Starting Strong

How we start will determine how we finish!

Happy New Year! Entering 2019, I hope that you have already paused to think about things for which you are grateful. For me, I’m grateful that the Hallmark Christmas movies are over, even though I enjoyed watching them with Mary (since November) – I’m certainly grateful.

For years I have been reminding you that the bedrock of our life in Christ is that we display the 3G’s of gratitude, grace, and generosity. Every single time I miss the mark, I can evaluate which of the 3G’s was missing. In other words, I ask myself, was I grateful, was I gracious, and was I generous? When any of these three are missing we are missing out.

As we enter into 2019, I have once again been reminded that there are at least 2 additional G’s we need to add to our memory bank. I think these are the first two of four supporting pillars for our life.

The first pillar is that of being guided. The Psalmist David wrote, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, [and] a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105) We can be confident that the Word of God never leads us in a wrong direction. All of us are guided constantly by something, but not everything that guides us is positive. We can easily be twisted and tangled in the things of the world if we are not careful to always remember where true and genuine guidance come from. I hope that you will commit 2019 to a renewed dependence upon the Word of God for your leadership. If you consider yourself to be a person of faith that you must feed upon the Bible. Remember, “whatever is in the well comes up in the bucket!” Commit to

  • Purposefully read the bible. Have a plan and stick to the plan. Don’t try and read too much but read some every day.
  • Personally memorize verses of scripture. I find it helpful to use for a daily reminder of a single verse or another reading plan.

The second pillar is that of being guarded. It is imperative that we allow things (and people) into our lives that will guard our hearts, minds, and mouths. For much of my life I served as a pastor in local churches. While there were many wonderful things this afforded me, there was one statement that always made my skin crawl when I heard it. Often people would come to me and start their conversation by saying, “Pastor, I want to tell you something in love!” As you can imagine, the next words out of their mouths was always something cutting and critical. Through the years, I have learned that “whenever loves shows up, I will know it.” I think we can be guilty of this as well. If our hearts are not guarded with will be quick to have the wrong things spew forth from us. The Apostle Paul wrote,

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say
be good and helpful, so that your words will be
an encouragement to those who hear them.
– Ephesians 4:29 nlt

When our hearts are guarded, our mouth will be sanctified. I pray that in the new year we will be more disciplined and determined to honor the Lord with our words. Make sure that all your comments and commentary pass the T.H.I.N.K. test …


If what you are about do say does not pass all five stages, take my advice and don’t say it. Our words are a direct and perfect reflection of our hearts. Think on these things …

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable,
and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

-Philippians 4:8 nlt

Our words always do one or more of the following. Words can affect, words and effect, or words can infect. I pray we stay guided and guarded as we start 2019 so that we can finish faithfully.