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A new year is here. I firmly believe we should remember the past and build upon it. However, now is not the time for us to live in the emotions, actions and moments of yesterday; we often reflect in the yesterdays of our lives.

One of my life goals is to always remember those who have gone before, remembering what has happened so I might learn from those events. We all can recount lessons we've learned from past experiences.

This past year for me, and I'm sure for you, brought many new challenges, disappointments and struggles, while also bringing joy, peace and happiness. Through it all, hopefully we finished 2014 standing taller spiritually than we were at the beginning of the year.

Now is the time to look forward. Our God is still on the Throne, and I believe now is the moment to place our trust in our unfailing, active God. We will have challenges, but He promises to be with us always.

As we enter 2015, won't you join me in recommitting our lives to the total control of our Lord? Many continue to look to the stars with human eyes, trying to figure out when He will return. I do not, but instead, put my faith and trust in His inerrant and inspired Word and His unchanging promises throughout scripture.

"It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth" (Acts 1:7-8).

In committing our lives personally, I believe churches should be fully committed to fulfilling the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, hallmarks of New Testament congregations. With 33 million unsaved residents in California we have a great challenge, yet a great opportunity to be on mission for Christ as we present the gospel to our families, friends and neighbors. It is imperative that our churches be about evangelism, leading people to salvation.

One of the strategies the Southern Baptist Convention has embraced to impact our evangelistic effort is church planting. Through mid-December, CSBC had recorded 112 new and newly affiliated churches in 2014. That's great, but we need to do as much as possible to plant churches across our state to meet the diverse needs of our fellow citizens.

Please know that your California Southern Baptist Convention staff is committed fully to its congregations. We are here to serve churches by providing resources in a variety of areas. We are able to do that because of your congrega-tion's faithfulness in giving to the Cooperative Program, our unified budget for church starting, evangelism and missions; and the California Mission Offering, whose funds stay in the Golden State for ministry.

Together, let's trust Him, follow Him and serve Him throughout 2015!

Last Published: January 5, 2015 12:45 AM