Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Pressing Onward

Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

So how’s our new year going? Are we still holding true to any resolutions we might have made? Or have they all fallen by the wayside just one week into the new year? I pray we can hold out and even continue some resolutions for the whole year.

Did you decide to read the Bible everyday? I have a couple of reading plans on my schedule. I would suggest a reading plan on your phone or computer and I would suggest some reading partners to discuss what you read. A weekly Bible study would be good to with others.

I’ll be 63 this year. Forced retirement in the United Methodist Church is 72 so I have 9 years left in active full-time ministry (unless I retire early). My plan at this time is to retire early – maybe by 65 or so. Believe it or not – retirement takes some planning – some goal setting. We not only need a financial plan – we need a plan about what we will do everyday – for the rest of our lives. Some of my plans include yard work – a honey do list – playing more golf – helping a church in some way – traveling with my wife (and family at times) – and taking up hunting again. This is not an all-inclusive list – but a sample plan.

I just held a staff meeting with the other pastors/ministers at our church and we talked about our plan for 2018 and how we can be the best resources for our church. We’re developing a plan for our SPRC to consider. I have a full-staff meeting scheduled in a week and we will look at 2018 together as well. We need to plan for our futures and we need to aim and even press towards that goal. Remember – if we aim at nothing – we’re bound to hit it.

Paul was writing to fellow Christians and urging them and us to press toward the goals God has for us in ministry and in life. He wrote – I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

What goals do we have for our lives – spiritually? What is it we believe God has planned for us? What will our legacy be as individuals and what will be the legacy of our church? A lot of this will depend on the goals we set and how hard we strive to reach them.

Setting a goal to lose weight while eating everything that isn’t nailed down isn’t the way to go. Setting goals is the first step but striving for them is what will determine how close we get to our goals.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. Philippians 3:7–14 – 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Have we taken the time to set goals for 2018? Are we aiming at them – striving to reach them? Are we pressing onward?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

January 3, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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