Today is my 30th Birthday.
In other words, I'm beginning my 4th decade.
30 will sound different to each of my readers. If you are older than me, 30 sounds like I've got my whole life ahead of me. If you are younger than me, 30 sounds like I'm nearing the end of my life.
Everything is relative.
But one thing I am grateful for is all of the Boomers who made 40 the new 30 before making 50 the new 40. Your vanity is my generation's gain.
But all joking aside, I find great value in reflecting on big occasions.
In fact, here are two birthdays I used for reflection earlier in the life of my blog:
Reflections at 22
Reflections at 26
In many ways, I had no business starting into full-time preaching at 24-years old. If Jesus didn't start his ministry until 30, why should anyone else feel they are ready before then? But I am grateful to Littleton for giving me an opportunity to preach. While most of my Bible major friends have already left ministry, I have been given a gift of a firm foundation because of the support of my elders and congregation.
I see 30 as a year to hit reset in my ministry. I first sensed my call to preaching at the age of 18. I have now trained to be a minister for 12 years. The first 6 of those years were educational training. The last 6 of those years have been on-the-job training.
I am now more certain of who I am as a disciple of Jesus.
I am now more certain of the spiritual gifts and abilities God has given me.
I am now more certain of the kind of leader God has called me to be.
I am now more certain of the kind of church I am called to lead.
And I have never been more excited about my future than today.
God has blessed me with so much:
1) A beautiful, godly, incredible wife - Though I didn't know how incredible my choice was at the age of 20, God knew better than I did that Holly was exactly the person I needed. We celebrate 10 years of marriage this summer.
2) Wonderful children - Maddox and Addison are the loves of my life. And I can't wait to feel my heart expand once again as our next child enters the world next month.
3) A supportive extended family - My extended family and in-laws are a joy to be with. Many people dread the holidays, but each visit home is something I look forward to.
4) The world's best calling - I love preaching and leading a local church. It is a joy to search Scripture each week on behalf of Christians who are seeking ways to connect with those who don't know Jesus yet.
5) A supportive church family - God has blessed us with the Littleton Church. As a young minister, I have received all of the support and encouragement I have needed in my early years of ministry. We could not live so far away from our families if it were not for the love we have experienced from our church family.
The One Word that I've chosen for Year 30: NEXT
I can't wait to see what the next 30 years have to offer! There will be moments of pain that God will use to mold me into the person he wants me to be. And there will be incredible moments of joy that God will use to remind me of his goodness.
Here are some goals I have for the NEXT 30:
1) Grow closer to God - I want my actions to align with the words I preach each Sunday.
2) Grow to love Holly exponentially more so that the empty nest is something we look forward to.
3) Raise my kids in such a way that when they don't have to come home, they will want to.
4) Lead the church fearlessly to reach people who are far from God.