2016 is the year of finally feeling acclimated back into american life.
It began our first year of full time ministry where I had a stable, consistent income since we have been married. There are pros and cons to this. There were realizations for the both of us that there are costs to securing stability in the future. Costs that didn’t enter into our mind when we were living by faith, month to month, on the mission field. 2016 brought those realizations.
2016 brought our series in the Gospel of Luke on Wednesday nights. A spring of new gifts in personal study for me.
2016 brought a new endeavor towards education in biblical counseling. I saw how this was a lack in my pastoral experience and how closely it connects to simple pastoral discipleship in a body of Christ that experiences a diversity of sufferings and joys. The semester was a revelation in so many ways.
2016 brought another Israel tour in the books. This one was special to me in bringing two of my closest friends along. This year especially have I found closer kinship to friends that hold a deeper bond than any friendship in the past. I am thankful for them.
2016 brought a pregnancy.
2016 brought a miscarriage.
Both events cemented again that so much of our personal committments to Scripture are for the building up of foundations when sorrows come unexpectedly. Scripture gives us evidence to praise God in joy and sorrow.
2016 brought a new president-elect. Alongside came a desperate cry out for the reevaluation of american evangelicalism. Russell Moore does a great job of that in his book Onward.
2016 brought new revelations for personal need of sanctification, which acts out moreso in the day to day, than in the crisis, lightning-bolt experiences.
It seems every news, social media, or soapbox outlet is crying out for the death of 2016, and I can’t blame them, but what does 2017 owe us that 2016 promised? Aren’t the years that ebb and flow in sorrow or ease, feast or famine, peace or upheaval simply the result of of foolish sinful hearts under the staying grace of a merciful God? Even if next year brings even deeper difficulties, doesn’t the truth remain the same?
The summer is long gone.
Taking online counseling courses in addition to pastoral ministry.
I leave for Israel in two days.
We are expecting our fourth.
Our zeal must, however, begin at home. Let us examine ourselves as to our right to eat at the Lord’s table. Let us see to it that we have on our wedding garment, lest we ourselves be intruders in the Lord’s sanctuaries. Many are called, but few are chosen; the way is narrow, and the gate is strait. O for grace to come to Jesus aright, with the faith of God’s elect. He who smote Uzzah for touching the ark is very jealous of his two ordinances; as a true believer I may approach them freely, as an alien I must not touch them lest I die. Heart searching is the duty of all who are baptized or come to the Lord’s table. “Search me, O God, and know my way, try me and know my heart.”
Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening: Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
We are soldiers lifted under the banner of Christ, and have proclaimed open war at our baptism, against the world, the flesh, and the devil.