“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” – Isaiah 43:19
This morning, and in the spirit of Tuesday evening’s “State of the Union” address, I’d like to share a little vision for the coming year. 2016 has the potential to be a landmark year in many respects, and I am truly excited to be standing here at the beginning of January, peering into the amazing potential the coming months hold.
Of course, I tend to see every new day this way, as a fresh landscape inviting me to live like I really do mean it, and to engage the coming hours as a grateful child of God intending to make a positive difference in some small way.
You see, I honestly believe that we have each been imagined, designed, created, and equipped with the specific purpose of impacting this world for good. Each moment – from the way we interact with our family over breakfast, to the attitude we bring into our first moments at work, to the spirit with which we respond to the challenges we encounter – holds the potential for furthering the kingdom of God.
A NEW CONVERSATION ABOUT FAITH: Personally, during 2016 I’m looking forward to sharing my core message with as many people as possible. Just before Christmas, I released my first new book in more than three years. “Pilgrim in Progress” features 99 readable essays designed to challenge anyone and everyone to think about life, family, community, learning, the world, our own story, and – possibly the most powerful section – “passages,” when the people we love leave the confines of this world.
If you haven’t ordered your copy, I’d like to encourage you to seriously consider reading this new book. I’ve shared before that I’m convinced there needs to be a new conversation about faith, and this is a book that – I believe – makes following Jesus a more approachable and compelling topic than the message so many people have rejected.
I have two more new books slated for 2016 – but this one is the perfect read for the New Year. For devotions, to share with a friend, or as a great study text for your small group.
COMMUNITY: I’m also looking forward to the limitless potential that comes with being a part of Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. 2016 has launched with such a buzz of enthusiasm, positive energy, and renewed commitment that we believe anything is possible!
WFPC will be celebrating twenty-five years as a faith community this fall. Our vision, spelled out on the church website, reads: “Responding to God’s call in our lives, Wake Forest Presbyterian seeks to nurture Christ-like relationships and challenge each other to grow in discipleship while embodying Christ’s Church in the world.”
AGE: Then – and I’m excited about this too! – I will be entering a new decade this March, and I’m curious as to how the next ten years will be defined. Back in 2006, the day after my birthday, I received my first ever book contract, and it set the course for the most exciting ten years of my life… to date.
So I’m naturally looking forward to how my personal vision will play out over the next few years. And what is my vision? Well, let’s see if I can put something down in writing, subject to review and revision between now and when that BIG birthday comes along.
VISION: So here’s my vision for the foreseeable future”
I’d like to see myself grow as an encouragement to other people; I’d like to see my walk with God mature to the extent that I am telling compelling truth about the Gospel of Love via who I am, and how I live; I’d like to communicate the heart of God’s message of reconciliation with such beauty, and such clarity, that those who hear me speak – or read my words – will be inspired to follow Jesus too.
How about you? What’s your vision for 2016 and beyond?
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.