Happy new year to everyone. I trust you all enjoyed worshiping the Lord on the first day of 2006. I was able to do so twice. Some friends and I rang in the new year by toasting each other with sparkling cider and then assembling in the living room to sing worship songs for about a half-hour. I love those intimate worship moments with a small group. We were fortunate to have a good guitarist and djembe drummer among us, which made everything sound just a little bit better. After worshiping the Lord in song, we then worshiped in prayer. I can't think of a better way to spend the first hour of the new year.
Later this morning, I went to church and during the service my pastor, Joshua Harris, challenged us to think about what resolutions we can make to grow in godliness. It's typical for most people to make resolutions to lose weight, change a bad habit, look for a new job, get out of debt--and so forth. But if we are want to become more Christlike, we have to have a plan for the spiritual disciplines that will help us grow.
Tomorrow I won't be blogging because I'm taking a personal retreat to fast and pray for this new year. Prayer and fasting is one spiritual discipline that I would like to make a more regular practice in my life this year. I'm going to pack up a number of commentaries, my journals from this year and last, and my study Bible and head to a house that a kind friend is lending me for the day. Free from distraction, I hope to hear from the Lord about His priorities for me in this new year. I will also look back at what I wrote about last year--the items I was praying about at the time, the areas I wanted to grow in, the Scriptures God was highlighting to me. I've been doing this yearly review ever since I became a Christian and it always inspires me to stop and worship the Lord for His faithfulness to me from one year to the next. Sometimes you have to take this 25,000-foot altitude review of your life to see how the Lord's direction and guidance have been taking shape over months and years. He is always at work, but sometimes the sea-changes are so subtle that you have to take the long view to spot them.
Again, happy new year! May the Lord be your greatest treasure this year!