By now, your Christmas decorations are making their way back in the closet as the holidays are quickly becoming a memory. The focus is now on the New Year and the looming Fiscal Cliff. While we can’t do much about politics and gridlock in Washington, we can start the new year by pausing and reflecting on the past year and any changes we might want to make in our individual and corporate lives. I’m not talking about the usual suspect New Year’s resolutions that are made on January 1 and broken on January 3. I’m talking about resolutions that result in real change, especially spiritual change. The one thing about Northstar Church is that we don’t tend to live in the past and as a result have learned it is better not to get too comfortable because change happens.
Most people don’t like too much change too quickly. And although the same can be said about churches, I think we need to be prepared for something different in 2013. The reality is that God has a plan for the church and that plan may require change. Because the last couple years have taught me the truth in that statement, I have but one 2013 New Year’s resolution for myself and by extension for Northstar.
That’s right, just one, although it may compare in difficulty to a long list of resolutions. I want to be more open to change than ever before. My resolution and my prayer is I will be completely open to what God is going to do in my life and in the life of our church. My prayer is that you be open to what God wants to do as well.
“Whoa, Marty, that is a little too unpredictable for me. Anything could happen. Some of us are more comfortable with a little certainty in our lives.”
Yes, it is and yes it could. But, we need to remember that God is in control which means we are not in control. If we go into the new year expecting that God is going to do something new, something exciting in and through us, and are open to whatever God calls us to go or do, then we could see God do the impossible right in front of our eyes.
Consider what Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
What new things do you suppose God will do among us? What “way in the wilderness, river in the desert” do you suppose God will lead us through? It is exciting just to imagine the possibilities when God is involved. Whatever God has planned will not be predictable or small or boring.
I am excited about the future of Northstar as we enter 2013 on the path we believe God has set us on. There are factors that have set us on this path. The planning process truly began when we realized we had more people than space. While the plan is being driven by demographics it is also being driven by the realities of finances.
But that does not mean we are standing around and waiting for God to nudge us in the right direction. It does not work that way. We are committed to making sure that we don’t get so comfortable in what we do and how we do it that we don’t work passionately and tirelessly to advance His kingdom. We have to stay on our toes and the edge of our seats ready for whatever God throws at us or requires of us this year. And that means we can’t get too comfortable. Each one of us who is a Christ-follower has a role and responsibility to help make our vision a reality. I pastor an amazing church, full of amazing people, and have no doubt in my mind and heart that with God’s direction and our commitment to being open to whatever God is trying to do, that 2013 will be an amazing year.
Let me take a minute to share with you our best guess where most of the change and strategy will come into play in 2013.
2013 will be a strategic year in the life and growth of our church family. We have been working as a church to make room for the people who cannot find parking spots and seats at several of our services. God has given us the resources and the people to start our first satellite at East Bay. This will be our strategy going forward. We are committed to opening up other locations as a way we can continue advancing His kingdom. We believe the additional locations will significantly enhance our ability to reach people with the saving message of Jesus Christ. I’m excited to see what each new location will look like, where it will be, and who will be called to go and serve that community. Josh tells me it is impossible to get comfortable when starting a new satellite location from scratch and I believe him.
We are comfortable, however, that the beach campus will open its doors in early February. We don’t know about additional locations at this point because the beach and any future locations are contingent on the assurance that the church will have the necessary resources. You have proven your commitment by your miraculous giving to the Bold Love Campaign. To date, our folks have given over one million dollars to this effort, even in the midst of an economic downturn. As much as possible, this money will be used to fuel our vision in 2013 and beyond.
We are in the people business. We will fulfill our vision by loving people and telling them about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So please don’t get comfortable. 2013 is going to be an unbelievable year.