10 Questions for End of the Year Reflection

The end of the year is a great time for reflection. A time to look back over the year and see where you have grown, where you have stumbled, and where God is leading you. It is a good practice to do this, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13  ” Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted (The Message).”

Several people have asked if I would post the questions that I wrote for yesterday’s sermon. I wrote these questions for myself, and I hope that they will help you in your own spiritual journey.


  1. Do you see your money, time, and material possessions as primarily belonging to you to do with as you please; or do you see all of these things (your time, your paycheck, your savings account) as primarily belonging to God. Do you see your money as there for whatever you please, or are you growing in seeing yourself as a steward of God’s resources that he has temporarily placed you here to manage?
  2. Do you find that a significant amount of energy and though is spent thinking about what you want or what you do not have? Do you find that you always have something that you wish you had, or do you find that you are growing in thankfulness? Do you find that whether times are tight financially or the money seems to be coming in regularly that you often tell God how thankful you are for what you have?
  3. Do you spend a lot of time and energy worrying and in anxious daydreaming, or do you find yourself spending more time in prayer? Are you giving your greatest concerns to God and growing in your faith in Him, or are you seeking to control things yourself and bend them to your will?
  4. Just as the Jews in the time of Jesus were looking for a political savior, do you find that the majority of your time and energy is focused on worrying about the politics of the kingdoms of this world? Are you looking for a political savior which will shape the world in the way your want, or is your thought life more devoted to allowing God to shape your heart to be more like His? Are you growing in seeing the world through God’s eyes or are you seeing the world through an increasingly political lens?
  5. Are you spending more or less time in prayer than you were one year ago?
  6. Are your prayers mostly about yourself, mostly about things directly related to your life, or do you find yourself praying for the concerns of other people as well?
  7. What did you look forward to the most this year? What makes you hopeful about next year?
  8. We all have emotional struggles, we all have bad day, seemingly pointless tasks we must accomplish, and seasons of grief and loss. But, overall, would you say that your life is characterized by hope and joy? Are you satisfied in God even if life has been hard and difficult? Or, do you find that you are mostly angry , frustrated, and hopeless?
  9. Do you find yourself hungry to learn more about God?
  10. Are you growing in your ability to love your neighbor as yourself? Are you, overall, more self-centered or others centered?


Remember that the point of these questions is to think about what direction you are growing in, none of us is perfect. The wrong response to these questions would be guilt. If you are trying to follow jesus and you have gotten off track or fallen in a rut, guilt isn’t going to get you any closer to God. The proper response is a simple prayer:  “Jesus change my desires. Help me fall more in love with you and care about all of these other things less.” 

The whole point is putting God in Control of your heart not you. This isn’t a new years self improvement plan, this is about surrendering your heart to King Jesus and asking Him to help you grow. 

May your new year be full of growth!



Good News!


Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned”


We have made it to the end of 2015. I apologize that there has not been a blog post since the end of November, it has been a busy time around the church!

The last two weeks of the year are a time of reflection. On a lighter note, I enjoy reading all of the articles on the internet that highlight the best stories, music, and moments of the year. But it would be impossible to ignore the fact that for much of this year it has felt like the world was being swallowed up in darkness. It was a year that began and closed with terrorist attacks and shootings. ISIS, Boko Haram, and other groups have slaughtered innocents throughout the world.  Planes have gone down, theaters have been assaulted, and there were 52 shootings in our nation’s schools and colleges.

One of the many things we talk about at advent is hope. As Christians, can we really talk about hope anymore with a straight face?

I believe that we can, and we should. Hope should be one of the defining characteristics of the Christian faith. There may not be a lot of happy news in the paper, but we have Good News. I hope you will agree with me that the hope we share in Jesus is more powerful than any darkness in this world.  John tells us that in Jesus was “life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not  overcome it (1:4-5)”. Jesus himself tells his followers that this world will be full of trouble for them but to “take  heart, I have overcome the world!”(John 16:33).

We serve a living Savior who was clear that this world is going to fall apart before it gets any better. That doesn’t mean that we shrug off the terrible things that have happened this year with apathy, but it also means we shouldn’t wallow in distress and frustration. If we let the sadness of this world swallow us up, we will miss out on what we have been called to do- show this world that God’s love is so powerful and life-changing that we can have joy in the midst of pain, light in the midst of darkness, hope in the midst of a broken world.

You may not be able to personally fix the crisis in the Middle East or solve the problem of violence in our nation. But each one of us can show God’s love to our neighbor. Each one of us can get outside of our comfort zones a little bit (or a lot) and serve others, even if it is difficult.  This is how little, by little, we shine a light in the darkness. We bring God’s hope to the dark corners of our own worlds.

People need to see that God’s love has made a difference in your life, that it has changed your priorities and your attitudes, that it has given you the capacity to love others even when they are not that lovable.

That is how we bring God’s hope into this world. By showing others, with our own lives, that the darkness has not overcome everything. That there is still hope in the new life that is offered to us through Christ. A new way of living that the darkness can not comprehend!

(all scripture quoted from NIV)