In January Holy Cross will host the monthly Circuit Pastors' gathering, called a "winkel", (translated from the German, meaning "corner"), and then, on the 25th, our Circuit Forum meets here. Each congregation is expected to send their pastor and a lay representative for some business preparing for the District Convention to be held next summer.  (We need a lay rep. from Holy Cross.  Anyone interested??)
    We also have word that another Theological Conference is in the works for March 21 in Jenison, "Life in the Spirit -- Watered, Fed, and Armed".  More information will follow as available.
    So, when we think of January, it's a new start.  We look forward with anticipation for something good to happen, although we dare not do just what we've always done and expect different results!  We go with what has worked, and change that which hasn't, right?  We're continuing our study in "The Purpose Driven Church" for just a few more weeks, and plan for success as we "Ready, Aim, and Fire" at the targets we think appropriate.   I like the quote of St. Francis of Assisi who states: "Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”   
    Psalm 142  talks about getting through the season of discouragement.  One of the things that causes discouragement is the realization that we're not as young as we used to be. I was reading about an older lady who joined a fitness club. She said  I decided to take an aerobics class. I bent. I twisted. I gyrated. I jumped up and down for an hour. But by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over.
    Some day, it will be over for all of us. That's why I like Psalm 73:26. It says,  "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."  Your body may not be able to do what it used to do. But God can do what He's ALWAYS been able to do! He's the One who gives you the strength to go boldly through this life. And He's the One who gets you ready to be promoted up to the next life.
    When people get Seasonal Affective Disorder, one of the most effective treatments is light therapy. Getting people to spend more time in the light.  I want sunshine!  So, how do we overcome the darkness of discouragement? Spend more time in the LIGHT! Spend more time talking with Jesus. Spend more time listening to Christian radio. Spend more time reading the Word. Spend more time hanging out with other people who love Jesus. In John 8:12, Jesus says,  "I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
    So when you think about your New Year's Resolutions, consider your health,  physical and spiritual.  Don t give up. Look up! You're on a winning team. You're surrounded by people who love you. And you're surrounded by a God who loves you. Psalm 43:5 says,  "Why are you downcast, o my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him,  My Savior and my God".  
    What athlete ever won the race by starting with an attitude of conceding to failure in the end? Or not really desiring to win or being apathetic about the race. Even for men and women who fail to win first place, but keep on trying, and who never give up there is great benefit! They win, they finish and they do so because of their resolve. Some run a marathon and come in way back in the pack....but they can still wear the T shirt..."I ran the marathon!"   
     2015 has 365 days, and we live one day at a time.  Not every day will be a good one, but know ..."Jesus loves you, this I know. For the Bible tells me so."  That goes for every day, especially those bad ones.  So keep smiling!  GO with GOD!
GLYSDI,   PB