I love the start of a new year. It is like you are starting a new chapter in a book. More than turning a page. Maybe a little less than starting a new book. The characters are largely the same. But the storyline gets richer. I love the start of a new year. Especially in the church.
For many years now, I have taken the first Sundays of the new year to look back and to look forward. We look back to celebrate what God has done. And we look forward to anticipate what God is going to do. As Isaiah prophesied for the Lord, “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare…. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 42:9, 43:19).
The Former Things
Huffman Baptist Church has such a rich heritage. Many of our current members remember the days when HBC was one of the largest and most influential churches in Birmingham. In those days, Huffman Baptist was growing numerically. Baptizing hundreds. Building the facilities that we are now charged with stewarding. Those were exciting days. And they still bring out wonderful memories for many of our members.
Of course, not all of the former things bring out happy memories. There are painful memories as well. I will not recount them here. But based on the multiple conversations I have had with church members these past several months, those painful experiences are not forgotten.
Into these past experiences (good and bad) the Lord himself enters saying, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Jesus is working in and through the pleasant and the painful experiences. He is making all things new. He is redeeming what is lost. Repairing what has been broken. Reclaiming his glory in his church!
A New Thing
I believe with all of my heart that Huffman Baptist Church has a rich future. God is not finished with HBC. Jesus is doing a new thing. And we have the privilege of joining him in what he is doing. I am excited about this Next Chapter in the life of HBC. During the month of January I will be sharing with you the vision God has revealed concerning what he is doing. The new thing. The Next Chapter. You will not want to miss a single Sunday!
2020 Focus: The Ninety-Nine and the One
In Matthew 18:12 Jesus said, “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray?” During 2020 our two main things will shift from Prayer and Bible reading to shepherding the ninety-nine and reaching the one who is lost. To be sure, we will continue praying together at 7:00 AM and reading the New Testament together. But our focus will shift to “The Ninety Nine and The One.”
January Preaching Schedule
- January 5 – State of the Church
- January 12 – Vision 2025
- January 19 – 2020 Focus – Shepherding the Ninety-Nine
- January 26 – 2020 Focus – Reaching Your One
In closing, let me thank you as a church for your generosity during the Christmas season. Let’s continue to pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.