As the title of this posts suggests, my internal calendar is a mess. For a multitude of reasons, both good and bad, both within my control and without; it finally struck me (in the second half of March) that I should really get going on the things that the Lord has in store for me this year. Honestly, I'm not so sure what even clued me into the fact that the year was getting away from me. Maybe it was colleges finally getting back to my son with acceptance letters, maybe it was Refuge starting their 40 days of fasting program, or maybe it was experiencing the majesty of the Lord as He granted us a few Spring-like days after the rain. For whatever reason, it hit me like a freight train... It's March. Solidly March. As a matter of fact, March will soon be over!
Life happens. Things tend to get in our way or get away from us. They distract us from our work and walk with God. For some of you, it's as serious as spending more time with Him that you've been meaning to get to, but you haven't done so for one reason or another. For others, it maybe something simple like having dinner as a family more often as the dining room table sits all by itself... in the dark... once again. It's times like these that we need to be diligent, looking for an opening. It's more about our tenacity, our perseverance, our ability to dust ourselves off, and to either take advantage of a break in the clouds or possibly listen for His still soft voice amidst the chaos and do what you can to draw closer to Him and live abundantly.
I want to encourage you today, much like the Lord did for me with those wonderfully mild sunny days in a row. Use today as a spring board to catapult your faith this year. Take a moment to gather proper perspective about who you are in relationship to Christ. Who is He? He is the King, the Comforter, the Righteous One, the Alpha and Omega. And who are you? Your His child, His servant, you are victorious through Him. You were created through Him and for Him. The Holy Spirit lives inside you and He is stronger than any power that is coming against you.
Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." You are His workmanship, a piece of living art; one that is as magnificent as a warm spring day. One that has design and purpose. How will you respond to the opportunities He is presenting to you each and every day? Whether you have been doing well or you've been distracted so far this year, let me encourage you to get out your hiking boots and commit to be in step with the Spirit today.
To say that this past holiday season has been a whirlwind for us Ritzes, would be an understatement. Now that February is here and the holidays are squarely behind us, I can now reflect on the past few months and settle into what I hope and dream 2019 will be. Not that 2018 in its entirety was a terrible year, but for us, it was punctuated by tragedy with the abrupt loss of my best friend's son. He was a go big or go home kind of individual, and that's probably what I appreciated most about him. That kid was fearless by anyone's standards. As we reflected on his life and tried to deal with the sadness and sorrow by remembering the good amidst the bad, we remembered a rather poignant quote of his, "Almost is not a story." It was his way of bluntly letting you know that if your story ends with the words,"... and we ALMOST such and such," that it wasn't worth the telling.
That may not be the gentlest way of putting it, but he wasn't wrong. Biblically, it's pretty sound as well. Ecclesiastes 11:4 tells us, "He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap," meaning those who merely think and dream of doing things never really get to the part of "living life abundantly." Those who allow fear to hamper their effectiveness for the Lord, have the wrong person on the throne of their lives. Those who only start a project without completing it and reaping the rewards of their efforts are foolish.
Frankly, if you apply this concept to the many facets of your life, it can be quite motivating. It's only now (ironically), in February that I am looking at what I hope to accomplish in 2019; at the same time that many of you might be just about ready to set things aside that you hoped to do. It happens to all of us; it's what we all do at about this point in time in the new year. That part about completing things, not leaving things half done along with Bryce's quote, has me uber motivated this year.
Whether it is the effort involved, or some fiscal reason, or maybe some calamity has befallen you already this year, don't be daunted. "ALMOST IS NOT A STORY." Whatever it is you're hoping to accomplish in 2019, continue to dream big! Don't let fear be the authority figure in your life. Be doers of the Word, not merely hearers who deceive themselves. Run the race to completion fixing your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith.
Spring has sprung and we here at Grace Church want to encourage all the different variety of "budding" spiritual gifts out there. We have a few contributors already lined up and if you would like to be considered as well, send Pastor Jason an email. It can be written or even a video. Testimonies and maybe even some Grace Church history could also be topics in the future.