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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

What are you looking forward to next year?  A chance to lose some weight?  A new start?  More snow?  Some special event?  Or just more school?

Here’s what I’m looking forward to next year.  First, with my family I’m looking forward to seeing my children continue to grow and develop.  Watching their excitement as they learn new things and experience the wonder of God’s creation is so fun.  Tad is looking forward to a dog for his birthday.  I’m not sure I am.  But we’re all looking forward to an new baby boy in April (well, I’m pretty sure Zeke doesn’t know what will hit him).

At church I’m looking forward to more opportunities to share the gospel.  Our AWANA Soccer Camp in the summer is going to be a great opportunity to do this.  We’ll have other special events like Easter, the International Dinner, and AWANA Games.  It’s going to be great to once again be able to tell the story of Christ.  But not just those special events but times with neighbors, opportunities through the deacon’s fund,  and sharing with different guests we have are all great opportunities to share the love of Christ.

I’m also looking forward to opportunities to help encourage each of you through preaching and teaching God’s Word.  What a great gift we have in God’s Word that allows us to know God and know His ways.  I’m planning to be in it for myself on a regular basis, are you?

I’m looking forward to growth in our small groups.  We’re going to have a special emphasis on them in February and March.  It’s going to be a great time to get to know one another and practically apply God’s Word in our lives to one another and our community.

I’m looking forward to helping more in our community.  I’ve enjoyed some time in a Community Conversation group about how to help our community be more welcoming.  I’m excited about further helping in that!

I’m so thankful to God for these abundant opportunities to experience His grace.  Isn’t it great that we have such an experience of being forgiven by Him, of being loved by Him, and of seeing Him work through us in others?  What greater privilege is there!  Are you counting on His grace this year?  It comes to you because of Christ, not because of your New Years’ resolutions or just your continued efforts to obey Him.   Even though it cost Christ so much, it comes to us free.  Let’s praise Him with our lives and lips because of His greatness.  What a great year to anticipate!

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