We’re four days into a new year. Looking out over the foggy landscape of the days and months to come I believe that God has bigger plans than ever for each of us. We can’t know what exactly will come. God in his sovereignty has determined that we humans would have no control over the future, yet at the same time he has called us to look forward with hope and expectant faith. Here are five things that Kelly and I are praying expectantly for and working towards in 2014.
- Threshingfloor multiplying to 3 communities. Sometime around the middle of last year we transitioned from 2 communities back to one as our friend Stephen left for the amazing opportunity to work with New Hope Uganda. Rather than being a setback we believe that it was something that moved us forward as a family of believers. But from the beginning the goal of Threshingfloor has been to develop a network of discipling communities, which means we don’t want to just grow a few really big groups of believers. Instead we want to see disciples matured to the point of leadership and sent out to launch new communities and reach new fields with the Gospel. We’re praying for, planning for, and working towards growing from 1 community to 3 in 2014.
- Grow in the Holy Spirit. I’ve mentioned this before in other posts. I believe that, simply because of omissions in what we learned and experienced growing up, many believers have lost (or never had) the awe and wonder of the immanence of God’s power and presence in the Christian’s life. The supernatural is something for scripture and the distant future rather than our day-to-day life.
As our culture moves further and further from its Christian roots the supernatural is becoming an increasingly critical tool for bearing witness to the truth of the Christian faith. Kelly and I are planning on devoting specific time to learning from people who have more experience and understanding in the things of the Spirit, studying the Word with careful attention to spiritual gifts and the Spirit’s role in the believer’s life, and prayerfully pursuing more. We’re starting with Terry Virgo’s book The Spirit Filled Church.
- Live like my work is a mission field. As I mentioned in a post a few months ago I’ve started working full time and posted an update not long ago. It’s been harder than I expected to step out of the mindset (that I didn’t think I had!) of an 8-5 job being less ministry than “ministry” events. There’s been a serious tension in my life because I’ve felt like I’m wasting time doing the work that I’m being paid to do when my passion is to be making disciples. This, I believe, is a fleshly division. For the last couple weeks I’ve been saying to myself “I’m heading to the mission field” rather that “I’m heading to work.” It’s helped, but I want 2014 to be a year where the divide between “everyday life” and ministry is torn down. Jesus owns it all and if he’s sent me to work it’s because he has a kingdom mission for me there.
- A trip to Sri Lanka. Kelly and I, along with a few awesome friends of ours, have been talking for well over a year about taking an extended trip to Sri Lanka and India. It will be both a vacation and a chance to experience what God is doing across the world as we engage with local churches and believers. We’re planning and saving money and, Lord willing, we’ll leave for at least a few weeks sometime near the end of the year. I’m pretty pumped.
- A sustainable schedule. The end of 2013 was wild in its busyness. Kelly and I hardly got to see each other between work, school, and ministry. As we move further into this new year we’re planning on honoring the limitations that the Lord has given us as humans and leveraging our weakness. Part of this means that we’ll be cutting back in areas so that we have a sustainable schedule of life. There are times where long nights and busy seasons are God’s plan, but to be doing Kingdom work for the next 55 years requires a sustainable pace. We’re planning on starting that now so that we can still be rejoicing in the Lord and making disciples when we hit 75.
Those are five things I’m looking forward to in 2014. How about you? What has God put on your heart as a vision for the new year?