The past year has still been a tough year. It wasn't more of the same from 2009, but there were definitely lots of challenges. I got through 2010 because of God's fulfilled promise of more Jesus.
I spent more time with Jesus on a regular basis this past year, and those times have been rich and rewarding. But more than just time spent with him, I have sensed more of his presence and power in my life than ever. Like monster truck rallies, I felt MORE POWER! I'm hoping for even more of that in 2011.
Over the last several weeks, I've been asking God for a theme word or phrase for next year. What I believe I'm hearing is relationships. This is a key word for me right now. I desire for God to strengthen my relationships on every level:
- Continue to grow in my relationship with my Father. That's where it all starts! If I have a strong relationship with him, I believe he will strengthen my other relationships as well (see Matthew 6:33).
- Continue growing in my relationship with my wife, Heidi. Next to my Father, this is my most vital relationship. I still have a lot to learn here!
- Continue to invest into my relationship with my kids, Jordan, Dru, Sarah, and Annie. I want to be a good steward of what God has entrusted to me, and, next to Heidi, they are the best gifts and responsibilities he has given me.
- Invest into my relationships with our small group leadership team and leaders. I tend towards the task-oriented/achiever side of leadership. Like many other small group pastors I know, I love vision and implementing it through strategies. (Alan Danielson wrote a great six-part series of blogs titled "The Problem with Small Group Pastors." Start here to read this series. See his Triple-Threat Leadership graphic here.) I desire to be a more relational leader, and it takes effort and Christ's power to move in that direction. This year, I'm going to be very intentional about this.
I believe I needed more Jesus before I could successfully strengthen and build my relationships. God is at work, and I can't wait to see what he does in 2011.
How about you? What theme is God giving you for 2011?