New Year, New Relationship

By Mark A. Taylor

Heroic New Year’s resolutions usually fail, but most of us could take at least one step toward a closer relationship with God. Here are a few possibilities, suggested by the first church’s vitality recorded in Acts 2:42:

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching . . . Choose a Bible reading goal that will work for you. Having trouble reading through the Bible in a year? Try reading through just the New Testament instead. Or read one of the Proverbs each day of each month throughout the year. Or read a few Psalms each evening, so that you’ve read all of them each month or two.

Make a list of your favorite Scripture sections not verses, but paragraphs or chapters. Work on memorizing them this year. Take as long as you must for the first one, then move to the second one. It doesn’t matter if you spend all year memorizing just one section. Tell someone about this and give them permission to ask you how it’s going.

. . . and to the fellowship . . . Practice hospitality. Tell your minister you and your spouse will take someone home or to a restaurant for lunch one Sunday per month. This is a great way to welcome visitors or new members or encourage troubled Christians.

Help the hungry. Skip two lunches per week and give what you would have spent to a local shelter or inner city mission. Or contact International Disaster Emergency Services in Kempton, Indiana (www.ides.org).

Make a will or make sure the one you have is up to date. Or check with your financial planner to see if you should create a living trust. The development office of your local Christian college could help you. Or contact Financial Planning Ministry in Irvine, California (www.fpm.org).

. . . to the breaking of bread . . . Decide how you will remember the body and blood of Christ each Sunday this year, including those where you may be out of town on vacation or business. One idea: clip and keep Communion meditations from C hristian Standard and read them again during worship at church or in a private worship time if you must miss church on a Sunday.

. . . and to prayer. Create a prayer card to keep in your wallet. On it write the seven days of the week. Under each of the days write the name of one person whose specific needs you know. Decide on a time each day you can pray for the person assigned to that day.

Simple, right? Too simple for you? Then think of something more meaningful. But don’t miss the opportunity we have at the passing of another year. You may enjoy one growth step so much you’ll decide to take another long before next December 31!

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