New-Year-2011 I've always believed that reflecting on what happens helps me grow in my walk with Christ and establishes an environment for God to begin transforming "experience" into wisdom. Truthfully, 2010 will go down as a somewhat of a mixed bag for the Spiveys. There were immense challenges for us, but also some watershed blessings. If you haven't done such an exercise yourself before, I would highly recommend it. It allows for time to reflect on what's just happened, and the chance to say, "Blessed be your Name," regardless.

  • Having baby Norah. Norah's life started out with a week in the NICU unit. Today, daughter number three is known around the neighborhood as "the world's happiest baby." She smiles and laughs constantly–crying minimally. I would like to take credit for her bundle-of-joyness…but I cant. It's clear God planted a spirit of joy deep within her soul.
  • Celebrating 10 years of marriage with Emily. I don't know where to begin or end on this one, so I'll just say that God gave me the world's best wife. She's beautiful in every way, and the 10 years we've shared have been the best ten years of my life–because she's been in them.
  • Father-Son trip. It had been a while since dad and I had taken a father-son trip with only the two of us present. We did it this past May and it was one for the ages. Not only do I have the world's greatest wife, I have the world's greatest dad as well.
  • Finishing my doctoral degree. I regret limping to the finish line rather than sprinting across–referring to stamina and enthusiasm for the degree. I believe much of education's value is in the experience of learning–not just in getting degrees. How I wanted to be able to spend more time enjoying what may be my last formal educational endeavor! However, between moving, having a new baby, ministry challenges/changes and other barriers I faced toward the end, it had to be what it was. I finished a tired, fragmented man. But, you know what…I finished. I'm thankful to Dr. Charles Siburt, Dr. Jeff Childers, and Dr. David Wray who oversaw my Project Thesis on the spiritual formation of generosity. They were true scholars and true pastors through it all. If I end up teaching college some day, I've had some great role models. I'm also very excited about where my research on the spiritual formation of generosity may lead in the near future.
  • Planting New Vintage Church. We won't actually launch formally until Spring 2011, but we began with a gathering of about 20 in early December of 2010 that has already grown rapidly to 100+ and will hopefully continue to grow. Planting NVC will undoubtedly be one of the greatest adventures of my life–and I'm honored to be doing it with those whom God has also called. I'm thrilled with how I see God moving, with the spirit of the people, with the potential a new, vibrant Southern California church has to fulfill God's purposes here on earth. This will be the ultimate learning ground and test of my faith in Christ, leadership, and love for others. I look forward to it with great hope and trembling–knowing the odds while knowing the God who knows no "odds." He is with us and wants this fledgling movement of His people to flourish for His glory. So, I believe wholeheartedly we will.

Thank you Lord for 2010…good, bad, and ugly. Thank you in advance for 2011…especially for your presence to guide, heal, strengthen and provide–come what may. May you bless 2011 for your glory. May I magnify you more than I ever have in ways I cannot envision in my loftiest and fanciful dreams. Remind me constantly that it's always about You. May my life be a sermon that preaches, "Christ is all." Amen.