While preparing for 2012, I felt the Lord place on my heart the theme of, "Again." Many will proclaim (in the spirit of being generic) that this will be your best year yet. They will tell you it will be your most "blessed" year yet. Many preachers will proclaim this because they want you to feel better. I don't know about you, but 2011 was rough. I mean, a lot of it was devastating. Let me be real. I have never been as hurt by people in the church world as I was this year. I was cursed out, given a rubber check as a donation for my family (intentionally bad-it bounced), had people tell me that we don't believe in the Holy Spirit and other churches intentionally lie and attack me.
I said all that to make a point. As rough as 2011 was, I believe my assignment is to encourage others to give it one more shot. 2012 may not be your most "blissful" year, but it can be your best year. It is a year to restore hope and give it one more shot. I am not preaching at you, I am walking with you. I will be going into 2012 with some serious challenges. My mom is battling serious, life-threatening cancer. Our giving was down at church almost 25% over the past three months. I did not see the fruit I expected with some outreach ideas we implemented. So- I am with you.
There are two stories in Scripture that come to mind. The first is Peter and the empty nets. He fished all night and even came back at the right time in the morning and....nothing. You been there? Jesus shows up and asks him to give it one more shot and he told him, "But I tried..." Felt that way? Maybe it is your marriage. Maybe it is ministry. Maybe it is your career. At any rate, Jesus is calling us to give it one more shot. Peter, in the same sentence, says, "Nevertheless, at thy word." He obeyed and great blessing followed.
The other story is a short parable in Luke about a man with a failing fig tree. The master wanted it down and the man convinced him that he needed one more shot. He cultivated the tree and gave it "special attention." It produced. 3 years of no figs and he gave it one more shot.
I want to encourage you to cast your nets out again. Cultivate your situation. Use the "cr_p" of life to be your fertilizer. Believe once again. Give it one more shot. This may be the time that breakthrough comes. Hope is the greatest weapon you have against the unknown of the future.