January 23, 2009

Time for a New Beginning

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).

For me January is a very special time, a time for new beginnings, a time to explore new opportunities, and to plan new ventures. January is also a time when many of us take a long, hard look at the previous year and recount our successes and missteps. It’s a time to reevaluate our lives and resolve that the next 12 months will be better than the last.
This January in particular marks several new beginnings of note. January 20 marks the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States. News reports estimate that more than 4 million people may attend the ceremony. The historic event marks a major milestone for the nation, one that has ignited the hopes and dreams of African-American and other ethnic groups in North America and around the world.
2009 1503 page6Within the worldwide family of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, January marks the beginning of 2009, the Year of Evangelism. In North America hundreds of pastors, administrators, and ministry specialists are gathering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, January 18-21 for training and preparation for the program’s spring launch. 
Through this initiative the North American Division hopes to increase its membership by 10 percent, or 100,000 members. Toward this end pastors are being challenged to hold two evangelistic meetings this year, and several local and union conferences are devoting significant financial resources for the initiative.
Life’s New Starts
For most of us life is a series of new beginnings. We start grade school. We start college. We start our career or a business. We start a family. We start retirement. Likewise, the Christian journey should also be a series of new beginnings that lead us ever closer to our divine potential. Accepting Christ as our Savior brings a new beginning in new life, but it’s just the first step. We start a lifelong relationship, a relationship that grows fuller, richer, and deeper over time. As God draws us closer to Himself, it is His desire to elevate our lives and give us new horizons, new opportunities, new challenges and responsibilities that will take us out of our comfort zone.
If we would abide by His laws and precepts, God makes this promise: “Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isa. 58:14, KJV).

As you delve into God’s Word and learn more about His unfathomable love, you’ll be inspired to serve Him in new and creative ways. Like the master in the parable of the talents, God wants to make an investment in you. He has a plan for your life, a specific work fashioned for your unique talents, skills, and temperament.
As the year begins, challenge yourself to take your relationship with Christ to the next level through daily devotions, prayer, and active service. You’ll be surprised at the ministry opportunities He’ll open up.
Through His divine promptings God will reveal new and creative ways you can reach others on your job. If you are actively sharing your faith, He’ll provide the resources to increase your outreach to a point that is unimaginable. God has a million different ways to spread the gospel, and He’d like to share a few with you.
Won’t you give it a try?

Carlos Medley is online editor for the Adventist Review.