Friday, January 01, 2016

A New Year and A New Song

The new year always feels like a fresh start to me. Sometimes I get the winter blues this time of year, but for the most part I feel hopeful for all that God may bring in the next calendar year. There’s so much possibility! So much could be accomplished, so many changes will take place.

I honestly feel that same hope on Sunday mornings. As the Pastor of Worship, I am privileged and blessed to see people experience these moments of intimacy and wonder in worship. Sometimes I see them happen during the service, which is inspiring. Other times I hear from someone about a moment that caused them to open their eyes to see, or their mouth to sing, or their heart to receive God’s grace in a new and fresh way. We all long for these moments, though they may look different to each person. But when they happen, when God’s Spirit speaks to us and we find ourselves responding openly to Him, those moments can sometimes sustain us through periods of silence.

If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, I want to suggest some spiritual practices you might try this year. Worship is rhythm: revelation and response. When we embrace the rhythm of spiritual practices, like praying each morning, or attending a worship service each week, the rhythm helps shape us. It becomes part of who we are, and we can find strength in it. Spiritual disciplines may help you realign with God the Father, who is always looking for you to come running to Him.

Get a devotional book. A devotional is usually a brief meditation on God’s word or character that you read regularly to remind you of His presence. There are tons of options out there. Maybe you’re best reading a brief reflection once or twice a day. Maybe you’d rather read a longer chapter each week. Many devotionals are topical, so find something that helps you take a step closer to Christ.

Start a reading plan. There’s no substitute for regularly reading scripture. I’m a big fan of the YouVersion Bible app. It has many different Bible reading plans, as short as 3 days or as long as several months. Choose a topical plan, or an area of the Bible to focus on. I’d recommend starting with Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

Carve out some quiet time. Maybe it’s getting up each morning with a cup of coffee and a prayer guide. Maybe it’s listening to worship music or Christian radio programming over your lunch break. The idea is to push out of mind the busy-ness of life, and just listen to God. Get a notebook to write down what you think God is saying, and to keep track of prayers.

This year, this day, this moment is full of possibility. Try “singing a new song” this year. Not literally, necessarily. But try something new. Keep pursuing God. Trust Him with your tomorrow, and decide how you will seek Him today. 

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