I believe that believe is the word God gave to me for 2017.
During my first devotional time of the new year, before anyone else was awake, with my first cup of coffee in hand. It was clear. Believe. Not an audible voice but a definite impression. I believe he was telling me to believe … again. To believe and not doubt.
- To believe that this year — 2017 — will be one of the best years of my ministry.
- To believe that this year — 2017 — will be a great year for my family.
- To believe that my children and grandchildren will be faithful, passionate followers of Jesus.
Believe it or not, this was all before my second cup of coffee.
The past year was a bit overwhelming at times. OK, for just a few weeks and a month or two here and there.
At Mountainview, we embarked on an ambitious plan to transform our building into a space that will better facilitate our mission to transform people. To do so effectively and completely meant raising nearly $1.5 million, with $600,000 already in the bank. The rest was in the bank, too — just in other people’s banks!
I believed in the project from the moment it was conceived. Then the long months of planning, construction, and fundraising kicked-in. The original start date changed, and then changed again. We didn’t start construction until late August. Our fall ministry season was upended. It was hard to sustain momentum when everything was constantly changing.
And I’ll not lie to you, the weight of needing to raise almost a million dollars in one year weighed heavy on me. It still does. Though I believe God led us do this, I was the leader that stepped out front and said, “Let’s do this!”
Tonya and I have been blessed with two wonderful daughters, ages 19 and 16. One in college and the other a year and a half away. As any good parents, we have always wanted what’s best for them. We believe in the value of a good education, especially one that will provide a spiritual support system during the critical college years.
It’s not cheap. It’s not really expensive either. It’s priceless.
We feel burdened when we see the loan amounts our daughters will need to graduate from college. As a parent, it breaks your heart. It’s overwhelming.
The phrase that came to me this morning was this: God overwhelms what overwhelms you.
In other words, God is bigger than our biggest problem, our biggest challenge, our biggest obstacle.
But do I believe that? Really believe that? Do I live like I believe that?
Then God led me to John 6, seventy-one verses filled with belief. The word itself in some shape or form shows up nine times, but the concept is in every paragraph.
- Do I believe Jesus can feed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish?
- Do I believe Jesus can walk on water?
- Do I believe that if I come to Jesus I will never be hungry, that if I believe in him I will be thirsty again?
- Do I believe in Jesus so much that there is no where else I would want to go?
So, I’ve decided to start 2017 with one chapter and seventy-one verses. I’m just going to keep reading it, listening to it. I’m going to chew on it until I fully taste it and digest it.