I sat down to think about the year that has just passed. Reflecting on the past 365 days I can only marvel at all the things God has done this year. My spiritual resolution at the beginning of 2010 was to follow the Lord like Caleb, who was a contemporary of Joshua. Six different times in Scripture we are told that he followed the Lord fully. No matter how much Caleb had seen God do in the past, he faced the future at full throttle, desiring new mountains, new challenges; he wanted to see God do more. My desire for 2010 was for God to pump that kind of blood through my veins, that He would ignite my heart. With the year now fully in the rearview mirror I can definitely say that God answered my prayer for new mountains and challenges.
It was a beautiful year. It was a difficult year. It was a phenomenal year. God did exceedingly above all that I could have asked or thought. I used a blank piece of paper to write down my top ten list of memories from this year and was overwhelmed. I ended up with a lot more than ten and had to ferret it down. Here they are:
1. The Birth of Daisy Grace
The happiest baby I have ever met. I love her. (c’mon–is this like cuteness overload or what?)
2. The Release of the iPad
It is the ultimate preaching machine. period. It is also cool that if you google “preaching ipad” the two blogs I wrote on the subject are the top hits. That probably explains why those are by far the most visited blog posts I have ever written. It was also super sweet that the first message I ever preached on it was on the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter. That’s what it’s all about baby!
3. Skull Church.
Everything about it. It is my favorite day of the week. I loved: the bands from this past year (Family Force 5, Charlie Hall, Robbie Seay), the different series (High Fidelity, Spoiler Alert, Forerunner), the energy, the merch (Thanks Hurley!), the text-messages, but ABOVE ALL the hundreds and hundreds of people who have made professions of faith in Christ–that’s what it is all about! I want people everywhere to experience what God is doing through Skull Church.
4. The pregnancy of the Fresh Life Whitefish Campus (specifically the Night of Worship)
The Campus will officially be born in 2011 but the whole process of preparation has filled much of this year (in fact it began in 2009). But it has been one of the most difficult, exciting and adrenaline filled adventures of my life. We have had to exercise muscles of faith that we didn’t know we had. The barriers, opposition, and roadblocks have been MANY. But through it all we have held onto the fact that OUR GOD WILL FIGHT FOR US! We know that the battle belongs to the Lord. End of story. Even the night of worship in preparation for the launch was wrought with hardcore drama and came close to being canceled. But at the end of the day hundreds of people gathered in Whitefish, Montana and lifted high the name of Jesus. Tears fell down my face and my heart was filled with faith as I praised God for what we knew He would do through this campus and the others that we believe are to come after it.
5. Being a part of the Greg Laurie Harvest Crusade in Chicago
Over 220 churches came together to make this event happen. Chicago has a long legacy of evangelistic events with men like D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham having held meetings there in the past. Remarkably, this event was the first time churches worked together to put on a large-scale event like this in fifteen years. Exciting. God has His hand on Greg Laurie’s life and it is an extreme honor to get to host his crusades.
6. Reaching the 50 mile benchmark on my road bike
boo-yah! Next year I wanna hit 100!
7. Rock this City
Giving 3,000 hours of community service to the Flathead Valley through the Rock This City Initiative was awesome. I conquered my fears and gave blood for the first time. take that, Needles!
8. Killing our Youth group.
We decided we haven’t been called to be a church with a youth group but a church that is a youth-led movement. Busting a cap on our youth groups was a little Snoop but it has been awesome. We aren’t having students sit at the little kids table anymore. They aren’t the church of tomorrow, they are the church of right freaking now. No matter who you are, if you come to fresh life you gather in worship experiences, get plugged in through community groups and are unleashed to serve and take part in the action. Best…Decision…Ever.
9. My cheerleaders
Every week, before I preach, my daughters pray for me. Their prayers rock my world. They pray that God would fill me with His Holy Spirit, that I wouldn’t be afraid, and that people will come to know Christ. My three year old once prayed that I wouldn’t fall of the stage! Then they give me a high-five and tell me, “preach the Word Dad!” They are amazing.
10. Watching Jesus build His church
Nine out of ten church-plants fail within the first five years. The average three year old church is 45 people. What we are seeing at fresh life is a lot of things–but it is certainly not normal. I am thrilled, humbled, and blown away to be apart of a move of God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus is doing what He said He would do, building His church (Matthew 16:18) and no one can stop Him. What thrills me even more is the fact that with all my heart I believe that the best is yet to come!
Happy New Year!