No more New Year’s resolutions!

Are you sick and tired of making New Year’s resolutions you can’t keep? Why not try something different this year? Why not resolve to do something that you can actually accomplish? To get you started right this new year, we’re offering you…

Seven New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep:

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 January 2nd
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 January 2nd:

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, do something REALLY life-changing this year.

And this is your invitation to take a life-changing AND guilt-free Bible reading adventure together in 2017.shutterstock_370508654-1

 

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.