives.  Yes, it was a reunion, but that only accentuated what we all tend to do—look back.  And although that is not a terrible thing to do, it can orient us in a way that mitigates against forging into the future with energy and focus.

I contrast my reunion experience with a meeting of the presidents of several other parachurch organizations.  We and our spouses meet every six months for a day to share and pray.  It is a rich experience, and we have become close friends.  Although we do reflect back over the past six months, for a significant portion of our time we look to and pray for the future.  Each of the organizations has some wonderful, aggressive plans.  So we encourage one another and dream with one another of what could be.

It is a group that has decided to set aside the past, respectfully, and look forward to what lies ahead.  That sounds a lot like the Apostle Paul, doesn’t it?  “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

There are some lessons in that passage for each of us with Campus Crusade, in our ministries.  By all means be grateful to God for all that He has done in the past.  If you are mainly involved in a local ministry, for example, thank God for those who have come to Christ, grown in their faith and now minister to others.

But know that God is not through with you yet.  He has many more people who need to come to Him, grow in their faith and be sent.  And some of those are within your ministry’s reach in the years to come.

So as you enjoy this holiday season, don’t stop with reflections.  Move on to dreams, plans and resolutions to further action in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the spirit of beginning a new year and, more importantly, in the spirit of the exhortation of the Apostle Paul, reach forward and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you.

Thoughts to consider:

1.    What are some good things God has used you to accomplish in the past? Take some time to thank Him for the opportunities He has given you.

2.    Now, what are some future opportunities it appears God has prepared for you to do? What are your dreams concerning those?

3.    What are some practical ways you can “reach forward and press on toward” those goals?

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