Phoenix Disciples Newsletter #32

Sermon by 
Al Baird
December 16, 2020
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)


When I was recently asked what I appreciate most about 2020, I jokingly said, “...that it is almost over!” That was not a good answer, because it conveyed that nothing good came from this most difficult year. How sad if any of us goes through a whole year, regardless of how difficult it may be, and doesn’t learn some valuable lessons. It reminds me of one of Gloria’s most quoted axioms: “Don’t waste your suffering.” Our hard times can be our best teachers.

So, as we wind down 2020 and look ahead to 2021, I want us to do two things: think about what God wants us to learn from this year, and what does He want us to plan and accomplish in 2021.

One thing that I am taking away from this year is the appreciation of being together as disciples. I am thankful for Zoom, but it is a poor substitute for real personal interaction. I have always loved singing together with all the brothers and sisters, but now I really, really look forward to sharing our worship in song every week. And a close second for me is hugging in the fellowship. My third thing is realizing how superficial some of my relationships in the church are. Seeing my black brothers and sisters hurting amid the social unrest in our country has shown me that I haven’t taken the time to really hear the life stories of the disciples that I worship with every week. I pray that the SCUAD will help us all with that.

Now that we are just days away from a new year, let’s think about some of the goals that we need to set and plans that we need to make. What about your own personal walk with God? Does your prayer life need overhauling? Does your Bible study need to go deeper? What about your discipling partner; do you need to be more regular, more open, more real? What about your sexual purity? What needs to change in your marriage, your family, your household or your neighborhood?

The list could go on and on, but you get the point. This is a great time to take inventory. Discuss your plans with someone else and get their suggestions. The scripture for today from Jeremiah should encourage us, knowing that our God only wants the best for us. He plans to give us hope and a future. It is ours for the taking.

Until our next update, stay thankful, stay calm, walk with God, and encourage one another,

Al Baird for the Leadership Team

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