Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year's Challenge, Part 3

After the past two days of challenges, I know we’re ready for more. Wednesday, I issued the upward challenge to read the Bible through this year, to memorize 52 key Scripture passages, and to display an increased commitment to prayer. Thursday it was time for the outward challenge. It included commitment to a new bi-weekly visitation program and participation in a mission trip. Today it’s time for the final challenge. And in many ways, this is the one we might think of first. This is the inward challenge—in other words, the one that affects us inside the walls of the church. All too often, when we think of things that need to be done at church, this is the list we think of—an improvement list. But as I wrote yesterday, the order of these challenges is important. Unless our relationship with God and with the world He’s called us to reach is where it needs to be, these things don’t really matter. With that in mind, here are the inward challenges for 2009:

The first part of the inward challenge is a project that desperately needs to get done—the parking lot. With each passing season, it further erodes and will soon be beyond simply capping.

Second on the list is improving the acoustics in the Activities Building. I am not a sound engineer, but I do know that strategically placing carpet and baffles will dramatically improve the sound quality. The Lord has blessed us with a tremendous space, and it would be nice to use it to the fullest extent possible. Plus, it would be nice to be able to have a conversation over there without sounding as if you’re in an echo chamber.

The third item is purely aesthetic. Several people have approached me about replacing the sanctuary lights with prettier chandelier-type lighting. I agree. While we don’t have the money in the budget (and will not for the foreseeable future), it is possible that families or individuals could purchase one or more lights. New lights will go a long way in further beautifying this building.

Well, there you have it—the pastor’s challenges for 2009. Are they overwhelming? They can be if we look at them the wrong way. If we look at them from the perspective of nickels and noses, we will be overwhelmed. But if we look at them from the perspective of being faithful to our calling and good stewards of the resources God has blessed us with, we won’t be overwhelmed.

Will I be disappointed if we don’t accomplish them? It depends. If we accomplish none of the inward challenges but faithfully accomplish all of the upward and outward, I will be ecstatic. But if we accomplish all of the inward challenges and none of the others, we will be miserable failures.

I pray that we have a terrifically successful 2009—not in man’s eyes, but in God’s eyes. By His grace and for His Name’s sake.


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