On New Year’s Resolutions (With a Few of Mine)

Me at the cemetery of my Keith ancestors, a partial fulfillment of one of my resolutions (see below)
I’ve talked to a few people recently who’ve said that they don’t like New Year’s resolutions because they never do them.

I can understand that, but I would really encourage people to make New Year’s resolutions.

Resolutions are about thinking about life and being proactive rather than simply reactive and going with the flow. If we simply react and go with the flow, we will probably miss out on a lot of things and take the path of least resistance.

Making resolutions is about walking with our eyes in our heads (Ecclesiastes 2:14). King Solomon advises his son Solomon: “Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways” (Prov. 4:26). Making resolutions is about giving careful thought to how we live.

A couple suggestions on making New Year’s resolutions.

First, I try to think of my goals along the lines of Jesus’ growth as recorded by Luke: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man” (2:52). From this, I take four categories: spiritual, social, physical, and intellectual. To this, I might add things that I want to do just for fun (though I could probably fit those into the four categories above).

Second, when I make goals, it seems best to me to make them as specific as possible. For example, “Stay in touch with my Grandma” is probably not a very good goal. “Text Grandma everyday” is a good goal (this was a resolution one of my daughters made, completely without my prompting, I might add).

Third, don’t give up because you fail. This is also one advantage of being specific. If you mess up, just keep going. If you forget to text Grandma one day, just text her the next day. If you don’t read the Bible one day, read it the next. Life is going to interrupt our goals. If you recognize that going in, you’ll be OK?

Finally, just make some goals. Think about your life. Don’t let life happen to you. Take charge of it and make things happen that you want to happen. Why should we not do that? Why be a slave to circumstances? Why not begin to change what you can change?

Here are a few of my resolutions:

  1. Don’t use computers or movies to relax in the evening except when doing so with other people. Instead, use fiction books.
  2. Go outside each day and work a little bit on my yard.
  3. Check the news and Facebook once a day only.
  4. Visit and tour the places where each of my grandparents grew up this year and see the places where they grew up and where my ancestors are buried (Note: partially accomplished already).
  5. Attend more worship services and church events in other churches.
  6. Connect individually with each of my children daily.

Reading over my resolutions, I realized that I need to follow my own advice on some of them and make them more specific. Thinking about our lives and what we want them to be is a continuous process.

At any rate, I hope in the next year to try and walk “with my eyes in my head.” Have fun making your New Year’s resolutions! “May the Lord make all your plans succeed” in 2018 (Psalm 20:4).

Questions & Answers on Leadership Issues

This month, I’ve preached on the topic of leadership. I’ve preached it on because I believe that in the Bible, after the Bible, in leadership positions and without leadership positions, God uses leaders. If we see a problem in the world, we should pray for our leaders, pray that God will raise up leaders, and consider leading.

Anyone can be a leader. We just need a vision of what needs to be done and the wisdom to explain it to people, do the hard things that are necessary to get there, meet people where they are, and remember that it’s a process.

In all of this, we can be assured of God’s great promise to those whom He calls to lead, “I will be with you.”

Several people in my congregation asked me questions about leadership. You can listen to some of the questions and my replies here. You can read the questions and replies below.

What do you when people won’t follow you?
First, always ask first, what’s wrong with my leadership? before you ask, what’s wrong with my followers? Second, there are sometimes that we can’t lead people forward, and we have to recognize our own human limitations and give up. Third, there are some people we have to lead that are difficult to lead. Don’t give up. Keep praying, loving, and looking for ways to move the ball down the field. You never know when God may give a breakthrough!

What is leadership success?
You can look at leadership success in a couple of different ways. You can see success in terms of an objective, e.g., did I get people to the church to clean it before Sunday? In terms of the objective, sometimes you fail. It’s important to see that our value is not based on what we accomplish but on God’s value of us and desires to use us. That doesn’t change, even if we fail. Continue reading “Questions & Answers on Leadership Issues”

Love Needs Wisdom

Wisdom without love is worthless. Love without wisdom is not quite worthless, but it may be fruitless.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian Christians, he told them that he prayed “that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight” (1:9).

You often hear, just love people, and that’s all you need.

But that’s not all you need.

Sometimes people with the biggest heart are not as effective as they could be because they just move on emotions rather than thinking through what would be best. Continue reading “Love Needs Wisdom”