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Well, Christmas is over!!  I hope it was joyful season for you personally and a fruitful season for your church.  I hope this week allows you some down time and some time to enjoy family and friends.

I don’t know how you are wired, but at least for me, my mind has already begun to shift to 2018.  I actually love thinking about the coming year.  It is a chance to reflect on what has been in the past year and to dream about what could be in the coming year.  If the Lord doesn’t return, we will have another 365 days deposited into our account.

I don’t know about you, but I have a kind of love-hate relationship with New Year’s.

On the upside, it feels like a fresh start. There is an entire year ahead of us and at this point, it’s a clean slate.  Certainly there will be circumstances I can’t control, but for the most part, I get to choose how I will live the 365 days of 2018.  On the downside, I am frustrated how many new year’s have begun with the same resolutions and goals.  My good intentions and determination have not always been enough to help me reach my goals and make changes in my life.  

Goals and resolutions without a clear game plan for accomplishing them is nothing more than wishful thinking.  

Around this time of year, I always think of Psalm 90:12 (NLT)
Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.

The older I get, the more I have a growing awareness that the clock is ticking, and it is like I can hear the sweep of the second hand as it clicks off moments I can never recapture. I have reached that stage of life where more ministry road is in the rearview mirror than in the windshield.  I am constantly reminded the seconds are ticking down and that I need to make the most of my time.

So, what are you going to do this next year to make the “most of your time”?  Life is too short to play it safe all the time.  The older we get, the less risks we tend to take.  Now, I’m not talking about going out and doing something reckless and stupid.  I’m talking about making your ordinary life an adventurous partnership with God.  When you read the stories of the Bible, you quickly discover God places no value on making sure people who follow him lead comfortable lives.  His goal for you is not an easy chair faith or recliner religion.  

In the Bible God almost always asks people to do things that they can’t accomplish on their own.  If you’re not facing any challenges too big for you in your life right now, if you’re not involved in anything that is stretching your faith, then maybe you’ve been in your recliner too long.

Just a few weeks ago I spoke at a business leaders event in Birmingham, Alabama.  The guy who led this group invited me to stay around an extra day and play golf.  We played at an exclusive country club where a friend of his is a member.  As we played that day, this country club member began to share the story of how he became a member.  He said that he drove by the golf course all the time and would regularly think to himself that someday he would like join and be a member there.  But he said it was quite expensive and he was so busy with work, he never got around to it.

Then, at age 60, he go throat cancer, and his future was very uncertain.  He said that one day after he had been diagnosed with cancer, he drove by that golf course and a thought struck him like a bolt of lightning. That little voice in his head said “What are you waiting for?”  And that day he pulled in and applied to be a member.  

So, let me ask you the same question.  What are you waiting for?
As you move into 2018, let me challenge you… Don’t coast.  Don’t put life and ministry on autopilot?

What needs to change?  What is the bottom 20% of how you are spending your time that you need to stop doing?  What one new skill do you want to grow in?  What is something you have planning to do but have never gotten around to?  What is one risk God is asking you to take in this new year?

Lance is the founder of Replenish ministries and is often referred to as a Pastor’s Pastor.  He is also the author of the book Replenish, which is dedicated to helping leaders live and lead from a healthy soul.  Before launching Replenish, Lance served 20 years as a senior pastor and 6 years as an Executive/Teaching pastor at Saddleback Church. 

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