When I was a teenager, 2001 belonged in the realm of science fiction. Remember Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey? Now we are ten years past that and the years of my childhood increasingly feel a little bit like ancient history. (I hit 60 in a couple of months). 2011 begins in just a few hours. Each new year I find myself saying about the previous one, “Boy did that go by fast!” I also find myself praying that it will be a very good year – the new one – better than the departing one. Not that 2010 was a forgettable year or a bad one. Just that each of us would always pray that our best days are ahead of us.
2010 had its challenges, but it also had some fabulous things happening. Let me note my personal highlights.
|Dianne spending time with the Lord at a prayer retreat|
The first was my wife Dianne. In 2010 we celebrated our 38th anniversary. For the last few years Dianne has not been well, but this year she found healing and came into her own as a wonderful spiritual leader in my church. She has been trained as a Stephen Minister, helps lead worship, and now serves as an unpaid staff member for the church as its Spiritual Gifts/Ministries Counselor. In addition to all of that she went to work for a wonderful group called IU13 which provides teachers for special needs children. Watching her work with autistic kids and children needing emotional support and help with their at risk status has filled me with awe and pride. She is a magnificent Christian and has inspired me over and over again.
|Lynn Byers working at Adventist Hospital in Port-au-Prince|
Then there’s the terrific church that I serve, the Church of God of Landisville that has made outreach its brand and has urged its people to live as authentic disciples of Jesus Christ. People like Lynn Byers, who as a teenager was in my Sunday School Class, who is now on her second tour in a medical team to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. There are more stories we could tell, but let it suffice to say that I have been privileged now to serve as its Lead Pastor for nine years and I in awe of a congregation that has made caring discipleship, loving evangelism, and practical servanthood the fabric of its lifestyle.L
|Jeremy Moyer, our youth leader and I baptizing Ben Green|
Part of my joy was to watch BURN, our student ministry grow from a dozen to more than 100 kids, many of them unchurched. And one evening I had the unique and incomparable privilege of baptizing 12 of them in the pool at Hempfield Rec Center. They wanted to be there because they knew that many of their friends would come to the pool party we held, but would not have come to the church – and these kids got a chance to share their witness with more than 75 peers.
Another highlight of 2010 was a wedding of my son Christopher to Megan Parrott. It was a rare opportunity to have my entire family together. These are some precious highlights for 2010. Along the way I blogged more than two hundred posts on several blogs and made friends in various parts of the country as I wrote. I preached more than 40 sermons to some people who genuinely are hungering and thirsting for a right relationship with God. Much to point to and to celebrate.
But the greatest joy for me has been to live a resurrection life by the grace of God and in the service of my Lord Jesus Christ. There is no greater privilege than being his ambassador and his disciple. And with this in mind, I anticipate 2011 to be an even better year.
|Christi, Dad, Mom, Megan, Chris, Katie, Michael – all my children and my newest daughter-in-law