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December 31, 2011

My resolution: Don’t waste 2012

The most important lesson I learned last year was to not waste the challenges that come your way. I learned it from my dad who is a great communicator in person, but has always been taciturn (disinclined to elaborate) in writing. He could have invented texting - never use three words when two will suffice.

That changed a few years ago, though, when dad was chairman of the board of elders of his church. The congregation was going through hard times and he wrote a bi-weekly commentary to provide updates and share things God had showed him in his daily quiet time.

Early in 2011 dad was diagnosed with cancer and decided to provide loved ones with an honest and vulnerable health update, as well as a reflection on what he had been learning in Scripture. The October 7th update was particularly striking:

A column in World Magazine last week pointed to an article, written by John Piper when he had prostate cancer in 2006, entitled “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” So I’ve been reading and re-reading the article; I certainly don’t want to miss what God is teaching me during this time. For some, the terminology may be hard to accept,  but I believe God is sovereign, infinitely wise, and has purposes that we will never comprehend this side of heaven.

The first point is: (1) You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.  What God permits, he permits for a reason. Since he is able to stop the cancer but does not, he has a purpose. I want to discover the purpose(s). And (2) You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift. Think about this verse: “There is therefore now no condemnation [curse] for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

As I read those words I reflected on my family’s year. Upon becoming president of Summit Ministries I had to decide what to do about a year’s worth of scheduled teaching, speaking,  and consulting commitments. The easy thing would have been to cancel them,  trusting that clients would understand. After praying, though, Danielle and I decided to trust God to enable us to follow-through. Practically, this involved traveling more than 150 days (you know you’re traveling a lot when ticket agents know you by name and TSA agents shake your hand in the security line).

Danielle has been a rock in the whole process and the kids have had a wonderful attitude. I’m so grateful they saw the bigger picture and decided to embrace hardship as a source of ministry rather than complaining or checking out. They didn’t want to waste 2011. 

So my resolution for this coming year is simple: Don’t waste 2012. Three specific applications have been impressed on my heart:  

  • I will not share in the     world’s terror of the unknown-nothing is too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:27)    and He will retrieve good out of the bad.
  • I will not turn back in     the day of battle, but will look for opportunities to move forward in     faith (Psalm 78:9-16).
  • I will continually pray     for wisdom and understanding, for myself, my family, and my co-workers     (Colossians 1:9-14).

Don’t waste 2012. Will you make that commitment with me? If so, and you have time,  I’d love to hear the Scripture passages and related commitments this has caused you to make. You can send them to me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Happy New Year.

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