A new year and a new start? While God’s grace is available to us all day every day, many of us take advantage of significant milestones in life, like the start of a new year. According to some of the latest research (http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/), about half of us will make a new year’s resolution and about half won’t. Of those who do, about a fourth will fail in the first week, a full third in the first month and more than half within the first six months. Before you resolve not to resolve, also hear this: people who make a resolution are about 10 times as likely to achieve their goals as those who don’t! That statistic alone may be motivation enough to help you make a resolution, even if you aren’t able to begin exactly at midnight on January 1.
What if we combined the potential strength of a resolution with our faith? Most resolutions are related to self-improvement, weight loss or relationships. These are not bad. In fact, most are very good! What if we made resolutions that also involved our relationship with God? What if we promised to attend church more often (and being specific here will help you keep your resolution…replace “more often” with the specific goal you wish to achieve…i.e. twice a month or each week)? What if we made resolutions that weren’t just pass/fail, either/or, win/lose but ones that moved us forward if we even we fell short? Where might we partner with God and one another to reach up and to reach out more effectively? What if we all resolved to join a life group, Bible Study or mission work team this year? What if we gave a little more support to God’s work through Asbury Church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness?
When we make a change, we effect everyone we know. They in turn effect everyone they know. We can be the epicenter of change and produce ripples in the “pond of life” that end up changing everyone and everything, if even just a tiny bit. I think it’s worth a try. I think it’s worth a resolution. While we could do this anytime, we have the added benefit of the significant milestone of a new year. We can all do this together and seek God’s help together. Whether you are reading this message before New Year’s Day or a few days afterwards, God’s grace is available to you. What resolution might God’s grace call you to make this year? How might you and I be an instrument in God’s hand to do more than make a few half-hearted promises…how might we help God change the world? Sound lofty? Maybe not too lofty if God is our helper and we covenant to support one another in our life groups, in worship and in Bible studies!
I’m resolving to give no less than my all to Jesus. I’m resolving to being a better pastor than I’ve ever been. I’m resolving to support you in all the resolutions you make, now or at any time of year. I am making my start this Sunday in worship. Will you join me?
Happy New Year!
Tom Newman, Asbury Church, Lead Pastor