What a year is coming up! Nothing accents human limitation like ignorance of the future. We know the past better than the future, but only slightly better. How God was working in and through each circumstance last year is barely known to us. Here is how we experienced the hem of His garment and will do so in the new year as well.
We finished last year in joy because of what God did through RREACH. The “one word” we picked for 2016 was “exceed.” It referred to the One able to do “exceedingly abundantly beyond all we can imagine” (Eph. 3:20). Exceed also referred to excellence in execution. We cried out to the Lord Most High, and He accomplished all things for us (Psalm. 57:2).
My best gift in December was the opportunity to present Jesus to Chinese scholars and professionals in Dallas. The opportunity itself was the gift. I usually pray for at least one expressed response, to rejoice like the shepherd in Luke 15. Indeed, one responded. Another professed salvation over a meal we shared in the UK. Best of all, I was stunned to hear of what God did a few months ago. I had thought 600 youth responded to the gospel invitation. Our hosts wrote that 2,449 professed faith in Christ! I could also add that my LifeRocks talk on “Sexual Corruption” was seen on 6.3 million Facebook pages. Would you pray for and give to opportunities in 2017 like never before?
We finished 2016 in peace. At the final board meeting of the year, we reviewed what God had done. God honored the faith of a few to finish “in the black” while undertaking a huge initiative disproportionate to our size. He helped us launch the next five years so countries, congregations and communities will think and hear differently about Jesus. Enjoy the newly unveiled GProCommission.org, a site to connect, unite, and strengthen trainers of pastors so that more pastors will be better trained.
I personally finished the year in joy and peace by God’s recuperative graces. I am back to a degree of normality indicated by creativity, humor, planning, even controlled impatience! My year ended with a celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary. I was able to surprise Bonnie with our entire family coming together. And nothing could have made her or me happier.
What is 2017 going to bring us? We do not know much. All we are left with is trust. Or better, we are left with the God Whom we can trust. We trust the One we know into a future we don’t. And that is enough.
For the very best of many everywhere,