January 3, 2022

            Happy New Year!  May 2022 be a good year for you!  In the early days of any new year, people often think of how they would like to use this new beginning.  Resolutions are commonplace.  Some resolutions are successful—even life changing!  But many resolutions are quickly forgotten, abandoned or discarded.  Often, we can think too unrealistically or even too ambitiously.  For example, climbing Mount Everest is an unlikely goal for someone to do in 2022 if they have never even gone hiking. 
            For followers of Christ, we should give thought to how we would like to spend the year ahead of us.  The Bible says we are to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:16 and Colossians 4:5).  A new year is one such opportunity that God has given to us.  Let me suggest five resolutions we can make and keep as followers of Christ.  First, make a commitment to read the Bible.  We have resources to help you do that.  If you would like to read the entire Bible in 2022, we have several guides that can help you.  Just contact our church office and we will be happy to share one with you.  Of course, you can choose your own way to read the Bible.  You might make the gospels a priority this year.  You might spend time in Paul’s letters or the Psalms.  The idea is to make a commitment to Bible reading.
            Second, make a commitment to being a grateful person.  Take time to express thanks to God for His blessings.  This gratitude commitment could extend to others who have blessed your life in some special way.  A grateful person is often a gracious person too.  And boy, the world could certainly use more grace!  Gratitude can transform your entire life.  One practical way to express gratitude to God is making a commitment to tithing.  A tithe is 10% of one’s income that is given to the Lord as an act of worship, obedience and gratitude for what the Lord has given. 
            Third, make a commitment to share your faith in Jesus Christ.  Invite someone to one of our church worship times or activities.  Talk about how the Lord has changed and transformed your life.  Being a witness for Christ is not an option.  It is not a special commitment reserved for super-Christians or missionaries.  Being a witness is a call that the Lord extends to all who have chosen to follow Him in faith and trust.  Make the Lord known in your life and through your words.
            Fourth, make a commitment to pray for our church family.  Lift up our people, activities, staff and ministries.  We need the power of prayer to fuel our church as we engage in another year of life and ministry.  There are people who are hurting or struggling who could use your prayers.  How about devoting an hour a week to praying for our church?  You could do the hour all at one time or break it up in smaller segments that equal one hour.  The choice is yours and you can trust God to be at work in the prayers you offer to Him.
            Fifth, be a friendly face and voice for those who may be looking for a church home or a place where they can connect with the Lord in worship and faith.  We often have visitors in our worship services and church events.  Welcome those who may be visiting with us.  Create an environment of warmth and encouragement.  Consider how you would like to be welcomed if you were visiting a church and extend that same welcome to others.  A smile, an encouraging word and a quick introduction of yourself can do wonders in helping others feel right at home.
            You may have some resolutions or commitment that you would add to these ideas.  One good suggestion is just asking the Lord to show you where your life could use some change, vitality or new direction.  And trust God to show that to you.  Maybe even seek the counsel of a good friend to help you.  The old year is gone and gone for good.  But this new year is just now unfolding and taking shape.  Seize the day and make it a year where you make the most of every opportunity!  Have a great Monday!    

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