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the fifth of july

ok, we can start again now. i think it is great that at the end of a year you have a few days to slow down (the christmas – new year’s eve gap) and focus on the year ahead. this year, for the first time, i also thought about the mid-year break we get with independence day. not exactly mid-year, but only a day or so off.

in the pace of life you and i live re-focusing is necessary. i have taken the last few days to think about my mid-year course corrections.

in the historic prophetic writings of jeremiah, the hebrew prophet, he communicates a message from God to humanity caught in a place they did not want to be. in this message God says, “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

after a few months of broken resolutions, disappointments, doubts, and successes all mixed together, we take a space of time to remember what we wanted out of this year, what God put in our heart for this year, and what is still possible.

what are the plans we have? what are the possibilities that exist? what impact do we seek to leave upon 2006?

i look back to the desires of my heart planted there by God as i began the year. what plans has God not abandoned for me? if God’s plan is to prosper me what does that mean? it means that at the end of the year God wants me beyond where i was last december….that i will have more wisdom, sacrifice, investment in others, experience with grace, compassion for others, wealth of spirit and gravity of living.

i have come to understand God’s plan for me includes the following three things…

freedom… Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8.1,2)

there is a real freedom in relationship with the community that is God – Father, Son, Holy Spirit. freedom that flows from knowing, not thinking, that if i follow pre-scribed wisdom, i can be free from anxiety, fear, doubt and oppression. the result of missing God’s plan is separation from God’s destiny.

ministry with a mission… You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1.8)

why am i here? to relate to those in doubt, in the dark, in denial and in deep weeds that God’s very real power is their’s for the asking. i have been given a dynamic that enables me to do just that. in fact, i position my life to be aware that at any given time God’s Spirit might want to utilize me to intersect someone’s life and awareness of God’s love/life through the following:

God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

wise counsel clear understanding simple trust healing the sick miraculous acts proclamation distinguishing between spirits tongues interpretation of tongues.

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when. (1 Corinthians 12)

it’s part of his plan for us.

finally, a community of worship… being part of a people in a place that embraces the whole of God’s being is priority. in finding and following the plan of God and assessing our life, worship is a great parameter. are we worshiping? are we enjoying God? are we following his course?

paul writes to emerging Christ-followers the following words that we can, in our 2006 mid-year refocus, read and understand:

Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants. Don’t drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. Sing hymns instead of drinking songs! Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5)

in this mid-year week… i hope you take time to remember the plan.

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