I enjoy the annual reviews that media and news outlets publish each end of year. It is interesting to revisit and review some of the significant events of the past 12 months and reflect on the great losses and achievements of the past year. For some, 2009 will be marked most significantly by the problems with the world economy. For others it might be the on going debate over solutions to postponing environmental catastrophe. In Australia, we saw multiple changes in government leadership at State and Federal levels.
On a personal level, at our Church, 2009 has been a year of mixed blessings:
- A new Pastor in the English Congregation and an Assistant Pastor in the Cantonese Congregation
- Some experienced loss of employment and income.
- A new building extension completed for the Sunday School and Fellowship Hall
- MANY had additions to their family through births
- Some have battled with cancer
There also were many other individual transformations, changes, losses and accomplishments. Many people, the world over, use the end of a year to mark something about themselves or their habits and behaviour they wish to change. We call these, “New Year Resolutions”. With each resolution, there is a measure of regret. e.g. “I resolve to lose 5 kg (& keep it off!)” – this comes with regret that I gained those 5 kg through lack of discipline in my diet and exercise, so I repent of my (sin) bad behaviour and resolve to reverse or reform myself in order to achieve this goal. So the pattern, which should be encouraged, is:
- Regret of past wrong doing (or lack of right doing)
- Repent – reject and turn away from the past
- Resolve to trust God to enable me to achieve my goals for 2010
At each step, the believer should prepare themselves with prayer, and personal evaluation. Ask God to show you what areas of your life are lacking in godliness, or are outright sinful, or are hindering your effectiveness as a witness for Christ, or are preventing your growth as a follower of Jesus. (Psalm 139:23-24, Hebrews 12:1-2)
Here are a few suggestions to start. May God bless and enable you to strive after him and see and experience his greatness, goodness and glory in 2010.
1. Read the Bible Through in entirety by Dec 31st 2010
2. OR Read the New Testament through in entirety by Dec 31st 2010 (great for brand new Christians)
3. Volunteer and commit to a service team for the entire year. e.g. Youth Group, Sunday School, Music, Media, Playgroup, a new opportunity suited to your gifts & talents etc.
4. Go on a short term mission trip (see me for details)
5. Host a “Christianity Explained/Simply Christianity” event in your home for 6 weeks during 2010
6. Teach a “Christianity Explained/Simply Christianity” event in yours or someone else’s home for 6 weeks in 2010
7. Talk to me about giving a small (5 min) talk in Sunday Service on your testimony
8. Loose some weight so as to be in better health to serve the Lord and your family in 2010
9. Start (and continue) giving a set amount of money to missions or a project in 2010
10. Decide (and stick to it) to increase your sacrificial giving to the general offering and operating expenses of Church in 2010
11. Pray with your family (out loud) at least once per week (not at Church & not as part of grace for a meal).
12. Read the bible out loud at least once per week with your family (again, not at Church etc
p.s. My resolution for 2010 – I resolve not preach longer than 35 min in the main Sunday Service.
set your stop watch and see how I go