Saturday, January 9, 2010

Looking Forward to the New Year

(From Jan. 6, 2009 Journal) - Marcus "Goodie" Goodloe opens by talking about how he likes "A Year in Review" reels at the end of each year. Standout events to him were Michael Phelps, Annika Sorenstam retiring from golf, the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, and movies Batman and Wall-E. Those that we lost in 2009 were Paul Newman, Bernie Mack, Tim Russert and Charlton Heston. The Financial Crisis of Wall Street and the changing of the political world by Obama dominated headlines. Continued fighting in two countries carried through 2008.

Goodloe then goes into the accomplishments of his church, Mosaic. Personally, he is happy about his participation in Mosaic and his role as a father and husband. This past year also brought challenges, not so much for his family, but for his close friends. So, as we look back on the year, it is fitting to explore a 1 Samuel, from the "Historical Books" of the Bible. They are books that look back and observe. In 1 Samuel 7, Hannah gives birth to Samuel, the last judge in all of Israel and the first prophet. Samuel carries God's message to the first king, Saul, which brings the Israelites back from the abyss of separation from God.

In 1 Samuel 7:1, we find a Samuel talking to the people about sadness that can be brought on when we place our trust in false things. When we put our trust in things like the stock market, we are surely going to be let down. Sometimes, when we do this it requires others to stand in "the gap" and intercede for us. Goodloe goes into a story about how he became friends with a professor at his school in Dallas and, when he failed to pass a big test, the professor advocated for a second chance for him because he knew the heart and knowledge of his friend, Goodie. It meant so much to Goodie that someone would intercede on his behalf.

There is a new show now called "Heroes" that highlights people in America who have done or are doing heroic things. Maria de Silva of Los Angeles is a nanny who lost family members to AIDS and responded by raising money for others who are suffering the same. Another woman who had been in prison, got some people together to videotape family members of woman in prison so that they could continue to have connection with them and be in touch. Another woman helped raise money for housing. Another woman started an exercise program for homeless people. We have heros in church who start Small Groups and others who work Sunday after Sunday.

There was a woman in an SUV who was in life threatening danger when the Potomac River flooded. The woman scribbled the name and number of her husband on some paper and a reporter, who saw it, called the husband and let him know what was happening as his wife was being rescued. Later, there was a reporter reporting ON THIS REPORTER who said the interesting thing about the whole thing was that the heroic reporter BECAME A PART OF THE STORY. In response, the reporter said, "I am a human first and a reporter second."

Samuel called the Israelites to honor God through offerings and fasting. Samuel was a leader among them. Who did we lead in 2008? Who did we intercede for? Sometimes, others interceding for us inspires us to intercede for yet other people. Right now, Goodie is praying for and interceding for his friend who needs to pass the same test that he passed the second time around. When Samuel had gathered the Israelites at Mizpah, the Philistines heard them and immediately surrounded the Israelites to destroy them. Samuel interceded and asked the Lord to help them AND GOD ANSWERED. When God responded through the weather, it confused the Philistines and routed them to their own destruction. Samuel then set up a stone altar and named it Ebeneezer to remind the people what the Lord had done for them.

There are undoubtedly moments in 2008 that the Lord brought us through and sometimes we don't even know it. 2009 holds challenges for us and Samuel challenges us to cling to God, to pursue and trust Him. This is also a year of opportunity for us to lead and/or for us to intercede through prayer. Let our reflections of 2008, our "Ebeneezers" give us strength of faith in 2009!!

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