2015 has been a bad year for the Atlanta Falcons. It was a bad year for the Georgia Bulldogs. The same goes for the Braves. And America. 2015 was a really bad year for America.
But it was a good year for me.
There’s a sermon in there somewhere about placing your identity in things that will inevitably let you down but I’ll spare you for the moment. Here are five really good things that happened to me in 2015.
I baptized my youngest son.
He had been wrestling with the gospel for quite some time. It was really cool to be there with him when he finally lost the battle. I got to talk to him about repentance from sin, the love of God and the resurrection of Christ. And I got to watch him finally embrace those truths. Being there to baptize my son as my brother will go down as one of the highlights of my life.
I lost 25 bucks.
My wife made a joke right before my oldest son’s soccer game. She told my him to ask me if I could pay him $50 if he ever scored a goal. My wife and I laughed. My son did not.
“So, can you?”
I said no but I promised to pay him half of that if he ever got a goal. He spends most of his time doing a fine job of defending his own goal so I felt that I had made a responsible financial decision. Two minutes into the game, he got the ball and dribbled the length of the field for a goal. He turned to me with that Donald Trump look in his eye. His team ended up losing the game and I lost my $25. And that was okay.
Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.
Pastors are often asked what book they reread every year. As much as I love reading, I don’t have one of those. When I finish reading it, I’m done with it unless I need to look up something in it.
Not so with quality movies and television shows.
My wife and I started watching Friday Night Lights again. I know, it’s not very pastoral. But it is a lot of fun. I don’t watch much television but I really enjoy watching television with my wife and talking about the messed up characters the next morning.
And although the show is fictional, there is a lot of reality in it. One of those realities is that if you are looking for a job where you would like to make a difference in young lives, you can’t do much better than a coach or a teacher.
I got to eat lunch with an old friend.
My lifelong friend Keith Keller has spent the last few years in the Czech Republic. In 2015 he had to come home for a few months. When he left for his new European home, I didn’t know if we’d ever again get to eat Mexican food while talking about Good Will Hunting. In 2015 we did. I’m really going to miss him in 2016.
I’m still preaching through Matthew.
I started that at the end of 2014. Right now, I’m in chapter ten. So by my math, I should be done preaching through Matthew about the same time that Donald Trump finishes building that wall he keeps talking about.
Matthew has been a challenging but rewarding book to preach through. There have been quite a few intimidating passages but, as always, God is faithful and his word is powerful.
I didn’t visit Europe in 2015. No one made a movie about my life. The folks at Time didn’t name me Person of the Year. Even if those things did happen, I don’t think that this list would be any different. The most memorable moments of our lives are often the ones that are seemingly mundane at the moment.
So if you ever find yourself in the middle of a dull moment in 2016, put down your phone or else you just might miss one of the highlights of your year.
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)