I encouraged last Sunday that when we come to a new year, goal setting can and ought to be a part of our mindset. I highlighted the important connection between adoration and action, between praise and practice, and that our dreaming and our vision of the future needs to be embedded in our quality time with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
Inspired by the Magi who were joyous and changed by their encounter with the Radiant Christ, we seek to draw close to Jesus in worship as we set goals for 2021.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. In accomplishing thier goal of meeting the King of the Jews, the Magi were filled with joy and left changed. Have you experienced similar joy and change by making and accomplishing a goal for yourself in the past? What was that goal, and how has it continued to serve you?
2. Part of the blessing this morning was that we would have eyes to see the ways in which our hardships have produced the fruit of the Spirit within us. Take a moment and imagine a way that your challenges and difficulties this year have formed character in you. How might that newly formed character be used for God in 2021?
3. Refleciton Excercise: Set a 10 minute timer, and answer these few questions.
What were three Wins in 2020?
List 7 events, people or memories you are grateful for in 2020.
In what area of your life do you have the most momentum?
How can you keep that momentum in 2021?
What is the most positive habit in your life at the moment?
What one habit do you wish you could change in 2021?
Who is sharpening you to be the person you want to become, and how can you spend more time with them in 2021?
What one thing, if it got better, would make the biggest difference in 2021?
May God's Spirit fill us with hope as we courageously dream a better 2021 together.