2007 – A Blog Odyssey
After watching Tennessee get officiated and miscued out of a win over Penn State, and seeing my pick Michigan implode vs. USC, one begins reflecting on “next year.” As I looked back at this year, I realized I did not want to do the usual “looking back” post many of us tend to do. Instead, I want to do exactly what the previous post suggests; namely create this blog in a clean heart. The name of the game for 2007 will be forward-thinking. This is because I can sit here and analyze the side streets life took me and this blog on over the past year, or I can be proactive.
That will begin by posting the final Doctrines of Grace posts tomorrow. I have only the second post on perseverance and a conclusion to the series left. This series has been extremely instructive to me as I have put it together, and has allowed the various strands of theology I have soaked up over my time at Southern to coalesce into something solid. As it is, I still see myself as in a foundational period in constructing a theological worldview as I face the myriad of issues busy pastors face week in and week out. It is exciting, and I will continue to be constructive in my theological posts for the foreseeable future.
As for what I would like to see accomplished in 2007, my wish list is pretty modest. Here it is, in no particular order.
- Read the Bible through. I will be using one of the many reading plans other bloggers have pointed to. I may even go so far as to buy one of those One Year Bibles or something similar. But I have a goal of doing something I have never done: having the entire Bible read through by Dec. 31, 2007.
- Develop an intentional reading schedule. I wrote before that in order to read through my library, I would need to be reading at least 100 pages a day. That one failed miserably, as I found it hard to allocate the time I wanted to reading. After the summer, I actually succeeded in reading a measly 5 books before year’s end. I had what I called “reading ADD” as I bounced around my library from topic to topic. But I want to harness that hyperactivity a bit by scheduling one or two books a week on specific days, which will allow me to do it in blocks and leave time for recreational reading as well. I will be working on this schedule over the coming week.
- Develop a study schedule for preaching and personal study. This one might seem like a no-brainer, right? But I have also been attacked by the same attention deficit with my sermon preparation that my reading has. This is a preacher’s worst enemy. I fully believe this item and the previous one are the results of no longer being a seminary student and deliberately losing that mindset. But I would like to schedule no fewer than two hours a day for sermon prep. I will be spending the majority of 2007 preaching through Romans to a Deaf congregation, and I will need to be on top of my game if I want to be the Lord’s vehicle to my church. I also have been contemplating ways to break up the Romans series so as to give the congregation a break from time to time, perhaps by preaching through a different, shorter book (i.e. 1 John, Galatians, etc.) every couple of months using personal Bible study material. Faith without works is dead, you know.
- Read at least one serious book each month not related to theological matters. This is more of the self-improvement goal similar to the one I had last year. I could work my way through a math textbook. I could gain a reading knowledge of another language. I could read something scientific. I could read Thucydides work on the Peloponessian War. I could choose a historical era to study. Or I could work my way through a computer programming book. This will be an interest-driven goal and I will not hold myself to its faithful completion, as my interests have been known to last as little as a week to as long as a year. But I want there to be at least the monthly attempt. I can already tell you that January will be dedicated to a re-reading of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace and all related books.
- Improve stewardship of our finances. This one is self-explanatory, but as our student loans have come due, and there is a pressing need to purchase a new car and possibly a new computer, financial wisdom is going to be one of the top priorities for me and Tricia in 2007.
- Become a better shepherd. I, as associate pastor of my church, need to be faithfully visiting our church members. I need to be making weekly visits, exhortations, and counseling. Richard Baxter is likely going to be the model I will use, though I think I would be wise to work my way towards his level instead of trying to duplicate his frenetic shepherding habits!
- Lose no fewer than 30 pounds by college football season. This is the big one. I have not approached my high school baseball playing weight since I was a sophomore in college. Tricia and I recently took advantage of a store-wide clearance at Target to procure bicycles (they were half off), and riding them back from the store made me realize just how out of it I have been. This will require the overhauling of not only my eating habits but of the entire movement of my day. Working nights does not exactly lend itself to wanting to exercise when one gets up in the afternoons and early evenings, but I am going to need to get some form of exercise no fewer than three days a week from now on. Having the bikes (finally) will help a lot. I’m pretty sure my old karate kata will make a reappearance as well, for low-impact aerobics. The eating habits part will be a little easier, as it will entail cooking more rather than eating out. We will save money on this one. The last time I found myself cooking on a regular basis, I actually lost 25 pounds over a Fall semester solely on the changed eating habits. I’d like to see what happens when I add a regular exercise regimen to it.
- Become a better husband to my wife. This is an item that will never leave the New Year’s Goals list that I will make each year. I want to become an Ephesians 5 husband in every way. That is the best way to love my wife and to honor God with glory.
I think this is basically the first page of what will eventually transpire personally for 2007. More areas of sanctification will surely reveal themselves with prayer and introspection. Later this week I would like to discuss future goals for this blog. Until tomorrow…
Soli Deo Gloria!