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What makes you come alive? Go do it.

January 09, 2017
A New Year's message from Bishop R. Lawson Bryan​

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
 
Those are the words of Howard Thurman, an influential African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. Thurman was devoted to prayer, and his personal practice of spiritual disciplines was the foundation of his fruitful life. In 1944 he was co-founder of the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, the first intercultural church in the United States. Later he served as Dean of the Chapel at Boston University. My doctoral adviser, Luther Smith, introduced me to the work of Howard Thurman, and for that I will always be grateful. 
 
Notice the clarity Howard Thurman gives us as we enter the new year. When he says, “Don’t ask what the world needs,” he is reminding us that human beings are a bottomless pit of needs. The needs of the world are so great that we will quickly be overwhelmed by them. But there is another way: ask what makes you come alive, and then go do it. For what the world really needs is people who have come alive.
 
So what makes you come alive? Tell me about a time in 2016 when you were most alive. What were you doing? Were others involved? Why was it so energizing? How can you get more of that in 2017?
 
Tell me when your church was most alive in the past year? What was going on? Who was involved? Why was it so energizing? How can your church get more of that in 2017?
 
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
 
Our families need people who have come alive. Our communities need people who have come alive. Our world needs people who have come alive. Where can such people be found? In Ephesians 2:5, the Apostle Paul says: “We have been made alive together in Christ.” He is speaking of the church -- in Ephesus, in South Georgia, and in your community. 
 
Here is the key to your new year: what makes you come alive? Go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
 
Happy New Year!
 
Alive Together in Christ,
R. Lawson Bryan

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