From The Pastor’s Desk: Get Ready! Set! Grow!
“Jesus kept on growing wiser and more mature, and in favor with God and people.”
(Luke 2:52, ISV)
Happy New Year, People of God! There is nothing more freeing than getting a new start. It is like a blank slate. As you begin packing away your Nativity decorations, know that Christmas is not over. It is just the beginning of the story. Emmanuel is still with us. The story continues. In Matthew 2:13-23 we read the rest of the story. The one that happens after Jesus is born. Jesus’ parents must make a decision to stay and risk the terror of Herod, or flee from Herod’s wrath. In a dream, Joseph is instructed to take his young family to Egypt and wait there until it is safe to return to Israel. Because Joseph and Mary are obedient and listen to God, their family is able to survive and even thrive. What about you? Is it your goal to survive or thrive this year? I believe it is God’s will for all of us to continue to grow and mature in our faith. A blank slate or a new start to the year can often serve as a catalyst for us to grow. It is in the wilderness of a foreign land that the Nativity family began to grow their faith. There are at least four characteristics that put Joseph and Mary in a position to grow their faith in God:
- G- Get up! Joseph had to make a decision to wake from his dream and listen to God’s careful directions. The gift of a new year can be a wake-up call for many of us. It gives us an opportunity to take an honest assessment of our lives. We may need to leave some things behind in order to be free to travel to a new place with God.
- R – Receive! Mary and Joseph learned to distinguish God’s voice from all the others because of their trust in God’s Word. In order to do that, you must know the Word of God. How many days this year will you dedicate to God in the reading of His Word? How many hours will you seek His voice in prayer? How many Sundays will you honor Him in worship?
- O – Obey! Joseph didn’t simply consider God’s instructions, he acted on them. When the Lord invites you to do His will, don’t hesitate. We miss opportunities for God to move in our lives not because we don’t know what He wants us to do, but because we put off doing it. God invites us to follow, but it’s up to us to decide to go. A good resolution may be simply to be more available to God this year.
- W – Wait! Finally, wait for the Lord’s instruction and timing. Joseph and Mary had to stay a couple of years in Egypt before returning home. Don’t move until God says move. This kind of discernment that can only come from daily walking in close relationship with Jesus. Proverbs 3:5-6 gives us good instruction, “Trust in the Lord. Never rely on what you know but remember the Lord in everything you do and He will guide you in the right way.” As you make your goals for 2018, look for opportunities to GROW in your walk with God. What will you take with you and what will you leave behind so that you might bear even greater fruit for God’s kingdom this year? How can we be in a better position to GROW the family of God at Mt. Carmel this year? Let’s grow this year! God has great plans to build His people up.
Growing in Christ,