Somehow I failed to get everyone to ignore my most recent birthday. As much as many of us would like to skip these annual events they happen – ready or not! Thanks to all who sent cards, left voicemails of singing, called, posted greetings and congrats on Facebook, and told me in person. I do appreciate each of you and thank God for such an amazing group of friends and family.

For me, this particular birthday is significant because it marks the beginning of my second year as pastor at Northgate! A year full of learning new names and faces; listening to the stories of scores of people; growing in an understanding of what God is already doing here; and praying, laughing, and crying with many as we do life together. There are three things I am taking with me from the past year and three things I am praying for in the year to come.

Lessons from the first year

  1. Northgate is a family not an address or a building. We are just a small part of the world-wide body of Christ but a major participant in all God is doing in our community.
  2. We are not the only lighthouse of truth but a sincere gathering of Christ-followers with moving, personal stories of forgiveness and restoration, mercy and grace.
  3. We are learning to connect with Jesus in communities that care. These core values are not just words; we are living them out together.

What I am trusting God to do in the year ahead

  1. Give us a vision for our community so big it will require outrageous faith and irrational generosity.
  2. Help us exploit our strengths both as individuals and as a household of faith.
  3. Give us an insatiable desire to see lives changed. The transforming work of Jesus is the only hope for this crazy, hurting, messed up world.

Heavenly Father, I pray as I begin another year of life and my second year at Northgate, that you would make me more and more like your Son, Jesus, who is everything! Amen.

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