January 2017 Newsletter article
January 4, 2017, 12:00 AM

Grace and peace to y’all! It’s 2017! Can y’all believe it? How fast this previous year flew by. I think we had a great and positive year at Redeemer in 2016 and I look forward in faith to what 2017 can bring.

Towards the end of this past year, I started reading a new book called Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Douglas Abrams. Mr. Abrams’ book is an entire weeklong interview and conversation on joy between His Holiness Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

For years, as I read books about the ‘future’ of many things – the world, Christianity, and more they always center around two main points: it’s not the way it used to be and we can’t make/force it be that way again. With those two points, we move forward in new and different ways. Now, certainly I believe that to be true as well, but those books are never that positive. Lifting up and catering to more of our ‘fears’ of a changing world and how we must change the way we’ve done ‘this’ (whatever it may be) to move forward in our world today.

Those types of books are needed reads and do help us move forward into new and – dare I say – exciting new opportunities and ministries when we live into the proponents that the author specializes in.

What I’ve enjoyed about Book of Joy is that it still calls for us to move forward in life and ministry in new and exciting ways – even in ways that may seem scary and uncomfortable – but, in a much more positive way.

Focusing on the joy in our lives. By focusing on joy of life we can help bring about wonderful and exciting ministry in our life and our world.

It really is a great book with these two wonderful men of faith – who share a deep and caring friendship with one another.

So, this year as we begin 2017, I hope that we all can seek joy – joy in our lives with our families, joy in our life of faith, joy in the ministry at Redeemer, joy in life itself.

So, be joyous this new year in all that you do! Be joyous in all that we get to do in ministry at Redeemer! Be joy at Redeemer!

I end this little article with one of my favorite quotes from Archbishop Tutu from The Book of Joy:

“The Dead Sea in the Middle East receives fresh water, but it has no outlet, so it doesn't pass the water out. It receives beautiful water from the rivers, and the water goes dank. I mean, it just goes bad. And that's why it is the Dead Sea. It receives and does not give. In the end generosity is the best way of becoming more, more, and more joyful.”

What a wonderfully simple, scary, and still difficult way to bring about joy in your life and our world by being generous of yourself to all those around you. Living into the faith that has been poured into us in our baptisms. Living this life of faith that our Lord points us toward – living it for others.

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