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That is Good News! Challenge us to not except status quo for life

Brad McKenzie

It has become my custom at each new year to choose a word that will represent my focus and theme for the coming twelve months.  

This focus is for my personal journey, my family and for my preaching and teaching that year in the church.  

This particular year, many on social media and various organizations have adopted some form of 2020 Vision for their theme.  I was attracted to that as well but felt it was necessary to find something more specific to where the Lord was leading me, my family and my church.

Thrive 2020 is a concept that incorporates the need for vision, but it also challenges us to not accept the status quo for life in this coming year and beyond.  

Living a life that thrives is something that has been a great desire of mine for several years.  As a pastor, I have seen so many people barely survive in their lives and rarely find, much less live within, the victory that is given to us through the cross, empty tomb, and the Holy Spirit.  

So many are just hanging on in their relationships, finances and yes, their journey with Jesus Christ.  

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John‬ 16:33‬ NIV  

This verse is the closing of chapter 16 in John’s Gospel where Jesus tells his disciples that he will be going back to be with the Father and that the Spirit would come to guide them in truth into the future.  He tells them that even though some of what He has mentioned will involve pain, grief, and persecution, they can stand strong and have peace.  

I believe that strength and peace is something all of us want but seldom do we consistently live within the promise.  The key to all of this is Jesus, that He has overcome the world. ‬‬

To thrive in life necessitates peace and strength in our hearts.  

Thriving is to see growth and development that is not sporadic, but consistent and positive.  We want to see our children grow and we do all we can to feed them well, take care of their health and develop their minds and gifts so they can thrive.  

Those who grow crops or raise livestock do the same so that their investment can thrive.  No one wants a child, cow or corn to barely survive, they want those living things to thrive.  

The same can be said about our Father in Heaven.  

The Lord did not create us, redeem us and empower us for just barely hanging on in life.  

The victory of the cross and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers is meant to transform you and I for a life that Thrives, even though the world may be against us.  

To thrive in life, to thrive in Christ, is to live in the victory of Jesus on a daily basis as we allow Him to continually transform us more and more into His likeness.  

This thriving life then impacts and influences all of the people and places around us and becomes a living example of God’s love and grace for the world.  

I would challenge you to choose a word for yourself for the coming year.  

Stay dedicated to that word, but more than anything ask the Lord to achieve the theme and concept of that word in your life in 2020.  

If you can’t think of something on your own, then feel free to use Thrive 2020.  I believe that the Lord of Heaven desires to liberate our area from the weight of defeatism, disunity, and despair and put within us surrender to the gift of a life that thrives.  

You may feel that your life has no hope, but Christ has already given you the victory and invited you to Thrive in 2020.  That is good news. ‬‬  

 

Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.