I stopped making new years resolutions many years ago. Within the framework of making resolutions I realised that I am guilty of regularly making and breaking new and old ones every day. And so my reasoning is that why make a big thing of making new resolutions based on ones emotional state at the time. And simply put, I discovered that I am incapable of keeping any resolutions I make in my own power.
In 2007 I made the plan to go into the army reserves with the aim of becoming a reservist chaplain. Only late that year I became disabled and hospitalised. Now granted not all of our resolutions and plans are thwarted in such a spectacular fashion. Often its something far smaller and less dramatic which causes their downfall. It could be as simple as memory failure. Peer group pressure. Or perhaps if the truth be told, we didn’t really mean what we resolved to do in the first place.
Scripture encourages us not to say “We are going to do this, or we are going to do that…” instead, it encourages us to say “If the Lord permits” or “The Lord willing.” We / I will do this. Scripture also encourages us not to make vows. For we are incapable of naturally changing the colour of our hair. Making it rain or shine. We cannot guarantee our own employment or financial security. Nor can we control what others say or do. And within that context we struggle to even control what it is we say or do. Simply put we are encouraged to simply say yes or no, and let our yes be yes and our no be no. Anything else comes from the evil one. So as we come to the end of the year and start to think about the new year, think about all the resolutions you made during the year. How many of them have you kept. Can you even remember the one or ones you made last year for this year?
Within a Christian context we often tell God we will do better next time. We promise that we will behave better. Speak better. Think better. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Witness more. Go to church more. Get involved more.. do more.. … …
The reality is that our making resolutions is like the man caught in quick sand saying he can pull himself out by his ears. Or he can jump out by cupping his hands under his foot and boosting himself out. Because Christianity is not about what we are going to do for God. Its about what God has already done for us. It’s about what God is doing through us. In us. Over us. For us. And therefore our prayer can only be, God, use us. Use me.
And so instead of making a resolution this year. Simply say to God. “Thank you for all you have done for me, in me, through me, over me, around me.” And continue to ask him to to use you every day and step out every day confident that he will indeed be working through you, over you, in your and around you – possibly in many ways you never imagined.
I was speaking to my wife about New Years resolutions this morning and mentioned how I am not going to make any resolutions; instead I was planning to make 2012 a year of continuations.
In 2012 I intend to continue walking in God’s graces and plans for my life. This plan includes the strengthening of existing friendships. The solidification of and the building of new relationships. This will happen within the framework of globalisation and cyberisation, something which has caused me to build many valuable friendships throughout the world. As well as the many friendships I have on a more local and community level.
I intend to continue blogging. I have made 489 blog posts on this blog. 490 including this one. I have had 998 comments and have been very surprised at who reads, dialogues and links to this blog. I have written just under 17000 words on pastoral ministry and the role of the pastor in a combination of many posts on the subject. Therefore I intend rework these posts and edit them into a book, of which I am thinking of calling the Art of Pastoring.
I intend to continue studying. I have 5 subjects to go before finishing the Bachelor of Contemporary Ministry. Next semester I am doing Ethics as well as the possibility of another subject, one which is yet to be decided. I’m also strongly considering doing a masters degree after wards and not sure of which college I will do that through. I have a strong bent towards pastoral theology and pastoral leadership and God willing would like to perhaps aim towards doctoral studies on the subject after completion of the Masters.
2012 will see a continuation of M.A.N which is the men’s ministry at church. It stands for Men of Action and Networking. Micah 6:8 is our theme verse, which calls us to be men who do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Last month we drew up a bucket list of things we would like to do together in the year. And so we have an action plan of fellowship drawn up and ready to implement already.
Its is also a year of continuation of preaching. I have the privelidge of sharing God’s word at church tomorrow morning. I see it as a deep honour to take the pulpit and share God’s word on not only the first Sunday of the year; but also what is the first day of the year. The theme is from Ecclesiastes 3 and is on seasons and time. I have been invited to preach at another church on January 29th, which is something that I look forward to. The topic is up to me, and while I am seeking God for his wisdom as to what to share, I am thinking about preaching on the God who listens. It’s a sermon which I have preached a number of times in various locations and its one that always seems to encourage many. The first time I shared this message was with a group of boys at youth group and instead of wanting to go and play as was normal, after the message, they asked me to tell them more about the God who listens.
I’m also hoping that further ministry options and opportunities will unfold throughout the year. Something that I can’t share about at the moment, but hope to be able to do so in the future.
2012 will see a continuation of my support for my wife who is doing a cert 1v in chaplaincy. She is doing her hours at Hope Street in Sydney. As part of my support for her, I intend also when time permits to go with her. There is something deeply special and uplifting when sitting with the homeless and strugglers of life – hearing their stories, sharing life and praying with them.
2012 will see the continuation of my support and caring for my family. I have since birth sat my boys on my knee and told them that I loved and liked them very much. I have since added a third and tell them that I am very proud of them. Within this framework of support and care; we are looking at buying a house in the local area. Rent is going up and our current home is to small to offer hospitality to others and provide self care for ourselves in any real meaningful way.
Therefore in the framework of continuation into the new year, for all my friends and readers, I pray that you will continue to grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. That you will continue to grow in the awareness of the riches of his grace, the power of forgiveness and share in the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of believers.