OK so what do I write?
Have you ever noticed that the Apostle Paul starts several of his letters the same way? I mean after the beginning where he says his name and who he is and who the letter is for. After that. He is thankful for the people and prays a blessing on them.
He does this in Philippians:
"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy...And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowlede and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God."
He does it in Colossians:
"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints...For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and askign God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding..."
"We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing...With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worth of his calling..."
"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better..."
OK On and on but you get the idea. Paul started his letter with thanks and prayer.
As I think about what to say to Jake, how to encourage him this next year, I will be looking to Paul's example. Letting him know how thankful I am for who he is and what he has done and telling him of my prayers for him as he grows, faces challenges and continues to becoming a man of God.
And when necessary I can continue Paul's example and follow that up with a little lesson or some advice. I think I might have a little, tiny bit left in me to share with him...
Now to figure out how to condense it to the length of a short text...One step at a time.