And now it’s 2009.

I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on 2008 and dreaming about 2009. It’s strange how a “drop of the New Year’s ball” seems to bring some things to a close and others to a fresh beginning.

2008 really was quite the year . . .

Here are some of my personal highlights.

*I celebrated my 15 year wedding anniversary!

*We adopted Elijah John Dominic Nettle!

*I visited Graceland. (Okay, not quite as momentous as the first two highlights.)

*I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (My climbing partner, Tom and I, raised $48,000 to open two new homes for children who have been orphaned as a result of the AIDS pandemic in Tanzania).

*I visited three of our Compassion sponsored children–Bakari and Godfrey in Tanzania and Darwin in Peru.

*I baptized Grant and Austin McClain (Young sons of two of my closest friends).

*I baptized Brandon Blood and Norm Jackson in the ocean of Peru–complete with 8 foot waves!

*I was bit by a Copperhead snake (Still trying to put that behind me).

*I attended the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade in New York City with my family.

*I read 62 books.

2008 was quite a year. But with all of the highlights come the most important questions . . . Did I become more like Jesus? Did I grow in my generosity? Am I becoming a more authentic person? What did I learn? What difference did my life make?

As for 2009 . . .

*I hope to learn to sail (It has been a dream of mine for years).

*I’m looking forward to a spiritual pilgrimmage to Israel (I’ll be going with 15 other Pastors at the end of May).

*I’m excited, and a bit terrified, to deepen my relationship with God.

*I’m hungering to hear from God about His vision for my life and RiverTree (the church He has entrusted me to lead).

*I want to have a date with my wife, Julie, every other week. (It’s been a challenge since we adopted Elijah.)

So, it’s New Year’s Day. Have you spent time reflecting? Time dreaming? Asking questions? Celebrating? Mourning?

God, may we all build upon the past that you have given us so that we may fully live for You in the future You have entrusted us. Amen.