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December-January 2016


Follow the Leader


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A New Chapter

By Norma Jackson Goldman


If you love to read, it’s hard to put down a good book, even when the hour is late. I tell myself, “Just one more chapter and then I will stop,” but I read that one, and another, and another before finally admitting, “I just have to stop, or I won’t be able to get up tomorrow!”

Retirement is much like a book, with new pages and chapters unfolding in our life stories. The close of one year leads to the possibilities of the next, and what life will hold for us. This time of year, and this season of life, is the perfect time to reflect on God’s plan to carry out His Kingdom purposes in and through you. As long as there is life, there is the expectation that we will make an eternal difference in God’s world, His people, and in those who do not yet know Him. You are about to write a new chapter, and my prayer is that you will approach it with great excitement and purposeful intentionality.


Writing a Good Chapter Takes Good Planning

Have you ever noticed that not much gets done without some sort of plan? Oh, it may just be in your head—not even written down. But it’s there, and you have a tremendous sense of satisfaction when everything works according to plan. In retirement, my home has become the center of family celebrations and milestones. Since we don’t all live in the same city, that means the plans include how many are coming, who will sleep where, how to coordinate schedules for getting everyone showered and dressed for church on time, and of great importance to my family—what will we eat?

Recently, in one five-week period, we experienced three birthdays, a baby shower, and a baptism. With this much activity, plans had to be written down, a schedule developed, menus planned, and the budget adjusted to handle each event.

Pretty much the same things need to happen as you write your new chapter. What’s the plan? What is on God’s agenda for you, how will you organize your schedule around His plan, and how will your budget be affected? I’m about to experience a big birthday, and God led me to develop a plan of the things I believe He wants me to accomplish in the next few years (if He chooses to leave me here, of course).

In this new chapter, God led me to set six priorities. Your plan could have fewer, or more. I’ll describe just two of the six to help jump-start your thinking about your own new chapter.
Knowing God

I want to become more and more like my Father, to know better who He is, how He acts in human history and specifically in my life. I want to understand His holiness more fully so I can be more sensitive to sin and more intentional in worship. This can only come about by planning.



Two unsaved family members are weighing on my heart. I believe God is calling me to “love” them into His Kingdom. That means all the family occasions we share must be times where love is freely, intentionally expressed. I want to pray for and model maturity in my own life so my adult children will continue to grow in faith. Two young men in our family will soon establish families; I want to be part of that through prayer and encouragement. The other priorities are participating in missions, giving Bibles, personal ministry, and celebrating life.

Your new chapter is going to be written…whether you put it in print or not. Why not live it out with a plan, with purpose, and with intentionality?


About the Writer: Former magazine editor Norma J. Goldman enjoys a successful writing career in her retirement from her home near Houston, Texas. Learn more about Free Will Baptist retirement options:



©2016 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists