Jump Start # 2500
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
Here we are already into a new year. More than that, we’ve begun a new decade. New—that has a wonderful sound to it. The new car smell. A new home. New clothes. New gadgets. A new friend. And, for many, a new resolution. This year brings many opportunities and hopes for us in the Jump Start family. Next Monday, our Heaven Bound podcast will feature “Jump Start Rewinds,” in which I will read one of our Jump Starts from the achieves.
But today is both a milestone and an anniversary for our Jump Starts. First, the milestone, number 2500. That sure is a lot of writing. Some of our readers have told me that they print out each one and put them in a notebook. I can only imagine how many notebooks it must take to hold 2500.
Today is also a big Jump Start anniversary. It was ten years ago that we first launch this little project. It was circulated among the congregation where I preach and was intended to last about one month. Here we are ten years later, with a massive readership that circles the globe. From this little experiment twenty-five Jump Start books have been produced.
I’ve been asked if I ever get tired of writing every day. Actually, I don’t. It’s rather relaxing for me. And, I have been asked if I think this will continue on for the next ten years. And, that I really doubt. But for now, we will continue on and hope that both the Lord gets the glory and others are benefited by these words.
Our verse today reveals that God had plans for His people. He always has. God has plans for you. Throughout your life God has given you opportunities, opened doors and even put people in your life to help you build your character and become the wonderful person of God that He designed.
As a new year begins, we think of plans. We do this congregationally and we do this as a family and we do this personally. This year, 2020, reminds us of vision, foresight, planning, seeing clearly. 20/20 is considered perfect vision. We want to hear that from the eye doctor. And, what a perfect time for a church, for a family and for each of us to give thought to the concept of proper spiritual vision. Are we seeing clearly? Are we seeing as God wants us to? Do we see what God sees?
Sometimes are vision is obscured. Other times it may be blurry. We may see only what we want to see. And, one of the hardest things to do is to see as God sees things. Our perspective, our spot in the universe is not always the best view of things. We see things as they impact us and often forget that there are others to take into account. What bothers others may not bother me. Walking blindly through life can cause me to crush the feelings of others and be indifferent to the needs of others.
We remember in the judgment parable, Jesus said, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.” He continues, I was thirsty, I was naked and I was in prison. How did some know that? Was it announced at the end of services? Was it listed in the church bulletin? Was a congregation wide email sent out listing the needs of the week? We know that none of those things existed back then. How did they know some were hungry? They saw that. How did they know that some were naked, thirsty and in prison? They saw that. They opened their eyes to a world beyond themselves. They had 20/20 vision.
We also remember the Lord telling the disciples to lift up their eyes and look upon the fields. They were ready for harvest. Don’t say that the harvest is still months away. Look know. Lift up those eyes. 20/20 vision sees what others do not.
The Lord had plans for Judah. Away to captivity, but that wasn’t the end of the story. They would come back. And from their midst, the Savior would come. That Savior would bring peace on earth and the hope of eternal Heaven. Good days were still to come. Good days were ahead of them.
And, now, how about you? What plans does the Lord have for you? Don’t be thinking in terms of money, buying houses, getting a new car. Those things do not matter to Heaven. What the Lord has in mind for you is walking righteously, sharing the story about Jesus, worshipping passionately, and making a spiritual difference in the lives of others.
Think about some of the things God has done for you:
- He has put people in your life that need Jesus. You may be the only believer where you work. Now, the situation may be ugly, toxic and you hate being there, but possibly, the Lord has you there for a reason. You are His bright spot. You are His light in a dark place. Through you, maybe even this year, someone will come to you with a question. Maybe someone this year, will see that you are different and want to know more. You may be there for that very purpose.
- He has put tools in your hands that can make a difference. You have a Bible. Every week you get class material, sermons, outlines, bulletins and a mountain of tools that can help you and others. In your hands are some of the greatest tools known to man. They can lead one to Christ and change their soul.
- He has put some of the greatest people on the face of the earth in your life. These people are His people, the people of God. They have made the choice to walk by faith. They are raising godly families. They are encouragers. They are the ones you can count on. They are the ones who will guide you to God. They are the ones who are not afraid to warn you or even kick you in the pants when you need it.
- God has given you a talent that is uniquely you. This talent can encourage others. This talent can teach others. This talent, coupled with your personality and connections can do what no one else can do.
God has plans for you. He hasn’t set you free to do whatever you feel like. He has something great in mind. And together, with the Lord, great things can be done. Even this year, 2020.
Thanks for reading these Jump Starts. It’s been a wonderful journey for me. Ten years…who would have thought!