Happy new year! 2023 is upon us, and I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones. Looking back at 2022, I am grateful for all the amazing things that God did through ABC, but I’m also excited to see how He will work through this family of faith in the new year.
A new year always brings a new opportunity for new goals. I encourage you to set ambitious, God-glorifying goals in your personal life, your home life, and your workplace. However, we must not forget that there is one goal that reigns supreme above all other goals.
Jesus instructs us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Growing in our personal relationship with God must always be our primary objective year over year. We were created to know Christ and to make Him known. When we start to understand that reality, Jesus says all those other secondary goals begin to fall into their rightful places.
How can you grow in your faith this year? Some of you may need to get in a consistent Bible reading plan or begin the discipline of journaling. Others may need to find community in a BFG or begin serving the Lord through a ministry in our church. God may be calling you to schedule regular time for prayer, or maybe He is calling you to take a leap of faith on a mission trip. God could be calling you to grow in your faith through regular tithing, or maybe He has put someone on your heart to share Christ with this year. Maybe God is calling you to set up accountability in your life this year and rid yourself of the sin that has so easily entangled you. There are so many ways to grow in our faith, so I encourage you to prayerfully consider what your next step should be in 2023.
One way I am currently seeking spiritual growth is through my seminary studies. As many of you know, last summer I enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program at Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention. As part of my ongoing doctoral program, I must go to the seminary 1-2 times a year to work with seminary leadership and other doctoral candidates in person. I’m currently in California taking classes and will return next week. Please pray for me and my studies this year. Pray that God will continue to help me balance the demands of the home, the church, and the seminary. I believe God will use this season to grow me as a Christian, a husband and father, and as your pastor.
I will miss you all this Sunday, but I am excited to have Dr. Alex Himaya fill the pulpit in my absence (bio HERE). Alex serves as the Senior Pastor at The Church at BattleCreek in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Alex is a great evangelist and a visionary leader, and God has used Alex to grow his church into a large multi-site church with international impact. In fact, God used Alex to help begin TC Egypt, the international ministry that ABC is partnering with this year. Pastor Himaya will have a special message for you this weekend where he will share the story and vision of TC Egypt, and I believe you’ll be inspired and excited to hear how God is going to use ABC to help advance the Gospel in the middle east.
Please welcome Alex for me and make him feel at home this weekend. I’ll look forward to seeing you next week at Midweek (Jan 11th) and back in the pulpit the following Sunday (Jan 15th). Have a great week and join me in prayer for great things in 2023.
Onward and upward,