Looking Back and Looking Ahead

The start of a new year is often marked by looks in the rear view mirror as well as predictions for the future.  Socrates’ famous quote is apropos, “The unexamined life is not (or hardly) worth living,” along with George Santayana’s often paraphrased statement, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

Scripture encourages reflection also.  Paul tells the Philippian believers to focus their thinking this way, Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8 NIV)  The writer of Hebrews recognizes and urges us to cleanse our conscience with these words,  “…since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:21-23 NIV)

As you look back I want to encourage you to employ Paul’s advice from Philippians.  Look for “God sightings” and for positives.  Bad news travels extremely far and extremely fast.  News outlets are poised to project the next natural disaster, catastrophic accident, violent crime, or international scandal.  Good news usually takes more reflection, with the good news often being intertwined with the bad news.  This past year at CCC I had a great example.  I was enthusiastically anticipating adding a very capable colleague to our staff.  However God had other plans.  As a result we have all had the joy of meeting Anthony Pratt and his family and now look forward to them joining us in 2012!

We also benefit from corrective reflection.  Where have I messed things up this past year?  Are their habits that have undermined my relationships with God and other people?  What are some strategies I could pursue to overcome the grip of those habits and what resources are available from God that could empower me in a positive direction?

As you look ahead, take the positive reflections to the next step.  How can we trust God to bring about good for the next year?  Are there trends that may be an indicator of how He would want to direct my life?

This weekend we will discuss “Answering the Call,” looking at God’s calling of Jeremiah to his special assignment as a prophet.

God bless as we enter 2012!  Looking forward to seeing you this weekend,

Mick