2015: Change; 2016: Hope

As we round out one year and move to the next, I pray we will move forward in hope. This year, 2015, was a year full of change for me. Not that other years haven’t included change, it’s just that this year was full of surprises.

Earlier this year my wife and I learned that we were pregnant and were expecting in December. A few weeks later, I was appointed to serve a new congregation in Indianapolis that would begin in July. I had a friend tell me that you’ll be experiencing three of the most stressful events in life in a few months. Those events included moving to a new city, starting a new job and having a baby.

It has been a year full of changes, but it has also been a year full of joy and hope. I love living in Indianapolis. It is truly a joy to serve with the wonderful people and staff at Meridian Street United Methodist Church. Now, we have a new baby who fills us with great joy.

As my District Superintendent shared, “This year will be one that you’ll never forget.” I believe that every year includes events that make it memorable. I will never forget 2015, but I enter into the New Year with great hope as well.

The New Year will bring change too. My denomination, the United Methodist Church, will gather for our quadrennial General Conference event. Regardless of what is decided at this gathering, I have great hope for the United Methodist Church.

While many mainline Protestant denominations, including my own, are lamenting decreasing numbers, I believe that God is doing something new with the church. My faith proclaims that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Mark 12: 27). The church will live. The United Methodist Church will move forward. I pray that we will do so with great hope.

While the world faces many challenges from war, violence and poverty; I again enter the New Year with hope. For all the bad news that we hear in the world, there are stories that fill me with great hope. There are people of faith caring for refugees, reaching out to others in love and simply offering kindness to the world. That fills me with hope.

I’m not sure what your 2015 has brought. Perhaps it’s been a great year or a challenging year or maybe a year filled with change like mine. Regardless, I pray that we will enter into the New Year with great hope. As we read in Scripture “God makes all things new” (Rev 21:5). May we enter into 2016 with great hope, allowing Christ to guide us as we face this New Year as people of faith.

Happy New Year 2016!

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