Monday, November 09, 2020

Waiting, Exile, Liminality (Jeremiah 29)

Here's a message that was shared recently in many Baptist Churches in the UK. I pray it will be a helpful blessing to you too.
We are in strange times! There is no going back to how life was before, and we are not yet in what some people are calling "the new normal". This in between time needs new understanding, from timeless wisdom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020


Here in the United Kingdom there have been a number of inquiries and reports into the racism, injustices and prejudice faced by people from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities. 

These have made hundreds of recommendations that successive governments have not acted on.

A petition, on the official .gov site, is calling for parliament to begin enacting the recommendations. If the petition reaches 100,000 UK signatures it has to be considered for debate. Please help us reach that target by signing, and please do it today. Thank you.

Click here to sign the petition

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A chance for light to shine

Lent begins today, so what?

Well, since the earliest of times in the Christian Church, followers of Jesus have observed some form of season of preparation in the time leading up to the greatest Christian festival of Easter (or Resurrection Sunday / Paschal Sunday depending on where you live and worship).

This preparation time has seen an emphasis on acts of penance for wrongdoing, and a strong practice of fasting (going without some food, or all food for a set period) as a way of focusing the mind and spirit on the things of God.

In our contemporary culture this has morphed into giving up other things, like coffee, chocolate, social media, newspapers, buying clothes, alcohol etc. And, along with this, we seem to have lost the idea that it is a season of preparation so that we are fully ready to enter into the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection free from distractions and other desires. Now, it seems, it’s a season to break a habit or to have a bit of a purge, or spiritual detox before life continues as normal.

Observing Lent is not a practice the Bible commands, or even speaks of, although fasting and preparation are continual themes throughout the Old and New Testaments, and are examples of the ways in which people might prepare themselves to be closer to God, or get ready to perform some great act of faith.

So, what about us, now? Well, in 2020, as Lent begins, I want to suggest it might be better for you, for me, for our neighbours, for the nation, for the planet as well as for the sake of seeing people encounter God, that instead of avoiding the alcohol, shunning the sugar or forgetting facebook, we might actually engage in adoration through activity.

There’s a passage in the Bible that over the years has come to mean a lot to me, and has become something of a challenge to myself and my family about that kind of life that pleases God. You’ll find it in Isaiah 58. Through the prophet, God challenges a whole nation. They appear to have been crying out to God for His guidance, and then wondering why His direction did not appear to come, and so God names the behaviours they have been engaging in that caused them to be unable to hear Him or know Him.

They had:
Turned their backs on the commands of God
Used their positions of relative power to exploit their employees
Reduced the spiritual life to a matter of religious activities
Devised a definition of holiness that was based on self-denial
Walked out of worship, then straight into warring with each other

And God tells them what true fasting looks like, the kind of fasting that pleases Him. 

He says that if they want to live a holy life, and truly know Him and live in His ways they should:
Loosen chains of oppression
Set people free from things that enslave them
Destroy anything that has power to oppress and enslave people
Share food with hungry people
Provide shelter and welcome to the homeless
Ensure people are warmly clothed
Live in the realisation that all people are loved by God, and that we have a shared humanity
Do away with pointing fingers, gossip, malicious accusations
Use all the resources God has entrusted you with to take care of those with nothing
Look after those people you are making free

If we live this way God says:
We will live in light, like hope arising after the darkest depression
Wholeness, healing, life in it’s fullest becomes a possibility and a reality
You won’t have to make a name for yourself, because the good news of what God is doing through you will become your reputation
You will know the security that comes from an inner reality of the presence of God
You will see and hear the answers to prayers, and find hidden reserves of grace and strength
God will be close enough for you to hear Him say “here I am” in the midst of difficulty
Your heart and spirit be refreshed, just like the beautiful moment the first rain hits a sun-scorched desert 
Where despair had infected whole communities, hope will come

So, on this first day of Lent, I want to challenge you to forgo fruitless fasting, and adopt an attitude of authentic and affirmative activity.

Use this season of preparation to ensure that when Easter comes, it will be the celebration of the reality that you’ve been living in for the previous seven weeks.

Let your activity in the world bring hope you and to others.

Resist the easy path of a temporary abstention from a pleasure, and learn instead to find delight in a lifestyle of true holiness, living a life marked with grace and generosity that flows not from duty, but from a profound appreciation of all that God has done to show you that you are loved, precious, wanted and free.

I’d love to read in the comments what practical steps we might take together to live this out this year, and then always.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Ephesians 1

I promised in church that I'd blog my notes from this morning, as there was a lot of information shared quickly.

I commend these to you for further reading. Remember - these words name what God sees in us, what He is calling us into being. I invite you again to ask for more of His Spirit that the eyes of your hearts might be enlightened.

