The confetti is all but cleaned up, the streamers are in the trash, and the calendar is brand new. Deep breath...ah, so this is 2018!

But it doesn't take long for things to feel normal again does it? For some reason, the commute this morning is still bumper to bumper, co-workers are still grumpy, and junk food options are available at every corner. Seems last year's ho-hums and habits still cast their shadows.

This week, we're resting our physical pursuits. I haven't been shy about that. Some of you are enjoying the new eBook, others are digging into the upgraded Bible plan on the app, and others are just taking a deep breath before January 8th rolls around. 

The reason we're being so deliberate this first week is because a new year is only new if we make it that way. For you and me, a change in year only matters when it changes in here (this is me pointing to my heart). So starting today, no matter what seems old, let's find a way to make it new. Our morning workouts don't happen unless we've spent time in God's word. That commute? Try seeing it as an extended quiet time with the Lord. Those co-workers? Be the only one in the office unwilling to gossip. And at lunch, be the first to push away from the table as a way to praise the Lord for the gift of health. Slowly but surely, we'll realize the difference is in us. Seems those weren't shadows after all. It was shade.

- Jimmy Peña

Let's Pray:
As we seek shade this week, who else but my friend Scotty Smith to lead us in a first week prayer?

Heavenly Father, whether or not 2018 is going to be a “happy” New Year, remains to be seen. But as in 2017, there won’t be a day this year you’ll fail to send us new mercies and give us sufficient grace. You’ll steadfastly delight in us, and rejoice over us with singing, no matter the happenstance, circumstances, or providences. Because of Jesus’ finished work, your love for us is irrepressible, immeasurable, and inexhaustible. That will be the most predictable and reliable truth in 2018. Hallelujah!

In response to the words you spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, this is our prayer for 2018. May it be a year filled with knowing you better, boasting in you more robustly, and serving you more joyfully. Though our desire for approval and power, riches and relationships, comfort and control will be unrelenting, may intimate fellowship with you seize our hearts, shape our schedules, and consume our days. Our only New Year’s resolution is to believe the gospel more fully and gladly.

May the gospel compel us to love mercy, work for justice and walk humbly with you in 2018. Don’t let us forget that all of history is tied to your commitment to redeem a Bride for Jesus from every nation, tongue and people group. Show us our place in that story.

May we dance and suffer, work and pray, serve and love all to your glory. Reveal more of Jesus to our hearts; bring gospel-renewal to our churches; and advance your kingdom in our cities. May we live each day this year confident of your great love, resting in your sovereign rule, and longing for Jesus’ return. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ merciful and mighty name.