In the spirit of reflection and remembrance, I wanted to pause and honor 2014 and all that God introduced into my life through it. Some were blessings. Some heartaches. Some are works in progress. What we enclose between January 1 and December 31 and call a year is really just a random 365 days. When we call it “2014,” it becomes significant, countable, and remarkable. By the simple act of naming this time period, it becomes part of all of our lives, globally.

This simple act of declaring a name that impacts the entire world is seen in the New Testament of the Bible:

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. (Luke 1:31)

It is this name that makes me tick more than all the named years of human civilization. My last post of 2014 would be empty if I didn’t announce yet once again that I am a thankful, helplessly joyful follower of Jesus Christ. I want you to discover how much He loves you too.

With that caveat, here’s what January 1 and December 31, 2014 bracketed for me:

  • snow2014Getting to speak to an incredible group of Virginia college students as part of the Kairos Leadership Initiative in January at Eagle Eyrie
  • Snowpocalypse. We were buried and had several significant snowfalls. Loved it. I fit well in a year that Frozen was a blockbuster. Thanks, Olaf.
  • montenegro1A visit from our good friends from Arkansas Jeremy & Becca Woodall
  • A trip to Montenegro in which I mountain biked for 18 miles, hiked, and experienced stand-up paddle boarding. It was part of a discovery trip with our church in partnership with meanderbug.com to explore ways that we can bless the people of Montenegro and the Balkans.
  • A visit from my college roomie and his family – Mitch & Meg Bettis
  • Northstar moved its offices from the historic Lancaster House to our new location by the gucci Kroger near South Main Street. Most of all, we miss the proximity to Virginia Tech.. and the front porch swing.. oh, and the staff walnut throwing competition.
  • Another personal retreat at The Cove, which I highly recommend
  • A guest blogger series called Their Story in which I had the privilege of introducing several friends to my readers.
  • Our church hired a new youth minister – Alex Kacere, and a new associate pastor – Neal Nelson. We didn’t know Alex before but have come to love and and appreciate his heart for Christ and teens. Neal and I go waaaaay back, and it’s been a joy to have him and his family (finally!) here in Blacksburg as ministry partners.
  • Our church also took a significant step of faith this year and purchased 10 acres of land. We have been meeting in Blacksburg Middle School for 11 years, and this investment is one that will shape our future ministry and service to the New River Valley and world.
  • My parents celebrated their 50th anniversary! Our family and my sister Amy joined them in Pigeon Forge for a few days.
  • washingtonMom and Dad also came to visit us in Blacksburg, and I took Dad to Washington, D.C. to see the sites and enjoyed our time immensely!
  • Our nephews TJ and Daniel and niece Mattie also came to visit. TJ & Daniel went to MFuge with our youth group, and both of them gave their lies to Christ.
  • A phone upgrade to the iPhone 6 (and the absence this year of the DLAE – digital life adjustment experiment)
  • icebucketchallengeI took the ALS ice bucket challenge (along with millions of others!)
  • Adelyn started a YouTube channel in which she does covers of different songs.
  • Celebrated five years at Northstar Church
  • Kevin and Sharon Wieser and Ben and Karen Phillips and their family all visited us. Ben spoke at a marriage event for our church.
  • Carolyn went to Nashville and met her mom and “her wild friends” for a fun weekend.
  • Sam began his epic college hunt. We previewed Old Dominion, James Madison University, Ouachita Baptist University and he and a friend saw UNC-Charlotte and NC State.
  • For a period of about two weeks, we walked down the street daily and picked blackberries. We made everything from cobblers to jelly.
  • Carolyn and I camped out in hammocks with Adam and Jen Wilson on top of Wind Rock.
  • hogI’m a Bielemer. Rewrote a Monkees song, videoed it with Carolyn and Ben Coulter in Little Rock over Thanksgiving break and had it jump to over 6000 views in three days, get featured on two Arkansas TV news stations, and even appear on ESPN.com’s blog. It was written to celebrate Arkansas’ win consecutive shutouts of LSU and Ole Miss.
  • I still love popcorn and Milk Duds together – if you haven’t tried them, don’t scoff. It’s a match that doesn’t make sense but is perfect together.
  • I got interviewed and had my picture taken for an article in a local magazine about moped drivers.
  • I also discovered my favorite new cereal – Captain Crunch Donuts. Oh yes.
  • We found out that Carolyn has growth in some of her lymph nodes, and her oncologist is still trying to get to the bottom of things.
  • I made the transition to an Xbox One. Yes, still a geek.

Weaved throughout my personal story is a much larger story of 2014 that involves other names like – Malaysian Airlines, Ferguson, ebola, ISIS, Ukraine, Republicans, and Robin Williams. There are so many more laughs, joys, frustrations, and learning experiences… but it’s not the days that define the year. It’s the person. I’m grateful for the ability to define my experiences in the Name Above All Names. May God be glorified through on this New Year’s Eve and in all my days – named and unnamed – that are to come.

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