I also reproduce below the notes and the spoiler warning the text of the letter I referred to from Three Billboards Outside Epping Missouri. (I used the way Chief Willoughby calls out the better nature he sees possible in Officer Dixon as a way of understanding in part what Paul is doing in Ephesians 1)

The notes were to guide me, they are not the message in total - that will be available on the church website next week, and available to download by clicking here

Ephesians Chapter 1
Verse 1 - You are holy, you are faithful
3 - Blessed in heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ
4 – Chosen to be holy & blameless
5 – destined to be God’s child
6 – freely given God’s grace
7 – Redeemed from the enemy
8 – God’s grace is lavished on you
8-9 To you God has revealed what was a mystery – His will
11 – Chosen and predestined
12 – a sign of God’s glory that causes praise – the people who give praise for what God has done
13 – included in Christ
Receivers of the message of truth
Witnesses of the gospel
Marked and sealed by the Holy Spirit
14 -Guaranteed an eternal inheritance

Pauls prayer – in the light of all this!

Thanksgiving for them
That they: a) receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (we need this, even though we are already sealed and marked)
b) Would know God better
c) would have the eyes of their hearts to be enlightened so they can know i) the hope they are called to, ii)the riches that his holy people are inheriting, iii) his power that is for those who believe.
(This power is: the power that raised Jesus, is far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked for all time!), 
iv) that God has placed everything under Jesus feet, v) that Christ is head of the church, vi) that the church is the body of Christ, and vii) the church should be fully him as he fills it.

**Spoiler Warning**
The text below is from a scene in the film Three Billboards Outside Epping Missouri. It is a movie that contains very strong language, and deals with very difficult themes. I'm not endorsing the language used in the movie, but it is a very powerful film. Please don't watch it with your family then complain I didn't warn you - it is not suitable family viewing! If you plan to see this movie then you need to know that the text below contains a massive spoiler. You should probably stop reading now!

A letter from Chief Willoughby (played by Woody Harrelson) to Jason Dixon (played by Sam Rockwell)

Jason Dixon is a violent, bigoted and thoroughly unlikeable character. He’s the butt of jokes, and is seen by most people as a destructive idiot.

Chief Willoughby is dying, and after his death several people receive letters from him. Here’s the letter Officer Dixon received:

Willoughby: Jason, Willoughby here. I'm dead now, sorry about that. There's something I wanted to say to you that I never really said when I was alive. I think you've got the makings of being a really good cop, Jason, and you know why? Because, deep down, you're a decent man. I know you don't think I think that, but I do, dip****. 

I do think you're too angry though, and I know it's all since your dad died and you had to go look after your mom and all, but as long as you hold on to so much hate, then I don't think you're ever going to become, what I know you want to become - a detective. 'Cause you know what you need to become a detective? And I know you're gonna wince when I say this, but what you need to become a detective is love.

Because through love comes calm, and through calm comes thought. And you need thought to detect stuff sometimes, Jason. It's kinda all you need. You don't even need a gun. And you definitely don't need hate. Hate never solved nothing, but calm did. And thought did. Try it. Try it just for a change. No one'll think you're gay. And if they do, arrest 'em for homophobia! Won't they be surprised! Good luck to you, Jason. You're a decent man, and yeah you've had a run of bad luck, but things are gonna change for you. I can feel it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I'm still here. There's just a little less of me.

I've been meaning to get back into blogging for a while, and just struggling to find time. I haven't given up on it, but the limited time I've had for online stuff has been mainly on Facebook and Twitter, and a little on instagram (I know, i need to get with it...).

I'm writing this blog today to encourage a bit of accountability for myself.

Truth is, I'm a sinner, and one of the areas of real lack of control has been around food and exercise. I've been greedy. And I've been lazy.

At Easter I decided to make some gentle changes, and then during my sabbatical in autumn I got more serious, eating less and increasing the amount of  walking I do.

The upshot is that weight is slowly shifting, and quite a bit so far, but I know I will struggle to keep it up. So here is my permission to you to challenge me on it, and to ask how i'm doing. It's not going to be a big thing for me on social media, and although I have wondered about starting a new blog just to talk about faith, fat and fitness, I really don't have the time.

If you're on your own journey from fat to fit, let me know. I'll be praying for you.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Loving Your Enemies by Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jnr

Our current Sunday morning teaching series is called "Red Letter Commandments", and takes a look at the places in Matthew's gospel where Jesus gives a commandment that we feel is still relevant to us today. Last week I preached on Matthew 5:38-42 and Jesus command to us not to take revenge, but to engage in creative nonviolent resistance.

This week I was speaking from the following paragraph Matthew 5:43-47, Love your enemies. I remembered that I had once read a sermon from Dr King on that text, and so I read it again in preparation. It is an amazing sermon, far better than I could have aspired to, and I shared that fact this morning. I quoted from one section, and said that I would share the text from my blog for those who'd like to read the whole thing. This is a transcript from a recording made November 17, 1957 at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama. Right in the heat and turmoil of the civil rights movement. I pray his call to radical love will inspire you as much as it has me.

