2016 is here. I have never been big on New Year’s resolutions. If you are, that’s fine, they just don’t work for me.

As much as I was happy to see 2014 end, I was even happier to see 2015 come to a close. That isn’t to say that I didn’t accomplish anything last year. It was just a very difficult year. However, through the difficulties, I feel that I had a tremendous year of personal growth. Perhaps it was necessary to experience difficulty in order for God to prepare and shape me for the next stage of my life.

I have become a podcast junkie. I listen to sports podcasts, running podcasts, and sermon podcasts on a daily basis. One of the preachers that I have been listening to talked about how at the outset of each new year, he prayed for God to give him a word that would be his ‘mantra’ for the coming year. This made so much sense to me. Shouldn’t part of my prayer life be asking God to prepare me for what is ahead. While I know that He isn’t going to show me event by event what is going to happen, I also know that in listening for His voice, I will begin to see a clearer picture of His plan for me.

I began praying for a word that I could use as a theme for the coming year at the beginning of December. Throughout the month I got nothing. Ironically, it was during my quiet time this morning, January 1, that I believe I got my answer. It wasn’t one word, but two. Rebirth. Renewal.

My calling has not changed. However, the past 18 months have created a burning desire in me to return to that calling. I truly believe that will happen this year and when it does, I believe that it will be a rebirth of sorts. I won’t be the same worship pastor that I have been for 11 years. There will be a new sense of urgency to lead people into God’s presence and to teach them the importance of ‘spirit and truth’ worship as described in John 4:23-24. I do not know exactly what this will entail, but I want to be obedient when He calls.

Another aspect that I have periodically struggled with during the past 18 months has been the question of my calling. I’m not proud of the fact that I have questioned it at times, but I have to be honest with God and with myself if I expect Him to work in my life. Interviewing and being passed over for someone else is incredibly discouraging, but through each unsuccessful interview process, I truly believe that God was assuring me that my calling is real.

I haven’t always handled God’s calling in the best way. I found myself trusting my own abilities and not relying on His strength. This process of renewal has reminded me how important it is to submit to His strength as it far surpasses my own. Part of my renewal will be a renewed commitment to make sure that I constantly seek His will and not my own agenda.

I want to leave you with a song that has spoken a lot to me in recent days.