New Year, New You

2013 was a great year for me. I enjoyed it very much.

I traveled far and wide, including a mission trip to Ecuador, weddings in Arkansas and LA, and a conference with some buddies in Indy. The church has continued to grow, and I've had the privilege of leading our excellent and influential youth ministry into the prime of its life. I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with the world's best wife at a nice hotel in Annapolis. I watched my kids drum, play, sing, strum, shoot, swing, score, win, lose, laugh and grow. I read some good books, saw some quality movies, and got addicted to the Walking Dead. I didn't get too old to play basketball. Heck, the Pirates even made the playoffs! Yes, it was a fantastic year!

I like the new Facebook feature called "Year in Review." It takes you on a quick trip down memory lane, featuring your most popular posts and pictures from the year. What a hoot! It reminds me how fun this year has been and how blessed I am. The picture above is in mine. It's from a retreat with the high school kids this summer. It was good to have hair again, if just for a few minutes.

But I confess I've also been a bit sad about the passing of another year. Maybe it's the sugar crash of the post-Christmas diet, or this depressing weather. Or maybe it's the lack of progress I see in certain areas of my life. I'm not sure. But it gives me a reason to pause and reflect on what I want this year to be like. What do I want to accomplish? How do I want to change? (I know, everyone makes resolutions. How cliche`!) So bear with me as I jump into 2014 by asking myself the two best questions I can think of:

How can I know Jesus better a year from now?
How can I be more like Jesus a year from now?

Those are two pretty good questions, don't you think? They are really the only questions that matter that much. If a year from now, I know Jesus better and am more like him, that would be wonderful. I wouldn't so much call this a "resolution" as I would call it a pursuit. A pursuit of my Lord, and a pursuit of my best self. So as I've pondered these questions, I've come up with a plan to help me meet my goals. I won't give all the details, but here are some words from my journal that will help.

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly
Encourage People
Encourage My Family
Lead, Become, Stretch, Fulfill

These words are the core of some disciplines and rhythms that will help me grow closer to Christ this year. The Bible is a big factor. So is prayer. I'm hoping God will grant me the discipline necessary to follow through on my desires. It would be great if my progress was so obvious that you noticed it.

Perhaps you have goals for 2014 also. I would encourage you to think of them through the lens of those 2 questions I mentioned. How can I know Jesus better a year from now? How can I be more like him? That will make for an outstanding 2014 for you, and all who know you. Here's to the year ahead, to becoming what Jesus wants us to become, and to making 2014 a year worth reviewing.