Archive for December, 2008

The Past is a Present

Staring into the future and wondering what might be is all too real at this time of the year when we get ready to bid adieu to some memories while waiting in anticipation for some new ones. The providence of prayer and the benefits of blessings are counted while the doubts of despair are pondered as we look at our past for answers. Looming just a few hours away is the reality of another grouping of days on a calendar that will be marked with affirmations and good wishes for prosperity and peace. Yesterday becomes proverbial history and tomorrow remains the eternal mystery, while the present is the only thing we can claim as reality. I decided this year to look at the gifts of my immediate past that have brought me to this moment.
A gift of ministry and evangelism saw me at the helm of an organization dedicated to taking time-honored principles of leadership to third world pastors. For this I am grateful. Vistas of grandeur and majesty came into plain sight in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, and touring the haunting castle of Dracula in Transylvania was not even on the list of goals. For this I am pleased. A dinner cruise on the Bosporus where old and new occupy opposite banks on two continents was my seat of honor while training in Istanbul, Turkey. For this I am humbled. Added to this travelogue were repeated visits to England, the Philippines, Hong Kong and, of course, India. For this I am overwhelmed. Capping off this itinerant lifestyle was the privilege of preaching in a small, rustic church an hour outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For this I feel blessed. Everywhere the people had the same expectancy as did the crowds at all the events in the United States. The quizzical expressions and verbal queries all had the same demeanor as the search the world over remains for elusive hope. I believe that there is more hope in looking at the blessings already received before counting the ones yet to manifest.
As you ring in your own new expectations while standing in your own present, look over your shoulder at your immediate past and document your victories. Then isolate the pitfalls and gaps that impeded progress. Work harder to look at the gift of your past and your present will be more meaningful and your future more reachable. Change is in the air and all signs will point to some distant plateau that all hope to reach. But a change of heart that is built on the foundation of gratitude for the life already lived and the road already traveled will make the destination clearer. May God bless you in your new beginnings with old visions of future grandeur.

Wishing You a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year

A New Year’s Resolution

The parties of the season are in full swing and the decorations that adorn everything that will provide support seem to bring an air of festivity into the moment. The office gatherings and unending supply of delicacies that appear in every break room show us that Christmas is here. There will be carols sung and greetings exchanged and the politically correct needs of the times we live in will force some to be more vocal than others. All in the name of a season and the emotions that another year of endings will bring to families everywhere.

Those that have had a good year will give more to charity and those that are skeptical of the year they have had will put away some of what they have amassed for a rainy day. Some nations will embrace the newness of administrative change with excitement while other nations will adopt a wait and see attitude before commenting on anything. Some businesses will focus on the good and continue to invest in their strategies and their people while others will be forced to reduce their work force to stay economically viable. Some of it will seem fair and some of it unfair. All this in the name of the economy that has seen a year of tumult as progressive people seemed to cling to regressive ideas.

Then there are the hopeful. Every year they make a new resolution to ensure that this year is not a repetition of last year. Wearing last year’s clothes, and using last year’s ink, they write on last year’s paper while trying to forgive themselves for coming up short on last year’s resolutions. This year make a commitment to set goals instead of making more resolutions. A weight loss goal with an organized program will prevent you from falling prey to the so-called voices of reason who do not walk the talk. Just like commenting on the state of poverty from a gated-compound seems like an oxymoron, taking advice from those that have not lived it is also foolish.

If you want to change your life in 2009, change the way you listen and think. Change what you read and when you read. Change who you listen to and what you listen to on the radio. As Zig Ziglar says, “If you keep on doing what you’ve been doing, you will keep on getting what you’ve been getting. If you don’t like what you’ve been getting, you might consider changing what you’ve been doing.” Make a new resolution for change that comes from within. Don’t let the world change around you without changing the world within you.

“You are the change that the man in the mirror wants to see.”

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