Loving Your Enemies
...So I want to turn your attention to this subject: "Loving Your Enemies." It’s so basic to me because it is a part of my basic philosophical and theological orientation—the whole idea of love, the whole philosophy of love. In the fifth chapter of the gospel as recorded by Saint Matthew, we read these very arresting words flowing from the lips of our Lord and Master: "Ye have heard that it has been said, ‘Thou shall love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven."
Certainly these are great words, words lifted to cosmic proportions. And over the centuries, many persons have argued that this is an extremely difficult command. Many would go so far as to say that it just isn’t possible to move out into the actual practice of this glorious command. They would go on to say that this is just additional proof that Jesus was an impractical idealist who never quite came down to earth. So the arguments abound. But far from being an impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist. The words of this text glitter in our eyes with a new urgency. Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies.
Now let me hasten to say that Jesus was very serious when he gave this command; he wasn’t playing. He realized that it’s hard to love your enemies. He realized that it’s difficult to love those persons who seek to defeat you, those persons who say evil things about you. He realized that it was painfully hard, pressingly hard. But he wasn’t playing. And we cannot dismiss this passage as just another example of Oriental hyperbole, just a sort of exaggeration to get over the point. This is a basic philosophy of all that we hear coming from the lips of our Master. Because Jesus wasn’t playing; because he was serious. We have the Christian and moral responsibility to seek to discover the meaning of these words, and to discover how we can live out this command, and why we should live by this command.
Now first let us deal with this question, which is the practical question: How do you go about loving your enemies? I think the first thing is this: In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing self. And I’m sure that seems strange to you, that I start out telling you this morning that you love your enemies by beginning with a look at self. It seems to me that that is the first and foremost way to come to an adequate discovery to the how of this situation.
Now, I’m aware of the fact that some people will not like you, not because of something you have done to them, but they just won’t like you. I’m quite aware of that. Some people aren’t going to like the way you walk; some people aren’t going to like the way you talk. Some people aren’t going to like you because you can do your job better than they can do theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because other people like you, and because you’re popular, and because you’re well-liked, they aren’t going to like you. Some people aren’t going to like you because your hair is a little shorter than theirs or your hair is a little longer than theirs. Some people aren’t going to like you because your skin is a little brighter than theirs; and others aren’t going to like you because your skin is a little darker than theirs. So that some people aren’t going to like you. They’re going to dislike you, not because of something that you’ve done to them, but because of various jealous reactions and other reactions that are so prevalent in human nature.
But after looking at these things and admitting these things, we must face the fact that an individual might dislike us because of something that we’ve done deep down in the past, some personality attribute that we possess, something that we’ve done deep down in the past and we’ve forgotten about it; but it was that something that aroused the hate response within the individual. That is why I say, begin with yourself. There might be something within you that arouses the tragic hate response in the other individual.
...And this is what Jesus means when he said: "How is it that you can see the mote in your brother’s eye and not see the beam in your own eye?" Or to put it in Moffatt’s translation: "How is it that you see the splinter in your brother’s eye and fail to see the plank in your own eye?" And this is one of the tragedies of human nature. So we begin to love our enemies and love those persons that hate us whether in collective life or individual life by looking at ourselves.
A second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy, and everytime you begin to hate that person and think of hating that person, realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points.
I’ve said to you on many occasions that each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality. We’re split up and divided against ourselves. And there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives. There is a recalcitrant South of our soul revolting against the North of our soul. And there is this continual struggle within the very structure of every individual life.... There is something within each of us that causes us to cry out with Apostle Paul, "I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do."
So somehow the "isness" of our present nature is out of harmony with the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts us. And this simply means this: That within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The person who hates you most has some good in him... And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls "the image of God," you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. There is an element of goodness that he can never sluff off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude.
Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it.... Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.
The Greek language, as I’ve said so often before, is very powerful at this point.... It talks about love as eros. That’s one word for love. Eros is a sort of, aesthetic love.... And it’s come to us to be a sort of romantic love, though it’s a beautiful love....
Then the Greek language talks about philia, and that’s another type of love that’s also beautiful. It is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. And this is the type of love that you have for those persons that you’re friendly with, your intimate friends, or people that you call on the telephone and you go by to have dinner with, and your roommate in college and that type of thing. It’s a sort of reciprocal love. On this level, you like a person because that person likes you. You love on this level, because you are loved....
The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.
And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, "Love your enemy." And it’s significant that he does not say, "Like your enemy." Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, "Love your enemy." This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.
Now for the few moments left, let us move from the practical how to the theoretical why. It’s not only necessary to know how to go about loving your enemies, but also to go down into the question of why we should love our enemies. I think the first reason that we should love our enemies, and I think this was at the very center of Jesus’ thinking, is this: that hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. If I hit you and you hit me and I hit you back and you hit me back and go on, you see, that goes on ad infinitum. [tapping on pulpit] It just never ends. Somewhere somebody must have a little sense, and that’s the strong person. The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe. Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.
...And if somebody doesn’t have sense enough to turn on the dim and beautiful and powerful lights of love in this world, the whole of our civilization will be plunged into the abyss of destruction. And we will all end up destroyed because nobody had any sense on the highway of history. Somewhere somebody must have some sense. Men must see that force begets force, hate begets hate, toughness begets toughness. And it is all a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all and everybody. Somebody must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and the chain of evil in the universe. And you do that by love.
There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater.... You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate.... For the person who hates, the beautiful becomes ugly and the ugly becomes beautiful. For the person who hates, the good becomes bad and the bad becomes good. For the person who hates, the true becomes false and the false becomes true. That’s what hate does. You can’t see right. The symbol of objectivity is lost. Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. And this is why Jesus says hate [recording interrupted] every situation of life with an abounding love. Never hate, because it ends up in tragic, neurotic responses.... Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.
Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, "Love your enemies." Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.
I think of one of the best examples of this. We all remember the great president of this United States, Abraham Lincoln—these United States rather. You remember when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, "You don’t want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States." He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it. Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And if you read the great biography of Lincoln, if you read the great works about him, you will discover that as every president comes to the point, he came to the point of having to choose a Cabinet. And then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton. And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: "Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?" Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said: "Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job."
Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War, and a few months later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made by, about Abraham Lincoln was made about this man Stanton. And as Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, Stanton stood up and said: "Now he belongs to the ages." And he made a beautiful statement concerning the character and the stature of this man. If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton, if Abraham Lincoln had answered everything Stanton said, Abraham Lincoln would have not transformed and redeemed Stanton. Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.
That’s it. There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet.... For they believe in hitting for hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says, "This isn’t the way."
...Because of the power and influence of the personality of this Christ, he was able to split history into a.d. and b.c. Because of his power, he was able to shake the hinges from the gates of the Roman Empire. And all around the world this morning, we can hear the glad echo of heaven ring:
Jesus shall reign wherever sun,
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spreads from shore to shore,
Till moon shall wane and wax no more.
We can hear another chorus singing: "All hail the power of Jesus name!"
We can hear another chorus singing: "Hallelujah, hallelujah! He’s King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah, hallelujah!"
We can hear another choir singing:
In Christ there is no East or West.
In Him no North or South,
But one great Fellowship of Love
Throughout the whole wide world.
This is the only way.
...So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, "I love you. I would rather die than hate you." And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. And then we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us.
Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes, to work out this controlling force of love, this controlling power that can solve every problem that we confront in all areas. Oh, we talk about politics; we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization. Grant that all men will come together and discover that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems—the international problems, the problems of atomic energy, the problems of nuclear energy, and yes, even the race problem—let us join together in a great fellowship of love and bow down at the feet of Jesus. Give us this strong determination. In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray. Amen.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Ten Predictions for 2017

