Linn County Leader Column – December 2006 “A New Year’s Resolution, with a Joyful Message”

Time sure flies, doesn’t it?

Out with the old, and in with the new. That’s what we’ll be celebrating in just a few days as the ball drops in Times Square and lights up TV’s in homes across the United States, signifying the end of yet another year.

And what a year it’s been–one of a continuing war in Iraq, one of rising gas prices, one of stock market surges, one of escalating population growth in the U.S. and never-ending gloom-and-doom on the national news channels…you name it, and chances are it was said or done in 2006.

And now it’s time to make a fresh start; to steadfastly recite those resolutions that we promise our best to keep for yet another year. We mark January 1st as a day of reflection on the past and a hopeful future for tomorrow for our loved ones and ourselves as we kick those “bald tires” from 2006 out to the curb and replace them with a set of fresh 2007 treads.

I think the thing that I look forward to the most during the upcoming days and months is the chance to continue to minister to those in need, and to tell people about Jesus Christ and what he’s done in my life. In this world of perpetual spiritual darkness, it’s a ray of Hope that everyone so desperately needs; why not be willing to share the Good News with others?

Yeah, I know, I know…the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s a difficult task; there will be those out there who think you’ve turned into a “Jesus Freak” and that you’ve gone radical for the Gospel. And, to be honest…you actually have! Just like the Word of God says, you’re no longer conforming, or being like, the image of this world…you’re actually being transformed into something and someone different.

No, I’m not talking like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” type of transformation; it’s more like what will happen to your innermost self. Once you accept Jesus as your very own personal Savior, then you will find those selfish wants and desires will become less and less. Selflessness will come to the forefront and you’ll enjoy telling people what He has done for you, and how they can have that same kind of joy and peace, too.

It’s a very gratifying feeling to see someone’s life change for the better. I thank God for giving me the Gift of His Son Jesus and for His Love for me; I also thank those countless people throughout my life that kept telling me about Him over and over again. People like Clayton Harless and Steve Carter (people I used to work with); teachers like Jane Chick and Marcia Cunningham at BHS (who taught by example and showed the love of Jesus through their actions), men of God like Rev. Richard Johnson, Rev. Larry Barber, and Rev. Mike White (all of whom were/are pastors that I learned under throughout my Christian years); and most of all, for my spiritual mentor and dearly departed friend, Walton Counts…I can name many, many more; these were the ones that influenced the path of my Christian walk to where it is today. Because of their teachings and Godly walk, I am able to joyfully share my faith with others.

There is but one New Year’s resolution I have for 2007: and that is to share Jesus with as many people as God puts in my path; to let them know of His Love for them; and to let them know that the door is always open for them to have a lasting (eternal) relationship with God. It’s really a very simple, but very life-changing message.

There’s much to look forward to in this New Year, to be sure. It’s my prayer that you’ll join with me so that we can be Jesus Freaks for 2007…and beyond. Let’s shout His Message from the rooftops of Brookfield, Marceline, Linneus, Laclede, Bucklin, and beyond.

Happy New Year for Jesus!

Comments or questions? Feel free to leave Richard an e-mail at, or visit his online blog at to leave a message. His column appears monthly in the Linn County Leader.


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