He must increase, but I must decrease
John 3:30 gives direction for turbulent times
What an appropriate verse to reflect on as we close the 2008 year and look to the new year. God has shown me this in my own life this year with increasing volume and intensity. John the Baptist communicated this in reference to his role as the preparer for Christ. He speaks to his leaders (disciples) and shares with them that he is simply the friend of the bridegroom. (John 3:29) There is great joy to stand in the wedding party as the best man and see your best friend take his bride. What a relevant comparison that I can understand and relate to and find great joy in my heart.
God continues to grow us and mold us, and this has definitely been a shaping year both personally and in the ministry of Awana International as we have come to rely more on Him and much less on ourselves. I have seen so much first hand as I travel to so many new places and meet so many wonderful servants of the Lord wherever we go. This past year, Sandee(my wife and life partner) have had the privilege of being in places like Guatemala, Brazil, Thailand, India, China and Canada and seeing firsthand all that God is doing through the Awana ministry and the wonderful servants that He is working through! Thousands of leaders are being trained in children’s ministry, they are going back to their own churches to train more leaders and then all of them are reaching out to children with the gospel and building a foundation of God’s Word in their lives. Wow, talk about ministry multiplication! Ten’s of thousands of leaders are being trained and equipped. So many children are hearing that Jesus died on the cross for them and there is an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to do His transforming work in their lives.
Back to John 3:30. This has been a year for of great joy and of great challenges and significant change for Awana International. It has held the highest of highs and some very deep valleys. I have not been more personally challenged in my own Christ journey than this year. What an interesting dichotomy that God allows in our lives and in our ministry to help us grow and to experience His rich love and blessing.
What has God been doing in your life and family and ministry this year? Have you taken the time to reflect on it? I encourage you to do that and share it with me on the blog. I would love to hear from you!
I have come to understand this: That the mountain top experiences come when I, like John, have been willing to decrease, that Christ may increase in my life. I must lay down my desires and plans and completely grasp His plan and purpose in my life. That is obedience and that is so easy to write and so difficult to live out sometimes.
Thank you Lord for being patient and loving to me. Your grace and mercy and love are overflowing. May God richly bless you as He carries out His plan for you in 2009.