— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —
My mum decided to join a protestant church in Cucuta (the city where I was born in Colombia) many years ago… I also joined the church while I was living in Colombia. I was fascinated by the Brazilian pastor. His leadership abilities and skills were very similar as the style of our new spiritual leader Vinod: infectious passion… powerful voice… creative methods to explain the word of God, very practical approach linking the word of God with our own lives … knowing every person by their name. What I most liked about the pastor in Cucuta was his vision regarding the future of his church… the church he created with around only 20 members has now -40 years later- more than 10,000 members!
Each year, in late November (like now in 2022), the Brazilian priest started to teach us about the importance of writing our targets for the new year… in Silvester, 5 minutes before midnight, the whole church community -together- was giving thanks to God for the year we have finished and when we received the new year, we were imagining month by month and declaring a prosperous, successful, joyful new year ahead. We included during this time and prayed also for our own personal targets.
So, every year and for the last 40 years, I write my “targets” down for the new year and I put them in a visible place that I can see them often. Some of my targets are personal, for example “to have a C1 German level” … some are professional, for example “to be a good example for my Master students” but I also try to include some targets to grow spiritually… for example “be grateful every day”, “not complaining”, or “doing a daily small act of compassion, for example calling my mum in Colombia every day… or a friend that is having challenges”.
I would say that there are three key aspects to achieve our own targets:
1 – Desirability
Reflecting on what I want to achieve and writing down my targets (i.e. my vision).
2 – The will of God
Setting targets which are “approved” by God. There is a need to have a balance in what we ask God. In other words, understanding “according to his will”. In Mark 14:36, we read: “Father not my will, but yours be done”. Acts 21:14 “The will of the Lord be done”. Luckily, in Colombia and in the majority of Latin countries, we always say after each plan for example: “Voy a viajar la proxima semana, Si Dios quiere” (I am travelling next week, If God wants). This responds to James 4:15 “instead, you ought to say “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that”.
The will of God includes:
- Entrusting ourselves to God’s loving authority
- Focusing on God’s priorities (and not ours!) and
- Listening to God’s Holy Spirit.
3 – Determination
When we see that we are not achieving our targets, this could weaken our Faith. There is evidence that with a determined spirit we get well, faster than we would be when discouraged. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything gives thanks”. 1 Thessalonians 5:16
4 – Perseverance/Discipline
“Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised”. Hebrews 10:35-36. I will have the discipline to keep learning German… to have German conversations… I am going to stand in Faith… I will speak good German!
2023 is approaching and today, I would like to invite you all to take your time to thank God for the year which is finishing and formulate your personal targets for 2023. Remember the four Ds: Desirable, Determination, Discipline and Dios! Sorry, but God also speaks Spanish!
The ACF Midweek Meditations
are written by a diverse group of our church members with the intention to seek God’s fingerprints in our lives. They range from somber to humorous and are inspired by all facets of live and faith. Written by ordinary people from all walks of life, they reflect a wide range of Christian backgrounds and spiritualities.
Each week’s text portrays the individual viewpoint of its author. They might not always resonate with everyone, and are not meant to be understood as representing the Anglican Church Freiburg as a whole. Yet, as a church that is aiming to ‘Build a Community of Grace’ we seek to practice learning from and listening to one another.
We pray that these humble ponderings add a small spark of blessing to your week.