Yes, another year has arrived! For some, you are glad to see 2016 come to an end. Others, sorry to see it go. For me, 2016 was in many ways a typical year, filled with both ups and downs.

One of the great highs for me in 2016 was the birth of my first grandson, Greyson Pax, last June. This was a true blessing from God and the beginning of a new season for my wife and me. A low point was my father’s diagnosis with a cancerous tumor in his neck, resulting surgery and radiation treatment.

As I look back, even my low point, I see as a gift from the Lord. As a result of my fathers cancer it has given a sense of the value of each day we have together and a desire to spend more time together.

As I reflect on 2016, I am reminded of the truth that the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Even as we walk through trials, temptation & suffering, God is at work to accomplish His purpose in us, and the world around us. In the book of Jeremiah, God speaks to his overwhelmed prophet and encourages him with these words. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer. 29:11 What ever your experience in 2016 I believe we have strong reason to look to the New Year with great hope and expectation to see our God at work.

As a Church Planter God has called you to live a unique life of faith, requiring you to trust God for every aspect of your life. You are completely dependent on God to provide a place to stand and for efforts that will bare fruit. As you begin 2017 I encourage you to see it as a year of possibility, the possibility of seeing God break through barriers in your own character and relationship with Him. A year of possibility in your marriage and in the lives of your children. A year of possibility in the life of your new church and the potential impact it can have on the community where you serve.

As you may know, where there is possibility there is also opposition. Don’t expect that achieving what God has in store for you will be easy, it likely will not. It will be wrought with challenges, setbacks and opposition from the devil and his workers. Don’t be surprised by this, expect it and be prepared for it. God has equipped you to navigate these challenges and to overcome them for His glory.

I will conclude with the words that the Lord spoke to Joshua, the leader of the people of Israel, as they stood on the banks of the Jordon River ready to take the land. “The Lord told Joshua, “Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses.” As you step into the New Year, my prayer is that you know that the Lord God Almighty is with you as you lead His people to take the land that God has given you.

God’s Best in 2017

By: Rick Dunn