Happy New Year!
A fresh new year is once again upon the Administrative Personnel Association full of opportunity. It’s the time to be thankful for the blessings of the past year and to take stock of all this organization’s achievements. 2016 was a year to remember in which so many things had been accomplished, which included becoming a certified body recognized by the Presbyterian Church (USA). Other accomplishments included submitting an overture to the 2016 General Assembly, acknowledging APA members years of dedicated service to this fantastic organization, and the installation of new officers which included a national president and president-elect. APA also celebrated the merger of Florida and Mid-South to create the Southeast region; however, our greatest accomplishment took place at our national conference in Las Vegas as we celebrated the Administrative Personnel Association’s 40 years of faithful service to the Presbyterian Church (USA).
At the same time, New Year 2017 is a brand new year in which we can only anticipate what it will bring for the Administrative Personnel Association. As 2016 comes to an end, I like to refer to the reading from Matthew 14: 22-33 this time of the year.
22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat were already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25 Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Just as Jesus commanded Peter to have courage and come to him on the water. Jesus knows that many of us are stuck in places of safety; Jesus knows that we’re afraid of what we don’t know and stay with what we do know; Jesus knows that we like to be comfortable or that sometimes we’re just snoozing through life. So I ask how many of us would stay in the boat with the other disciples instead of walking on the water, instead of imitating Jesus as His followers, instead of looking to Him and to the power of God to work in us and among us; to become and to accomplish all God has called us to be and to do.
That is the great thing about the New Year because of the possibilities of hope, fun, excitement, fear, change, challenges, love, grace, and so much more that we may anticipate for APA in 2017. Sometimes we have to face our fears, embrace the adventure, and take the plunge. But what holds us back from risking it all? How do we overcome our fears? What do we do when we doubt that the new chapter of life God is writing is for us? How do we keep our eyes focused on the goal when everything is trying to distract us?
So as you decide whether to step out of the boat or not, one of the exciting changes that you can anticipate to take place in 2017 is our National Conference that will be in Las Vegas, May 31-June 3rd. Our National Conference Planning Committee has been hard at work planning our national conference which will be taking on a new format with a new conference schedule, guest speakers, and plenary sessions that will be a part of the APA National Conference. I encourage everyone to accept this opportunity to embrace the change by planning on attending the National Conference. As wonderful as it was to celebrate the last 40 years at the 2016 national conference, it would be even more amazing if you would all join us in 2017 to see what God has planned for us to accomplish at this next fantastic conference as we gather in his name.
In conclusion, let us pray for a year full of new opportunities, an empty boat, and an abundance of warm people among us and life with God in our midst.
New Year Blessings,
APA National President