2019: A Look Ahead image

2019: A Look Ahead

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“You do not know what tomorrow will bring,” warns the apostle James. “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” In that spirit, hopefully — seeing the year ahead as entirely dependent on the gracious sustenance of God, yet without that negating my ability to make plans for the future — here are a few things I’m looking forward to and/or hoping for in 2019.

Writing. Regular readers will know that my Spirit and Sacrament: An Invitation to Eucharismatic Worship is out this month, and I am very excited about it (you can get hold of it here). You are less likely to know that I have my first children’s book coming out this summer, Sophie and the Heidelberg Cat, which is basically a book about grace for 4-7 year olds, in the style of a Julia Donaldson story. And unless you are my agent, you will almost certainly not know that I am working on a book with the working title God of Things, which is an exploration of who God is through the physical things he has made. I’ve finished writing the first two, but barely started the third, so that will be a major focus this year.

Reading. There are all sorts of things I’m planning to read, but there are a few new books I’m anticipating in particular. Camille Paglia’s Provocations has just arrived, and I’m hoping Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise will be joining it soon. Christian Smith’s Atheist Overreach comes highly recommended (and the title is inherently intriguing). Peter Leithart has a commentary on 1&2 Chronicles due with Brazos, which after enjoying his volumes on Samuel and Kings so much is genuinely exciting; Chronicles is also the part of Scripture that I know the least well. And I’ve heard rumours that Tom Holland has a book on Christianity coming out (hip hip ...) and that Josh Butler has something cooking as well (hooray!) So that’s a few to get me started.

Preaching and Teaching. I don’t do that much travelling, but I have the privilege of preaching in a number of very exciting contexts this year: Jubilee Church in Cape Town, The Village Church in Dallas, Westpoint, Convergence, and perhaps one or two others. But my main preaching role is at King’s Church London, where I am looking forward to each series we currently have planned: one on encountering the Holy Spirit, one on evangelism based on the life of Jesus, and a twelve week one on Revelation (which I have never preached through before, and am already getting excited about). Revelation is also the theme of this July’s THINK conference, which you can book into here; and then in September we start another cycle of Catalyst Leadership and Theology Training, which I am freshly envisioned about on seeing the benefit a similar course has been to my wife Rachel.

Fun. I am very fortunate in that I love my job, so I really enjoy all of the above. But I’m also looking forward to celebrating fifteen years of marriage this year, going on holiday with my family in the summer, and hoping (against hope) that Liverpool will win the league for the first time since 1990.

Many of the most important things that happen in a year are things you have no idea about in January. God is always doing more than we can ask, or think. Of the things I know about, though, there is plenty to be getting on with, and praying for. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to interact with some of you in physical, virtual or paper form in 2019!

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