I have been thinking this week about 2007 — next year. Next year comes in a matter of weeks.
As I anticipate the year, I feel a restlessness. I am not always sure what to do with something like this. I have to believe this is (or can be) a good thing. Maybe I am just more aware of this as I think about my life, his mission, etc. If nothing else, maybe such restlessness just means I am still alive. Hopefully, I will allow this restlessness to serve as a prod to move me toward God and all that he is.
I have to admit, nothing quite gets my attention at this point in my life like seeing some person who seems to be in neutral, coasting through life. Lethargic. No passion. No sense of mission. He/she has a cushy situation (in a marriage, job, and/or ministry) and now is stuck in cruise control. I can’t begin to tell you the number of people I’ve witnessed do just that.
You’ve seen some of these people haven’t you? They yawn through life. As I think about this, I want to say aloud, "Uhhh — no thanks!"
I want to be intentional as I pray and think about the upcoming year. One book, in particular, has helped me as I think about life in this new year. I read the book once and then taught the material in a class at our church. The book is Pilgrim Heart. The author is Darryl Tippens. Allow me to quote from the back cover of the book:
The faith of Jesus was once considered a distinctive way of life rather than a complex theological system. Pilgrim Heart re-imagines discipleship as — first and foremost — a particular way of life guided by a set of simple, but powerful, daily practices known to the earliest disciples and saints through the ages.
The book invites readers to consider afresh the way of Jesus in light of practices that have proven to transform lives for two thousand years. These include friendship, Sabbath rest, hospitality, confession, forgiveness, listening, discernment, singing, creating and experiencing the arts, and telling stories.
This quote is right above recommendations by Brian McLaren, Rodney Clapp, and Mike Cope. Tippens is provost of Pepperdine University. He is also professor of Early Modern Literature. For over twenty years, he has taught courses in the literature of Christian spirituality.
I realize there are many, many new books on the market. New titles. New authors. Let me assure you that this work is well written and well thought out.
Anyway — something to consider. Maybe you have other recommendations that you think might be valuable for one who is anticipating the new year. If so, I would love to hear about them.