Why your New Year's resolutions were a bust, and what you can do about it.

Are you sick and tired of making New Year’s resolutions you can’t keep? Here are seven we bet you can:

1.  To gain weight-at least 15 pounds.
2.  To stop exercising
3.  To read less.
4.  To watch more TV.
5.  To procrastinate more…starting tomorrow.
6.  To get further into debt.
7.  To spread out priorities beyond your ability to keep track of them.

On second thought, you may want to read the rest of this article before you make any more New Year’s resolutions…even easy ones!

A Prayer for the end of January

For the overwhelming majority of us who will make yet one more New Year’s resolution that starts on January 1st, I offer you the following prayer for the end of January:

Dear God,
I want to thank you for being close to me so far this year.  With your help, I haven’t been impatient, lost my temper, been grumpy, judgmental or envious of anyone.  But I will really need your help soon because I’m about to get out of bed.
Amen

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Resolve Doesn’t Mean Results

We make resolutions on New Year’s Day to become better people. Our hearts are often in the right place, but somehow, our resolve doesn’t quite translate into results. Research on New Year’s resolutions indicates that:

Within the first two months of the new year, 25 % of us will break our promises.

By six months, nearly 40% will have failed.

By the end of the year, approximately 82 % will be unsuccessful.

Think about your own life. Haven’t you ever made a New Year’s resolution to diet…only to gain weight? Okay, I might be projecting my issues onto you with that example, but haven’t you ever done something similar? We all start out so well, but most of us don’t finish well. As the great poet/philosopher Homer Simpson once said: “I used to rock and roll all night and party every day. Then it was every other day. Now I’m lucky if I can find a half an hour a week in which to get funky.”

Resolve Not to Make Any New Year’s Resolutions!  

While there is something in the human psyche that gravitates to new beginnings, if you really want to start this new year right, forget about making New Year’s resolutions. Don’t waste your breath huffing and puffing about how YOU are going to change yourself.  

Instead, here are 5 things that can genuinely help you make a change:

  1. Read the Bible with Cadre friends this year. You can join the community here.
  2. Get ministry leadership coaching with us.
  3. Watch this short but super helpful 3-part video series from Box of Crayons about creating rock-solid habits.
  4. Use Bill Allison’s article on Growing your SMART Plan to help you create life-changing goals.
  5. Use a podcast like Encounter to help you slow down, be still, and listen to God.
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Would you like a better, stronger relationship with God in 2017?

By far the single most important thing I did in 2016 that helped my relationship with God was reading through the Bible—with some friends.

News Flash: A better, stronger relationship with God will not happen accidentally.

This is your invitation to gather your friends to take a life-changing AND guilt-free Bible reading adventure together in 2017.

1. Here’s WHY you probably won’t do this. (Just keeping it real.)

2. Here’s HOW you can pull this off if you dare to go for it.

3. Here’s an online community for sharing what we learn together.

4. Here’s a story about what God can do if you dare to try in 2017.

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Here’s our Bible reading plan for 2017…   

   * January 2017

   * February 2017

   * March 2017

   * April 2017

   * May 2017

   * June 2017

   * July 2017

   * August 2017

   * September 2017

   * October 2017

   * November 2017

   * December 2017

[Note: This 12-part reading will take us through the whole Bible in 2017. Each month is a new onramp. So it doesn’t matter if people start with us in January or not! It doesn’t matter if you skip a month. No guilt. No pressure. I’ll say it again: Each month is a new on ramp. So please invite friends to join you each month.]

So, WHO needs to do this with you this year?

Share this post with them right now.

Help Cadre Missionaries end 2017 strong and launch us into a new exciting year of disciplemaking!

The “No Sweat” Spiritual Workout

 

The secret to the “NO SWEAT” Workout: Time passes but no growth happens.

I’ve discovered the secret to “NO SWEAT” Disciplemaking: Time passes but no real growth happens.

In the New Testament model of life together we’re all believer priests… and in a priesthood of all believers—we’re all gifted, all called, all chosen and all working out together where the church is a gym, and pastors/youth workers are our workout trainers… [our trainers who are of course working out just as hard right besides us—1 Thess. 5:12-13.]

Just like the commercials that follow… YOU GOTTA BE SWEATING TO GET IT!

And we all need to SWEAT disciplemaking, not programs. We sweat disciplemaking friendships. Rich mutual community and one anothering are at the heart of the workout.

In the words of Inigo Montoya, TO THE PAIN!

TODAY’S WORKOUT:

Core Exercise #1: Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Core Exercise #2: I am fully convinced, my dear brothers and sisters, that you are full of goodness. You know these things so well you can teach each other all about them.
Core Exercise #3: Then, by the will of God, I will be able to come to you with a joyful heart, and we will be an encouragement to each other.
Core Exercise #4: A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
Core Exercise #5: So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
Remember: No Sweat, No Get!

Our love affair with books

 I know. We’re in love with books these days.

The Bible? Not so much.

I am often asked by ministry leaders, “What are you reading?” I smile and deadpan, “The Bible. It’s an amazing book. It’s really changing my life.” (This is where my wife starts kicking me under the table.) They’re like, “Well of course the Bible, but what other books are you reading?” I continue: “No, seriously, I’m reading the Bible and trying to learn how to make disciples like Jesus.”

Insert long awkward pause here. Often the conversation changes subjects or ends.

Interesting, ain’t it? Maybe it’s my coffee breath. I’m not trying to be a self-righteous jerk. I’m simply trying to answer the question—and have an honest and thoughtful conversation.

THE Book

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-books. I’m not trying to throw all books except the Bible under the bus. I’ll read/listen to about 12-15 books this year. But I used to read about 30 books a year. In an effort to make the Bible my first and primary text in life, I’m learning to be very selective about what books I read. I even ask God to show me what books he wants me to read. I value good books, but not more than THE Book.

 

open-bibleI think it’s a big mistake to make any book beside the Bible the first and primary focal point of disciplemaking. (Yes, that goes for anything I’ve written as well.) Why? Because the way you give disciplemaking to someone is the way they will tend to give disciplemaking to others. So, instead of making a book the center of your disciplemaking, make THE Book the first and primary text of your Disciplemaking Learning Community…so that when those you disciple start to disciple others, they will do it using the Bible. (Call me old school if you want. I’ve been called worse.)

It’s time to get over our love affair with books and get back to our love affair with Jesus as found in THE Book.

There. I said it.

After you’ve established God’s Word as the the first and primary text in your life and disciplemaking, then you may want supplement your learning with a book if you are so inclined. However, don’t feel obligated to use books. God—as it says in the Bible—has already given us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).

There I go again.

“The words of the wise are like prodding goads, and firmly fixed [in the mind] like nails are the collected sayings which are given [as proceeding] from one Shepherd. But about going further [than the words given by one Shepherd], my son, be warned. Of making many books there is no end [so do not believe everything you read], and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”
—Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:11-12

So what’s next for you?

I challenge you to consider the 15 minutes a day that will change your life forever.