18 Things I Learned in 2015

While my blogging frequency has plummeted (down to about once a year), the amount that God has been teaching me has not. I have made summarizing and recording some 2016_new_years_odometer_2015_2016_clock-rfa9628d6b09f4506992f2ea5c6c8c7ae_fup13_8byvr_324key ideas from my journal and posting it online a yearly tradition. This morning, I went back to read the posts from the last two years and it was refreshing and exciting to look back on what God has been teaching me for the past few years. Though I’m slow-witted, stubborn, unteachable, and extremely weak, by His grace, God continues to pour His heart and mind into me, daily changing me to be more like Him. Praise God for who He is – that He considers people like me worth teaching and loving. Here are a few of the many things I learned in 2015:

  1. Some inclinations grow, others linger, others die. Even when we set our timing down for certain things to happen, they rarely do. This is because, in the end, God guides us in His sovereignty onto the right path at the right time.
  2. The line between boredom and Sabbath in the minister’s life is one that depends on the minister. Poorly executed periods of rest result in boredom and spiritual sluggishness.
  3. God often removes from our lives the things that we love more than Him.
  4. We all need someone to challenge us, to push us deeper and farther than we are capable of going on our own. None of us enjoy it, its rarely pleasant, but it is necessary for spiritual growth.
  5. Church membership is not optional, it is a mandatory part of a believer’s life – to be a committed, covenantal member of a local body of believers.
  6. Its astounding how many people feel uncomfortable or out of place when asked to be still and silent in the presence of God. This indicates that most of us (more like none of us) spend as much time being still and silent in the presence of God as we ought to.
  7. Ask God daily to reveal His will for your life specifically. Ask Him daily to guide you, to walk with you, and to lead you closer to the person He is asking you to be and the role He is asking you to play.
  8. Spend as much time as you can away from everything except dear friends and God.
  9. Spend time consecrating yourself before major spiritual events.
  10. Repent and ask God for forgiveness at least once a day.
  11. All Christians should exemplify humility.
  12. Church planting lies at the core of the church’s God ordained mission of making new disciples.
  13. Sometimes God asks us to sprint around dark corners, trusting Him that everything will be alright.
  14. Tell God daily that you are willing to do whatever He asks, follow wherever He leads, say whatever He asks you to, and serve in whatever way He has planned.
  15. Spend more time preaching the Bible to yourself than you spend listening to the voice in your head. It is always better to spend less time listening to ourselves and more time listening to God.
  16. Conversation is one of the greatest gifts God gave to humanity. Not only to converse with one another, but to converse with Him – the King of the universe. Through conversation we build relationships, reveal ourselves to others, and see others for who they really are. Thank you Lord for the ability to converse with you and with others.
  17. God will often let our plans collapse or refuse to give us what we asked for because He knows that His plan for our lives is infinitely better than they one we have planned for ourselves.
  18. Being willing to take a leap into something new requires a great deal of faith and trust in God and willingness to follow Him anywhere. But sometimes being willing to remain faithfully where God has asked you to serve requires even more faith and trust.

I would encourage you, as I do every year, to spend more time journaling, recording your thoughts, your fears, your joys, etc. To sit down and read a year’s worth of such things on December 31st is a beautiful thing. It is my prayer that each of us will spend 2016 seeking God more, loving God more, obeying God more, and serving God more. Grace and peace be with you all!

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