In Hebrews 13:8 we are reminded of a timeless truth, “Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.” 

This morning in church I shared that if something were true at the time of Jesus’ life, it’s still true today. If there was any truth in His teaching 2000 yrs ago, it’s still true today. If His life and ministry are an example, they are still an example to us now. If his death on the cross had an effect 2000 yrs ago, it still has that effect today. If His resurrection was a sign of anything then, it’s still the same sign now. If His ascension into heaven meant He was powerfully interceding for us then, and preparing a place for us, then those things are still true today. And finally that if the giving of the Holy Spirit, so liberally poured out onto humanity that Pentecost day, empowered Christians to live, serve, love and minister in the power of God at the beginning of the Church’s story then the same is true today.

Because Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever, I make these predictions for 2017, not based on an interpretation of the news, or my best guesswork knowing partial information, but based on the never-changing nature and character of God.

So, regardless of who wins what election, or what actions are taken re membership of Europe, nevermind who sets themselves up to change the world, or just one part of it; whether we will continue to see the slide towards a world of individual meanings, and a careless disregard for facts, or whether the sun shines and we live in growing peace, here are some things that will happen for sure in 2017:

God will hear and answer our prayers
God will transform this world, one changed life at a time
God will keep His promises
God will reveal more of Himself to us as we spend time reading the Bible
God will continue to love the world, and everyone in it
God  will forgive all who turn away from their sinful life, and follow him
God will not give up on anyone
God will send us blessing if we live in line with His word, the Bible
God will keep giving you power to live, love and minister for Him

And finally -perhaps most importantly when we consider the great upheavels in the world we are living through - God will continue to be in control