| Click Now to Order
I Am Resolved
"Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do
it, to him it is sin." (NASB)
Have you made your New Year's Resolutions yet? Though he is only four
years old, Cole Robbins is getting in the spirit of New Year's Resolutions.
He said that putting away toys "is a good idea because you don't want to
step on something sharp." Further, he thinks it is important to wash your
hands "because you don't want to spread germs," but when the reporter from
The Southern Illinoisan asked him "if he'd commit to the resolutions himself,"
he changed the subject.
It is much easier to envision good resolutions than to make them. Like
most people little Cole has a good understanding of the right thing to
do. His problem isn't with knowing what the right thing to do is, but in
deciding to do it.
Setting a goal or making a resolution is one thing, sticking to it is
another. MyGoals.com list four key ingredients for accomplishing your goals:
1. Choose the Right New Year Resolution(s)
2. Create a Plan
3. Stay on Track
4. Remain Flexible and Keep on Going
As MyGoals.com points out, the decision to act doesn't insure success.
Think of it like this, if there is more to doing right than knowing the
right thing to do, then there is also more to it than deciding to do the
right thing. But if you never determine to make a change, you never will.
The starting point is to make the resolution in the first place.
In an editorial for the Montreal Gazette on December 29, 2003 Freda
Lewkowicz wrote, "I surrender. I've looked behind me and seen the ghost
of past New Year's resolutions boogying in my recycling bin. This year,
I admit defeat before even beginning the process of writing lists. I vow
never to write resolutions for myself and to forfeit permanently my Resolution
Breaker crown. I've entered the Bah Humbug Zone when it comes to resolutions."
To have the energy to make resolutions today, we have to avoid surrendering
to a defeatist attitude. Past failures don't have to translate into a apathy,
instead we can learn from our past mistakes and develop a plan for future
successes. Philip. 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me." (KJV) In Christ, all things are possible, if are goals
are in the center of God's will for our lives.
So, knowing that the first step in any permanent change is to set the
goal or make the resolution, we begin the New Year ready to make our resolutions.
Instead of picking a "one size fits all goal" we should make a resolution
that is tailor made for us-or to put it another way, one that is God's
will for our lives. And after we discover God's will, then we can create
the plan, stay on track and keep going, but we will never be able to do
that until we discover God's will for our lives.
James 4:13-15 says, "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow, we shall
go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business
and make a profit.'  Yet you do not know what your life will be like
tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then
vanishes away.  Instead, you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall
live and also do this or that.'" (NASB)
Finding God's will is a necessary ingredient for personal change, as
it is for corporate advancement. Today, as a church body, we stand on the
cusp of a great opportunity. We are in a unique position right now. Building
upon a rich sixty-year heritage, in recent years we've worked together
to make some important changes to prepare our church for a bright future.
Some of those changes are overt and visible. Like the remodeling we've
done to make our plant multi-purpose and divert the need to build in the
near future. Or the deferred maintenance, we've caught up with, like replacing
our aging roof, to put our buildings in prime shape for ministry. I am
particularly pleased with the changes we've made in the way we care for
our property so that our buildings are always clean and our lawns are well
groomed. Over the coming months we'll finish our "face lift" with new gutters
and fresh paint on the exterior of the buildings. Those who went before
us had the foresight to purchase this land and to build these buildings,
and today we reap the benefit of their sacrifice and minister from a plant
with an estimated worth of 10.5 million dollars. The money we spend maintaining
these facilities is minuscule in comparison to the value of the property
and the ultimate value they hold as a base for ministry.
But really, these visible changes are just the part of the iceberg you
can see, beneath the surface we've made changes in attitude, approach and
methodology that are far greater and have a greater impact on positioning
ourselves for the future than the things that are visible. Under the direction
of the Holy Spirit we've worked together, in a spirit of unity, and we've
worked hard. And we've done if for a reason. Because we believed God was
preparing us for better days.
Those better days have arrived.
Today we stand at the starting line of a New Year-a year I'm dubbing
"The Year of Opportunity." Because we've laid the groundwork for success
and possess the necessary tools for success, and because we will have 12
months of unprecedented stability in our church ahead of us, I believe
this year could represent the greatest year of opportunity in the recent
history of the church.
So today, I ask you to resolve with me to seize this opportunity-to
resist the temptation to hold back, make excuses or to give less than your
very best. Just like little Cole Robbins, most of us know the right thing
to do. Just like he knows he should pick up his toys and wash his hands
because he knows that failure to do so can result in "stepping on something
sharp" and spreading germs," we know there are some things we need to be
doing to help our church reach its potential.
We know that we need to be people of prayer. I don't mean the ceremonial
prayer that is a part of most churches, I mean the kind of desperate prayer
that seeks the will of God. I don't mean a patronizing prayer. You know
the kind of prayer that presumes to tell God what we think is best for
one another. But a "soul pouring" prayer where we empty ourselves and see
the heart of God for one another. I've been on this journey with you for
only a short time, but I can see clearly in my rear view mirror that the
times we've been most effective for the cause of Christ were the times
that we, as a congregation, were "pouring out our souls to the Lord." I'm
not saying we need to begin praying so that we will be more successful
and get God's blessings on our plans. Rather, I'm saying that success and
God's blessings are encompassed in the very act of prayer. It is our destiny.
Shall we do more than know that we need to be people of prayer? Shall we
We also know that we need to be generous people. I believe this church
has all the money it needs to accomplish its mission. We've just got to
figure out how to get it out of the pockets of our people. After consulting
with our deacons, I'm declaring next Sunday "Prove the Tithe" Day and am
asking every member and regular attender in our church to bring at least
a tenth of that week's income and put it in the offering plate. Malachi
3:10 says, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may
be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts,
if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing,
that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (KJV) Next Sunday,
I'm asking you, in the spirit of this verse to prove the tithe.
We also know that we need to be witnessing people. How many people have
we baptized that you personally lead to the Lord? Are you a witness? Are
you sharing your faith?
Time does not permit us to talk about other things like worship, studying,
serving and other important things that we all know we need to be doing.
But really, I think you get the point. Will you resolve with me to do everything
you can to help your church make the most of the opportunities we have
before us? Will you do everything you can to turn "the year of opportunity"
into the "year of great advancement?"