3 Things to Do as You Start the New Year

new year

The New Year approaches! What plans and purposes does God have for us in the year to come? Here are three things I will be doing to get ready for the coming year. Join me in prayerfully going through these steps.

1. REFLECT.

Before rushing ahead into a new year, hit the pause button. Stop and take time to look back. Think through the major events of this past year, both ministry and personal. I ask these questions.

-How has God shown me unusual kindness or grace this past year?

-What did He reveal to me about His nature and character?

-When did I sense His support, protection or presence in a unique way? When did I feel He was absent or silent?

-What was particularly fruitful? Not fruitful?

The past year may have held difficult challenges as well as significant joys. As you think back, ask the Holy Spirit to highlight what He wants you to see. With a grateful heart, express thanks to God for the ways you have been blessed, the things you’ve learned, or progress that has happened. Most of all, thank Him for being with you this past year.

2. RELEASE.

As you reflect, painful feelings may also surface.  There are things we wished for but didn’t see accomplished.  People we prayed for, who still seem so hard and closed.  Times we hoped and fought for a miracle, but it didn’t happen like we expected.  There might be memories of offense and disappointment you experienced. Heading into the New Year,  release those things to God. Let go.

Is there any offense I am carrying in my heart?

Anyone I need to forgive?

Are there any disappointments or losses I need to grieve then give to God?

One thing that helps me let go off pain from the past is looking for “takeaways.”  What lessons have I learned from painful experiences this past year? They are important building blocks for future ministry.  I can choose whether those painful memories will be burdens I drag with me into the New Year, or positive stepping-stones for growth. Note the takeaways in your journal.

3. RENEW.

The New Year is a great time to renew (and set) God-inspired goals.  I am not a huge believer in New Year’s resolutions but definitely practice the habit of goal setting with God.  Pause and listen. Hear what God has on His heart.

-What is God inviting me to do with Him this year? What promise is He releasing?

-Is there one thing He particularly wants me to focus on?

-What change would make a significant difference in moving toward greater multiplication of disciple-makers? What do I need to stop or start doing?

-Are there promises from the past He is speaking again?  What keys has He already given that He wants to show me how to use more effectively this year?

God has an incredible year planned!  He invites us to join Him in establishing His Kingdom among the least, last and lost.  There are major miracles on His agenda.  He is looking for those who will reach out in faith, take hold of His promises, and dream with Him.  It is going to be a year of expansion, growth, and going deeper with God to see greater Kingdom fruit.

Take time in the midst of the parties and activities to reflect, release and renew.  Embrace all God has ahead.  It is going to be amazing!

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