Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Looking Back... Looking Up... Looking Forward

It is early Tuesday morning, January 1st, 2013. We celebrated the end of the year in our house with friends eating snacks, playing games and watching the ball drop in Times Square (To be honest, I still don’t get it.).

For years now, I have taken the last week of December and the first few weeks of January to reflect on the previous year and ask the Lord to prepare me for what He has in store for the next year. This year is no different.

Looking Back

On a personal level, Esther and I celebrated our 24th anniversary. It’s been quite a journey, filled with joy, laughter, some tears, transitions and incredible relationships along the way. Stephanie turned 22, Brittany 20, Kristi 16 and Melanie 13. Yes, there is another driver in the Edwards’ household. I am one proud dad.

I had shoulder surgery in August, which is still no fun to deal with. I was able to travel to Argentina to work alongside Centerpointe’s missions team and work on building a dorm at Instituto Biblico Rio de la Plata. I also joined the Assemblies of God Church Multiplication Network to work with their coaching for church planters. This is my investment back into the next generation of pastors and churches.

Centerpointe Church also took major steps forward. In March, we took 52 days to raise the funds and remodel 90% of the church building. The impact on our lives as a congregation and the lives of people that will join us in the future will be felt for a long time. We called this time, “Ready the House” so we could fill the house, and God has added to our congregation already. We also took more steps in building relationships with our neighbors at Ragan Oaks and Gables. We have come a long way since March of 2011 when we first arrived.

Looking Up

Yes, it was hard. Yes, there were moments of concern. Yes, at times I wondered if we were going in the right direction. And, Yes, God did honor our steps of faith. Whenever I questioned God’s direction, He sent us the right people at the right time to keep us moving forward.

All I can say is “God is Good.” I like to use the phrase, “We have too much history with God’s provision to let one season discourage us.” 2012 was another year of provision, thus another year to look back on as a reminder of God’s goodness.

Looking Forward

I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I have a sense that God is going to work wonders in our lives.

For me personally, I am going to invest more in the lives of pastors and leaders. I am going to also invest more time into the men God has put in my path. Once again, I will read through the Bible, although I haven’t chosen a translation yet. As a family, we are going to invest more into the Kingdom of God financially through missions and our church.

As for Centerpointe Church, well, that’s a long list, but here are a couple of key initiatives (details not included):
•    Spiritual Disciplines – “The Story”, prayer, fasting, journaling, tithing and generosity
•    Outreach – serving weekends, prayer communities, ESL, sheltering homeless
•    Internal Systems – Constitution and Bylaws revision, follow up and connection, benevolence
•    Leadership – development, coaching, mentoring, interns
•    Discipleship – “Disciple Makers”, more baptisms, small groups
•    Care and Community – military families, family services
•    Ministries – hospitality, kids safety, fine arts
•    Awareness – Internet, marketing
•    Facilities – windows in doors, repair parking lot, foyer, video cameras, upgrades
•    Missions – trips and special projects

This list should get us started.

Lord, how desperately we need you in our lives. May our desires be to know you more and to make you known.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20–21 NIV)

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