Reflections by Joseph Ostrander

Happy New Year Coastlanders of all shapes, sizes, differing theological perspectives and the few brave readers of this blog that peruse my witty commentary on all things, well…worthy of consideration I hope…

What about those noble New Year’s Resolutions saints?  Are they promises made with purpose and good intent that have enough personal momentum to actually inspire you to greater goals for the next 12 months?  

Best definition of a New Year’s Resolution: Something that goes in one Year and out the other…

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions.  Haven’t done so for many, many years.  I don’t like the tradition or the motivation behind them.  Why you ask?  Well, there are some things about mounting a new calendar upon my wall that makes me reflect more on the year that has suddenly ended than the unknown segment of time we categorize as the new year.

Looking back on all the old year’s that have passed, I must admit, there have been moments of personal accomplishment, wisdom gained, spiritual maturity acquired, and the subtle lifestyle adjustments that represent a shift toward making better choices about dealing with the BS of life common to all mankind.

To be more precise, the past 6.5 years of my life have been a concentrated experience of spiritual and emotional whiplash that has propelled me into the healthiest condition of my existence than the previous 54.5 years combined.  But the resulting freedom required an incredible cost; the toll it took on my fragile psyche cannot be minimized.

For those of you that have interacted with me during my graduate school academic adventure, you would not recognize me if you had any contact with me 7 years ago.  I am not the same person.  At least, part of that statement is true.  The truth is that I carry with me the accumulated elements of my past; all the brokenness, bruises, scars, and missing character foundations the Good Lord has deemed inconsequential to His continued providence and preservation which has not prevented what I am being transformed into…

I do believe I am a walking, talking, breathing miracle…

But let’s return to the New Year’s Resolution consideration.  I’ve learned a valuable lesson throughout the tumultuous faith journey I began in earnest 41 years ago; I would be the last person I would want to depend on to make any lasting character improvements during the developing new year…

There will be enough troubles today that will challenge the best of resolutions made and the resulting outcomes.

There but for the grace of God go I…

As the faith community that meets together as Coastlands Vineyard Church, let this be our corporate New Year's resolution: we will be there for one another as fellow members of this faith community and we will reflect the character of our Lord Jesus to those we come into contact with throughout the next 366 days (2016 is a leap year!).  This year we have one extra day to express the Incarnation more fully to the rest of fragile humanity…

Think about it…

Amen.

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