I wish we could sit down over coffee to talk about what’s on my heart - and your heart - as we step into 2023. What is God asking of you this year? Do you pick a word or make a resolution to get you started?
I’m embarrassed to admit this - but I felt completely disoriented coming into January. No word. No resolution. But early in January, as I sat peering into 2023, I felt God remind me of the most important sermon I’ve ever heard.
It was 2017, and, as you know, things in my life had taken a really sharp and painful turn. My husband of almost 20 years had chosen a different life and walked away from our marriage. That blindside catapulted me into the deepest valley of my life. And as I struggled to plant my feet in a new town and a new identity I didn’t want - God directed me to visit a new church.
If we were having coffee, I’d enthusiastically tell you all about this amazing church family. It became one of God’s best gifts to me that year as I found my footing in my new life.
One day the Pastor said words I will never - ever - forget.
Suffering from a painful disease, she held her Bible in the air and declared these words, “if my suffering helps make Jesus famous, bring it on!”
Everything stopped for me in that moment. I think I let out an audible gasp.
I’ve written about this sermon many times. Mostly because I think it sums up the whole point.
Our job is to help make Jesus famous.
That’s it. In whatever way we can, with whatever story we hold - our job is to point people to Jesus. To show them Who He is.
To show them how He loves. How He holds. How He shows up. It’s our job to remind people they aren’t alone. That Jesus is close to the brokenhearted. That He is never off the case. That He can be trusted.
He absolutely deserves the fanfare. He deserves the credit. He is worthy of fame.
And so in that moment, I declared the same. And I want to invite you to join me in this New Year's declaration.
If my pain helps make Jesus famous - if the raw spots and jagged bits of my story can in any way point people towards Him - I’m in. Sign me up. Mission accepted.
There’s no pressure here to do it a certain way. Whatever circle of influence He’s given us - we can help make Him famous. Whether it’s at work, in our home, in our relationships, or at the grocery store - we get to point people to the Rescuer. The Redeemer.
What a fantastic opportunity to partner with God!
And do you know what I’ve learned? I’ve learned that when we make a choice to partner with God, He always shows up in the most remarkable ways. He just wants our yes. He just wants to know we’re in. And then He gets to do abundantly more - in us and through us.
I’ll be praying your new year is full of opportunities to partner with God and help make Jesus famous.
I really believe we will never regret it.
“Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?’”
John 4:28-29 (NIV)
“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony.” John 4: 39a (NIV)