Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

            As you read this 2017 is passed and 2018 is beginning.  It is hard to imagine that another year has come and gone, but when I deal with those aches and pains, it is a little more understandable.  I just don’t know how it went by so quickly!

            There was no flashing lights or horns blowing.  It was merely the sound of a few regrets that I have from the year gone by.  I suppose my regrets are somewhere between I failed and I failed big time!  It is a very humbling experience for me as I consider my calling as a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

            A line from a song says, “Regrets, I have a few, but then again too few to mention.”  Well either I have way too many or I just feel the need to share them with you. 

            I regret that I did not endeavor to be a stronger Dad to my children, Papa to my grandchildren, and husband to my wife.  I regret that I did not get up each morning with the resolve in my heart to lead one person to the Lord that day. I regret that many people walked away from me without having heard a testimony of Christ.

            I regret that I didn’t study God’s Word more diligently.  I regret that there were times when I could have gone visiting, but didn’t.  I regret that I did not always speak with kindness and that my life did not always exemplify Christ, the hope of glory.  I regret that there were times when I did not give all that I could and only gave Christ what was left over.  So I do have a few regrets.

            But I also have a few ‘no regrets’. I have no regrets of sharing my life with Vicki, having five beautiful children, twelve (almost) wonderful grandchildren and a family that loves me even when I’m cranky.

            I have no regrets of pastoring and sharing my life with people that I meet.  I have no regrets for saying yes to Jesus when He called me into ministry.  I have no regrets for the hours spent studying, visiting, and ministering.  I have no regrets for turning my life over to the One who loved me so much that He gave Himself for me.

            I have no regrets for working with others to make a difference whether it be in the church, in the city or with others that need someone to stand with them.  I have no regrets standing against those things that are wrong or praying for our nation, our leaders and those men and women who are fighting for our nation.  I’m not sure that covers everything, but surely it gives you insight into where I am. 

            Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give your rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.”

            I believe that we can find rest and peace for our souls if we will only turn to Jesus, the lover and keeper of our souls.  But there is one important thing we must do – When we come, we must turn it all over to Him.  We can’t hold back the parts we think we can fix ourselves.

            I don’t believe you can improve on Scripture, but sometimes a man will say something that helps make things clearer.  Angel Martinez once said, “God will accept a broken heart if you will bring Him all the pieces.”  Maybe your heart is broken over the events of 2017, but you have a resolve to do better in 2018.  Let me paraphrase Mt. 11:28 – “Come to Me, all who have broken, heavy hearts.  I will give you rest if you will bring me all the broken pieces.”

            May I suggest something for 2018?  Why don’t we take everything to Jesus so that He can heal the broken hearts, the broken dreams, the broken lives?  After all, He said He would.  I believe 2018 can be filled with great joy, hope, and victories for the kingdom, but it will only happen when we bring Him all the broken pieces of our hearts.

JESUS, JESUS, JESUS, there IS something about that name!!

Christ only, always,

Bro. Paul