Looking Back, before Moving Forward

Calender

The first job that you have at the start of a new year is to evaluate the previous year.  Credit to Rohan Dredge for that little bit of wisdom.

For me 2012 was amazing.  A huge year.  I am continually surprised by the sheer size of the twists and turns life brings as I make my way through my 30’s.  When I was a child it seemed to me that my parents led very stable lives.  We lived in the same house year after year, dad worked for the same employer year after year, we went to the same school – there just seemed to be so little change.  It was a very good life but it just did not seem to be full of many twists and turns.

Yet my adult life is very different.  I seem to be confronted with very large changes, upsets, surprises and challenges all the time.  I can’t recall a great deal of stability or predictability.  Not that I’m upset about that at all – I appreciate the adrenaline.  And I think that being married to Catherine plays a part!

At the start of 2012 I planned that I would have a year of reading and writing.  For me 2011 was a whirlwind – I was far busier than any year previously, certainly any year since I got married, which was 1999.  But the whirlwind stopped in December 2011, and things have been a very manageable pace since then.  So the main thing that I wanted to do was reflect on a lot of that activity.

In this regard 2012 was a resounding success.  I think I read about 30 books, and wrote about 25,000 words through 40 odd blog posts.  And there’s no doubt that that was a profitable exercise – I learnt a great deal.  And I know from my many years as a student that you don’t really know about something until you write about it.  The main thing that I have written about is the church.  That’s no surprise – God has wired me to love his people and be passionate about the church.

Similarly my reading was often about the church, but not entirely so.  I read a number of straight theology books, as well as some non-Christian history works.  No fiction however – not really my cup of tea since I was a teenager.  The best book stood out a mile – Inspiration and Incarnation by Peter Enns.  I blogged more about that book here.

One really big thing that happened that I was not planning on occurring is that we changed churches.  At the start of the year we were a part of Planetshakers, since our former church voted to become a campus of (the much larger) Planetshakers City Church.  I was very enthusiastic about this at the start of the year.  Planetshakers was and is a marvellous church.  They are doing a mighty work.  However God’s clear and undeniable leading was for us to move on.  It is all connected with what God is leading us to do in 2013, which will be the subject of a number of blog posts throughout late January and February.  Yes that’s right – I am going to tease you and leave it to later.  Suffice to say that it is by far the largest and most audacious plan that the Lord has ever given us.  Catherine and I are now a part of Manningham Christian Centre in Templestowe, which has been fantastic.

I think if I had 2012 over again I would have read the bible more.  I was pretty haphazard with my bible reading for most of the year.  It wasn’t until November when Catherine finished reading the one year bible and I picked it up that I became consistent, and I think that I have had a closer walk with God over the last 2 months as a consequence.

The other thing that I would do more of is fasting.  I was in the habit of fasting Monday lunchtimes and spending some time in prayer.  Ironically around the time that I was getting more faithful in my bible reading this discipline fell away.  It all just got too hard!  I want to plan ahead more this year, so that I don’t feel that I have the liberty to avoid doing it simply because I don’t have a pre-planned schedule.

But overall 2012 was an awesome year – I loved it…and I can’t wait to see how 2013 unfolds.

John

One Comment to “Looking Back, before Moving Forward”

  1. As an historian I concur with the great value in knowing, and assessing and applying lessons from what has happened. As a follower of Jesus what happens at this moment has prime urgency. So as you move through the “moments” may you bless and be blessed as you make more history.

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