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2010 will stand out in my mind as a rare year, an exception to the norm.  While I’m praying hard for the needs and unfulfilled dreams of a few people close to me, my own heart is full to overflowing today.

Late in 2009 God moved my wife and me back to Nebraska. It was a paradoxical move in many ways. We moved back to a community we knew we liked – but away from family.  We began serving a church we remembered fondly, but a church one-tenth the size of the one we belonged to in Wisconsin. We bought a newer, larger house than we’d previously owned, but on a smaller lot and without the character and charm of our 100-year-old Arts & Crafts bungalow in picturesque Genesee Depot, Wisconsin.

A year ago today I knew I wanted and needed to fit in here in this new ministry.  I wanted to bring progress to our church (the same one we served from 1978 – 1985) with confidence and excellent leadership, but without changing so quickly that problems resulted.  So I set “safe” goals.  I listed the things I hoped we would accomplish but assigned distant dates or no dates at all (which I suppose left them in the dream category, since goals have deadlines).

Wanting to bring as much progress as I could without breaking anything in the process, I prayed my way into every proposed improvement.  I listened carefully to thoughts and observations of people around me. When something was approved we moved quickly, but not recklessly.  I encouraged quality but not perfection, praising people at every turn. Looking back at it now, 2010 was amazing!  It was an Ephesians 3.20-21 kind of a year:

“…able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. To Him be the glory…!”

Ministry-wise, God accomplished more than I dared to ask for at this time last year!

So how am I approaching 2011?  Similarly to last year but with more drive and confidence.  My 2011 objectives:

  • Intentional pursuit of a reputation for excellence
  • A joyful, deepening walk with my Lord
  • Increasing enjoyment of variety
  • Passionate praise and worship
  • Growing effectiveness (depth and practicality) as a teacher
  • Broader scope as a discipler and discipleship trainer

My goals are hardly ever in place before mid-January each year and I don’t publish them,  but those six objectives will serve as their framework.   I can tell you I’m thinking a lot about

  • a less frenetic life-pace, including plenty of nice walks and leisurely lunches with Brenda
  • my writing aspirations, largely sidelined the last couple of years
  • physical condition, a key to long-term productivity
  • greater proactivity, setting things up to happen rather than responding/reacting to life
  • and our approaching freedom, thanks to Financial Peace University (2007)

I’m keeping the prayerfulness intact that characterized last year.  Prayer is my first and greatest resource.  I truly believe that.
I’m turning up the volume on quality and proactivity, but I’m going to  hit “mute”  without apology when it’s time to rest or play.

Welcome, 2011.  I’ve been waiting for you.

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