Final Thoughts for 2008 and Opening Prayers For 2009

It is now 2009. It has been quite a year. The election of a new American president. The severe downturn of a troubled world economy. The ongoing wars, not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but elsewhere in hotspots around the world. The continued genocides in Darfur and in other regions. The continued rise of green thinking, even to the extent of becoming mainstreamed in some evangelical and politically conservative circles. The questioning and yearning among disenfranchised evangelicals. The shrill and prolific lectures and writings of the new athiests. The serious societal impact of social networking utilities such as youtube, facebook, myspace, xbox social gaming, twitter, and a host of others, thereby providing broad accessibility to a wide range of ideas and people, often for ill, but also to good effect. The change in how mainstream media, particularly in Portland, Oregon, allows access and interactivity through these utilities. Case in point, channel 8, KGW.com invited users to submit videos of themselves or especially their children presenting on the spot coverage of Storm 20o8. It caught on like all the rage. The continued rise of family ministry. The ongoing professionalization of children’s ministry. The decline of churches. The emergence of informal missional communities. And the list can continue on much longer.

I believe that 2009 will be pivotal in the lives of many churches and individuals. Will we rely on God’s grace, or seek answers strictly out of our own ingenuity? Will we truly forgive or will we allow deep-seated grievances to fester in  waiting for a future day of reckoning? Will we repent of habitual patterns of sin and experience freedom in Christ, or continue to be hampered by our choice to remain shackled? Will we dare to dream creatively and risk acting innovatively, or will we remain safely sequestered in the womb of personal or institutional insecurity? Will we allow God to energize our thinking and actions, or will we attempt to retain control within previously proven action plans? Will we fly like eagles or walk like chickens? *Wink* I was gonna say fly like chickens, but we all know how that would turn out.

I pray that 2009 is a year of blessing for you. Whatever your challenges. Whatever your needs. Whatever your limitations, struggles or hurts. I pray that God will work in and through you to such a degree that when the dust settles on 2009, you will sit back and marvel over what God has done. You will break out in praise for his mighty works in your life and in your church. Be blessed friends. God is on the move. Join me as we break camp and advance as his ambassadors to the world.

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