my hopes for 2010…

Usually people like to post their resolutions and hopes for the next year as the new year is about to begin.


Not me.


… well, kinda me.  The following are some of my thoughts and hopes for my ministry here at the church.  It was, originally, a newsletter article that I wrote, but never posted on the blog.  Since most resolutions fall apart before the first month is over, I thought it would be appropriate to post this a month later as a kind of, shall we say… accountability.

Let’s start with a confession.  I am a prideful person with strong perfectionist tendencies.  Though I try to crucify my pride and trust God, at times, old habits and ways of thinking creep back in and cause me to lose sight of one very significant truth: I am not sufficient.  In my life and in ministry, I am dependent on God to make my abilities (of which, I admit, I have many) and my steps of obedience… more.  I have been charged with the task of creating meaningful, engaging times of worship for my church, but it is up to God to make them powerful and life changing.  In other words, it is up to Him to come and meet with us.  All I am to do is obey and get out of His way.  At times, I’ve stood in His way, and for that I apologize.  May this year be filled with the kind of heart changing, heaven-rending presence that only our God can bring.

One of my hopes for this new year is to, more intentionally, explore the “other reality”.  This idea comes from something that I’ve heard Steve (my wonderful pastor) say often; that when we gather together, our goal is to catch a glimpse of the way life could be and to get a peek at what Kingdom life is like.

Psychology has shown that the ability to picture or imagine oneself doing something greatly increases the likelihood of success in actually doing it.  I have found this to be very true.  When I was in college, my guitar teacher (my wonderful Ging) would encourage me to visualize myself practicing certain exercises in as much detail as possible; to actually see the fretboard and my fingers upon it.  I would fall asleep doing this and, over time, I was actually better able to perform the various exercises and drills.  It was as though I was practicing without physically picking up the guitar.  I think the same can be true in our lives as well.

A lot of people on the internet “poo poo” a particular lyric in a particular song that says “in all I do, I honor you”.  They often say, “I know that I don’t honor God in all I do, so why would I sing such blatant hyperbole?”.  It’s true, we don’t often honor God in “all we do”, but what kind of difference would it make in our lives if, for 1 1/2 hours every week, we allowed ourselves to believe that we were capable of that kind of obedience; if we allowed ourselves to imagine living pure Kingdom lives?  I can say that few things soften my heart more than allowing myself to believe that.

So, one of my hopes for 2010 is that my church and I will explore the “other reality” together and, by catching a glimpse of what Kingdom life could look like, we will truly bring the Kingdom of God into hour homes, our lives, our jobs, and our church.

“Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us…” Here’s to 2010!

If you are reading this as a note on facebook, may I recommend you visit www.shawnbaran.blogspot.com for the full service version? Some things will make more sense if you do.
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