taking the words of Jesus seriously

I have a good friend who, every New Year, likes to ask me, “What was your favorite part about this past year?” and “what are you most looking forward to about the year to come?

Often times without much consider I respond to the two questions citing an accomplishment of an EAPE affiliated ministry as my favorite part of the previous year and that I am most looking forward to where God will lead me in the work of His kingdom in the year to come. While these two answers are always true and without a doubt are part of both the past year and the year to come they, more often than not, are nothing more than a quick attempt to appease my friend.

2010 was a year of heart breaks. From the earthquake in Haiti in January to the terrible flooding in Nashville and Pakistan to the BP oil spill and so many other disasters, the inhabitants of our world witnessed and experienced severe catastrophes in 2010.

Sadly though, at the end of most years we find ourselves looking back on the disasters and the turmoil. Often the calamity out weighs the goodness. We often forget, as my brother Shane says, the paradox that broken truly is beautiful.
And within this upside down kingdom to which we commit our lives there will always be a beauty in that which is broken and a hope present in all situations.

And so with this New Year I ask you, as I am confident my friend will ask me, what was your favorite part of this past year and what are you most looking forward to about the year to come? And before you answer in cookie cutter fashion or refuse to answer saying that everything in the world is in shambles, take some time to think, to pray. Make a list of your answers and share them with your friends, your church, your neighbor. Then, when you feel you have brainstormed all you can, put your list away in a place where it can be brought out next year and you can revisit the same questions once more.

Happy New Year!

About The Author


Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

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