Skip to main content

2016 in the Rearview Mirror

We’re a week into 2017. I thought I’d take a look back at what went well. And what didn’t.

First, health:

Last year, I started off losing weight. Not to worry, I found it all by the end of the year. What went wrong? I didn’t make a real change in lifestyle—exercise never became a habit. Eating right sized portions didn’t become a habit. Backing away from the cookies, well, it wasn’t something I made a true part of my life.

What will I do differently? Ann and I have a definite plan, and it’s a plan that takes into account the strange things that crop up from time to time. And, I’m realizing that I can’t negotiate with the snack drive. It’s not “I won’t eat this (twinkie, etc…), so instead, I’ll eat (some of this and some of that).” If it’s not a true need to eat, then don’t eat. And definitely stop the stress and boredom eating. Food doesn’t meet psychological/emotional needs.

Anything go right? I managed my asthma well, even with a trip out of the country. I think I pick up a small Peruvian illness but I got over it.

Second, learning:

I’m back in school. I’m striving to meet the language requirements to enter a Ph.D. program. I’m still wrestling with whether or not Ph.D., D.Min., or something else like MBA/MPA is what I need to do. For now, I’ll chase the Ph.D. Can’t hurt to be “Dr. Hibbard” in the academic world.

Beyond that, I did not read nearly as much as I should have. I let too many weeks go by without knocking out a real book. I did pack away some fiction, but I had a stack of nonfiction that I should have read (and reviewed.) This year, I have a schedule for it.

Of course, I also have a goal of clearing my “Want-to read” shelf on the library website.

While we’re here: get a library card. Go to the library. Use what the library has. If you’re in Central Arkansas, CALS is awesome. Pick your nearest branch, put books you want on hold, and you can read from across the system. It’s great. You’re paying for it in taxes—use it. And then find ways to help out, too.

Third, family:

For the first time in several years, we took a vacation. It was good. We’re going back to the same place this year. I think we also made some progress strengthening our relationships after the move chaos kind of strained everything.

Fourth, writing:

Did I put out a book? No. Did I blog well? No. Did I get back to writing at SBCVoices.com or for the Arkansas Baptist News? No.

That’s got to change. I think better when I write.

Fifth, work:

I know, I’m a pastor. Therefore, two assumptions get made. First, it’s not that hard. And second, it’s not really “work,” anyway.

Actually, like any job, it has its moments. Even moments that I miss getting yelled at over boxes at UPS. I also tend to get irritable when things don’t go as smoothly as I picture. Except that, at times, I think I’ve explained things clearly and I haven’t at all. So, I’m working on that. Oddly enough, most of the pastoral work that’s “work” isn’t the things like teaching, preaching, counseling, funerals, and so forth…it’s the other issues (like trying to explain why you can’t have coffee in the sanctuary, when I really love the idea of having a nice fresh mug of coffee in the sanctuary my own self, but the spills are too much trouble, so it’s a no-no) that are work.

Sixth, friends:

I’ve got some. And I’m trying to do better about reconnecting with them on an ongoing basis.

Seventh, preaching:

I put this in a different category than “work” because it’s a skillset all its own. And because, honestly, if I were to go back to Big Brown tomorrow, I’d still look for a place to preach. (Besides, Big Brown doesn’t pay enough to start.)

I think I made progress in integrating using a pre-printed outline for listeners, as well as integrating using a media projector outline. It’s not a strong point yet—I’m afraid to depend on the technology to make a point, because I’m just suspicious enough of the tech. Probably has to do with being borderline between GenX and Millennial. The Millennial pull is to use the technology. The GenX side remembers waiting on software saved on cassette tapes and the Pentium Floating Point Unit issue.

Still, it’s getting better. I’m also going to pick One Year to Better Preaching back up for a reread. (If you are a preacher and are more than 2 years past your last “how-to” class, grab a copy. There’s probably something there you can use. Unless you’ve been it at it longer than 20 years(how long I’ve been at it), then I won’t presume to tell you to do so. But you might find value.)

Eighth, finances:

Ha! Next question. Seriously, we’re still trying to dig out of the hole from the last house we bought. And we’ve bought another one. Plus there’s the move, and there’s a few other things at hand. We’re getting there, but we get there better together.

Ninth, marriage and family:

Eighteen years. She’s put up with me for eighteen years. I still don’t know why. I’d have driven me up to Canada and dumped me in Nunavut. I think we’re doing better about communicating and growing together spiritually.

Family-wise, we’ve made the decision to grow our family. Ideally, we’re pursuing adoption. Barring that, we have a list of friends whose kids we like and might consider swiping. Of course, they’ll notice and want their kids back. But Eric’s not on the Internet much, so he won’t know.

Tenth, spiritually:

(I saved the most important two for last.) Last year was stagnant. God loves me. I try to love God. But last year was more about habits than relationship. This year, I’m changing up a few habits and am going to try and chronicle a bit of that here.

What does that look like? I want to get back to finding joy in Christ through all things, and to showing that joy. Christianity is a religious relationship and a relational religion—both horizontally and vertically. I want to get back on track with all of the above.

That’s my year in the rearview mirror.

But rearview mirrors are only for short drives, when you need to back up and get on track.

So, that’s enough retrospection for the evening.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.



First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…